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  • hardie karges 12:23 pm on November 22, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2020, , , , , , , politics,   

    Buddhism at the Crossroads of Politics and Religion… 

    Your worst enemy can be your best friend, maybe save your life in the end, if you avoid harsh words, and show him some kindness. And this is especially true in a time of political disruption, when all norms of decency have been cast to the winds of fate, in favor of the expediency of racial familiarity.

    For this is the great advantage of religion, if not the sole purpose, i.e. to provide the comfort of familiarity beyond mere racial and tribal identities. After all, most religions have similar, if not identical, goals. The problem, of course, is spreading that umbrella of familiarity wide enough to include everyone, so as to avoid merely extending tribal associations into the realm of religion.

    For religion has no intrinsic connection to any nation or race, but that which the paths of culture provide. Culture can change, though, and sometimes immediately. There is nothing that necessitates that a European be Christian or an Asian be Buddhist, except that that is the path that the various cultures adopted in adaptation to the stimuli that occurred, whether natural or intentional.

    In fact, the genetic dispositions of the founders of Eastern and Western philosophy are quite similar, probably more similar than the right and left sides of any individual brain. But many, if not most, circumstances are largely random, as best described by the ‘Butterfly Effect’ of Chaos Theory, in which the mere fact that a butterfly might flutter by changes the course of history.

    So we are left to make sense of what seem to be random occurrences as best we can. But they are not all random, and that is the point of science, to find the order in the universe. That is NOT the point of religion, though, which is to find our place in that universe. At one time, in the not-so-distant past, the two endeavors were one and the same thing, not surprising in a human culture that has barely outgrown its diapers.

    That does not imply any false duality, though, merely a hierarchy of necessity in a world grown more complex with the passage of time and the increasing specialization of the species homo sapiens. And if I once thought that we as a species might not survive, given our many sins, of commission and omission, then today I am gratified to find that Nature will likely have an important role in that final determination.

    After all, natural selection is always right. But it is rarely predictive. Hindsight is 2020. Until then, we are best served by a gentleness in our approach to all matters of politics and religion. Buddhism is a good paradigm for that, arguably the best. Purify your heart. Fortify your mind. Lead the world by example…

     
  • hardie karges 3:59 pm on May 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , politics   

    Pandemics, Politics, Global Warming, DNA and DJT… 

    I don’t often write about politics nor pandemics, not because I don’t care, or that I have no interest, but because I have other greater interests, and politics have no easy solutions—and many commentators. But there are meta-theses to this pandemic that are not being discusses by anyone, and so that’s why I feel compelled to comment. The first issue is easy, the treachery of the US government in dealing with this natural disaster, not to be confused with incompetence, which is the normal modus operandi of the Trump administration. But to send people to their probable deaths in uncertain circumstances, when such deaths could be easily prevented, is not just murder. It is genocide, of the genus poverty, thus the annihilation of one class by another higher one. This could be easily prevented by the economic support of those people, from the taxes that they have paid, the same as is done for the corporate entities which are sacred to the US capitalist system, and which all Western European countries are doing for their people.

    (More …)
     
  • hardie karges 5:07 am on March 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , politics,   

    Making Do in Trumplandia: Religion and Politics… 

    Build bridges not walls, trust not fear, paths without obstacles, hope not despair. And that’s usually seen as the job of politics, economics and policy decisions, creating a more just and better world, usually by creating more money, by creating constant growth, assuming that there are no limits, and planning accordingly, as if oil flows from the ground without end, as if resources are infinite, as if populations can multiply indefinitely with no repercussions. But it doesn’t always work out that way. The obstacles are many and the heroes are few. Sometimes there is simply nothing that you can do; or at least it seems that way. Then philosophy takes over from politics, and religion grows wings. We count our blessings, not our money, and expect nothing from others. Because when the world seems like a cruel place, sometimes the only thing we can do is to change our relation to it; expect less and appreciate more. My neo-Buddhist attitude is pretty simple: If you can’t change the world, then change the narrative…

     
  • hardie karges 4:10 am on January 13, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , ICE, , , , , politics,   

    Buddhism and Donald Trump, Criminal Intent and Modern Justice 

    img_2116Intent is the elephant in the courtroom of modern justice, beyond forensics and beyond genetics, the need to know what someone was thinking and why they thought it, at such-and-such a time and such-and-such a place. But isn’t this a system doomed to failure? And is it really necessary? Only we European-derived Westerners could invent a term like schadenfreude, delight in the misfortune of others, not so much the passive enjoyment of something such so strange, but that we do it so often that we have a name for it…

    But that is indeed the case, that we are so obsessed with our feelings that our whole system of justice is based upon it, such that if someone is supposedly repentant, then that counts in his favor, whereas without it he is doomed to longer incarceration, as if we could really know the difference, so to make ourselves feel good we reward the best actors, and maybe the most honest are doomed to perdition… (More …)

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

    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 6:36 am on September 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , politics, , , ,   

    Buddhist Dilemma: Is Inner Peace Possible in the Era of Donald Trump? 

    img_1572

    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

    Americans are frightened. People are scared. They read about things like this in books, but never dreamed that they would have to live through it: the American Civil War, the French Revolution, the Boxer Rebellion, The War of Spanish succession, Genghis Khan, the Persian Wars, Adolf Hitler, the Aryan invasion, Rape of Nanking, 100 years War, Josef Stalin, the American Genocide, the Mexican War, Chaco War, World War I, Opium Wars, Crimean War, Vietnam, wars of the world and genocides in general…

    But the American civil war was not really a civil war, as many historians have pointed out, but rather a War between the states, with many unwilling participants on each side of arbitrary lines. What is happening now is the true civil war, an internal conflict not only within societies, but within people’s own minds, as to what is right and what is fair, what is appropriate, and whether there will be violence, whether there will be casualties, and whether there will even be any affordable healthcare to mitigate the circumstances… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 9:41 am on September 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      A timely and thought-provoking piece. Our small world is impossible to escape, nor should we try. The middle path becomes a touchstone. Thanks for posting, Hardie.

  • hardie karges 4:04 pm on March 4, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , millennials, politics   

    #Buddhism and #Politics, in Defense of post-Millennials: 

    img_1987Yes, this is a dimension of suffering, more than the sum of your life, more than the breadth of this world, an entire dimension, or two, length width depth time and biology chemistry physics, at the very least, all conspiring to keep you within limits, physical limits, by a margin of maybe 51 to 49, you’re doomed, to a life sentence, paragraph, chapter and verse, complete with death, guaranteed, and there’s not much you can do about that, no matter what some sweet-talking New Age guru with his most articulate drugstore Buddhism tells you…

    And then there are the joys, too, to be fair, to be honest, the joys of family, and communion, and art and culture and sex and first love, but still there will be last rites, and that is the point, and the Buddha knew that, fully and well, he not some party-pooper intent on spoiling the fun, just quite aware that for every count of fun there would be two of misery, in some cause-effect relationship, you can plot it on a graph, and call it the Four Aryan Truths, if you want, to be mitigated by the Eight-Part Path (please do not fold), which will not solve all your problems, but it’s a good place to start… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:18 pm on June 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Brexit, , Lexit, politics, UK   

    Brexit Through the Gift Shop, Lexit thru the Green Lane (‘Nothing to Declare’)… 

    The Union Flag: a red cross over combined red and white saltires, all with white borders, over a dark blue background.“Bernie Sanders on Brexit: The World Economy is not Working for Everybody” (minor HuffPo headline from the day after the Brexit vote). Get it? Got it. Bernie is a ‘Leaver’, albeit for different reasons than Boris and Nigel; or at least he’s not a clear-cut ‘Remainer’, not even as much as Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, who held his nose and shut his samosa-slot, and meekly supported the ‘Remain’ bloc, only after forty years of protesting the EU and only after his own rise to power. Damn by feint (!) praise, perhaps?

    Yes, there was also a leftist ‘Lexit’ (‘Left Leave’) vote, with the same goal as Brexit, just another reason and another season for getting there. This is the difference between Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, and ultimately the reason I couldn’t support Bernie, even though his ideals are closer to mine than Hillary’s. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:23 pm on June 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , politics,   

    Religion, Linguistics and Politics: the Muslim Problem is an Aryan Problem… 

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    The ugliest church in the world: Kabul, Afghanistan

    When you think of Islam, you generally think of the Mideast, and all things Arab.  Yet more than half of the total Muslim population lies to the east of the Shatt al-Arab, the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, and that line that separates Iraq from Iran, Arab from Aryan, them from us.  Huh?  Aryan?  Us? What gives?

    Yes it’s probably no accident that the most problematic of Muslims are our own not-so-distant relatives.  You’ve heard of the Beverly Hillbillies, right?  But what about the Kandahar Killbillies?  Yes, it’s true: one of the peskiest terrorist problems in the world comes from our own relatives from the same original ‘hood out back on the steppes, on a different stairway to a different Heaven, even if exactly the same Semitic god… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 9:20 am on June 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The opposite to labelling and stereotyping … pro-evolutionary, you might say, showing how language is a wordhoard that art can use to reconstruct old ways of looking.

      • hardie karges 9:25 am on June 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        According to prominent micro-biologist, language and DNA function almost exactly the same, in terms of evolution: “no reason why they should, but they do…”

  • hardie karges 11:12 am on June 5, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , politics,   

    Religion 201: Lessons in Humility, Messages for Humanity… 

    Christian God

    Christian God

    “Man is the measure of all things.”  Protagoras (c.490-420 BCE) is the author of that statement, and—with all due respect—I’d say that’s the beginning of the end of us humans as spiritual animals, and the mark of our ascension to the status of corrupt malignant city-dwellers, masters of our own private little domains and little else.  On the one hand, it is a statement of the relativity of all perceptions—okay.  On the other hand, it is a statement of our ignorance and arrogance—ouch!

    We imagine that we are masters of the universe, creators of the cosmos, and lords of the lower two hundred—countries in the world, that is. This is nothing but human hubris, of course, and nothing could be further from the truth.  We live at the mercy of our machines, possessed by our possessions, in the thrall of our inventions and our inventiveness, in love with ourselves and our selfishness, enraptured by our images and our imaginations.  We wallow in our memories and our comforts and our conveniences.

    We Westerners admire ourselves, our successes, our ambitions, our madness, without even questioning the whys and wherefores of it.  We climb naked rock faces, while smiling all the time, oblivious to the danger, addicted to the climb, always looking for a faster computer and a more easily programmable car, pushing envelopes and shuffling papers, rejecting our traditions and annoying our neighbors.  Ego rules! Nobody wants to be the follower, everybody wants to be the Alpha male, while ending up the Alpha a$$hole. (More …)

     
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