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  • hardie karges 5:20 am on December 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , possessions, self,   

    Buddhism 202: Slavery to Self and the Addictions of Ego… 

    Slavery can also be self-inflicted, addiction to money and ego and possessions and false gods, you name it. And I suppose it’s not even a bad thing, necessarily, as some Buddhist devotees proudly display their ‘slavery’ to the Buddha, just like any latter-day Krishna devotee named Das (Sanskrit for ‘slave’). But those are particular and peculiar exceptions to the general rule that freedom is better, self-control the best kind of control, and any exception to that rule to be approached with extreme caution. Because morality demands free will, or at least the illusion of such, to whatever extent possible, given the limits imposed by biological existence and the vicissitudes of circumstance. For we are nothing if not crippled, by space and time and the frequencies at which we are sentient, to light and sound, especially, somewhere between infrared and ultraviolet, and 20 to 20,000 Hz in this world best defined physically by mechanical waves of the kind that shock and reverberate, percussion with repercussions, and the sonic blasts that level all buildings and pretenses to greatness and permanence. Addictions are false gods and self-slavery, selling yourself to the highest bidder for selves and souls on the credit card for true believers, no down payment required and discount options available with bulk purchase. But every purchase comes with a warning: that warm fuzzy feeling that felt so good the first time may not feel so good the last, in some sliding scale of proportionately inverse pleasure, calculated to leave you wanting more the more you have, just the opposite of the Platonic need for what you don’t have, instead the Satanic need for what you do have. But in the end it’s all just ‘maya’, illusion, because it ultimately gets you nowhere, and advances you not a whit, because all your frills and bangles, fancy buttons and silk bows, won’t make you a better person, and that’s the mark of progress…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:15 am on December 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Invigorating perspectives, as always, Hardie! Our addictions aren’t always obvious to us, it seems …

      • hardie karges 5:01 am on December 7, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        No, not always obvious, and not even necessarily bad. Thanks for your comment…

        • Dave Kingsbury 5:29 pm on December 7, 2019 Permalink

          The word carries a pejorative association for me, so interesting to consider it from another angle … I suppose enthusiasm and dedication, for example, require a degree of obsessional focus in a distracting world.

        • hardie karges 6:38 pm on December 7, 2019 Permalink

          Yes, I know it’s difficult to see the word as positive, but the name Das confirms it, just checked modern Hindi, and it’s the same, but with connotations of ‘devotee’, now, of course. For me the distinction is that between self-control and control by others, and that’s very central to the implicit meaning of Buddhism, even if seldom articulated…

        • Dave Kingsbury 3:46 am on December 8, 2019 Permalink

          I can see the distinction you describe – a very important one in an increasingly homogenous world, I reckon.

  • hardie karges 1:24 am on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , ethics, , Jain, , , , , self, , Vedanta   

    Buddhism and the long winding path: No soul for me, please, and make that karma ‘lite’… 

    Salvation implies a soul to be saved. I’d prefer some enlightenment, in this lifetime. And that’s a fundamental tenet of Buddhism, of course, the lack of a permanent enduring soul to guide you through the ages, or even a solid existent self to call your own in this lifetime, the basis for egotism and possession, and all the misgivings of misplaced attachments. And if that seems like a significant deviation from the teachings of Christ, then it was even more of a deviation from the early Vedic-inspired teachings of India, including Jainism and what we now call Hinduism. For if the Vedantic Hindus want a Self to unite with a Cosmos, an Atman to unite with a Brahman, then the Jains want to find a soul in everything, every little thing, be it rock, insect or umbrella. It’s not just that everything is alive, but it’s permanent and enduring. The Buddha thought he saw something simpler than all these machinations of overwrought mentality, which are just linguistic conveniences standing up and asking to be counted, when in reality there is really nothing there, just ‘mental formations’ or something like that. After all, if everything has a soul, then what do we do to acknowledge that? The Jain answer was: not much. Just sit, sit, and sit some more. It’ll all go away sooner or later. Every action was possessed of karmas, plural. Now that may seem like a strange definition of karma, but they likely invented the concept, so that’s their right. Others saw it differently, for once the cat of karma was out of the bag, so to speak, then there is no end to it, the generation-jumping karma of retribution and the things we’ll do to avoid it. If religion craves certainty, then this became the Hindu leitmotif, past lives and reincarnation, which, like conspiracy theory, cannot be disproven, so it must be true. But don’t we need some semblance of free will, simply for the dictates of morality and ethics? So I prefer something simpler, ‘karma lite’ if you prefer: Do good and life is good. Do bad and life is bad. That’s karma, actions. You will be rewarded by them, not for them…

     
    • quantumpreceptor 7:08 am on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Hardy, good job boiling things down and making them simple enough to live them.

      QP

    • Passport Overused 8:01 am on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Great post 😊

    • hardie karges 10:57 am on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks

    • Dave Kingsbury 4:41 pm on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      You will be rewarded by them, not for them… great insight here, the circle squared perhaps?

    • hardie karges 11:45 pm on October 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      Actually I may have modified a quote from the Dalai Lama there, so should give credit, not sure of his exact words. ‘Circle squared’, though: I like that…

  • hardie karges 10:39 pm on June 1, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , self   

    Freud and the Buddha, ego and self… 

    Life is too short to waste time in pathetic displays of ego, though many of our so-called leaders offer litle guidance in that regard. And ego is one of the traditional pet peeves of Buddhism, though I doubt that the Buddha or anyone else in his time could really conceive of it the way we do in our post-Freudian world. Even if the discipline of psychology has largely been transformed from the science of the mind to the science of behavior, his tripartite division of ‘the mind’ into the three paradigms of id, ego and superego still linger in the consciousness of those of us who studied him, though such distinctions may now seem quaint, fanciful and downright misleading in our post-rational era of particles, genomes and information bits and bytes. But that classical era of psychology shines a light on the Buddhist role of psychology as analogy and metaphor, with many such ‘mental formations’ as self, soul, permanence and eternity serving as linguistic conveniences where no such observable entities may truly exist. But if it feels good, then we do it, and even the Buddha was sympathetic to such machinations and intellectual short-cuts if the results are beneficial to society and the individual in perpetual limbo and looking for a path forward where such is a trail with few markings. We spend half our lives being born and half our lives dying, gathering moments for memories all along the way, and looking for signposts to mark our progress…

     
  • hardie karges 7:06 am on March 20, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , humiliation, humility, , self,   

    Humility and the Illusions of Self… 

    Everyone should show humility. No one should be humiliated. And that is more than just linguistic word-play, given that the two words in play have a common root. But the common root is not at issue. At issue is the role of the actor versus that of an external third party, particularly with respect to issues of control and freedom, both political and social. It is a fundamental tenet of Buddhism that ego should be reduced or diminished, to the point of total elimination, since it has no fundamental role in personality, just the illusion of grandeur, to which there is no basis–ever. Moreover, humility is an act of contrition, self-contrition, a submission of oneself to the greater good of society. Humiliation is an act of violence, designed to inflict damage on another, and that is not polite, to say the least. Politeness is a dying art…

     
  • hardie karges 7:42 am on January 27, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , metaphysical, , , self, , universe   

    Buddhism 202: Does Mind = Self = Soul ? 

    IMG_2747Yes, I’m talking about that theoretical ghost in each of our machines. So the first time a human being saw his reflection in still water must have been incredible, our hero unbelieving, disbelieving, unsure if what’s he’s seeing is really him, himself, and so now aware of self, for maybe the first time, previously only aware of everything other…

    Now whether our hero had language at this point is unknown, but whatever it was, it probably wasn’t much, bunch o’ nouns and maybe a few verbs, an adjective or two like special sauce, maybe even an adverb for a side garnish. But our hero must’ve looked like Groucho Marx, sans cigar, or maybe even Marcel Marceau, bluffing and feinting and miming himself in the mirror, trying to test whether it’s really real or not… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 6:30 am on September 16, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , self, , ,   

    Buddhism is not about getting your groove on; it’s all about… 

    img_0545Control, unwavering control, of yourself, or even better: non-self, if you can manage it, easy enough but for the vicissitudes of will, that one part of the (s)kandhas that escapes easy categorization and refuses to fall blindly into place as but one of the ‘heaps’ that comprise our personalities and personas and persons that we oftentimes think of as ‘self’, or ‘selves’ if you’re bi-polar, or even ‘soul’ if you have long-term plans, or God forbid ‘ego’ if you can think of little else…

    But ‘will’ or ‘volition’ is right there listed alongside the rest of the heap of verbs-turned-nouns that define us in an act of unholy reification, feeling and form and perception and consciousness, only one a true noun, and that an abstract one, all the rest verbs with regular jobs, turned noun, so more than fleeting fancies, all except will, which needs no linguistic crutch-like suffix ‘-ness’ or ‘-tion’ to lean on, or even the gerundive ‘-ing’ to skate by on all fours… (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 10:30 am on September 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Encouraging piece for one who, like myself, is very language-oriented. Nothing wrong with being wedded to words, of course, as long as one can cut oneself adrift to float upon an ocean of unknowing. Cripes, did I just say that out loud?

      • hardie karges 8:11 pm on September 19, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Haha, yes, I’m conflicted over the role of language, On the one hand, I love it, and on the other hand, narratives get stuck and clog our minds, pop music the most obvious example, though no problem with jazz. I think the cure is to think more visually more often and reserve language for more creative efforts, so less boring tedious language, just the good stuff…

        • Dave Kingsbury 1:34 am on September 20, 2018 Permalink

          I think the notion of getting stuck is a fruitful one – bit like a vinyl record stylus that just needs a nudge once in a while. Banal pop lyrics, advertising and political slogans – all examples of when words go bad. Music and art a possible cure – and waiting for the right words to come. 🙂

  • hardie karges 7:52 am on November 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , branding, , , , , , self, , ,   

    The 49 Flavors of American Buddhism… 

    img_1936In the old days of Nikaya Buddhism, in India, before the Common Era, there were at least seventeen schools of Buddhism, chiefly Sthviravada-derived (including Theravada, Sammatiya, Sautrantika, Savarvastivada, Mulasarvastivada, etc.), and Mahasanghika-derived (Yogacara, Madhyamika, etc.), before finally settling into the three broad Theravada, Mahayana, and Tibetan-Esoteric-Vajrayana-Mantrayana ‘schools’ that we know today. Get the picture? Buddhists are not known for doctrinal agreement…

    Neither is Amerika known for its agreements, especially where Buddhist knowledge and tradition is almost totally lacking, so open to much doctrinal obfuscation and outright perjury, since the Buddha is currently hipper than sh*t, and abuse is rife. So cannabis conventions, openly proffering THC and other cannabinoids as ‘medical marijuana’ can call themselves ‘Buddhafest’ with no repercussions and likely increases in ticket sales as if such is recommended by the Big Guy himself—it isn’t, and strictly prohibited, in fact… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:11 am on September 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , Noble Truths, , self, ,   

    Buddhism’s Noble Truths: La Vie Est Magnifique, Sois Toi-Meme–NOT… 

    img_2116“Life is magnificent; be yourself.” These words are taken straight from a T-shirt, so hardly authoritative, but I don’t think any phrase could better demonstrate the differences between East and West, the West being something of a personality cult of ones own self, while the East—Buddhism, at least—denies the existence of a self entirely…

    That doctrine of ‘no self’, anatta, translates to us most easily as ‘no ego’, something we are very familiar with, but in fact also refers to the idea of a transmigrating soul, or any permanent self, one that in Asian religious traditions is usually envisioned as forever returning, though a similarly permanent soul is envisioned in Western traditions on a one-way trip up there or down there… (More …)

     
    • davekingsbury 2:57 pm on September 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      As always you tread a distinctive personal path through the subject, bringing it sharply to life. A great contribution to the great and, as you say, urgent debate!

      • hardie karges 5:29 pm on September 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Remember the old Chambers Brothers’ song ‘Time Has Come Today’ (don’t know if that one made it to the UK or not)? Tick tock tick tock…

        • davekingsbury 12:25 am on September 12, 2017 Permalink

          Know it well … Now the time has come / There are things to realize … it behoves us all to go on thinking rather than just turning off and going with the flow – which is not to decry the meditative path!

        • hardie karges 6:35 pm on September 12, 2017 Permalink

          🙂 No, thinking is not a ‘defilement’ in my Buddhism…

        • davekingsbury 1:08 am on September 13, 2017 Permalink

          It is very evident through all your writings. 🙂

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