Saturday, August 08, 2009

the guns of today



out there, the crackle of fireworks going off circa 10:23 pm

in gaza, in the sudan, in iraq and afghanistan, the crackle of bombs going off, a triumphant cackle of destruction.

what we don't see.

we think that here in the centre we have earned this. in america, in europe, we have earned this peace, this beauty.

this serenity is not just temporary, it comes at the crackle of great death,

we, meaning our overlords, killed everything that stops us from having all this serenity. we are in the eye of a great storm, and see only the peace of the great storm, and no one understands that the storm hangs all over the world, killing and mutilating little children all the time. they point and say look at all the immigrants, they come here because we have a superior society - yes, superior in that it is close to the houses of our overlords, who are pleased by gardens dripping with flowers, shipped from countries where the flowers drip with blood and phosphorus.

your peace comes at the price of a slaughter in the countries where they make furniture, and oil, and gas, diamonds and trees, and my dog is rightfully spooked to hear the cackle of fireworks of an august night, because for all your celebrations someone has to pay. your things are made in china, go check the bottoms of everything you have bought, it will say made in china, and that means the tibetans, the uighurs and the poor han paid them for you, and the gasoline that brought them to your door was driven over the blood of iraqis and afghanis and saudis. so much for a democratic world, when the choice is between two slaves to gasoline,

there are no guns anymore, just bombs. guns are for the hopeless, remember that. the great powers annhilate all enemies with a cackle of fire. and you serve them. remember that.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

buddha

the summer rain around midnight in the back alley speaks in drops of water, tap, tap, drip, smack.

gautama buddha lived sometime around 400 bce in what is now nepal, watched over by the great mountains of that part of the world. what we know of the buddha's original teachings are that they are bound up in a very very old literature known as the pali canon, of which the clearest expression of his words are contained in the dhammapada, which is at its most simplest can be understood as path (pada) of eternal truth (dhamma).

gautama buddha, remarkably, did not comment on the existence or nonexistence of god or expound a true cosmology, which would deviate from the focus of his teaching. the essence of the buddha's teaching is the four noble truths,

1. life is suffering

2. ignorance gives rise to desire, and desire causes suffering

3. desire can be overcome

4. the means to overcoming desire is through the noble eightfold path

the eightfold path is a series of 'right' behavior, e.g. right thought, right action, right speech, etc. you get the idea. this idea of 'right' is possibly best thought of as 'focus' - to maintain focus on the goal of eliminating desire in every aspect of one's existence.

the idea of eliminating desire is a funny one. it is somewhat revolting to a sensible person on first glance. the alternative to desire would seem to be a kind of giving up, to stop living. the idea, of course, is that it is just the opposite. it is to give up trying to hold onto life like a piece of diamond. and really, trying to grasp life is no different than gripping a fistful of water and seeing it run through your fingers. humans are a bit insane in that they do this all the time in life, snatch a fistful of water and look on in dismay and horror as the water bleeds between the fingers.

generally speaking, most people aren't terribly interested in ending desire - if pressed, most people will gladly take on more suffering as long as they have a shot at more of what they desire. the allure of what they think is beautiful or desirable is too overwhelming, and the confusion of what they want with what is truly good is always a great, vast mountainous confusion.

more than 2500 years ago, buddha understood that human beings live in a dream throughout their lives, a dream born in childhood whose non-existent resolution they chase like a white rabbit down a hole. somehow, every generation from then until now has been born and grown up trying to triumph over suffering and death, and really, who could blame them? the body gasps for air, water, food, love and sex. i saw a great fat woman smoking in the darkness of her balcony tonight, i followed the train of her glowing cinder in the rain and found it remarkable how totally cruel life can be. to be stuck in some body no one wants, and few will see you in your fat body unless you are blessed with power or charisma. and even all human warmth that might come your way comes at the price of this chaos of ageing and a million unanticipated sorrows. the dream is filled with illusions and storms.

of course, the greatest challenge to overcoming these things is the effort in persisting at it, the immense bravery required to end desire and the imagination to take up a real life. the buddha's lack of commentary on god exemplifies this, for it is that god is god, always present, always elusive, never punishing or forgiving, something greater than the little life you must lead that can end only in death, the great parting from the dream.

but with each little letting go, one joins an understanding of the much greater river, by not trying to grip it in one's hand one sees the water flow, and a love that comes not from jealous desire, but from seeing living beings as they are, and knowing what there really is to love, that is, the being that is outside oneself. to break the bubble by listening. real life begins where you end.