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  • hardie karges 12:15 am on December 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: cartels, Mafia, , San Diego, , Wat Metta   

    Jet-Lag Diaries: Mafia in Mexico, Satori in San Diego, Trumped in Tucson, WTF… 

    img_1276Sometimes I feel like an archaeologist of myself, periodically coming across a shard or shrapnel from my past of which I have no clue as to where it came from or why it’s there, in this case an unopened letter from twenty years ago containing my college transcripts, grades and such, my university report card signed sealed but never delivered, for reasons unknown, the six ‘w’s of life—what where when who why WTF—left unanswered but for the nagging clingings of consciousness…

    What was I considering studying: physics, microbiology, linguistics or anthropology? Whatever it was, I doubt it was philosophy, or religion, but I never did it anyway, never even applied, wherever it was, which ever it was, however I planned to pay for it, just a milestone of non-accomplishment, filed away for further consideration, flopping…

    …floundering in the bottom of a file cabinet, somewhere, filled with assorted floppy disks, CD’s, DVD’s and other period pieces that defined my lifestyle of the past two-three decades mostly unattended, from one storage unit to another, from one American city to another in hopes of a brighter later, so maybe now it’s time, since grades don’t expire, now, do they? (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 1:16 am on December 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      “O, Mr. Karges, do you write?” I can hardly comprehend what I read – remarkable!

    • hardie karges 1:52 am on December 7, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      thank you, Esther, I try…

  • hardie karges 8:23 pm on November 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: 2016, Clinton, election, Trump, vote   

    Jesus of LA, Going Home to Vote, a capella… 

    img_1068End of Days got you bummed? Not sure what to do if/when the rapture comes? You need the new best-seller “Apocalypse for Dummies: 10 Survival Tips for the Future” by Hardie Karges, available now in standard or e-book edition. But first, the news:

    “Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This was the first census to take place whilea Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone went to his own town to register.
    So Joseph also went up from Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to the City of David called Bethlehem, since he was from the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to him in marriage and was expecting a child.
    While they were there, the time came for her Child to be born. And she gave birth to her firstborn, a Son. She wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”

    Fast forward two thousand years and we have no more decrees, just degrees, of madness and mayhem, on the threshold of a catastrophe, on the threshold of a dream. And we don’t need a census, per se (that’s Latin), since everyone is registered from the moment of birth, with ugly rumors of conspiracy and data chips embedded within us, and the orders come down from Washington, D.C. these days, not Rome, but… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 9:37 pm on November 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      My goodness – how you do express yourself so well – and keep us informed!

    • hardie karges 11:17 pm on November 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you, Esther, I will do that…

    • davekingsbury 8:16 pm on November 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      A fable for our times given a suitably heavy biblical treatment. Brexit, Trump … you wouldn’t have bet on them, would you?

    • hardie karges 8:50 pm on November 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      You said it. I guess I should have waited a day for this post, but the point is that the damage is done, regardless…

  • hardie karges 2:22 pm on November 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Kathina, , Vassa   

    Final Stop on the Forest Temple Pow-wow Circuit: Kathin(a)… 

    img_1034Kao Pansaa and Awk Pansaa are the big deal for the Forest Temples in Thailand, and Buddhist Temples in general, but the entire ‘rains retreat’ season—Pansaa or Vassa—lends itself to priestly gatherings, a time when monks are expected and obligated to stay put at their home temple the entire three months, so it’s a good time to meet up with the Sangha (Buddhist priestly brotherhood), since you know where they are…

    At other times, most of the year, a priest can go anywhere he wants, and many even go ‘tudong‘, walking in the woods wherever they can, on streets where they can’t, sleeping wherever and living off contributions. But many more are more civilized, staying at any temple anywhere, whatever they can accomplish without the usual hotel bookings, rental car reservations, group tours and—money… (More …)

  • hardie karges 1:31 pm on October 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Forest Temples in Chiang Rai: Designated Driver, Expecting to Fly… 


    Wat ‘Jaw Jalern’ stylin’

    One of the benefits of being the temporary driver for a tiny forest temple is that the head priest is anxious to utilize my services to go visit all of his friends, and in turn I get to tour (not-so) nearby forest temples, where I could potentially go for further training, if I wanted…

    “You won’t ever have to pay another cent for lodging in Thailand,” he jokes. And it’s true, if I didn’t mind being out in the middle of nowhere. But if they were closer to civilization, and potential alms-givers, then not only could I sleep free, but eat free, too, as a consequence of making the morning rounds. That’s my favorite part, really… (More …)

  • hardie karges 12:03 am on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Araanyawiwek, , ,   

    Thailand’s Real Full Moon Party (My Brilliant Career as Designated Driver) 

    img_0953No, my friends are not all drunkards and reprobates, though a few certainly are. But the group I drive for now is quite different. They only like the orange stuff—and yellow. No, not Lucy in the Sky with Diamond sunshine, or even ‘mellow yellow’–and certainly not Donald Trump. No, these guys are hooked on Buddha, and the Dharma, and the Sangha, the Buddhist brotherhood…

    Every traveler knows about Koh Pha Ngan’s legendary full moon bacchanalian orgies of drugs, sex, and alcohol, right? But how many know about the Thai Buddhist ‘rains retreat’ ‘Pansaa’ season that lasts for three months, and during which every monk returns to his original home temple of ordination for the duration of this Buddhist ‘Lent’ season, with the implication that this is not a frivolous matter to take or leave. It is an obligation… (More …)

    • Esther Fabbricante 3:11 am on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Have I missed something – like, where is our better half?


      • hardie karges 3:23 am on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Tang? She’s at home, going back to LA soon, then I’ll come back here…

    • davekingsbury 7:07 pm on October 21, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I suppose the only way to displace the addiction of consumption is to replace it with a compelling angle on the world that opens up its free, simple and natural wonders … oh yeah, Buddhism, and thanks for the front line reports!

    • davekingsbury 6:36 am on October 23, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Actually, you know, that would make a good idea for a post. … might be a worthwhile contribution. As a Nobel Literature Award winner once sang, ‘You gotta serve somebody …’

  • hardie karges 1:39 pm on October 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , meditation, , , , ,   

    Buddhist Boot Camps, Kopan vs. Suan Mokh, Part 2: the Cost of Karmic Retribution)… 

    img_0545Continued from previous…

    Setting: Kopan is classic Tibetan temple and monastery style, with dragons and other adornments, set on top of a hill at the edge of the sprawling metropolis of Kathmandu, and gated, so semi-urban while it lasts. Suan Mokh, on the other hand, is green and pastoral, with an ambiance that reminds me of Boy Scout camp. Noises are few and far between, and far away, as are the gilded and glitzy temples of the city.

    Eco-Friendliness is a specialty of Suan Mokh, where absolutely NOTHING is wasted, and flashlights are used at night rather than bathing the premises in artificial light. Recyclables are treated accordingly, and no drop of water is wasted if it can be saved for later use or recycled. This is part of the ethos and also just a reality of living in the countryside. Kopan is quasi-urban and subject to different conditions, so not as strictly obedient to environmental issues, apparently. (More …)

    • lwcaveman 1:57 pm on October 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      This is great information. I have been meditating for years but I have not found the right path for religious development. For now I just meditate. I look forward to more information on the buddhist practices. Thanks.

    • Esther Fabbricante 4:06 pm on October 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Expressed so well.


  • hardie karges 11:14 pm on October 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    Buddhist Boot Camps: Kopan vs. Suan Mokh, part 1–Price of Rice… 

    IMG_0526“…(in) sitting meditation…we free our mind from past experiences and…any anticipation of the future. Instead we abide in the nowness of the present…”–HH the Dalai Lama

    Sounds a whole lot like Eckhart Tolle, doesn’t it? But no, this is from His Holiness the DL’s book ‘The Four Noble Truths’, compiled from talks he gave in 1996, some years before the publishing of ET’s break-thru book-thru drive-thru one-stop soul shop, in which a lump of basic Buddhism is twirled up into fluffy cotton-candy comfort-food for the disenchanted…

    …just lose all that pesky suffering, add some New Age flavorings, and let’s call it ‘The Power of Now’ instead of ‘Enlightenment for Dummies’. There you go, perfect, ready to market, and the rest is history—good work. But I’m not here to talk about ET, just HHDL, who largely inspired me, along with certain Beat Poets at Naropa last century hooting and howling next door, to further investigate Tibetan Buddhism, to supplement my current efforts in the forest temples of Thailand. Here’s the deal: (More …)

  • hardie karges 1:01 pm on October 9, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ikat, , , okra, ,   

    Sarawak Redux: Rusty Reds, Ikat and Okra… 

    img_0857No, I just wanted one ikat of okra, really, not 5142 intricately knotted and naturally dyed wraps and ties resisting dyes resisting leakage resisting spread of the fast-food consumer class, suggesting what Joseph Campbell might call the primordial need for symbol and myth, the designs themselves suggesting the wooden masks they wear, only begging the question of what those wooden mask motifs represent. So can I return this and just get the okra? I’ve got this gumbo recipe…img_0830

  • hardie karges 11:55 pm on October 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Chaiya, , ,   

    Wat Suan Mokh: Southern Thailand’s Other (not so) Full Moon (not so) Party… 

    img_0881“The goal of Buddhism is Nirvana; meditation is temporary Nirvana”–Buddhadhasa

    Chaiya in southern Thailand is a place where Gomer and Goober would feel right at home, the one sitting on a bench at the railway station with a mostly-spent inhalant sticking out of his nose to catch the last gasp, while the other tries to manage the business end of an industrial-size pipe wrench without hurting himself. So it’s hard to believe that just down the road ten minutes is a place whose name translates as ‘Temple of the Garden of Liberation’ and attracts people from all over the world…

    And it’s just a long stone’s throw as flies the crow, in another direction, across the bay, about a hundred klicks, to another place that again could not be more different: it consisting of the three preeminent islands for backpack tourism in Thailand: Koh Tao infamous for recent tourist murders, Koh Pha Ngan infamous for its monthly full moon drunken orgies, and last but not least, Koh Samui, the one made famous by Leonardo Di Caprio in ‘The Beach’ as the starting point for the perennial search for authenticity… (More …)

  • hardie karges 12:15 am on October 3, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , shoes, ,   

    Shoes East vs. West: Speaking of Brown Loafers… 

    img_0682As we all know, the world is divided into shoe cultures and flip-flop cultures, most of the latter cultures where shoes must be removed before entering a house, and especially a temple, for religious and cultural reasons. This includes Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam, and countries from northern Africa to the Far East.

    img_0891Of course, sometimes this happens so many times in the course of a day, that it really is efficient time-wise to ditch the frills and laces, and just go shoe-less, hence flip-flops. There is another option, of course. Remember those penny loafers from the days of ‘Penny Lane’? They’ll pass for manly footwear as well as for Buddhism. That’s what they use in Bhutan. I think I’ll invest in some stock. I can see a bright future in loafing…

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