Meaning and Purpose
In a series of posts, Jeb of Wondering on the Way has targetted the very heart of religion. The group of posts is categorized as Analogs of Reality. This week, Jeb posted Number 6, "Meaning and Purpose."
Almost immediately, following a warning to readers, Jeb posted questions central to any human's existance:
- Does life ultimately have meaning?
- Is there some ultimate purpose to life?
Acting as our most excellent guide, Jeb hacks through the thick growth of ideas to essential elements that allow a confrontation with these questions. He identifies and explains the four approaches an individual can take to face meaning and purpose: Teleological, Existential, Abandoned Search and Denial.
Jeb shows how these approaches manifest in Christian and science-orientated individuals before he comes to the more-interesting Buddhist confrontation with these perennial questions. Jeb has put up a masterpiece of a post that will benefit all those who carefully read it.
Another dazzling philosophy-centered post of the week was put out there by Justin in his blog American Buddhist Perspective. Justin writes about the tension between being ordinary and among the ordinary in opposition to becoming a philosopher or being philosophical and, by necessity, looking at the world from on-high and objectifying it. How can one be in the world and of the world at the same time? How can one avoid being in two places at once and not anywhere at all?
Writes Justin, "But the philosopher may also reenter the world, gently; in the words of one of my teachers, 'he becomes fully human, fully normal.' He sees the divinity/enlightened nature of others as reflections of his own. He does not see and recoil from the flaws of the world. He acts fluidly within the world. "
Practice leads in the direction of Perfection
Haiku of this zen life writes of ego loosening its death grip and finding she is becoming more authentically herself. “[M]y desire to be thought of in certain ways, my fear of embarrassment, my concern for what people think are becoming less prominent.”
John of My Zen Life has a burst of maddog anger coming from the inundation of suffocating gimme-gimme advertising pitches. At the end of his post, he laments, “It’s times like these that just make me want to abandon this world and go live off the grid up in the hills somewhere.” He must be referring to the electrical grid. Electrons are a blogger’s heroine.
Miranda of Mt Metta Journal writes of working with Kuan Yin to adjust her life and actions and improve her orientation toward others. She is finding that, ironically, her developing compassion is turning her toward seclusion. "I don't want to become a total recluse; I like people the way I like jazz - when the mood hits, and in limited doses." she writes.
James, The Buddhist Blog blogger, quotes the Dalai Lama who tells us, essentially, to forget yearning for Nirvana, “lead a good life, honestly, with love, with compassion, with less selfishness,” and THAT will put you on the path to your forgotten goal. James concludes, “Stick to [these] basics and you cannot go wrong in my opinion.”
The Plame Game
Early this week, Zataod of Zen and the Art of Dreaming colorfully predicted “coal for Fitzmas” with regard to Plamegate. “Cheney and Bush are the key players here. Their henchmen are just following orders, but I think it's those underlings that will take the fall.” As we now know, only one “henchman” ended up taking a hit – from a multicount indictment.
James of Genius of Insanity reported on the Republican effort to discredit Fitzgerald in advance of any issuance of indictments. One point of hypocracy: “Even though Republicans nailed Clinton to the wall over perjury when it comes to one of their own it's a ‘technicality.’”
Neolotus of Free Thinker reposted a piece from Geopolitical Intelligence Report explaining the importance of the Plame affair. A couple of cogent sentences: “Rove and Libby had top security clearances and were senior White House officials. It was their sworn duty, undertaken when they accepted their security clearance, to build a ‘bodyguard of lies’ -- in Churchill's phrase -- around the truth concerning U.S. intelligence capabilities.”
Terrance of Republic of T still thinks bad times may be ahead for Karl Rove, identified as Official ‘A’ in the indictment of Scooter Liddy.
Mumon of Notes in Samsara wrote several posts the day the indictments where handed down. One ended happily and piercingly: "I wish all of you a safe and merry Fitzmas. May we remember it's true meaning."
The Buddhist blogha took note of the milestone of two thousand American deaths in Iraq.
Ryan of Ryan’s Lair looked at the cold statistics. “The current war is costing America roughly 63 KIA per month. This war is vastly cheaper, in terms of American lives, than nearly all of our previous conflicts.” And parsed meaning from pathos-ladened reporting on the milestone as, “the incredible isolation of Americans from war and other forms of suffering, and our ability, perhaps not unrelated, to dwell in an ethical or emotional space utterly free of context and history.”
Too, genkaku in an Oct 22 post to his eponymous blog, looked at the statistics of the war, somberly. “I don’t care much where anyone stands. Whether a person believes the cause to be ‘just’ or ‘unjust,’ still there are the facts – or the best guess at the facts. … The premise is that based on facts, people can make informed decisions.”
James of Genius of Insanity dedicated a post to the fallen soldiers, and later presented an excerpt of an AP report that says the Iraqi death toll in the war is 30,000 – or, possibly, much higher. Says James, “The Iraqi's have sacrificed much. Let's hope that things continue to improve for them.”
Terrance of Republic of T linked to a political cartoon in an Atlanta paper that formed the 2,000 names of the dead soldiers into a question: WHY?
Harvests and Kudos
New in the Blogmandu firmament is Hardcore Zen, keyboarded by Brad Warner, author of a book that also uses that in-your-face moniker. The book is greatly admired by several Buddhist bloggers.
Warner’s blog gets recommendations this week by both John of My Zen Life and M of Zen Filter. Writes John, in opening words to a short post loaded with exclamation marks, “Hey! I just found Brad Warner in the blog-o-sphere! He’s blogging now, very cool!!” Writes M: “You've read the book, here's the blog.” In a post a few weeks ago, Chalip of Zen Under the Skin wrote that one of the book’s chapters was helpful at “uncovering the mystery of the [Heart] sutra” for her.
Blog posts recommended in Zen Filter this past week: A post by marlaine of it is in me about anger and an inspirational post from the blog Inspirations, comparing words of Stephen Covey and Thich Nhat Hanh.
Zataod of Zen and the Art of Dreaming names his “Cool Blog of the Week” which is [drumroll and eggroll, please] OneManBandwidth: An American Professor in China. It may not be Buddhist, but it is east Asian – which almost counts. Written by Dr. Lonnie B. Hodge, who is a business consultant, among his many professions, the blog is always interesting and has amazing graphics.