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

    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 12:03 pm on April 5, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Christ, cross, crucifixion, , , suffering   

    The Passion of Buddha, without Cross or Crucifixion… 

    The word ‘passion’ originally meant ‘suffering’, as all Christians know from the ‘passion of Christ’ as he carried his crushing cross, through city streets, over hill and dale, only to be prodded with prejudice if he ever stumbled or faltered in the march to his death, so hardly a date of determination, but more like a date with destiny. So this is a far cry, literally, from the connotations of the word today, which reek of romance and resonate of reconciliation, between the lover and his beloved, if not necessarily the artist and his creation. And this is the connection between the modern and ancient meanings, for we all know of the artist ‘who suffers for his art’ if we know any artists at all, for in this sublime effort the love and the suffering truly become one with each other, regardless of the outcome, regardless of the tape’s tale, or the yardstick’s measure, or the ruler’s final judgment. And these subtle changes in definition, the limitations and exaltations which words place upon words, speak volumes for the masses gathered for Sunday proclamations, Luthers and Lotharios both left in the lurch at the church, and uninspired by last confessions. Because those subtle but persistent shifts in verbal definition send shock waves and random repercussions through the centuries of silence between outbreaks of truth and necessity, such that sometimes only chaos and confusion result from original best intentions, regardless of the incremental diminution of disbelief. But the real reconciliation between passionate love and suffering comes in the fruit of their union, i.e. compassion, suffering together, for the benefit of all, and the mitigation of excess, in hopes of a better day, a better way, a better outlook for our grief, and a better outlet for our creativity. And this is what concerns us as Buddhists. For words once spoken cannot be taken back. And hearts twice broken will never again be taken aback. We can only mitigate the effects, and bandage the wounds with kindness…

     
  • hardie karges 11:56 am on March 1, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , suffering   

    Buddhism and the Certainty of Uncertainty… 

    The satisfaction of certainty is a precious commodity, but that’s the price of religion, because it’s all about the bottom line—absolute conviction in an uncertain world, something you can rely upon, something you can build your life on, and build your home, and build your family and build your dreams. And there’s the rub of reality, because you’re going against the empirical facts, from the very get-go, facts which indicate that the truest certainty is uncertainty itself, as evidenced by Heraclitus in Greece way back when, and the Buddha in India at more or less the same time, they separated by a few thousand miles, and even more kilometers, but only a thousand years or so from a common source on the high plains above the Caucasus, just waiting for a shot at the big-time in the big tent, where the people will line up to see and hear the latest news from the mouths of wise men and philosophers, they mental visionaries creating problems that only they can solve, by the machinations of language, in a mental landscape now dependent upon such. Now what a pre-linguistic world was truly like can only be surmised, but it surely did exist, as surely as the computers we all worship once begged for language to give themselves a meaning which now is almost superior to our own, as if by magic in a pre-determined world of prescribed actions. But the difference between the Greeks and the Indians was that even then Heraclitus embraced the change (after much debate by various and sundry philosophers), while the Buddha and his followers saw it as the foundational principle of anicca, impermanence, one of the three intrinsic causes of dukkha, suffering. So certainty itself was and is a conundrum, something once articulated as if to vex us, and now hex us, bedevil us with its dual nature, both terrible and terrific, enough to send us into spasms of indecision and indecisiveness. But the die was cast even then, that east was east and west was west, no matter that we all come from the same place and the same fathers, that that somewhere was all in our minds and that many wars would have to be fought in order to reach a conclusion, or not. Because the resolution was already there in the same place as the conflict—in mind, in thought, in consciousness, now language-based, for better or worse, because there is no returning to the source of mind, proto-consciousness, or paleo-consciousness, except in meditation. Fortunately there ae some things which we can almost all agree on, besides uncertainty and impermanence: kindness, compassion, and the universal brotherhood of human beings. Thus the problem which begins in mind can be solved in mind, and so wars are useless. There are no winners in war, only losers…

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:12 pm on March 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      This struck a chord, particularly – “now language-based, for better or worse, because there is no returning to the source of mind, proto-consciousness, or paleo-consciousness, except in meditation” – suggests a role for literary art in expanding consciousness, if evolution is now cultural …

    • hardie karges 6:51 pm on March 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply

      Yes, I definitely think there is a huge role for language, only fitting since that is much of the problem, that once we create language, that we are now prisoners to it in thought. But if language could achieve artistically what painting has done, for example, then that would be a whole new ballgame…

  • hardie karges 11:42 am on January 12, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: arrogance, , , , , Paradise, paradox, suffering   

    Paradox in Paradise, the Buddha’s Suffering as Our Own… 

    Life is sometimes too easy. Without struggle there is no need for kindness. Thus we confront a Buddhist paradox, every day, in a world at least partly defined by its suffering, and the need to mitigate that suffering, so that we can survive, without falling into the trap of false flattery and the lure of luxury. Because if the suffering is a matter of opinion and the appropriate means of measure, the imperfection is rife. There may be a perfect world somewhere, of which this is but a poor manifestation, admittedly, but not this reflected world itself, which at times resembles a cheap carnival sideshow. But this is the only world that we truly experience on an ordinary day, so this is the hand we play. And that is okay. If this material world is all we ever know, then so be it. And let the imperfections speak for themselves. Because every imperfection is an opportunity for improvement, in life as in genetics, in which natural mutations provide the raw material for evolution. So if nothing ever changes, then there’s no chance for it to get better, and perfection is just hubris, the arrogance of species, this human species, full of itself and full of its self-importance, which is only partially justified. The human species IS important, but not always for the reasons that we think. It is not important because it is ABOVE the rest of the animal kingdom. It is important, because it is OF the rest of the animal kingdom, in an unbroken chain of Becoming, of which we humans are probably on top, that is true, but which is no reason for celebration, and certainly no reason for arrogance, for we were once only poor struggling mammals, looking for strength and succor. Thus the flip-side of freedom is always responsibility, and that is our lot in life. Always treat people better than they treat you, and the world becomes a nicer place…

     
  • hardie karges 5:45 am on June 17, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , suffering,   

    Beyond Buddhism: and the meaning of life is… 

    img_1773The opposite of death, of course, whatever that is, no more no less, the two like dancing partners choreographed to perfection, or life partners resigned to the fact. There is no other option, no matter how much the creators of cryogenics would wish it, or however much the authors of science fiction might fantasize. You can only delay the inevitable; every doctor will admit that, but still we spend every last cent to prolong our lives another minute or two for the sake of science, for the sake of the impenetrable sadness…

    And these same doctors think that the cure for suicide is better anti-depression drugs, as if all happiness is chemical and all meaning is logical, as if we were born with a seventy-year contract to fulfill, and any less would put us in breach. But yes, we are in breach, we are always in breach, that slashed gap between the open sores of our bodies and the unrealized expectations we had in mind, the slashed gap of duality. Maybe we should invent some new drugs to enhance our false expectations? No, we’ve got enough of those already… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:05 am on October 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , Eight Precepts, Five Precepts, , suffering,   

    Buddhism: It’s not what you do in this world; it’s what you don’t do… 

    IMG_0599I know it sounds like some silly game show, but it’s true. What each one of us decides to do and accomplish in this short life is largely subject to our own whims and devices, and not subject to judgment, not if there is any justice in this world. After all, the great sages and prophets don’t spend time on that, and all the great commandments, of any great religion, all begin with: “Thou shall not,” (or was it ‘shalt’?), but not “Thou shall…”

    So it’s not what you do in this world; it’s what you don’t do, and that’s my epiphany for this week, that you really don’t have to do anything! Wow! Who knew? Nothing at all! Just live and breathe and have your being, as long you DON’T kill, and as long you DON’T steal, and as long you DON’T make a nuisance of yourself in any one of a hundred different ways, then you’re doing okay… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:19 am on September 24, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , suffering,   

    First Noble Truth of Buddhism: It’s a Heartache… 

    IMG_2290

    …and that’s about as accurate as any translation of the Pali word dukkha as any other, certainly better than the ‘stress’ or ‘discomfort’ or whatever currently making the rounds in Buddhist blurbs online and elsewhere, anything but ‘suffering’, the traditional and still most accurate definition. We’re talking about a metaphysical level of suffering here, after all, or at least existential, the kind that envelops you in its inimitable embrace, and lets you know exactly where you stand, or fall, which is usually somewhere nearby and knowable, so treatable…

    The newer ‘stress’-full definition of dukkha suggests a modern post-capitalist phase that the Buddha himself could hardly have imagined back in the classic Upanishadic era of pre-colonial India, actually post-colonial if you count Aryans as intruders, and not the high-class homeboy Brahmins that they usually like to see themselves as. They brought as many chariots, horses, cows and racism as they ever brought religion, more like high plains cowboys than the meditative masters that we now see them as (though they did have good drugs—I hear)… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:05 am on July 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , suffering   

    Buddhism 222: If you Can’t Find the Suffering, then Look Harder… 

    IMG_0712Many people say they like Buddhism, but without all that pesky suffering that Buddhists keep talking about. “I’m just too happy to be a Buddhist,” is a common sentiment. Of course some of those people have already gravitated toward Zen, which is as close as you can get to Buddhism without the suffering, but still it’s there…

    So what to do? Go find some suffering, then. Do you really doubt that it exists? Of course not, since many of these same people are the very ones who support—at least verbally—multifarious programs to aid the downtrodden. But have you actually gotten your hands dirty in the process? Have you actually experienced that suffering? There are many ways to do that, you know, and be helpful at the same time, without wallowing too much in the mire, so to speak, if that’s the problem… (More …)

     
    • quantumpreceptor 5:28 am on August 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting post, I would like to add something if you don’t mind. Everything is suffering, the best party, the most beautiful lover, all the money and wealth is suffering in comparison to enlightenment.

      Instead of nothingness it is very likely better to use emptiness as Buddhists are not nihilists.

      I love you photos, keep writing, I love reading.

    • davekingsbury 3:44 pm on August 1, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Enlightening …

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