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  • hardie karges 6:10 am on April 6, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , nirvana,   

    Nirvana, and the Anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s Suicide 

    It’s hard now to hear Nirvana the rock band. But it’s easy to hear about Nirvana the cessation of hatred, anger, even desire, on a good day, so Buddhist Nirvana, that is. But I was once a big fan of the band, even though it was loud, raw, and anguished. That was much of the charm, at the time. But I started at the end and worked backwards, not so much because the acoustic versions were easier to swallow, which they were, but that the lyrics were understandable, and that was the point, that and the fact that I took offense at their use of the tern ‘nirvana’, not that I was Buddhist, but then neither were they. But then maybe they were Sanskritists, since they got the translation right: ‘extinction’, nothing about salvation, or even Enlightenment. So at least Kurt was honest. He just worked himself into a corner from which he couldn’t escape, not with his life. It always happens at age twenty-seven. That seems to be the threshold, the threshold between childhood and adulthood, or not. R.I.P. Kurt…

     
  • hardie karges 4:07 am on November 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , moksha, nibbana, nirvana, philoosophy, , satori   

    Buddhist Enlightenment is Hard Work; Saving the Planet is even Harder… 

    img_1453

    Kwan Yin (Kuan Im), Sino-Thai Bodhisattva

    I don’t think too much about Nirvana or satori, Nibbana or moksha or any of the other Promised Lands of Buddhism, simply because they seem to refer to another sphere or another dimension or another life which I have little interest in, when the problems of this life should be plenty to keep us busy for the foreseeable future…

    Because the hate and anger must stop here, grounded and defused and refused re-entry into the society of minds and hearts of men, egos run wild with apparent abandon and artificial stimulation. Enlightenment is probably not even about bliss at all. It’s probably hard work, suffering the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune and true suffering, inflicted by the whims and wills of men with minds conditioned to inflict cruelty… (More …)

     
    • Alex 12:55 am on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I think Buddhists can have a very important place in commenting on politics as Buddhists – just needs to be done in a Buddhist way; from a place of loving kindness

      • hardie karges 1:11 am on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Maybe. But that’s a subject of much debate. And there are risks. Thanks for your comments.

        • Alex 1:15 am on November 26, 2018 Permalink

          There are risks to any actions as none are neutral, but I think we should still try. In a time of much hate and anger, we have a chance to try and change the tone 🙂

        • hardie karges 10:35 pm on November 26, 2018 Permalink

          We definitely should try to change the tone, no question about that, samma ditthi, samma vaca, etc…

    • Dave Kingsbury 5:02 pm on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      As always, Hardie, you achieve an unflinching PoV which seeks to include rather than avoid and employs common sense in a very down-to-earth way. Hard work that pays off, I’d say. And as you say, ‘Enlightenment is probably not even about bliss at all.’ Realism, perhaps?

      • hardie karges 10:30 pm on November 26, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Thx, Dave. Theravada enlightenment may be about bliss, but not the Mahayana version, I’d say, gotta’ improve the status of others, also. Thanks for your comments…

        • Dave Kingsbury 1:52 am on November 27, 2018 Permalink

          My pleasure – no man is an island, to use John Donne’s words …

        • hardie karges 3:57 am on November 27, 2018 Permalink

          Indeed, haha… (guess I forgot to attribute the Shakespeare quote in my own post, or even put quotation marks, oops!)…

        • Dave Kingsbury 7:30 am on November 27, 2018 Permalink

          That Hamlet soliloquy is as good a summary of life/death as one might hope for.

  • hardie karges 4:53 am on October 7, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , nirvana, , ,   

    Buddhism and Trump, Religion and Politics… 

    img_2116It’s easy to bemoan my fate as having no choice but to be a citizen of the same country that Donald F. Trump presides over, even if not currently resident, but bemoan even more the fact that he seems to have hijacked my mental process, so that it seems that I am almost totally incapable of thinking about anything else, except how to get this over-stuffed individual out of my life and out of my mind and hopefully even out of my country so that one day I might go back there if circumstances so warrant it…

    I mean: wouldn’t I really rather be spending my time, and precious brain cells, discussing subtle points of dharma, rather than gross points of politics? Of course, though, the argument could be made that I wouldn’t even be a Buddhist if the presence of Donald Trump in his original rise in the political polls hadn’t inspired me to it, for whatever reason, as the two events were nearly simultaneous. For, like the reductios ad absurdum that Mahayana Buddhists once used to disprove the intrinsic existence of ‘stuff’, so I can define myself in opposition to a known quantity… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:11 pm on October 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      … we are the God species, like it or not, holding the keys to survival in the palm of one hand, while the other hand plays with its iPhone… great line, Hardie, in a piece that goes head on and wins through to something very helpful and worthwhile!

    • hardie karges 5:20 am on October 9, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks Dave. I swear I did not know previously of the book of the same title AND on a similar subject. I do now, haha…

  • hardie karges 5:45 am on June 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , nirvana, ,   

    Beyond Buddhism: and the meaning of life is… 

    img_1773The opposite of death, of course, whatever that is, no more no less, the two like dancing partners choreographed to perfection, or life partners resigned to the fact. There is no other option, no matter how much the creators of cryogenics would wish it, or however much the authors of science fiction might fantasize. You can only delay the inevitable; every doctor will admit that, but still we spend every last cent to prolong our lives another minute or two for the sake of science, for the sake of the impenetrable sadness…

    And these same doctors think that the cure for suicide is better anti-depression drugs, as if all happiness is chemical and all meaning is logical, as if we were born with a seventy-year contract to fulfill, and any less would put us in breach. But yes, we are in breach, we are always in breach, that slashed gap between the open sores of our bodies and the unrealized expectations we had in mind, the slashed gap of duality. Maybe we should invent some new drugs to enhance our false expectations? No, we’ve got enough of those already… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:35 am on January 14, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: belief system, , , , , nirvana, ,   

    Buddhism: Religion, Philosophy, or…? 

    img_1931Some people say Buddhism is not really a religion, though I know some monks who would beg to differ. Here’s what my dictionary says about religion:

    1. the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods. 2. a particular system of faith and worship. 3. a pursuit or interest followed with great devotion.

    Well, the first definition certainly does not fit Buddhism, since there is no all-powerful superman waiting to part the waters, and the second only fits if we define what Buddhists do as worship—so maybe. The third one is frivolous, in the sense that ‘consumerism is the new religion’, but maybe somewhat accurate, especially in the case of ever-trendy Amerika, where Buddhism is currently a hot topic, but where much, if not most, of the information disseminated about it, is limited, or misapplied, or downright inaccurate… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 2:57 pm on January 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      I like the resonance between ‘unattainable’ and ‘aim-able’ – the whole piece is down-to-earth and easy to relate to. Science, according to the guy who wrote The Golden Bough, superseded Magic because both offer ways of influencing the world – where Religion asks for the intercession of higher forces. Not sure where Buddhism fits in to that, suppose it depends which variety one goes for …

    • hardie karges 7:51 pm on January 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      “Before Joseph Campbell became the world’s most famous practitioner of comparative mythology, there was Sir James George Frazer…(and) The Golden Bough”, been on my ‘to-read’ list for 50 years, maybe I should do that now as part of some MA research, thx, Dave. No, there need be no disputes between Science and Buddhism, or any religion, for that matter IMHO. I don’t want to have to make a choice… and that is the great challenge, to make those details fit. It won’t be easy, but I do think that Buddhism has the ability to do it, what with its flexible doctrine, if it only has the will to do it. Predestination is attractive–and easy, just not a defensible position for me…

    • Terborn Zult 2:57 pm on January 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Not bad; the progression from religion(s) to one or several non-religious belief systems is already a step in the right direction, because it allows the “believer” to be in favor of certain principles without having to submit to some entity that is supposed to be somehow intrinsically “higher” than humans or human thinking. So, it’s a step away from mental slavery. If this step is done seriously and systematically, it not only leads to kicking out all superstition, but also to seeing the simple fact that, after all, non-religious ethical “belief” boils down to nothing more than having a certain preference for some principles and guidelines over others. With no mysticism needed to “justify” those principles and guidelines.

      However, care needs to be taken to avoid religious mysticism’s sneaking back in through the backdoor. Any assorted principles and guidelines adorned with a halo of absolute value or truth would risk becoming a new religion, as any claim of absoluteness is a sure-fire indicator of creeping religification and transformation into a new mysticism.

      Already during the 19th century, then during the first few post-WWII decades, there was a danger of religification of science in the mind of the general (non-scientific) public, frequently promoted by preposterous “science” journalists and other (usually financial) wannabe profiteers from scientific success. Whereas all serious science is a completely relative enterprise, with no fix points being fixed eternally.

      In other words, after the downfall of open and direct religion, it is necessary to oppose covert and indirect religion, i.e., all forms of religification, be they applied to scientific methods and results, philosophical considerations, cultural, political, economic or ecologic theories and principles, moral principles, or whatever. Sooner or later, any re-religification would result in fresh mental slavery – by sliding the “believer” back to “self-imposed immaturity” (see I. Kant: “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed immaturity’). Of course, reading and analyzing religious texts and traditions with a critical mind is neither religion nor mysticism; nor is the extraction of inspirations from those.

      Since the word “belief” is still tainted by its religious past, it would be preferable to use a different word for all forms of non-religious “belief”. Something like “conviction”, “convincement”, “opinion”, “paradigm” or so would be less ambiguous, because none of these should invoke submission to anything other than critical human reasoning. Because the latter is the most fundamental baseline of all attempts to understand “why are we here? Where did we come from? What do we do now?” – if that’s really the goal (as pointed out in the post above). The rest is history.

      • hardie karges 3:12 am on January 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        We’re pretty much on the same page then. Yes, I would like to see Buddhism get rid of all superstitions and irrational ‘beliefs’, especially since that was one of the great selling points 2500 years ago, back when the Hindus were still sacrificing animals. Rebirth is the tough one, for some reason. It seems people are very attached to their past and future lives. Being diplomatic about it, I plead ignorant, and agnostic, in order to promote ‘this life’ Buddhism. Thanks for your comments.

  • hardie karges 7:26 am on October 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , grunge, , , nirvana,   

    Buddhism 110: Looking for Nirvana, not R & R, r.i.p. Kurt C… 

    Most religions—except Christianity—discourage music and most other forms of entertainment, Islam most famously, but Buddhism also, at least for monks and priests. So I was somewhat surprised when my temple’s head priest here in northern Thailand decided to put on a CD of American ‘Greatest Hits’ while driving, “for you, Hardie.” Heretofore I’d only heard slow sappy Thai stuff, so this would be interesting, however lame. The hardest part for me as monk will be to leave behind pop music, at least the hard stuff…

    The first song was “Everybody’s Talking” by Nilsson—cool. Then came “Ring of Fire” by Johnny Cash—awesome. “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson? I can dig that. And “Music to Watch Girls By”, Andy Williams’ lyrics version–meh. But “Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana? Whoa, I’d almost forgotten them, after our brief but torrid love affair some twenty-plus years ago. And what irony! For mine is a quest for Buddhist Nirvana, but nothing like Seattle’s Nirvana, in which Kurt Cobain apparently died for our sins, for lack of better options. He blew his brains out, so we don’t have to… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 3:17 pm on October 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Music could be our attempt to play with time, particularly its remorseless onward rush. Maybe religion seeks to do the same … just a thought off the top of my head, may make no sense!

    • hardie karges 6:41 pm on October 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting idea, maybe yes, a vertical movement across a horizontal flow of time, at least…

    • jodie 6:53 pm on October 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Just checking in on …..you……sit well

      jodie

    • Alexia Adder 12:42 am on January 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Christianity discourages music in some sects. My mom made me listen to nothing but Christian music and my pastor grandfather doesn’t believe in musical instruments or playing it, besides singing off key in church. (Church of Christ)

      • hardie karges 8:03 am on January 26, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        I was raised as Christian Scientist, so music wasn’t the issue. TBH it’s difficult to listen to Nirvana now. I spend so much time writing that any other words create interference. Jazz and ambient are good, classical too. Tastes change…

        • Alexia Adder 2:34 pm on January 26, 2020 Permalink

          Definitely. I over listened in my youth and now I don’t care for it as much as I used.

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