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  • hardie karges 8:16 am on March 11, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , eternal life, , , , Kramer, , , Passion of Christ, , , , Seinfeld   

    The Passion and Dispassion of Buddhism…  

    Buddhism in Sri Lanka

    There is no worse slavery than the slavery to your passion(s). And that’s a tough pill to swallow, because we tend to think of our passions as our pleasures, as though it’s only natural to be obsessed and conflicted. It’s not. But that shows the path that western culture has taken, in which our passions, which once meant ‘suffering,’ now are the focal point of our lives, and full of positive connotations—even if it kills us. So, with the ‘passion of Christ’ fully articulated as his suffering, in defeat, with no victory implied or intended, then Buddhism and Christianity are not so far apart, at least not superficially, at least not originally.  

    For both see suffering as seminal. The differences only become apparent when we realize that Christianity and the West make of suffering (i.e. passion) something to be encouraged, and sought, not something to be avoided and mitigated, as in Buddhism. The examples are many: samsara, for instance. This is a word that in the time of Buddha meant, and still means (in modern Nepali), ‘the world.’ And the Buddhists made something distinctly negative of that term, it now symbolizing the drudgery and misery of incessant rebirths. But most westerners, and especially Christians, are famous for their (our) ‘love of life’ and the world, too, of course.

    So, is the Christian belief in (and desire for) some sort of ‘eternal life’ really any different from the Buddhist rebirth? Only in that one is desired and the other abhorred, it would seem. So, if it’s not surprising that Buddhism and Christianity spring from similar roots, given their shared Indo-European proto-language and homeland, it IS a bit surprising that they’ve diverged so far from that initial starting point, and in apparently opposite directions. What would cause that? Good question. There would seem to be nothing in the physical landscape to explain the divergence, though the cultures encountered, and conquered (Indo-Europeans didn’t lose too many wars, except among themselves), differ quite radically.

    Considering that they went both ways from the Yamnaya Horizon’s original Pontic steppes, West and East, to Europe and north India, respectively, they would have encountered light-skinned ‘old Europeans’ on the one hand, and dark-skinned Indus Valley people on the other. That’s the biggest difference between the two groups right there, and may be significant, with respect to the caste system and perhaps more. But my own pet theory is that West and East were mostly playing out a dialectic of ideas, that likely dates back to 4000-3000BCE around lively campfires on high steppes and with spirited discussions.

    In this theory that dialectic is still being played out today, albeit in more ways than could ever have been imagined in the years BCE. The important thing is to not become a slave to your passions, though, even when you enjoy them, or when they cause you suffering. I’m reminded of Kramer’s statement to the ‘Soup Nazi’ in the old Seinfeld TV show: “You suffer for your art.” Touche’. Freedom FROM is the important thing in life after all, even more than freedom TO. Does it really matter whether you get the espresso or tamarind flavored ice cream today? Enjoy… 

  • hardie karges 9:07 pm on September 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Seinfeld   

    Meditating on Seinfeld 

    I find that the greatest obstacles to effective meditation are old Seinfeld episodes.  Remember George’s inadvertent mid-air ketchup squirt in the diner?  About the time I get into a good meditative groove, that image will re-surface every time, guaranteed.

    You know, if you watch enough, you’ll see hidden connections between the different episodes, what I call the ‘Kabbala of Seinfeld.’  For instance, check out the one where George parks his car in the parking lot; you know, the one where pragmatic young ladies are doing their nasty business in the back seats of cars (hint: they’re not pooping).  Look at the lot manager’s face.  Now look at the little booth where he’s standing.

    Now look at the episode where Kramer is doing his ‘Peterman Reality Tours’ and has to take Elaine’s muffin stumps to dump them out in the Garden State somewhere.  Look at the dump manager at the first dump to refuse Elaine’s muffin stumps.  Look familiar?  Now look at the little booth he’s standing by.  That’s right.  The dump is the parking lot, which is really a sound stage up in Burbank.  The way Seinfeld scripts are woven elaborately together is really a thing of beauty… unless you’re trying to meditate.  Ommmmm…..

    • Sven 8:48 am on September 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I like your new house! Great! Our next will be similar, same size but my wife want it to be built totally in bamboo. No steel, no concrete. Fits my budget.

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