ZANDTAO BLOGBegun December 20, 2010 this blog contains the three tenets of Zandtao, mind, energy and body. Whilst the previous blogs were separate aspects of the journey, this blog is part of a consolidated unified approach leading to the Treatise of Zandtao. Once the Zandtao wordpress blog started, this blog is only concerned with more personal issues on my journey.
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|End of Littlebang?|
Yesterday's Littlebang discussion (or backup) left me quite devestated, and I wasn't sure why. Today it is beginning to dawn on me what happened, it could be the end of something that was important to me. First of all the listing itself at Littlebang is a very important resource for Buddhist speakers and events in Bangkok, that can never be forgotten.
But what else was going on in the discussion? Look at these comments:-
"Well, I teach academic writing in University, and one thing I teach the students is "if you have already decided the answer you are looking for, IT ISN'T RESEARCH" There are two sides to every story. You said you will never read Blair's side, as he is "Mr Plausibility". You said you will not look at his figures, as his government "created" them. Well there endeth any sensible discussion."
This is so much down-the-line academically indoctrinated. Of course genuine research is this, but where do we ever get genuine research? Research is usually predicated on a hypothesis, if that isn't a railway track, what is? The genuineness of research is dominated by the need for funding. Think of Brighton Poly. Despite the unusual way in which I established my credentials (having an investigation because my exam results were so good), there was no job offer because the department was interested in research income. Academia has become so corrupted that you can't accept anything from academia unless the credentials of the individual have been established first. Perhaps with every bit of research now there ought to be "supporting credentials first" - not a measurement of the writer based on previous publications:-
1) Standpoint of researcher prior to starting the research.
2) Who is funding the research? Sufficient information to determine the real source of the funding - not a funding agency. Funding letters should be included in this establishment of credentials.
3) What is the standpoint of the professor and university with regards to the research?
4) Additional information connecting possible influence on the research.
In one of my comments on the thread I quoted 200,000 as the number of deaths in the first Gulf War. First and foremost in discussions with friends the source of such should never be questioned, a request for a source or rejection of the figure without a source is the sign of an antagonist and not a friend who trusts you. Indvertently I stumbled on verification of the figure. I was looking to find information that showed there were many different death estimates - as many as viewpoints. This article (or backup)says that in a study funded by Greenpeace there were 205,000 deaths associated with the war. Now if Greenpeace make a study then I would tend to believe the academic correctness of it for the simple reason that there are so many forces willing to pounce on provable inaccuracies. I didn't realise that the article further proved my point, the researcher was sacked because the figures were too high - leaking the research was the excuse. Even though that reason wasn't the true reason, why would leaking research be considered a sacking offence in academia if it were open and accountable? But I would never insult anyone who in discussion raised a figure by saying the figure was "spurious", people with integrity don't use spurious figures, they don't invent figures to prove their case - I even justified my lack of recall by saying why I could not remember the source but remembered the figure. Basically he was suggesting I disagreed and could be lieing to prove my case. How do you know what is true? By getting support from the establishment rather than relying on the integrity of the individual concerned. This suggests Bhante does not respect me or at the very least does not think things through, and this brings my respect for him into question.
Bhante's talking about genuine research in the theoretical way he describes makes me consider another difficulty I always have with him, his inexperience. Understanding the way of the world is not done by what is written but by knowing what is behind the scenes. Speaking about my concerns at the beach a like-minded non-Buddhist said "there are always people with their head in the sands". How offended would Bhante have been to hear that about himself? But I couldn't defend him. He is inexperienced in the ways of the world. Why does one give academic worth to a politician who lies for a living simply because he can quote sources? Effectively the discussion says Bhante values Blair's opinion above mine, that is insulting. After learning that a friend had stopped meditating and yet he was still studying Osho, I said to him that there was corruption surrounding the Bhagwan. My friend said that he could see through any possible wayward Paths but he is still not meditating. Do we deeply know when others' lies are affecting us? Bhante's acceptance of what Blair had said brings his credibility into question. He says monks have opinions too. Undoubtedly. What is the value of those opinions? Because he wears the orange robe and is the priest of the Littlebang chuirch there are people who believe it because he says it. Whether he wants that or not, I suspect he is not uncomfortable with it, expressing his opinions carries with it a deep sense of responsibility as some of the congregation would accept it per se. He has knowledge of the dhamma, and has had respected teachers to guide him. His knowledge of the world is based on observation. He has done little paid work and never been in a position that might be called political. I don't know about the political world of monkdom, and I am sure there is such, but monks at least claim to have integrity. To consider Tony Blair as having sila, how much does that lose him credibility?
So this brings me to the next issue, where is the Krishnamurti deep questioning? I have continually questioned the establishment with him, but that questioning is not part of him. There is dogma which he knows far better than I, but does he try to go beyond dogma? No, he has a shape, a shape that is created by the dogma. But that shape is also created by establishment views, and as such he is part of the establishment. And he has an established church. Littlebangers are not a group of people who are questioning the fabric of our society, they are Buddhists who have found a comfortable place to go. On occasions he will present the Thai Buddhist establishment line. His mindfulness stops short of deep engagement. In many ways he cannot deeply engage because of his lack of experience, and because of his ties to the institutional line. But he could listen more. I will never forget the complete lack of response to my lesson observation. I suspect he took some of that on board but not much, and there was no acknowledgement, no discussion with me to learn more. Why? No genuine desire to learn if it threatens his world? But the Path cannot hide, there needs to be the ability to deal with constant questioning. I can understand the comfort of dogma but I don't want that. I can always learn from dogma but there has to be questioning. The Path is shapeless.
This thread (or backup) is another example of the church of reason defending itself. It is defending Tony Blair's apparent rationality, but where is the intuition? And when there is intuition it is attacked "There are two sides to every story. You said you will never read Blair’s side, as he is ‘Mr Plausibility’. You said you will not look at his figures, as his government ‘created’ them. Well there endeth any sensible discussion." Sides? OK Blair has a viewpoint but is it honourable? The two sides Bhante appears to be talking about could be summed up as a genuine man seeking to justify an unpopular decision. This is bollocks. Blair is a crook who killed thousands and has made a huge fortune as a result. Intuition. Staring point. Reading Blair's book would only detract from that intuition as his intention is to obfuscate to promote his own interests and profits. So why read it? Especially as I do not have the knowledge to refute what he says. But intuition is a stronger tool than all rational arguments, and that is why education moves the goalposts away from intuition. If we accepted intuition and tried to sharpen it, one of the major tools of corporate exploitation would be taken away. We need educated intuition to survive in this world of disinformation. Not educated as in academia, but educated as in worked on to develop it, training intuition to its full potential. We need to be able to stand up against the establishment, in this case Bhante, despite not appearing sensible if it is right stand up. Blair can present all the justifications he wants but I am right. The guy is a bastard who took the UK to war and was significant in the devestation of Iraq. Politically if I tried to argue with Blair about this I would fail, he has the mouth. But I am not wrong the guy is a warmongering tool of the oil corporations. I am not in politics so if I make outrageous statements - so what. My intuition and integrity are my strength, and where does that come from? Meditation. That is enough, end of argument.
And maybe the end of Litlebang for me? The last time I was in Bangkok I never made contact. But the people I have little contact with anyway. It's a nice church but it is not a place where people are deeply questioning as a whole, maybe the people are questioning elsewhere. Because I have limited contact with the people I have not developed deep and meaningful relationships. I pushed the boat out with A and it always felt as if I was dragging him. The contact with B just led to an insight vs intellect debacle. My contact with Bhante was probably the deepest but clearly he has little respect for me - I suspect it was Mahachula and failed proselytising that caused that. The institution demands an orange robe and questions your integrity without one. I am not interested in public talks any more. Whilst I have much to learn it is my weakness in meditation that is preventing progress not learning more dogma; I know my addiction to samsara, meditation is the only way through. Yesterday's shock was a prescience of today's realisation that it holds little for me any more. In reality it meant something to me - I was attached to it, now I know I am not. Bhante presented an olive branch "Ha ha. I guess someone called Tony got dropped from your Christmas card list." But there was no apology or admission of error - public or private. That lack of integrity is meaningful. There is a severing but it will make no meaningful change to what I do. The Path is letting go.
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This incident with the monk has reinforced the need to emphasise extending insight into daily life.
Now this issue with the monk came to a head over a discussion about Tony Blair. Now Tony Blair was the leader of a western country that historically was colonial and reknowned for exploitation. My insight tells me not to trust him. For most people not trusting politicians is accepted, in general people look at politicians and think they are dishonest but the question is how much? My perspective says they don't realise how corrupt western politicians are.
As this is a discussion about politics most people would describe the above as an opinion, I even used the word perspective. But how much is there insight in this description? Now my first defence of insight is always meditation, and my meditation has no difficulty in accepting that Tony Blair is dishonest, the details and how much of course is a matter of assessment in daily life. But you start with the insight "Tony Blair is dishonest", then you use analytical tools and a clear mind to develop your understanding of the insight. Where does that insight come from? He is a leader amongst politicians, politicians seek power, and people who seek power do not look for truth first. Honest people seek truth first, and live their lives by truth. As soon as power enters into the situation truth gets perverted. Not only does this apply to politicians, it applies in business and with gurus. The discussion began around Iraq. Tony Blair took the UK to war based on a lie - weapons of mass destruction. If people are willing to lie over such an important issue, then they will lie elsewhere. Maybe some of what he says is the truth, maybe he even believes what he is telling himself, but as truth is not his priority (but power) then he cannot be believed. This is insight. If someone's priority is power and they have been known to lie, they cannot be trusted. That is insight, not politics, not opinion but insight. The value of this insight has to have a great deal of evidience to refute it, and evidence created by a distrusted man has to have limited value. Now the issue of sourcing his "lies" came up. Are these sources independent? Following the initial poll that clearly showed British people didn't want to invade Iraq, the government went on an information-finding exercise to justify invasion of Iraq. This was highly-funded biased research, and as such there would have been plenty of academic budgets enhanced as a result. For any of this paid research to value above my insight I would have to trust the research itself, together with the integirty of the researcher and research process itself. And even then I would not consider it justification for westerners to invade as westerners had contributed to the situation in the first place through sanctions. There would have to have been a clearly-recognisable neutral UN force to go in otherwise a bloodbath and devestation would have been caused - as has been restrospectively proven. When you look at the result of the invasion you know the reasons for it, US has control of the oil and society has been devestated without democracy having been put in place. No matter how many reasons Tony Blair has, it has to take a great deal to look beyond this observation.
When it comes to matters of the mind insight is applied regularly and with comfort. But there is no threat from outside in the mind. Your mind is your own mind, there is no objective existence to deal with, no other people. So when you apply insight to the mind, the challenges are only the challenges the mind itself puts up. Now this starts to become clouded when you start to communicate what your mind has learnt through insight. When you explain insight to many academics they don't understand, and very soon the discussion reduces to vitriol. There have been previous examples of this. There is a need for Buddhists to extend insight beyond the confines of the meditation cushion, to understand the world the tool to use is insight and not intellect.
Now what happens with Buddhists? They can disengage from daily life. There is comfort in meditation, peace and harmony. Out in daily life there is conflict between society's paradigm and the clarity of mind that meditation brings. Insight that becomes second nature creates conflict in a world that does not accept insight. When we are on the meditation cushion and we come up with an insight, we don't need to justify it - it is just insight - truth. When you take that insight into daily life, people even dismiss insight as a legitimate process, and argue rationally against it. It is not possible to win such arguments by reason alone, such arguments are only reinforced by reason when both parties have experienced insight. Because both cannot agree on the importance of insight since the argument is based on reason, does that invalidate insight? Far from it, it shows a limitation of reason. When we have insight and we communicate insight, we expect obstacles based on this limitation of reason. But it is essential that that does not prevent us from standing on insight., it is essential that we extend insight into dailiy life.There is no need to be ashamed that an insight might not appeal to reason, and there is no need to hide away from an insight if that insight might appear irrational. Again that is a limitation of reason itself.
In this case there was a limitation due to academic reason. I said I was unlikely to read Tony Blair. Why? Because he lies and I am too ignorant of the situation to know whether he would be telling the truth. Let us consider again insight into politicians. They are seeking power. To a lesser or greater extent politicians will do anything to get into or retain power. In the case of Tony Blair as with Obama they appealed to morality as their justifications, but just because they know the language of morality does not mean they are moral people. Such politicians are adept at using language to suit their own needs, that is a politician's skill. I cannot compete with that especially as I appeal to insight first and reason second.
Now let's try to apply insight to academia. Academia does not accept insights for what they are, it is the institution of reason and therefore its practices are also based in reason. With the institution maintaining reason as the benchmark to judge by - rather than insight; an insight simply becomes another reason. Whereas I might consider a measure of a man by their insight abilities, academia measures a man by their use of reason. If we extend insight into daily life then we conflict with academia. Why? We value our insights, our insights are deep and meaningful, if we hear a reason it sounds good enough but it doesn't grab you like an insight. If people who have developed insight through meditation or otherwise don't stand up to be counted against the academics, then humanity's higher level of attaining knowledge - insight - will get even further marginalised from the mainstream especially mainstream academia. This is not to say reason doesn't have its place. Once insight has occurred it is necessary to develop it so that the insight fits into one's own practice - and also perhaps fits into society. Reason and analysis are used to do this, but this process clearly recognises and is predicated upon the value of the insight.
Is it possible that Buddhists are working with insight during meditation but then leaving insight at home in daily life? Or that they accept that insight suffuses them in meditation, cascades down unconsciously or semi-consciously into their being, but then in daily life they adopt the same approach to insight that others do, that insight develops ideas and these ideas become reasons that are given equal value in daily life. In other words an insight that is deep and meaningful to the person experiencing it becomes valued equally with a superficial notion that perhaps is current on the surface of the mind, and then flitters away into the mentalsphere because there is an unwillingness to enter into conflict. Socially this undervalues the whole process of meditation, it undervalues artistic insight, and it undervalues insights gained from experience, all of which percolate through the human mind and eventually insight themselves into existence. Do insight meditators recognise that academia's benchmark is reason? Do they choose to withdraw from the fight with academia? Do they prefer to sit back in the knowledge that their insight gives them greater awareness? Whilst this might give comfort to the meditator personally, it is not helping humanity. Arguments like the one with the monk occur because insight has already been devalued to such a great extent that a conversation of enquiry requires academic justification rather than persuing the questions trustiung the other's motivation. Even though we were supposed dhamma friends, the fact that I couldn't recall the source was sufficient for him to devalue the argument. Why? The figure was described as spurious ie a lie intended to deceive. Would a dhamma friend intend to deceive? The monk was prepared to believe Tony Blair more than a dhamma friend, this is ludcirous. Why does it happen? There might well be personal issues at his end but if you appeal to reason instead of trusting insight towards a dhamma friend then who should the questions be asked of?
It is up to people with insight to recognise the value for what it is and express that value. And this is conflict because essential to the world of reason, and the corporate paradigm that misuses reason so effectively, is the notion that in some way ideas are of equal worth. Cigarettes damage your health but if for years you produce research that denies this, this allows you to continue to profit from poisoning people. The insight? We all knew cigarettes damage your health, even smokers. Most smokers don't deny that cigarettes are unhealthy, they simply see the pleasure they get from smoking as worth more than the damage they are doing. With smoking for years reason used by the tobacco company delayed the introduction of public health warnings and other measures that eventually led to a drastic reduction in smoking in the West.
Insight knew it was wrong, misused reason backed by power was able to maintain tobacco profits for a long while. Quite simply we don't socially value the insights people have. And this comes from the education system we are in, where we are indoctrinated into believing that insight is not acknowledged as important, and reason becomes the tool for measuring knowledge.
Recognising this is happening, those with insight perhaps should stand up against academic process and say this insight is of greater value than other ideas, simply because it is an insight. This idea has greater worth than many ideas quite simply because it came from insight. Sounds lame because anyone can say they have an insight but that doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that it appears lame, if people are beginning to say that insight has great value, being proud of it, then it will alter the landscape in which all ideas are given equal credence, and change the existing landscape where repeated ideas, whether by individual belief or because someone pays the researcher to repeat them, are given greater credence.
And then if people claim insight for their idea, the next process that is needed is insight into understanding the idea. How many ideas become tossed around from one academic reference to another, from book to journal, and the repetition of that idea becomes currency and a measure of its value. One insight such as the 4 Noble Truths has much greater value than libraries of ideas, fortunately enough people repeat it for it to gain currency. But what if such insights are measured not by repetition or appearance in print but by their value as meaning. Isn't that far more important?
Now of course academia has a set of rules, one of which is sourcing a reference. Certainly it is good to know who is saying what you are using, but what does quoting a reference actually mean? It means that you have found someone who says what you want. And if you find someone who disagrees do you say it? Of course not, quoting a reference is just an academic game. Now for some people in academia this quoting begins to have more meaning. For example if there is a particular theory that is current, or that the professor favours, quoting it means that you are accepted. Does making a quote give any legitimacy to your argument? In academic terms it does, but in terms of the truth there is little relation. Tacitly we assume that what people write academically is a search for truth, but is it? In my view far from it, people publish to get promotion. Does anybody value what is written in terms of quality or in terms of insight? Definitely not. To bring this sourcing of information into a discussion in which people are searching for the truth through genuine enquiring conversation is to undervalue the meaning of the conversation and the integrity of the other conversers. By bringing insight into daily life that search for truth becomes measured by the words that are used, and hopefully the understanding gained.
In Buddhism there is a version of this academic game that is played - I call it sutta/sutra snap. Without getting into the authenticity of sutt(r)as issue here, these sutr(t)as are the words of the Buddha. Despite the attempts by the Buddha to ask people studying them not to accept his word but to try and internalise what is said, many people appear to quote the sutt(r)as to justify their arguments in academic fashion. People who know more about the Path are those who know more about the sutr(t)as. Is this true? Have those people studying the sutt(r)as internalised the meaning and through such gained greater understanding of the Path or are they just dogma experts? Have these people moved beyond the dogma into the region of understanding? Perhaps not but if the sutt(r)as can be quoted they have done enough to fool those reading, or at least create doubt. How can that happen? Quite simply because insight is not the tool for understanding. Yet insight is the means for determining whether it is the Path or not, can you give a sutt(r)as' quote for this:)? But at least quoting the sutt(r)as is a reliable source, far more than can be said for many sources quoted.
This is encouraged by the Buddhist institutions. I am not of course questioning the teaching of the sutt(r)as or the abilities of those teaching, but does remembering a sutt(r)a mean that there is understanding? But what matters in the learning of theme is whether there is insight. Of course it is hard to tell this, but verbatim quoting of a sutt(r)a does not demonstrate a person's wisdom. Surely insight and wisdom are the currency of educators, and not the ability to use academic method by quoting an appropriate sutt(r)a. In our education institution we are forced by the exam system to grade based on exam criteria, how much greater would the learning be if teachers were able to grade on insight? They would need to develop their own insight as well as their insight into others, so many benefits all round. I have limited contact with Buddhist institutions and theiur teaching methods, insight did not appear to be one of their benchmarks of assessment.
And in our judgement and assessment of arguments there needs to be insight into the person concerned. At present the motivation of the person concerned is not considered, whether their enquiry is genuine is ignored, and a person is measured by the logic and rationale of what is printed. This lack of discernment is so wasteful. I started considering the question of having insights into politicians, but it doesn't work. yet neither does what we have now. Politicians present lies, damn lies and sources, and the electorate is confused. How many people first voted for Blair because he "had a nice smile"? Perhaps honing insight to judge people has merit as a strategy, but I can see it has many pitfalls. But on a personal level it does not, personal level needs to be about insight and not rationality. Assessing that person as having insight needs to be valued far more than arguments that appear rationale but that could quite easily be erroneous, yet because of the high level of content not accessible to the majority of people. Insight into others needs to be a benchmark, not the academic benchmark of supposed reason. Reason is based on a premise, insist that premise is insight rather than position, uniform or repeated currency.
Long one eh? Insight is so important it comes in everywhere and is usually marginalised. Let us turn round and say insight into people, insight based on meditation and experience, have to be given credence and higher priority. This makes progress, it empowers people because it makes their judgements accessible. We can all have insight, we don't need years of university education to try to unravel obfuscations of the careerist deceitful.
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|The disengaged Buddhist|
There is a movement of Buddhists called Engaged Buddhists, what does that mean about Buddhists who are not engaged. Are they disengaged? What does this say for insight and mindfulness?
There is a fundamental flaw in the way people are educated as Buddhists. Buddhists are taught the dhamma primarily by monks, this is appropriate. Ideally, monks join a monastery with the express purpose of meditating and learning the dhamma. When people want to learn the dhamma they go to monks to learn, this of course is right and proper. But what happens to the dhamma then? Monks continue to learn the dhamma in the monastic life, and lay people go back to daily life. But how do these lay people apply the dhamma in daily life? Who teaches them then?
Now the lay people tend to seek succour and support from the monks, and the monks in their element continue to help them with their practise. And this practice encourages the lay person into the world of the dhamma, it encourages the lay person away from the lay world and into the world in which the monk is the expert, the disengaged world that is the dhamma. This of course is perfectly fine when all that is required is understanding in the disengaged world, and it can be a great help for many. But how do the lay people get educated in the engaged world?
There are organisations of engaged Buddhists so perhaps there are educational sources there. But can lay people in the lay world gain advice from monks who live in the disengaged world? This is difficult. Now the lay world is difficult. People have to deal with family and relationships and earning money, and these are the prime factors that monasteries alleviate - monks are often intentionally celibate and for some Buddhists by taking orders they do not have to earn money - receiving a donation is not the same as earning money because of the transparent lack of conflicts. These two major factors of adversity are taken out of the monk's life. Because they are not part of his life he cannot experience them and therefore cannot have insight through experience. Of course the monk can observe and read but this does not give the same understanding. If you are not involved in the highs and lows of daily life you cannot gain the experience necessary to develop insights about daily life. Of course this is not important as the monk's forte is insight into the dhamma. Effectively the lay Buddhist by definition is an Engaged Buddhist, but still who teaches them?
Now the lay world brings with it attachment. Detachment is encouraged but it is hard to be detached in the midst of struggle, perhaps some can do it - I can't. I do not know the institutional problems of being a monk but it is my understanding that all is done to allow for a monk to be detached, to develop his mind not to be addicted to samsara. To create disengagement. When they become teachers of the dhamma they quite naturally promote the advantages of a disengaged world, but they are still not aware of the lay world, the engaged world. Undoubtedly they will have developed the faculty of insight, but where is the experience for their insight to grapple with? Such a monk who disrobes and brings their insight into conflict by working in the engaged world could perhaps become a teacher in the lay world, a teacher of engaged Buddhists. But until then who teaches the dhamma in daily life?
When you read HHDL his books exude an understanding of daily life. But perhaps his case is special as he was taught to be a religious and political leader of his country, and then of course he had the adversity of being exiled. However from my limited perspective he does have insight into daily life - this is how I assess him with my limited insight. When I read Thay I don't find any problems but he promotes life in a community, a disengagement, as the means of happiness. I would say that neither are attempting to assess daily life from their monasteries but are applying insight in different ways - one by disengagement and one by insight based on experience. But what of your average monk? I remember hearing a talk by a Canadian monk, and he gave his talk based around two movies "Money Masters" and "Corporation". He described that the recession was contrived siting these two movies as explanation. How did he know? He had been in the middle of the world of capitalism, renounced and become a monk. He propounded meditation in the disengaged world because of what he had lived through. A monk with experience. In fact, of the monks I know they had experience in the lay world, and that experience led them to similar conclusions. But I know few monks.
For monks living life in the disengaged world of the monastery they have access to great knowledge of the dhamma, and hopefully more and more people will seek understanding of that dhamma and take advantage of living in the disengaged world. There is no stigma in being disengaged, that world has greater harmony. But once a monk passes opinions of the engaged world, this is not their area of expertise. A wise monk will rarely offer such opinions as it leaves them open to question. If a monk wishes to function in the lay world, then it is more insightful for them to disrobe - the lay world cannot be observed and understood.
I hope monks do dot disrobe in order to educate in the lay world as it is not a pleasant experience, but to have a foot in both camps leads to a lack of integrity as the monk is neither engaged or disengaged (equally lay people cannot devote the time to the dhamma). And to lay people is it not better to be disengaged than engaged? But then there is the dilemma of helping people, being disengaged only helps those who come to the monastery, perhaps the monk or the lay person choosing not to disengage would like to help lay people. This is what I understand as Engaged Buddhism. Many Buddhists are engaged, but they then have a dual position with regards to the monk. The monk teaches the dhamma, and the lay person welcomes that advice. But the lay person has insight into daily life that a cloistered monk does not. If the lay person is applying insight into her/his engaged world perhaps his awareness is greater than that of the monk whose dhamma teaching is more knowledgeable. Dilemmas of these two worlds are difficult, knowing our limitations in these two worlds is also important.
One important aspect of knowing oneself is to know one's limitations. The ego has a tendency to want to expand claiming knowledge and understanding of all, it is necessary to work on the ego so as to keep it under control, know one's limitations. In general for lay people there has to be a limit on understanding dhamma as they don't dedicate their lives to the study of the dhamma as do the monks. Equally for a monk there has to be a limit on their ability to have insight into daily life, both monks and lay people need to know their limitations. I have no hesitation in propounding the monastic life (despite never having taken orders myself). The freedom that comes with being able to dedicate oneself to the dhamma without concerns of family, relationship and money is a freedom to be valued and sought. Whilst I have some concerns about enlightenment within an institution, for most people I doubt that these concerns matter. But the monastic life brings with it certain disciplines but if such a life is appropriate then those disciplines are not restrictive. But the objective of all is enlightenment. Are there limitations to enlightenment in lay life? Numerous, I don't see how enlightenment can be found whilst interacting with all the distractions, emotions etc. Are there limitations in the monastic life? Maybe it depends on freedom, but these are far fewer.
But in either world there is the issue of mindfulness. Suppose my insight into the corporatocracy is completely correct. How can a monk be mindful of this? Most of the actions of these corporations are subtle in their approach, and for many lay people they don't even recognise how the corporations are manipulating them. Suppose a monk is discussing with one of the lay associates who has not felt the impact of the corporatocracy, and presents a genuine view of lay life without the corporate manipulations and machinations. Such people often appear quite plausible because their understanding has not brought them into conflict. Now compare such a person with myself, Pilger or the rabid left, some of whom are extremely emotive. In such comparisons a monk who rightly seeks peace might well side with the more peaceful person. This is of course absolutely wrong - I'm laughing at my outlandishness, but it is understandable.
In the thread (or backup) there was an argument about the validity of figures concerning deaths as a result of the first Iraq war. I have no doubts that casualties were as high as 200,000 but of course I cannot prove it. In article (or backup I quoted, it said military estimates were 10-20,000; obviously the military have a clear vested interest in putting out a low figure. If you don't know and don't have insight into the manipulations of the corporatocracy through the media, then you would look for the middle ground - let's say an academic working in a department called Peace Studies in a respected US university coming up with a figure of about 75,000. Let's go for that, sounds fair and balanced. But the Corporatocracy has tricked you. It has started a war in the Gulf to instill a dictatorship who will ensure the supply of oil to the West in return for support in maintaining their wealth and dictatorship. Nice western people wouldn't do this. Look at all these genuine seekers I meet at meetings, they aren't at all like this. No to say there were 200,000 dead is extreme, to say there is such a corporatocracy is conspiracy theory gone mad. The person saying this is irrational. How can a monk judge? Very hard. Only answer, insight into the people they meet. Ignore reason and rationality, they have been manipulated subtly by the corporatocracy. Now the monk might appeal to mindfulness, 100% awareness. How would that work? Reading, can't be trusted the corporatocracy controls what is published. Academia, can't be trusted as research is bought and paid for thorugh funding. Media, media corporations control what we read and see. There is no way that usual mindfulness can search and understand, but insight can. Knowing mindfulness is limited in understanding lay life without insight into experience is one of the monastic limitations. At the same time the monk can use their insight abilities but not into the reading or academia, but in their assesment of the people. This requires development of insight through meditation and an absence of ego - again developed through meditation, but in such circumstances a monk can gain insight into an individual, but this is the only true avenue open to them. Know limitations.
It is worth considering politics here. It si quite understandable for someone who learns about the Path to think that they would like to pass on sufficient guidance that others might be able to follow the Path. Or alternatively people might think that through governance conditions can be created making it easier for people to follow their own Path. This presupposes the rhetoric thta politicians put forward that they actually run their respective countries. This is either a delusion or a lie, delusion if they actually believe what they are saying but more than likely a lie. Politicians know they live in a corporatocracy although few will admit it. Politicians know that if they put forward policies that significantly increase the profits of a company they will be rewarded with a seat on the board or some such other significant perk. Tony Blair for his services to the oil corporations has been rewarded with a number of consultancies and lecture tours. He is a rich man, far richer than an accumulation of his politicial salaries. Politicians also know that in governance they need to sugar-coat the policies that increase the wealth of the corporations. They become accomplished at deceiving the public about their reasons for doing something. In the case of Iraq the oil companies saw an opportunity to gain control of the oil in Iraq. From George Bush down to the most junior researcher seeking justification for invasion, all of these peoples' actions were dependent on that original oil companies' decision; and here I include Tony Blair. For someone who wants to create conditions for people to follow their Path, for any person of principle, such an arena is only conflict. Of course the Corporatocracy would love to use the naivety of a demagogue if one came along; effectively this is what happens when the disengaged enter the world of politics with a rational frame of mind perceiving only the rhetoric of fairness and justice.
Whilst I have written of the monk before, I had not realised how deep my feelings ran. I have sat on them to avoid confrontation with the monk yet the confrontation occurred anyway. These questions of insight and mindfulness in lay life are integrally important for all Buddhists, less so for monks because they do not spend their time in the engaged world. But then when you look at the expenditure of Buddhist institutions, do they spend mindfully?
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I have just had a new water-filtering machine installed, and whilst doing it the doctor installing it heard me coughing up mucus. He told me I should take cordyceps sinensis. I looked it up and felt it was worth giving it a go, and the next morning I woke up thinking I had solved my lung problem - mcus has been with me most of my life. Anyway I haven't solved it but I feel it is better. I hope I am right.
Anyway I have discovered there is a whole cordyceps world that I will start to indicate. The poeple who sold me the water machine have also been pushing gano - another healing mushroom. This mushroom is supposed to improve general well-being, and they have pushed it on a number of Farangs who claim it helps them. I started taking gano at the time I was improving my diet. I decided to stop the gano (1000Baht a month), and it seemed to make no difference. I did start it again but was never convinced. I am much more convinced by this cordyceps so far, but want to suspend judgement.
Cordyceps is not a causal drug, ie this symptom + drug = cure. It is about general well-being. I look at claims and it claims much. For me I am specifically interested in the lungs, I have to say that my diet doesn't seem to work well on the lungs.
First indications are good, my body likes it. I will update this entry as it progresses.
Here is some advertising about cordyceps, and here is a blog just about it - although not too medical.
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|3rd World War?|
My row with the monk was a mental misdirection. Why did I get angry that a man in cloisters was not aware of the world? OK there's a certain amount of jealousy that he has such influence, there is jealousy that I would like to have such a platform, but in reality that could never happen. Firstly I would never put on a robe, and secondly whilst the people I have met there have been reasonably genuine it is a church - it is a place of security. And I am not looking for security I am looking for personal revolution - and I'm afraid that with this church the Bang is very Little.
But the misdirection is not to have a pop at the Littlebangers - good for them do what they feel is important for themselves, and whilst I don't agree that the monk's approach to the Engaged world is insightful - good for him what he does. The real issue is that my own mindfulness had been hoodwinked, it was not his lack of political awareness that was upsetting me it was my own. Ever since I left the UK in 1993 my political awareness has been stagnant. OK in this blog I have raised some issues especially with regards to the politics of food, but on the global political level I had been burying my head in the sand. So I want to thank the monk whose confrontation has pushed me back into an awareness of the political arena.
Here is a clip from John Stockwell:-
I have been listening to a few clips of John Stockwell and in retrospection he reached erroneous conclusions, such as the US wanted to go into Nicaragua rather than the Middle East. And when you listen to this clip it sounds crazy to talk of a 3rd World War. But let's think about it. Quite clearly war has changed since the end of the Cold War. In retrospect the Soviets were no match for the US, they folded so quickly. So why was the Cold War something I grew up with? As Stockwell points out this Cold War was driven financially by the military-industrial complex. So what happened when the Berlin wall came down? There was vacuum, where was the MIC going to get its money? Reagan was replaced by Bush and soon we were in Iraq repaying Bush's masters (more details here towards the end of the page).
So what about the deaths as a result of CIA operations?
"working with conservative figures we come up with a minimum figure of SIX MILLION PEOPLE killed in the Secret Wars of the CIA through its destabilizations over these past forty years:
One million people killed in the Korean War;
Two million people killed in Vietnam;
One to two million people killed in Cambodia;
Eight hundred thousand people killed in Indonesia;
Fifty thousand people killed in Angola."
Thes figures are before you include the dead in Iraq, here are figures for Iraq (click image for source):-
Now this is not a confrontational war as in the so-called two world wars, it is a covert war of manipulation both in the countries concerned and in the metropole where media control is so essential. When I describe the corporatocracy it is better understood to see that the military wing of this corporatocracy has led to this many deaths. When we talk of the people in the US and UK holding onto their jobs in the transnationals we need to consider what they are doing. Whilst realising that these are people just seeking to earn money for their famillies, they are also working within a business structure that is responsible for so many deaths. When I have been writing recently about Big Food and Pharma's manipulations that are leading to ill health for profits, this pales into comparisons with their military wing who are killing so many in the Third World. Whilst it is a sound byte Stockwell's 3rd World War is an apt description. Whilst we sit on our stools our minds need to be comfortable with this concept and these figures. I hope I can be but I am not sure - after all what can I do?
Still what is most important is facing the truth and living with it. There is no better description of what western foreign policy is than "3rd World War", is there?
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For a long while I have been running a number of blogs depending on interest:-
Nature Health Blog
At the beginning of this year I combined the Buddhist blog with the Nature Health blog as it was fitting together neatly in my approach to the journey that I have called Zandtao - and there is a Zandtao blog. With the education book(almost finished but stalled), I have stopped working on education - for the time being? With the recent discussion about the thread (or backup) I have realised that the engaged side of my Buddhism has been lacking. I have allowed myself to be lulled into disengagement, and, with the recent realisation that mindfulness is about life as a whole and that mindfulness does not stop at some arbitrary point on the surface of the body as perceived on the meditation stool, I have started a new political blog on Corporatocracy whose theme is "Insight into Corporatocracy". The intention of this blog is to provide an awareness of the extent of the Corporatocracy, and to encourage people to recognise that in order to pierce through the disinformation of these corporations we need insight. With Corporatocracy being on wordpress, I might get some feedback? I am still maintaining the eating healthily in Thailand blog - ginsukapaapdeee.
You can find all these blogs referenced at my Blog Index page with the three active remaining blogs of Zandtao, Corporatocracy and Matriellez prominent.
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|Breivik on women|
I have just watched Democracy Now 28/07/11 concerning the attack by Anders Breivik that killed 76 innocent people in Oslo. There are a lot of implications for me on the closeness of the extreme right to mainstream politics, and I have discussed this in Corporatocracy here.
Here however is an extract from the news about Breivik's views on women that knocked me right back. I felt embarassed at how close some of the views expressed were to mine. Watch this clip:-
My immediate reaction is to retract my views - I don't want any such associations, but to do so in my view would be to walk away from a serious problem in contemporaray society - the changing nature of many relationships and the balance of power therein. But it is important to place my views in context.
All people, in this case women and men, have equal rights in society, whether one person appears to contribute more to that society is irrelevant. At present in western democracies, perhaps more than elsewhere in the world, wealth buys you favourable treatment in courts of law, this is contrary to any position of equal rights whether woman or man. Back in the 60s when the feminist movement started, in general women were treated as inferiors. Often women were treated as chattels, as possessions in the home. Often this chattelisation in the home led to domestic violence, and for these reasons I was extremely supportive of the feminist movement. I abhor any violent actions towards women, men should not use greater physical strength (if they have it) to subjugate women - and domestic violence still continues. In some societies this kind of physical subjugation still occurs, and needs to be stamped out. This paragraph is the bottom line of anything I say about relationships with women. I am still a democratic socialist, the genuine meanings of such words, and all people, women and men, black and white, I consider equal.
At the beginning the clip talks of women having one-night stands as a measure of decadence. For me promiscuity is a problem, and leads to many social difficulties, but in heterosexual relationships both men and women are being promiscuous. There is a complete moral contradiction in Breivik's position as "he and his buddies" measured the decadence of the women by how many one-nght stands the men could have. I would call for greater morality all-round, equal treatment for both genders. In prostitution I blame the johns, it is their money that has the power.
This quote from Breivik's manifesto was particularly chilling:-
I would not use his words but for me the sentiment certainly seems true - it is in my case and for many men I know, but it is hard to compare sexes as there is not enough honesty. I do believe that men's sexual urges are manipulated by some women. In a relationship the needs and rights of both partners need to be respected, that does not mean a man's urge should be requited just because he has it. Women need to respct that a man's sexual needs are different from her's, and both should respect each other's needs. The issue is to respect the needs, and manipulation of such needs should never occur whether by a man or a woman.
As discussed from 1 min 18 secs onwards, the interviewee, Jeff Sharlet, compares Breivik with all that is usually described in the American Christian Right. He describes the Right's view that Christian women don't have enough babies, and that they want a return to a patriarchy. Well we have a patriarchy if we look at the real power. The superclass are men, the corporatocracy is male-oriented. These men define our society, most of their government stooges are men. Here is where I will disagree with feminism. Women have the right to join that superclass but I don't want them to do that - it is however their right. It makes no difference to me if women or men are gearing up the military industrial complex to further wars in the Middle East, they are then enemies to humanity. The qualities of social actions are measured by truth and honesty, not by gender. At the time I was politically active in the late 80s women would claim that they bring a more caring aspect whenever they are involved. In truth I have not noticed any difference between the caring of the genders in schools nor in business (from the outside) with the changes that have occurred since the 60s.
I promote the importance of the home, and throughout Matriellez. I want the home to be the unit from which socio-political decisions are made, rather than the corporatocracy where profits for the few are motivation. I do not have any need or desire to consider the number of children in a family, that is a family decision. Although I believe life starts from the point of conception, whilst in the womb I believe it is primarily the woman's decision to carry the child to birth - consulting with the man, and if she chooses not to have the child for economic reasons that might well be the wisest move. Many anti-abortion people are rich. Why don't they help financially if the life of the unborn child is so important to them? Of course equally the mother might have thought more about the conception, but in many abortion cases such mothers are not always in a position to do so.
Now that I have written this, I feel more comfortable about my own position on women. It is just frightening that when an extreme right person carrying out such horrendous actions expresses a similar view, I would want to dissociate myself completely from him. But there is no doubt that in relationships there is much that is not discussed and much anatagonism that is the "battle of the sexes".
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I have just been down with difficult flu - for nearly a full week. What is worse it is the second flu I have had this year, it was worrying me. And then I checked the scales, and my weight was down to 81kg, and I realised what was happening. This was not an external flu, a flu caused by a virus whatever that means, this flu was a detox.
So then I began putting it together. For three days I didn't eat - I had no appetite; I did actually cook. Where had the appetite gone. It was the probiotics. First I have kimchee every meal, I have been eating kefir every day, and then having kombucha tea. All of these balanced together to produce the lack of appetite, and the desired lack of weight. As I have mentioned earlier in this blog there have been some good evacuations that have made me realise that the probiotics are cleaning out my system, because of my weight I think I am close to the end in terms of digestion.
My second flu detox was cordyceps. I was coughing up so much phlegm - as the Nano doctor said the lungs were drying out with the cordyceps.
It has not been a comfortable detox, and the lungs have a good way to go, but I am so happy that my weight is attesting to my health.
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(This is not complete, and is here for reference as I have moved on; I began looking at Marshall but didn't finish. I downloaded his stuff from Third World Traveller, and it is stored online here.) We are in a world recession that has been recently caused by financial exploitation. There is therefore a danger that we perceive all our understanding of the state of the world in terms of these finance institutions. Marshall, Chapter 1, proposes that banking is outside the Marxist model - not something I have previously heard because I slept politically for 20 years. History is a good view so let's look back. Now Marshall describes an engine of colonialism as the banks. For want of a better word the colonialists expanded trade to access markets and gain natural resources, and Marshall describes this as a need to repay debt. Let's consider personal debt. When my personal debt hit its peak it was because I had lost control of my circumstances, I said I had a right to have a house to look after the exploiting family, I was drinking before so had the right to continue. In other words my debt developed through a lack of control dominated by desire - forms of greed. I misused the banks and credit cards, and built up debt. What was the bank motivation in this? They wished to indebt me but at that time their practices were not merchandising - I went to them. Over time I resolved my debt situation, and will never get into debt again. In colonial history i am sure banks encouraged colonial ventures in order to indebt and create a profit. But they were only misusing greed. Their moral integrity must be brought into question as they didn't question the source of the debt repayments only that they occurred, mush as has been the case since - New World Order? When Walter Rodney describes "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa", much of his description revolves around corporations. I will therefore prefer to see colonialism as an alliance between the banks and the corporations, corporations increasing profits based on loans from banks, amshing up the Third World in its path - Third World War pre-Stockwell. And the government steps in accumulating wealth through tithes and taxes - OK that's not very good. I need to think more about the government links with banks and corporations in colonial times. Marshall sees banking as negating Marxism. I'm not sure I agree. For me Marxism is about profit margins, who gets the profits from the accumulated capital? So where does the capital come from? Owners either individually or from banks. If it is banks then debt requires the return of the original capital, increasing the demands by the owners for the profits. Banking does not alter the dynamic and banks do no alter class dynamic of bourgeois and proletariat. Banks are not monlithic, they are employing institutions at the same time as being part of the bourgeoisie. Walter did not fuck the world, he was a SWiss banker who closed his eyes and worked for his family - a worker like most people. It is important to extend my own analysis of imperialism away from the "black" model I learnt into a wider financial model but that wider model is still Marxist looking at ownership and profit margins. Marxism discussion tends to revolve around commodities. A bank sells a commodity. It sells money woith the requirements that you pay it back, buying and selling money is a trade. If the profits from this trade were reasonable and if the purposes of this trade were honourable - buying an organic farm, banking could be a right livelihood. It is therefore important in this time of legitimate attack on exploitative banking practices to recognise what we are attacking. It is the misuse of the accumulated capital for personal greed that is the problem, not the ledning of money to buiy a house to someone who has the wherewithal to repay. When we consider our attacks on banking we must be clear. Yes, I completely agree that the Rothschilds', the original exploiting banking families and ensuing exploiting families - aqs described by Marshall, did not have any integrity, but we must not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Understand banking for what it is - predominantly usury with anoccasional useful social function. At the same time I have no desire to fix my sail to the mast of Marxism in a divisive way, undeerstanding corporatocracy and calling it bourgeoisie is a labelling process that matters little to me. It is the process of accumulation of capital that matters. This paragraph by Marshall is very useful in aligning the way I think with him:- "The central banking system has, from its inception, acted in ways which monopolize industry (thus negating Adam Smith's concept of a "free market" and "competition"); militarize nations (financing wars and conquest, imperialism); merging the interests of both the economic and political realms into a holistic ruling class (modeled upon the dual nature of a central bank itself - holding the authority and power of a government body, but representing the interests and submitting to the ownership of private individuals). Thus, the ruling class itself is a social construct which this tiny elite formed, hardly capable of the numbers to be termed a class, especially since class is most often defined in national terms, whereas this elite is international in nature. _The central bank of a nation finances monopoly industry and imperial states, both of which are created out of debt bondage to the central bank. Both the commercial/industrial elites and political elites merge their interests - the state will pursue imperial policies that have the effect of benefiting industry, while industry will support the building of a strong, powerful state (and provide a cozy job for the political elite upon leaving the public sector). This makes up the ruling class of a nation, the capitalists, or owners of the means of production, merging with the political rulers of the nation. One does not represent or overpower the other, but rather, both serve the interests and are owned through interest, by a tiny international elite. One must ask: What would capitalism look like if it were not for the advent of the central banking system?" I suspect historically a ruling elite was national in character, quite simply because all people perecived themselves more so nationally. That is not to say that they subjugated their own greed to the national interest - far fom it. Because people perceived politics nationally in the 19th and 20th centuries, analysis would take oin national character. But this superclass, corporatocracy, has not actually changed in character. Fundamentally these families such as the Rothschilds did finance the corporations. But at the same time do we turn around and say that these corporations are owned by these families? I think not, there is an alliance - the corporatocracy, both of whioch are transnational in character. It is important to understand the role of the Central Bank as a corporation in the corporatocracy. The Bank of England or the Federal Reserve are private companies whose shareholders profit from national debts through repayments. These Central banks are the ultimate secure gamble, being shareholders in the debt repayments of the hegemony. Dispel oneself of the notion that these banks are owned by the government. Do we want to perceive a tiny international elite of families who have aggregated around them national interests such as the owners of means of production as well as the elite who are their political puppets as the totality of the corporatocracy? I am not sure that is a beneficial view. Their heinous greed is a major problem but the echelons of puppets generating their profits isolate them from accountability. It would be nice to apportion legal punishment but an unrealistic dream. In line with this what is Alex Jones' purpose? Strategy? Highlight the names of these guys so right-wing militia go and pop them off? The Brevik's of this world will only kill children never anything as useful as killing Rothschilds - not that I would ever want anyone to kill them - GENUINELY, however much harm they do in this world. What would it achieve? These people will always find cohorts to replace them, this world will never escape from greed. Seek happiness away from greed.
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|Personal Insight History|
(This is nowhere near complete. I started and then got hooked into Zandtao wordpress and OCCUPY. It is here for reference, hopefully to be completed one day) In this world where there is so much manipulation to gear us away from the truth, it is very important that we develop insight. Insight is the tool we need to discern the truth whilst the forces of greed, the corporatocracy - the corporations controlling governments - continue to lie to us and manipulate us. Who could believe that a corporation would intentionally put something in our food which produces brain tumours - see aspartame? Who would believe that there are people who have talked of cures for cancer, have evidence that it has worked, and yet the corporations use their govewrnmental control to prevent adequate investigation? Who would believe that after the nuclear disaster in Fukushima the nuclear industry would push for changes in regulations so that they don't have to replace outmoded parts? Who would believe that corporations would pressurise governments to invade countries leaving more than a million dead in Iraq, for example, primarily for war prfoits as well as gaining control of the oil? These are some of the inhuman examples that our corporations are carrying out in order to increase profits. To learn the truth is difficult.
How do we find out the truth? This is far from easy. As an institution the people who have the greatest grasp of these social realities are members of the loony left, the people who are picketing the G# meetings, the anti-globalisation organisations. But look at them they are angry, almost crazy, how can they be right - or at least mostly? When you meet these young people they start preaching at you. How have you let the world get into this state - much like I did 40 years ago? How can you allow corporations kill people just so that they can increase profits? What kind of people are you? I can only apologise - sorry I let it happen. But I didn't sit back and let it happen, it happened despite what I tried to do. And for me the problem is that most people know there is something wrong but they don't know what. They listen to the excuses that the corporations put out. Excuses such as you can't help the Third World because their governments are corrupt. Well of course they are corrupt, the corporations pay them big money to be corrupt, to allow the corporations to exploit their natural resources to make their profits. The corporations present others as the problem, weak government, 3rd world corruption etc. And there is another good one - natural disaster. Throughout time there has been natural disasters, droughts, famine etc. Whilst people died before these natural disasters did not cause the damage they now do. Why? Because the farmers knew what crops to plant that best protected the land to help survive the natural disaster. In the last century the corporations began to tell the farmers what to plant, they needed such and such a crop to make a profit (cash crops). Because the farmers had no choice as to who to sell to, they changed their crops, and as a result the natural disasters have increased in their impact, and there has been an increase in desertification as the cash crops have harmed the natural balance the farmers had maintained. These could all be given different explanations. The natural diasters are worse, the corrupt dictatorships are taking advantage of the farmers, and Saddam Hussein was a tyrant. At the same time these corporations have vast amounts of money so they can pay for research that will justify whatever reason they choose. In other words they make the partial truths represent the whole truth by manipulation of the intellectual media. How do you see through these reinforced partial truths? You cannot compete with them on a rational level. Firstly only whistleblowers from the companies will ever tell the truth, and in business these whistle-blowers are few and far-between as those people who know enough to damage the credibility of the corporations are very well paid. So rational skills are not the answer, we need insight. We need to be able to see through all the smokes and mirrors the corporate paradigm puts forward, and see underneath to understand what is going on. And this is not easy as this process of obfuscation begins in school, long before we are adults we have begun to learn the lies the corporations put out as truth. And if we didn't learn the lies in the school, the corporate media also presents these same lies to ensure that we get the same consistent falsehoods. But we do have a faculty that can enable us to see through this web of deceit, and that is insight.
Formally insight is developed through vipassana - insight meditation, but whilst this is the best structured way of learning insight it is not the only way. Very often especially in the West people develop insight almost by happenstance. I say happenstance, but that is how it appears. In practice it is developed through conflict. Now this conflict can only be defined in an insightful way, so creating this conflict cannot be taught. It is a natural process, but it is not a natural process for everyone - not everyone ends up in this conflictual situation (it depends on your Kamma). How? As people grow up, they are barraged by this corporate indoctrination. On a deeper level this indoctrination causes an internal conflict with a person's natural path, and there develops a deep dissatisfaction bordering on depression. These people deep inside are very unhappy. Now for some this dissatisfaction remains a permanent part of their lives, but for others this internal conflict completely dominates their lives until eventually they are forced to deal with it. To come out on top they need the first flowering of insight to see through the barrage of disinformation that is around them. This insight shows them that there is a Path of satisfaction and happiness in life that is not based on the false financial rewards that are offered by the corporatocracy. This Path does not provide you with financial wealth, it leads you on a Path with permanent conflict in your life. But this conflict is not with yourself, you are conmfortable with yourself. The conflict exists with all around you who have accepted the indoctrination of the paradigm, look at your happiness, and begin to question what is happening to themselves - when they have achieved the financial rewards the system offers. But the Path gives you strength to fight such adversities, it gives you insight to see through the lies, and if you develop the faculty of insight further gives you even greater ability to understand life and live peacefully. I wish to talk about how my limited insight developed.
For me in childhood there were no indications of any developing insight, far from it I took what in some ways I consider the opposite course - I became good at what the school's tool of reason is - maths. In fact as I will explain later this reason of maths taught me to understand insight more. As I progressed through education I became more and more mathematical plateauing at a one year postgraduate level in statistics. In retrospect it appears to me that at none of this time did I develop even the basis of insight, although as I got older I had succombed to the booze. In fact the booze toppled me over the edge, and I hit bottom being deservedly sacked. Recollecting I felt lost at that stage without any indications of insight. I stayed with my parents (in Manchester) just over a month wandering around aimlessly rarely drinking until I returned to London. At this stage from somewhere came compassion (which I now recognise as the Path), and I volunteered to look after some ESN kids at the weekend. And this quickly led to childcare which became the vocation of teaching - my life's work. Compassion and insight are inseparable from the Path, along with awareness they are its components, but at that stage I cannot recall any awareness or insight. However life had brought me in contact with an arts centre where I met some good people who spent a significant amount of time trying to remove the black and white of my maths conditioning. At their instigation I started writing science fiction for their arts magazine, and there was the beginning recognition of my insight. I found a world in which people said I know that is true, and if asked why they laughed at me "because it is true". I soon found this insightful way of seeing things to have far greater credence than any academic rationale or idea. And in the writing I discovered a treasure trove of awareness that I had never previously been conscious of. Out of me would come words and descriptions and attitudes to society that I had never been conscious of. Whilst inside there were still levels of conflict, I had not even begun to realise I had a problem with the booze, but I had begun unconsciously to search for insights into life. How did I do that searching? At that time we just talked and I realised just how isolated my upbringing had been, I began to seek experience. I travelled for a few months learning the importance of being on my own, exploring in my mind any idea I could get my hands on, it was not the idea but my exploration of them that mattered. I returned to child care for a year before again I took to the road before returning after a month to a life of teaching. By that time writing had been seeded in me but it wasn't so much that I was a professional writer but that the writing gave me access to insight.
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I have been going through major inner turbulence as a result of my Zandtao change to politicisation. It started with my desire to find a house in the country near the beach, but unfortunately the only person who offers such places is a Thai Rachman. The house was almost ideal for me, and I could have made it more ideal by paying for improvements. He must have seen this in me and took complete advantage. I made agreements I shouldn't, he used tricks to try to get extra money out of me, but gradually my good sense saw through my desire I spoke to his existing tenants who recognised his Rachmanism but had gained better deals because they were Thai. This was a racist Thai Rachman, I was forced to break my word, and did not sign a contract.
This process had stressed me out, and often when I am stressed I become more involved with people. I wouldn't say I use people to vent but the extra emotion caused by the stress brings out a need for communication - often banter. At the same time my politicisation has led me to be more incisive and critical of people I met as we live in a world where we now need to confront the 1% - rather than acquiescing and making do. In life this process of using my insight to pick holes in the frailty of people has got me in trouble before. Quite often this frailty can cause anguish in others simply by my living a true life, but greater anguish is caused when I use my insight in verbal discussion with them. This happened with someone I suppose I considered a friend, at least I spoke often with him. He is a bombast who has formed erroneous opinions based on his experience alone, he does not listen to others nor does he read so his opinions are often ignorant. He carries this off with an authoritative air so that others might well perceive him as knowledgeable. The man sounds horrendous but he is very helpful with the things he knows about - such as the motorbike.
I now realise his relationship with his Thai wife is very fragile as well - not surprising given his bombastic nature. What I thought was badinage with her she appears to have misunderstood, and I suspect this became an issue at home. Now the issue of badinage could easily have been resolved by asking me what was going on, but instead his bombastic insecurity led to a desire to express his anguish personally as a public attack on me - in company. When it happened I was gobsmacked, and it has caused me much inner turbulence. Fortunately I think the man is physically frightened of me so it is not going to turn violent. Of course I will sever relations with him, but it is necessary to examine in more detail how I have let this situation arise.
Because he is a bombast I have been far too aggressive with him even at one stage calling him a moron because he doesn't read - in a half-joking way. The more I think about it the more foolish I have been in dealing with him. And this started with my need to be political. I recognised that there was this need and I had actually lost my temper with this guy's bombasticism. But with that he was happy, he had some control - my loss of temper. But I then made it clear that that would never happen again - and despite his efforts it hasn't. At that point political discussion was not an issue, but when I started with this "moron" and other stuff he became insecure. I now realise that deep down because he had no control he was developing a fear of interactions with me. When you add to this the suspected difficulties with the wife at home - where he now had to resolve a situation with me, his anguish and fear led to the vitriolic response.
This political me has re-emerged and I have forgotten previous circumspect measures that I had been aware of. Looking at this situation, previously I might have avoided the badinage with the wife and I might have been more aware of this bombast's anguish. But as a retired person I have never dealt with this because I have never evaluated my role of political awareness. Buddhist awareness led to an issue two years ago but with such Buddhist awareness I am more aware that it produces anguish - sometimes unavoidable. In truth crossing over and combining political and Buddhist awareness needs to make me doubly more careful. Often those who are seeking Buddhist awareness recognise their inner vulnerability and do not confront, this bombast did not - he still is not aware of what has happened and I suspect I will never be able to explain in a learning way. This was not a man who saw the need for personal awareness, if so he would have seen his vulnerability. He clung to his bombastic analysis as a shell and when I showed him how fragile that shell was inside his anguish lashed out.
Whilst his personal aggression is totally unacceptable - it was fuelled by drink as well, the fact is I knew better but didn't act on it. That was pathetic on my part. What is the point in knowing if you don't do something about it. I got carried away because I was too focussed on the external - the politics. When dealing with people it is necessary to look at them and not the discussion. Nothing I have ever said to the bombast means anything to him because he has turned all the anguish that gave him the potential for learning into animosity towards me with the badinage as an excuse. And that is my fault. I pushed him too hard because of my own ego and the correctness of my analysis, and then I was stupid with the badinage. There is no point however in having a correct analysis if I can't use it. I was politically evangelising, not interested in the other person learning. I must involve myself politically but in so doing the purpose is for the other person to learn. As a principle Occupy brings people on board by consensus democracy, the very situation of Occupy requires consensus. In normal life as with Gavin consensus is not required whan taking positions. So as with Gavin our directions take us where we feel we want to go, and when we communicate it is never for consensus or agreement, it is always to present each other's position and try to persuade the other to agree. Whilst this enables continuity it does not create solutions.
This is what women do. There is a problem but a solution is never sought. Women can live without solutions, I can't; in general I think men need solutions - hence the escapism within relationships - the woman having the home, the man paying for it but living in the pub. In relationships in society consensus is not desired to be reached. I always emphasise the need for learning, I am discussing to learn and teach. Whilst the learning is true it is not the emphasis, my emphasis is to teach but it is not teaching the way I know how to teach. It is not mixed ability, it is not working with the other trying to encourage them to realisations so they can learn for themselves. My political teaching is confrontational, the confrontation often leads to mild aggression on my part as the other person fails to grasp the point because of their own egos. That confrontation is my ego and needs to change, the confrontation came from a sense of guilt that I was not aware enough politically since I left the UK - as evidenced by the amount of Zandtao blogging.
Much of this problem could have been avoided by greater emphasis on meditation. If I had been meditating well I would have been warned about the anguish in the bombast, and I would have been warned about the badinage. My insight would have determined the signs either at the time or in meditation, I might also have handled the Rachman issue better. There was a snake in my house today, that is not natural snakes don't belong inside the house - maybe in the roof but not inside. A few weeks ago a snake came out of the Aircon - again not natural. These are natural warnings about the Path. I am not meditating enough and there is not enough prioirty on my journey. My journey has improved by rightly insisting on socio-political insight as well as spiritual insight but I have to improve my way of interacting to cope with this. For the last 20 years it has only been spiritual insight that I have looked into, now that I am working socio-politically I have to adopt the same approach to that awareness. I say that insight needs to be applied to daily life. I apply that insight when discussing spiritually, that insight needs also to be applied when discussing socio-politically.
I hope through this blog I have learnt from this incident.
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|Breathing & Coughing|
Breathing is an aspect of energy work that I have been weak on. For this last week I have had a cough from a virus, this cough has been seriously irritating. I woke up today and thought about breathing. I got out "A Complete Guide to Chi Gung" by Dan Reid to remind myself about how I should be breathing:-
and started serious deep breathing. The coughing hasn't completely gone but mostly. I still haven't studied that book even though it is a Book Journey. Shame on me!!
This is the second time recently where illness has knocked me on the head and said to stop being stupid about my health. The first I lost 5kg weight to bring me down to bmi, and here ill health is teaching me how to breathe. Sadly I have not been careful and my weight is back up 4 kg, that means I will have another virus to lose weight. Let's hope I have more sense with the breathing so I don't have a return of the uncomfortable coughing.
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Sunday 4th March
I am now on Day 3 of the detox, first three days are fruit days so they are the worst - highest detoxification. After an early loose bowel there has been no release of toxins that way, but there has been an increase in passing water - clear so related to fat. I have had small trouble with the head - slightly worrying indicating that my diet has not cleared my head yet. I have not drunk enough liquids so in the morning I have been dehydrated, this is understandable as my favoured drinks are limited by fruit days. With the dehydration I have been thinking about salt during detox. My weight is down to 83/84 kg.
The detox has lessened meditation, and also lessened determination - too much watching. And limited insight. Whilst I have no doubt that a detox is important, to live on a detox diet is not complete. Fruit diets for the lymph system might be beneficial there but it is not beneficial all over. I expect to improve meditation once into the veg, and then back on the grains fish and beans after the detox.
Salt again. I will use dtao jiao for salt. Can use kimchee but will use kombucha tea and rejuvelac as liquid has been a problem.
I am eating too much, when not on detox. Must resolve how to eat less. Have to reduce habitual eating during watching - better reduce watching.
Saturday 10th March
Today I finish the detox, and a number of issues are not really resolved. My weight is 83kg, 3 kg above BMI. Why? I associate two reasons with this. Firstly I am eating too much, this is desire, despite it being healthy eating the only time I was down to BMI was when I lost the weight during illness - and soon put it on again. Secondly I am not completely sure but maybe there is an outstanding health issue. I read somewhere that rejuvenating the system completely takes 7 years - August 2013 would be 7 years.
The vegetable aspect of the detox did not produce any detoxification, this is good and bad. Bad because I want to clean out the system but good because there is not much toxicity there. Because my desire - appetite - is still there, I need to increase the number of fruit detoxes to ensure that my weight is down. So the plan is a fortnightly fruit weekend, possibly followed by a day or two veg and fruit - but I am not sure how important that is. Perhaps when I return to the grains I can assess that.
But I now see my biggest health problem as my lack of control of desire. Although I control the food I input, the fact is I eat too much of it. If there is an underlying problem it is surviving because of eating too much. Detox was satisfactory on two levels, it reduced some weight and there was little toxic poisoning evident, but the detox was unsatisfactory because there is still a health issue. However that health issue is mental health - attached to desire for eating. Solution - better meditation.
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