Updates from July, 2016 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • hardie karges 1:52 pm on July 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    Life in a Thai Forest Temple, part 2: Ballot-Proof Monk-in-Training… 

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    Continued from previous…

    There are FOREST TEMPLES and there are forest temples, relative to the degree of separation between them and all the modern conveniences and contrivances, including electronics. Music is prohibited by the Eight Precepts of Buddhism, but that would generally only apply to priests and even then—you know. This is more like a half-way temple, half-way between deep forest and Chinatown, close enough to a small city to do the morning rounds, remote enough to still get away from it all, or at least most of it…

    Isn’t this always the way it is for me, straddling the edge of two dimensions and making the best I can of it, making my bed on the threshold, and walking the fine line between extremes, blinking in and out like life on the installment plan? Isn’t this implied by the Buddhist Middle Path anyway? I see my mission to somehow combine forest and technology, and leave the butt-ugly cities to the dogs and sewer rats… (More …)

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  • hardie karges 2:00 pm on July 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    Life in a Thai Forest Temple: part 1, Mae Chan 

    IMG_0712Mention Thai Buddhist temples to someone, and the image they probably get is that of the gaudy gilded red and orange structures that dot the landscape (t)here, with maybe a mention or two of the corruption and sleaze that dogs the state-supported religion, and which could give the Vatican a run for its money as a source of occasional shame to mix in with the more typical reverence that rivals that of the monarchy as a foundation of Thai culture here…

    But there is another side of Thai Buddhism that is much more impressive to many of our Western tastes, and which rivals Tibetan Buddhism, if not yet Zen, in the number and popularity of its Western adherents, and that is the Thai Forest tradition. Barely a hundred years old, it is the exact opposite of the Dhammakaya flying saucer-like temple that has gotten so many Facebook shares lately, with its million-minion meditation sit-ins and its current run-in with the Thai government over allegations of money laundering… (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 4:49 pm on July 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      My reply did not go through. What can I say? Your description is very enlightening – and my great nephew has taken up Buddhism.

      Esther

    • davekingsbury 8:42 pm on July 30, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I look forward to more updates from the Temple. Your commentary straddles the traditions in an interesting and accessible way.

  • hardie karges 2:27 am on July 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: CheapoAir, Expedia, , hotels,   

    Caveat Emptor: Shopping for Flights and Hotels… 

    It’s a cliche’, of course, to compare prices before buying, but it’s tempting to think that in certain industries, that might simply be a waste of time, such as travel. Think again. Especially once you get into the nooks and backwoods crannies of the globe, which some booking sites don’t even bother with, they certainly are not all the same. For instance while trying to book a flight from Bangkok to Kathmandu, one way, once the $175 flight is gone, they quickly go up $100 or more, on Expedia. So I checked CheapoAir and the cheapest on that same airline is $25 more, but readily available–bingo. So I continue to look for a room there and that $10 room goes up to $20 with taxes and all, so check it on Expedia and they only go up $2! What’s up with that? Oh, right, those are ‘fees’…

     
  • hardie karges 12:27 am on July 19, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Capitalist, Christian, Communist, , Judaism,   

    Suicide Pax: Afghanistan, too! (a fantasy in four-part disharmony) 

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    God & State in Kabul, Afghanistan

    continued from previous…

    RRRrrrinnnggg…

    There’s that familiar sound, of civilization. I pull out my cell-phone and look at the number, THE number, the same number that I remember oh so well—my wife. Should I answer? I feel the hard asphalt beneath my body, the blood seeping out all around. RRRrrrinnnggg. What the Hell…

    สวัสดีครับ Swasti Krup Hello.” Did I mention that my wife is Thai?

    สวัสดีค่ะ Swasti Ka Hello. How are you?” her voice sounds good. I smile. I can see her there with her phone tucked under her chin, doing something else while talking to me—eating, probably. (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 12:37 am on July 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    Suicide Pax: Afghanistan! (a fantasy in four-part disharmony) 

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    Hamid Karzai and me

    I had it all planned out: this would be perfect, for myself and for the world. For myself, of course, the advantages of checking out of this cheap hotel early are obvious: 1) no old age, 2) no more taxes, and 3) I can’t find anything I want to read, anyway. But that’s too easy. I want to make a statement. To go out like a dog under a car’s wheel has no class, no style, no eminence worthwhile, just mort a credit and settle the score with a Visa card that won’t be used any more, do final reckonings later, no insurance anyway, so why not?

    We’ve all heard of suicide bombers, but what about suicide peacemakers? Positively inspired by the Buddhist priests who self-immolated to protest the Vietnam war in the 60’s and those who protest the Chinese takeover of Tibet to this day, and not so positively inspired by Islamic martyrs and wannabes who take others down with them (not cool) in Palestine, Iraq and wherever life’s cheap, I figure it’s time the Western Christ-born throw in their two cents. (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 3:35 am on July 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      My goodness.

    • davekingsbury 8:51 am on July 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Wonderful … a fable for our times! Look forward to the next instalment …

      • hardie karges 10:02 am on July 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Ha! thx, been trying to do something with this little story for two years, finally figured WTF…

  • hardie karges 2:32 pm on July 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply
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    It’s Official: Hypertravel Hostel Says Goodbye—for now… 

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    Socializing at Hypertravel Hostel

    Well, score one for divine intervention. The last thing I expected a short two months ago, when the sale of my historic house/hostel/dream-crib in Tucson, AZ fell through after six months of ‘due diligence’ on the part of a certain buyer, who was dedicated to the proposition that homeless people need lunch…

    …was that an entirely new sale would be complete by now. The first sale was cancelled not due to city rules and regs, BTW, rather due to the actions of disgruntled neighbors who’d rather shut down the neighborhood than help the hapless homeless—did I mention that the affected group was specifically homeless women? Tucson has a mean streak; it’s true…

    So it’s been a long hard road (actually not so long and not so hard, either), the better part of two years, but all good things must come to an end, and if there’s a happy ending, then the story must be a good one. Even though I thought I wanted a flagship hostel as the template for many others, what I really needed was a ‘starter hostel’ to test the feasibility of an essentially European institution in Mainstream Amerika, and the results are… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 12:34 am on July 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: safety   

    The Irony of Travel, the Conundrum of Curiosity… 

    001 (2)…is that you’re supposed to be having the time of your life, but at the same time, you’ll likely be exposed to many times more than the usual dangers encountered in normal every-day life. I just read a travel article in the New York Times which poses the question of what to do when you want to take a dip–in the ocean, or anywhere, for that matter. Where do you put your wallet? Where do you put your keys?

    Most importantly: where do you put your passport… (Drum roll here, please) …and smart-phone? The author asked for suggestions and answers to this perennial riddle, albeit to no clear effect. Of course if you travel in a pack, then the answer is simple: have a designated driver, one person to oversee the goodies. But if you’re like me and travel alone, then what’s your best bet? Nothing is ever guaranteed, of course…

    I’ve asked myself this same question many times, and the same dilemma would apply if you’re having sex with a local or tripping on the local psychedelics: how do you enjoy yourself and get value from your experience without worrying about your valuables all the time? If you have to forego experiences to guard your vabs (i.e. valuables, just made that up), then that’s not much fun…  (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 1:47 am on July 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Brexit, , EU, , , UK   

    It's a Good Time to Travel to England… 

    …if you like weather that’s cool and clammy up north, always nice down south. How does 20c/68f for a high, 10c/50f for a low temperature sound? It sounds pretty good to my American fried a$$. It’s not that much different in winter, either, among Europe’s warmest at that time of year. But the big news is the post-Brexit exchange rate, hovering at around 1.34USD:1GBP right now, an overnight drop of 10%, and much less than the more typical weak dollar exchange rates when oil prices are high.

    Given the low prices for flights right now, it all sounds like a bargain, and if your schedule is flexible, you could even book now for travel in the fall, when crowds are light and the weather is still nice, even on the continent. The rates there are low, too, in fact the lowest since shortly after its inception. Word to the wise…

     
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