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Re: Random Spiritual Thoughts

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 8:42 pm
by Tara
If you think about it in terms of our unique human evolution, where we became real humans only about 100,000 years ago during the ice age, exhibiting a remarkable transformation from animal to human unparalleled in natural history, it makes sense that our thoughts appear to be illusory. I am not going to argue that compared, for example, to our autonomic system of breathing, that our thoughts are substantial and real. But that doesn’t mean that these coming and going thoughts are not important. They have made us who we are as humans; they have separated us from the animal; they have taken us away from the crude necessities of the physical and given us the luxury of being naked AND smooth. Thoughts have created the human realm as we know it in its entirety, so let’s not be stupid and annoying Buddhists, and insist that our thoughts are nothing but illusions. It makes sense that considering how recent thoughts are in this world in terms of evolutionary time, that they would hardly have had time to enter the biological picture and thereby become as obvious as an arm or a leg or a heart.

So we have developed our thoughts and emotions to the point where we FEEL and experience everything very acutely –- all you have to do is poke us and we feel pain -- and presumably based upon these acutely sensitive sensory abilities we take action to make things as comfortable as possible for all of us. But we haven’t developed to that point, yet, as is more than obvious, where we have become morally responsible for our unique and miraculous sensory and mental development. And that process has also been interdicted by the organization of society into nations, who pattern a selfish, sadistic, pecuniary interest, against the non-suffering interests of humankind. And add to that religions who pattern abandonment of all worldly interests.

Thus, humanity is facing a severe moral problem: our suffering is acute and there is no relief. We are advanced enough to FEEL every pain and sorrow as if it pierced our very heart, but not advanced enough to know how to diminish this pain to a level where life on this planet can be tolerable.

And that is my argument for terminating the human race experiment.

This is my greatest wish: that each and every one of us would go out and bravely advocate for the end of birth, and the hoped-for termination of the human race within 100 years. Who can argue against the suffering of human existence? People who disseminate the idea that the world is basically good, that humans have basic goodness, are in reality completely immoral human beings, and perpetuating the pain of humanity. Who can even stand to go out and see the suffering homeless on the hot summer streets? Who can even imagine the pain people are going through from being sick, broke, hungry, homeless, and jobless? And that's what goes on in the rich countries! What goes on in the poor countries, like Yemen, Africa in general, the middle-east, and in authoritarian dictatorships, should absolutely make us all fall to the ground weeping and wailing and gnashing our teeth.

There will never be happiness in this world as long as one person is suffering. And since we don’t have the political and moral will, and probably also the thought abilities, to stop our collective suffering right this instant, our suffering itself is the supreme moral reason to end the human experiment. At the end of 100 years, no one should ever suffer again.

And it's only making the situation worse when people advocate stopping all thoughts, or "realizing" their insubstantiality.

Do you want to be a "Buddhist" who perpetuates suffering? Then argue that thoughts are illusory, the very thoughts that could save us.

Re: Random Spiritual Thoughts

Posted: Wed Jul 08, 2020 8:45 pm
by Tara
How crazy do you have to be to attack our thinking processes? It seems plain on its face that those Men who did so in the past were attempting to make us their slaves. What a surprise! Men on huge power trips trying to control everyone to assert the superiority of their own egos. And as usual, I'm sure the people were faced with the choice of either believe or die! Ashoka. What an asshole!

I noticed about 20 years ago that all of our supposed "heroes" and "leaders" were fascist assholes. That's when I started fighting with my husband about each and every one of them, taking them down one at a time, while he screamed bloody murder: Aldous Huxley, Timothy Leary, Stan Grof, Alan Watts, the Tibetan, Chinese, and Japanese saints, all of his heroes tainted by fascist ideology and women-hatred.

Black people see the same problem, as all over America, and all over the world, we have elevated racist ideologues for centuries, to where a Black person can't go outside without getting killed. Can't stay inside either without getting killed. Can't exist on the planet without getting killed.

And I hold a real bad grudge against Theosophy, the people who say they aren't racists, but they absolutely are. What do you think all that race ideology is about, idiots? "Oh, it's spiritual." So, what's the difference?

But standing behind the Theosophists are the Rosicrucians, the biggest, baddest people who ever lived. They are behind every revolution that ever happened in the world. They are masters of murder and mysticism. The inventors of terrorism.

Re: Random Spiritual Thoughts

Posted: Tue Sep 01, 2020 1:57 am
by Admin
Tara wrote: Thu May 14, 2020 9:36 pm I don't see why we can't consider this a personal matter, and leave it to our own musings and wonderings, while in real life, we concern ourselves with real life things.
The Line Between Public Reality and Private Belief

That is precisely the demarcation point where we need to take notice that we are leaving the world of "shared meanings," and entering into the realm of "unconfirmed hypotheses," or even "un-confirmable hypotheses," that we can believe, but cannot prove. When I say "prove," I mean "prove to the satisfaction of an objective viewer who does not share our disposition to believe an unprovable thing."

Some will say that no one should indulge in un-confirmable beliefs, but it runs counter to a deep inclination that most people seem to have, to turn their ideas into a version of reality. The next inclination is to find someone who shares those beliefs, so they can enter into the shared version of reality.

Sharing Perceived Realities Based on Shared Language

We can share "preceived realities" based on shared languages. Music, for example, is a shared language that musicians use to create realities built on rhythm, melody, harmony, and silence. We can share those experiences more richly when we understand the methods that the musicians are using, either intuitively, because musical can "speak to us directly," or expressly, because we can learn to sing, read musical notation and play instruments using the established set of twelve half-tones that can be structured into all of the popular "musical scales." However, cultural language differences in upbringing dispose some of us to hear music from other cultures as dangerous, weird, or stupid, as in "colored music will cause young people to lose their inhibitions and engage in loose sex," or "we were plagued by a dissonant Asian melody," or "heavy metal is a joke."

Marshall McLuhan argues that we submit to a reality as soon as we accept a message, in any medium. His concept, "the medium is the message," is easily understood with the help of the right question: "What's more important, watching TV, or watching a particular show?" Obviously, for TV watchers, the content is secondary. They'll switch channels until they find something. The important thing is to continue the experience of consuming media. Call it addictive, but for most TV-watchers, the addiction is as invisible as the water a fish is swimming in. They do not realize, or care, that they have outsourced the process of thinking, feeling, seeing, hearing, and conceiving their world to teams of video creators who are focused on a commercial mission -- keeping viewers watching.

Implicit Limitations in All Languages

Every language has implicit limitations. If we're going to talk numbers, we can speak of integers, both odd and even, square roots, prime numbers, imaginary numbers, polynomials, quadratics, calculus, and whatever lies beyond that in the same vein. We cannot speak of other things, however. We can model what we see and observe with numbers, describing relationship of all types -- speed, distance, weight, elapsed time, luminosity, vibrational spectra, quantum valences -- but ultimately all of that speech is in numbers. When mathematical modeling is translated into English, the result is a further approximation of an approximation. You cannot speak mathematics, as the gifted Prof. Arvid Lonseth once told me, until you have "collided with an equation."

Euclid's postulates of plane geometry are a good example of why definitions must come first in any logical structure:
  • The Point: A point is that which has position but not dimensions.
  • The Line: A line is length without breadth.
  • The Plane: A surface is that which has length and breadth.
Here, in three statements, a three-dimensional definition of space is presented. The definitions build upon each other, each one providing a definition that is useful in presenting the next definition. The definitions work because they identify three categories of form with exclusive descriptions. Of course, these descriptions do not correspond perfectly to reality, where we find no absolute points, perfectly straight lines, or perfectly flat surfaces. But they are coherent, comprehensible, and when allowances are made for the roughness of our physical world, turn out to be very useful for calculating all manner of relationships.

The Language of Science

The language of science actually is a sort of Swiss army knife. It applies several other human languages to define perceived reality. The most basic tenet of the scientific language is that only publicly observable facts will be admitted as valid observations. If the scientists falls asleep while he is supposed to be counting bugs, but dreams he is counting bugs while asleep, and enters the dream number into his observations, he is cheating. While he might be right about the number of bugs available for counting, he's likely wrong, and a comparison with the counts of others working in the same field may prove him false. Thus, scientists are supposed to keep each other honest, by cross-checking each other's work, and no one can cross-check work with anything but publicly observable facts.

So now we come back to our inclination to believe things that can't be publicly observed. So long as they're wearing their lab coats, scientists are, supposedly, not permitted such indulgences. But this too is a myth. Without "inductive and abductive reasoning," that infer conclusions from incomplete evidence, we could not formulate testable hypotheses:
Inductive reasoning makes broad generalizations from specific observations. Basically, there is data, then conclusions are drawn from the data. *** An example of inductive logic is, "The coin I pulled from the bag is a penny. That coin is a penny. A third coin from the bag is a penny. Therefore, all the coins in the bag are pennies."

Abductive reasoning usually starts with an incomplete set of observations and proceeds to the likeliest possible explanation for the group of observations [and is] is based on making and testing hypotheses using the best information available. It often entails making an educated guess after observing a phenomenon for which there is no clear explanation.

Deductive Reasoning vs. Inductive Reasoning
Use the Right Language for the Job

So how we think may depend on the job we have to accomplish. If we want to build a dam, we'll need lots of numbers. We'll need to know the height of the dam, the width of the stream, the swiftness with which it's flowing, and a great many other facts that can only be accurately described using mathematical language.

If we want to determine whether the dam should be placed in one place or another, we need to talk to people about what will get drowned by the lake we're creating, and we need to talk to people who live there, who can tell us what we'll be losing, and some of that may be scientific -- wildlife statistics and food production and demographics -- but a lot of it should be human factors -- how people feel about having this lake there, who will be hurt, who will benefit? Some of those human factors will not be "publicly verifiable," but they are still important. For example, assume your proposed dam will drown an ancient native pilgrimage destination. Although the pilgrimage destination may seem important only as a place native people want to go, as human beings with respect for other humans, we should give their desires serious weight in the decision to build a dam in that location. We may need to listen to their unverifiable beliefs about the dreamtime and the ancestors, and give them greater weight than "science" compels. Dawkins might scoff, but decency compels respect.

Limits on Our Right to Believe

I don't know if anyone can live without un-confirmable beliefs. Nor do I know whether it would be entirely desirable to be free of certain beliefs. I think it's rather unlikely that any individual can weed their intellectual garden so effectively that only publicly confirmable facts reside there. Even making a serious effort to do that could get out of hand, and generate an intellectual climate of sterility and premature judgment of imaginative notions that might prove productive. It might lead to a smug, Dawkins-style damnation of those heretics who insist on "believing the unprovable" to the hell of "unscientific thinking."

I think Dawkins goes too far. What is damnable is unthinking advocacy of beliefs that:
  • affect our shared physical reality, and
  • do not stand the test of public verifiability.
It has been said that "your right to swing your fist ends where my nose begins." Similarly, your right to believe in the unprovable ends where your beliefs begin to affect my reality. If, like Chogyam Trungpa, your tell a disciple like Thomas Rich that he is so blessed that even his HIV-tainted bodily fluids will not cause sickness in others, then your words are criminal lies that should lead to imprisonment. If a PR flack for oil companies, or drug companies, or the Government, tells us that toxins in our environment are really no problem, those are more counter-factual tales that need to exposed and punished. And when fools who will substitute faith for knowledge in matters of fact reach for power, their hands should be slapped, and we should all say: "This is no place for imagination. We need real solutions. Sit down and let those of us who are talking about reality take control of this conversation. Because fantasy isn't going to solve our problems."

Re: Random Spiritual Thoughts / Tsu-do Zen v.2.0

Posted: Sat Nov 14, 2020 2:04 am
by Admin
Recently, I had occasion to remember this fanciful piece of religious imposture that I first published on January 1st, 2002. The occasion was that the research we've been doing over the last year or so leads to the inevitable conclusion that all religious lineages of today, however much they claim to be the "original teachings of a pure teacher," are an amalgalm of doctrines that inhibit conduct objectionable to the authorities by leveraging the fear of death. Being adaptable beasts, preachers and gurus now claim to cure anxiety and porn addiction, expanding into these virtual fields as easily as they occupied, built out, and leased the infinite hereafter. But let us focus on the bottom line -- all of these scriptures that we have been sold as the Wisdom of the East, are relatively recent concoctions, brought into existence by people like Max Muller, who gave the name of "the Vedas" to a pile of manuscripts owned by the East India Company, whose provenance he took for granted. The very category of the "Wisdom of the East" is an Orientalist fantasy under which modern spiritual practicioners still labor today.

Bias governed the editorial function at every level of bringing today's "canons of sacred Eastern literature" into existence. First, players like the East India Company and Pali Text Society, chose the works to be published as representative of the Buddha's true doctrine, drawing from a large supply of Pali scriptures. Mr. and Mrs. Rhys-Davids' were the editorial heads of the Pali Text Society, and their decisions to centralize and elevate certain doctrines were decisions they were not necessarily qualified to make. Second, they governed the meanings that translated words would be assigned, and this of course implied an understanding of what they really meant. Whether the translators actually were qualified to translate the words into their English and French equivalents is hard to investigate, because at this late date, the editorial choices have colored the education of today's scholars.

Modern scholars promote the idea that the labors of the Pali Text Society translators and those employed by the East India Company reliably ascertained what Gautama Buddha taught. The assertion is, unfortunately for its proponents, based on translations of documents that would have decayed to dust dozens of times over, had the originals been in existence in the Buddha's day. There was, anciently, no assiduous preservation of documents in what is today called Maghada, where Buddha is said to have lived and taught in a dialect of Maghadan. Early Indian written media -- script on palm leaves -- was difficult to store and preserve, and none are extant in anything but the most fragmented form (extracted from buried urns in Ghandara) from the millenium after the popularly-ascribed date of the Buddha's death. The documents from which the Pali Text Society's translations were made were, therefore, certifiably not ancient in any serious sense. They were current, and they reflected the mutable face of the Dharma that has been as chameleon a doctrine as any to surface on the planet during the last couple of millennia.

The forging of a canon produces false agreements. Currently, all Buddhist teachers agree that the first answer to the question, "What's Buddhism's central doctrine?" is "The Four Noble Truths." That's a lie, of course. Mahayana Buddhists consider the Four Noble Truths to be an inferior doctrine perilously close to nihilism that should be abjured in favor of the development of selfless compassion to achieve Bodhisattvahood and liberate numberless living beings into your own, personally established "Pure Land." This vision is shared by no less a world religion than Mormonism, whose prophet Joseph Smith declared on April 7, 1844, during the King Follett Sermon:
God himself was once as we are now, and is an exalted man, and sits enthroned in yonder heavens! That is the great secret. *** Here, then, is eternal life—to know the only wise and true God; and you have got to learn how to be gods yourselves, and to be kings and priests to God, the same as all gods have done before you, namely, by going from one small degree to another, and from a small capacity to a great one; from grace to grace, from exaltation to exaltation, until you attain to the resurrection of the dead, and are able to dwell in everlasting burnings, and to sit in glory, as do those who sit enthroned in everlasting power.
Based on the Mahayanist view of becoming the lord of your own altruistic paradise, the central doctrine in Tibetan Buddhism is not the Four Noble Truths, but rather, "The Four Thoughts That Turn the Mind to the Practice of Dharma." I will collapse all four into a single sentence recitable in a single breath, as Tibetans are fond of doing: "You're lucky to be a human who has lamas to teach him Dharma, but life ends soon, and from the intermediate state after death, rebirths in hell are most common, rebirth in heaven is temporary, and rebirth as a human is the purgatory we've become familiar with, so you should be generous to the lamas who will pray for your spirit, as the only reasonable approach to long-term spiritual planning." How is this Buddhism? The Tibetans chose what to translate. They liked the wham-bam thank you ma'am effects promised by tantra. They needed magic spells to combat rival sorcerer yogis and tame the weather demons. The Four Noble Truths? Read 'em to a Snow Demon, and see how that works! But -- Hung! Trat! Phet! Now you're talking!

Likewise, to taste another Buddhist flavor, try Ch'an. It's entirely practical, and based on the Chinese sense that if something's not achievable, why attempt it? What are you, an idiot? No, this stuff works, here and now. You get Ch'an understanding, your mind becomes stable, like a rock, instead of bobbing around like a cork. It doesn't take time, or practice, or luck, or devotion. It takes the exercise of Prajna, the highest level of intelligence, which the Sixth Patriarch likened to the light that issues from meditation. Like light clears the darkness of a thousand years in an instant, so does Prajna correct our understanding of our identity. This has nothing to do with the attempt to extinguish desire to eliminate suffering. It is about obtaining a new perspective that alters our view of life. When we see from the Sixth Patriarch's perspective, he says we are free from emotional vexation, and achieve "a state like smoothly running water." This arises from the practice of Prajna, which is done simply by "keeping the mind free of foolish desire." Foolish desire is not trained out of existence by the extinction of appetite, but rather, is abandoned when we see it as foolish. So while managing desire is part of the Ch'an method, the goal is not the elimination of desire as the cause of suffering, but rather, correcting the view of life so we do not suffer unnecessary vexation. This is the practical, Chinese way of solving life's problems -- realistically and effectively, not theoretically and ineffectually. So Ch'an is about as practical as Dr. Bronner's soap, and equally as useful.

The Buddhist doctrine-spinners of India, China, Japan, Korea, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka, and so on, were always bound to give credence to their newly-spun doctrines by connecting them to venerable authority. When the venerable nature of asserted authorities dissolves under scholarly examination, we realize that we are all equally entitled to generate spiritual paths.

We do not see that we are so entitled because the choices of people like Max Muller and the Rhys Davids' are baked into the bread we have been eating since we first got interested in this field of religion and philosophy. Few people interested in Buddhist meditation scratch beneath the surface of the slick, brightly colored paperback with the smiling man in robes on the cover, giving you a reassuring look that seems unusual on the face of an Asian man, who are often depicted with their eyes focused on work. Asian men are rarely tapped for photographs depicting ebullience, freedom, and self-realization. That should put people on their guard, but it doesn't, because they just think, "How unique! He's smiling, and it's Covid outside!"

Tsu-do Zen is here to tell you that no tradition has a real tradition stretching back to the Buddha. They were all confected for the needs of local audiences who, in the case of Zen and Ch'an, didn't look much like us. The injection of martial arts disciplines, mystical sifus with dragon tattoos, colorful visualizations and sexual magic into the mix should clue people into the syncretic origins of the doctrines that they're imbibing, but religion, properly presented, is always a gift horse, and few are they who will examine its dentition.

But here at Tsu-do Zen, we kick the tires on religion, and knock prices way, way down. Just have a listen to how I wrote it up eighteen years ago. Still fresh.
Tsu-Do Zen

I have had this idea for a long time now -- at least a year. I think it's done.

What I would like to propose is something I call Tsu-do Zen, because it looks better than PseudoZen. People might think it was fake or something.

Tsu-do could mean something like "self-so-way," as "Tsu-jan" means "Self-so-ness."

So Tsu-do Zen would be "self-so-way meditation."

If all of this sounds something like Zen, you're catching on. You see, it sounds like Zen, but it isn't. It isn't because I'm not Japanese. If I were Japanese, or Gary Snyder, I could claim it was Zen, say I studied at Eiheiji or in someone's backyard in Kyoto. But I studied in someone's backyard in Tempe, Arizona, so whatever I'm saying, it's not Zen.

However, I believe that fair and impartial study will determine that Tsu-do Zen can cause effects virtually indistinguishable from Zen itself, when applied to the same subject group.

Double-blind testing could be arranged, with a placebo group. Three equal groups of American Buddha Board posters could be chosen at random, and exposed to the teachings of Zen, Tsu-do Zen and television (the placebo). Opportunities for silent meditation would be provided to all three. Tsu-do Zen students would be told that theirs was an honorable and established tradition from the East (New Jersey). Their meditation teachers would also wear dark robes and speak little. Some of them, who carry flat sticks for the purpose, will be good enough to give you a bracing smack on the shoulder, bowing respectfully after administering the punishment, as you likewise bow to accept the awakening assault.

After ten days, their conditions would be compared. Donations would be solicited to continue the work. If the meditators jointly raised as much as the TV watchers spent on home-shopping network we could arrange a merger between the two sects.

The Mood of Tsu-do Zen

From what I can tell
Zen monasteries are quiet, tidy places
With rocks, pine trees, pine needles, puddles of water and frogs,
Etcetera etcetera,
Hot bowls of noodles, smooth wood,
Bald people,
Black clothing.

Let’s just pretend that’s the mood of Zen.

The mood of Tsu-do Zen might be similar.
But without the bald people.

The mood of Tsu-do Zen might be
Rock and roll
Devil may care
Sincerely swear
Out of there
No one cares

And then it might be just
Water dripping in a mossy bucket
Tiny ripples in a small circle of cold water.

The mood of Tsu-do Zen might
Adapt to circumstances
And thus seem to show grace,
But it would just be
Tsu-do Zen
No big deal

The mood of Tsu-do Zen
Is delicate to establish.

Applying the same care
And similar methods
From the
Zen repertoire,
Similar results might be achieved.