Archive for the Buddhism Category

Baseless

Posted in Asceticism, Buddhism, Fighting, genius, God(s), karma, martial arts, Monasticism, Mysticism, Philosophy, Reality Bites, Religion, society, tai chi, taijiquan, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , on January 21, 2010 by wizardsmoke

So, the big question on everyone’s my mind is whether or not martial arts teachers, yoga instructors, and their religious gurus are “enlightened”. In stuff like Tibetan guru yoga, you are supposed to view your teacher as enlightened — sometimes even if they aren’t. It’s part of the practice. I don’t do it, but it makes sense as a practice, in order to discover your belief is malleable and useful to that end. There is no god(s) if you don’t believe in them, and vice versa.

Although Taijiquan is my big psycho-physical investment at the moment, I am willing to believe it’s not the same spiritual ace-in-the-hole for other people. How could it be so? People need to be unique, independent. But at the same time, the big problem of human existence is social friction. How do we deal with other people? This is a big portion of Jean-Paul Sartre’s philosophy: the existence of another creates a new perception of oneself and one’s surroundings. They are no longer a portion of selfless existence, but exist in contrast to oneself.

Amidst others, we seek to validate our own views, yet for what reason? There is opposition to all views, and human reason and rationale is endless. It is supremely difficult to co-exist with others in peace. And peace is a difficult subject to address, because the moment it is broached and given our conscious attention, it ceases to exist. It is simply the absence of conflict, and the absence of selfish views. But that’s too often misconstrued as being a doormat.

The other strange thing is that, although Taijiquan or dream yoga or Alexander technique or Zen or Sufi or Benedictine chant or whatever else may work for some people, these practices are not guarantors of ability or insight. They are more like rocket boosters that can change one’s mental, physical or spiritual trajectory, but the original trajectory for real insight has to be there in the first place. Those are prior causes, the manifestation of which is natural genius. But then for some reason, hard work seems way more important.

Advertisements

Forever real

Posted in Asceticism, Buddhism, love, Magick, martial arts, meditation, Mysticism, New Age Baloney, Occult, Religion, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 29, 2009 by wizardsmoke

What’s the best thing to do with your time? To become real. But what does that even mean?

Well, as my friend pointed out, it’s the process of making the story you tell yourself — the idealized you, a tangible reality, where there is no delay or separation between your perception of self and the objective self that interacts with the world around oneself. This is the real goal of studying and practicing magic, martial arts, or a religion. They all have different means of achieving this, stimulating different paths of awareness through the body or the mind, but they aim to get to this point. A crappy curriculum of path is one that does not actually have this in the syllabus.

But just because the aforementioned methods are ways of reaching this, they are no guarantee. Most folks practicing these things are floating around helplessly just like anyone doing anything in this world. Plus, what is the ultimate point of enlightenment, or total cessation of attachments and cravings? Well, there is no point in the tangible sense, because it is the place where points are dissolved entirely. And I think I heard Ajahn Brahm say, enlightenment is actually very boring.

When people create the causes for enlightenment, as they describe in Buddhism, by laying down good karma — a good rhythm, to attaining nirvana in this life or the next, they are effectively embedding the rhythm toward that experience or dissolution of enlightenment into the intrinsic fabric of their being and mental developments. Thus the desire becomes inherent to the self-clinging being taking birth and the enlightenment is no longer such a blatant desire. If the drive toward enlightenment is buried deeply enough and forgotten (made automatic), one begins to simply manifest it, now and forever. It will sneak up on you, create an innate moral quality, guide you from beyond your intellect.

Desire is blatant and therefore must be sublimated to the subconscious to really become effective in one’s life. If one can burn out the desire for enlightenment by going in the right direction towards that experience, they are creating good causes. They are pushing enlightenment into their mind until they manifest it fully. But it has to happen subtly — big enlightenment experiences are usually the stuff ambitious crackpots or intermediate students. You don’t go to heaven, you grow into heaven, to borrow a phrase from the old-school New-Ager, Edgar Cayce. Enlightenment comes to you throughout your whole life, like the expanding, full-on deafening roar of water crashing toward you through a tunnel. Every kind of understanding happens like this, until we’re floating in the water, which is our experience made reality.

Reader Feedback

Posted in Buddhism, meditation, Mysticism, Religion, Wizard Quotes on October 23, 2009 by wizardsmoke

From the mailbag…

Q: I finished reading hardcore zen and wanted to know what your meditation practices are and how seriously you take zen buddhism as far as a way to the truth.

Smoke: I read Hardcore Zen too. Brad Warner is a cool dude. I used to follow his blog a lot, he used to write more stuff on it before he was promoting his books. Zen seems pretty sweet, and I don’t believe any method is the best. Tibetan Buddhists seem to say theirs is the best more than most other Buddhist people do, because they have all this magical stuff in it that’s really similar to western Hermetics and occultism. But religions are all conspiracy theories on some level, haha!

But there is secret stuff in lots of lineages, branches of Chinese and Japanese Buddhism, Shintoism and Daoism, Yogic/Hindu traditions, as well as Christian and Jewish traditions. Basically they only teach “secret” higher level practices to the next generation of lineage holders — people they can ensure will maintain the tradition to the fullest quality. It’s easy to cheapen something by selling or giving it to everyone and thus no one will really maintain it for the right reasons.

I really like the Buddhist teachers Ajahn Chah, Thanissaro Bhikkhu (both Theravada), as well as Taisen Deshimaru, who was one of Brad Warner’s teachers’ senior classmates. Basically I think it’s a matter of finding the style that fits a person the best, and a good teacher. Like, if I were in a small town, I’d probably just try to find the best martial arts teacher regardless of style, but in a city I would find the MA that fit with my body/personality and find the best teacher within that.

Everybody wants their cake

Posted in Buddhism, Christianity, Exercise, Happiness, health, New Age Baloney, Reality Bites, Religion, tai chi, taijiquan, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , , , on August 29, 2009 by wizardsmoke

Been reading a lot about Jodo Shu/Pure Land Buddhism lately. It sounds a lot like Christianity to me: everybody goes to paradise as long as they can faithfully recite Amida Buddha’s name out. Even the negative actions of a sinner cannot stop a true believer in Amida’s Pure Land from going there. Amida’s Pure Land is also locate in the west. Why the west? I couldn’t tell ya. Well, I do have my own speculations on the matter, but they’re worthless even to me, much less to you, lolz!

I gotta say, though, this whole deal of thinking heaven and paradise are somewhere else and you get to go there miraculously for being a good little lamb — I don’t believe it. Not because I don’t believe in paradise, but because I don’t think you’ll have to wait around to go there once you see it. When it happens, it happens, kapicz?

In fact, the whole problem of getting to paradise is a lot like the whole problem of learning to relax and issue power in Taijiquan. The only way we can issue power is by focusing on relaxation, so the only way we can go to paradise is to focus on… …. ….

Okay, I don’t really have much of a point here, but think about this! For some reason, everybody (and I’m not just generalizing) builds up chronic muscle tension in their back, hips and shoulders over time. This eventually leads to back problems and serious back pain, joint pain, etc. which further builds up depression, listlessness, and so on. But instead of getting up every morning and going through some half-hour routine to deal with this inevitable physical pain that accompanies existence, most people complain about it or want some easy solution later in life when it builds up and finally hits them. Which, again has some kind of analogy to yearning for paradise, though again I am slow and not quite getting to the …

Oh well. Paradise actually doesn’t exist, because if we conceptualize it in advance, it’s not paradise.

‘Smoke signals…

Posted in Buddhism, God(s), Mysticism, Reality Bites, Ultimate Reality, World of Emotions on August 19, 2009 by wizardsmoke

This blog is all over the place! And if anything, that’s what makes it kind of “emo” and hard to maintain when I’m focusing on more specific projects. But whatever, on with the show. I know you care, right? Haha!

I used to sit down at my computer and just roll with the ideas that flowed out of my jazzy fingertips. But nowadays, I think of something to write and I consider it to be stupid and pointless. Because there is no overarching “point” to it. Blogs should have a theme, a purpose, a reason to follow them. Not just meandering internal chatter.

What’s my novelty? Ah — wizardry! Of course. Everyone hitting up this blogspace is looking for magical discussion (or fake marijuana — seriously, google it). And magic is interesting to everyone. In fact, everyone wants to learn magic but won’t admit it or agree to a general definition of it. But everyone wants a leg up on other people — everyone wants X-ray goggles, eye-lasers, levitation, invisibility, etc. Or they want inner peace, to heal people, to be enlightened, and so on.

Thing is, magic isn’t physically tangible to people who have a pre-conceived notion of what they think it should be. Skeptics, athiests, or whatever — they have preconceived notions or definitions. But magic is about the pregnancy of ideas, and those who straight-up refuse to consider mind-manipulation of the various spheres of existence are in fact, ripe for manipulation (UNLIKE PEOPLE WHO BLINDLY BELIEVE IN THE EXISTENCE OF OTHERWORLDLY PHENOMENA, AMIRITE?).

All goals and objectives in life make us miserable when we consider their totality, because there’s no actual point to existence. But believing in a purpose to life, a reasoning or burning drive that makes us “correct” in contrast to others — it functions under the premise that there is a tangible point to life by reaching for — or creating, one. And why not? It’s more fun to play the game, to run the gambit or the spiral towards “meaning”. Even though meaning or purpose is like the eye of the spiral, whirlpool and black-hole. It’s mesmerizing, but ultimately you are destroyed by it (there is nothing on the other side — wah!!!).

I was talking to a neurotic friend, who mentioned that the “point” of life is basically like “rigpa” in Tibetan Buddhism — attaining and maintaining “the state”. Although it sounds really cheesy and dumb, I basically do agree with this — there is no point beyond maintaining a “pure” state of awareness where we don’t really identify with positive or negative definitions or illusions of purpose. And it’s not that we don’t care about the consequences of events; it’s just that everything from the cosmic egg ebbs and flows and never permanently settles, so why should we attach our karmic fate to things which are not spiritually permanent investments (including expressions of self)?

Anyway, this mental state is the only thing that does not bring eventual suffering, dissatisfaction, ordukkha. So any talking about it just complicates the issue more; it’s like the traditional Chan/Zen idea that you cannot tell by interacting with a person whether they are enlightened or not, because they know not to attach much romance to ambitious spiritual ideas — they just do the work. So enlightened people just look like any person interested in the random stuff they happen to be doing at the moment; the day’s work, and so on, except their “mind” or spirit or whatever is not emotionally attaching to it.

So no matter if this world was hand-crafted by God or Satan, or self-manifested by idiots or angelic spirits, or whatever you think happened that put it together — from the ultimate perspective our suffering is sort of unaccounted for in the equation, because it’s a subtle choice (yes, obviously physical pain is a little different, but it’s like getting confronted with a gun: try to avoid it before it happens). But when activated, suffering actually spurs people to expel energy and intent into the world without control.  Presumably, if you maintain “the state” then existence is a beautiful pearl, not an endless trail of tears, because you aren’t identifying with it. But that’s just sick, sick, sick!

Liar’s lies

Posted in Buddhism, Mysticism, New Age Baloney, Philosophy, Reality Bites, society, Ultimate Reality on May 15, 2009 by wizardsmoke

As a kid I remember loving movies that had a distinct twist, or a mystery that gradually unraveled itself. And I think the mainstream film-going audience really loves that kind of stuff – knowing manipulation. There is no objective moral ground for enjoying manipulation, there is only obsession. People both want to be manipulated and see behindthe manipulations.

At every level of being, people are being manipulated or lied to. In Plato’s Republic, this is done to people “for their own good.” So every manipulation is held with the measure that it is for our well-being that we do not understand everything. And why is that? Because when illusions are dissected, we cease to care. The game and the illusion are the same.

Demons become grotesque because they look for the heart of these things. Not like I have much judgment to pass around here, and I don’t want to really think about the moral implications of these things, but… for some reason I can’t shake the notion that the self and its quest for desire, meaning and purpose are just self-fulfilling schemes to create yet more self and experience — rather than any kind of understanding of the whole samsaric schemata.

Old news. I guess it’s like they say: questions which bring total neurotic meltdown — total madness of the heart:
-Why?
-What is real?
-What is the point (of anything)?
-What is truth?
-Who am I? (+ all other comparisons with others).

Firmly grounded in the…

Posted in Buddhism, death, God(s), Happiness, health, History, Mysticism, New Age Baloney, Philosophy, Religion, Ultimate Reality, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , on April 30, 2009 by wizardsmoke

As other more astute and accomplished individuals have pointed out on their blogs, it seems that religious scenes and groups are more frequently populated by middle-aged and elderly folks. Sure — why not, right?

In angsty youth (and in angsty adulthood too, sometimes), many deride the religious for being fearful of the afterlife. But I think what is equally true is that people become fearful of the past as they age, athiests or not. If, supposing there is nothing after death, our life is all we did, why wouldn’t we want to reflect on living the best life possible? Errors are inevitable, but not necessary. If this life is all there is, well then what is the point of living a miserable nihilistic one? (Not to mention, only young people have the consistent energy to resist and deny feelings of remorse, regret, or guilt: denial leads to mental illness in older folks!)

The interesting thing is that this kind of thinking, where one questions the point of cruelty or despair when it has no purpose or punishment, actually leads toward a sense of compassionate martyrdom — later Greek philosophy and eventually Christianity.

However, basic ignorance does pervade all of this, for all concerned. The power of denial is undeniably strong with too many of us. And it’s a very fine line to cross at certain times in our lives between becoming total subconsciously self-loathing scumbags and people of integrity. Often it’s because we’re afraid of what we might lose: our family, our friends or social acceptance, our money or property, our rights, our anonymity, and so forth.

Compassionate acts are interesting, because in the wrong hands they easily become catalysts to vain behavior. I’ve had friends who did not believe in selfless charity (nor have I, at times in my life). In the early 20th century, after both World War I and World War II had ended, there were serious debates in the United States media and art communities over how best to honor fallen servicemen in the war effort. The big stand-off was between “Traditional Memorials” and “Living Memorials”. Traditional ones are like plaques and art pieces; living ones are like parks and dedicated buildings or facilities. The big debate commonly came down to which one better left a stoic message that all would respect and remember.

But who cares about that? A person who is proud of their legacy shouldn’t care about their personal data. Who cares if you are worshiped forever? None of this leads to anyone’s happiness or satisfaction. It is far better to leave something that improves the world (how exactly, I have no idea whatsoever). This is the preachy message Kurosawa’s film Ikiru is hammering into the viewer’s brain over it’s insanely long runtime.

Since everything fades from memory, and memory is such a transient and unreliable device (history is forgotten or unknown by most of the public, anyway), what does a concrete, identifiable legacy matter? That’s why I like the idea of gods of compassion, or virtuous people, or totally enlightened Buddhas and their badass retinues — everything such an individual would do would be selfless compassion. Not giving oneself up to others, but giving up the notion of one-self, individualism altogether — compassionate activity with no regard as to individuals whatsoever. A total generator of compassion.

Such generators do exist, but I suspect they are beyond identification and not worth discussing much more. And there are similar generators for every possible cosmic experience. So I don’t know if any particular experience “wins” or whatever, but if it’s a matter of looking back on one’s life in the future and being satisfied with how you lived it, it’s worth considering.