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  • hardie karges 9:17 am on April 15, 2023 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Virtual Reality   

    Buddhist Mindfulness: No Shortcuts to Salvation  

    Mindfulness, sati, requires some awareness of the unpleasant details, also, unfortunately or fortunately, for this is the nature of existence, the existence of suffering and the ways to ameliorate it, on a path to cessation, if not the twenty-five-dollar cure that we’ve grown so accustomed to expect, in some binary fashion, now you see it and now you don’t, as if there were indeed magic bullets that can hit every target, with never a miss—at least in theory. 

    But, until someone can bio-engineer us with eternal life or create us a Virtual Reality so perfect that we can’t tell the difference, then the (not-so?) harsh reality is that each and every one of us will die, later if not sooner, peaceably if not in agony. And this is the truth of Buddhism, that suffering is ubiquitous, and implacable, if not the all-embracing disastrophe that it so recently was. But that was likely due to the dubious emboldenment of patriarchy, in distinct contrast to the previous matriarchal survivalists that sustained us for so many millennia. 

    But the point is that Buddhism is not pessimistic, but realistic, and the obvious corollary would be that the silly-eyed optimism of capitalistic Christianity is itself the cause of many of our problems, especially global warming, for which it is singularly unprepared to offer a credible solution, given the demands of economic growth. But Buddhism can offer that solution: conscious mindful existence that accentuates self-sufficiency, not the excesses of abundance and infinity that capitalism and Christianity demand.  

    In other words: less can indeed be more, in quality if not quantity, and that is the important consideration, now, isn’t it? Yes, I think that it is. And that is also the cautionary tale with so-called ‘mindfulness.’ Be careful which way you turn your gaze of awareness, because you will have to deal with the circumstances in your field of vision. And that is good. Buddhism in its origins never pretended to transcendence. This is the real world we find ourselves in, and that is the challenge… 

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  • hardie karges 1:03 pm on September 6, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Virtual Reality   

    Buddhism and the Balancing Act of Excellence… 

    Violence solves nothing. It only creates more violence. We all know it, yet still we do it, reveling in our passions and bathing all awash in our emotions unapologetic, for this is what we are taught from day one, in the wild wild west, to be passionate about what we do, and anything less is ‘middling…’

    Yet middling is part and parcel of Buddhism and its Middle Path, the avoidance of excess and its extremes, in favor of the boredom of ‘middle-ness.’ From this viewpoint happiness is as often as not the avoidance of sadness, and bliss might very well be suspect for its dalliance with extreme emotion…

    Does this attitude build great cities? Does this attitude conquer continents, and send rockets to the moon? No it probably doesn’t, and we are probably better off because of it. Because neither does it commit genocides, enslave peoples, or cause global warming, and it can produce great art…

    Has your life really improved with the invention of Roombas to Hoover your floors? Do you really need four hundred channels of mediocre programming on the idiot box to satisfy your palate? And before you point out to me that I seem to be championing mediocrity as the Middle Way between lack and excess, I wish to point out that excellence is not a threat to anyone’s existence in the same way that luxury and self-starvation are, which is the original inspiration to the Buddha’s awakening…

    The Middle Path itself is nothing if not excellent. Do you think that it is easy finding that meandering sweet spot between extremes? It’s not. It’s an exquisite, but not excruciating, balancing act. And balance is crucial to the equation. Is it even possible for an equation to not be balanced? Of course not…

    Yet our lives in the 21st century are far from being balanced. We worship the gods of technological salvation, but we are never saved. We are only further addicted to our own existential cravings. Now I love science, and technology, i.e. applied science, but I don’t really need a self-driving car. I need a city that doesn’t’ require automobiles…

    Internet is sublime, and Virtual Reality is transcendent, but what else do we need? Interstellar exploration is wonderful, but you don’t need rockets for that, just better telescopes. Our cities are sh*t-stained pits and our lives wallow in the mire, accordingly. Nature, and dharma, can, and should be, a refuge, on a good day. Cities and technology? Meh, not so much…

     
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