Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

For the sake of ornament and illumination.

Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:12 am

THE FOUNDATION TRILOGY -- ASIMOV'S GALACTIC EPIC, by Charles Carreon

I discovered Isaac Asimov's "Foundation Trilogy" in the Brophy College Preparatory School Library, operated by Father Fox, S.J., who was flagrantly gay and rumored to cruise the night streets of Phoenix in the conspicuous pink Ford Mustang that was parked in the St. Francis Church private parking lot. So it was considered decidedly uncool to hang around the library, for fear of being associated with Fr. Fox; nevertheless, I found The Foundation Trilogy there, and was delighted to discover that Asimov had articulated his vision of the Galactic Empire I had first visited in The Stars Like Dust into an ambitious space opera spanning the breadth of the galaxy and millennial time spans. The three books of the Trilogy are Foundation, Foundation and Empire, and Second Foundation.

To enter Asimov’s world, you need only lean on the fast forward button very hard, for a very long time. Watch the outward migration of humanity into interstellar space. Observe the long ages of high tech barbarism, planetary enslavement, brutal serfdom, every manner of horror perpetuated on thousands of new earths, until at last a Galactic Empire emerges to bring order to the galaxy. Watch as the Empire expands its influence, and then, watch as it ossifies ‘round the bureaucratic gravitational pull of the Galactic center, Trantor, a planet of metal populated by forty-billion government servants, who “found themselves all too few for the complications of the task.” Yes, two principles well known to our present age remain in effect in Asimov’s projected future -- Parkinson’s Law (work expands to fill the time available for its completion) and The Peter Principle (in business and government, people rise to their level of incompetence and stay there). Thus, Trantor’s bureaucrats, through laziness and isolation, sowed the seeds of the Empire’s fall.

Producing nothing, Trantor, like the United States in our present time, ran a serious trade deficit, although Asimov puts it more dramatically for the sake of future history: “Its dependence on the outer worlds for food and, indeed, for all necessities of life, made Trantor increasingly vulnerable to conquest by siege. In the last millennium of the Empire, the monotonously numerous revolts made Emperor after Emperor conscious of this, and Imperial policy became little more than the protection of Trantor’s delicate jugular vein …” Adopting a historical tone, Asimov cribs his facts from a most reliable source, The Encyclopedia Galactica. This seems appropriate in the first book, Foundation, where most of the drama is on a group of people who get shipped off to a distant planet on a mission to gather all of human knowledge into a single compilation, in order to establish a nucleus of culture that will survive the storm of the Empire’s inevitable fall. These Encyclopedists, as they are known, are the disciples of Hari Seldon, the founder of the science of psychohistory.

In the Prologue to the third book, Second Foundation, Asimov describes his scholar-hero and his new science of psycho-history, that he uses to predict the behavior of large populations of human beings:

“Hari Seldon was the last great scientist of the First Empire. It was he who brought the science of psycho-history to its full development. Psycho-history was the quintessence of sociology; it was the science of human behavior reduced to mathematical equations.

The individual human being is unpredictable, but the reactions of human mobs, Seldon found, could be treated statistically. The larger the mob, the greater the accuracy that could be achieved. And the size of the human masses that Seldon worked with was no less than the population of the Galaxy which in his time was numbered in the quintillions.”

At the age of thirteen, this sounded sensible to me. It really made sense that the larger the number of people you were dealing with, the easier it would be to predict their behavior. Certainly Aldous Huxley, in his book on mob psychology, Brave New World Revisited, embraced the idea that crowds are stupider, by far, than the individuals that comprise them. It is generally easier to predict the acts of the stupid than the acts of the clever.

The ability to predict is often proof of the ability to control, and indeed, by the second book, Foundation and Empire, it becomes evident that Hari Seldon’s purpose in founding the colony of Encyclopedists was to control the outcome of human history. The Encyclopedists establish their mission, which becomes known as “The Foundation,” funded with Imperial seed money, on Terminus, a small planet in a solar system at the very rim of the Milky Way.

Seldon enacted the Plan for a noble purpose -- to reduce the period of barbarism between the fall of the Empire until the establishment of a new galactic order from thirty-thousand years to a single millennium. As Asimov states in the Prologue to the third book, “Carefully, he set up two colonies of scientists that he called ‘Foundations.’ With deliberate intention, he set them up ‘at opposite ends of the Galaxy.’ One Foundation was set up in the full daylight of publicity. The existence of the other, the Second Foundation, was drowned in silence.”

Not only did he create redundant Foundations at opposite ends of the galaxy, Seldon made sure none of the original Encyclopedists were psycho-historians. According to fundamental laws of psycho-history, for members of the subject group to understand the science would undermine the predictability of the group’s behavior. Foundationers who did not know psycho-history could not interfere with the operation of its laws, and therefore could not upset the Seldon Plan.

Volume one of the Trilogy recounts the struggles of the first generations of Encyclopedists on Terminus to evolve from librarians to self-governing citizens. They do this by adopting representative democracy, freedom of the press, and free enterprise as the logical approach to governing a world where everyone is smart enough to see that everyone puts on their spacesuit one leg at a time. The chapter headings of the first volume read like the record of a predictable march of progress by determined, decent folks: Part I, The Psychohistorians; Part II, The Encyclopedists; Part III, The Mayors; Part IV, The Traders; and, Part V, The Merchant Princes.

Shortly after arriving at Terminus, the Encyclopedists discover they have moved into a bad neighborhood. The other two inhabited planets that share a sun with Terminus have slid into virtual barbarism, and are governed by falcon-breeding hereditary nitwits eagerly seeking nukes to fling at each other. These testosteroned fools are technically neutered, unable to manufacture nuclear weapons, but making do with just plain savagery. The wave of barbarism Seldon predicts will ultimately shatter the galactic core is already in well underway out in the galactic arms, so for the librarians, surviving the shakedowns from the local nobility becomes item one on the survival agenda.

The Encyclopedist geeks therefore manipulate neighboring Lord of the planet Anacreon by providing him with technological benefits only in the guise of religion, sending cadres of techno-priests to don ceremonial robes and run power plants like cathedrals, dispensing the rewards of science as the blessings of a generous, happy, god domesticated by the librarians. By this strategy, the Foundation wooed the natives with technological baubles, while concealing the true workings of technology.

Salvor Hardin was the Foundation’s first mayor. Hardin’s motto was “Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent.” Wow, growing up in Nixon’s Amerika, that was a refreshing thought. I was surrounded by millions of incompetent people, thrashing with violent thoughts, wanting to pound peaceniks, hippies, beatniks, potheads and draft dodgers into mush, wanting to burn Vietnamese people with napalm and defoliate their forests, wanting to bust white radicals and black panthers, yeah yeah yeah. Those incompetents! I, on the other hand, thought myself to be a reasonable young man, and at thirteen, a pacifist. Like Hardin, I resolved, armed with cleverness, I would be competent.

My society was in crisis. I could see that. People afraid of getting drafted, going to Canada. My own brother wearing an Air Force ROTC uniform. We needed guidance, a voice of sanity. So it was with pleasure that I saw Asimov had designed ongoing guidance for the Foundationers to help them through the rough spots. Every now and then, the Foundation faces a “Seldon Crisis,” when things get so bad they have to have a chat with old Hari Seldon, whose image appears via hologram to talk about where he thinks they should be in the Plan. After the conclusion of the second Seldon Crisis, the founder appears to the assembled Foundation leaders to announce:

“According to our calculations, you have now reached domination of the barbarian kingdoms immediately surrounding the Foundation. … However, I might warn you here against overconfidence. It is not my way to grant you foreknowledge in these recordings, but it would be safe to indicate what you have now achieved is merely a new balance….”

Seldon’s congratulatory tone gives way to a somber note, as he adjures the assembled dignitaries to “never forget that there was another Foundation established eighty years ago; a Foundation at the other end of the Galaxy, at Star’s End. They will always be there for consideration. Gentlemen, nine hundred and twenty years of the Plan stretch ahead of you. The problem is yours! Go to it!”

The characters in the Trilogy are all carried along in the vast sweep of the plot, that spans thousands of years, sustaining suspense across the millennia as generations of Encyclopedists, Traders, Merchant Princes, etcetera, work their way through the Seldon Plan, the blind agents of Psychohistory. Only one character raises the possibility of the Plan being knocked off course -- the redoubtable Mule, who evokes the character of Napoleon, who knocked the course of European history into a cocked hat, destroying the raison d' etre of monarchy even as he sought to crown himself.

The Foundation Trilogy attempts to be a work of psychohistory in itself. In addition to prognosticating the evolution of computing power along the lines foreseen by Moore's Law, Asimov occasionally drops some anachronistic bloopers. I particularly like his voice-activated word processor that types the words out on paper as they are dictated. That's one device that will never be built. But then again, the science of psychohistory doesn't say that it is possible to preduct the evolution of particularly product lines, merely the general trend of development, and we do have voice-transcribing word processors.

Fundamentally, I disagree with one of Asimov's necessary plot assumptions -- that humanity will somehow survive a hundred thousand years despite continuing to fool around with nuclear power for trivial purposes, engage in nutcase aggression garbed as diplomacy, and treat planets and solar systems like feudal domains. Personally, I don't think we'll ever get off this planet alive before the sun goes nova and engulfs the planet in five billion years unless we get very organized and save the oxygen-producing flora on the planet for starters, the drinkable water as an important second issue, and the arable land for a third.

If humanity ever migrates off planet Earth, Asimov's Trilogy will seem utterly hilarious to our far-future descendants. Yet, the Trilogy powerfully communicates another valuable idea with which no one can disagree -- we must learn to discern historical trends and establish stores of human knowledge if we are to prevent relapses into barbarism when ignorant technocrats choke off creativity and innovation, the wellsprings of human evolution and social development. This idea will be meaningful until the end of time. Nor can we doubt that Asimov meant to instruct when he forged Hardin's aphorism, "Violence is the last refuge of the incompetent." It is possible that some young person will truly understand the meaning of this statement, and try to lead humanity in a truly competent fashion. Of course that person may already have lived, and been unable to find a market for their ideas. The science of psychohistory might explain why such an occurrence is highly likely.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:13 am

"THE GURU": A MOVIE YOU JUST HAVE TO SEE, by Charles Carreon

I'm sure you've seen The Guru already, and if you haven't, get ready for a delightful treat that is chock full of spiritual nutrition, and no kidding.

The Guru tells the story of Ramu Gupta (Jimmy Mistry) a young Indian dance teacher, who is hornswoggled into making the trip to New York City by his friend Vijay, who entices Ramu to make the trip by posing in front of a red Merecedes and telling Ramu he's rich, living in a penthouse. The penthouse turns out to be a flophouse room that Ramu is welcome to share the rent on. Ramu, however, isn't made of the same accepting stuff as his fellows, and quickly learns a lesson about America when a yuppie punches his lights out after Ramu dumps a load of chicken tikka masala in his face for ridiculing Ramu's accent and ancestry. Out of a job, Ramu decides to stick with his plan to become an actor, and soon finds himself at an audition to be a male porn star.

Dwain, the porn producer, cannot grasp that Ramu is trying to audition for a dance role, and urges Ramu to strip down. Ramu cannot understand that he is being asked to disrobe to display his equipment, and offers to display his macarena. "Macarena? Is that what the kids call it in your part of the world? Okay, let me see your Macarena." Stripped down to his underwear, Ramu thinks he's being asked to do a Tom Cruise imitation, and does a perfectly choreographed cover of Cruise's rendition of Bob Seger's "Old Time Rock and Roll" from "Risky Business." The porn producer is floored. The equipment looks good, even under wraps. He's hired.

On the set, Rammy, as he's now known, is dressed as an islander in a leaf skirt with a suggestive spear. Onto the indoor beach strides his love interest, Sharonna, playing Senator Snatch (Heather Graham), dressed in a tight pinstriped suit, carrying an attache case. She's there to inspect the natives, which she thinks will be easier after she gets into her working uniform, a lovely red bra and panties with matching garter belt and stockings.

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The scene comes to a screaming halt, however, when Sharonna announces loudly to everyone on the set: "We don't have wood." The Cameraman echoes "Stand by. Holding on wood." The Soundman confirms, "Standing by for wood." Shouting fills the studio: "We are holding on wood!"

Then the revelations start:

SHARRONA: It's just sex, silly.

RAMU: It's just the idea of being naked in front of all these people.

SHARRONA: Well, the trick is not to be naked up here. It's like other actors get costumes, but we don't, or at least not for very long. So your naked body is really just your costume.

RAMU: I promise, in India I'm a real stud. If you and I could just go somewhere by ourselves without people watching.

SHARRONA: There's always someone watching.

RAMU: Dwain?

SHARRONA: God, silly.

RAMU: God is watching us?

SHARRONA: Yeah, but not for kicks. I mean, the universe isn't run by some big old perv.

RAMU: What do you mean?

SHARRONA: I mean, the same God who made the rose and the ocean, he made me. And my body is made to have sex, just like the rosebud is made to open.

RAMU: Wow.

Now that Ramu knows what is expected of him, he knows he can't do it. He's looking for his old job, back with the curry-slingers, and finds his old boss doing a catering gig at a swanky New York townhouse. Lexi (Marisa Tomei) is having her birthday party, and her mother Chantal has decided to simultaneously spoil and mock Lexi by giving her a spiritual birthday with a real guru as the entertainment. Lexi, OM-ing intently on the bathroom floor next to the commode, complains piteously to her brother Lars, who is trying to talk her out of hiding, that she didn't want a swami, she wanted "a Tibetan gathering with a Rinpoche."

The Swami retained by the curry-slinger, though, has been imbibing one too many cocktails in the kitchen, and passes out. A sharp slap to the Swami's face stimulates only a brief return to consciousness, punctuated by the sincere declaration, "I swear she was sixteen!" Ramu, showing up fortuitously at this dangerous moment, is drafted into the Swami role. Swathed in silk, topped with a turban, surrounded by questioning socialites, Ramu lacks only one thing -- wisdom. Fishing around in his busy brain for something profound, the only words that come to him are Sharrona's:

RAMU: God, is it hot in here. God. God wants us to have sex. And if God wants us to have sex, then, well, it can't be bad because the universe isn't run by a big old perv.

LARS: Glad he cleared that up.

RAMU: (Touching an older woman on the temples and peering into her eyes) Your naked body is like a costume that you wear to be yourself. Be comfortable in your nakedness. The most powerful sexual organ God gave you is your brain. Think about it. Are you thinking?

OLD LADY: (Slowly and with deep sincerity) My whole body is about to think.

RAMU: And like roses are made to open, so must you. You must open your rosebud.

RAMU: Dance is like love.

[Electronic backbeat kicks in]

RAMU: Join me. Follow your inner beat.

RASPHAL: Is he doing the Macarena?

VIJAY: Looks like it.

LARS: Wait, isn't that the ...

LEXI: I think it's one of those dervish, spiritual, trance-dance things.

And indeed it is one of those trance-dance type of things. Managing him as her lover, and the Guru of Sex, Lexi catapults Ramu into the big leagues of guru-dom. Vijay steps into the role of secretary, and begins to manage Ramu like the hot property he is. Meanwhile, Ramu sets up a series of secret meetings with Sharrona to learn, so he tells her, how to be a porn star. Sharrona educates him into her little story of beauty, the one she tells herself when she works. Ramu takes those little stories and resells them to the rich and jaded like vitamins that conquer ennui. And the lessons become more sincere, more revelatory, of the inner being of a person who gives their sexuality up for display.

Sharrona, it turns out, has a double life, too. She's dating a Catholic boy who's a total virgin. That means he doesn't watch porn. That means he's never seen Sharrona on video. But in the middle of their pre-wedding dinner with her fiance's family, some asshole at the bar has just got to come over to the happy family table and destroy it all. Of course, that destruction has a happy ending, because her Catholic boy is really not so hetero after all as we learn when things start working themselves out.

Boy, there's not too many more beans to spill before the whole movie's revealed, so I'll stop now. You can find the screenplay here: THE GURU SCREENPLAY. I have not even mentioned the incredible recreations of Bollywood sets, costumes, song and choreography. Rich, resplendent, sumptuous, etcetera. Two nipples up for this hilarious exploration of innocence in sex and corruption in religion!
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:19 am

THE HERESY OF ST. TIMOTHY [LEARY], by Charles Carreon

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Here come the exiles, the first generation of Eastern converts, turned out of their doctrinal houses one by one, or choosing to leave them behind before it all turns into Dharma Walmart.

It started out this way, chillun'. In the beginning there was a great void in the consciousness of Americans. And the void was darkness, and the darkness was enlivened only by the glow of TV, and not MTV. In the darkness, God's chillun' gnashed their teeth and wept, knowing they were free souls born into the heart of Babylon. And bitter were their tears, and their bread without salt. Over this land ruled the Three Kings -- alcohol, tobacco and coffee, each one a legacy of slave plantations.

And the Three Kings ruled over all the empire of the mind with a heavy hand. Put down the pot pipe, brown man. Put down the opium pipe, yellow man. Put down those musical instruments, black man. And whenever the Three Kings found the men of color breaking the rules, worshipping their own gods, savoring their own sacraments, they were exceeding wroth with them, and smote them.

And lo, the Three Kings waxed forth in might, and added a fourth king, petrol, the liquid fire that fed their iron horses. And the Four Kings in all their might reached out upon the earth and made subjects of all men. With intense harshness, the Four Kings crushed the substance of matter itself, allowing the forbidden flame of the sun to blossom on the surface of the earth. And they smote the yellow man with the flame of the sun, to make him mindful of their power.

But the children of freedom conspired to be born in the houses of the oppressors, the vassals of the Four Kings. They risked their sanity by becoming children of those harsh and dominating ones who had subjugated all the earth. And in the vast wasteland was heard the voice of St. Timothy, crying in the wilderness, "Make straight the way of the Lord. Every hill shall be brought low and every valley raised up that his way may be straight." And St. Timothy sacrificed his royal crown of scholarship to make way for the blessing of spirit.

Seeing St. Timothy's martyrdom inspired the children of freedom hidden in the homes of the oppressors. The light of his transforming substances broke forth over the skies like noon at midnight, and the children of freedom rushed out from the houses of darkness, to follow the pied piper to freedom, never to return to the City of Babylon.

Many moons passed and the children of freedom feared they would perish in the wilderness. St. Timothy had fled, hiding from the wrath of the Four Kings. And like the children of Israel abandoned by Moses, they sought to raise up images to pacify their fear. Then came the Age of the Prophets, true or false, who could say? Each prophet claimed his doctrine to be superior. Some prophets joined to support each other, and others established their own houses of prophecy and eventually the children of freedom became the indentured servants of old beliefs. The children of freedom, fleeing the doctrine of the Four Kings discarded the sacraments that St. Timothy had brought, and shut themselves away with learning and piety.

Many more moons passed, yeah and turnings of the year. The children of freedom began to chafe under the new tyranny of the prophets. "Why?" some dared to ask. The prophets always answered the same, "Because thus it has been taught." Some bolder ones asked, "Does the doctrine permit us to enjoy the sacrament of St. Timothy?" Quick came the answer, "St. Timothy's doctrines are heretical, and his sacrament is poison." These very words were spoken by those who had learned much of what they knew thanks to St. Timothy's sacrament, and these were the scribes and pharisees of the prophets.

So the children of freedom once again left the houses of their masters, wandering forth from the temples of the prophets into the open lands of the future. Which is where we find them.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:22 am

THE MATERIALIST MANIFESTO, by Charles Carreon

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The Materialist Manifesto, Part 1:

The word "manifesto," according to Merriam-Webster.com, has been in current use since 1647, and means "a written statement declaring publicly the intentions, motives, or views of its issuer."

In the year 1647, the following things occurred in English history:

• Charles I fled to Scotland following his defeat in 1645.
• On August 6, Cromwell led the New Model Army into London and took control of Parliament.
• The Levellers sought the abolition of the monarchy and social reform leading to equality among people. The Leveller philosophy was popular among the lower ranks of the New Model Army and a catalyst for revolt in the summer of this year.

One can presume that the manifestos were flying hot and heavy in those days. Manifestos are the sort of literature suitable for pamphleteering and other distribution on the cheap. Hot words, cranked out quick, consumed by the masses to fire their brains. Surrealists had manifestos, presumably outfitted with fiery denunciations of nothing and everything. Tantrics have manifestos, in which they refute everything and nothing. Material Buddhism must have its own manifesto. So here goes.

To say "materialist" is necessarily to sneer at the person so described. They are bad ab initio, unworthy of love or appreciation, guilty of valuing things more than people. They deny the existence of the mind's deathless nature, and spread the heresy of this-life-only. They fall into self-indulgent pleasure, or into abysses of depression and despair. No one would want to be a materialist.

Be it clear henceforth that Material Buddhism has nothing to do with these straw men, and stands on the solid footing of real experience. The sword of Manjusri is the sword of empirical perception, distinguishing that which exists from that which does not exist. The mind exists, as does the body that provides the foundation for its appearance, as does the universe that provides the environment for the body. Every thought, perception, notion, emotion, mood or illusion exists as an event that resonates in the web of being.

Why the slam on materialism? Remember George Harrison's album after he went Hare Krishna on us? "Living in a Material World." The way Harrison sang it, it was a curse, a back-breaking drag to live in a material world. With his twangy guitar turning soulful to woeful, he spun out two disks of material, and impressed the cover with a palm-print with Kirlian aura -- a chilling foreshadowing of the use of biometric scanning. The blue handprint had the effect on the mind of patterning your psychic palm, making you feel stuck to the image, imprisoned by having a hand. Downright scary when you think about it. You couldn't argue that you don't have a hand. Therefore you are material. Therefore George is right -- you live in a material world. So let's cry along with George and sell incense for Swami Prabuphada. And dance our way out of this dreadful material world. Of course, George never transcended the material illusion enough to give away all of his money, did he?

But he can't be blamed. He was just another person who found it easier to believe something absurd than to accept the evidence of his senses. Like a madman who gets an electric bill he can't pay, and convinces himself that the government or Wayne Newton perhaps, is going to pay it. That's how a nice boy from Liverpool ends up believing that a fried-food addict like Prabuphada has the true teachings of life, and God is a sexy blue flute-player who screws milkmaids to pass the time in his endless frolicsome existence of total bliss. George funded publication of numberless full-color volumes of Prabuphada translations of classic Hindu religious texts. All indications were that he was a "sincere devotee" of Lord Krishna, Lord Caitanya, Lord Rama, all the magnificent incarnations of Vishnu.

Prabuphada, a 70-year-old retired Indian pharmaceutical executive, arrived in New York in 1965, and sold fundamentalist Hindu Vaishnava doctrines to disaffected flower children and acid burnouts, offering people too cool to believe in Jesus an alternative, but still very concrete God in His heaven, plus rigid male-female roles, for that comforting feeling of being just like mom and dad. Eventually, the cult became involved in drug dealing and murder so lurid it fueled a true crime book, "Monkey On A Stick," an expose of the drug killings at the palatial West Virginia temple that was the cult's crown jewel:

MONKEY ON A STICK wrote:

"Shoot him!" Drescher screamed at Reid. "Shoot him!"

St. Denis was hit twelve times. He crumpled and went down. But then, almost immediately, as Reid and Drescher watched in amazement, he struggled back onto his feet and half staggered, half ran back down the path toward the Blazer.

Drescher dropped his gun, ran after St. Denis, and dove into him, hitting him behind the knees. The big man went down. Drescher rolled him over and climbed onto his heaving chest.

"Get a knife!" Drescher yelled at Reid.

Reid felt like he was going to vomit. For an instant he thought about running away, but he was afraid if he did, Drescher would come after him and kill him, too. He ran into the cabin and came out with a kitchen knife.

"Chant!" Drescher was screaming. "Start chanting!"

Drescher thought he was doing St. Denis one last favor. Krishna had preached, "Those who remember me at the time of death will come to me. Do not doubt this." By forcing St. Denis to chant, Drescher thought he was guaranteeing him a more spiritual life in his next incarnation.

Drescher grabbed the knife and stabbed St. Denis. Again and again. Hard and deep. Finally, the blade hit a rib and snapped.

St. Denis fought on, shrieking in agony, coughing blood, and gasping for breath. Reid found a hammer and Drescher hit him with that, punching a one-inch hole in his skull. St. Denis went limp.

Drescher and Reid dragged St. Denis down the logging road to the dammed-up stream. They dumped the body on the swampy ground. Reid picked up one end of a plastic sheet, about to wrap St. Denis's head in it, when the big man opened his eyes.

"Don't do that, you'll smother me," he said.

Reid screamed—a long, piercing scream of pure terror.


Well, it certainly was a clumsy murder ritual, especially compared with the undoubtedly austere and impressive murders of the four Dalai Lamas whose lives were snuffed out before they assumed worldly authority. That would be the 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th. I mean, stabbing people to death while telling them to chant mantras might be one way to help others practice Dharma, but I go for less drastic methods. And all because he wouldn't give a big enough donation! Apparently that was St. Denis' sin -- he wanted to open a flower shop with his wife's inheritance instead of giving it to the "temple." And you thought God spurned coerced offerings!

But why am I starting off here talking about murders, of Dalai Lamas or American Hindus? You thought I was going to give you a materialist manifesto. Well I am, but I'm also following the historic precedent of Lucretius, who at the outset of his "On the Nature of the Universe," described the murder of Iphiginea, the virgin princess, a "sinless sacrifice" to nonexistent gods, to obtain a favorable wind for the Greek fleet, departing to make war upon Troy:

LUCRETIUS wrote:

Raised by the hands of men, she was led trembling to the altar. Not for her the sacrament of marriage and the loud chant of Hymen. It was her fate in the very hour of marriage to fall a sinless victim to a sinful rite, slaughtered to her greater grief by a father's hand, so that a fleet might sail under happy auspices. Such are the heights of wickedness to which men are driven by superstition.


The use of religion as a flag of deception, flown by scoundrels to conceal their low intentions, is so well-established a practice as to justify simply overthrowing the presumption that religious persons are good persons. We are so likely to be led astray when we take leave of empirical landmarks, so likely to have our faith used and abused when we accept any close-ended doctrine offered by a know-it-all believer, that the practice of believing in unverified things can safely be condemned as contrary to all sense.

Lucretius, however, does not rest his argument with the negative. He knows that people will not discard superstitious beliefs simply because occasionally someone will kill a princess for a trivial reason. The only way to "dispel the dread and darkness of the mind" is "by an understanding of the outward form and inner workings of nature." Why is this? Because, at bottom, all superstitious explanations explain life in a distorted fashion. Instead of learning what the world truly is, the superstitious embrace nonsensical beliefs because of prejudice. They cannot abide the notion that death separates us from our loved ones utterly, so they carve out a belief in the afterlife. They cannot abide the notion that the cruel prosper and the humble suffer, so they carve out future lifetimes in which the balance will be redressed. Then a fairy-tale backdrop is painted in, with gilded highlights, and the pious equivalent of canned laughter -- canned piety -- is spread all over, and in hushed tones the absurd doctrine is consumed with the solemnity of a host proffered by a priest.

Truth, Lucretius knew, is discovered only after one makes up one's mind to discard all superstitious notions. Then one is free to begin the enumeration of the obvious. Lucretius' discoveries flow fast and free, one upon the other, after he declares his intent. The world is all material and the space in which it exists. Nothing can be accounted for except by its concrete character. All things are made of matter, which can however be spun to levels of great fineness. Mind is the finest of all matter, composed of infinitely subtle, smooth and small spherical particles that are set in motion by the slightest stimulus. Mind is connected with heat and breath, and leaves the body at death. Life infuses the blood, and its departure from the body causes death. The heart is the center of life, and a wound that goes to the heart is fatal. So much Lucretius reveals for us. Where Jesus cast the moneychangers out of the temple, Lucretius cast the soothsayers and oracles out of our minds. He shows that their explanations, prophecies, remedies, cures, invocations, and promises mystify matters while claiming to make them clear. We are human beings. There are no gods. The mountains, thunder, wind, rain, fire, and all of the appearances of this world are the proper subjects of our curious mind. To fantasize a cast of characters operating our world behind the scenes is to think like a child.

Do you want to think like a child? Do you want to be hiding under the blankets of your bed, afraid that terrors lie in wait for you? Do you want to waste this life fearing an afterlife that does not exist? Can you convince yourself that you have, in a billion-to-one shot, found the one true dogma that has ever blossomed on this earth? Lucretius will only cluck his tongue and take your example as proof that good sense is the rarest thing on earth.

Was Lucretius right in all things? Of course not. His speculations miss the mark here and there, but never on this point -- he never explains the actions of inanimate things by imputing karmic purposes, such as retribution or reward. Lighting never strikes the evil because they are evil. Lighting strikes for the same reason every time. This is the no-consolation, unappealing side of true materialism. Living without fantasies means no more imaginary joys, no more imaginary flights from real pains. But to lose a false consolation that obstructs true understanding is actually a benefit. By surrendering superstition, we amputate a dead limb that has no value. By discovering new truths, we lay the foundation for future discoveries that will be even more true and comprehensive. By remembering that there is always more to learn, we eliminate any possibility of reaching a final conclusion, so we can never suffer boredom. By knowing that to know all is simply a fantasy, we are not troubled by despair over our limited understanding. By accepting the limitations of our understanding, we become conscious of how unlimited is the realm of the knowable. By fully exploring what we can know, we are always thrilled by the vast expanse of the unknown and the unknowable.

The Materialist Manifesto, Part 2:

Lucretius' First Principle was this: Nothing is ever created by divine power out of nothing. Since I am not worthy to step ahead of Lucretius in line, I will take this for my own first principle, after restating it in the affirmative as the Law of the Conservation of Matter and Energy: The sum total of matter and energy in the Universe is constant. Quick research on the Net tells me that the post-Einsteinian formulation is: "...Energy may be transformed from one form into another but is neither created nor destroyed..." This accommodates our post-Lucretian realization that matter is a complex assemblage of energy and particles that break down into further assemblages of energy. However we express it, the First Principle will give us "... a clearer picture of the path ahead, the problem of how things are created and occasioned without the aid of the gods."

Since he did not have a cyclotron or an electron scanning microscope, Lucretius disproved the theory that things are generated from nothing by applying the common understanding of his day that living things arise only from their parents, which share the characteristics of their offspring. Thus, "each is formed out of specific seeds, it is born and emerges into the sunlit world only from a place where there exists the right material, the right kind of atoms. This is why everything cannot be born of everything, but a specific power of generation inheres in specific objects."

As soon as we make room for the miraculous occurrence of events outside the laws of nature, we violate the structure of our honest understanding. It is as if we were to say, "One and one make two unless God chooses to show us otherwise." The existence of the exception destroys the value of the rule. We will need to develop a list of circumstances under which God requires one and one to be more or less than two. Perhaps our first entry will be the Miracle of the Loaves and the Fishes told in Matthew.

Let's begin there. The believer's understanding is that one boy's lunch turned into a feast for the multitudes as an expression of Christ's divinity. As a child, this story disturbed me. If this were true, why could all scarcity problems not be alleviated through faith? While we always prayed grace over our meals, this never made one steak into two, or a dozen tortillas into thirteen, much less twelve-hundred. Today, I adhere to the First Principle, and know that there must be another answer.

What happened was this. The crowd was on the cusp of leaving or staying. Many were saying that they were hungry and had no food, so they had to leave and eat. But if you've ever traveled in Asia, you know that actually, in amongst their baskets, clothing, etcetera, there was water, fish and bread. It's not like there was a kosher McDonald's that they figured they'd hit on the way back from the lecture. Many people had food, but no one wanted to reveal it, because they thought they would have to share and be left without enough for their children. But when one young fisherboy said, "Here, I have more than enough, and I can go get more," Jesus seized the opportunity to speak out, making an example of the boy's faith. Faith in what? That Jesus could make more food? Surely not. Faith that he could afford to share, to miss a meal, to run down the beach and find more fishermen with extra fish. Pretty soon, everyone started unpacking their little stashes of food and water. They started sharing. Nobody left. They had a feast, and afterward Jesus was able to tell them "See, you can do it. You don't have to be animals driven by hunger and stupidity to hoard food."

Now, not only is the lesson derivable from this re-understood Jesus story more plausible, it is also more useful to people faced with hunger or other forms of scarcity. You could tell a group of starving aboriginals to pray to God, tell them the story of Jesus and loaves and fishes, and watch them die as surely as if they'd drank Jim Jones' Kool-Aid, but while that would be a testament to your ability to sell the aboriginals a raft of bullshit, and they would presumably all go to heaven, as a member of the aboriginal group, I would object to this result. Particularly if you jumped in a truck after giving me your pious lecture and went back to the USA to eat KFC.

Whence comes my take home lesson for examining your beliefs: "Put your mouth where your money is." In other words, if you don't solve hunger by prayer when you are hungry, then don't tell yourselves that you can. If you buy food at the store that comes from a truck that came from a warehouse that was filled with food by the efforts of farmers and fishermen and cattle ranchers, then give them the credit. Blow the smoke out of your head and appreciate the way things really are.

So I conclude Part II of this Materialist Manifesto. May you have a real day.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:23 am

THE MISUSE OF WESTERN TERMS BY EASTERN MYSTICS, by Charles Carreon

This essay is a brief critique of an article entitled "Conserving the Inner Ecology," drawn from a talk by a "Thai forest monk," named Buddhadasa Bhikkhu. At first read, Buddhadasa's article appears unobjectionable. It seems to offer gentle words of advice to hyped-up modern people, and an explanation of the spiritual meanings behind several words that are of great importance to Western thought -- nature, conservation, and ecology.

The author claims to understand the mystical connection between the outer world and the inner world. As an Eastern interpretation of the old maxim, "as above, so below," it doesn't rate badly. But as advice for what to do in order to deal with the ecological crisis now facing humanity, it is useless, indeed destructive.

The logic driving the argument is simple: "nature is all things that are born naturally, ordinarily, out of the natural order of things...." This tautology drives the entire argument. While none of us can ascertain what is natural, the speaker uses this tautological argument to fuel all of his other arguments. He claims to discover "four fundamental aspects of nature" that he identifies as "nature itself, the law of nature, the duty that human beings must carry out toward nature, and the result that comes with performing this duty according to the law of nature." This is all because of the "basic dhammic law of nature that regulates everything."

The problem with articulating a law this broadly is that we don't know what it commands. Does it command humans to protect their children? Do we violate the law of nature when we put people in the hospital and make them well? Do we violate the law of nature when we develop vaccines that frustrate the spread of disease? Do we violate the law of nature when we put out fires, as modern day foresters tell us? Do we violate the law of nature when we fail to till the fields that could produce food because we don't want to displace native peoples? The law of nature, as explained by this Buddhist, gives no indication.

The essay claims that it will teach us how to "conserve the law of nature," within ourselves, but this is just adopting one more Western word and twisting the meaning. If we read closely, "conserving the law of nature," means nothing other than practicing dharma.

And that's really the answer to all of the problems, anyway, according to this author. "When there is no ego or selfishness, there is nothing that will destroy nature, nothing that will exploit and abuse nature." This is about as practical as visualizing whirled peas. Of course a planet full of egoless beings wouldn't damage anything. They would probably all just sit around and turn into a bowl of jelly. Nobody even knows what it means to be without an ego except this man. How can this be a prescription for saving the ecology of the world? Ah, he explains it here. Once we have no egos then "the external, physical aspect of nature will be able to conserve itself automatically." Right, even with 5 Billion egoless beings eating, driving cars, burning fossil fuels, and polluting the seas.

Now, for the happy close-out. "When Buddhists remember that the Buddha was born under and among trees, awaking while sitting under a tree, taught in the outdoors sitting among trees and, in the end, passed away into parinirvana beneath some trees, it is impossible not to love trees and not to want to conserve them." Very comforting, except that Nepal is a very Buddhist country, and despite all the tree lovers there, there is nary a tree to be found. The Thais started out with more trees, but will end up with just about as many as the Nepalese if they keep it up, notwithstanding their being Buddhist.

All of these problems, of course, are the outward projection of inner "defilements" that disturb the "mind's natural ecology....like evil spirits or demons that destroy the mind's natural state." Yes, but that doesn't mean that corporate executives with planet raping on their mind, and military leaders who bomb first and ask questions later are just figments of our neurotic imagination. They are real people who will not go away simply because we meditate effectively.

The speaker is comforted because he looks out and sees that "the entire cosmos is a cooperative system." He needs a bigger telescope. Looking through the Hubble, scientists have discovered the universe is a demolition derby among celestial bodies of vastly different size and speed. Tiny black holes can rape a red giant down to nothing. Every 10,000 years or so our solar system dips through part of the spiral arm of the milky way galaxy where lots of big, fast-moving stars and space junk proliferate, and we're lucky we don't have an interstellar collision every damn time it does that. The speaker suggests we "bring back the cooperative in the form of comrades sharing birth, aging, illness, and death." That's hard to argue with, but then he concludes by saying "then we will have plenty of time to create the best ecology." This seems to suggest that we can complacently wait until we get our mind and society sorted out before we tackle the problem of the world's degrading physical condition.

I would say quite the contrary. Whenever you get around to realizing the nature of the universe in your own mind, it will still be there. If we wait too many more years before addressing the ecological problems afflicting the earth, it will be too late. So what would you do first?

CONSERVING THE INNER ECOLOGY

by Buddhadasa Bhikkhu

Only genuine Buddhists can conserve nature on the deepest level, the mental level. When the mental nature has been conserved, the external physical nature can conserve itself. When we talk about this inner nature, we mean a fundamental essence or element of Dhamma. When this can be preserved within, the external nature can certainly preserve itself. When this inner nature or dhammadhatu is conserved, there is nothing that will cause selfishness or egoism. It knows that nothing is worth clinging to as being "self," is free of notions like "me" and "mine," and is therefore unselfish. When there is no selfishness, there is nothing that will go out and destroy the external nature. When nothing is trying to destroy this physical nature, it is quite able to protect itself.

The Buddha referred to this inner nature as "dhammadhatu," the dhatu (element or essence) of Dhamma (nature). Sometimes he simply called it "dhatu." This dhatu is the source and basis for Dhamma, for all of nature. He proclaimed that "Whether a Tathagata has appeared yet or not, the dhammadhatu exists absolutely and naturally."

In other words, nothing occurs, exists, changes, or dies by itself. Nothing happens except through various causes and conditions. All change takes place through causes and conditions. Even death and destruction require causes and conditions, either the presence of ones that kill and destroy, or the absence of those that support. Further, the causes and conditions of one thing are caused and conditioned by others. These interactions of conditionality extend through the universe – mental and physical – connecting everything in a vast web of inter-dependence, inter-relationship, inter-connectedness, inter-wovenness. So supreme is this natural fact that we can call it "the law of nature" or "God." Nothing is more powerful or awesome than this most fundamental and ever-present Truth.

Let us consider more carefully what we mean by the word "nature." Although this English term does not quite fit our Buddhist term (dhammajati), it will serve once we have explained sufficiently. Nature (dhammajati) is all things that are born naturally, ordinarily, out of the natural order of things, that is, from Dhamma. Everything arising out of Dhamma, everything born from Dhamma, is what we mean by "nature." This is what is absolute and has the highest power in itself. Nature has at least four fundamental aspects. If we don’t understand them, it is useless to speak of "preserving nature." So please examine these four fundamental aspects of nature:

* nature itself;
* the law of nature;
* the duty that human beings must carry out towards nature;
* and the result that comes with performing this duty according to the law of nature.

[Ajarn Buddhadasa was always careful about terminology and felt that sloppy use of words was an important obstacle to the understanding of Dhamma. He put great effort into explaining key Pali terms, none of them more important than "Dhamma." Here he gives his standard explanation of Dhamma's most important dimensions. Although not quite identical with the four noble truths, it is worth comparing. --Suan Mokkh website editor]

Let's consider ourselves. Each human being includes the body of nature, as expressed and found in our own bodies. In us there is the basic dhammic law of nature that regulates everything. Everything in these bodies consequently carries on according to the law of nature. When we have our natural duty, we practice that duty in order to maintain the correctness of nature. Depending on how we perform that duty, we experience its results or fruits: happiness, dukkha, satisfaction, dissatisfaction. Within ourselves, within just these physical bodies, we have all four meanings of nature.

In one human being, we can find all four aspects of nature. Throughout the entire world, we can find all four meanings of nature. And in the universe, including all the worlds together, we can see the body of nature, the law of nature, the duty of nature, and the result of nature.

If we understand all aspects of nature and conserve the law of nature within ourselves, it will then be impossible for selfishness and egoism to arise. When there is no ego or selfishness, there is nothing that will destroy nature, nothing that will exploit and abuse nature. Then the external, physical aspect of nature will be able to conserve itself automatically. Therefore, please be very interested in this inner nature. When there is no selfishness, we can preserve the purity and beauty of nature. Without selfishness, this world will be naturally pure and beautiful.

When Buddhists remember that the Buddha was born under and among trees, awakened while sitting under a tree, taught in the outdoors sitting among trees and, in the end, passed away into parinibbana beneath some trees, it is impossible not to love trees and not to want to conserve them. This too comes from maintaining a correct inner nature, and so it is natural to preserve the outer nature. In this way it isn’t very difficult to conserve the external physical nature.

In other words, Dhamma is the ecology of the mind. This is how nature has arranged things, and it has always been like this, in a most natural way. The mind with Dhamma has a natural spiritual ecology because it is fresh, beautiful, quiet, and joyful. This is most natural. That the mind is fresh means it isn’t dried up or parched. Its beauty is Dhammic, not sensual or from painting colors. It is calm and peaceful because nothing disturbs it. It contains a deep spiritual solitude, so that nothing can disturb or trouble it. Its joy is cool. The only joy that lives up to its name must be cool, not the hot happiness that is so popular in the world, but a cool joyfulness. If none of the defilements like greed, anger, fear, worry, and delusion arise, there is this perfect natural ecology of the Dhammic mind. But as soon as the defilements occur, the mind’s natural ecology is destroyed instantly. These defilements are like evil spirits or demons that destroy the mind’s natural state.

In this context, we can specify the defilement called "craving," the craving that destroys the inner ecology of the mind and then expresses itself outward in destroying the physical ecology. This thing called "craving" must be understood well. Craving always means the foolish desire that arises out of ignorance (avijja), out of not understanding things as they actually are. Unfortunately, whenever Buddhists speak of samsara, most of them teach that every kind of desire is craving. This is incorrect. Only that which desires stupidly is properly called "craving." If it wants intelligently, it is called "sankappa," (aspiration or aim), which we can call "wise want." There is an important distinction here that should never be confused. Craving is always ignorant, no matter how we translate it into English. If, however, the desire is wise, it should be called "aspiration" or "wise aim."

Craving destroys both the inner-mental and outer-physical ecologies.

Take a good look: The entire cosmos is a cooperative system. We must honor and worship the cooperative system. The sun, the moon, the planets, and the stars are a giant cooperative. They are all inter-connected and inter-related in order to exist. In the same world, everything co-exists as a cooperative. Humans and animals and trees and the earth are integrated as a cooperative. The organs of our own bodies – feet, legs, hands, arms, eyes, nose, lungs, kidneys – function as a cooperative in order to survive. Let's bring back the cooperative in the form of comrades sharing birth, aging, illness, and death. Then we will have plenty of time to create the best ecology.

--This is an edited version of a talk by the great Thai forest teacher Buddhadasa Bhikkhu and is almost identical to the version printed in Tricycle Buddhist Review Winter 1998 issue.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:25 am

THE PROMISED GOD MAN IS WEIRD, by Charles Carreon ©

[Introduction: This essay was originally written in 2003, and posted on the American-Buddha.com website. The epilogue was written today, June 13, 2009.]

Just the other day, for the first time, I found myself interested in Franklin Jones. I found this book of his, The Promised God-Man Is Here, at “The Bookwagon”, down in the Ashland Shopping Center. It's a big book, like a Michener novel, with a picture of a fat white man with his palms facing forward at chest level. He's wearing a saffron robe on his upper body, his legs and knees are bare, his head is slightly back-tilted, and he seems to either be beaming spiritual energy at us, or keeping his distance. Since he's sitting in the midst of an aura of wavy gold lines, I think beaming is intended to be conveyed. The purity of the subject addressed by the book is signaled by the white cover, associated in Tibetan iconography with pride, vajra, the north and the god realm.

The book is by "Carolyn Lee, Ph.D.," one of the numerous female devotees who have cast themselves on the funeral pyre of Franklin's love. Cause he's a ramblin' man, a complete unknown, a rollin' stone, a rompin' stompin' heaping hunk of burnin' love. That's Franklin, Lord above, and as on earth so in heaven, and also at the seven-eleven. This man is bad! He is so bad he should be locked in a cage with Dr. Laura and Judge Judy, and forced to satisfy their unnatural lusts. Or required to share a lifeboat with Chogyam Trungpa, Krishnamurti, and Madonna for company, and a package of beef jerky and a bottle of Crown Royal to liven up the experience. Just imagine how many ways that could turn out.

Bubba Free John was Franklin's moniker when first I heard of him, back in the days when "The Knee of Listening" was the kind of thing the older hippies worried about. I was only worried that I wasn't getting enough time in the sack with sexy chicks, and serious religion, like serious politics, did not hold my attention. Now I find out that, for all of the religious overlay, his concerns were much like my own, but more grandiose. His recent outpourings indicate that he is now even more convinced of his eternal worth to humanity than he was back in the hippie era, but even then he knew he deserved more than the average guy. He made a career out of stealing women from gullible young hippies who could be buffaloed. The prettier the girls, the better, and Franklin established a system for getting the couple stoned and drunk, having his pals separate the guy from the chick, after which Franklin would seduce her and initiate her into Franklin-worship. Later on, Franklin's assistants got a share of the flesh they helped bring to the altar.

Being ready to drop your drawers and get physical was very much a part of the Franklin scene. Going with his strengths, Franklin accumulated as many as nine official wives, a condition bound to incite envy in those of small experience. Franklin's power over women gave him power over men, and the clique of seducers at the core of his gang gave him the macho support that provokes swooning among members of the fairer sex.

Franklin cuckolded large numbers of men, who stood silent and helpless as their women shucked off their clothes and walked into bliss. The men, deprived of their testicles, couldn't help but hang around. They could lessen the pain by pretending that God had taken their woman. If they pretended Franklin was divine, they could hang around and try to win back the love that had been whisked away from them. They might even get one of Franklin's other castoff women.

On the other hand, if a woman had money, Franklin could always separate her from her man by tossing a new woman his way. Then, she would look to Franklin to heal the wound. Franklin could help her understand that the new relationship was also a good thing. She just needed to open her heart. Keeping her purse closed wasn't helping. That's the way it is in a religious community. You open up your heart, your purse, your legs. Wherever your treasure is, you share it.

This simple formula for a happy and successful cult kept Franklin fed, stoned and caressed for around thirty years. In The Promised God-Man Is Here he again recorded and revised the history of his achievements for posterity, laying out a feast for his devotees. If you were not a believer, this book won’t make you one, but it can still be enjoyed as a study in psychopathology, in which the true character of the patient's delusion is gradually revealed by the steady accumulation of character details.

Never content with one name where an evolving string of them will do, this avatar morphed from Franklin Jones to Bubba Free John to Da Love-Ananda, to Da, Adi-Da, and finally Ruchira Avatar Adi Da Samraj. Rarely able to reside in one place for more than a few years, Franklin up and left his faithless pseudo-disciples in a huff on numerous occasions. Of course, some say he fled Marin County in order to avoid more heat arising out of lawsuits against him by abused students, but I think he just got in a snit. There was pace and staging to Franklin's inner freak show. He managed to keep his devotees on pins and needles about his dreams, his heart palpitations, his swoons, his depressions, his crying jags, his decaying health, his mission to save the world. They feared his judgments, the cruel accusation that they were undermining his mission by failing to generate devotion, cash, contacts, the things a messiah needs. How can you save a world that doesn't want to be saved? The things a guru has to do with his own hands! Are we out of Valium again?!

Yes, he confronted them about it! The slacking, the fake devotion, the heel-dragging, the complete lack of concern for the fact that there were FOUR BILLION PEOPLE on the earth who NEVER HEARD OF DA! WAITING! HE REMINDED THEM: THIS IS INCARNATION THEY ARE WAITING FOR, BUT DA'S DISCIPLES are SLACKING! Back in the mid-eighties, when they first moved to Fiji, Franklin told them, he would MAKE HIS MOVE! Well, he did! But did they? Nooooooo. They just sat there with their simpy devoted faces and LET HIM DOWN!

It was true. Da was God, the baby God. Sitting in a diaper full of shit, screaming for somebody to wipe his butt. Waving his rattle-sceptre, screaming for food, comfort, adulation. His disciples did their job. They adored him and shut him up. They did it in shifts until he died. That was the task his devotees took on, and as Da was their witness, they fulfilled it.

Epilogue

On November 27, 2008, Franklin Jones was working on an art installation of massive painted aluminum constructions. Inflated estimations of the artistic heft of his output had already been floated, and so it appeared that Adi Da was about to enter his Warhol phase. With the international art market tanking, his entry into the field was well-timed, since artists able to fund their own shows and grease the publicity machinery that sustains buzz and prices are a rarity, and good reviews could be bought cheaply. Then Time, that wounds all heels, pulled its rug smoothly out from under the feet of the man, and at the age of 69, the bullshit ceased to flow. At least from the mouth of Adi Da himself, which had ceased to produce words about the same time as his heart stopped beating. His devotees, of course, had just begun. Using the Internet, they began proclaiming on his behalf:

As devotees know, Beloved Bhagavan Adi Da Samraj is a Divine Yogi. There is a long history of such beings having very unconventional “death events” or moments in their lives. We have seen this in Beloved Bhagavan’s Case in many circumstances in the past -- the Ruchira Dham or Lopez Island Event, and the Divine Emergence, as merely two of them. Certainly it is the hope of this moment, as we write, that Beloved Bhagavan will Re-Enter His Body and begin a new Phase of His Work. It is our hope and intention that He will Re-Animate the Body and wake up.


Franklin Jones, being merely human, did not “wake up” from his heart attack. But those who had known and loved him consoled themselves on a website dedicated to his memory by posting audio recordings with a focus on the following message:

That Adi Da will always be eternally present, and furthermore, that He has provided us with all the means necessary to locate Him, making His Presence forever available to us.


At this point, our jeering and laughter reach their proper end, because the absurdity of Adi Da’s self-promotion, and the slavishness of his disciples’ adulation stand revealed in their completeness, and whatever there was to expose about the man in life, death has taken the laboring oar, and we may rest from our exertions. This epilogue thus is properly concluded with an epitaph, and since Jones was a false guru from the sixties, made of ordinary American clay, his epitaph from the pen of an American boy, whose music will play on and on long after Jones’ silly sermons are forgotten:

“And castles made of sand
Slips into the sea
Eventually…”
-- Jimi Hendrix
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:27 am

THE RADIAN OF OUR BEING, by Charles Carreon

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The earth, being a large sphere, is shot through from its center to its surface with lines called “the radians” of the sphere. An infinite number radians pass through the earth's center, which is also true of a golfball. The radians in a golfball, however, have but slight gravitational pull, all effects being masked by the overwhelming pull of the earth, as even Tiger Woods has learned. Radians are everywhere in evidence. But for the wind, raindrops would always fall straight down a radian. All radians are essentially the individual expressions of a single principle -- the earth's radian.

It’s the triumph of living things that they defeat gravity. Rocks can’t manage it. They roll downhill, they stay there. We roll downhill, we get up and walk back up the hill, at least if the fall didn’t kill us. And death, of course, puts an end to our mobility, our ability to ambulate, to make our way from one place to another.

We defeat gravity is large ways and small. The biggest feat of all is circulating all that blood through all the tiny little capillaries in your cells, aerating all those hemoglobin-carrying red cells through the immense complex network of your lungs, square miles of tissue, if you spread it all out, and all crawling with your cells, breathing, absorbing oxygen – your lungs really contain a vast hacienda of breathing surface. The heart keeps fluid pumping through all of that vast liquid circulatory system through a dynamic tension system that gets help from strong leg muscles and the hydraulic assistance of the diaphragm. Our body is a pulsing bubble of liquid that stands up against gravity, and delights in speed and acceleration, even the utter defiance of gravity through flight.

With all this speeding about, however, we forget the health and spiritual value of utilizing the radian in all our activities. In this essay I discuss first physical, and then moral and spiritual uprightness.

To appreciate the value of the physical uprightness, consider the Leaning Tower of Pisa, which has departed structurally from the radian due to a bad foundation. While the citizens of Pisa would not want to lose this structure, if they were allowed to have only one building in the entire city, I’m sure that would not be it. The tables will slide, or at least pencils will slide across the room. Without continuous maintenance, the building would become unusable and hazardous. Compare this with the two WTO towers, so well detonated that they fell right down along the radian, violating every rule of how buildings fall in the absence of controlled demolition, unless of course, like Tower 7, they were in fact the targets of controlled demolition. The science of controlled demolition of course involves a detailed utilization of the power of the radian, but it is a corrupt, tragic application of it, much like the dropping of bombs. Fie on these black magicians of death. We must use the radian for better purposes.

Purposes like standing up straight under the sky, like a redwood, for example. A redwood silently utilizes the quiet energy of wind and rain to pump enormous daily volumes of water straight up, hundreds of feet – up to a thousand liters per day, which is 440 gallons. Yet, as everyone what has inspected a Sequoia can tell you, the pumping apparatus is invisible, silent, and no human has yet duplicated the feat or adequately explained the mechanism involved. In “Shakespeare In Love” Geoffrey Rush couldn’t explain how all the backstage chaos congealed into a dramatic presentation, and instead admitted “It’s a mystery.” Similarly, botanists come up with the same answer when asked to explain the mystery of the great water pumps of the ancient forests that transport water far more quietly and economically than humans, contributing oxygen to the air as a by-product of their labor. Built in perfect harmony with the radian, Sequoias grow straight up, keeping the pumping distance as short as possible, and the trees to standing straight and tall for hundreds of years, in high winds and heavy rains. Such are the virtues of physical uprightness.

Moral uprightness is traditionally expressed as loyalty to ethical standards, as Marcus Aurelius put it in his Mediations: “He is a competitor in the greatest of all contests, the struggle against passion's mastery; he is imbued through and through with uprightness, welcoming wholeheartedly whatever falls to his lot and rarely asking himself what others may be saying or doing or thinking except when the public interest requires it.” In his essay entitled The Clear Sound of Jewels, Takuan Soho reveals a more penetrating view of human uprightness:

“Within this body solidified by desire is concealed the absolutely desireless and upright core of the mind. This mind is not in the body of the Five Skandhas, has no color or form, and is not desire. It is unwaveringly correct, it is absolutely straight. When this mind is used as a plumb-line, anything done at all will be right-mindedness. This absolutely straight thing is the substance of right-mindedness.”

Takuan Soho thus urges us to use “the desireless and upright core of the mind” as a “plumb-line.” What is he talking about? A plumb-line is a tool consisting of a plumb bob and a piece of string. A plumb bob is a weight, traditionally made of lead, that is allowed to hang straight down from a string, and thus used by carpenters and bricklayers to establish lines perpendicular to the earth. Careful use of the plumb-line is essential to create a structure that is in harmony with the radian of the earth, and therefore, will stand directly on its foundation. A structure that deviates from the radian is already in the process of collapse.

Thus, like carpenters and bricklayers, who constantly consult the earth’s radian by means of their plum-bob, those who wish to possess “right-mindedness” will constantly consult the “absolutely desireless and upright core of the mind.” This is to rely upon the Radian of Our Being.

What is the Radian of Our Being? Is it a physical attribute like the radians emanating from the enormous, spherical earth? Indeed, it is continuous with and energized by the radian of the earth. Passing through each of us is a radian of the earth. When we stand, sit, walk or lie on the earth, we are directly on our spot, and that spot is our personal radian.

What aspect of us directly senses the presence of the radian of the earth, and hence, the Radian of Our Being? That organ exists, and it is not the eye, ear, nose, tongue or the cognitive organ, the cerebellum. No, it is the most sophisticated organ of touch in our body, hidden away in the core of our head, the vestibular system of the inner ear, which maintains our equilibrium. Interestingly enough, Takuan Soho identifies all of the senses with desire, but states that the upright core of the mind lies within and unaffected by the traffic of sight, sound, smell and touch. Our sense of balance is satisfied, not by waves of sensation and perception, but by the simple return to the center of one’s physical being.

The Radian of Our Being is thus accessible through simple, upright activities. Since the earth supplies a radian wherever we find ourselves, it is an inexhaustible resource. Like the trees that manage the labor of standing straight for hundreds of years and pumping hundreds of gallons of water a day, our bodies are aided in their labor by standing, sitting and lying on the radian of the earth.

When you settle into the Radian of Your Being, the fluid circulation through your body, the distribution of air through your cells, the pressure between your head and your lower body, and many other liquid phenomena, will equalize, easing the labor of your heart, lungs, and veins. The sense of settling will deepen as your inner ear records less and less motion in your body. From settling comes the sensation of thoughts precipitating out of your mind like solid matter that settles to the bottom as our choppy mental atmosphere, and clarity ensues as floating thoughts diffract less of the light of consciousness. Self-awareness then shines like the sun, and flowing breezes of continuous mind energy stretch our perceptions like cloudy wisps across the sky.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:29 am

THE SUTRA OF THE LEAVES, by Baksheesh the Madman

Image

Thus have I heard. One summer afternoon in a place near Rajgir, when the heat of the day was intense, while walking in an area of sandy dunes with Ananda, the World-Honoured One remarked, "Ananda, this place where we are staying is very hot."

"Yea, World-Honoured One, very hot indeed," replied Ananda.

Turning to Ananda, walking at his side, the World-Honoured One, gesturing gracefully, extended his arm toward a grove of palm trees that was being attacked by workmen with knives, who stripped the leaves from the trees and carried them off in baskets.

"Ananda," asked the World-Honoured One, "why are those workmen taking the leaves from the palm trees?"

"They are harvesting them,” replied Ananda, "to use as writing paper, for books that are being written."

“Is that why, Ananda,” questioned the World-Honoured One, “it is so difficult to find a shady place to sit in this place?”

“I believe that the World-Honoured One is correct in suggesting this to be one of the reasons why it is so difficult to find a shady place to sit in this place.”

The World-Honoured One then gestured gracefully to a place where men were cutting down trees and burning the trunks in pits from which dark black clouds emerged. “Ananda,” asked the World-Honoured One, “why are those men burning the trees in those pits?”

“To make charcoal, World-Honoured One, that is used to make ink for writing on the palm leaves.”

“So the trees,” the World-Honoured One said, “are being sacrificed to the writing of books, Ananda?”

“Yea, World-Honoured One, books of mighty importance,” replied Ananda solemnly.

"What books are those?" asked the World-Honoured One.

"The books, World-Honoured One," replied Ananda, "written by the monks of the Sangha, recording the sacred Dharma of the World-Honoured One that you have offered to all men from the generosity of your noble mind."

The World-Honoured One asked further, "Ananda, have you arranged for my words to be written on leaves, for the leaves to be bundled into books, for the books to be distributed to faithful, and for the proceeds of all this virtue to be directed to the Sangha treasury?"

Then Ananda beamed with satisfaction as he announced, "World-Honoured One, indeed have I done these things. I have arranged for the faithful recording of every word of teaching spoken by the World-Honoured One, and so great has been the clamor of the faithful for your teachings that the trees have indeed been sacrificed in great number to this great work.”

The World-Honoured One the asked, "Are my words, Ananda, more important than the trees?"

"Yea, World-Honoured One, far more important," replied Ananda, "your words are the highest Dharma known among all gods and humans, whereas a tree gives coconuts, dates, mangos, tamarinds are also very tasty, but nothing like the Dharma in value."

“Ananda,” asked the World-Honoured One, “are your words recorded in these books that have been made in such great number?”

“No, World-Honoured One, they are your words, the words of the Dharma,” replied Ananda.

“So Ananda,” asked the World-Honoured One, “if there were no more trees and everyone knew the Dharma, would my Dharma have triumphed over the world of Samsara?

"I do not know, World-Honoured One," replied Ananda, "I do not know the answer to your question."

"Then I will tell you the answer to my question, Ananda," replied the World-Honoured One. "My Dharma would not have triumphed over the world of Samsara if in doing so the trees were lost, because my Dharma is a Dharma for the benefit of all living things, and when beings are killed they are not benefited, and once the trees are lost, all other living things will follow their path to death. Therefore, a Dharma that causes the destruction of the trees and of all living things cannot be the Dharma of the World-Honoured One.”

“World-Honoured One,” answered Ananda, “I was only trying to propagate the Dharma by distributing the teachings more widely, to permit more earnest study by your students.”

“Ananda,” questioned the World-Honoured One, “before you became Bikkhu Ananda, did you have no books?”

“No, World-Honoured One,” answered Ananda, “like yourself, I had a library in my home, filled with important books.”

“Ananda,” continued the World-Honoured One, “Do you wish to have a library again?”

“No,” replied Ananda, “I wish to be a Bikkhu and to follow your World-Honoured Self.”

“Then,” replied the World-Honoured One, “You must give up this notion that the Dharma is written in books. The Dharma is to gain understanding, not knowledge. Do you understand, Ananda?”

“Yea, World-Honoured One, I understand,” replied Ananda.

“Since you understand, then, Ananda,” said the World-Honoured One, “you and all of the bikkhus will abandon this practice of recording my words, of which you do not yet know the meaning, and will destroy these books you have made, and devote yourselves to understanding my meaning.”

“So will it be done, World-Honoured One,” replied Ananda, and respectfully leaving the presence of the World-Honoured One, arranged for the destruction of the books and notified the workmen that the library project would be abandoned.

Thus have I heard.

Baksheesh the Madman
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:30 am

THE THREE ELEMENTS OF COUNTER-INSURGENCY AND NARCOTICS ENFORCEMENT, by Charles Carreon

These are:

1. Surveillance
2. Infliltration
3. Agent Provocateurism

1. Surveillance

Observe the narcotics users and dealers, or the politically active, and discover their meeting places, clothing styles and other signals, jargon and slang, passwords and other security mechanisms.

2. Infliltration

Adopting the appearance of the target population, infiltrate by imitating their appearance, style and speech.

3. Agent Provocateurism

Using the infiltrators, set up drug deals or other criminal behavior. Encourage, dare, coerce, trick or bribe targets into performing compromising acts. Bind them to secrecy and then challenge them to commit acts that prove loyalty. Those acts will later provide you with a halter to control these persons, who can then be turned traitor when you reveal your true allegiance to them. The fun never ends, once you get to this stage.
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Re: Charles Carreon, The Arizona Kid

Postby admin » Fri Oct 18, 2013 9:31 am

THE TIBETAN WALL OF SILENCE, by Charles Carreon

Here I am, visiting the Tibetan Wall of Silence. It's very quiet here, probably because of the restless patrols of warrior monks with big sticks who threaten anyone who hangs around. They absolutely take no lip, knowing of course that book learning is not their forte, and they prefer not to engage on the enemy's ground.

On the other side of the Tibetan Wall of Silence, there is a great deal of chatter. Ceaseless chatter, disputation, uncertainty, neurosis admitted, splayed out for revelation. Among themselves, Buddhists are fulsome in their admissions of spiritual defect. Rotten Buddhists, losers who can't practice, ass kissers without real motivation. Just tell them a lama said those things about them, and they'll agree it's all true. And it is. Nobody can win at the game, and everyone pretends to have the painful problem of life sewed up, like old Ram Dass, half-gorked by his spiritual exertions, probably unable to admit that he's madder than hell under the assumed serenity. Yep, they'll admit that in an encounter-type situation, or while doing a little drinking with other Buddhists, but they will never admit it to the opposition.

The opposition gets the stony silence when start talking back to the preachers, criticising the doctrine. Then everyone's perfect. They know why they're meditating, how to meditate, and that it's working. They know the path, they are on it, and they are making progress.

Of course, practicioners have to tell themselves these things, because otherwise the tautological engine would not run. Further, I believe we must all stoke our own fires with self-encouragement and healthy pride. But self-derision is a counter-force that can cause a painful mental split in the mind of the devotee. Tara often reminds me of how much she feels injured by having indoctrinated herself with frightful images and metaphors, and having to overcome the threat of those self-erected icons.

Of course, the silent Buddhists say, one must encourage oneself in the right path, the doctrinally approved path, and that means being mindful of pitfalls to spiritual growth. Sounds great, but guess what? Your little baby mind inside your heart doesn't hear all your high flown reasoning. That little baby mind just wants to know that it is safe, that it is good, that it is not guilty, not threatened, and is loved. Question why we would feed our mind a diet of cosmic-sized fears about multiple innumerable afterlives to be spent in roaring furnaces or as wild beasts or as long-lived gods in heavens unseen.

What did the person who was the Buddha think about these cosmic conundrums, about the fear of the afterlife? If you ask the Tibetans, of course, he knew very well that the universe was exactly as the Tibetans now conceive it -- an amalgam of old Vedic notions, interpreted using Chinese and Nepalese artisanship, and infused with the strange macabre spirit of Mongolian herdsmen and their wrathful gods of the howling wastelands of stone and ice. Because, of course, on another plane, he had divinely appeared to do a Special Turning of the Wheel of the Dharma in the Highest Heaven, attended by all the gods and goddesses, gurus, vidyadharas, bodhisattvas and arhats from the ten directions and three times. And the lamas of today are emanations of that very Buddha. You better believe it.

Strange, of course, that not a word of these extracurricular activities of the Buddha were ever mentioned by him. He sat around telling stories about how, if you argued with him about irrelevant details, you were like a guy stuck by a poison arrow who refused to allow the physician to extract it until he learned whether the arrow had been shot by an archer of his own caste. That guy, obviously, is going to die, said the Buddha. So will you, if you waste your time with stupid questions. That's a good rhetorical trick, and has since shut up generations of philosophers, but I never heard that they got enlightened.

Of course, that's another thing the Buddhists talk a lot about among themselves, but never with outsiders. Who is enlightened? Among themselves, there's lots of mutual back-scratching until the competition for students gets hot. Then they let their hair down. They admit that the titles are all inflated, and no one on the market right now can teach you much of anything deep, because they don't know it. But over here, on the other side of the wall, they claim there's lots of enlightened people, some in Tibet. And of course, the really great teachers "aren't interested in teaching Westerners." (Said Alan Wallace)

If you take that deeper, and you ask, "What does it mean to be enlightened?" you encounter even more division. People in the press and publishing ask what "Buddhists" believe. Well hell, they believe more crazy shit than Christians, Moslems, and Scientologists all put together, and of course they're not much more in agreement. Buddhists have blasted each other as heretics since the early days, and taken it quite as seriously as Rome took the Christian problem during that backward pre-Christian Italian era. The Gelukpa takeover of the Kagyu monasteries using Mongolian thugs, and their subsequent ascendance to theocratic dominance, is a good example.

The Nyingmas, of course, remember very well that the Gelukpas have been praying to Shugden for their demise for centuries, and that their Dzogchen doctrine was a prosecutable heresy in their homeland, and the only reason the Geluks don't string them up right now for defiling the Dharma is because this isn't Tibet, and the Geluks need to make nice.

Tibetan Buddhists disagree bitterly on what constitutes the path to Enlightenment, and on what Enlightenment is. But again these disputations are never heard beyond the Wall of Silence. Instead they stick to the positive, and allow the Dalai Lama's bland formulations of goodness to pass for the doctrine itself. In truth, of course, most Tibetan Buddhists who are at all well-initiated are looking for much stronger stuff than the Dalai Lama's one-size-fits-all feel-goodism.

And what does the average fool Buddhist do with this plethora of clashing opinions? Do they try to sort it out? Do they compare doctrines, ask their teachers why they disagree with other Buddhists, and demand some explanation of the purported unity behind the obvious multiplicity? No, they don't. They blame themselves for lacking faith, and they numb themselves with service and activity, and/or try to silence that dreadful "monkey mind" that gives them no rest. And all they really want is a banana.
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