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  • hardie karges 11:58 am on October 25, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Bunuel, , STFU, Thay, Thich Nhat Hanh, , ,   

    Zen and the Art of Dishwashing… 

    We are not slaves to the objects of our desire as much as we are slaves to desire itself. The objects come and go. And isn’t that just like us? I mean, to desire for the sake of desiring, as much as any object as the supreme goal, or maybe we can call it ‘cet obscur objet du desir,’ if I may borrow the title of the famous film by Luis Bunuel to illustrate my point.

    And as in that film the object is not only unattainable, ultimately, but is constantly changing its face, such that “What follows is a tale of cruelty, depravity and lies — the very building blocks of love.” (Wikipedia) So is this simply our fate, as Westerners, especially, to bite off more than we can chew, simply for the pleasure of the sensation of the food inching its way slowly down our throats, and only gradually entering our stomachs?

    There it triggers the feeling of fullness, if only for a moment, and begs the question as to whether that is really enough, or not, since consciousness comes with no gas gauges, just feelings, often random, of completion or vacuity, in this case, in addition to sensations of tastiness or disgust. So are we left to desire for the sake of desiring, in the same way that one might misinterpret Thich Nhat Hanh’s invocation to “wash dishes to wash the dishes” as “wash dishes for the sake of washing dishes,” which is not correct.

    And I will admit that I misinterpreted that advice for years, as if he were advocating mindlessness as mindfulness. Now I know that he is a master of Zen, but I never knew that he was that Zen! And he’s not, in the sense that Zen sometimes goes too far in its linguistic riddling, in the hope that enlightenment might somehow magically result if we can only prove language to be the trickster that it is, full of bluff and bluster, but ultimately empty. And that may be true, but that does not mean that there are no meanings.

    But Thich Nhat Hanh was not advising mindless dish washing, even though others may also have misinterpreted it that way, no salve to my chastened ego (https://www.researchgate.net/publication/281608722_Washing_Dishes_to_Wash_the_Dishes_Brief_Instruction_in_an_Informal_Mindfulness_Practice). What he was really advising was to make the best of mundane situations, and be aware of just that, AND ONLY THAT (ouch), when in the process of doing it (if you’re feeling bored, you can always increase the speed. Walking meditation can be fast or slow).

    For meditation I personally advise sitting on a cushion, on the floor, lotuses optional, ditto mantras and mudras, eyes closed, body unflinching, for at least twenty minutes, more if you can. This is what I call STFU meditation. It may not be as famous as anapanasati or vipassana, or any of the other myriad of styles and subjects, but it accomplishes much the same thing, and that is to shut off the internal dialogue, at least for a spell (!), and return to pre-linguistic proto- or paleo-consciousness to reboot the program. All systems work better after rebooting (hint: try counting breaths, if you feel it’s otherwise just not working).

    And so it is with desire. As much as Western culture rewards the act of ‘being in love with love,’ ultimately it is not only wasteful, consumptive, and useless, but even destructive, e.g. global warming. But don’t torture yourself. To chase illusions is only human: usually futile, sometimes rewarding, almost inevitable. This is life, a passing show. Stay safe.

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

    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 5:24 am on July 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: agricultural revolution, , , , , , , , , , , Thich Nhat Hanh   

    Buddhism is not Superior to Christianity, but… 

    20180625_092428I only know that it is more appropriate for these self-engorged capitalistic end-times than the prevailing paradigm, which is probably the cause of this effect. The original teachings of JC and the Buddha are almost superfluous at this point, anyway, what with so much cultural baggage added on over all the years, much of it far from the original teachings…

    And in short, those original teachings consist briefly of Jesus’s ‘love thy neighbor as thyself’ and the Buddha’s ‘cure for suffering in the cessation of craving’, and from those two starting points evolves the history of much of the world, the traditional west largely ambitious, aggressive, individualistic, loud and consuming, while the traditional East is largely passive, shy, conforming, quiet and retiring. Note that those two traditional paradigms largely parallel the traditional paradigms of male vis a vis female… (More …)

     
    • Esther S. Fabbricante 5:44 am on July 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Deep!

    • modernhadassah 5:59 am on July 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Interesting. “Womanly wiles” came about from having no other recourse. That’s the only way oppressed womanhood could effect change. I guess, when I follow the logic through of how religion effects change it’s on the manipulated and oppressed. What do you think? You have started a good conversation, I suspect.

      • hardie karges 6:53 am on July 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, I suspect that there’s an inversely proportional relationship between worldly success and religio-philosophical adherence…

    • Alex 2:27 pm on September 3, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      “frankly I wash dishes to clean them, for purposes of health, and sanitation, and aesthetic compatibility”

      Sounds to me like you are washing the dishes mindfully… That’s a good meditation!

  • hardie karges 8:21 am on May 27, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , kilesa, , , , samma sankappa, , Thich Nhat Hanh, transmigration   

    Buddhist Mindfulness as Mindlessness? Wait a minute… 

    IMG_0959Okay, so I admit it: I’m going through a crisis of confidence with my newfound love of Buddhism, and all that entails. The devil is in the details, of course, as even the ever-tricky Buddha himself well knew, just like Jesus after him, that you pick and choose what to tell the initiates and laypeople at any one time, subject to their capacity to comprehend, assimilate, or even fathom, concepts which may just be a bit difficult to swallow at first, or maybe forever…

    Compounded by the fact that the Buddha himself was just a bloke, not a God, nor even his son, and so not omniscient, and subject to the limitations thereof, to most of which he himself spoke, the profound limits which define our existence on this blue-green orb of light color and sound which we call earth, the world, home, samsara, all we’ve got, except what we can make for ourselves, given time, energy, and the raw materials to work with, including consciousness… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:02 am on April 22, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , Thich Nhat Hanh   

    Buddhism, Gurus, and motivational mash-ups: caveat emptor… 

    IMG_0599I’m not trying to win any popularity contests, but if I were I’d be telling you things like: “You are the masterpiece! You are connected to every molecule, every atom, and every quark that has ever existed and ever will exist in this or any other universe! You are the dharma! You are the Christ! You are the reason that the sun rises in the morning and goes to bed at night…

    Yes, you are the vibrant and vibrating electromagnetic field for thousands of tiny energy centers pulsing away inside you, each in direct contact with you, each other, and the universe, simultaneously random and predetermined, quantum entanglement at its finest, you and the Big Bang in unison…” (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:16 am on April 15, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , Rinzai, , , Thich Nhat Hanh, ,   

    Buddhism is all about love—sweet dispassionate love… 

    img_1111It has long been predicted that Buddhism’s future is in the West, and for better or worse, that may very well be true. So the question then becomes: what kind of Buddhism would that be? For purposes of dialog and dialectic, I see the two chief protagonists to be the Thai Forest Tradition and Zen, both of which have numerous and faithful adherents in the West, and both of which can claim some purity of faith and doctrine…

    Tibetan Buddhism I imagine has as many or more adherents as either of the above, but is already mixed-and-mashed to the max, so the purity of doctrine is just not there, for better or worse, not to mention modern sex scandals, a dubious devotion to physical reincarnation, and a generation-jumping karma of retribution that just won’t quit. This was the final chapter to a previous crossroads, in Asia, and what worked there, and then, will not likely work here, and now… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 7:48 am on January 28, 2018 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , EckfardtbTolle, , , , , , , , , , Thich Nhat Hanh, Tibetan, ,   

    Buddhist Back-Story: Dialectics and Linguistics… 

    img_1935Theravada Buddhism has it easy, when it comes to dhamma (dharma) talks, just pull out the old mind-kilesa-breath-nose-navel-‘Buddho Buddho Buddho’ playbook, rinse and repeat, hard to screw up unless you want to get into the murky afterbirth of past lives and kamma (karma), doing Yogic headstands and plotting Ptolemaic cosmic epicycles, trying to explain how anatta (non-self) somehow gets reborn, when there really is nothing there to begin with. But still they do. It’s embarrassing, especially when some of the same ones…

    …get all goo-goo-eyed at the mention of ‘this present moment’, which I agree with, if not to the extent that some would take it. So how can you have both, not only within the same school of Buddhism, but within the same person, e.g. the Dalai (not Theravada) Lama? I can find you quotes of him advocating ‘nowness’ while Eckhart Tolle was still sleeping on sofas, and at the same time opining that if someone’s life hasn’t quite worked out right, then it’s because of something they did in a past life—ouch! What gives? (More …)

     
    • Dave Kingsbury 4:00 pm on January 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

      Like any long-lived belief system, I suppose, as complex as people and societies are themselves. The Science connection seems an interesting extension …

      • hardie karges 10:54 pm on January 29, 2018 Permalink | Reply

        Yes, It’s amazing to me that the original Buddhist debate, basically liberal vs. conservative, is still alive today, after countless twists and turns, and analogous to something similar in politics, which is all well and good, I think, as long as everyone can be polite and civilized about it…

        • Dave Kingsbury 2:34 am on January 30, 2018 Permalink

          Indeed. The questions arising from reincarnation are the ones I struggle with. My best shot is to view it as metaphor and therefore helpful for perspective and even humour.

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