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Not much going on the last couple of days... except tacos... but I'll fill you guys in on that and tell you about the animal and human realms this weekend.

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5 hours ago, Stronkey Kong said:

Patience. I should exercise patience.

 

Especially if you plan to go into teaching.

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“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

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10 hours ago, Stronkey Kong said:

Or just restrict it to a paddlin'... still bad karma, but not as bad as murder.

 

My (shitty) "life pro tip": Don't teach anything you're passionate about. At least at school. All those kids who are forced to be there and have no interest in anything you say can really suck the joy out of everything. At least as far as I  can tell from any friend who became a teacher. 😅 Also investing in a sturdy paddle is worth it.

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I fasted for the first several hours of the day. Really just put off eating until I was really hungry... and trying to combine this with meditation on compassion. One of the things that I've struggled with on weight loss, when my calories get low, I get irritable and prone to anger... which is understandable, but that makes it hard to keep up a caloric deficit. Buddhism recognizes the connection between hunger and compassion. The monks are instructed to only eat as little as is necessary to sustain their life and their practice to that other beings can be fed. The Buddha (and or other advanced meditators) is said to have lived only on what could fit on a single blade of grass each day.

 

Now, I'm not about to take it that far, in an attempt to eat just a little less, and sustain a weight loss goal, I think it'd be help to meditate in this way, on compassion when I feel hungry, irritable, or angry. But not in a guilt inducing way, just acknowledging that there are people who have to go without food and don't have a choice, that they experience the hunger, irritability, tiredness, and anger, and it can cause great suffering. So I ought to take some of that suffering, meditate on it, and transform it into rockin' hot six pack abs... or at least add some actual meaning to my weight loss goals.

 

Also, I'm officially plugging my teacher's book now that I've finished it...


Law of Reflection Marc Preston Moss

 

It's a good story (autobiographical) about a man who studies the Dharma after a devastating break up that weaves between philosophy and his story and begins with Buddhism basics and progresses deeper into the philosophy as his own journey deepens with it. And lot's of it is funny and entertaining. Also, if anybody is doing this year's "Read Harder" challenge or anything in the spirit of that it hits multiple points on that checklist: LGBTQ+ and set in the Midwest.

 

============

 

Today for MOVEMENT I just did 30 min on the old stat. bike... while watching The Men Who Stare at Goats -- I've been steeped in Buddhist philosophy and spiritual ideas and needed to watch something that makes fun of some of these themes for a bit to stay grounded.

 

I also went SHOPPING -- though I didn't make a list beforehand, but I was so low on everything since I skipped shopping last week that it didn't matter. The only thing that would have been on that list is some kind of smoked meat for the bean soup I'm making -- I got smoked turkey tails. I almost got pork hocks, but they were huge and I'm not make an enormous pot, but there's a lot of smoke meat in there and it smells delicious.

 

Not much else today... I mean we can count finishing the book as STUDYING but I need to get back on Tibetan and reading Nargajuna -- the hard stuff.

 

(not-so-much) Daily Buddhist Cosmology Fun Facts (let's finish up the realms of samsara)

Spoiler

 

If you die in a state of fear, or concern about survival and health etc., you will be reborn as an animal.

 

In the animal realm beings can live happily and contently so long as things remain safe and secure. However, animals lack the intellectual capacity to understand and practice Dharma. There is also a lingering fear and worry about survival. Many animals live in fear of being eaten by other animals. And even predators at the top of the food chain worry about where to find there next meal... not to mention that to survive as predators they continually generate karmas associated with killing.

 

If you die thinking of love, compassion, and yearning to be with other people you will be reborn as a human.

 

This is a good rebirth, second best to being liberated and enlightened. Having both the capacity for compassion and intellect simultaneously, humans have the right capacities to practice the Dharma and obtain enlightenment. Based on that, one of the four contemplations (thoughts that are meant to yield progress thoughout one's Dharma practice) is "this precious human birth." Living life as a human is a unique and precious opportunity to learn and practice Dharma to become enlightened.

 

The human realm is characterized by the need to be in contact with other humans, to mutually benefit each other intellectually and emotionally. The darker side though, is that some humans, in desperation to have and control other humans, devise tricky schemes and devices to trick, trap, and control others which can lead to exploitation and conflict, causing bad karma and other afflictions. Hence, the importance of practicing compassion.

 

 

There. If you've read all these so far, now you know (roughly, better) how to create the conditions for a good rebirth.

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Oh yeah! I forgot to tell you guys about the tacos.

 

At work they bought us lunch from a taco place... which was basically a bougie version of Taco Bell and all the names of the tacos were named after kinds of weed you can find in a dispensary, or just named for 420 phenomena... If I remember right I ordered an "Up in Smoke" and a "Bad Habit"... some folks will recognize names like "Plain Jane" and "Dutch Dragon"... I wonder if the managers where I work caught on.

 

They were okay. Like some stoners with trust fund money wanted to open their own taqueria and make tacos with more diverse ingredients from all over Mexico and South/Central America (pickled onions, chimichurri sauce, etc.) but working on the taco bell model of what a taco is. The tortilla chips tasted a bit more like pita chips. Meh. I wouldn't refuse to eat them, but not sure I'd suggest going there.

 

And, night shift got two orders, so we got double tacos. My guess is they misinterpretted the order and made both day and night shifts' orders at once (chalk that up to stoners' sense of time and organizational skills), then the extra ones sat in the fridge and we were delivered freshly made hot "pissy warm"* tacos. Then most of my co-workers, being not-so-open-minded-and-worldly blue collar Midwesterners were confused at the sight of pickled red onion and chimichurri sauce on a taco, so I got two more tacos in addition to the extra order. So I made it out of there with a grand total of 7 (pissy-warm, okay tasting, mildly interesting) tacos.

 

So many tacos.

 

*Thank Loretta for that description.

 

 

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Holy shit you guys! I PEOPLED today.

 

Here's how it went...

 

I was f'ing about on facebook, and the Buddhist teacher (who wrote the book I mentioned) saw me online and we started chatting. I told him that some of the stories in his book reminded me of some of my own stories, and we decided to get together and swap stories. He came over to my apartment... I haven't had a guest here in at least 4 years... and we talked for a few hours.. ya know, telling stories, jokes, talking about topics of common interest. Then he had some other business to get about doing and then he left.

 

I learned much today. Here are some essential things and tips for if you want to people for yourselves:

  1. At least one human in addition to yourself... the second point is important. You can people with yourself a little bit for practice, but if other people catch you peopling with yourself, they might think you're crazy and might refuse to people with you. Also, pets are not humans. Again they're okay for some practice initially, but it's not really peopling if its not a human. Protip: bringing pets (especially dogs) with you to accompany you while peopling is a good idea because they provide moral support and often make good "icebreakers" to start a conversation about.
  2. Topics or activities of common interest. Topics are things you talk about with other humans such as weather, sports, or existential angst. Activities are things you do with other humans such as board games, crafts, or arcane rituals. 
    1. It is possible that people can do different activities while having a conversation about the same topic. For instance: one person could be preparing food while the other engages in a craft such as knitting while they both discuss the merits, pitfalls, and legacy of Genghis Khan's leadership of the Mongol Empire. I should note, however, that this is advanced peopling and requires added familiarity with the other people and additional peopling skills.
    2. Two people having two different conversations while doing the same activity would be interesting to watch from a distance and laugh at its absurdity, but it is not recommended. Married couples are the only pairs of human that commonly do this.
  3. Rules of space-time for peopling:
    1. If said people attempt to people at the same time, but in different spaces, they cannot people.
    2.  Even if they reach the same space, but do not have an overlapping interval of time, they still cannot people.
    3. If they are in neither the same space, nor the same time, they cannot people.
    4. For two( or more) people to people they must occupy the same space at the same time.
    5. The rules of quantum entanglement do not apply to peopling -- remember that.
  4. Snacks and beverages. People often appreciate snacks (a type of food) or beverages (refreshing liquid) as they create enjoyable experiences and are often offered as a polite gesture of hospitality.
    1. Protip: Do not restrain your guest and force feed them snacks, nor should you impolitely insist they eat the snacks if they refuse. Note however, rules on forcing vs not forcing snacks vary from culture to culture. When in doubt, seek help from and expert on local customs in areas where you intend to people.
    2. Protip: Alcohol is a beverage that reduces anxiety among people allowing them to talk more freely, and numbs your senses to people who annoy you. Use responsibly.

 

Hope this helps.

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I have a question...

 

8 hours ago, Stronkey Kong said:

Topics or activities of common interest. Topics are things you talk about with other humans such as weather, sports, or existential angst. Activities are things you do with other humans such as board games, crafts, or arcane rituals.

 

Is talking about myself a lot a valid choice of topics? As in someone brings up their favourite sport and with an elegant transition, such as "I really don't care for sports.", I start talking about something that interests me and then hold a very long monologue about it.

 

Also just as a addition to local customs of forcing food on you: Russian grandmas will first tell you that you gained weight and then force feed you. At least I hope it's not just a family tradition.

 

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1 hour ago, ninjakitten said:

Is talking about myself a lot a valid choice of topics? As in someone brings up their favourite sport and with an elegant transition, such as "I really don't care for sports.", I start talking about something that interests me and then hold a very long monologue about it.

Only if you then make a conscious effort to ask the other person about their interests as well.

I have autism spectrum disorder (undiagnosed but all too bloody likely), and I have to keep reminding myself to ask about the other person too instead of just monologuing. It doesn't even come natural to me to ask "and you?" after someone asks how I am. I have to actively tell myself to do so...

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13 hours ago, TimovieMan said:

Only if you then make a conscious effort to ask the other person about their interests as well.

I have autism spectrum disorder (undiagnosed but all too bloody likely), and I have to keep reminding myself to ask about the other person too instead of just monologuing. It doesn't even come natural to me to ask "and you?" after someone asks how I am. I have to actively tell myself to do so...

 

While I wasn't quite serious about the question, I really feel the struggle. Socialising never came natural to me and while I got a lot better at it, I had to actively "learn" everything and now it sometimes feels like I am just pretending to be one of those humans. 😅

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4 hours ago, Snarkyfishguts said:

When all else fails, ask the person about what music they like. 
 

I loved this guide to peopling. I want a whole book of Life by Stronkey

 

Peopling Again: A Field Guide for the Post-Covid World

Written by Stronkey Kong

Illustrated by Snarkyfishguts

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2 hours ago, Stronkey Kong said:

 

Peopling Again: A Field Guide for the Post-Covid World

Written by Stronkey Kong

Illustrated by Snarkyfishguts

*cough* Kickstarter *cough*

 

Cv8p0I3.gif

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On 5/24/2021 at 2:10 PM, Snarkyfishguts said:

I Love It GIF

 

On 5/24/2021 at 3:35 PM, deftona said:

 

I would love to see this.

 

On 5/24/2021 at 3:50 PM, TimovieMan said:

*cough* Kickstarter *cough*

 

Cv8p0I3.gif

 

On 5/25/2021 at 2:35 AM, ninjakitten said:

 

Written by the creator of cult favourite Kneading Each Other, the first (and only) sourdough-themed rom-com.

By the end of this challenge you'll need to add a new page to your CV.

 

15 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

 

🤯

 

I wish I had the idea like 6 months ago to work on it... I feel like peak sales for "2021's best coffee table book" are like -- now.

 

====================================

 

I've backed off from the challenge the last few days to scratch my head and think.

 

The catalyst for this is that on Sunday, I got my first real instruction on Tibetan Buddhist mediation. When I went through the whole setup/ritual and meditated for the first time (properly regarding this tradition) I sobbed tears of joy. I had a strong sense of coming home, and there have been a lot of feels since then. So I'm kinda thinking some things through and processing things. So I can already say this week is basically going to be a wash... almost.

 

I am looking at a house tomorrow, and it's within walking distance, so I'll be counting that as MOVEMENT.

 

Also, regarding Daily Buddhist Cosmology Fun Facts... I'm not sure what to talk about next. Plus, there's a tradition in Tibetan Buddhism that teachings are only given when asked for, so I'm feeling like I should honor that and not blab on about these things... unless you ask.

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2 minutes ago, Stronkey Kong said:

Plus, there's a tradition in Tibetan Buddhism that teachings are only given when asked for, so I'm feeling like I should honor that and not blab on about these things... unless you ask.

Teach Me Benedict Cumberbatch GIF

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On 5/14/2021 at 2:43 AM, Stronkey Kong said:

Some Buddhist schools declare simply and straightforwardly that making weapons in not in accord with right livelihood and ahimsa (non-killing, non-violence, etc.).

 

And then there's Zen, literal religion of samurai...

 

On 5/14/2021 at 3:39 PM, Stronkey Kong said:

James Deen would make a good Chad tho 🙃. Sooo many options for Karen... 🤔

 

I'm learning a lot about how you spend your spare time, and I think perhaps some meditation on the third precept is in order here. ;)

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Do you have a simpler lesson plan on peopling? I'm not ready for college-level texts here. I need, I don't know, a picture book about Jack and Jane and Spot.

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9 hours ago, sarakingdom said:

Do you have a simpler lesson plan on peopling? I'm not ready for college-level texts here. I need, I don't know, a picture book about Jack and Jane and Spot.

 

Right. I should have titled it Peopling Again: An Illustrated Field Guide ...

 

Light coffee table humor, reminiscent of child's book, but with adult humor.

 

9 hours ago, sarakingdom said:

 

And then there's Zen, literal religion of samurai...

 

 

I'm learning a lot about how you spend your spare time, and I think perhaps some meditation on the third precept is in order here. ;)

 

Anyone aspiring to be a Buddha is a Buddhist... but...

 

You're not gonna make much progress if you go around cutting off peoples' heads simply for dishonoring you... I should add that to the "peopling field guide as well."

 

And there are some issues with Zen overall... not that they're not making progress, but... just some issues with their teachings (and more often lack thereof).

 

Then someone always brings up the precepts <sigh>. But I will remain silent unless someone requests a teaching.

 

10 hours ago, TimovieMan said:

Teach Me Benedict Cumberbatch GIF

 

Oh there you are... well... since you asked...

 

(spoilered for those who didn't ask)

Spoiler

 

Buddhism is not an all or nothing religion, nor is it a simple list of do's and don'ts.

 

As I mentioned anyone who aspires to be Buddha is a Buddhist, but repeatedly committing the ten non-virtuous acts without remorse or acts of clearing the bad karma isn't going to get you very far on the path.

 

The precepts are not commandments or rules. They are 'taken before' accepting various levels of spiritual practice and responsibility. Further, none are required to be taken all at once. Commonly when one "takes refuge" you participate in a ceremony where you recite prayers etc. Then you are required to take at least precept 1 -- do not kill, and any of the other four of the five lay precepts:

 

1. Do not kill

2. Do not lie

3. Do not commit sexual misconduct

4. Do not steal

5. Do not take intoxicants (to the point of heedlessness)

 

1 and 2 are pretty straightforward.

 

3 sometimes varies from lineage to lineage, teacher to teacher, but generally they all agree that rape and adultery (even other infidelity outside marriage) and usually something to the tune of obeying the sexual restrictions of one's community... hence some variations here. The main thrust (pun intended) is to keep things honest, consensual and healthy. Masturbation, watching porn, and homosexuality are all acceptable. From what I've learned thus far, the Gelug lineage teaches that sexual misconduct constitutes rape, adultery/infidelity, harmful/hurtful/exploitative sex acts or aggression, sex with convicted criminals, and sex with minors. Oddly enough, bestiality is never a part of the conversation... I hope that's because with a generally open attitude toward sexuality, bestiality was never a problem.

 

And then there's the deity practice of visualizing Vajrasattva and one of his consorts.

 

IMG_1983.jpg

 

4. Do not steal -- also sometimes expressed as do not take what is not given freely. This all amounts to not stealing, ethical conduct in business affairs, and even not being conniving, price gouging or taking excessive profits etc.

 

5. Do not take intoxicants (to the point of heedlessness) -- I've had a lot of debates with friends about this one. Usually, there's a pitcher of beer on the table, and I say I'm a Buddhist, and then someone looks up the fifth precept on wikipedia and suddenly they're a Geshe.* Again, some schools/teachers allow drinking, just admonish students not to do it to excess. Some forbid it outright. Our Geshe tells us to avoid heedlessness. So I can still have a beer with a friend now and then.

 

My teacher, and he tells the story in his book, took 4/5 precepts because at the time of his 'taking refuge' he didn't know if being gay constituted sexual misconduct in Buddhism. He later took the Bodhisattva vows, which are numerous, and all inclusive of the first 5.

 

I'll have to admonish Zen practitioners another time... if asked.

 

*The title granted to those who obtain a very advanced degree in Dharma studies and philosophy and debate from a Tibetan monastery.

 

 

 

 

 

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3 minutes ago, Stronkey Kong said:

You're not gonna make much progress if you go around cutting off peoples' heads simply for dishonoring you... I should add that to the "peopling field guide as well."

 

You might want to be specific that any kind of physical violence is frowned upon when peopling. For one, it often necessitates breaking the safe distancing rules, but it's also apparently against the law if taken too far. 

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Reading Challenge Thread 2022

“I've always believed that failure is non-existent. What is failure? You go to the end of the season, then you lose the Super Bowl. Is that failing? To most people, maybe. But when you're picking apart why you failed, and now you're learning from that, then is that really failing? I don't think so." - Kobe Bryant, 1978-2020. Rest in peace, great warrior.

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Spoiler
2 hours ago, Stronkey Kong said:

You're not gonna make much progress if you go around cutting off peoples' heads simply for dishonoring you...

 

A slight movie cliché, but the general outline of the profession is at least in theory sound. It is not, strictly speaking, the stuff that right livelihood is made of. :D

 

2 hours ago, Stronkey Kong said:

And there are some issues with Zen overall... not that they're not making progress, but... just some issues with their teachings (and more often lack thereof).

 

The issue mainly being, they're heavily mashed up with Taoism.

 

2 hours ago, Stronkey Kong said:

3 sometimes varies from lineage to lineage, teacher to teacher, but generally they all agree that rape and adultery (even other infidelity outside marriage) and usually something to the tune of obeying the sexual restrictions of one's community... hence some variations here. The main thrust (pun intended) is to keep things honest, consensual and healthy. Masturbation, watching porn, and homosexuality are all acceptable.

 

Homosexuality is sometimes acceptable. Even the Dalai Lama, being a mostly 21st century guy, has been struggling with wanting to say it's fine and knowing the official teaching is that it's not. My understanding is that it's pretty regional. Masturbation, depending on context. Probably for nearly all lay Buddhists, but it's prohibited for some ordained. Basically, it's complicated. Probably even within lineages, you've got your traditionalists and your modernists.

 

As for porn, being of the lady persuasion, I'm going to argue that there's a case to be made that, and thus some valid inward observation to ask if, the line for heedlessness in sexual conduct might get drawn before the degree of objectification that means one immediately has a full short list of indistinguishably overqualified porn Karens at one's, ahem, fingertips, my friend. ;)

 

I didn't say it cuz I was all "hur hur, a supposedly chaste Buddhist watches porn", but because your attitude was starting to genuinely skeeve me out, man I think there's a gray area about that line placement and where harm starts to be done, both in terms of the objectification mindset in the viewer and material contribution to the harm done inside and by the industry. A strict look at right livelihood can't overlook that there are harm and exploitation problems in (and caused by - monetized outlets for revenge porn, for instance) the porn industry as a whole, however well managed parts of it are. At what point does one's contribution to demand become a financial driver of that harm?

 

I think it's very selective, and overly easy, to question that ethical line in meat-eating but not porn. Vegetarianism is a relatively comfortable and socially prestigious ethical choice. When it comes to porn, it's more comfortable and socially prestigious to ignore harm done (and this does not even have the drawback of depriving one of bacon). The truth is, as a society we're more inclined to respect the full personhood of lambs and chickens than that of sex workers and others we observe participating in sexual situations; that's both social custom and the intoxication-adjacent effects of natural and porn-elicited sex hormones. If one is genuinely examining the ethical lines where wrongdoing to others and oneself begins in terms of profession, diet, and intoxication, it's selectively self-serving not to do so with porn, which is both intoxicating and addictive, and is linked to a fair amount of social and personal harm. Sex work is legitimate work and, in its best form, porn is a healthy sexual expression, but here and now, it's not an industry without casualties, with the way in which it's run and regulated in our society. To not even give it the nuance of thought that goes into the ethics of a beer with friends is vastly mistaking the relative addictiveness and potential harm of both beer and porn.

 

So, like, shots fired at your self-bestowed teacher status, I guess. I'll listen to you 'admonish' Zen practitioners when you've had a slightly deeper look at your own practice. 😛

 

2 hours ago, Stronkey Kong said:

And then there's the deity practice of visualizing Vajrasattva and one of his consorts.

 

Ugh, speaking of objectification, the less said about exploitation and a fair chunk of traditional tantric Buddhism, the better. Poisoned fruit from a poisoned tree, when it comes to talking about sexual wrongdoing, IMO. Utter hypocrisy premised on women's personhood and enlightenment being of inferior value.

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