"The poet only asks to get his head into the heavens. It is the logician who seeks to get the heavens into his head. And it is his head that splits." G.K. Chesterton

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Lotus, Buddhistdoor articles

Below are the links to the articles I have written so far for Buddhistdoor.com, which is a www outlet of a Buddhist temple located in Hong Kong under the chief administrationship of Thervada monk Venerable Dr. Dhammapala. The articles are published as weekly features in the New Lotus magazine wich is a subsidiary component of the website, under the editorship of Raymond Lam.

Here is the link to most of my articles written for Buddhistdoor.com, currently to be found on Buddistdoor.net.

Reign of "Freedom"
I expose the instrumental and manipulative side of the ideology of freedom and question some of the methods used to implement it. One case that I look closely at is gender related social engineering implemented in a Sewdish preeschool.

Doomsday Myths: Reminders of Impermanence
There's an abaundance of doomsday myths and scenarios, even among secular groups. What's  the reason for this tendency of mass hysteria? Is it related to the realization of our own mortality?

Is Rebirth a Coherent Notion?
Here I question the consistency of the doctrine of "emptiness" with the idea (tenet) of rebirths. It appears that the two are logically incompatible.

The Elusive and Persistent Illusion
Why is the illusion of self so strong? Is it due to culture or maybe due to the Gestalt phenomenon of grouping? Is it evolution's way to maintain a coherent entity?

Lessons from Mindfulness
How our idealized conceptualizations of human interactions give rise to certain attitudes motivated by particular interests and expectations, and why they're often dissonant with the attitudes of others. How does friendship fare in thus constructed reality?

Mathematics of Altruism
This article sheds some light on mathematical and game-theoretical evidence supporting the evolutionary benefits of traits such as kindness and forgiveness. The discussion uses the model of Prisonner's Dilemma to illustrate its main conclusions.

Wake Up, Kitty!
An attempt at Buddhist fiction: Puss In Boots meets Alice in Wonderland meets Sasāra ;) Needless to say, a condition to fully appreciate the metaphors used therein require some familiarity with Buddhist philosophy.

A Model Aiding the Mindfulness of Karmic Law
In this article I propose a useful analogy between the waking day, and consecutive lives in the cycle of Sasāra. This analogy provides a mini model for the "witnessing" of the transmigration of karmic "baggage" accross lives. The main intension is of pragmatic character, since adopting this model sharpens our mindfulness of karmic phenomena and its tendencies (by making this cause-effect process epistemically tangible) and hence facilitates the ability to forsee its inevitable law manifesting in future lives. Finally, such modelled (made tangible) insight offers the incentive to be constantly mindfulof karmic law.

Reflections on the Nature of the Conscious Moment
Here I outline the conditions for consciousness to arise - mainly the necessary condition of an object of consciousness - a criterion present in both Western and Eastern philosophies, most notably Buddhism and phenomenology. Then the analysis focuses on the question whether realitiy's temporal "resolution" puts any restrictions on the notion of an irreducible conscious moment.

Mindfulness and Empathy in action - Defusing Tension in Interactions With Others
In this article I make a survey of the possible and most common classess of reasons of tension which can arise in interactions with others. Then I propose a systematic strategy intended to defusing this tension skillfully.

Goal Oriented Action - A Useful Illusion?
The motivation-goal-reward system underlies the functioning of every healthy person. How does existentialism transcend this system, and what difficulties does such a treatement run in to? Does Buddhism provide a satisfactory solution to those difficulties?

A Liberating Realization
There are systematic methods employed by Buddhist teachings in attaing the realization of emptiness of inherent self. They employ both carefully constructed arguments often as reductioo proofs, and direct and immediate insight augmented by meditation. The title here refers to a thought experiment which helped me get closer to the realization of the illusory nature of an inherent self.

Toward a Synthesis of Insight
Here I agrue for a re-evaluation of what counts as empirical knowledge, and how a possible expansion of that category could benefit science, or even give birth to a more general form of inquiry.

Reflections on the Evolution and Digitization of Communities
The concept of a community is a fluid one, and its form changes in tandem with the emergence of more complex forms of social and political organization. The www era offers new opportunities and stimulates the emergence of unique virtual communities. Aside from its obvious and numerous benefits, I highlight and analyze a few possible negative outcomes of the virtual interaction.

The Importance of Reliable Authority and Guidance
And why is this so relevant today in a climate of manufactured values. A few years after this article was published, it served as inspiration to Buddhistdoor's Wong Weng Hon, who gave it a response from a Buddhist perspective.
Here are the links to Wong Weng Hon's two-part article:
The Importance of Reliable Authority and Guidance: A Buddhist Response (1), by Wong Weng Hon
The Importance of Reliable Authority and Guidance: A Buddhist Response (2), by Wong Weng Hon

Logical Tolerance in Buddhism
The Western logical tradition primarily embedded, and conforming to, a bi-valent logic has come accross various limitations. Within the Eastern philosophy, Buddhism in particular, due to its non commital attitude to the law of non contradiction classical paradoxes do not pose such problems. Dialethism, a relatively modern approach mainly endorsed by Graham Priest, by abandoning the law of non contradiction resembles Eastern schools of thought.

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