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    Archive for the 'Buddhism' Category

    Now this really bugs me

    Friday, May 14th, 2010

    First of all, another comment that my lack of blogging results from:

    1. Getting a bit tired of rehashing the same themes (there are only so many ways that thinking goes awry in the New Age and “spiritual” world, really)
    2. Being busy with things like Invisible Shoes running sandals
    3. Nothing spinning in my head  loudly enough that I need to get it out by writing it down

    Well, that’s about to change. There’s a thought-storm a-brewin’ and this brief post will hint at what it is.

    So let me get there by starting here:

    You probably know about the various “caveman” or “paleolithic” diets. They suggest that we should eat like our 100,000 year old ancestors for maximum health and a lean, trim body.

    Okay, let’s ignore for a moment that most of what they ate no longer exists — the fruits and vegetables they would find have long since been selectively bred out of existence, for example.

    And let’s ignore that their lifestyle — which involved a surprisingly small amount of driving, deskwork, and Twitter/Facebook status updates — is, oh, a bit passe.

    But here’s what gets me. I’ve never heard one of the paleo/cave proponents recommend a food that was eaten frequently by our more hirsute relatives… one that is a source of a significant percentage of protein in the diets of many modern societies.


    Yup. Bugs, grubs, spiders, creepy-crawly things. Oh, and let’s not forget lizards who, it seems, had not yet been turned into hyper-expensive boots.

    If you’re going to propose that we get in the Way-Back Machine and knosh at a pre-historic Denny’s, then you can’t cherry-pick your data (and cherries, back then, were sour and sucked). You can’t leave out the pieces of the puzzle that you find unpleasant or, worse, unmarketable.

    So, you paleolithic pansies, get thee to an Asian grocery for some palm grubs (smoothies, anyone?). Hop over to an exotic pet store for a plateful of crickets and grasshoppers. Don’t feed that monitor lizard you have as a pet… pet it gently with marinade as you roast it over an open flame.

    Oh, and walk all the way to and fro on your gathering errands, cause finding this stuff shouldn’t be easy.

    Now, all that said, how does this relate to our normal topic-du-blog?

    I’ve been struck lately by how Western Buddhists have been cherry-picking philosophy and taking the bugs out of the teachings they don’t find palatable (like, oh, the little idea that “enlightenment” or the “end of suffering” — the promise and #1 sales pitch of Buddhism — is attainable through diligent practice of monastic life… and, instead, Buddhism is really promising that, in the moment, you have the ability to be more present and less reactive… Whoopty-friggin’ do).

    But more about that later, once the volume of that thought in my brain gets to 11.

    Oh, those wacky Buddhists…

    Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

    I know a number of religious fundamentalists. But, no, they’re not Christian. Not even Muslim. And, nope, not Zoroastrian, either.

    They’re Buddhist. And among the reasons for their holier-than-thou-ness is they think Buddhism is “smarter” than other religions. They think Buddhists are more about critical inquiry than unfounded belief, not prone to superstition or magical thinking. And the intellectual icing on the arrogant cake is the notion that modern day Quantum Physics supports 2500-year old Buddhist beliefs.

    Of course these are American Budddists, most of whom have never visited Buddhist countries, where people routinely pray to “Lord Buddha” in order to improve their chances of winning the lottery, or make donations to the local temple be assured of a better rebirth.

    Well, this news story might hammer a nail into the “Buddhists are smarter than other religion’s followers” coffin:

    Buddha wasp hiveROCHESTER, Minn. (AP) _ The Cambodian Buddhist community in Rochester is abuzz over what they believe is a miracle: a wasp nest in the shape of a seated Buddha built in the eaves of their temple.

    The nest was spotted last week. Elder members of the community say they have never seen an apparition of the Buddha in their lifetimes.

    Seventy-year-old Voeun Sor of Rochester says the hive shows the Buddha is trying to tell everybody to seek peace in their lives.

    Robert Jeanne is an entomology professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He says the Buddha-shaped hive could actually be four different nests formed over a couple of years. He says if someone wants to read miracles into that, that’s their privilege.

    Moeun Ngop is a 76-year-old monk. He has a more mystical take. He says the insects are trying to communicate Buddha’s message.

    I can only respond with an ancient Buddhist expression: Oy, vey!

    Now the followers of Siddhartha Gautama have joined the “Virgin Mary is in my French Toast” and the “Jesus is in the wood grain of my bathroom door” Christians.

    Ignoring that for a second, let’s take a gander at the rest of the impressive reasoning going on here.

    “The hive shows the Buddha is trying to tell everyone to seek peace…” Uhhh… hello? This is a WASP’S NEST! If it was a chorus line of butterflies dancing in the shape of the Buddha, sure. But WASPS?! Not the first insect that comes to mind when I free associate about “peace” (which, by the way, is praying mantis).

    “The insects are trying to communicate the Buddha’s message…” Not very well, I’d say. If I was trying to communicate the Buddha’s message, I’d try, oh, WORDS, not an image that looks all puffy, like the Buddha after he’s been stung by a a few thousand wasps.

    And, to get technical, how are we to explain that the wasps learned the Buddha’s message in the first place? Buddhist teaching says that one reason being born as a human is so precious is because this is the only form of life that gives you the opportunity to hear the Buddha’s message.

    Alright, alright… perhaps I’m being a bit too hard on the 76-year old guy. He’s a monk. He doesn’t get out much. And, having had my share of wasp nest encounters, I understand the confusion. Just listen for a minute and you can hear the little stingers engaging in a veritable non-stop spiritual practice, repeating over and over the mantra, “Hmmmmmmmmmmmm…..”





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