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  • hardie karges 11:07 am on August 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Pali,   

    Buddhism and Love, True True love… 

    True love doesn’t grasp or cling. True love embraces all and claims nothing. But this is a huge subject, of course, and it’s always good to define your terms, if you expect to have any reasonable discussion, because the word lends itself to many different interpretations, not the least of which is the reproduction of the species, without which we wouldn’t be sitting here having this conversation…

    Birth, after all, is the origin of each and every individual, if not the species, even if the species is the one most at risk. But many people, especially we westerners, see love as something to be IN, i.e. IN LOVE, so something far above and beyond the simple act of reproduction, more like an entire dimension that swallows us up whole, only to hopefully be released on our word at the middle of our sentence with the ensuing prospects of good behavior. Good luck with that…

    Other languages even describe the same feeling as being lost, i.e. lost in love, so that hits the nail squarely on the head, now, doesn’t it? But that’s so Christian, the passion and the cross, even if the passion was originally suffering, and the cross is really a sword…

    But Buddhism has none of that, AFAIK, but plenty of friendship and brotherly love, and for sisters, too, forever enshrined in the concepts and words of ‘metta’ and ‘maitri’, in Pali and Sanskrit, respectively and respectfully, often translated as ‘lovingkindness’ for people of Euro extraction, even though that’s originally a translation of the Hebrew ‘(c)heced’, aka ‘covenant loyalty’, apparently, so same deal, once the Romans got romance, and put woman on a pedestal from which they could no longer work, only f*ck, then everyone else had to follow those patriarchs of fashion, even if ‘(c)heced’ originally and literally meant to bow oneself, namaste…

    But that’s all water under the bridge, because that was then and this is now, but Buddhism is still a way of life full of dispassion, literally, i.e. relief from suffering, or at least compassion, i.e. misery loves company. But Buddhist suffering, dukkha, does not have to be painful, not at all. It is simply an acknowledgement that you are going to die, and that you are not the center of the universe…

    Now I won’t say that the Hindus-for-hire who tell you that you are the center of the universe are lying, but simply that they are misinformed, as any scientist can attest. For, in the Buddha’s eyes, we are simply a heap of aggregates, so let’s say adjectives, not nouns, and certainly not eternal ones passing from life to life, notwithstanding the paradox of rebirth…

    But at least for this life in this world, we all have each other, and that is not so bad, once you stop and think about it, and once you broaden your circle of friends to include those with whom you may find more degrees of separation than you can account for in the memories of those who conveniently surround you. Racism sucks. Does the Universe care what you do with your life? We are the Universe. We care…

     
    • tiramit 9:06 pm on August 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      “…we are simply a heap of aggregates …adjectives, not nouns,” I like it! It explains something about the Khandas that always puzzled me. Thanks

    • hardie karges 9:12 pm on August 28, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, it was a revelation to me at the time, also, though I’ve heard someone since describe them as verbs, but no, I still think that they are adjectives. This opens a whole new field of inquiry, though, into the linguistic nature of our self-perception. Thanks for your comments…

  • hardie karges 12:18 pm on April 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , maitri, , Mithra, Pali, ,   

    Buddhism and the Personal Peace Initiative… 

    Don’t take the bait. Let the other guy have the last word. Someone has to be the adult in the room in this world or there’ll be none, adults that is, since I think that we can assume that there is a room, by prior agreement, and our common consensus that the material world exists to at least an extent that we can talk about it, even if those illusions of solidity quickly vanish with increased scrutiny. Because the infinite divisibility of matter is as inscrutable as the infinite extension of the universe, and as unlikely as true love, in the sense of ultimate compatibility, beyond all causes and conditions, not to be confused with lovingkindness, simple friendship or universal brotherhood, however you want to define the Sanskrit or Pali terms ‘metta’ and ‘maitri’, notwithstanding all the mutations and peregrinations that the Iranian god Mithra made in transforming himself from a god of light into a Roman god of war, thus the very opposite of the Buddhist intent. And such is the world, fidgeting and finagling, hungering and thirsting for something more, if not always something other, the family familiar usually preferred to the altogether other, for reasons of convenience, if not comfort, and seldom better. For the world grows smaller to the same degree that it grows more violent, the need for living room in conflict with the need for living rooms, possession and aggression up against compassion and dispassion, so we gather up our rocks and put them in hard places, all ready for battle, rather than find peace within ourselves, and then extend it to others. There is a way out, and a way forward, but the answer is too simple for many men to accept: lay down your arms and rest your legs. Mind your tongues and mind your manners. For a war with guns is never really won, and a war of words is no better. Choose peace, and quiet, and reconciliation…

     
  • hardie karges 6:38 am on December 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , citta, compassion, , , karuna, Khmer, , , Pali, , , ,   

    Buddhism 101: Metta means Friendship, Karuna means Compassion… 

    IMG_2290You’ve got something pretty special when you put friendship and compassion together, and something pretty simple. Even people who profess to believe in nothing, and categorically reject use of that word ‘belief’ can surely believe in friendship and compassion. And friendship, universal friendship, is a very important concept, easy to forget in our day and time that at some time in the not-so-distant past anyone who was not part of the family was suspect and an object of great fear and suspicion…

    One of my favorite stories, recounted many times, is by Jared Diamond of ‘Guns, Germs and Steel’ fame who related that while doing anthropological fieldwork in Papua New Guinea, when two strangers would meet each other, they’d count back to see if they had a mutual relative, so that they wouldn’t have to kill each other, or die trying… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:28 pm on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Informative survey with a convincing historical explanation for fellow-feeling, if that phrase fits. It all builds nicely to your final thoughts where you suggest how experience of different cultures can develop the facility. It’s an important corrective to the divisions – silos, bunkers, echo chambers, whatever – of the modern era.

    • hardie karges 4:45 pm on December 21, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks, Dave! Merry Christmas from Cambodia…

  • hardie karges 7:38 am on May 13, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddhist Studies, catuskoti, , , , , , Pali, , , , , ,   

    Buddhist Studies: lists of lists, definitions defined and translations translated… 

    img_2116If there’s anything more annoying, as a Buddhist Studies MA student, than having to memorize lists of lists after lists full of lists from the annals of the ancients, it’s having to plow through the re-definitions of all those terms from the mouths of the moderns (is ‘anals’ a word?). This is not high scholarship. This is the business of busy-work, the intellectual equivalent of keeping that shovel moving to justify your union job, or to keep your position as the arbiter of privilege in the fan-boy chat-pages of Facebook…

    Yet that’s what they all do, in the Western Lands, at least, and even in the temples, too, as if only one new definition ‘changes everything’, so that the Pali/Sanskrit word ‘dukkha‘ is no longer merely ‘suffering’ but ‘stress’, ‘anguish, ‘dissatisfaction’, or maybe even just ‘a spot of unpleasantness’ so easily resolved by following that Yellow Brick Road known as the 8FP, Eight-fold Path, when the reality is not so easy at all… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:08 am on December 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , dipa, double entendre, , , , , , nikaya, Pali, , ,   

    Buddhism 6399, Pali 201: Double Entendres, Double Intentions? Or not… 

    img_2116Evam vadi: “Therefore, O Ananda, be ye lamps unto yourselves. Rely on yourselves, and do not rely on external help. Hold fast to the truth as a lamp. Seek salvation alone in the truth. Look not for assistance to any one besides yourselves.”

    So said the Buddha on his death bed, in his final instructions to the sangha, the Buddhist community, his followers. There’s only one problem, or question, or issue, if you prefer: the Pali word dipa can mean ‘lamp’ or (drum roll here, please)–‘island’. In fact ‘island’ is probably the more frequent translation, given the prominence in Buddhism of that most famous of dipas—Sri Lanka…

    (It does NOT mean ‘light’, not really, as often translated in the statement above, ‘light’ in the sense of that abstract quasi-dimensional entity which has a speed of 186,000mi/300,000km per second and serves as the upper limit of our human-ness, and therefore somewhat defining our status as physical, i.e. not totally spiritual, beings, in a material world, however sentient and well-intentioned)… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:19 am on September 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Pali, , ,   

    First Noble Truth of Buddhism: It’s a Heartache… 

    IMG_2290

    …and that’s about as accurate as any translation of the Pali word dukkha as any other, certainly better than the ‘stress’ or ‘discomfort’ or whatever currently making the rounds in Buddhist blurbs online and elsewhere, anything but ‘suffering’, the traditional and still most accurate definition. We’re talking about a metaphysical level of suffering here, after all, or at least existential, the kind that envelops you in its inimitable embrace, and lets you know exactly where you stand, or fall, which is usually somewhere nearby and knowable, so treatable…

    The newer ‘stress’-full definition of dukkha suggests a modern post-capitalist phase that the Buddha himself could hardly have imagined back in the classic Upanishadic era of pre-colonial India, actually post-colonial if you count Aryans as intruders, and not the high-class homeboy Brahmins that they usually like to see themselves as. They brought as many chariots, horses, cows and racism as they ever brought religion, more like high plains cowboys than the meditative masters that we now see them as (though they did have good drugs—I hear)… (More …)

     
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