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  • hardie karges 10:39 am on July 25, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Blues, Buddhism, , Dos Lobos, , , Los Lobos, , , religion   

    Leaving LA in the Not-so-Broad Daylight… 

    IMG_2509I’ve been accused of writing country music songs in my spare time, to make ends meet and to fulfill other sporadic random urges, apparently, so maybe I should. Here goes another attempt, one more time, so how’s that howling coyote go? Wa-ooo, wuff wuff wa-ooo, get along little doggies…

    Except that the LA in this case is Los Angeles, not Louisiana, and the time in question is midnight, not daylight, BUT: Hey, it’s better than ‘LA in the Rear-view Mirror, US in the Gutter’, which is how I really feel. Don’t you just love it when happy coincidences converge in real life? (More …)

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    • davekingsbury 11:04 pm on September 22, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      The admirable sub-text here is a plea for less commercialism and more community. You do end on a hopeful note, however. I guess the task is to paint a picture of the way it should be – much easier said than done, alas!

  • hardie karges 2:07 pm on May 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, Homer, , , ,   

    Homer and Me, and My Big Fat Buddhist Odyssey… 

    IMG_0599Some things you will think of yourself; some things God will put into your mind.”–Homer

    Well, I think I finally know what I want to be when I grow up—a Buddhist; a professional Buddhist, that is, and that can only be one of two things: a monk or a scholar. So after dillying and dallying with it for almost a year now, mostly as temple boy in the Thai (Theravada) ‘forest tradition’, but also with stints in Nepal and Burma, I’ve applied and been accepted into a Chinese-style Buddhist College, here in Thailand—cool…

    It’s not that I felt no calling until now; it’s that I felt so many callings, all at one and the same time, or in rapid succession, with no clear direction shown, no clear preference known, just a morass of tangled wires and spliced-together leads, all leading into 1000 different directions from the source, an interminable present that becomes past almost effortlessly, future only a mathematical probability, so that focusing exclusively on any one thing has always been a challenge—and borrrinnngggg (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 3:43 pm on May 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      You have revealed a lot in this blog!

    • hardie karges 6:36 am on May 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on streaming consciousness… and commented:

      Live from the other side of my brain…

    • tom 9:22 am on May 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      So you settled for had rai?
      Nothins forever. Just enjoy it till ya dont anymore. Ask questions then wait for answers.
      Worked for me. Best of luck my friend. May be swingin by late this year. Ill let ya know!

      • hardie karges 10:35 am on May 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Had Yai unless the Taiwan uni comes thru unexpectedly, then more soul-searching. Masters should be no biggie, PhD is another issue. Where you?

  • hardie karges 1:59 pm on May 2, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, , , Energy drinks, , , , ,   

    ADDICT! Confessions of an American Coffee Drinker… 

    IMG_0099.JPGHi. My name is Hardie, and I’m an addict.”

    “Give Hardie a nice welcome, group.”

    (Multiple voices in unison) “HI, HARDIE!”

    “Why don’t you tell us your story, Hardie…”

    005

    Same in any language…

    Well, I knew I had a problem when I started carrying around a pack of Nescafe, for travel, and totally unselfconsciously, mind you, the hard stuff, too, not the 3-in-1 lady coffee, and I would mix it straight with bottled water and maybe a little sugar, if I was lucky, and happened to have some…

    At that point my habit was probably 200mg a day, though I’m sure I did 400mg many days, espresso cappucino latte’ macchiato, I’ve tried them all, including the Italian ‘ristretto‘, hard to find, like mainlining a little bit of Heaven straight to the carotid artery, pure caffeine, milk and sugar optional, add water to taste, it keeps you awake during prayers, yeah right…

    (snickers and subdued laughter, smiles on a head or two nodding)

    I got my start in the Millsaps College grill, lousiest coffee in the world but cheapest, too, ten cents a cup, and honor system, so you could just thump the cup if you were short on change, for good luck and good measure. That lasted a couple years, there and assorted mini-marts and lousy greasy spoons, Maxwell House, Folger’s, Yuban, Taster’s Choice, mother’s little helpers with a Good Housekeeping seal of approval…

    …but I saw the Promised Land in North Beach, San Francisco, 1974, espresso for a dollar or so a shot, way outta’ my budget, though, me hanging shopper ads on door knobs for less than minimum wage in nameless suburbs where the others lived, enough for a $25 a week studio pad on Washington Square, but I knew then what I wanted to be when I grew up. So it came three years later in Mexico City…

    While Lupita was doling out Burroughs his little pile of junk on anonymous street corners in DF, I was in the downtown cafeterias, real cafeterias, coffee-houses, European-style, with the good stuff, black meat, cafe’ espres’ and cafe’ cortado, just like the Beatniks in North Beach, but only a quarter dollar USD, so I could imbibe, in post-devaluation Mexico, and you get a waiter dressed-like-a-penguin to boot…

    Like Water for Nescafe…

    007 (2)…only problem was that you could get nothing of the sort outside DF, so I’m hooked by then, and stuck in Oaxaca, looking to score at 6am, and nothing open till eight, and then only Nescafe, “agua para Nescafe” infinitely preferable to whatever else might be on tap, at least they’d let you mix it yourself from a large jar with crusty rim, keeps me off the streets and out of the gutters, and somewhat normal for another twenty-four hours at least…

    But Portland, OR, sealed the deal for me, where coffee was already king in the early 80’s, and you could score for the good stuff all over town. But my favorite was macchiato, aka ‘meth’, because it had a dollop of creamy froth to neutralize the acids, but no one would mistake it for a lady drink. That’s the problem with cappucino: unless you know your local dealer, they might put cinnamon or something on it, and by then it’s too late…

    If they don’t have macchiato, then I’ll usually just order the espresso to avoid that possibility, same with latte’. But when Starbuck’s finally hit the big time, it was hard to pass on that two-dollar twenty-ounce bad boy called ‘Veinti‘, so nobody ordered it but me, because they didn’t know how to pronounce it, much less actually know what it means. I figure that monster cup had about 400 mg. of pure caffeine, maybe more if you filled it to the brim, no room for milk—ha! I know that trick…

    Then the energy drinks came along and upped the ante post-Y2K, though I’d known them for years in Thailand, where the Red Bull and many others originated. They made caffeine a party drink, speed-balling caffeine and alcohol, so that you can drink all night, because in effect, you never really get drunk. You just go out of your mind! And the American manufacturers actually improved on the taste of that medicinal-flavored retch—though it does grow on you…

    But most of all there’s now a clear equation of what one milligram of caffeine should cost, and what your choice of flavors are to go with it. Between that twenty-ounce Starbuck’s bad boy and those Monster energy drinks with 160 or 240mg frequently found for less than a buck, I refuse to pay more than five cents USD for a milligram of the drug, and I expect to have my choice of delightful flavors, coffee in the morning, lively limey citrus in the afternoon…

    IMG_0959But my conscience still nags me: isn’t there something wrong with this? I know the Islamic mullahs long ago ruled that it’s okay, but still… Then my Buddhist priest not only okayed it—he started fixing me up every morning before first light, then again in the afternoon, too. He says it helps with meditation. You got that right…

    Fast-forward to the present, and I finally decided to quit. Junk is junk. Maybe it was the betel-nut chewers in Burma or the heroin junkies in Amsterdam—I don’t know. How can I live with myself if I’m disgusted at the same time? If you want to move forward, then you’ve got to leave some things behind, that’s what I figure. Freedom starts in your own mind. If you need help getting up in the morning, then you need to make some changes in your life.” I shrug. “That’s my story.”

    Wow, Hardie! That’s some story! And I’m sure that all the others and I are glad to see you clean, straight and sober. It must feel good knowing that you’ll never have to go back to drinking that nasty stuff…”

    (space intentionally left blank)

    Wait a minute. I didn’t say that. Did I say that? No, I definitely did not say that.”

     

     

     

     
    • davekingsbury 2:20 pm on May 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      My nerves are shot to pieces after reading this graphic account … only one thing for it … brew myself a cafetiere of full-strength Kenyan Fair Trade!

  • hardie karges 1:07 pm on April 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Buddhism, , Manila, Philippines, ,   

    Looking for Buddha in Transit: Despite the Spite, There’s Danger in Anger… 

     

    IMG_2338A seven-hour layover is no fun anywhere any time and certainly not Ninoy Aquino International Airport in Manila, where the idea of fun for an extended layover is to put you in a dark dank ‘transit lounge’ holding cell with fellow miscreants where at least the Internet is good, and they brought me some free food, better than I’ve ever gotten elsewhere, TBH, but still no fun…

    So when the flight is further delayed another hour, the news is even less welcome than usual, given the constraints on my time in destination Bangkok, where I already have only ten-and-a-half hours to pass through Immigration and Customs, sleep, cross town and check in at the other airport before my flight to southern Thailand departs, rush rush hurry hurry… (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 2:56 pm on April 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Your patience is astounding.

  • hardie karges 2:41 pm on April 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, , International Buddhist College, Sadao, ,   

    Looking for Buddha in Southern Thailand… 

     

    IMG_2362

    Intl. Buddhist College at Sadao

    Thailand may be famous for its Buddhism, but in southern Thailand Islam is king, in exact proportion to the percentage of persons of Malay ethnicity resident there, that being a crucial part of the definition of ‘Malay’, that and the language, usually referred to in Thai as ‘Melayu’ or ‘Yawi’, the latter better known as the name of the ancient Arabic script, but never as ‘Bahasa Malaysia’, the national language of Malaysia, and which, together with the dialects of Brunei and Indonesia, constitute a major international language…

    But such are the vaguenesses and vagaries of politics, and culture, especially in a region largely defined by outside influences, DNA betwixt and between them largely identical, I suspect, from the Philippines through, over and around China, to India, by land and thousands of islands no more than superficial dressing to their primordial differences, almost all of which came after, first from the Indians, then the Arabs, then Portuguese, Spaniards, Dutch, French English American, in no certain order of dishonor…
    (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 4:04 pm on April 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Wow! Sharing. What a writer!

    • Esther Fabbricante 4:10 pm on April 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Once a Baptist in Brandon. And what a writer!!

      Esther

  • hardie karges 2:42 pm on February 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, , Mahasi Monastery, , , Rangoon,   

    Ten Days in Mahasi Monastery, Yangon: None flew over the cuckoo’s nest… 

    img_1931

    Mahasi Monastery in Yangon, Myanmar

    Somewhere nearby a gong sounds–loudly. Then someone beats a drum. Then again. And again. Then every dog in the surrounding neighborhood howls in anything but unison, as I smile thinking about Allen Ginsberg, howling, growling, smiling somewhere out there but not Heaven, crazy wisdom incarnate, poet’s blood unrepentant…

    The air is still fresh and cool at night at this time of year in Yangon (Rangoon) and the scene at 0600 at Mahasi Monastery is a bit surreal: monks and nuns float through the monastery grounds in the moonlight, marching weeping shadows creeping. Ruby-robed monks line up in the streets with beggars’ bowls in hand, primed for the pump, while nuns float through on gossamer wings, all dressed in pink, with nothing to think… (More …)

     
    • Esther Fabbricante 9:15 pm on February 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply

      Deep stuff – explained well.

  • hardie karges 2:22 pm on January 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Bagan, Buddhism, , Mt. Popa, , stupas,   

    Angkor What? Buddhist Field of Dreams in Bagan, Myanmar… 

    img_1661

    One of many ruins around Bagan…

    The first thing you notice on the bus up from Yangon to Bagan is that the entire countryside seems empty. As Gertrude Stein put it so aptly when describing Oakland, CA: “There is no there there.” Now this may indeed be the new road, so avoiding the population centers directly, but still: in Thailand every available parcel of land would have a ‘For Sale’ sign before the road was even finished, and there would be new developments springing up as fast as the equipment could be trucked in from China…

    But when we finally do get off the main road and into some villages, then you see why. It’s poor, dirt poor. If Communism stopped a clock for those countries that only began ticking again in 1991, then ‘Burmese socialism’ stopped a clock which is only now beginning to tick some quarter century after its Commie neighbors in SE Asia. Better late than never, I suppose…
    (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 12:25 am on December 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, Chiang Dao, Chiang Mai, hill-tribes, Kwan Yin, Lahu,   

    Thai Holidays Outback Up North, part 3: Six Temples, Two Borders, a Maharishi and a Funeral… 

    Continued from previous…

    img_1475

    Kwan Yin (Kuan Im) festival near Chiang Dao, with many hill-tribe participants…

    So after the funeral in Uttaradit Province, Thailand, I’d like to explore that new border crossing into Laos, but my priest has other ideas, and he’s the boss. I’m the driver. So that means another late night drive from near the Lao border all the way back to the small town of Sarapee near Chiang Mai, finally pulling in to the temple about ten p.m. dead tired and more than a little wired, from twisty windy back-country roads…

    This is all so that we can buy a new truck, to take to the Tai Yai ‘Shan’ people out on the Burmese border where we were last week. Seems they’ve graduated from blankets and dried noodles to new 4 x 4’s. Bizniz is good, I guess. So we do: drive, that is, out again past Pai, into the remote fastnesses of Mae Hong Son province, where foreigners are not usually even allowed to enter, much less drive, but membership has its privileges, I guess… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 1:44 pm on December 22, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, ,   

    Thailand Outback Up North, part 2: Drive He Said (Buddhism for Sale)… 

    Continued from previous…

    img_1382

    Feast fit for priests at Jaw Jalern Forest Temple

    One thousand baht!”

    Amen!” the crowd roars in response to the emcee’s declaration, hooting and hollering to beat the band, whatever that means, here in Thailand, as elsewhere, taking delight in small pleasures…

    The emcee continues. “And now we have a contribution to Forest Temple Udom Tham, from Chiang Rai Prakan Chiwit, the life insurance that is there for you just when you need them most, for the sum of… Ten Thousand Baht! Ooohhh, that’s nice!”

    Amen!” the crowd answers in agreement, one group from faraway Isaan obviously cutting up and loving it, trying to outdo all the others in their silliness and sober raucousness… (More …)

     
  • hardie karges 2:22 pm on November 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Buddhism, , 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 …)

     
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