Commenter Archive

Comments by Scott Miller
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On “Everybody Did Get Stoned

@ miguel cervantes:
Oh, sorry, I thought Miguel was talking about crackin'

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@ CK MacLeod:
Obviously, cocaine does not a cosmetologist make. I'd take a 60's style pot smoking stylist over a 70's style one any day. Just look what one did to Linda.

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@ miguel cervantes:
Admittedly, I am and was only going by second hand info in terms of being positively taken by his Jesuit days. What I know of Jesuits impresses me, but things are not always as advertised. I bow to your personal experience, Miguel, and go back to my original point about Jerry the mayor of Oakland. That one's probably safe since you were probably not schooled by one of those. I take it the Jesuits weren't big on ending sentences with a punctuation mark

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@ CK MacLeod:
Okay. The truth is, he had me at Jesuit priest.

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@ CK MacLeod:
Glad you feel that way. When Jerry became the mayor of Oakland was the moment I really started digging him. It did show an absolute willingness to experiment combined with as deep a sense of integrity as you're going to get from a politician.

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Thank you, Colin. Bob is music to my ears as I type. This was the feel-good blog experience I've been looking for. It was perfect to read one of Miguel's unstoned stoned comments first. "Doesn’t California prove they’ve been stoned long ago, and what’s the insinuation about the Grizzly" No punctuation. No question mark. Why bother
Just that "Grizzly" word floating out in space. You can't make that shit up. Thank you all.

On “Two Questions regarding Post-Christian Religion

@ CK MacLeod:
I see your point and you've convinced me.
Grace's daughter should be named Confidence since confidence leads to faith, etc..

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And in response to my own comment: Then why practice? Because practice creates favorable conditions for Grace.

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@ CK MacLeod:
The question about "Grace" is also a big point. Obviously, with Christians, nothing really happens without Grace. With yoga, Grace is also important, because the mind can't self-illuminate. Buddhists generally steer clear of the issue, but Vajrayana practices and awarenesses like "Mahamudra" also connect to an acknowledgment that enlightenment is beyond conditioning. You can't practice your way into realization. At some point there has to be a moment of what we can all recognize as "Grace," even if it is not necessarily Divinely inspired.

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CK MacLeod wrote:

Totally innocent ignorant person’s question: If the Noble Eightfold Path can end suffering for the journeyer, why fundamentally/inherently couldn’t there be a Noble X-Fold Path for an entire nation, or world, advanced and adopted as such?

Even those Rinpoches who go along with Buddhist institutional social structuring are constantly trying to subvert it so that institutionalism doesn't keep practitioners tied to a system embedded in suffering. They know that institutions are not liberated and do not liberate. They are a necessary evil, so to speak. Wise practitioners do a dance with them. Buddha's own Sangha (spiritual community) was troubled with institutional problems. There was a plot to assassinate him, and he had all kinds of challenges keeping things cool on a gender level. Still, Sanghas are considered to be not only important, but essential to individuals making their way toward enlightenment. It's interesting that actual Tibetan Tibetan Buddhists living in the states tend to restructure how things were in Tibet by connecting with rich, powerful Westerners like Steven Segal and Richard Gere. They become attached to the wealthy and end up exploiting the poor all over again. The Dalai Lama said that right when the Chinese attacked, the Tibetans were just about "to change." He never says how they were going to change. I wish he would come out and say that the system of picking the Dalai Lama and all the minor Rinpoches was like a lottery system. It gave false hope to the poor because their circumstances could change overnight by a miracle, while maintaining the power base of the monks. I also think it's too self-serving for TBs to think there is only personal not "cultural" karma. Of course, there is. What you reap, so shall you sew. That goes for countries as well. Tibet I think came as close to a Noble X-Fold Path for an entire nation as it gets and it didn't work at all. Not even close. For the monks, on an individual level of practice, however, it was great. Probably more people became enlightened within the system than any other nation in history.

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From a Taoist view, it would also be great if the good liberal base allowed for a little bit of conservatism in themselves and the conservatives allowed for a little bit of liberalism in themselves. Then you have the nice yin-yang fish duality with the little dots on each side. (Maybe the sweetness and simplicity of that image will send Fuster running back to the Germans).

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@ Rex Caruthers:
Right. This is where I get my attitude toward the supposed liberal-conservative mix in this country. No one should want either side to win. We need a balance between a sympathetic, adventurous, sensitive, if sometimes too reactive liberal base and a thoughtful, conventional, stingy, if sometimes too cautious conservative base. Right now, we have a tug-of-war between two confused, reactionary, self-oriented groups, neither of which express liberalism or conservatism effectively.

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CK MacLeod wrote:

One question that remains is to what extent Aurobindo, Wilber, or others have thought things through on the level of history and the state, or if they have instead ceded that ground to others – whether because they don’t acknowledge the significance of the state or because they tacitly or explicitly acknowledge the Western-Christian models as irresistible.

Sorry it took me so long to reply. Aurobindo was actually an Indian nationalist freedom fighter who spent some time in jail for his political actions. That's why I thought you'd be interested. He also works as a Fuster annoyance, since he studied German philosophy and came up with a yoga with a Nietzsche-like overman-underman perspective. I hope you check him out.

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@ fuster:
I doubt you ever "did so much of" this really. You may have studied Hegel. You didn't do Colin's Hegel. It annoys me when people act like they've done something in their past when they haven't really done it in order to dismiss something they can't do now. I'm quite sure that what Colin is doing now is different than anything you could have done when you were a whippersnapper. So I am sighing as well.

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Okay. I don't know the answer to either question, but I can tell you what the "neo-post-Hegelian" Wilber emphasizes. Perhaps that will head things in the right direction. Okay. One of Wilber's big things is referred to as "The Levels of Being." It connects with an older idea called "The Preternatural Pentad." Wilber takes the Sanskrit five strata of mind(manas)-ego(ahamkara)-intellect(buddhi)-soul(prakriti)-spirit(purusha) and presents it as the more Western friendly Physical, Emotional, Mental, Soulful, and Spiritual levels. With that hierarchical structuring in mind, Wilber points out that the mistake we usually make is to try and "illuminate" the highest reality according to the perceptions of lower levels of consciousness. That doesn't work. The mind (manas) is not self-illumining. Even the third level of consciousness (intellect-buddhi) is not equipped to explain the Truth. So to realize the Truth we must be absorbed in Spirit. I think the teacher who has realized Spirit level consciousness who you might relate to best is Sri Aurobindo. He was Western educated in the late 1800s, was very active politically and even militarily for awhile, and told the yoga people of his time that they had to realize Truth out in the world, not just internally.

On “Theo-Anthropology and the Essence of Christianity

@ bob:
Apology accepted, Bob. Thank you. My main point was to possibly steer the Hegel comparison away from the complexity of Buddhism to the Yoga Sutras, or Ken Wilber. I've been checking back on Wilber and he is commonly referred to as a "neo-Hegelian," and "post-Hegelian." So it's not just that he writes about Hegel. His whole "integral psychology" deal is considered very Hegelian.

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@ bob:
Glad I missed this comment. Now Colin will probably be the only one to read my response.
I'm trying to go easy here. After the aggressive "incorrect" misstatement on Bob's part, what he says about Vajrayana practice and Crazy Wisdom is true. But that's from the student perspective. I was referring to what we get from the teachers--the Lamas and Rinpoches. I was referring to their teachings. So I was not incorrect. Then there's the "As for the rest of vajrayana being more rational based – that’s just crazy" part. Uh...what? How does anything I wrote connect to that? It's amazing that someone who calls for "specificity" can muddle things to this degree. Bob proves my point. The comparison between Hegel and Buddhism is something that leads him into confusion. I was trying to be nice about it. He makes it very difficult.
"Many Tibetan meditational figures derive from Hindu gods and goddesses."
So? Again, does that have anything to do with anything? The fact that some Buddhists are much more religious than others was my point. And again, when Buddhists are so different, it makes it hard to compare Hegel to Buddhism. Which Buddhism? Bob makes one point. It takes a great deal of specificity to make the comparing at all meaningful. He could have made that point without adding a false conclusion and an irrelevant statement.

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The other challenge when it comes to comparing things to Buddhism is that there are three kinds: hinayana, mahayana, and vajrayana. The last one is tantric. That means all bets are off with it. Vajrayana equals "Crazy wisdom" level of practice. Naturally, that's my favorite. The other ones relate more to the reasonableness and rationality that the world thinks of as Buddhist--"the Buddhism without belief" part. Tantric Buddhism even includes a kind of Buddhist form of worship in connection with Chenrezig, which was Avilakeshvara in the pre-Buddha, Hindu days of compassion oriented spiritual teaching.

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bob wrote:

The reason the Dharma does not change is because the content of thought is irrelevant. So yes, the content can change, but so what?

Agreed. That's why I think what Colin was getting at with the Hegelian philosophy really connects more with the dualistic aphorisms of the Yoga Sutras than Buddhism. Some people think the Sutras are a yogic response to Buddha's teachings. The only problem with that idea is that they probably came first.

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@ CK MacLeod:
This is very "Ken Wilber." As a Buddhist, it was unique for Wilber to put forth the idea that things had changed from the time of Buddha even from an Ultimate (not just a relative) perspective. He has been criticized for thinking that the Buddha's philosophy needs updating. Wilber explains why in context of Form and Formlessness. All Buddhists, including Wibler, see it is as a mistake to connect Buddha's realization of Emptiness to the transcendence of "illusion." "Form" is not just an illusion. Everything is empty, including Formlessness. To see things differently would create a dualistic perspective. Buddhists always see dualism in a negative light and that's okay in connection with the Buddha's ideas (not in connection with yoga). So Form is as eternal as Formlessness and no less real. Form is Formlessness and Formlessness is Form. Therefore, as you point out in a different way, Form will impact Truth. What was True for the Buddha is different now. Like I stated, most Buddhists don't go for that idea. They think of the Buddha's dharma as Ultimate Truth that does not change. You really should check out Ken Wilber's writing. I know he has written about Hegel extensively. I'll research which books would be the best.

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@ fuster:
Great song. I still think Colin is right, however. Admit it, George, you really are a Sag.

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@ miguel cervantes:
That brought a smile to my face, Miguel. No shit. Really? A Libra. I would not have guessed that, but now that I think about it, I get it. You're not out actually causing the conflict you advocate. So, okay. Libra.

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@ George Jochnowitz:
But you do have powers, George. I wrote a whole response to your earlier astrology question, posted it, and then it came up "this post is under moderation." Then, when I posted another comment, the earlier one disappeared. Maybe it had to do with the Cabbala word in it. Anyway, I explained the relevance of astrology along Carl Jung lines. You probably wouldn't have related to it anyway.
The best part was that I commended the Tsar for this quote: CK MacLeod wrote:

I thought Scorpios were supposed to be secretive. You must have some other sign burglarizing your House.

He was right. Dead on. But I'm not telling him what the other sign in the other "House" is. It's a secret.

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@ CK MacLeod:
Great save, Tsar. I recoil my Scorpio stinger.

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@ CK MacLeod:
Very funny, Mr. Role. You know, as a fellow Scorpio, I will get you back on that level. The thing I love about Scorpios like ourselves is that we always retaliate in kind. We don't use a Louisville Slugger when someone else has used a whiffle bat. So, somewhere down the line I too will recall some little soft spot of yours and tweak it with good humor.

*Comment archive for non-registered commenters assembled by email address as provided.

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