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Denis Wallez
367,165 followers -
« Intentions do matter. »
« Intentions do matter. »

367,165 followers
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Where next, given the sun-setting of g+?

For those wanting to follow the progress on transforming the "Buddhism and Meditation", "Buddhism Q&A" and "Buddhist Art" g+ communities (cf. gplus.wallez.name/NJA4xM2E18Q), please subscribe to https://mailchi.mp/f77b1728b46b/migrating_googleplus_buddhism And, as I need time and resources to create this, please support my work, at koan.mu/donate.htm

On a personal level, the best I can offer for now is for people to register their email for the newsletter of Dharma.house at http://secret.dharma.house/newsletters/ Right now, Dharma.house is going through major changes, and the newsletter is in fact inactive… but it'll be used —in due time— to let people know where I am and what I offer (in relation to #Buddhism, #Dharma, #ethics …).

For the time being, on social media, I'll temporarily answer questions only in "Buddhism Q&A" on FB (www.facebook.com/groups/528306864247551). And yes, I do have serious ethical concerns w.r.t. using FB, so no, there's no warranty I'll stay there in the long run… hence "temporarily".

I remain reachable directly by email (via http://koan.mu or http://en.dharma.house) / google hangout / FB messenger.

#Buddhism #Dharma #SignalFlare
image: parcel-gilt wood figure of a Bodhisattva (Tibet, 18th century)
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'Good' karma will be experienced as pleasant ... But that's not necessarily the same as "experienced as planned" !

In fact, you might plan or hope for specific pleasant outcomes, 'rewards' so to speak for your good deeds... but that's prejudice, and that's clinging... i.e. two unwholesome behaviours in and of themselves!

If phenomena unfolded as planned, this might be pleasant indeed... But karma isn't limited by that.

Your plans might be turned upside down (which tends to cause suffering, if you cling to expectations —which you don't "have to"!) for the 'good' karma to then be experienced as positive...

So... do good deeds, then allow for positive surprises... Don't plan a particular way to reap your good karma, or you're likely planting seeds of failed expectations and subsequent disappointments, annoyances, anxiety, anguish, stress, suffering...

#Buddhism #karma #Dharma
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Zhaozhou asked a newly arrived monastic "Have you been here before?"
The monastic said "Yes, I have been here."
Zhaozhou said "Have a cup of tea."

Later he asked another monastic "Have you been here before?"
The monastic said "No, I haven't been here."
Zhaozhou said "Have a cup of tea."

The monastery director then asked Zhaozhou "Aside from the one who has been here, why did you say 'Have a cup of tea' to the one who had not been here?"
Zhaozhou said "Director!"
The director responded "Yes?"
Zhaozhou said "Have a cup of tea."

— case 233 of the Shōbōgenzō Sanbyakusoku by Dōgen

See also http://plus.google.com/+DenisWallez/posts/CAeoij22aSb

#Buddhism #Dharma #Zen
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Support a better world!
please

Since November 2011, I've been committed on google+ to spreading Buddhist philosophy and knowledge, which I see as inclusive and wholesome worldviews. I've moderated several large online communities to ensure high signal/noise ratios and constructive dialogue. I've answered all sorts of questions, very often beyond mere philosophy into practical applications in daily life.
No ads, no paywall, no membership, no clickbait, but the creation of original well-researched content, a supportive presence to discuss difficulties and to explore solutions, as well as a curation of others' contributions – food for thought and for emancipation, many hours a week.

Your financial support allows me to continue to respond to all who are interested, regardless of their personal (and at times seriously difficult) circumstances.
If you have been inspired or nourished by a post or even by comments or answers (to you or to others), please consider making a generous donation today. I will use it wisely for the flourishing of the Dharma.
By construction, this will be the last call on google+… If my contributions on this platform were worth something to you, it's "now or never" to manifest so.
As some of you know, I've myself met harder economical circumstances this year (incl. in terms of my computer dying on me, of housing, of health, etc.), and based on my provisional budget I currently need an extra €1004 income by the end of 2018 not to loose some social security rights (i.e. donations are so far below the minimum wage, and so far below the poverty line, that the state would now consider I'm neither an author nor an independent teacher/counsellor on low yearly income, but just a hobbyist): I'm certainly working on it, but you can help!

Please support my work, at koan.mu/donate.htm


Given the coming cessation of google+, my current endeavours include finding and participating in another online platform for the spread of such a philosophical and ethical way of life.
In the meantime, i.e. 'temporarily', I'll answer questions in "Buddhism Q&A" on FB (www.facebook.com/groups/528306864247551).
The platform I seek would support serious practice (incl. serious enquiry / questioning) and relationships with low-key, accessible teachers, from a variety of traditions; and it would avoid as much as possible the logic of marketing, discounts, adverts for establishments, charitable status more about tax avoidance than charity, and authors perpetually coming from the same clique of the few people with the right network to become the default option for magazines, TED talks, TV interviews…
As a possible list of desirable technical features for such a platform (cf. gplus.wallez.name/NJA4xM2E18Q) seems not to fit any site currently available — either because sites care little about threads turning into 'valid cognition', i.e. sites reduce 'social media' to superficial shouting matches… or because their business model requires the fandom, the cult following, the logical fallacy of authority… which allow to manipulate people into paying for a celebrity messenger, rather than a useful message — I might create a site myself, a mix of magazine with thought-provoking contributions by a wide range of authors and a community with technical features supporting Buddhist "right speech" and the arising of "right views"… but for this, I need time, and resources (even with a frugal lifestyle).
For those wanting to follow the progress on transforming the "Buddhism and Meditation", "Buddhism Q&A" and "Buddhist Art" g+ communities, please subscribe to https://mailchi.mp/f77b1728b46b/migrating_googleplus_buddhism … Please, also make a donation, to provide suitable resources to indeed transform things!
Please support my work at koan.mu/donate.htm


And please sign up for the newsletter of Dharma.house at http://secret.dharma.house/newsletters/ Right now, Dharma.house is going through major changes, and the newsletter is in fact inactive… but it'll be used —in due time— to let people know where I am and what I offer (in relation to #Buddhism, #Dharma, #ethics …).


#Buddhism
Illustration: what's described as a "Monk's Begging Bowl (8" bowl with Stand and Lid)" for a mere $145 (!!! at https://the-elephant-story.com/collections/buddhist-monk-s-begging-bowls/products/monks-begging-bowl-8-bowl-with-stand-and-lid), which I would not acquire ;-)
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39'48''

Most skills you may learn today are unlikely to be useful in a decade or two… and yet learning — if you can avoid building hard-fenced certainties you'll later cling to and imprison yourself with — is part of learning to learn, and "knowing how to learn" is likely to remain one of the most useful skills to possess through the coming changes!
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«
The devil pales beside the man who owns a truth, his truth.
Here certitudes abound: suppress them, best of all suppress their consequences, and you recover paradise. What is the Fall but the pursuit of a truth and the assurance you have found it, the passion for a dogma, domicile within a dogma? The result is fanaticism — fundamental defect which gives man the craving for effectiveness, for prophecy, for terror.
» —Emil Cioran, a short history of decay

Is it so surprising that "relinquishing all views" (incl. about the 'self') is the Buddhist recipe for a virtuous life and the cessation of evil?
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a 12-posts collection: plus.google.com/collection/crkaPF
"Spam of the year" series — introduction (0/12)

Just received some Evangelist spam about "22 Important Questions for the Buddhistic Worldview"… The ignorance displayed in the provided answers is laughable, and that's even before realising that "22 questions" quickly turn into "12 questions and 10 I-don't-like-it-because-it-doesn't-state-what-my-literal-stupid-reading-of the-Bible-means-to-me-myself-and-I".

Anyway, maybe there's a point in answering the 12 questions?
Not to counter-attack anything, there'd be little point in doing so, but to dispel ignorance vis-à-vis what Buddhism teaches… and hopefully foster inter-faith understanding or even dialogue, rather than fights and other stupid attempts at conversion…

1/12 'Truth'
=> gplus.wallez.name/SxhFXNkxRdv

2/12 'Life is just suffering'
=> gplus.wallez.name/VGHaSj7ycZx

3/12 'Present remedy for prior-life karma'
=> gplus.wallez.name/4Gfrq3ZCDiF

4/12 'The Karma Judge'
=> gplus.wallez.name/U8PuZsJrA1L

5/12 'Conscious of attaining nirvana'
=> gplus.wallez.name/gb9Q12RDmdE

6/12 'Reincarnation without soul'
=> gplus.wallez.name/4xJR1B54hKX

7/12 'Evidence of reincarnation'
=> gplus.wallez.name/AevUCgTFhAW

8/12 'Growing population'
=> gplus.wallez.name/cd3QTeacTwk

9/12 'Value of self-effort'
=> gplus.wallez.name/7CJvLpo36TE

10/12 'True buddha/boddisatva'
=> gplus.wallez.name/TFE7eySDax3

11/12 'Changing a sufferer's condition'
=> gplus.wallez.name/h6Ur5L8jzYe

12/12 'What hope?'
=> gplus.wallez.name/Ev1ApJ8iDt5

A lot of work went into this over the last 8 days… If you like my work, please support it at koan.mu/donate.htm
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(12/12) What hope?
— yes, this sounds like a bad Star Wars title…

(intro to the series at gplus.wallez.name/h9qNiAafYx4)
Question 12, and its answer provided by the spam:
«
If our present existence is the result of something we could not control (from a prior life), what hope can we have related to our present situation in this life?

How do we hold on to hope for this life if our situation was predetermined for us and our present behaviors have more impact on the next life than on the present one? Doesn’t this view of our present life lead to an inevitable hopelessness? As it turns out, heavily Buddhist countries like Japan, Korea, and Sri Lanka have some of the highest suicide rates (from young to old). The top twenty most suicidal countries are almost all countries with strong Buddhist or Communist (atheist) histories.
»

This question is once more based on a misrepresentation of karma. I addressed all the necessary teachings in previous posts of the series.

"If our present existence is the result of something we could not control (from a prior life)," then it's time (or is it overdue?) to enquire into how to cease being a victim of circumstances, how to reclaim freedom from habits, from tendencies, from unexamined thoughts, from uncontrolled emotions and inherited instincts…

It's time to understand what unsatisfactoriness is, what anguish is, what anxiety is, what stress is, what 'suffering' is… It's time to understand what causes the unsatisfactoriness in your life, in order to start treating the causes rather than the symptoms… It's time to understand that said unsatisfactoriness might be ceased, and learn to trust and apply the antidote… It's time to figure out what the antidote is, how to apply it, how to persist with it, how to succeed, how to know when one has succeeded!
Oh look, that's the "four tasks of the noble ones" (or "four noble truths"): gplus.wallez.name/eVFH1vmfz3g

It's time to draw the lessons necessary to stop letting fear decide your life for you, to stop letting external influences decide your life for you, to stop letting stress decide your life for you (e.g. leading to defensive, angry reactions), etc.

And —hello, reality check?— maybe it's time to admit that, no, one cannot change the past… but that doesn't mean, in any way, that there's nothing to do in the present (incl. apologizing for, and mending consequences of, the past… avoiding repeating mistakes already done in the past…)!


"what hope can we have related to our present situation in this life?"

Well… Plenty of hope, if you're finally realising that the perpetual chasing for more of what you like, or for less of what you dislike, or for cheap reassurances, is just doomed to fail, as it just leads to more perpetual chasing, never to some lasting satisfaction!
But not some hope based on fantasies… Plenty of hope based on reality, and what's possible to engage with, here and now, rather than on empty promises of some other being…


"How do we hold on to hope for this life if our situation was predetermined for us and our present behaviors have more impact on the next life than on the present one?"

I already explain that this is not what the teachings on karma say. Karmic consequences typically are described by the Buddha as "arising in this life, in the next life, or one after that".
Moreover, I also already explained (3/12, gplus.wallez.name/4Gfrq3ZCDiF) that you engage with the present consequences of past deeds by shaping in the present the context!
You abandon the unwholesome, naïve and ignorant belief in determinism (karmic determinism was explicitly rejected by the Buddha), and you observe that you can learn to "react" or "respond" (presently) differently, to the same circumstances, thus freeing yourself from the past… no longer letting the past dictate your response…
You observe that some of the present situation is inherited from long past actions and views, but some of it is also inherited from actions and views a moment ago… You change the situation little by little, step by step…

You observe that no matter how long you held an object, it only takes one moment to ungrasp it and let it fall onto the floor. Maybe you find it hard to let it go, because of a cramp, or because you say "I've always done so, this is who I am, I'm following the steps of my family, etc.", or because you fear what will happen (which you've never let happen before, so you're facing the unknown)… You find it hard, you might not even believe it's possible, nonetheless it only takes one moment to ungrasp the object and let it fall onto the floor.
And in the same way, no matter how long in the past you've held erroneous views (incl. about who you are) and habits, the time to let them go is basically unrelated.
And if you understand rebirth vs. reincarnation (6/12, gplus.wallez.name/4xJR1B54hKX), then it's really about ungrasping, about letting go of views… ungrasping whatever past the mind ignorantly appropriates as one's own, in order to start engaging with the present without letting the past bias the engagement (by preferences, by habits, by prejudices…).

Since the logical fallacy of the call to authority was the basis for discussing truth (1/12, gplus.wallez.name/SxhFXNkxRdv), I could reply with a similar fallacy: the Buddha said it's doable in this lifetime, and the suttas mention hundreds of arhats… and the Buddha didn't just assert it's doable, he explained how to have it done.


"Doesn’t this view of our present life lead to an inevitable hopelessness?"

Sure, except this view is not what Buddhism teaches.


"As it turns out, heavily Buddhist countries like Japan, Korea, and Sri Lanka have some of the highest suicide rates (from young to old)."

Another example of fallacious argument: Japan ranks 30th, South Korea 10th, Sri Lanka 31st in suicides per 100,000 people in 2016 (data: World Health Organization). FYI, the USA aren't doing particularly better: 34th!
And if we look into details, an extremely high suicide rate among the elderly is a major contributing factor to South Korea's overall suicide rate. Many impoverished elderly people kill themselves as to not be a burden on their families, since the South Korean welfare system is poorly funded. This has little to do with karmic views on past lives! Poverty, joblessness, high debt burdens and other social problems—the main factors behind the high suicide rate—are rampant throughout Sri Lanka. Again, little to do with previous lives.

"The top twenty most suicidal countries are almost all countries with strong Buddhist or Communist (atheist) histories."

As if Communism had anything to do with Buddhism? Evangelism in the US will use any red flag it can, and conflate anything it wants to criticise with Communism, as basic propaganda… Let's try to maintain some sanity.

Top 20 (WHO, 2016): Guyana, Lesotho, Russia, Lithuania, Suriname, Cote d'Ivoire, Kazakhstan, Equatorial Guinea, Belarus, South Korea, Uganda, Cameroon, Zimbabwe, Ukraine, Nigeria, Latvia, Swaziland, Togo, India, Uruguay. [bold = "strong Buddhist history"]
Kazakhstan and India had let go of Buddhism around the 8th and 10th century respectively, hence at least a millennium ago… Kazakhstan is currently Muslim, and India primarily Hindu, so if religious views are to be blamed, aiming at Buddhism seems… inaccurate?

What appears to me as unwholesome, in this argument on suicide rates, is a spammer's willingness to blame religions he knows little about… instead of looking into his own individualism, capitalism and consumerism supportive of the exploitation of workers for pennies the other side of the world, and the appropriation of natural resources overseas without much redistribution to the locals (aka. theft, potentially through bribery of officials)…
And then pretending to give lessons about passivity and social justice (11/12, gplus.wallez.name/h6Ur5L8jzYe)? Passivity is a lot more found when one's "hope" is built on some external supposed God or saviour, and on a supposed promise of 'heaven' in the next life, than when one's behaviour is built on personal responsibility and causality in this life! Fortunately, not all Christians follow this Evangelist spammer's views.


Speaking of causality… if you like my work, please support it at koan.mu/donate.htm

#Buddhism #Dharma
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