How eating dogshit can avert death

The male and female primordial buddhas Samantabhandra and Samantabhadri in union. Thangkas painted by Shawu Tsering and photographed by Jill Morley Smith are in the private collection of Gyurme Dorje.The male and female primordial buddhas Samantabhandra and Samantabhadri in union. Thangkas painted by Shawu Tsering and photographed by Jill Morley Smith are in the private collection of Gyurme Dorje.
If we were sitting on a mountaintop with the wind in our hair and the stars in our eyes and a mug of yak-buttered tea in our hands, maybe just maybe we could have a productive conversation about the Book.

I'm talking about The Tibetan Book of the Dead, deluxe edition, with introduction by the Dalai Lama, Penguin Books Ltd, 2005.

Much of the material is outrageously bizarre and peculiar (in my eyes, at the time of reading). For example, here's an excerpt from the Specific Rites for Averting Death:

“When the indication of protruding ankle bones appears, one should face westward towards the sun when it is close to setting and remove one's clothes. Then, placing a dog's tail under oneself, and some dog excrement in a heap in front, one should eat a mouthful and bark like a dog. This should be repeated three times...

“Also in cases where other people are afflicted by illness: if the roots of their teeth grow grimy and black, such a person should wear a goat's skin, face the sunrise, and bleat three times like a goat. Similarly, in cases where the nostrils sag inwards, it will be beneficial if one visualises the syllable A on the tip of the subject's nose, recites the syllable A twenty-one times, and bathes in various rivers...” (Number of rivers not specified.)

Free Lunch (the Law of the Conservation of Karma)

The Triumph of Death, or The 3 Fates. Flemish tapestry (probably Brussels, ca. 1510-1520). Victoria and Albert Museum, London. The three fates, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, who spin, draw out and cut the thread of Life, represent Death in this tapestry, as they triumph over the fallen body of Chastity. (Wikipedia 23 April 2014)The three fates, Clotho, Lachesis and Atropos, "...who spin, draw out and cut the thread of Life ... as they triumph over the fallen body of Chastity." (Wikipedia 23 April 2014). I don't know what Chastity's got to do with it. Death triumphs over Chastity? Doesn't make sense to me.
The fact that anything exists at all is a very good sign pointing to the basic fairness, rightness and justice of Everything*.

You can get a free lunch, you just gotta know where to look (Everywhere and forever, all at once.)

According to philosopher Gottfried Leibniz, “god” is the answer to the question about why anything exists. The question arises from the contradiction between a reality in which things exist, and the idea that non-existence is easier than existence. In contrast to non-existence, which requires nothing, “everything that is possible demands to exist,” as Leibniz puts it.

But the fact that bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people is a bad sign, pointing in the other direction, to the basic randomness and meaninglessness of Everything.

This post is about how that apparent contradiction is resolved by the Law of the Conservation of Karma.

In physics, the Law of the Conservation of Energy states that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can only be changed from one form to another.

Similarly, the Law of the Conservation of Karma states that justice (karma) cannot be created or destroyed, it can only change from one form to another. In other words, everyone gets their just desserts, maybe not at the time or in the form anticipated, but at one stage or another, at one place or another, in one way or another. Everyone gets what’s coming to them, sooner or later, here or there, once or twice, in one lump or many.

Shall I Sing to Thee of Hatred?

DOJO OF ABS, oil on stretched canvas 39.75 cm x 50.25 cm. A horrible work, don't like it at all. DOJO OF ABS, oil on stretched canvas 39.75 cm x 50.25 cm. A horrible work, don't like it at all.
Shall I sing to thee of hatred
whilst the rancid wine-red moon
lies plump upon a sullen sky, beloved?
Or doth thy internecine inclinations
bereft of paradigmatic meaninglessness
assert thy drolly wrothful commands?

As you feed the gentle drops of blood
caress your cheeks like crimson tears, my love
calling forth sweet morphogenetic memories
of all the times we’ve slain together
the line of carcasses stretching to eternity
death-lily delineating forevermore.

Shall I woo thee with insurance
until the gibbous enormity patronises
the very longitude of marsupial afterbirth, dollface?
Or would’st thou engrave betwixt delinquent carnage
thrice-flailing widdershins encircling
sublunary solemnity’s crepuscular astrolabe?

Forsooth! And whence thy infinitesimals
thy gaping quiescence incarnadine
fistula-festooned but buttery, sweet cheeks?
Or durst thee verily impignorate
thy carious kynodontic blandishments
whence fulsome gadzookery ...


Enlightenment? Or a Cold Beer Instead?

What is this thing called "enlightenment" and why would one want it?

I've got nothing against the concept: I just want to know what the specific benefits are.

Unfortunately, there's not much hard info on the benefits of enlightenment, nor on what it is exactly or how it manifests or how to achieve it. It's one of those slippery words/concepts, like "God", that can mean many things to many people. Conveniently though, we can identify a small number of broad themes to help make sense of all the detail. Enlightenment is believed to involve:

  • escaping the endless cycle of reincarnation -- the recurring samsara of birth, death, rebirth -- in which every soul is believed to be trapped
  • quantum entanglement in the biological sense, ie being "at one" with all living things
  • getting closer to God (I don't know what "closer" or what "God" means; but some people do, apparently)
  • absence of personal identity, or the state in which one finds oneself after losing oneself
  • living outside of time / "living in the now", a technique believed to lighten the (alleged) psychological burden of regrets about the past and anxieties about the future
  • accessing lost or secret knowledge about how things really work, and our individual roles in the process
  • seeing through the illusion, the maya, of a time-bound, material world in which everything is relative to every other thing, and nothing stands still long enough to be real.

One Wonders Why Oneness

If the sum of the parts is more than the whole
And some of the parts want a starring role

One has a question, it’s really quite small
For any who want to be one with the all

One wonders why oneness is set as a goal
One that one dies for, along with one’s soul

A goal that’s scored long after the game
When the self is forgotten along with the name

In trueness your youness is inside your head
Oneness and twoness is noneness: you’re dead

Minus my myness my self can’t be found
Above in the sky or below in the ground

One and one’s two, and two and one’s three ...

Enlightenment for Dummies

“How do I become enlightened?” asked the Seeker of his aged guru — a nut-brown, gnarled and wizened personage of indeterminate gender.

Sitting in padmasana on a large boulder on top of a high mountain, at first the Gnarly One treated the question with the stupefied silence it deserved. But the Seeker persisted, much to the Guru’s disgust and annoyance. Still the Nut-brown made no answer.

Still the Seeker persisted, until the Guru’s patience and forbearance evaporated, and ze quoth unto the Seeker, saying “if you want to know how to become enlightened, leave now, and address your question to each of the next five people you meet, from this moment on, henceforth to be precise.”

Dissatisfied and mumbling imprecations under his breath, the Seeker took leave of the Guru and made his stumbling way down the mountain.

At the foot of the mountain, he set his feet toward the dwelling place of his aged parents. On his way he came across an old woman sitting in the shade of a cinnabar tree.

“How do I become enlightened?” the Seeker asked, without even so much as a how-do-you-do.

“Get lost asshole!” replied the old woman. Which is what the Seeker proceeded to do — he chose a path along which he had never previously travelled, and after some time wandering through the foothills, became absolutely, totally, horribly lost.

The next person he met was a short and rather chubby man, with a twinkle in his eye and mischief in his heart. The twinkling man was sitting on a blanket in the middle of which was a large picnic basket. Behind the twinkler was a fork in the road and a signpost with two signs posted.

They don't bleed when you cut them

Economic power is concentrated in the hands of a few giant multi-national corporations. Apologies for no attribution but I can't remember where I found this diagram.
It's a strange world, and getting stranger by the minute. If you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem.

I don't know what the solution is, but we all know what the problems are. And if people of goodwill and strong will put their heads and hearts and hands together, we can help steer the doomed Titanic of human culture out of the path of the iceberg of human greed and selfishness.

IMHO many of the problems are the direct result of the actions of large corporations, especially 'multi-nationals’.

I think the following two actions would help address many of the problems we face (and have caused). To implement either or both will be very difficult, but game-changing if done successfully.

  1. Remove the protection corporations enjoy as 'legal persons'. A legal person can “…sue and be sued, enter contracts, incur debt, and own property” (Wikipedia 22 July 2016).
  2. Remove the protection of limited liability for shareholders, partners and directors. Under limited liability, “a person's financial liability is limited to a fixed sum, most commonly the value of a person's investment in a company or partnership” (Wikipedia 22 July 2016).

It's not a god-given right of a corporation to be treated as a legal person. No, in fact the opposite. It's a get-out-of-jail-free card that flesh-and-blood people gave to corporations roughly three hundred years ago. Legal personhood enables corporations to enjoy the benefits of being a flesh-and-blood person, with few of the responsibilities or accountabilities.