Thursday, February 14, 2013

Men on "Valentine's Day" (video)

Ashley Wells, Dhr. Seven, Pat Macpherson, Pfc. Sandoval, Seth Auberon, Wisdom Quarterly
(Screen Junkies#HonestTrailers) This Valentine's Day show this trailer to your significant other so s/he doesn't make you watch "The Notebook" again.

The tee shirt with a big red Valentine's heart read: "Don't Worry, Nobody Cares About You the Rest of the Year Either." So lonely women shouldn't be sad. Can men really be so insensitive?

Yes. We can. After all, it is largely believed that Valentine's Day was created in a conspiracy by the Hallmark corporation (maker of greeting cards) along with chocolatiers like Sees Candies and flower shops. The real story is much more chilling.

Third of females and all males raped or beaten
War generates a great deal of testosterone poisoning -- as fear promotes adrenaline to maintain survival then needs to be dispelled, the male hormone being implicated in heightened sexual arousal as well as aggression and violence. In the past, after killing, the victors would arrange to have forcible sex with the women of the vanquished by placing heart-shaped leaves on the females (including children of both genders) of their choosing. This was not simply rape, it was rape on an institutional/imperial scale, sanctioned by commanding officers and the armies of aggressive empires like ours. If pillaging, plundering, and wholesale slaughter of innocents is on the menu -- war plans for territory -- is anyone surprised that genocide and rape are, too?
Harming does not mean men are heartless.
This fact is taken as given by American soldiers in the field. Not everyone engages in it or keeps quiet about it, of course. But certainly few if any are surprised that such things go on. And have gone on for millennia. Did the Greeks of Troy and Athens not do it? Did the invading armies of x, y, and z

Our rapist murderers in Iraq and Afghanistan
Bosnia-Herzegovina, the USA in Vietnam and Afghanistan (and every other war), the UK around the world, CIA agents training guards and operatives in secret prisons, the USSR in Central Asia, Indians on buses and back alleys, Pakistanis at war with unveiled women, Genghis Khan, Attila the Hun, Alexander the Great, the Israelis in Arab lands and in the Book of Judges (Old Testament) as sanctioned by the Christian God...

What's Buddhism got to do with it?
What does Buddhism have to say about it? Mara Devaputra (Cupid) is a sly one. He comes in the guise of the "god of pleasure." He leaves us heartbroken and in karmic trouble.
But as it relates to WAR, armies from traditionally Buddhist countries are not immune: Look at the atrocities committed by the Sri Lankan government against ethnic Tamils (Hindus), the Burmese military against the country's ethnic Rohingya (Muslims), Thai police against civilian protesters (Red vs. Yellow Shirts), Japanese imperial troops in Buddhist Southeast Asia, Chinese Red Army Communists against ethnic Tibetans and Taiwanese (Buddhists), Uygurs (Muslims), and fellow Chinese (dissidents and Democrats). We can even look back to pre-Buddhist-conversion of Asoka in ancient India and the "proud Shakyans" (Scythians?) and their neighbors in ancient frontier-India (Central Asia).

Moreover, the Buddha warned of the causes of crime and harmful karma: greed, hatred, fear, and delusion. As these manifest as minor tendencies, we pay little attention to the danger. Many of us even defend them as necessary for life, love, and liberty. But as they grow pernicious, fewer of us defend them. When they come to a head, next to no one will defend them. These are poor translations for ancient terms the Buddha used: lobha, dosa, bhava, and moha. 

Kama: Mara Born-Among-Angels in Greek art
Why do people kill/harm, steal/hoard, rape/molest, perjure/slander, and/or abuse intoxicants? They violate these Five basic human Precepts motivated by these roots of unskillful karma. The results are dire and are usually not seen here on this plane. On this plane, in this part of the "human" world on Earth (even though it also exists elsewhere not here on this planet), we only see a little discord, environmental degradation, and some misery while simultaneously seeing a great deal of celebrating, partying, accrual of riches, and sensual indulgence. We do not see the consequences for the actors (who accrue the unprofitable karma) over time.

What can be done? It is not enough to rigorously suppress harmful inclinations by adhering to the Five Precepts. Restraint is good, good now, good everywhere. But far better is getting to the roots and cooling (quenching, appeasing, diffusing, slaking, calming, nibbanering) them: 
  • Meet greed with nongreed (unselfishness, right view, generosity),
  • hate with nonhate (friendliness, compassion, joy-in-other's-joy),
  • delusion with nondelusion (mindfulness, bare awareness, insight, perfection of view), and
  • fear with nonfear (love, acceptance, tolerance, loving-kindness, empathy).
(Melissa Bordeaux/
How? That is what the Dharma is all about. The Buddha did not teach to teach or teach to satisfy our philosophical/scientific curiosity. He taught to alleviate misery (disappointment, pain, dukkha). There are two ways of doing this. One is obvious and wished for by most people, namely, improving this life/society then gaining rebirth in a better situation, even a superior world in space. The other is far less obvious, and it is making a complete end of suffering here and now in this very life. The purpose of living according to the Monastic Discipline (Vinaya summarized in the Patimokha = "Path to Liberation" recitation) is to create the ideal conditions for successful meditation, which means heart/mind cultivation, development, and intensive improvement. 

By us is good done or left undone. We defile as well as purify ourselves. Of course, others help and harm, and we help and harm others. But ultimately "No one saves us but ourselves, no one can and no one may, we ourselves must tread the Path, the Buddha merely points the way."

( The Dalai Lama (excerpt from "Dalai Lama
Renaissance") speaking about God, Money, inner peace, and happiness.

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