Posts by Boddhidharma

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UKHippy is a long running online community and of likeminded people exploring all interpretations on what it means to be living an alternative lifestyle -- we welcome discussions on everything related to sustainability, the environment, alternative spirituality, music, festivals, politics and more -- membership of this website is free but supported by the community.

    Interesting and engaging reasoning, which is logically defensible. Now you have got me at it - I started to write a long rant then, in support of your arguments, but decided I needed to take the dog for a long walk in the rain. He's not too keen, but I am!

    Hi just a few thoughts, the most pertinent, in my opinion, is that we've done it all before. I know, now is the chance for some of us to throw up our hands in despair and say, here they come all the oldies with their tales of derring do from the good old days of hippie yore. Well, they were not good days of yore. They were days of slog to keep the dream alive in the face of unmitigated opposition. So, what I suggest is that we look back to a time when good things emerged which provided a basis for survival in the face of frightening, overwhelming despair. Sounds familiar? Look back to our roots. OK, how about good resources like the hippie survival guides that emerged back then - there are still copies around. How about 'The Whole Earth Catalog' which had features on self-sufficiency, ecology, alternative education, and do-it-yourself, and holism. Then there is 'Small is Beautiful' a masterpiece of using alternative technology, 'Deschooling Society' which changed the way we viewed education, and so many more titles that come to mind. No need to reinvent the wheel - it's already there just waiting to be utilized again. We adapted technology, changed communities, fed ourselves, educated ourselves, and grew together. Despite enormous opposition and its inherent difficulties great organizations took off from tiny beginnings such as War on Want, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Greenpeace, and so many more. It may be a different time but, the Age of Aquarius is alive and kicking - we need not only the means that we had back then but perhaps more so, we need the support and encouragement that was prevalent then. Cheer up! We survived then so, we can all do it now if we all work together as one.

    In my opinion there is no question. After all, if we are committed to the idea of peace and love then, there can be no compromise, no half measures, no allowances, no giving in. I am sorry to be so blunt but, if we are truly committed to a 'way of life' as hippies always were in their belief in the twin notions of peace and love as being the twin pillars of a sane lifestyle, then, such commitment must be complete as it was then. So, it's clear that being hippy is much more than fashion, or lifestyle. Being hippy is more than projecting an image. It is 'simply' being hippy. I made a commitment more than five decades ago. I'm damned if I will give in now and compromise my beliefs for the sake of assisting oppressors. I respect your right to be yourself, to do your own thing, to be whatever you want to be. But, I wonder what state the world would be in now if we had watered down our beliefs back then, when the world was hippy? I see the armed forces as yet another form of oppression, another form of control, and would never advocate accepting them or assisting them. We really did place flowers in their gun barrels ... back then.

    When I was a Buddhist monk in India back in the 70s, I practised meditation daily. It was in a meditative state that I first realised the following. Over a long period of time, I developed an idea that we are all capable of glimpsing Nirvana and that a transcendent state in which there is neither suffering, desire, nor sense of self, and the subject is released from the effects of karma and the cycle of death and rebirth is present within that meditative state. As this represents the final goal of Buddhism, it shocked me into wanting to find out more. I talked for months with an old, and very wise brother monk and went away and thought through things myself. I had a dilemma: the dilemma was simply that I realised that the sexual act, is a pathway. Now, this was in contradiction to everything that I had learned and accepted in Buddhism. After all, sex is one of the chains that bind us to this life - so, no escape - especially for a Bhikkhu (a monk within the Theravada tradition). OK, then, so what of the dilemma? Well, the way I saw it in a flash of open-mindedness (which my older brother monk explained to me was either me glimpsing a tiny bit of Nirvana or more likely going bonkers) was that during the sexual act we are, uninhibited. We 'let go' convention and strip away the veneers that are the product of cultural norms. In other words, we are without restraint. The sexual act takes us through a number of stages to attain a higher plane - the ultimate, as I understood it, was at the point of orgasm that the mind witnesses a glimpse of Nirvana (not the physical entity we call 'self'). Now, this is not a place, a tangible entity. Rather, and this was the tricky bit for me to grasp at the time, it is a nothingness that is a fullness, an emptiness that is filled, it is the very essence of an existential glimpse of the reality of Nirvana - feelings that have nothing, no connection, to this plane. It seems to me, in this 'altered state, that at the point of orgasm we are feeling, breathing, touching the nothingness that is the sublime dimension - that which we call Nirvana.
    Not sure if this makes much sense in the dimension we find ourselves in now - a life of materialism and a thirst for 'truths' that are a part of a 'provable science'. It made sense to me then, and it makes sense to me now.

    I agree - it is time to rethink the 'site'. Although I am a regular visitor, almost daily, I rarely post. This is mainly because quite a bit of the 'discussions' are sometimes somewhat introverted. However, nuff moaning - which direction should the site go? There seems to be little connection with hippie roots. I think there is a need to revisit and engage with the philosophy and historical achievement of the hippie revolution. Yes, it actually did happen! Much of the freedom and enlightenment we enjoy today have their roots in the hippie revolution of yore. Perhaps, it may be feasible and useful to remember and honour the achievements of then and relate them to now. How about a roll of honour for people who have bravely stepped up and made a significant contribution towards actually achieving peace and love? Then, perhaps there should be an opportunity to record the past - let the people from then that are still upright tell their stories for posterity. I prefer writing real sentences in English - not that I am xenophobic - but, old fashioned as it may seem, I genuinely like writing. So, twittering to me is something that birds do while wiling their time away on a comfortable branch somewhere on a sunny afternoon. Facebook is a mystery, mobile phones useful for telephoning because there ain't any friendly red telephone boxes any more. Then there's all the friendliness of the site - surely much will be lost if the site is turned over to mobile apping... Somehow, I have the feeling we are at the threshold of achieving much. This is a major chance to do something - gulp, and I'm rambling on. OK, a couple of other thoughts: how about encouraging writers to discuss their work in the forums? The BBC/Granada/ITV etc are looking to commission new works that draw on the hippie revolution - where's the stimuli for new drama, poetry, comedy? It's all here, hidden perhaps amidst the 'discussions' that float in and out of focus on the site. Then there's the advice that appears from time to time. One final thought - what about the next generation? Are we to let the lights go out on the achievements of the past and now, letting them disappear when the stories have been forgotten? Perhaps there is room for recording hippy philosophy for serious study and research in schools and universities. Was it really all sex and drugs back then? What was the philosophy that changed the world forever?

    My apologies for rambling - I just wanted to say: keep up the good work it is really appreciated!

    Outside your mind the rest is a tie with the here and now, the present, all of which are props, a crutch, something to hang on to without which, you believe you cannot be free. But freedom is just that: not an emptiness that is commonly believed. But, a fullness that is undefinable - no words can describe it. But it exists. The props you can do without - the buildings, artifacts, are all meaningless in the quest for freedom. Best look inwards, to the self, then discarding the self, strive to climb higher, deeper, inside. There lies the holiest place - not locked into 'something' tangible or intangible. Discard the rock and there lies freedom - the spirit that is You. Strive hard and it is attainable for you by you. The rest is an illusion...

    My fundamental question is "do we have an identity?".

    • Clearly, reading through the many posts to, we are an eclectic group. Each of us appear to have widely different values and norms that are acceptable to us. Some of us are employed in conventional jobs whilst others follow vastly different lifestyles.
    • The hippy of the 60s and 70s could be identified by their lack of interest in conventional money-earning. In fact, they were, largely opposed to the notion of owning money. As a result, groups such as the New Economic Order and so-called charities such as War on Want and Greenpeace were born, alongwith many others.
    • Similarly, in the earlier decades of the evolution of hippies, property ownership was anathema.
    • The 60s hippy was, by and large, politicised. In fact, most hippies from that era were actively engaged in the political change process - witness for example Greenham Common, the Anti-War Movement and, the Anti-Vietnam War protests outside the American Embassy.
    • Most hippies from the earlier decades travelled to India and beyond via the Hippy Trail. By bus from London then, across the continent by local buses and trains, sleeping in stations and on the roof of hotels in Tehran and Istanbul. Today's hippy makes the trip by air landing in an airconditioned bubble in New Delhi or Mumbai and sometimes never venturing outside their little bubble until returning home to the UK. Of course, sadly it is now not possible to travel the Hippy Trail so, I wonder if this has had an effect on the evolution of the hippy.
    • Similarly, we have lost the many communities that sprung up in those decades - communes, togetherness, sharing, all words that are possibly hard to find these days.
    • Clearly, there has been an evolution of thought and practise related with the continuance of hippy(ism). We are today, at least in outward appearance to be different to the hippies of the two earlier decades.
    • With such eclecticism and evolution is it possible to define a Hippy identity? For example what do we, those of us who profess to be hippies, believe in? What are our fundamental beliefs? Do we have a belief system?
    • Similarly, with such apparent eclecticism, is it at all possible to identify a Hippy Identity? If we pursue a particular set of beliefs and accept an associated set of norms and values then, we can readily identify with a group in society. Let me give you an example: say for example we accept the fact that it is both interesting and worthwhile to grow things then we can be seen to belong to the group 'Gardeners'; similarly, Jews, Christians, Buddhists, or Communists, Anarchists, Conservatives, Labour, West Indian, British or whatever all accept with varying degrees of usage a set of norms and values - a way of life that is common to all of the participants. Therefore, they can be readily and easily identified as participants in their selected group - just as they can be identified by outsidersto that group as participants of the group.
    • So, to return to my original question at the start of this small start of a discussion, Are we in fact, 'hobby hippies' (conventional participants in society by day and, hippy behind closed curtains) or, do we have a set of values and norms that can be identified that is common to us all?
    • If we do have a set of values and norms that are common to us all, then, it follows that, if we are hippies, then can we accept the fact that we 'belong to' a group. As an anarchist of many years, the whole question of participation, either willingly or otherwise, interests me.
    • So, fellow hippies, are we hobby hippies?

    Looking forward to an interesting exploration into defining who we are.

    I have been sitting on the sidelines enthralled by this discussion and a few questions come to mind.

    Do we recognize or acknowledge the spiritual life, and is it a factor in who we are? By the spiritual life, do we mean the life of thought and reflection and literature, or the life of religion? It's a different question.
    The spiritual dimension in terms of religion. Is that at all a factor?
    For me, it's not. I am a child of the Enlightenment. I think irrational belief is a dangerous phenomenon, and I try to consciously avoid irrational belief. On the other hand, I certainly recognize that it's a major phenomenon for people in general, and you can understand why it would be. It does, apparently, provide personal sustenance, but also bonds of association and solidarity and a means for expressing elements of one's personality that are often very valuable elements. To many people it does that. In my view, there's nothing wrong with that. However, I am tempted to suggest that this may be a naive interpretation. My view could be wrong, of course, but my position is that we should not succumb to irrational belief.
    My poor understanding is that Buddhism rejects the concepts of God and Soul, features which define a religion for many people, and places great emphasis on self-transformation through the practice of meditation. This has led some to question its status as a religion.
    The Abrahamic religions like Christianity, Islam and Judaism are monotheistic - believing in only one god - but Buddhism denies the existence of a Supreme Being and creator of the world. This has led some to label it ‘atheistic’ but it has been suggested that Buddhism might demand a new category – that of the ‘non-theistic’ religion, a religion without a God and it is not alone in this. Other Eastern belief systems such as Confucianism, Taoism and Jainism also deny the existence of a single God.

    Arguably it is the metaphysical aspects of Buddhism that make it a religion rather than just a set of ethics, psychology or a philosophy. Ideas such as karma and rebirth which existed in India before the Buddha are key concepts in his teachings.
    Karma, which is the accumulation of good or bad ‘merit’ through moral choices is what determines the circumstances of an individual’s rebirth.
    So, if we are not going to allow this thread to degenerate into merely juxtapositioning Christianity with the 'lesser' religions, and if we are to return to the original question of what is spiritual on a personal level then, I would suggest that the question itself is both unanswerable and pointless.

    Spot on Winter - well done!!! Mike:waves:

    i think that adhering to any religion is a form of mental slavery. having said that, i'm closer to buddhism than anything else, but of course the essence of buddha dharma is NOT believing stuff simply because it is told to you, rather to question for yourself and arrive at your own conclusions. and i see buddhism as a philosophy rather than a religion anyway, since there is nothing to 'believe in' and so 'faith' is irrelevant. i've always considered faith in religious dogma to be the lazy persons way of avoiding seeking out real truth.

    a buddhist monk (at amaravati monastery) once told me (something along the lines of) he is a not 'a buddhist', since labels are irrelevant because they are just the result of our trying impose our own contrived sense of order on the world, whereas truth does not need categorising, explaining or justifying, it just is: all that is required is to see it. something like that anyway. :o

    Spot on! Something along the lines I was making earlier in this thread...:D

    I have been a Theravadan Buddhist for around 40 years. I practised as a Bhikku (Monk) in a Silent Order in India for 7 years, then as a layman for the rest of the time. So, my questions are simply: What is spiritual? What do we mean by spirituality? Do we mean the day-to-day practising of religion tenets? Do we mean a deeper understanding of the concepts of religion? What do we mean? Are we talking about finding our way away from blindly accepting religious teachings - finding our own enlightenment? I am spiritual on a number of levels - on a day to day level when I meditate; on an intellectual level when I question Buddhist teachings; and on a different plane when I seek out Enlightenment. I believe that true spiritual (ism) is when we abandon the Teachings, we have no need for props and instructions. We are free and we have realised Enlightenment. So, am I there yet? No. Am I getting there? Well I am trying. What will I find when I am eventually there? Nothing.
    The existentialists would have us believe that it is necessary to question existence itself. Consider the problem raised by identity, persistence and the Ship of Zeus. Do we exist at all? The much maligned notion of the existence (or otherwise) of the tree in Zen certainly raises valid questions on the notion raised in this thread of spiritual and being spiritual.
    If there are questions on the existence of religion then, there are questions on the existence of thought (and hence on values and norms we have imposed on us all). If this is the case then perhaps someone could define what we mean by 'spiritual' and 'being spiritual'? :angel:

    Way back in the seventies I was involved with A.S. Neil and his Free School movement. A number of free schools were set up around the country and a great many kids were liberated. Unfortunately, apart from Summerhill, the 'main; school set up by AS., there are pitiably few left in this country. Today, as parents we are never encouraged and, rarely 'allowed' to provide an alternative environment for our kids to grow. Try talking your LEA into home schooling for your hild, or setting up an alternative school. The alternative culture is perceived to be a danger zone for kids today in our over-controlled, over-sanitised nanny state. I have always questioned the veracity of exams and the competitive nature of stuff taught in conventional school - even though I teach at University myself. I prefer to see people grow naturally, exploring and testing and inquiring. So, for all the parents out there who impose their will in quite shocking ways - you are so wrong. If you care about your kids then, give them the space and opportunity to grow.

    Yes he certainly looks cute - that was taken a couple of months ago. Now he weighs in at a healthy 22 kg. Problem is, he still thinks he is just 5 kg and leaps up on our laps like a tiny puppy - groan!

    :waves:Why do we love you Toby?

    Why is it Toby when you refuse tinned food and dry food but when I cook you minced beef and add the gravy you lick the bowl clean?
    Why is it Toby when I forget to add an OXO cube to your minced beef you turn such baleful eyes on me?
    Why is it Toby when I have chocolate pannini you stare at me with such a pained look of envy counting every mouthful and saying with your eyes that I have not fed you for at least a whole week? But I have told you a million times chocolate is bad for you – but you don’t seem to believe my tale at all.
    Why is it Toby when the house is still in the afternoon and we are all catching a rare but welcome break and a cup of tea you suddenly decide to try for the watchdog of the year award and bark with a tremendous roar at some poor unsuspecting pigeon who foolishly decided to land on our garden?
    And why is it Toby I am convinced if burglars came to our house you would lead them in and lick them to death before showing them where the best china is kept?
    Why is it Toby when we decide to travel by train you dutifully do a wee and poo just before boarding the train and then, with tail wagging and a confident look in your eye we board. But then, just as the doors slide shut and we move off you decide that a wee is an absolute must but the next stop is 30 minutes away and you cast aspersions in my direction as if it was all my fault?
    Why is it Toby when we jump from the train at the next stop, which happens to be a halt, and you decide that it really isn’t necessary for a wee at all and it’s my entire fault? All you really wanted to do was sniff the country air and see exactly what those big creatures were doing in the field next to the station, and we both watch the tail lights of the train as it disappears around the bend on its journey. And why do you merely sigh when I tell you that the next train is in an hour as if it is my fault?
    Why is it Toby all friends and family have paw marks on the front of their shirts and blouses whenever they visit us and they all say ‘aawwwwww what a handsome chap’?
    Why is it Toby when we were painting out the garage you have a white ear which no end of scrubbing would remove. But, you stare innocently into my face wagging your tail when I asked you how come?
    And why is it Toby you have chewing gum stuck to your left leg when no one in the house eats the stuff except some of Lizzy’s friends?
    Why is it Toby that at the end of a long day when the house is quiet and warm you lie on my feet and sigh and sleep and dream? But why is it Toby you feel the need to break wind and share it with us all and we can’t be in the same room as you?
    Why is it Toby you want to climb into our laps but you have forgotten you are not a tiny puppy any longer but you are now a strapping 23 kg young lad? And we all groan and dive for cover to no avail.
    Why is it Toby you love the mud and rain and want to bring most of it home with you to share with us all?
    Why is it Toby that mud on your coat from a muddy pool in the countryside park nearby is such a must have accessory on walks? And tell me Toby, why is it necessary to paint the walls in the utility room with it also?
    Why is it Toby that the vicar only smiles benignly when we meet in the street and fondly remembers a pair of shoes he once owned, left in our porch one wintry day as he sipped a cup of tea and enjoyed some cake with us? And who would blame such an innocent-looking chap for chewing shoes? “It’s not me”, said your eyes. Pity the bits of leather in your mouth when I prised it open gave you away!
    Why is it Toby that our local policeman knows you by name even from a distance? And why is it that you go bounding up to lick every available bit of flesh when the poor man is supposed to be dignified and on duty.
    Why is it Toby that when it rains incessantly and the garden turns to mud you really must go out for a wee and there is absolutely no time to adorn oneself with leads and whatnots required for walks, and you miss just enough to prove your point.
    Why is it Toby when I look at the lawns in front of the house and in the rear gardens I see vast areas where the grass has been killed by the dreaded weeing machine? And why could you not aim for the many weeds that grow in the corner beds that are so difficult to kill off?
    OOO and why is it Toby when you look at us all your eyes are so brown and you look so innocent which we are sure you are because you are just Toby, our truest, trusting friend. Even when you have chewed the passports and we shout” Toby *&$£%^£”£”!!!” we make friends again so quickly because you are loved and loving.
    And Toby, when Merlin the cat who lives next door hops over the fence and you chase her (yes I know ‘Merlin’ is an odd name) around the gardens and then, after you both have tired yourselves out you curl up closely together on your bed then, we know that life is good and all is well with the world.
    That’s why Toby we love you!

    OK a few thoughts: you can succeed at something if you are interested in it. It's a simple as that - think about it. I can remember many days in saigon with no money and 250 street kids to feed - hhmmmm initiative is bullshit. What counts is having a dead interest in something and hoping you can find a way out of the crap. Simple! Keeping at it seems to work - maybe boring others in the meantime but, if you think you can do it generally you can. depression is a killer tho; and it hits when you least expect it and, it is the hardest thing to put to one side. Me? I drank a bottle of scotch most days in Vietnam, watching the rockets coming over in the night, probably to drunk to notice the danger. But, the kids got fed - mostly from ripped off stuff from the Army bases - shouldn't be saying that maybe... So, yes you can do it - just give it a whirl!