Archive for the karma 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.

Fortune favors the bold (and all that good stuff)

Posted in death, Fighting, karma, Mysticism, Paganism, Philosophy, society, Uncategorized, World of Emotions with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on September 21, 2008 by wizardsmoke

No matter whether life is painful, pleasurable, boring,or exciting, one idea that has always stood out to me goes something like this: “a man not sacrificed is a worthless man.” It’s an idea that strikes me as being somewhat “pagan” in its grasp, this idea that one’s self-sacrifice is one’s greatest reason to live. In pagan cultures it seems like people are/were the children/food for their gods, and so their self-sacrifice is a completely natural goal. It is a foreign concept to us, as it does tread on all of these sensitive boundaries of self-righteousness and crazed self-attachment which most contemporary people abide by. Yet in nature, isn’t the male the one who is only temporarily necessary (via fertilization) for life to go on?

It’s a bit cheesy to be specific like this, but sometimes it’s all as Ogami Itto says at the end of one of the Lone Wolf & Cub films: [the purpose of a samurai’s life is] “to live to die.” Cheesy and extreme, but that’s kind of it, really. What right do the living have to be alive if they are not willing to give their lives? Another conundrum of the ego: one lives to give one’s life. One seeks to escape oneself but lives in fear of doing so. I think the message is a good one, though the application in traditional samurai-era budo is rather… dramatic.

A while back I mentioned an interview with the Japanese film director, Masahiro Shinoda, where he explains his perspective that the real losers in war are those survivors who have to go on living with blood on their hands. It’s an interesting world-view in the modern world. In embracing war (and life, and romance, and sex, and violence, and everything) comes a deluded, necessary sense of purpose or finality. It is frightening, because often one’s purpose, particularly in war, actually has nothing to do with survival. Often people who are devoid of a purpose, or are continually enamored of one, have not sacrificed themselves for something any greater than their fleeting personal desires. And that brings to mind some things I’m always thinking, like how it is sometimes more painful to live in shame than mere physical pain. Goals and living are not necessarily synonymous.

These ideas are not particularly lucrative in a free-market economic system. But honestly, if the more common denominators of the populace could handle considering these things more often, maybe our common goals would be more meaningful. Not necessarily more organized or efficient — that’s what crazy fat-cats are already trying to achieve. But I mean to say, by living with a willingness to die, some of the important things in life reveal themselves.

It’s funny. In a country like China, those top-dogs for the AIG and all those morgage firms — those guys who almost single-handedly destroyed the world economy through their cult-like, childish, Ayn-Randian arrogance — they probably would’ve been shot in a show of public faith and party-line routine. I’m not a party-line proponent, but I don’t know if that would be horribly extreme given their criminal goals. After all, if someone beats another person nearly to death, don’t they go to jail for 5+ years in the USA? Might it not be worse to financially ruin millions of people because of your own deliriously sick private interests? Indeed, only the rich misunderstand these things. “He who has been harmed by you, knows you.”

Because their acts were so shameful, it would be deceitful to demand of them to go on living in the aftermath of their actions. Truly, their shame should have gotten the best of them. They are the losers of their own hand and should be punished by that. And yet, not only is there no punishment for them, they fail to be consciously affected by the ugly shame they’ll live with from now on. The emptiness that comes from greed seems to render one impervious to shame.

Keep on searchin’ for that rainbow!

Posted in Buddhism, God(s), karma, Mysticism, Philosophy, Reality Bites, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , on May 13, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Apparently after people work at a treasured goal for years and years and then finally accomplish it, they are prone to incredible bouts of depression. You know, building up something in the mind for a long time, it never happens and has the “juice” a person thought it would have.

Well, no shizzam, right? Anticipation is the best part of life, so some would say. To give a good solid example, Bill Bryson, in A Walk in the Woods — just one of his many fabulous books, talks about how a lot of hikers trying to tackle the whole Appalachian Trail will take 5 or 6 months in the process of completing it. Their whole life for half a year is just hike, hike, hike — from Georgia to Maine. And then they finally finish, only to be set upon by a vivid drought of existential meaning. Hahaha! It’s almost like they were Sisyphus and they just finished pushing the rock up the hill! Now they’re all mopey looking for another rock to push, but they’ve spent so much time away from typical social and civilized life they don’t know where to look next!

So do you think that happens to people after enlightenment? Like, a person gets the most extreme depression hangover of all time? Nah… that would be kind of dark! So I guess that’s what happens when you finally become a demon. You know what I mean? ‘Coz people are always talking so big about how bad people go to hell or whatever. Maybe they just flutter around without a (metaphorical) rock to push for a while.

Being a demon must be the biggest disappointment ever.

Vows

Posted in karma, Monasticism, Occult, society, Ultimate Reality with tags , , , on May 2, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Religious ordinations often contain precepts and vows. What is the significance of a vow? When one makes a vow or resolute promise — when one decides to live by a code — the results or effects of that code immediately project themselves throughout society and the world. Even without devoting a conscious effort to vows, they influence one’s mind and actions. So, if one promises to abstain from killing absolutely anything in the world, the world rests a little easier, being absent of one more potential killer.

What’s so bad about breaking vows, is that they render the initial vow to be meaningless. Vows are only powerful as long as they are kept, but they gain potency and strength as the duration of their vow is increasingly fulfilled. In breaking a vow, the falling rhythm of karma and causality begins to turn and further vows of the same sort are less sincere or powerful as a result. And on a more mundane level, this explains people who repeatedly take up a practice and quit, or are constantly trying new things but stick with none of them. These are all weak vows which dilapidate with their inconsistency.

It’s strange how, in the beginning of a person’s desire for wisdom or knowledge or whatever, they look all over the place for it. They throw themselves into all sorts of esoteric crap and profound philosophies and practices in order to discover some kind of truth. But then, after all avenues have been exhausted, one does what comes naturally to their person. On a more mundane level, this is how many politicians begin careers: the ambition and enthusiasm to change the corruption inherent to systems of law. And of course they all end up following the path of least resistance.

Okay, so maybe it’s a little different than the ambitions of a politician. But… looking for enlightenment in the wrong place can end up the same way, except one ends up completely at the bottom of desire and chaos. The eye of the tempest! Kinda weird how those who seek to maintain positions of order end up maintaining chaos. That’s what they’re protecting you against in religions when they say you must kill yourself (metaphorically, of course).

What to do…

The Answer

Posted in karma, Mysticism, Occult, Philosophy, Ultimate Reality, Uncategorized with tags , , , on April 25, 2008 by wizardsmoke

What is the answer to it all? The conclusion? It seems when we break everything apart, there are just fundamental dynamics and laws which compose phenomena and a bunch of temporal beings which exist in the midst of it all. Ya know: people and animals and gods coming together under the power of belief and the law of karma. But there do not appear to be real answers — no conclusive periods of final spiritual rest.

I’ve long since given up on philosophy as providing an answer or satisfying solution to any problems. Not that I find it uninteresting, and I still read some of it. But as I’ve been prone to say, philosophy seems to be intense artistic rumination on the various branches of thought that exist in dualistic reality. Unfortunately, thought itself is not a means to freedom because thought works circularly or in a rhythm. Thoughts eventually pop, or must come reeling back to the mind. And within all one-sided conclusions or analysis (a la scientific experiments) there is always a reactionary thought or some kind of conundrum. Almost all conclusions of a personal conviction and dualistic nature are only true by the strength or determination of our own efforts.

So, it seems on some level we exist purely by our own belief and following the strengths of our own convictions. Which seemingly agrees with and contradicts Nietzsche’s theory of drives. Nietzsche didn’t really believe in free will and Sartre liked to hop around an exact definition of freedom. Sartre begins to sound like “A” from Kierkegaard’s Either/Or (Sartre was also an extreme-left sympathizer/apologist, who condoned even horrible atrocities in the name of Communism). I’d like to think that the freedom that can exist within the realm of existentialism is the freedom of belief.

Freedom of belief (as I’ll temporarily define existentialist belief on my own terms) is not a conscious freedom of choice, but of a freedom to accumulate one’s own value structure and believe one’s own perceptions. That is, one is free to believe whatever one wishes, and what makes it more true than another’s beliefs is simply the conviction one carries with it. One does not have the freedom to do whatever one wishes, since there are laws in the world and the cosmos, but one is potentially free to color their mind with whatever perceptions they choose. One may perceive any event in any way they so desire.

In fact, this is inherent to the nature of occult practice, of which modern (athiestic) philosophy is acquainted. Sometimes I wonder if the deepest occult realizations are not also the heart of the intellectual mind — a realm of infinite complexity where occult and intellectual cease to exist as useful designations.

In existential terms the only good things seem to be those which are interesting or pleasurable. Thus, for those people who cannot see the karmic result of following their drives, this kind of philosophy is dangerous. But then again how can one, especially a so-called philosopher, believe in something they don’t see or create for themselves? It is a complicated thing, to intellectually assess free will, and I doubt it has any solutions.

The real problem I see with a lot of modern philosophers is that their message is not as profound as their ability to write. Instead of a consistent rhythm of insight, their writings often also consist of excess decorations of boredoms and insecurities. It’s no surprise that lots of black magick texts feature these shortcomings as well: an inability to boil down, condense and concisely transmit a meaningful statement and message. If one’s mind is disheveled, unorganized and constantly distracted, how could one hope to find the answer?

Wisdom from the Village Idiot

Posted in Happiness, karma, Mysticism, Philosophy, World of Emotions with tags , , , , on March 23, 2008 by wizardsmoke

People take the goal and meaning of life from varying, obscure practices. Some people like to play music or make art. And some people like to fight. Or they achieve a feeling of accomplishment from exposure to violent interactions. Some people get all their energy from being alone and contemplating their existence. Some people jog in the morning or decide to have kids. Some people follow their greed or lust for power. If it exists under the sun, it’s someone’s religion.

Really, people are so conditioned by so many factors in life, shaped by karmic circumstance. How much of it is a choice? The only choice we make is to say yes or no to mentally (sometimes physically) participating in activities. We tend to forget we’re our genetic dispositions, our environments, our inheritance of merit and intuitive wisdom. We all think we know what’s best for us, but no one really knows. Not that there’s no free will, but everything is connected. So you can’t blast off away from everyone or your past or your inheritance.

To get somewhere astrally good, ya gotta have faith in yourself, but I’ll be damned if most people even know what they’re doing day-to-day, much less in life and the universal scheme (you should be able to assess your trades, talents and volitional qualities by the time you’re 25 as far as I’m concerned). It’s only okay to have faith in yourself if you’ve got some nice comfy insight into your existence on this endless wave. Ah, again though — everyone thinks they’ve got it, don’t they? What a tricky situation! It’s like that high-larious joke I’ve heard: to be a ruthless dictator you’ve got to have really good taste.

As I’m prone to say, the real trick to being satisfied is just getting up early in the morning and getting stuff done. That’s your base on which to build energy. And then on top of that, there’s the pleasure of having little satisfactions.

Little things that make life fun. Like, for example, the way everyone is so excited when they have a package coming in the mail. It’s just so universal — everyone loves it! Nobody hates it! It’s seriously like hitting the first jhana, every time you’re anticipating a package! Other examples of these pleasures include digging into a good new book or watching a great new movie or reading a great new Wizard Smoke post, etc. You know, little things. And they’re obviously not only materialistic, but these are cool examples because they’re minutely materialistic. They don’t have materialism as some goal.

The opposite of that, when life sucks the most, is when you get up late and neglect to do the important daily functions and errands of life. Work, school, the things we love — when these are neglected and slept through, a person feels like crap. Energy gets zapped! And then the drained misery is accentuated by the bothersome little things in life, right? Like, when you go to the store for a little audio adapter and drive all the way home to discover it’s the wrong one. Or when you start a band practice and break a string right away and have no replacement, or when you anticipate eating your favorite cereal (usually Corn Pops) and discover your little sister ate it all first! Augh!

Yeah, I guess it’s all about anticipation, right? When we anticipate things, our very contentedness, our very happiness hangs in the balance! Our happiness relies on the success of the object of anticipation! It’s a good thing I cleared that one up. Your lives should be smooth sailing from here on out.

(Inter)dependence

Posted in Buddhism, karma, martial arts, Philosophy, Reality Bites, society with tags , , , , , on March 20, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Kind of like kids and teenagers, old folks tend to really cherish their independence. Of course it’s a different kind of independence,

But this has me thinking about depending upon other people. I hate depending upon other people, because it means having less control over one’s actions and takes on a subtle form of humiliation, of submission. I don’t like having power over others, or making others depend on me too much either, so go figure — I’m complicated. Ah, but there are moments when interdependence is awesome right? Like when you need to find a job or living space or life partner? Sure, it makes life easier, but then again it’s also another constraint on your “freedom”.

Are constraints on freedom unavoidable? Is this bad? In his famous work, ‘Beyond Good and Evil,’ Nietzsche proclaims the qualities of independence and self-exertion to be “good” values. “Bad” values are those of self-sacrifice and submission to the state, the group or party, as well as the notions of equality or democracy that accompany such a submission. He sets up a paradigm of human existence that echoes a lot of the trappings of karma (Nietzsche was an academic fan of Buddhism, as he mentions in his later anti-Christian work, ‘The Anti-Christ’).

To summarize (or is that paraphrasing?) his ideas, he thinks that the past (made up of previous causes) gives rise to our drives and desires, which in turn cause us to create our values and judgments. Simple enough stuff, basically stating that there is no isolated original cause of our worldly decisions nor is there any unbiased, pristine value judgment that we can make.

A ha! but that’s nothing new, Mr. Nietzsche! The Buddhist organization beat you to getting that on paper about 2000 years prior! ‘Course, it seems so impressive when someone writes it all down on their own, right? Gives some semblance of personal willpower or whosits.

One of the reasons I really wanted to pursue martial arts and other stuff as a kid is because I always loathed the way older people, or more helpless people, have to depend on others and yet feel miserable for it. Ah, not like I’m some cold, heartless machine. I’m a real team player (there is no I in EGO, HAHAHA!) But, for some reason, sometimes people just don’t want to help you out. Nobody knows what’s best for somebody else now, do they?

I think that everyone wants to be independent at the bottom of their heart, at the most subtle layers of their being. Of course we all want democracy and charity and peace and friendship too. But the workings of society and the world, they encourage people to be overly dependent on one-another in a way that’s malicious. But, in our society it’s seen as some kind of cool, smart, business ability to make buyers or stockholders dependent on your market decisions, or trade secrets, or connections.

In the famous Broadway musical play, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, the main town is a poor Jewish shtetl in Poland. When one of the main characters is asked how the townspeople make a living, he responds with, “we keep busy doing each other’s laundry”. In other words, fake, charitable jobs. A lot of human existence is like that, particularly in times of overpopulation or resource scarcity: work becomes like charity. We become dependent upon others, but in a way where we’re putting our livelihood and faith in them.

That’s the clincher. That’s where you suffocate. Working for other people: there’s no freedom in that! But neither is there in turning the tables, in making others rely that way upon you!