Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Less is More... Right?

You have probably had someone say that to you at some juncture in your life (and if it was one of those times you felt ~less~ advice and *more* participation would be in order - perhaps you responded with a Liz Lemon-esque "suck it"!)

[BTW if you just asked yourself "who is Liz Lemon?" - Please click below immediately and get to know all the awesomeness that is our Quirky little friend Liz from 30 Rock!!]

But there is a latent wisdom in the saying of Less is More. It is not some antiquated phrase of yore. (Or is that phrase of your.) Well however we can make that turn of phrase seem clever.... let's explore it.

Less is MORE speaks to a theme that is one of the goals of renunciation -- but not in the way that is easy to reconcile with external appearances. I will try to elaborate on what I mean. More or less... (er, wait ~~if you are reading this out loud to someone, because, well you know- you just LIVE to share Bowdawg's insanity with others, please enunciate MORE or LESS very clearly -- so that they don't hear "moral -less" - Cause I don't want them thinking that you just SAID / and hence that I just WROTE about how my up coming commentary is without moral...) - awwww forget it --- More neurosis is more entertaining. JUST keep reading and let's see if I can regurgitate what is rattling around in my head since having coffee with Dara tonight!

I want to discuss RENUNCIATION.

Renunciation is not a board game that you play at family gatherings and other such parties (but if you are looking for a good game to play - Apparently Cranium is the shi-sizzle nowadays. It is the newest, dopest, makes-TRIVIAL-PURSUIT-look-like-Playstation-makes-Atari-lame kind of board games) Oops - off topic...

Renunciation is (in my ever reaching and pathetic attempt to sum up a PROFOUND topic in a pithy way by running around it with banshee screaming) is how we can achieve enlightenment in a world full of AWESOME STUFF. That is to say that a person who can co-exist with Sharper Image catalogs and those friggin iPhones and iPods that I COVET and do not have - and Big Macs and McFlurries (which are THE treat of choice now that McDonalds is all "we are gonna BaKe our Apple Pie - instead of DeEp FrYiNg it" - for your HEALTH!!) -- those of you who can learn to live in that world and still choose morality (not High Brow snobbery - REAL morality... like good morals and ethical conduct)... now THAT is a budding practice of renunciation.

Here in a place like America - or anywhere nowadays where COOLER stuff and QUICKER gratification are the name of the game - how in the H- E- double-toothpicks are we supposed to accomplish the art of seeing phenomena as a trap? Of recognizing the inherent emptiness of cool phenomena - and gently disengaging from its poisonous and narcotic effect on our mind (a/k/a) our spiritual underpinning?

It is TRUE that our extremely modern lama would tell you that "renunciation" does not mean you can no longer HAVE cool stuff, DO cool things or ENJOY all that the world has to offer... ~~but~~ BUYER BEWARE !! The trick is not in denying yourself gadgets, or suppressing your wish to acquire them - the truth is in lessening our ATTACHMENT to having gadgets - or lessening our HABIT of defining our life by the presence of or lack of the gadgets (or relationships, or successes or failures, or... DOT, DOT, DOTs.)

I type this with that trepidation that I might have in bringing an elephant in the room to the attention of the guests seated in my peanut gallery. It is obvious that I ~~LOVE~~ cool stuff. A blogger who was not enamored with technology and the whirling, whizzing, virtually downloadable excitement of each new widget and whatzit and Gigibyte of potential distraction would no longer be --- well, a blogger. Instead, I'd be.... WHAT? Maybe a small town columnist. Or typing instructor. (Sorry - keyboarding specialist).

But the push button INSTANT gratification of being able to let my ideas be POSTED (virtually published) five minutes after the subject matter POPS onto my cerebral writeboard - well that is what life in the new millennium is gonna be like - more and more instant uploading every year (hello 2010 -is SO breathing down our necks. By then I bet we'll be able to instantly capture and post our brain farts!) It is going to get harder and harder to tell what voice to listen to!

So as a practitioner, being immersed in the training of renouncing Samsara (the cyclic death and rebirth effect of attachment to phenomena) - we have our work cut out for us! ~~CLEARLY this is evident by the fact each of us decided we would be better off by splitting away from that original source and creating a material body of our own - where we take BIRTH in this carbon based earth suit- spending a lifetime reacting to that pure truth beneath our skin from the perspective of separation - with a REAL TIME experience of ourselves as "I" and other people as "YOU" and then judging all other phenomena through our fleshy mechanical sense organs - which ALWAYS are built to prove that everything MUST be outside of us. Heck, by seventh grade we can even have Ms. Jackson at Clarke Middle School increase dualism within our vocabulary.

Ms: Jackson: "Class... today's sentence will show the clause as a direct object" Heck she ight as well have said here is the delusion of self breaking free from Primordial Truth into dualism:

And then we begin suffering because of that delusion of individuality - trying to bring more good phenomena to us and push more bad phenomena away, we develop our uniqueness. And depending on what we judge to be unique - we spend our entire LIVES arranging our phenomena. Bring this friend closer - move that enemy away - want this - avoid that - be proud of THIS - be ashamed of THAT - embrace THIS concept - REJECT that concept.....

THEN when we expire the limited cellular ability of this current body to contain all of our concepts in the flesh... well, we DIE. At that time do we.... TAKE ADVANTAGE of our reunion with that pristine Primordial Source? ~~ not. so . much.~~ At least according to the P'howa masters and tulkus who come to train us. They explain that without practicing renunciation we will freak out when we experience our entire material world falling apart on our death bed (up to and including the demise of our material body). We won't peacefully gravitate towards our Lord and Savior if we have NO TRAINING in the death experience. We will be too involved in the unbinding of the spiritual from the physical. If you look in the mirror today and think that corporeal thing staring back at you is YOU - what are you gonna do when your consciousness cannot bind to that body anymore and you witness them putting YOU in the ground?

WHAT? Is this some kind of BULL HOCKEY Bowdawg?? Somebody in the blogosphere thinks this chunp is making up these ideas for blog sweeps week or something?? . We all KNOW that you go toward the light - hop on the St Peter Express and hook up with your homeys in that Great Gig in the Sky! Unless of course you punch the DOWN button on the Elevator to the here after!

Ahem. Let me refocus the illustration. Every person reading this post was, I assume, born of the womb. No argument there right? You have (or had in the beginning of your life) parents. Whether they were present beyond the birthing or not - they were CERTAINLY present at the conceiving. As were YOU. Present in the form of karmic consciousness looking for a way back into this rat race ~~ cause perhaps you have been ejected from the cockpit of your previous body - and you never practiced renunciation while in that body- so YOU NEED A NEW BODY cause you weren't able to get that iPOD or that Wii last time around - much less that wife you wanted so dearly!

So you decide (ha, ha - the Buddhists in the audience are chuckling) that you MUST HAVE a new birth body and subsequently you go through the hell of potty training, and puberty and SAT, LSAT and all those awful college applications and find love and MARRY and decide on who comes to the wedding and who sits next to Aunt Sophie - and you work relentlessly to become successful AGAIN so you can have that iPOD!!! (Okay iPOD is not your thing? So it is globe trotting , or great sex, or a healthy diet - or SOMETHING. There is SOMETHING you are willing to die and reincarnate endlessly pursuing... case in point. You are HERE.) And do you know how you are gonna get off this hamster wheel yet? Have you practiced? When is your magic day - are you going to die gracefully at eighty... or stumble off the curb tomorrow trying to beat the DO NOT WALK sign? You just can't say for sure... CAN you?

And now the rub - it is nigh on to impossible to achieve a human life - much less a lifeform that you would CHOOSE - without rigourous training and practice of mindfulness and meditation (actual meditation - not sitting comfortably and spacing out to think about whatever you like for a while). In actuality you are compelled into rebirth based on your karmic HABIT. So when it comes to habits... LESS is MORE.

Because during the transition from this life... after 60, 80, 100 years of defining yourself with even MORE habits and sophistication than you had BEFORE when life was simpler... you are even MORE confused when the time comes to slip out of this corpse you call by your name. This aggregate of atomic matter that looks SO MUCH like you, that when you see it in the mirror or the yearbook, you think of it as yourself. Why you even post it on FACEBOOK - and say it is now on MYSPACE. My face. ME. That RIGHT THERE next to MY name - which is spelled B-O-W-D-A-W-G (or fill in your real name if ya like where this is going.)

This is a CHALLENGING topic to discuss with Western materialists. We don't LIKE the idea of being - miss informed. We are technological rockstars and we are some SMART Mo'Fos if you get my drift.

So renunciation is a DAILY practice for Buddhists. Not because we are no longer ALLOWED to enjoy life or the things in it. We are try to reach a level where we are IN the world, but not OF the world. I have said it before - and one day you will flog me for saying it so often:

"Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
Matthew (ch. VI, v. 19-21)

Put those truths together with a consciousness that took root in a Georgia boy who is fortunate enough to now hold a Jewel in his less than skillful hands... and you got your self one crazy @$ blogger. A modern day Jetsunma student who is always quoting Biblical scriptures when chatting up the dharma thoughts... but hoping that the meaning he intends is somehow seeping through those borrowed words as well... (MORE or LESS.)

Til our next post - I leave you with the Christmas spirit~~ that even in the smallest and loneliest of forsaken mangers ~~ TRUTH can incarnate and bring you hope... and 2000 years later, that hope can still be alive, accessible, and filled to the brim with Method - but beware the comfort of familiar trappings.

There are those who are ready to teach us the Truth, The Light and the Way. If someone were ABSOLUTELY able to convince you that they knew him when he could return for you, and you believed that STILL after 2 millennial endless aeons... what would it take for you to wake up and see what might be in front of you? What if those very eyes that witnessed his arising, one who was perhaps the closest companion to so many who have defied mortal limitation... What would it take to make a carpenter appear as a King to you, or a Brooklyn born tulku- perhaps a Holy Grail, a vessel of a covenant made LONG ago and so many times. How cold anyone assure you- the way those tried when it was only obvious to a handful of them. But even their conviction was not enough when the angry mob nailed THEIR teacher to a cross - What would they have had to say to YOU to make you understand what is being offered there is a precious and RARE opportunity? Because by three days later - He was history.

Having strayed way into the territory I always tend toward - I wish you a Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday season. I pray that we have not all turned the birth of the Light of the World into the economic - NO HOLDS barred pinnacle of materialism. Seriously dude, was your best Christmas to date the one where you explored what it means for the birth of one of the few anointed ones to walk the planet - and what it symbolizes that we missed that opportunity by 2000 years?? Or was your best Christmas ever the one when you got Atari Pitfall, A Memebers Only Jacket that Star Wars X Wing fighter - and a Millineum Falcon with the secret floor panel that Han Solo could pop out of and help Luke save Chewbacca? I suppose you guessed mine - but each year I am digging deeper. Letting my Buddhist awareness blend with my Christian upbringing to make sense out of a sometimes senseless world. And the Master who is blending them into Jetsunma's work - and allowing that reality to begin unfolding and going out into a world that is STARVING for the light to shine... AGAIN.

The 30 Rock crew will dance us out now. And I apologize that this post has spilled out into a much longer rambling than I began with. But I do hope you enjoy it- on every level - without getting too attached to it. : )

The video below is only about 40 seconds, not a whole lot of footage. But sometimes Less is More.

Ya'll Renounce this:

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