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  • hardie karges 12:12 pm on October 11, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Aramaic, , Brahmi, , Devanagari, Dorian, Kharosthi, , racism, rishis, Spartan, sramanas   

    Buddhism, Racism, and the Middle Path of History… 

    The purpose of knowledge is to ease suffering, not to lord it over others. When knowledge becomes a tool, then we have a problem that we need to deal with. And we do—have a problem that we need to deal with. You can call it racism, or nationalism, or simply false pride, but there it is, the fact that some people think that they are better than others, and intend to enforce that distinction, while providing sometimes elaborate proofs for its justification.

    More often than not, though, the self-described cognoscenti think they can simply look at someone and deep secrets are somehow revealed, as a flight hostess once explained to me that they are taught to simply look at someone and know what language they speak. Must be nice. But it’s not. It’s cheating, cheating life, and cheating oneself.

    I wondered for a long time, still do, why the Brahmin class of India refused to use written language, long long long, 1000 years, after their counterparts elsewhere were scribbling, scribing, and describing events in the Semitic alphabets that would become the world standard everywhere, except China, Korea, and related countries.

    Meanwhile those Aryans-become-Brahmins only reluctantly acquiesced to allow their divine sacred Sanskrit to be submitted to the little graphs and symbols that constitute written language. They gave many rishis and sramanas their lay-off notices, too, since their services would no longer be required to painstakingly memorize the sacred Vedas, arguably one of the finest pieces of literature ever composed—composed, mind you, but not written.

    That only occurred with the invention of the Devanagari alphabet in the first half of the first millennium CE, and in full use by the 7th century. Until then they had to make do with the rustic Brahmi alphabet, which only came into existence in the last half of the first millennium BCE. By then the Buddhist monkhood was well established, and not subject to the vicissitudes of language.

    King Ashoka at around year 250 BCE used not only Brahmi and Kharosthi, modeled on Aramaic, but Greek and Aramaic itself to inscribe his famous inscriptions—in rock. Still the question remains: why the 1000-year wait? The clue finally came with the example of their long-lost cousins and like-minded Dorians of ancient Greece.

    In the process of becoming the legendary hard-ass Spartans of history, they enslaved many a Minoan along the way, and—drum roll here, please—deliberately denied them education, much like the even-more-distant Mississippi rednecks did to their slaves (author’s note: I’m from Mississippi, but hopefully not redneck). Bingo! It all makes sense now.

    The Brahmin-dominated caste system of Indian depends on holding their ‘lessers’ down (notably darker-skinned and of other origins, well-documented by y-DNA), by denying them the education which preserves Brahmin power. Buddhism rejected all that, though they were still long subject to its ramifications. Despite the current political turmoil, still life is better than it once was, and the message is clear. You can learn from the Buddha or you can learn from a virus. The message is largely the same: Do no harm…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 12:09 pm on October 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting history here! Knowledge is power, they say, which must be why the priest-caste lay claim to exclusive possession of it. Any good teacher knows, however, that guiding learners to seeing something for (and within) themselves is the correct way.

    • hardie karges 1:13 pm on October 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, well put. Thanks for your comments…

  • hardie karges 6:33 am on September 22, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Mitochondrial Eve, racism, Shakespeare, , Y-DNA Adam   

    The Rest is Silence… 

    There are no evil people, by DNA, only babes badly bred, by society. And yet the slurs continue, from the highest levels of government, that we are endangered by those of lesser stuff and stature, made of mud and sh*t, all the color of dirt, and not the shiniest of shiny pure white incandescent lightness, we Europeans finely bred on white bread and potatoes, not to be confused with the lesser belly-gobs of noodles and rice and corn and millet from the sh*t-stained countries of Africa and Third-World elsewhere, notwithstanding the fact that we all trace our lineages to there, Africa, both male and female, to opposite sides of that continent, Adam and Eve, by DNA, too bad they never met, as they might’ve even liked each other, you never know, stranger things happen, that Mom and Dad actually get along, and it’ll come in handy, too, any friendship and good feeling to be found along the way, as we hobble handicapped and hampered to our next social challenge, how to deal with the ramifications of our own successes, such that we are now overwhelmed by the very things which sustain us and which were once so hard to find: ground provisions and year-round sustenance, healthy offspring and shelters from the cold, now too numerous to mention. And the words multiply exponential, only adding to the suffering, adding to the pain: opinions comments narratives predictions screams shouts expletives yada yada, still not enough when what we really need now is silence, blessed silence. That’s what Shakespeare said. That’s what the Buddha said…

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

    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 6:47 am on October 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , election, millennial, November 6, racism, , , vote   

    Open Letter to the American Voter 

    IMG_1068Dear American Voter: On Novermber 6, 2018, you will be making what just may be the most important vote of your life. For some of you, it may be the first vote of your life, and for that I say ‘Congratulations!’ But for others of you, in fact, it may just be the last vote of your life, given the penchant of one of our national political parties for erecting ever-increasing obstacles in your path to the voting booth…

    This is contrary to the spirit of democracy, of course, and contrary to the trend of increased voting access that defined our country for approximately fifty years, starting in the civil rights era, which brought so many new people into the national life of our country. “But voting is so old-fashioned!” you say. True…

    By all rights we should each be able to vote on-line with a government-supplied identification code, with no other obstacle than the need to have a digital device, or the means to get to one. But it doesn’t work that way, unfortunately, as one still has to show up in person, often wait in line, and then hopefully have a choice worth making. I even had to show proof of my address last time in Tucson, Arizona, only after making elaborate travel plans for the privilege… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 5:32 am on July 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , racism   

    Love Pictures Meditation Buddhism… 

    img_1935Falling in love is probably the closest we’ll ever get to magic in this life, that unexplainable attraction, the eyes the mouth the hair the touch the smell, irreducible to rationality, or math, or the silly logic of syllogisms, so this is reason enough to be suspicious already, correct? BUT—this is the goldfield that Christianity tries to mine—the swoon and the swearing and the general lack of sobriety, and stopping just short of climax, over and over, the better to forestall final payment, in order to accrue interest…

    We Westerners are love junkies, but almost any emotion will do, the crazier the better, any reason or rationality thoroughly rejected from the outset as antithetical to the mood. But I don’t think it’s any accident that it’s mostly the West that is in love with love, as this is the air we breathe, the pheromones and the physicality, the sexiness and the six-packs, whether abs or IPA, any drug will do. And that’s fine, if that’s what you want, as long as you consider all your options, as long as you are free to make an informed decision, BUT… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:11 am on April 8, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , lila, racism,   

    Buddhist Communion in the Land of Big People… 

    IMG_1588The loneliness of travel should be crushing sometimes, but it’s not, not really, and I seem to attract it, by design, as if to do otherwise would mean I’m lazy, and corrupt, too weary in my old age to do the right thing, stay true to my principles, those principles of non-possession, non-attachment and non-consumption…

    Because even though there are no shortage of roadside attractions out there, pubs and clubs and the bestos of restos, that’s not where you’re likely to find me, out hooting and hollering until the sun comes up, as if that were the natural order of the universe, and not its opposite… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 10:36 am on March 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Nixon, , racism, ,   

    You think 2016 is violent? This is nothing. The peace-loving 60’s were violent… 

    me @Jorge'sThe 60’s took ‘it’ to the streets.  We were young; we were hip.  We knew more than ‘they’ did.  ‘They’ were over-30, therefore suspect of collusion with ‘the man’, ‘pigs’, ‘whitey’, Nixon.  That’s the name that came to be associated with the forces of repression more than any other.  He just looked the part.  The ‘movement’ had its anti-Christ.  It all started innocently enough in the early 60’s with racial integration and affluence.  Here was the strongest country in the world, lecturing the rest of the world on the evils of repressive Communism and Socialism, maintaining a system of apartheid that contradicted its own stated goals and ideals.  This was a country once the symbol of freedom in the world, bathed in the fire of revolution, playing FTSE with some of the most repressive regimes the world has ever seen, i.e. Mississippi, Alabama, Arkansas, etc.  The symbolism was not to be lost on everyone, certainly not on New York ‘beatniks’ and intellectuals inspired by folk music and high on the ideal of equality.  The US was affluent now; there was money to spare, and therefore money to share.

    JFK was like Mao lighting the fire, inspiring scads of Red Guard freedom rider intellectuals to go down South and show those rednecks what democracy was all about.  Notwithstanding the hypocrisy of northern milk-fed liberals pretending to teach a lesson to their lessers after the New York Draft riots of 1863 and race riots in many Northern cities in the years during and following WWI, still surely the time had come for a change.  Well, give them an inch and they’ll take a mile, of course.  No sooner had the Voting Rights Act been passed in 1965 than the situation got worse than ever, and the word ‘riot’ entered the common vernacular.  But something even bigger was brewing.  A little insignificant country in Southeast Asia was airing its dirty laundry in public and causing a lot of upset nerves to the rest of the world in the process.  Vietnam will do that to you. Cảm ơn bạn. Không có gì.

     (to be continued)

     

     
    • davekingsbury 7:40 am on March 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Timely reminder … you guys had the draft, which must have made things more intense … but so many social advances came out of that era.

  • hardie karges 5:56 pm on April 13, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , populations, racism   

    Races to the Finish 

    Racism begins at home, in the bed and in the head. We Gringos talk about 1.2 billion Chinese as if the very jaundice in our eyes were the direct result of some insidious ‘yellow peril’ virus seeking us out to invade and infect, DNA in a bio-degradable condom, a Trojan horse time-released to explode once inside, douching us with yellow rain, slanted eyes and a distinct preference for rice and noodles in slurpy broth. I assure you they’re much more justified in worrying about the 1.2 billion Gringos who dominate half the world’s landmass surrounding them. Figure India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Nepal as a racial unit and you’ve got another 1.2 billion Indians right there. All races are in a dead heat, and the world shows approximately the same power distribution that it has for the past two thousand years, except for the Middle East. Religion comes in where race leaves off. Islam gets its billion by crossing more borders and impacting more lives than a capitalist Free Trade Agreement, oil being the secret weapon to grease the wheels of commerce, jihad being the dagger that forces the intransigent into submission. Ideology died with Communism, and religion as a unifying force in the third millennium is a long shot at best. It remains to be seen whether everyone can share equally in a market-driven world, and anyway, nobody’s going to wave a flag for capitalism. It’s strictly trickle-down theory, intravenous drip, better than nothing. Still, it works, if slowly, and almost anything is better than racism. The best way to end racism, of course, is to end race and blend the races. It can be fun, too, the cosmic blender. Just imagine: tropical blends, single-country blends, “John and Yoko’s”, café latte’ slurpees, trail blends and rocky roads. The expanding universe is now contracting, equal opportunity employment. Create the world in another’s image and likeness for a change.

     
  • hardie karges 3:10 am on January 17, 2008 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , racism,   

    Vietnam 

    Vietnam is the girdle holding in China’s pregnant belly, hanging out over the ocean, threatening to dump billions more upon us, DNA in a raincoat and rubbers and carrying a suitcase filled with samples of trinkets and useless gadgets. China is the most conservative country in the world, convinced of its superiority, entrenched in its own mythology. They rule from inside, allegiance to the past, allegiance to the memories, racist ideology in the guise of ancestor worship. There’s the Middle Kingdom and then there’s everything else. Asia is the most racist region in the world and it all started in the Middle, part of the face-saving mentality in which every human interaction assumes an upper-lower relationship, a caste system of the soul. Japan’s superiority complex is legendary, but Thailand is certainly no different. All these cultures share Chinese cultural roots. You could probably measure a country’s racism by the number of slang words it contains for persons of other races, but that might leave out Vietnam. Maybe that’s because Vietnam’s persecution complex masks its superiority complex. It’s certainly not exempt from racism. When the Vietnamese teenager up in Sapa winked at me and proceeded to run his motorbike up against a group of hill-tribe ladies I was hanging and chatting with, I felt the anger rise up through the ground and take my fists and start wailing on the poor guy oblivious. I still can’t believe he expected to impress me by being an asshole, like Kris Kristofferson in Lone Star winking in flashback before proceeding to shoot his poor victim, the event forestalled only because he himself was shot and killed instead. Fortunately the Viet guy’s engine was already running so he was able to get away with only minor damage to his ego.

     
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