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  • hardie karges 11:18 am on August 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , birth, , , , rebirth,   

    Buddhism and Nature: the Law of Birth… 

    Nature is ธรรมชาติ, ‘dhammachaht,’ dharma jati, the dharma of birth, not the law of rebirth, in at least a few Asian languages, and likely a few more. And that is probably as good a definition of it as I could come up with, notwithstanding the fact that such a ‘birth’ does indeed become for many a ’round’ of which there are many, and which can neither be proven or disproven, ultimately, but for which there is no intrinsic logic, nor empirical evidence…

    But when we Westerners think of Nature, what do we think of, if not something wild and free, and so a tight fit into our narrative of liberty, and the delightful disobedience which that implies, for we love nothing so much as breaking the rules, ALL the rules, if not all the time, then at least as often as we can get away with it…

    But does Nature do that? Not hardly, I don’t think, and the typical Asian view, by invoking ‘dharma,’ is certainly likening it to a law, and therefore something which we disobey only at great risk to ourselves. But that doesn’t mean that Nature is something written in stone, or on crinkled crackling paper, and the ink stains that have dried upon some lines…

    No, nature is something changing, even if the laws invoked may indeed be unchanging—or not. Thus the first rule of DNA—sh*t happens, i.e. mutations occur, and that becomes the raw material for evolution. Now the central dogma of the science of genetics is that these mutations are random, which may or may not be true, but there is much anecdotal evidence that there may indeed be more to it than that, but for which firm and verifiable evidence is heretofore lacking…

    And that doesn’t even consider the fact of so-called ‘genetic drift,’ which no one can or will deny, but only damn by the faint praise of its ‘driftiness,’ thus removing it from any consideration as something maybe far more serious in terms of cause and/or effect…

    All of which is to say that the role of consciousness in evolution cannot be ruled out, even if some commentaries may have jumped the gun in ascribing to it more than its genuine worth, i.e. “consciousness affects evolution; evolution affects consciousness…”

    But this does nothing to minimize the miracle of birth, regardless, which is certainly not random, even if the product of the most random and brutal orgy, which is fortunately not usually the case, even if the Latin-inspired ‘romance’ may indeed often be lacking on cold dark nights in tight cramped corners….

    But Buddhism is more concerned with the suffering implicit, and it is certainly a fact that death is implied in the ‘law of birth’ and that is the proof of the prevalence of suffering, if only by a 51-49% advantage in the scores and statistics. For the world may be defined by its limits and its suffering, but there is much beauty, also, in Nature and Art, and the consciousness of it…

     
  • hardie karges 11:48 am on July 19, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Koran, rebirth,   

    Rapping on Rebirth and Reincarnation, in the Failed State of a Rental Car Nation… 

    The best rebirth is the one that occurs every day. That’s the one that comes right after the Koranic ‘little death’ that occurs each night, and right before the large plate of bangers, beans, and mash with which we submit to break our fast…

    And that little baptism indeed feels better than mere goodliness, a splash in the face, and a new start to the race, and no shame short of crying that we have to go and spoil it all by a mad dash to some sh*t-stained place of work, four corners and a stool from which to count more beans and pretend that this is what drives our evolution…

    Language loses all logic in transmission and translation, so what we strive for becomes strife, and the passion we suffer becomes the passion we love, and we fool ourselves into thinking that it’s all from above, when in reality we struggle to make sense of the simplest things—life, love and the happiness of pursuit, in the face of disease, pestilence, and a plenitude of nemeses…

    So let’s call it the ‘little rebirth’ so as not to confuse it with the big ‘R’ of karmic retribution, and reincarnation, jumping generations and landing on layered platforms, slathered thick with that special sauce of multiple feedback loops, such that we can never escape the prison of consciousness, creating enough past lives to fill volumes of pre-history, such that bad karma apparently extends before the birth of the human race, by conservative estimate…

    But can we be blamed for something that predates the birth of consciousness and so intent, by extension? I hope not, since intent is the basis of all guilty verdicts, and if there is no veridiction to the sentences that we are dealt, then it’s probably better to simply say nothing at all…

    The Buddha’s 100,000 lives, more or less, would extend back at least three million years, more or less, probably more if indeed good lives those of his certainly would be, so probably better to simply write it off as metaphor, and get on with our own lives…

    For we waste time in counting, and more precious time in the combat of exposition, stipulating silly syllogisms for the sake of argument, when the only recourse to recognition is through those labyrinthine passageways of the heart…

    Logic falls flat. Reason lies bleeding. Slide rules are antiquated and calculators require batteries, not always included. There is no path forward when the pathway is circular, and no convenient exit when the doors are all closed. Dharma requires no dogma. Dialog requires no debate…

     
  • hardie karges 11:46 am on February 23, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , rebirth,   

    Mixing Buddhism and Christianity to find a Middle Path that is free and equal… 

    To see the goodness in everyone sometimes requires special eyeglasses and extra effort, but that is the task to which we must put ourselves, because it is central to our thesis that life is worth living and no one is cast off, no matter how deep the suffering or how egregious the past, that one can be reformed, and forgiven, and can start all over with a clean slate, and no misgivings, and a future fresh and untrammeled, without the dirty footprints of yesterday defining a crooked mile, that goes nowhere, and is only fated to return. And in this sense Christianity may have a vast advantage over some sects of Buddhism that insist that we must relive our lives over and over with only small hope of actually making the quantum leap to a higher ‘type of person’, hopefully human (and male), lighter skin the better, in this last-ditch lottery of human salvation, when theoretically there is nothing really there to be saved anyway, in Buddhism, so why bother? Because people want magic and fantasy and the supernatural presence of divine intervention in their little lives, rather than slug it out in the coal mines and canary cages of the material world, with little hope of improvement, that’s why. Supposedly. Because we all know that many of the most knowledgeable people really believe none of that reincarnation nonsense, anyway, but know that it’ll put the fear of Mara and Mount Meru in the average village person, such that he’ll be much more obedient, and ultimately better off in this life of few rewards, and even fewer gains, in the quantum leap upward to a better ‘type of person’. Because this is central to the Hindu Brahmanic thesis, that there are different ‘types of persons’, most specifically those genetically shuffled Brahmins on top of a rapidly descending ladder to the bottom level, of those who must toil and trouble in the bubbling vats of sacred colors, ready to adorn the fashioned features of the fated few, while the vast unwashed steady the ladder that suppresses them. But for many the need for absolute certainty is preferable to the remote possibilities for hypothetical advancement, so acceptable in a belated sort of way. And that’s okay, if that’s what you want, but it doesn’t have to be that way, whether you’re Christian or Buddhist or Hindu or Jew, because you can mix and match philosophies however you want, regardless of what anyone says, as long as you’re honest about it, and true to your own heart and mind, however changing and impermanent. Because ‘skillful means’ can select its topics, and its targets, but not its truths, so I may preach limits to Americans and freedom to Asians, with no contradiction in the least, because there is a sweet spot in the middle that is not only logically inferred, but existentially real. Everyone has equal value. All sentient beings have equal worth. This is no accident of fate or karma, color or birth…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 5:32 pm on February 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Some healthy cross-fertilisation, with us as the bee … makes perfect sense to me! A little green awareness thrown into the mix …

      • hardie karges 5:35 pm on February 24, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, Dave. If a free-associative piece somehow manages to attain perfect sense, then that is words choosing their own proper course instinctively, I suppose…

        • Dave Kingsbury 3:08 am on February 25, 2020 Permalink

          Absolutely agree, Hardie, rather like a stream finding its way – I’ve resolved to explore similar, er, territory in my own writing.

  • hardie karges 9:38 am on January 29, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , rebirth   

    MODERN BUDDHISM 2020: One Life, One world (พุทธศาสนารักวิทยาศาสตร์) 

    This is to announce the formation of a new Facebook group, under my moderation. The main inspiration for this group is to explore the possibilities for a Buddhism without rebirth or reincarnation, past lives, and the generation-jumping karma of retribution. For me that it is the elephant in the room of Buddhism, which nobody really seems to want to talk about (or maybe they do, but it gets contentious, so goes nowhere). ‘Secular’ Buddhists don’t talk about it, and ‘Western’ Buddhists don’t talk about it. So what makes them secular; what makes them Western? Beats me. Stephen Batchelor certainly talked about it in his book ‘Buddhism Without Beliefs’, though he skillfully left any conclusions open for discussion. And that’s the way it should be, really, a cozy middle path between ancient beliefs and modern, with plenty of wiggle room for everyone to feel comfortable, without confrontation, as orientations modernize at their own pace. There’s only one problem: the ‘re-birthers’ are doubling down. They’re writing books about the ‘case for rebirth’ and postulating ‘multiple feedback loops’ of karma.

    So it needs to be discussed, defined, and decided, at least individually, because with unscientific beliefs Buddhism relegates itself to the status of a superstitious faith-based religion, rather than an empirical science-based philosophy and psychology. As the name of this group implies, this is the only life and the only world that I know, so I don’t want to speculate too much on any other. Thus, for me at least, scientific method is the best way to know the external world, subject to ongoing revision, and Buddhist insight is the best way to live my life, certain and inviolable, if forever evolving. They are two separate aspects of my reality: internal and external. This is my preference, since neither rebirth, past lives, nor karma can be proven any more than the Christian Heaven, Hell, or God, which the current Pope freely admitted. When will a Buddhist senior monk admit the same? If your feelings are similar, then you are welcome here, to post, comment, or just hang out. If you are just curious, feel free to participate politely. If you are contrary, please be careful and don’t step on anyone else’s feelings.

    C U there:https://www.facebook.com/groups/196544654825092/

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 3:34 pm on January 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      sounds a worthwhile project will investigate and perhaps see you there excuse lower case arm in sling

      • hardie karges 3:36 pm on January 31, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        You’re in, brother. Let’s hang out. (But take care of that arm)…

  • hardie karges 6:41 am on August 12, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , rebirth, , ,   

    Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam 101: Religion on the Rebound, Religion on the Run… 

    img_1893All three major international religions have carried their original premises to ridiculous extremes, along with their adherents, whether cause or effect, those original premises all quite similar, and compatible, variations on the themes of love, righteousness, and perseverance, each with a different focus, Christianity on the love, Islam on the righteousness, and Buddhism on the perseverance…

    And from these humble commendable compatible and civilizing influences, each has gone their own ways, Islam to the extremes of religious fundamentalism, holy wars and unholy alliances; Christianity drenched in sex, drugs, and all that rap; and Buddhist perseverance easily given over to passivity, even in the face of the most egregious assaults on basic human rights, individuals reduced to fit in cages, self-imposed prisons of consciousness… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 3:32 pm on July 1, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Agonistes, , , fashion, , Ginza, Giza, John Milton, rebirth, , Samson, superman   

    Eyeless in Ginza, Superman Agonistes… 

    IMG_0258Would that this were but the latest manifestation of many cycles of rebirth, each if only slightly better than the last, so that I could know that things were improving, if only gradually, if only incrementally, but in the right direction, something to indicate the ascent of man, not the descent, and maybe more in the manner of smiling Teilhard than grumpy Darwin, for then I could take solace in that fact and be happy…

    But I can see nothing of the sort, I limited to these eyes, and this life, in this world, the only one I know, though there may be others out there somewhere, but I know them not. I only know that this is not the pure land of prophecy, we sentenced here to gravity, and suffering, because the pure land of prophecy is surely one of the purest white light, these spectral colors of the most seductive hues begging me to come down to their world of solidity, to get down and dirty with sounds, phenomena, percussion and repercussions… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 3:32 pm on July 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      This seeks to burst the limitations with a very effective experimental edge, Hardie. At the same time, down to earth …

    • hardie karges 4:52 am on July 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Thanx for the vote of confidence, Dave. Experiment is risky but necessary, for me at least, to clear out the cobwebs that clog consciousness. Sometimes I feel I’ve sacrificed my life to it, though, not sure if it’s for better or worse, haha…

  • hardie karges 8:21 am on May 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , kilesa, , , rebirth, samma sankappa, , , transmigration   

    Buddhist Mindfulness as Mindlessness? Wait a minute… 

    IMG_0959Okay, so I admit it: I’m going through a crisis of confidence with my newfound love of Buddhism, and all that entails. The devil is in the details, of course, as even the ever-tricky Buddha himself well knew, just like Jesus after him, that you pick and choose what to tell the initiates and laypeople at any one time, subject to their capacity to comprehend, assimilate, or even fathom, concepts which may just be a bit difficult to swallow at first, or maybe forever…

    Compounded by the fact that the Buddha himself was just a bloke, not a God, nor even his son, and so not omniscient, and subject to the limitations thereof, to most of which he himself spoke, the profound limits which define our existence on this blue-green orb of light color and sound which we call earth, the world, home, samsara, all we’ve got, except what we can make for ourselves, given time, energy, and the raw materials to work with, including consciousness… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:45 am on May 6, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , rebirth, system, Triple Gem   

    Update on the Buddhist Update: Hard work… 

    img_1935

    Now the last thing I expected when I ‘finally got serious about Buddhism’ a few years ago was that there were people still decidedly attached to the three-in-one concept of rebirth-past lives-retributive karma, to the extent that without it Buddhism was simply not functional, and would never survive. Others of us, on the other hand, think that WITH it it’s simply not functional and will never survive…

    But Buddhism is just like any other religion derived from the remote past, bedraggled with the baggage of preceding generations, and left to fend for itself against the challenges of the future. So many self-described atheists would simply prefer to call the whole thing off, while at the same time affirming their own belief systems—whether secular humanism, democracy, socialism, but mostly materialism—without seeing the slightest bit of irony, even if they prefer to ignore the logical inconsistencies… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:16 am on April 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , rebirth, Rinzai, , , , ,   

    Buddhism is all about love—sweet dispassionate love… 

    img_1111It has long been predicted that Buddhism’s future is in the West, and for better or worse, that may very well be true. So the question then becomes: what kind of Buddhism would that be? For purposes of dialog and dialectic, I see the two chief protagonists to be the Thai Forest Tradition and Zen, both of which have numerous and faithful adherents in the West, and both of which can claim some purity of faith and doctrine…

    Tibetan Buddhism I imagine has as many or more adherents as either of the above, but is already mixed-and-mashed to the max, so the purity of doctrine is just not there, for better or worse, not to mention modern sex scandals, a dubious devotion to physical reincarnation, and a generation-jumping karma of retribution that just won’t quit. This was the final chapter to a previous crossroads, in Asia, and what worked there, and then, will not likely work here, and now… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:05 am on March 25, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , caste system, , , , , molecular biology, , , rebirth,   

    Buddhism, Rebirth and DNA… 

    img_1773The year 1953 should have been a big one for Buddhism. Something to do with Tibet, you’re probably thinking? No, something to do with the discovery of DNA, I’m thinking, because that meant that we Buddhists would no longer have to twist ourselves into human pretzels and insert our heads halfway up our… meditation postures…

    …just to Ptolemy-like add another feedback loop of ellipses and eclipses to somehow justify and make sense of rebirth, reincarnation in sheep’s clothing, rather than just toss the whole thing out as an outdated vestige of a previous era, in which learning was nascent and science non-existent… (More …)

     
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