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  • hardie karges 2:31 pm on October 23, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , samadhi, ,   

    Buddhism and McMindfulness… 

    There is nothing mystical about meditation. It is a practical and helpful tool for self-improvement. It gets the woo-woo treatment big time, though, from the wannabe pandits and acharyas matching it up with ‘mindfulness’ and ‘lovingkindness’ for the big Buddhist-Christian one-two punch guaranteed to put McMindfulness in your sacred space and muesli in you breakfast nook. Did someone mention the New Age and/or Wellness communities?

    Because that’s what Buddhism is, of course, to the average American and/or Western European, one of a dozen or two systems (dare I say ‘disciplines?) on tap to inspire you to the next level of awareness, sati, which is precisely the same word so often translated as ‘mindfulness’ for its salutary effect on the brain’s language centers. And at the same time, it also guarantees a course to be taught somewhere in the cool part of town, thereby guaranteeing the acceptance and continuance of such a tradition regardless of its intrinsic connection to Buddhism—or not.

    Because, in the debate over just how much of Buddhism can be downloaded to the surrounding community without concern over cultural appropriation or misappropriation of intent and purpose, meditation is the one thing that definitely CAN be offloaded for the layman’s typical—even commercial—applications. Like yoga for Hindus, meditation is the one aspect of Buddhism which is truly universal, and which does NOT require a secret handshake. You simply follow certain techniques for certain effects.

    The names can be confusing and causes and effects can be conflated and even reversed, such that one technique is called by its desired effect, but the techniques are generally similar, just sit down, STFU, and concentrate—on not much, either some one thing internally or the whole broad spectrum externally. Some techniques uses mantras, as made famous by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s Transcendental Meditation™ (pun intended), but many Theravada Buddhists simply repeat the name “Buddho, Buddho, Buddho.”

    As Carlos Castaneda’s Don Juan character often said: “Stop the internal dialogue.” When that happens, then you have returned to proto-consciousness and thereby recover something which you had lost with language, sati and samadhi, awareness and concentration (one-pointedness). In the process, then, you will hopefully receive samatha, calmness, or vipassana, insight, but the technique is similar. What you do with it is up to you. Being nice to people is always a good place to start.

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    • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ 4:42 pm on November 5, 2022 Permalink | Reply

      Dear Hardie Karges,

      Your post entitled “Buddhism and McMindfulness…” is very enjoyable to read and definitely timely and topical. Thank you very much. I concur with you about the issues regarding McDonaldization and appropriation.

      I would like to inform you that one of my latest posts can be of considerable interest to you, for I have distilled a great deal of observations and conclusions along similar themes. It concerns being present in the moment with awareness and (engaged) mindfulness. This highly engaging and expansive post is entitled “🔄📈📉 Change Rules and Moment Matters: How to Stay in the Moment 🔖🕰️🔂“, published at

      https://soundeagle.wordpress.com/2022/08/19/change-rules-and-moment-matters-how-to-stay-in-the-moment/

      The said post opens with this paragraph:

      A spiritual outlook with a minimalist perspective on life that is conducive to happiness is often predicated on living in the present moment through mindful awareness emancipated from the vagaries of the subconscious and the itinerants of the mind.

      This post discusses mindfulness, meditation, spirituality, religion, Nature and so on. I welcome your input since I am curious to know what you make of my said post as well as your perspectives on those matters discussed in my post. I look forward to savouring your feedback there!

      There are many quotations distributed throughout the post. The quotees include Buddha, Thích Nhất Hạnh, Jon Kabat-Zinn, Werner Hans Erhard, Jack Kornfield and Elizabeth Thornton.

      Thank you once again for your pertinent and cogently written post.

      Wishing you a mindful and suitably productive November doing or enjoying whatever that satisfies you the most, both intellectually and spiritually!

      Yours sincerely,
      SoundEagle

      • hardie karges 11:52 am on November 13, 2022 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks for your comments. Sorry to get back to you so slowly, but I’ve been traveling (and my laptop is dying). I’ll try to take a closer look at this now. Thanks!

        • SoundEagle 🦅ೋღஜஇ 4:23 pm on November 13, 2022 Permalink

          Dear Hardie Karges,

          You are welcome. The 13th of November is World Kindness Day! Wishing you a productive November and a wonderful week doing or enjoying whatever that satisfies you the most, whether intellectually, artistically, physically, spiritually or emotionally!

          I look forward to your submitting a comment to my said post as a token of your visit.

          Yours sincerely,
          SoundEagle

  • hardie karges 9:41 am on May 8, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: guided meditation, , , midfulness, monkey mind, samadhi,   

    Sati and Samadhi: Meditation and Mindfulness… 

    I’m not sure what mindfulness means. I only know that it is the opposite of mindlessness. But mindfulness is Buddhism’s stock in trade now, what with the advent of secular Buddhism and the rising popularity of meditation. In fact, the two words ‘mindfulness’ and ‘meditation’ are sometimes considered synonyms, or, at the very least, ‘mindfulness’ is considered to be a form of meditation. But ‘mindfulness’ is first and foremost a translation of the Pali/Sanskrit word sati, and that word simply meant ‘awareness’ or ‘consciousness,’ both with small letters ‘a’ and ‘c.’

    But if it’s the magic that sells the meditation, with promises of bliss and enlightenment, then you better slather your slab with some of that special sauce that makes all the difference between silent aware no-thought breathing and the ‘guided meditation’ of socialites and celebs with scripted narratives and six-pack abs. And if that sounds like Mc Mindfulness, then so be it, whatever gets your butt on the cushion and out of the bars and pubs, because that is the most important thing, to help quiet your mind from all the distractions and internal chatter that constitute ‘monkey mind,’ haha, the dreaded curse of modern man.

    Now, I personally prefer silent meditation, but that doesn’t mean that I think that guided meditation has no value, I just think that true meditation is silent. After all, isn’t the cessation of thought one of the goals of meditation, at least temporary, in some sort of mental ‘re-boot?’ Yes, that is the most important goal, but some people have problems with that, so the incremental approach might be better. Because language is possibly the most important invention ever created, but it doesn’t come without a cost. Can you imagine going back to computers with no language? You get the idea. Now get the cure.

     
  • hardie karges 10:21 am on October 31, 2021 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , samadhi,   

    Buddhist Dana is like Karma, and Anatta: just get over yourself… 

    It’s not generosity, dana, if you expect something in return. That’s business, an investment, a transaction. Dana is selfless, and so closely related to the Buddhist principle of anatta, non-self. This is crucial to a proper understanding of Buddhism, and love, too. For in early Buddhism the only kind of love is metta, friendship, brotherly love, and sisterly, too, or lovingkindness, if you insist on that repurposed Christian term from the Hebrew chesed. That’s too emotional for me. Buddhism is passionless, by design. American photography classes will teach you to point and click at the peak emotion. Buddhism doesn’t do that. Buddhism teaches a different way, the Middle Path, between luxury and lack, to be sure, but also passion and dispassion.

    And there is no call to action, not really, hence all the rishis whiling away their hours in caves and under trees, for the last three thousand some-odd (some very odd!) years. But if you want to do something, then do something good. And giving is one of the best things that you can do, pretty much encompassing almost all the folds of the Noble (Aryan) Eightfold Path. Dana is no more about huge outlays of cash, though, than it is about getting something in return. It is about Right Intention. Because none of us can predict how the future will unfold. All we know is the past, and what we live is the present, the most important of all.

    So, if the Eightfold Path comprises Right Understanding, Thought, Speech, Action, Livelihood, Effort, Mindfulness, and Concentration, then all but those last two steps of sati and samadhi would certainly be included within the purview of dana, or generosity. But there’s no reason to think that those eight steps on the path are all-inclusive anyway. I’m sure we can think of some others equally important. But as every good blogger, Chinese politician, or early Buddhist Abhidharmist knows, lists are supremely convenient, especially when nothing was written to begin with. I see karma similarly, not simple cause and effect. That’s mechanical, like Newtonian physics. Karma is an overarching principle: do good and receive good. But that’s another story. Freely give and freely receive. That’s dana…

     
  • hardie karges 11:08 am on September 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Bhavana, Chan, , jhana, , samadhi, samatha, ,   

    Meditation and Mediation, Buddhism on the Half-Shell… 

    The best meditation requires no app. Only silence can solve the problems caused by language. Not that I don’t find ‘guided meditations’ interesting, I just don’t think that they are the best form of meditation.

    Not that there need be many forms of meditation in the first place, but that comes with the turf, the modern commercial turf, that just one more thing under the tree will get us through the next year with flying colors, the colors of Christmas and New Year in joy and celebration of what I am not sure, but it seems that abundance is the common theme, my cup running over and all that jazz, eternal life and all that rap.

    But is the ‘special insight’ of ‘vipassana’ really some sort of qualitative improvement over the ‘awareness of breathing’ in anapanasati? Is there really any difference between the ‘calm abiding’ of ‘samatha’ and the ‘concentration’ of ‘samadhi’?

    Self-described experts go on and on about the ‘four different kinds’ of meditation like bloggers slicing and dicing adverbs and artichokes for the special garnish to Sunday brunch, to be ladled over with the special sauce of ‘mindfulness.’

    Then there is the ‘mental development’ of bhavana holding lengthy sessions, while the ‘trance-like states’ of ‘dhyana’ and ‘jhana’ morph into entire schools of Chinese Chan and Japanese Zen, so that entire cultures can be exported overseas a millennium later, and Alan Watts can make a living without ever having to plant rice, much less harvest it.

    So I suppose that there is a difference between a ‘one-focus’ meditation and a ‘field-focus’ meditation, but I’m really not sure, if the underlying concentration is upon the breath, or if you’ve got a really quiet place, then worth noticing the heartbeat, which our ears normally block out as background noise.

    But there seems to be a more significant distinction between meditation ‘upon’ something and meditation for meditation’s own sake. And this is where guided meditation comes in, because it is certainly a meditation upon something, if it is meditation at all.

    And I’m not sure who started this, because I have practiced the art in formal and semi-formal settings in three SE Asian countries, all of the Theravada school of Buddhism, and I can assure you that there was no bloke holding forth at the time. But I do see this online with monks of the Tibetan school, and saw it myself with a Western ex-monk of the same school in Nepal. So which is better, guided or silent?

    That I can’t say, but when I discussed all this with research neurologists interested in measuring the effects of meditation on the brain, all they wanted to know was, “Were you able to stop the internal dialogue?” To which I giddily responded something like, “Yes.” To which they responded with a dubious, “Do you understand this concept?” “Of course. That’s all I remember of Don Juan’s ‘Tales of Yaqui Power.”

    Guided meditation won’t do that, so you still need silent meditation IMHO. But to be a good Buddhist, more important than the sutras, the precepts, and all the meditations are the simple acts of kindness and compassion, ‘metta karuna’…

     
    • David Cole 4:46 pm on September 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Sādhu… Thanks!

      • hardie karges 5:14 pm on September 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply

        Welcome!

  • hardie karges 2:54 pm on December 15, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , samadhi,   

    Buddhism and the Fleshly Prison of the Body 

    Solitary confinement is not torture, if it’s voluntary. Then it’s meditation, a retreat, renunciation. And if this is one of the messages of Buddhism, then let it be known that many religious and philosophical traditions make the case that the body is a prison of sorts. But this is the ultimate irony, is it not (?), that pleasure and pain are but conditioned reflexes, conditioned by culture and sanctioned by nature, such that one man’s torture is another man’s enlightenment, solitary confinement (presumably in prison) and meditation (presumably alone, silent and with no material rewards) are, on the surface, quite similar, differing only in the expectations, and the nature of rewards offered, accepted, and acknowledged. Because if you’re looking for money or street cred or hot nights in a cold crib, then meditation is not your best option. You’d do better out on Sunset Drive after dark with a fistful of dollars and a pocketful of tissues. Whatever you’re packing, it won’t be enough, though, because that is the nature of craving, lust and desire, whether for meat, onions, or sex. It’s never enough, because the sliding scale of satisfaction constantly resets the top dead center of zero, from which all further measurements are calibrated. So it’s like the Asian schoolboy addicted to spicy food who adds hot sauce, to his taste, in a fresh bowl of noodles. The only problem is that after five minutes, it doesn’t taste spicy anymore, because the new standard of ‘normalcy’ has slid up the scale of spiciness, already. So what do you do? You add more hot spicy stuff, of course, and so on and so on, adding more and more beyond all reason, even though your body knows exactly what’s going on, and will protest on the morrow. And if this sounds like a frivolous example, then I assure you that it’s not so frivolous when the ‘spice’ in question is heroin, and the sliding scale of normalcy is tolerance to a drug that cares nothing about your feelings. So people die every year chasing a feeling that will kill regardless of how you feel. So some feelings are best avoided, especially those that are destructive to yourself, or others, generally measured by their hardness, not their softness. There should be no hard feelings. There is no time for that, too much work and too little gain. Life goes too quickly for quibbling over the details of a desire best left unrequited…

     
  • hardie karges 5:34 am on December 2, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Boy Scouts, , , , , , , , , , samadhi, , , ,   

    Boy Scouts: be prepared. Buddhists: not so fast… 

    img_1572

    The Golden Spires of Shwedagon Pagoda

    This is one of the problems I have with Buddhism, the whole ‘no-thought’ paradigm, that always seems to find currency, notwithstanding the fact that the Buddha never said anything like that, not to my knowledge, anyway, and the term sati, which has taken on the meaning of ‘mindfulness’, probably had no such lofty connotations at the time, the problem now being one of vagueness, if not deliberate obfuscation, in order to inspire awe and reverence, apparently, as if it is untranslatable to the ordinary mortal…

    But it certainly is a common ordinary word in modern standard Thai, something like simple ‘consciousness’ or ‘mind’, so ‘mindfulness’ is a marketing hook to sell a fad to the West, that special sauce and some righteous hocus pocus, such that the makers of the film ‘Samadhi’ have to explain that the term is untranslatable to English, notwithstanding the fact that it is done all the time outside the rarefied circles of New Age fad religions… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 5:47 am on October 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: breath, , , , , samadhi, , ,   

    Buddhism and the Meditation Itchy-Scratchies: Peace of Mind, Peace of body… 

    img_2116You know the routine: position cushion on the floor, position butt on the cushion, position body on the butt spine straight crack shoulders eyes closed breath focus nose focus navel focus nothing nothing breathing breathing breath breath in out in out breathe breathe hmmmm… hmmmm… breath… hmmmm… hmmmm… Donald Trump….. hmmmm… moron… hmmm… breath… hmmm… Mormon… hmmm… Buddho… hmmm… ice cream… yummm… hmmm… Buddho… hmmm… salsa… hmmmm… afrocubism… hmmmm… Pablo Picasso… hmmmm…  Matisse… hmmm… mind wandering… hmmm… wandering… hmmm…  Buddho… hmmm… breath… hmmm…

    When I first started meditating in northern Thailand my mother-in-law would ask me, “Have you calmed your mind yet?”

    Calm my mind? I’m still trying to calm my body…” (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:25 am on August 23, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bashar, , , , Lobsang Rampa, New Thought, , Now-ness, , samadhi, Theosophy   

    The Messy-onic Tradition, part 2: Eckhart and the Also-rans… 

    (Continued from here). I would consider Eckhart Tolle more of a genuine prophet than Deepak Chopra, and with a genuine message, however limited, a fairly well fleshed-out theory of ‘the Now’, but here, too, there is vagueness and also many tossed mixed metaphors conveniently confusing empirical facts with familiar fictions, not the same thing, and dangerously close to anthropomorphic representations of entities that are nothing if not God-substitutes…

    For example, what exactly does Tolle mean when he asks: “What Is It That The Universe Really Wants To Be Created Thru Me?” Is he implying that the ‘Universe’ is like a person with wants and desires? And there are other bothersome examples of vagueness: ‘NOW’, ‘Presence’, and ‘Consciousness’ are all offered in the same breath as equivalencies but still largely undefined, unfortunately…

    And then there are his ‘energy centers’. Google that if you want to get the address of your nearest marijuana dispensary in SoCal. ‘Nowness’ is his big deal, but that can lead to irresponsible hedonism, too, if not correctly applied… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 3:30 pm on August 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      The Eckhart Tolle advice was good. I loved the way he paused before answering. So different from the usual blather from pundits.

    • hardie karges 5:20 pm on August 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, Eckhart is not bad at all…

    • NMF 2:28 pm on September 12, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      What I am discovering in all of this, is that all these teachers are teaching the same thing, spreading the same message, albeit in different ways. Namely: we are expressions of one divine spiritual energy, just in human form having a human experience and that is part of the great Universal Expansion. At the core of their teachings, they all point to the same thing: we are all messiahs, some in training, but all eventually awakening to the truth of who we are Light, Love and Life.

  • hardie karges 10:23 am on July 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , samadhi, , YouTube   

    #Samadhi for non-#Buddhists and Children of the #Matrix: Turn it down!!! 

    It seems that the movie “The Matrix” has done for the current generation what “Plato’s Cave” did for one almost 2500 years ago, inspiring countless thinkers and wannabe prophets to poke beyond the edges of the common-sense world, just to see if there was anything there, knowing that there would be no sure answers, but an enduring love of the questions, and inspiring narratives that would make any Homer, Shakespeare, Hugo or Cervantes take notice… (More …)

     
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