Dramatis personae, dramatis spirituum, and Buddhist karma

Dramatis personae are actors in a drama, characters in a play, novel, or movie. Jung used the word persona to indicate our subjective and objective sense of our roles in life, how we behave in various situations. He defined personality (persona-ality) rather flamboyantly:

Personality is the supreme realization of the innate idiosyncrasy of a living being. It is an act of courage flung in the face of life, the absolute affirmation of all that constitutes the individual, the most successful adaptation to the universal conditions of existence, coupled with the greatest possible freedom of self-determination. [C.G. Jung, “The Development of Personality,” 1932]

For my purpose today, Jung’s description of personality, though delightful, is a bit mundane. I want to introduce the idea that in addition to our mundane dramatis personae of this world, we also possess dramatis spirituum or spiritual personae.

This mundane world, in Buddhist terms is the relative world of transitory phenomena and suffering. In contrast, ultimate reality is the realm of enlightened Buddhas where all suffering is ended.

In Buddhism, the word karma can mean many things in English. It can mean action, habit, tendency, a type of attachment, entanglement, the movement of the mind-stream. In a basic sense, it may be helpful think of karma as often meaning habit. Good habits lead to good outcomes and bad habits lead to bad outcomes, though there are many mysterious exceptions to this simple rule as there are to all simple rules.

Karma can be seen as a burden and yet even the worst karma can end in the space of “a single thought.” If in a single thought you are able to see the fullness of your karmic habit, it can end in that very instant. See in a single thought how your anger makes everything worse and you may never have to control it again because it will never arise again. See in a single thought how alcohol is ruining everything and you may refrain from using it ever again.

Our dramatis spirituum are the ultimate actors that we most deeply are, the actors who remember our mind-streams, who are the forces that draw us toward enlightenment, who end bad karmic habits in the space of a single thought.

When we feel connected to someone, often that is a connection between our dramatis spirituum. It may be just beginning or it may have begun many lifetimes ago. A good simple illustration of this might be the way you remember some people from childhood with a pang of unrequited beauty, unrequited spiritual love. You may have known them only briefly but still think of them and have a strong sense that they may be thinking of you in a similar way. What you are sensing is a karmic connection of dramatis spirituum. This is the deep level many of us sense is where life really lives.

The dramatis spirituum connection you have with your parents or primary caregiver is more complex and filled with far more mundane connections. You may struggle with this connection for many lifetimes before it is resolved on the plane of conscious dramatis spirituum.

I tend to see a current of drama ever present in all things. This is their actions, habit, tendencies, karma, entanglements, desires, realizations, personae, spirituum, mind-stream, enlightenment.

The Five Skandhas

The Buddha’s explanation of the five skandhas is intended to help us understand the emptiness of the self. It is a short explanation aimed at his most intelligent students.

The Sanskrit word skandha means “heap” or “aggregate” in English. Sometimes the Buddha compared the skandhas to heaps of rice. They are the “heaps” of psycho-perceptual data that comprise the “contents” of our minds. The five skandhas are conditioned dharmas (literally, “conditioned things”), which is to say that they are impermanent and empty, and when improperly understood lead to delusive attachments characterized by greed, anger, and ignorance. The purpose of the Buddha’s five skandha explanation is to help us see through the skandhas, or disentangle ourselves from them. In some Buddhist texts the five skandhas are called the “five covers” because they cover our minds and prevent us from seeing deep levels of reality. In others they are called the “five yin (versus yang)” because they cloud the mind and hide the truth from us. I will discuss each of the five skandhas in the sections below.

1) The first skandha is form. Form, in this case, means anything that leads to, or is capable of leading to, the next skandha. Forms can be visual, auditory, or sensory. They can be dreams, memories, feelings, or moods. Forms are often described as being “obstructions” because, though they may lead to complex thought and activity, they are also hindrances to mental clarity since the activity they lead to is essentially delusive. It is important to remember that the five skandha explanation is an explanation of the deluded mind and its thought processes.

The Abhidharma-mahavibhasa Shastra categorizes the skandha of form into three types:

a) Visible forms with a referent in the outer world such as color, size, length, position, shape, and so on.

b) Invisible forms with a referent in the outer world that are associated with the other sensory organs such as sounds, smells, tastes, and the sensations arising from physical contact.

c) Invisible forms with no referent in the outer world such as dreams, memories, thoughts, feelings, and so on. Though a dream may be “visible” to the dreamer, it is called “invisible” here because no one else can see it. This last category of forms is associated with what the Buddha called “mental dharmas.”

2) The second skandha is sensation. Following the appearance of a form, the mind reacts to it with a sensation that is either positive, negative, or neutral. We either like it, don’t like it, or are neutral about it. Though it is possible to become conscious of this skandha, most of us most of the time are not.

Sensations are generally categorized into two types:

a) Sensations of the body coming from the outside world through any of the sensory organs, such as sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and so on.

b) Sensations of the mind which may or may not come from the outside world. These include moods, feelings, memories, dreams, thoughts, ideas, and so on.

Both kinds of sensation are, of course, based on the prior appearance of a form. Greed and anger have their roots in the skandha of sensation, for if we enjoy a positive sensation we are liable to become greedy about it, while if we do not enjoy it, we are liable to become “angry” or irritable concerning it. The deep meaning of greed is “excessive attraction” to a sensation that we deem to be agreeable or positive, while the deep meaning of anger (or hatred) is “excessive aversion” to a sensation that we deem disagreeable or negative. Neutral sensations often are the result of our ignorance or lack of understanding, though as we progress in Buddhist practice they may be the result of wisdom.

Positive and negative sensations associated with the body are generally considered to be weaker than those associated with the mind, though both types of sensations often are interrelated. An example of this mixture and distinction might be a light slap in the face. While the physical sensation is only mildly unpleasant, the mental sensation will be quite strong in most cases. And yet both are interrelated.

3) The third skandha is perception. This skandha refers to the deepening of a sensation. It is the point where the mind begins to latch onto its sensations. At this point conscious recognition of form and sensation normally begins. It is possible to become conscious of the first and second skandhas as they are occurring, but most of us generally are not. During the skandha of perception we begin making conscious distinctions among things.

4) The fourth skandha is mental activity. This skandha refers to the complex mental activity that often follows upon the skandha of perception. Once we have identified (perceived) something, long trains of mental associations become active. Our bodies may also begin to move and behave during this skandha. For example, the simple perception of a travel poster may set in motion a great deal of mental activity. We may begin recalling an old trip or begin fantasizing about a new one. If we are photographers, we may admire the composition of the photo, step closer to it, make an effort to remember it, and so on. All of these behaviors belong to the skandha of mental activity.

5) The fifth skandha is individual consciousness. It is a product of the first four skandhas and is completely conditioned by them. This is what we normally, more or less, think of as being our “self.” The Buddha taught the five skandhas primarily to help us understand that this “self” or consciousness is empty since it is entirely based on the conditions found in the first four skandhas.

The Ekkotarika-agama explains this point very well. It says, “The Buddha said that the skandha of form is like foam, the skandha of sensation is like a bubble, the skandha of perception is like a wild horse, the skandha of mental activity is like a banana tree, and thus the skandha of individual consciousness is nothing more than an illusion.” The trunk of a banana tree is made of leaves curled together. From the outside, it may look substantial, but if we examine it closely we will find that one leaf pulls away from the next, leaving ultimately nothing behind. The trunk looks substantial, but in truth it is “empty.” In just this way, our individual consciousness may look substantial to us, but if we peel it apart, we find that there is no self within—it is empty.

How to Understand the Five Skandhas

Though most of us are not normally aware of the first two skandhas it is possible to become aware of them through meditation and mindfulness practices. Though it is easier to begin understanding the five skandhas by thinking of them as being separate and distinct, it is important to realize that any of the last four skandhas can give rise to the skandha of form. Mental activity itself, for example, can generate whole new trains of forms, sensations, and perceptions.

Another important thing to understand about the five skandhas is that our minds move very quickly from one to the next. The five skandhas produce a snow storm of impressions and mentation, upon which rests our unstable conscious world. When we become overly attached to this snow storm or to the consciousness built upon it, we generate the karma that ultimately fuels the five skandhas in the first place.

The Explanation of Mahayana Terms (en 1212) says that the skandhas can be understood as being either good, bad, or neutral. The goodness mentioned in this explanation should be understood as being a relative goodness that arises within the phenomenal world—though it is “good,” it is not the same as an enlightened vision that completely sees through the five skandhas. For this reason, we will use the word “positive” in place of “goodness” in this discussion. The Explanation says that positive activation of the five skandhas can be of three types: activation by a positive form, such as a Buddhist image; activation by skillful means, such as a desire to help someone; and activation within a pure-minded person. The Explanation says that the three bad or negative types of activation of the five skandhas result from: simple badness within them, as may have derived from low motives or moodiness; contaminations within them, such as selfishness during an act of kindness; and negativity that is simply the result of bad karma. The Explanation says that the three neutral types of activation are: formal activations that result from the performance of rituals; activations resulting from the practice of a skill; and neutral changes among the skandhas themselves.

How to Contemplate the Five Skandhas

The second noble truth of Buddhism is the cause of suffering. Generally, this cause is explained as clinging to a false self. By contemplating the five skandhas, we learn to understand both that the self is empty and why it is empty. This contemplation appeals to the rational mind for it allows us to use reason to convince ourselves that the “self” we call our own is, in truth, an illusion.

In contemplating the five skandhas we should be mindful that we begin to generate karma during the skandha of perception. At the same time, it is important to realize that the very forms we see and the sensations that result from them are heavily conditioned by our past actions, by the accumulation of karmic “seeds” or influences that are already stored in our minds. Two people may see exactly the same form, but have very different responses to it because their karma is not the same. Since their karma is different, their sensations and perceptions, and especially their mental activity and consciousness will be very different.

The Numerical Teachings of Great Ming Dynasty Tripitaka says (en 1213) that the most important way to understand the five skandhas is to realize that each of them is empty. As we become familiar with the five skandhas, we will find it easier to identify each one and contemplate its emptiness. We can think about them from first to last or from last to first.

If we choose to think of them from last to first, our contemplation will consist of a series of questions, whose answers should be considered deeply. We begin by asking ourselves what the skandha of individual consciousness is based upon. The answer is the roiling mentation of the skandha of mental activity. The skandha of mental activity becomes apparent as soon as we sit down to meditate. Having identified this skandha and appreciated its fundamental emptiness, we can ask ourselves what it is based upon. The answer is the skandha of perception. First the mind seizes one of its impressions (the skandha of perception), then a long train of thought and emotion follows (the skandha of mental activity). Having appreciated this process, we then ask ourselves what the skandha of perception is based upon. The answer is sensation—of the many forms and feelings passing through our minds, one of them gave rise to either a positive or negative sensation (neutral sensations are usually ignored by the mind). It is this sensation that led to the skandha of perception. If we can appreciate this, then we can ask what the skandha of sensation is based upon. The answer is form—either an outer or inner form. Were it not for this form, none of the other skandhas would have arisen.

If we choose to contemplate from the first skandha to the last, we may choose a form and then carefully watch how our minds process it. We will see that form leads to sensation, then to perception, then to mental activity, and lastly to individual consciousness—a state of mind deeply colored by the skandhas below it. Bear in mind that when the five skandhas are simply happening of themselves and no one is watching them, we are normally unconscious of the activity of the first two skandhas. Before most of us are even aware of what we are perceiving, we have begun to react to it. It requires some skill to see that forms give rise to positive, negative, or neutral sensations before they give rise to the skandha of perception, but this is the case in a normally active mind.

The quotation cited previously from the Ekkotarika-agama can also be used as a very fine contemplation. The agama said, “The Buddha said that the skandha of form is like foam, the skandha of sensation is like a bubble, the skandha of perception is like a wild horse, the skandha of mental activity is like a banana tree, and thus the skandha of individual consciousness is nothing more than an illusion.” The skandha of form is like foam in a stream—at any moment scores of forms contend for our attention. The skandha of sensation is like a bubble—suddenly we react to a single bubble within the foam. The skandha of perception is like a wild horse—we can never be sure which way our mind will turn at this point. The skandha of mental activity is like a banana tree—it consists of many things wrapped together. And thus, the skandha individual consciousness is empty, an illusion.

ABN

UPDATE: FIML practice can be understood in terms of the five skandhas in this way: A FIML query begins at or interrupts the skandha of mental activity. Through training and prior agreement, partners learn to identify a fraught psychological response at the third skandha–perception–and thereby shift away from habitual mental activity to FIML mental activity. The FIML query at this points implicitly asks is my habitual perception based on fact? The FIML query should be made in as neutral a tone as possible to avoid influencing your partner. Your partner’s reply will either confirm or refute your habitual perception. FIML is a dynamic and very powerful form of mindfulness that allows partners to be much more objective about the granular workings of their minds. After hundreds of FIML queries, partners will establish a database of objective insight into their own (and each other’s) psychology that is much more accurate than what can be done alone or through general discussion with anyone. ABN

first posted NOVEMBER 2, 2021

The list of insiders suggesting imperceptible beings are all around us keeps growing

[Everything below is from this link. It’s a good overview and stimulating. Other worlds, realms, and dimensions of being are a normal part of Buddhist cosmology. ABN]

We can add Franc Milburn to the list of those hinting at the phenomenon being around us all the time, and that our reductive senses are limiting our ability to perceive it. When comparing his comments to others who have said similar things, I think it looks like a narrative is starting to be formed.

Franc Milburn

In the last 10 minutes of this interview on Darkness Radio, Milburn opines on the aspects of the phenomenon that the general public are going to have the hardest time accepting as reality.

I think now people can kind of get their head around it. Like, okay, we might not be alone in the universe. But they’re still kind of thinking in terms of ET, extraterrestrial, people visiting us in a kind of physical craft. I think what’s going to really blow people’s minds, and what they can’t get their head around, is the kind of wider, weird high strangeness as Dr. Jacques Vallee and Eric Davis have written about. The kind of high strangeness of the various phenomena. Things at the Skinwalker ranch like the poltergeist activity. You know, the cryptids. You know, the fact that all these things seem to have these disembodied voices. The fact that UAP and these kind of phenomena seem to happen in one area very close together, and seem to kind of be interconnected in some way, perhaps. You know, cattle mutilations.

That’s where I think it’s going to be problematic, for people to get their head around. The fact that the phonomena can exsanguinate cattle and zap dogs, and fill people with sort of an adrenal, kind of pheromonal fear. That it can control people’s minds. So those are things I think people are going to have a real big problem getting their heads around. The fact that there’s invisible entities that may have malign or benign intentions that are operating around us and you can’t see them. There’s a whole kind of different parallel world existence that kind of intersects with our own.

I think that is what people are going to have a very hard time getting their head around.

Franc then says Lue Elizondo’s comparison of our current understanding of the phenomenon to how we were scared of ”sea monsters” before we figured out they were just part of nature is an accurate way to frame this.

Continue reading “The list of insiders suggesting imperceptible beings are all around us keeps growing”

GERMANY: Faith in God waned during the pandemic

A new study done in Germany suggests that faith in god or ‘a higher power’ was greatly weakened by the pandemic. In a cross-sectional survey, Catholics and Protestants – the two largest religious denominations reported a precipitous drop in faith during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially around the second wave. 

The study used self-reported measures of wellbeing, and self-reported changes in faith to arrive at its conclusions. It found that wellbeing decreased significantly with the second wave of COVID-19, when stringent restrictions came into effect in the country. At the same time, stress caused by the pandemic and restrictions in daily life seem to have contributed to increased anxiety, insecurity, loneliness and financial woes.

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I know one person whose faith and interest in Buddhism increased greatly due to the pandemic showing them very clearly the truth of the First and Second Noble Truths of Buddhism. It would not surprise me if there are many others. In Buddhism, this world is characterized by delusion, which has been glaringly apparent during covid. We make our ways out of this morass as individuals and with good friends we know well, not in large groups. ABN

The road to hell is NOT paved with good intentions. It is paved with maliciously using or perverting someone else’s good intentions

In my book, suasion that maliciously uses or perverts other people’s good moral intentions is among the worst moral acts you can do. It is not only evil in itself but also harms the conscience, morality, and clear thinking of the person so abused.

An example of this is the CDC telling people to get vaxxed “for others.” By appealing to our moral sense, they are maliciously using our good and morally-felt intentions to get us to override our reason, thus warping our consciences.

The road to heaven or enlightenment is paved with good intentions, no doubt about it. Good intentions arise from good thoughts and produce more good thoughts in self and other. Clearly, wisdom is also called for because this world is filled with people who will knowingly betray our trust, abuse our innocence, or maliciously use or pervert our good intentions.

I used the CDC example because it is current, but many other examples of this idea can be found. Understanding this is an important part of the line we all must eventually cross between innocence and wisdom. We have to know ourselves what is right and not be fooled by others who seek to use us for unwholesome ends.

A useful guide to understanding what FIML is

The Ethical Skeptic (TES) has written a very good essay: The Distinction Between Comprehension and Understanding. I want to use a schema presented in his essay to describe what FIML is, how to see it and understand it. Comprehending it requires doing it and reaping its benefits.

TES provides this illustration of the layers of thought and psychology that culminate in comprehension:

I might not use a hammer to represent comprehension but since we have a hammer, it would represent FIML’s ability to smash through the dogma of psychology, our ordinary understanding of psycholinguistics, the simplicity with which we view real-time speech, and our ignorance that there exists anything profound in being able to analyze real-time, real-world speech as it is happening.

FIML is a method, a technique. It has no content save what you bring to it. FIML works with and reveals the profound subjectivity of the individual. Since basic FIML cannot be done alone but only with a partner, it also reveals the profound subjectivity of your partner. In doing this, it smashes the dogmas of psychology and virtually all public/common notions about what the human mind even is.

The difficulties of FIML are fundamentally two: 1) seeing it at all and 2) doing it. FIML is not something people normally ever do. I have been writing, reading, and thinking about FIML for many years and have never seen any reference to anything like it anywhere in the history of the world. If you know of one, please tell me. I will be delighted.

FIML is probably hard to see because all languages everywhere contain a very strong proscription against questioning anyone in the moment in order to begin a sober analysis. People just don’t do that. Getting that close and personal about something someone has just said (or did) is instinctively perceived as disrespect, argumentativeness, stupidity, rocking-the-boat, etc. FIML 100% is not that, but since no one has cultivated the habit or acquired the training to do it, no one can even see it let alone do it.

Most of us can see moments of speech and change our minds quickly if we are ordered, instructed, or want to curry favor. I guess that is a starting point, but none of that is FIML. FIML begins with a subjectively felt (or comprehended) need to find out if you have interpreted something correctly. Very ordinary, right? Yes, it is in “slow-time,” but not in real-time.

When done in real-time, the emphasis is on the one asking the question because this one has noticed an interpretation arising in their mind that may be wrong. The interpretation could be completely new or more likely habitual. By frequently noticing these interpretations and then asking your FIML partner about them (using FIML rules) and listening to their reply, you will gradually begin to see a true picture of your actual profound and marvelous subjective mind as it moves through and responds to its living existence.

FIML is no more difficult to learn than playing a musical instrument, riding a motorcycle, or cooking. Once both you and your partner understand what FIML basically is and why it is so necessary, you will progress quickly and gain many insights into your behaviors and thinking processes. At some point, you will achieve a kind of mutual comprehension of each other that is very clear and beautiful and cannot be gained in any other way.

NASA ‘looks to the heavens’ for help: Agency enlists 24 theologians to assess how the world would react to the discovery of alien life on distant planets and how it might change our perception of gods and creation

NASA is hiring 24 theologians to take part in its program the Center for Theological Inquiry (CTI) at Princeton University

The group will asses how humans will react if alien life is found on other planets and how the discovery will impact our ideas of gods and creation

Dr Andrew Davison, a priest and theologian at the University of Cambridge with a doctorate in biochemistry from Oxford, is among 24 theologians

Davison believes we are getting closer to finding life on other planets

link

Since Buddhist cosmology already includes concepts of many worlds (chiliocosm and trichiliocosm), few would be shocked to see proof of other beings on other worlds or to meet them here. ABN

What covid shows about risk-benefit assessment

I discussed basic covid risk-benefit assessment here: The covid/vax risk-benefit assessment is easy to do on your own.

Today I want to add a significant psychological factor to this assessment and also note that this factor is prominent in almost all risk-benefit assessments.

The factor is the approval or disapproval of others if your assessment turns out to be right or wrong. If you are right people will admire you (or feel envious, vindictive, etc). If you are wrong people will mock you (or feel happy, gloat, etc).

It is important to recognize this factor while you are making your assessment and do everything you can to avoid being influenced by it. You have to be a seasoned, courageous philosopher to do this well. Be sure to explain this factor to your SO and close friends. Best of all, teach them to see the importance of it and not do it in their thinking either. Then none of you will have this effect on each other.

With covid, we accept a risk-benefit with the choice of getting the vax or not getting it. Remove the above described psychological factor from your decision process and your mind will be clearer and best able to make the decision that is right for you.

It is probably true that most people invest money quietly and take their losses in silence, only reporting their wins, if that. Doing this generally allows for better risk-benefit assessment because the above psychological factor is removed.

This same principle can be valuably applied to all kinds of predictions. When we make assessments of how the future might be, we want to be careful not to see our options as bets we will be proud or ashamed of when they happen or not.

In a Buddhist sense, this is no-self, mindfulness, and nonattachment all working together to make us think more clearly and thus conclude more accurately and wisely. ABN

Could Multiple Personality Disorder Explain Life, the Universe and Everything? We may all be alters—dissociated personalities—of universal consciousness:

In 2015, doctors in Germany reported the extraordinary case of a woman who suffered from what has traditionally been called “multiple personality disorder” and today is known as “dissociative identity disorder” (DID). The woman exhibited a variety of dissociated personalities (“alters”), some of which claimed to be blind. Using EEGs, the doctors were able to ascertain that the brain activity normally associated with sight wasn’t present while a blind alter was in control of the woman’s body, even though her eyes were open. Remarkably, when a sighted alter assumed control, the usual brain activity returned.

This was a compelling demonstration of the literally blinding power of extreme forms of dissociation, a condition in which the psyche gives rise to multiple, operationally separate centers of consciousness, each with its own private inner life.

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Many Buddhist believe a cosmology similar to what is described in this essay—that the entire universe is conscious and that individual living beings are but temporarily dissociated from that consciousness. This view also explains how an individual can “take rebirth” without any soul or pudgala flying away from the body; how rebirth can happen “simply” due to there being karma that causes the universal consciousness to create another physical entity. For more on this see these other essays by Kastrup. ABN

Hilaria Baldwin says something important about information reality: “Everybody has trolls. Everybody has people who want to tell you whether you’re good or bad or what you think or what you feel”

Video source: Hilaria Baldwin claims husband Alec Baldwin has been suffering from PTSD for a ‘long time’ even before Rust shooting… and complains about living in the ‘famous world’ in new video

I am not taking sides on what happened in the shooting. But clearly Hilaria has experienced intense stress while at the same time being slightly removed from it. What she says is wise and very true. ABN

The Practical Teaching of the Buddha

This is the beauty of the Buddha’s teaching: It is so complete that nothing has to be added to it. If you just practice sīla, samādhi and paññā, that is enough. And it is so pure that nothing has to be taken out. Nobody can find anything wrong in sīla. Nobody can find anything wrong in samādhi. Nobody can find anything wrong in paññā. People are sure to accept it. And they are accepting it.

If we make a sect out of the Buddha’s teaching, a blind faith or a cult or philosophy, then difficulty arises. Every sect will have its own philosophy, cult, belief, dogma, rites, rituals, ceremonies, and they all differ.

But when you take the essence of the Buddha’s teaching—sīla, samādhi, paññā—everyone is bound to accept it because it is so scientific.

A Buddha teaches Dhamma. A Buddha does not establish a particular religion. A Buddha is not interested in establishing a sect.

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Exemptions to the COVID-19 Vaccine: And an update on the federal vaccine mandates

I’ve had a ton of questions about the status of the various federal COVID-19 vaccine mandates (OSHA, federal contractors, CMS). In this post I’ll explain (1) the status of these mandates; and (2) strategies for filing medical/religious exemptions. If you have questions on mandates or exemptions, comment and I’ll do my best to answer.

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I think ultimately the best Buddhist religious no-vax position is simply, No, it is against my religion, against my sincere religious beliefs. If we are asked to “justify” this by someone with no understanding of Buddhism, it might be hard to explain. But there is nothing in federal law that says we need to do anything more than have a sincerely held belief and state that we do. In fact, we should not even need to appeal to federal law. The “unalienable” religious right stated (emphasized is the better word) in the US Constitution is enough. A new Kansas law makes this point very clearly:

Notwithstanding any provision of law to the contrary, if an employer implements a COVID-19 vaccine requirement, the employer shall exempt an employee from such requirement, without punitive action, if the employee submits a written waiver request to the employer stating that complying with such requirement would:

(2) violate sincerely held religious beliefs of the employee, as evidenced by an accompanying written statement signed by the employee.

(b) An employer shall grant an exemption requested in accordance with this section based on sincerely held religious beliefs without inquiring into the sincerity of the request.

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Note carefully the last clause: “without inquiring into the sincerity of the request.” This how it should be. I believe we should stand firm, politely declare no-vax is our sincere belief and more or less leave it at that. You will probably need to write something about right livelihood and Buddhist moral responsibility. If your employer fires you anyway, document everything and if you have the inclination sue them. Lawsuits, especially class-action ones, are the only way in our society to police interpretations of our laws. Employers do not want this burden, and thus are often checked by it. Major US car manufacturers have already backed off vax mandates for these reasons, among others. ABN

Covid politics is a macroscopic example of a psycholinguistic problem which occurs microscopically in all interpersonal relations

The ways we talk and don’t talk about covid are similar in kind to the ways we talk and don’t talk interpersonally. This fact is as painful in all important interpersonal relationships as it is painful on a national and global scale concerning covid.

Interpersonally, it is extremely difficult for almost all people to examine psycholinguistically important moments in real-time if they have not been trained or self-taught. Similarly, it is extremely difficult for almost all people to examine almost any aspect of covid if they do not share mostly the same conclusions.

Psychologically humans exist on a spectrum that grades from the unique microscopic moments of unique individual experience to the macroscopic landscape shared by many individuals belonging to a psychological collective. Just as a psychological collective can be created (or discovered) by naming it so individual moments can be defined by individuals naming them, often incorrectly.

Unique individual moments can also be predefined by a psychological collective. Many individuals perceive human life to be precisely that, something defined by a collective. It is very difficult for many individuals to see this and almost impossible for most individuals to be able to talk about this in real-time, real-world situations that are psychologically stressful and thus also psychologically important.

If you lament the disaster of our national covid dueling monologues, stop and consider that your important individual interpersonal relationships suffer similar problems. Dueling monologues arise when microscopic dialogues do not happen, which they rarely do anywhere in the world throughout all history. This problem is big and small, ecompassing the size of individual lives and entire human epochs. It is founded on the psycholinguistic difficulty of talking about talking as it is happening without being distracted by habits, customs, manners.

When talking about talking as it is happening happens, almost everyone becomes confused or angry or dismayed. You have to see this problem. Then figure out how to deal with it. You can do this in your own way (please report back to me if you are successful). Or you can do it through FIML practice which is described in many posts on this site. If you can see what FIML corrects, then the basic description of how to do FIML will be easy to understand. If you can do basic FIML many times, you will share a fundamental skill with your partner that will make your lives much better.

If FIML looks easy but you can’t do it, you probably don’t understand it. If you think you already are doing it, maybe but I doubt it. If you can’t make any sense of it, talk about it with your partner. Once you see what FIML is, you will love it because it frees you from a most basic and common form of human misunderstanding.

Mountain bike National Title Winner Kyle Warner diagnosed with pericarditis after Pfizer vax

This poor guy says he suicidal from the backlash from people in regards to his vaccine injury ❤️🙏🏼

Originally tweeted by An0maly (@LegendaryEnergy) on November 12, 2021.

Covid is showing us how tribal and savage people can be based entirely on illusions. This is an example of the raw suffering of the First Noble Truth. Its delusional basis is the Second Noble Truth. ABN