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  • hardie karges 9:13 am on September 18, 2022 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , selfishness, ,   

    Buddhism and the Nature of Self/Not-Self… 

    The notion of self is a linguistic convenience. But language is not reality. And this is one of the debates in Buddhism, of course, not so much the exact nature of ‘self,’ which is proscribed in Buddhism (with an ‘o,’ not ‘e’), but more the exact nature of ‘not-self,’ or ‘no-self,’ that distinction itself often at the crux of the debate, as if there were any real difference, as if it really mattered. Because what matters is that this is not the Hindu cosmic self nor the Christian eternal self, both of which are not what the Buddha envisioned for his group of followers and his emerging view of the world.

    But what exactly did he envision for the self? Not much, apparently. Best guesses are the (s)khandhas, or ‘heaps’ of causes and conditions that he enumerated to constitute the typical person sans persona that is typically referred to, though many modern Buddhists like to wax long and hard on the ego and ensuing egolessness that would obviously result from that starting point. But our concept of ‘ego’ is so tied to Freud’s concept of id, ego, and superego that it may be misleading. Because I’m sure that the Buddha had no such wild notions.

    The Freudian ego also makes the same mistake that the Buddha was trying to solve, positing self as a thing, or something, anyway, which is an independent actor on an ever-shifting stage, when the actions themselves were much more important, as modern psychology now acknowledges the behavior, rather than some elaborate tripartite self, so like verbs not nouns. The Buddha might even go a step farther and see the composite self as a collection of adjectives, thus tendencies to act, not even dignified by the actions themselves.

    I’m sure that he had our modern notion of selfishness in mind, though, so we have that much in common, what with his obsessions with craving and desire. And that’s where Buddhism has much to say about our modern consumeristic economies and lifestyles to the point that ‘stuff’ becomes the meaning of our lives. This is a trap, of course, and a never-ending cycle of unfulfillment. After all, how can things satisfy us if we ourselves are essentially non-things? Sometimes the world is too much with us. Even the Buddha and Wordsworth could agree on that. The Buddha called it samsara….

     
  • hardie karges 12:45 pm on December 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , selfishness   

    Life and Buddhism at the Crossroads of Culture and the City… 

    Human selfishness is appalling, incompetence assumed, myopia even worse. So it’s no wonder our kids will inherit a Hell of our own making. Of course many people are quite proud of the world we’ve created, and with some justification, certainly, but the question we must ask ourselves is in which direction are we heading. So if you are in love with cars and buildings and highways and cities, then you should be quite happy. But much of our present world is based on white male privilege, of the Aryan upper class, so what would it look like as done by other tribal sources, and by the females who bare the burden of multiple births? Unfortunately that question is hard to answer, since it is typical now to copy the Western paradigm as if it were the only one available. So Chinese plans for the future look almost like a caricature of the Western model, Hong Kong extrapolated exponential, high rises up and down every street, with almost no one left in the state of nature. But that’s exactly what my perfect world would look like, if it were up to me, and if I had the decision to make, because nature is what we are, not concrete and steel, no matter how we feel, under the influence of elixirs and potions and untested notions, the children of experiment, left to our own devices, mostly electronic. But where are we then when the lights go out? Because they most certainly will, somehow some way, in some year, if not some day. And we should be prepared for that eventuality, with no time wasted in transition, not only because it is imminent, but because it is better. We are organic beings, not robots, and to deny our connection to the earth is not only futile, but misguided. If there is beauty in this world, then it comes from nature. If there is good in this world, then it comes from nature. And if there is any truth in this world, then it comes from Nature. And to Nature it should return, in a constant process of recycling, and returning to the source for refreshment. That doesn’t mean living in the wild, not necessarily. It means living in villages, without walls and without fears, no guns and no tears, preferably Buddhist. Villages are feminine and forgiving. Cities are masculine and unforgiving. The world has developed physically, but have we developed mentally and spiritually? That question remains to be answered…

     
    • Robert@69 10:12 pm on December 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      we have developed mentally – clearly technology is a product of our minds – as are religions, billionaires and 5G. Spiritually…ahhh that’s difficult to discern. Christianity, as preached currently in america appears to fulfil the notion of “making a pact with the devil” for power, with Trump. But that speaks more to ideology/mentality than to spirituality and I pray that recent events of rebellion from the base may lead to a “resurrection of Jesus,” in the sense that honest and practicing Christians begin waking up from the spell false prophets.

      Sorry, I ramble. I would hope too that our villages would orient around feminine energies – no guns and much metta and mudita. One of the sweet things about Buddhism as I understand it, is that no one knows quite where they are on the path but we know we are on a path of heart and the 3rd Noble truth reveals that indeed we can lesson our suffering, we do indeed love as we love ourselves, and experience greater spaciousness in our lives.

      • hardie karges 10:19 pm on December 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply

        You are welcome to ramble. Thank you for your comments. And I largely agree…

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