06-20-06 12:21  •  Energy Sensitive

Jenna: At the moment, I am dealing with being very sensitive to other people's energies, and the energy of the universe. I often get almost sick from it... like in my stomach... or I just feel it somewhere in my body. I then need a way to release it.

Right now, I get regular massage, acupunture (which helps ALOT, the acupunture), and chant a mantra every day. All of these help my path.... I'm looking though to do more. What do you recommend?

Those seem mainly passive. For excess energy I prefer something active, like walking, dance, tai chi, etc. Particularly since it sounds like the energy is getting "stuck" or "blocked."

Then, once you are flowing strongly and evenly, its nice to relax into a more passive/meditative state to achieve balance.

Also you might consider that simply because you are offered energy, that doesn't mean you have to take it or keep it. The glass lets the light pass through. Everything can be seen in the mirror, yet it holds nothing for itself.

Jenna: That sounds very wise, thank you. I live in North Carolina and I passed two trucks full of pigs on their way to be slaughtered today. I could feel the anxiety and depression and confusion of those poor doomed animals. It's awful and, to be honest, I don't know what to do about it.

Are they any more or less doomed than you are?
You are both on the road to a fate you don't really understand and can't fully anticipate.

Understand your own march into death and you will know what to do with those feelings.

06-17-06 11:18  •  Fighting Evil

Lidiot: You claimed that we can't "fight evil" because fighting is the evil. Well, I say it's not fighting evil that's evil. It's "letting others suffer conveniently". It is refusing to become engaged.

Not fighting evil is not the same as not fighting at all.

I'm peaceful as my first choice, but I'm definately not a pacifist.

If the inhuman treatment of others bothers you, and it should, by all means step up. But let's be clear about what is being fought so we can know when to stop.

The problem with fighting "evil" is that since it is just pretend, there is always more of it that you can imagine up to fight and no way to know when to stop. Also it can be changed to fit who ever has what you want, like oil, while ignoring those who are technically worse, but don't inspire your greed.

That's a problem.

By positing evil and then fighting it you inevitably become what you abhor.

Evil is like a pile of shit. If you fight it, you just get covered with it.
To throw it away you still have to pick it up and carry it around with you.

06-17-06 11:17  •  Defense Mechanism

Max: I have pondered whether or not the dharma is a defense mechanism to enable people to cope with an otherwise hostile and impossible-to-cope-with world.

Is it a false, albeit brilliant, glimmer of hope in a hopeless universe?

It depends on how you use it.

It's just a bunch of words after all.

You can use them to clear away the crap or pile it deeper.

The point is not that they inherantly remove the crap.

The point is that unlike so much else, they actually *can* be used to clear away the crap.

But you still have to do it.

Max: the various "tenants" such as the middle way, the 8-fold path, form and emptiness...
doesn't that seem contrived to you?

What makes you practitioners so certain that you're not wasting your time with very sophisticated snake oil?


Max: Results? Prithee?

I want so much to believe.

Don't believe is the first step.

Believing is what is asked for by those who have nothing to show.

Meditate and see what effects it produces.
Pratice the eightfold path and observe the five precepts and see what effects it produces.

Granted not much usually happens the first day. There is some learning curve to actually doing the practice. But most people will notice something after a week if they put some effort into it.

I'm not saying you'll be enlightened or anything woo woo, but if you do just what I listed with even a modicum of dedication it will show results in your morality, concentration and insight the longer you practice.

If it doesn't after what you consider a fair trial period, move on to something better.

06-16-06 12:18  •  Am I a Buddhist?

Dave: Can you be part of a Sangha if you don't go to a temple with lots of other people and meditate with them? Can you be a Buddhist if you only read scriptures a few times, and never learned any chants?

I try to follow the 8 fold path and meditate just about every day.
If these are the only two things I participate in that are Buddhist-like, then should I call myself a Buddhist? I hate to bring race into it, but I'm not Asian.

I would say anyone who practices sila/morality, samadhi/concentration and paρρa/wisdom is eligable to call themselves a buddhist if they find it apropriate.

Buddhists being people, they have made exclusive social clubs, aka "religions." So while I might be a buddhist or a zennist for the sake of conversation, I'm not any particular brand of buddhist or zennist.

As for Asians, you might bear in mind that it all started in India and lumping all those various races together as Asian is like treating every one from North and South America as one people.

Of course the point of buddhsim is for me to become a Swarmist and for you to become a Davist. In other words, for us to be able to stand on the strength our own understanding, morality and wisdom as buddhas, not buddhists.

06-13-06 5:13  •  Creating Reality

Felix: Do we create our own reality?

Reality doesn't need to be created, it already is.

Nor would I say it is "our own."

Despite our insistence on the myth of ownership, we don't even own our own selves.

We are but guests of reality and every atom, every photon must be given back when we leave.

Aqua: That's very interesting-----so you think this is the ultimate REALITY?

I think "the ultimate" is a silly concept in this context.

What do non-ultimate realities look like?

How would you even know?

This is just reality. It's where we play while we are real.
The very basics and basis of existence.

I wish more people would worry about getting being real right and less time worrying about "after" and "elsewhere."

Aqua: Ok, and I'm not trying to be a smartass, just wondering how do you get real right?

The very basics are do what is good, don't do what is ill and learn to distinguish between the two.

Aqua: Swarm, I believe even the most righteous deeds possess a downside and visa versa----and righteous acts can create ill effects, similtanously as it delivers the ~right~ answer for others......or as an effect as the deed runs its course.

So are you saying this would be individualized----and is anything ever pure, even righteousness?

Righteous deeds? That is a burden I do not avail myself of. Deeds just are what they are.

Your complaint seems to be that you are a limited mortal with limited abilities to penetrate the intricacies of causality.

But what I said had nothing to do with any of that. I said nothing of outcomes, righteousness or purity.

I only said do what is good, don't do what is ill, and learn to distinguish between the two.

Sure every one screws it up, especially in the beginning. That is why learning is involved.

But over time it is possible to screw up less and learn what doesn't work, what just works and what works well.

Thinking I create reality doesn't work. Even if it were true I would not move in that direction, because that is ultimate power if true and ultimate delusion if false and I have need for neither of those.

06-08-06 8:08  •  Family Attachment

Harriet: Swarm, when we were talking about family vs. strangers, you said, "What is family is more dear than that which is not." I disagree; I don't think it's very Buddhist to be more attached to some people than others.

I never said it was more buddhist, I just said that is what happens.

Harriet: But it is such a form of attachment!

Liking is just a natural function of the mind. Clinging to what you like (or avoiding what you dislike) is what turns it into attachment.

Harriet: I strive to achieve the same level of engagement, respect, and intimacy when interacting with people I don't know as when spending time with those I do know (and like).

It is a noble goal. The people who were there first though will always have an advantage. I suppose you could try to balance your affections for everyone, but that seems like the wrong direction. Or you could just love people as you do and strive to improve it as you may and not worry about if every one is exactly the same. After all, everyone isn't exactly the same.

Harriet: Maybe it's because I never had kids that I don't understand the blood tie. But to me, it's just not significant.

For some it is more, some less, but I presume you have parents and maybe brothers and sisters. Assuming they haven't worked hard at cutting their ties, I suspect you would step up for them in ways you would not for say, me.

Again I'm not saying that's right, wrong, more or less buddhist. It just is how one's social interactions work.

Harriet: My goal is to reach enlightenment. If I do that, all people will be of equal import to me.

I'm happy to settle with all people being important to me. Equal importance can come later if I still have time.

06-08-06 7:08  •  Buddha - Deadbeat Dad?

SL: I've read stories that before Buddha attained nibbana, he had a child and then left. Maybe it was for the better - but it seems to me by today's standards he's just another deadbeat dad.

I don't know if he deserves forgiveness or condemnation. What do you think?

Too often people idolize and revere Gautama. They make him out as something more than ordinary human and turn him into an object of worship.

But unlike other religions, the whole point of buddhism is that the buddha was just an ordinary human and because of that every buddhist should know that what he attained is within the capacity of every ordinary human.

To idolize, revere and worship him isn't just counter to his wishes, it poisons the dharma itself.

He did abandon his family. He fucked his wife and concubines. He farted and didn't understand the value of women. He liked a bite of meat every now and then. He had a low opinion of the laities' abilities. He and his dad never saw eye to eye.

In other words, he was human and still woke up and was capable of great wisdom and compassion.

He is dead. Forgiveness and condemnation are both wasted on him.

Understanding his humanity and its relationship to his awakening gives us insight into our own humanity and awakening. Glossing over his faults and humanity cuts off his understanding as well because they are not seperate.

The whole person awakens, not just the parts we like.

06-08-06 6:08  •  Is Humanity Advancing?

Douglas: Do you think mankind, through all of his technological meddling actually created more security and happiness, or has he instead increased his own measure of fear, insecurity, and pain?

When I take a walk at night I do not fear the lion, the wolf or the bear.
None of my children has died from disease. My sweety didn't die in childbirth.
Compared to my forefathers I'm already old.
All of the human indignaties perpetrated by men on each other are reduced here.
For comparison read the sherif's log from any comparable town in England from say 1340.
I can see into the farthest reaches of time and space.
I know the course of life, the motion of the heavens.
I can talk across the globe, fly through the sky.
Manipulate light and matter.
I have access to the wisdom of the ages.

Fear, insecurity and pain are greatly reduced in some ways in a very real and measurable mannner, but the progress is not uniform and new issues have been found. Such is life. It can be manipulated but certain fundamentals like greed, fear and ignorance cannot be eradicated easily.

06-07-06 6:07  •  Warrior Buddhist

Davee: I just saw the new indie film "Peaceful Warrior". It's nice to see such a directly dharmic film make it to the big screen, but the use of 'warrior' felt a little odd to me when discussing buddhism. Have you encountered the idea of 'warriorship' when hearing the dharma?

Such as various martial arts, kung fu, samari, etc?

I think perhaps the best of those in terms of emphasis on the peaceful aspect would be akido.

Ryvr: hmm ... I strongly believe that running away fast is the best way to harm attackers as little as possible. To me, it would be a very strange form of Buddhism that ever condoned doing the slightest harm towards another no matter what they are doing to you or anyone else.

Qatana: We are taught that IF you have the opportunity to run away to Do So. Not too easy when someone is hanging on to you. So sometimes you have to find a way to convince them to let go, and Then run away.

Ryvr: While I have the greatest compassion toward your tradition, my tradition says that if you can't escape and they are going to kill you, breathe, smile, and try to have a good transmigration.

So you rather let them commit the most grievous error of killing a sentient being rather than exert yourself a bit and stop them?

Not terribly compassionate.

Qatana: Swarm, why do you keep arguing with everyone?

I've a basically grumpy dialogue style when confronted with particular kinds of posts, like the one I was responding to.

I find them at least inconsistant with the depth of the priciples they claim to promote, as I pointed out.

Letting another kill you places a terrible burdon on them.
If you can stop them short of killing them yourself, you should.
Even if that means getting injured or even risking damaging them.
Further, part of what the martial arts teach is that you can defend yourself without having to be violent in your intent. Akido does an excellent job of that.

The false dilema is always set up as kill or be killed,but in reality you have a lot of ground to cover between defending yourself sufficiently to not be killed and actually killing.

Passively allowing the murder to occur is inconsistant with buddhist principles.
It makes him a murderer and you an accomplice to that murder for allowing what you could seek to stop.

I am also amazed at the number of buddhists who cling to reincarnation (transmigration) like it is something good.
Ignoring for the moment that it is just a graft from hinduism.
Buddhism teaches anatam - no soul. It is your deeds or karma, not your personality or soul, which has rebirth.
And merely by having tasted buddhism you put an eventual end to that nonsense.
Gone, gone, fully gone, wholey gone.

There is no more transmigration for a buddha.
This is it and it is impermanent.
Now is the only moment you have left.
Don't squander it playing martyr.

Danger Angel: I love your grumpy style Swarm... I think of you as a Zen Master carrying a big stick. Occasionally someone gets a virtual thunk on the noggin.

Phil: yup - pragmatic dharma guide Swarm is highly recommended for any excursions yomping through various fields of illusion... hahaha

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