Thrasymachus wrote:I had to laugh at that, since that is what I just read recently. However I am nothing like Holden who was quite base and a drinker.
I got a laugh! Ha!
Simon E. wrote:It seems to me that the ultimate in escapism is thinking that we can somehow fix samsara.
Funny - that's what I thought the Buddha tried to do. Of course he found that there was nothing that needed fixing aside from one's own mind.
So, according to some people, the world was supposed to end yesterday. It didn't.
Some of you pine for the destruction of this current order on which you place blame for everything - how are you different from these apocalyptos? Your'e all stuck in some apocalyptic theology of one shade or another - pining for some place other than your present karmic circumstance. Huseng pines for premodern times when people supposedly had more independence of thought - something which as a historian I don't understand at all - there were flashes of enlightenment in the past, but they all ended after short duration, and I strongly suspect that aside from a few elites who touched heaven and left records, the mass of humanity has always groaned along in peasantry/serfdom/un-fulfilling employment of one form or another since the Axial Age, delighting in the minor joys life has to offer the salt of the earth - a little fornication, a little intoxication, a little awe invoking ritual, a little dance, smiles on each others' faces. Thrasymachus as far as I can tell just loathes the self-satisfied yuppie suburbanites packing their skis for their Christmas-New Years getaway (but going to see the Hobbit is an acceptable indulgence?)
All I get is that you guys don't like your life. You want to be somewhere other than this conditioned point in the flow of karma. Your are discouraged and disgusted by the behavior of your fellows. In many cases, rightfully so - humans can be vile, petty creatures. Always have been. Since I'm a betting man, I'll wager whatever you want to put up that it WILL remain so until the last of our species goes out with a whimper.
Now, I don't get this from Thrasymachus, but I do get it from others, that you seem to think there is a more perfect place where your pursuit of enlightenment will be easier. Its called Sukhavati (I just learned the other day that Sukha is the opposite of Dukkha. Hey!). At least that's what Buddhists have called one of these places. There are other fantastic Pure Lands in other directions. Other people call it Heaven, or the Garden of Eden, the Happy Hunting Ground, Valhalla. Post Peak-Oil future primitive. I guess I'll have to be the one that tells you Santa Claus isn't real - these Pure Lands, at least the simple narratives in the Sutras, and whatever else you can conceive, are stories to console. They're as real, simpliciter, as my Turtle Fur Coat.
Dress it in whatever insightful analysis you want - it sounds like the dissatisfaction that follows from dukkha to me.
So, all the bitching, all the analysis about what has gone wrong, what does that amount to? Maybe if you channel it through an academic program you can join a circle jerk at an Ivy university, which has its advantages. More critically, what are you doing about it? Are you tapping into your boundless well of compassionate energy to overcome the inevitable? Or are you just content to watch your fellows wallow in excrement? Or maybe you don't even want to observe your fellows and all you really want to do is go meditate staring at a wall until your feet fall off. That is Hinayana in the most despicable sense of that word. And don't give me this crap about Yogic achievements. We Moderns have some remarkable Yogic achievements - like flying aluminum cans that transport you to the other side of the planet in a matter of hours - with no stopovers!
You guys are obsessed with the particulars of "modernity" but in general, I don't see your lamentations as being much different from the Buddha's concerns shortly after his awakening:
"This Dhamma that I have attained is deep, hard to see, hard to realize, peaceful, refined, beyond the scope of conjecture, subtle, to-be-experienced by the wise. But this generation delights in attachment, is excited by attachment, enjoys attachment. For a generation delighting in attachment, excited by attachment, enjoying attachment, this/that conditionality and dependent co-arising are hard to see. This state, too, is hard to see: the resolution of all fabrications, the relinquishment of all acquisitions, the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding. And if I were to teach the Dhamma and if others would not understand me, that would be tiresome for me, troublesome for me."
Lucky for us, the Buddha did not give up on us so easily. I don't see him relishing the collapse of his society. How fortunate we are that he didn't go waiting for some more perfect circumstance when people will spontaneously realize how bad they have it and bring about the change we've all been waiting for! Bodhisvaha! Haleluja! He might have waited a really long time, and by now, given the distractions of "Call of Duty" and Porn On Demand, might have just given up, opting to wait for the end of the world.
There is no escape from your present karmic circumstance. If the Buddhist sages are right, if you don't change your karma, you will be confronted with the same circumstances no matter which new location you try to set up shop. The No Oil Future Primitive will be qualitatively just as dissatisfying as now. And the same options will more or less be open to you. Try as you might to separate yourself from the intersection of the Dharmadhatu you find yourself, you can't escape it. If you've paid any attention to the Mahayana message - true enlightenment is not possible separate from the dharmadhatu - from your fellow beings. You have immense opportunity now. Why are you wasting time counting all they ways its not good enough and just get on with it? That is procrastination in a classic sense. I don't know which teachers are poisoning your minds with this pessimism, but you need to turn them off.
Like I wrote before - "Samsara is overwhelming - Wahh!"
Duh, mofo. Duh.
The only question is your resolve, determination, and ability to endure in the process of doing something about it.