In my interpretation, the Sangha is the community of people who help you towards Enlightenment, the Dharma are the natural laws of the universe that you need to abide by and pay attention to in order to achieve Enlightenment, and the Buddha is the ultimate model of the Enlightened individual living in the context of Samsara. All three are needed in order to achieve Enlightenment in any realm, form, or time. Once Enlightenment has been achieved by an individual, the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth ceases for that individual. There is no further need, reason, cause, or ability for that individual to suffer any further in Samsara. What remains from that individual is their Buddha essence, which continues to be present and pervade the entirety of the universe, known, unknown, knowable, and unknowable. In this sense, the Buddha has never left our existence, even though Siddharta has ceased to be reborn. We are Buddhas are underneath the filth of suffering. Greed (attachment), ignorance (willful or otherwise), and carelessness (lack of compassion) are intrinsic in Samsara. Yet beneath that is a wondrous presence that is common to us all. We can either acknowledge our own faults, peel away at the interstellar gunk that clouds our minds and hearts, and become that which we are, or we can be lazy, indoctrinated into one of the causes of suffering, and ultimately fail to realize a lasting bliss which characterizes peace of mind, wisdom, awareness, and compassion.
It should be noted that Buddhism is the one way that I can think of that enables one to achieve Buddhahood conscientiously and deliberately. All other religions, philosophies, and ways of life either will get you to better rebirths or to Enlightenment through happenstance and the accumulation of past deeds from many many many different lifetimes. This is similar to how the scientific method is the one way to understand and comprehend the universe beyond the thoughts in your head, which enables one to achieve real results for better or for worse on this plane of existence. All other methods with working with the world may only make you and others feel temporarily better without actually making you better or may allow you to succeed by chance and chance alone. It is the difference between self-medication and substance abuse and taking substances with a medicinal purpose, intent, and under verification from well-versed and knowledgeable clinicians who have made a correct diagnosis of the causes of your suffering. One may help. But it will only help by chance, be not as effective as other methods, or else, do more harm to your well-being than good. The other may likewise have mistakes inflicted upon you. You can still suffer at the hands of even a competent doctor, just as you can suffer at your own hands or an incompetent doctor. But, this other way is what will more likely lead you to being cured of what’s actually afflicting you. The choice is up to you, especially when it comes to you making a choice to put a deliberate, consistent, and sustained effort into making it work.
Only you can liberate yourself from Samsara or make a way out of the suffering that you may presently be in. The essence of the Buddhas, the laws and conditions of the Dharma, and the presence of the Sangha, regardless of the forms or ways that you perceive them are always going to be there to help and will always be present as soon as you think about them. That is the power of Buddhism and the essence of Buddhist philosophy. It is not the gods or even God who will save us and yourself. It is always ultimately going to be up to you to make the world and yourself better. It is you who ultimately fails to accomplish this goal when you neglect the natural laws and conditions of the universe. It is you who ultimately fails when you lack the care, compassion, or wisdom to make things be better for yourself.
I’m sorry that I don’t have happier news to give you. I wish that I could have a magical being to enable us to all be Enlightened and cease to be reborn permanently in this universe. I wish I had such a being for myself, actually, to make it so I would never ever have to come back to Samsara again. But, unfortunately, that is not the case. I am here with you because I made a choice to be here, even in the most subconscious of senses. I came here because I either did something inanely stupid and wrong, or was motivated by an honest, if foolish choice to help all other beings achieve Enlightenment before myself, not realizing that the only way I can be of help to others is to help myself and, paradoxically, let them go and enable them to figure it out for themselves in their own right and in their own ways. I’m not sure whether my exhaustion is from being too old of a soul, being too immature of a soul, or simply being not entirely healthy on what ultimately is a physical level. In any case, I’ll simply abide until my time is come. What else is there to do?
Emergence, self-organization and network efficiency in gigantic termite-nest-networks build using simple rules
Termites, like many social insects, build nests of complex architecture. These constructions have been proposed to optimize different structural features. Here we describe the nest network of the termite Nasutitermes ephratae, which is among the largest nest-network reported for termites and show that it optimizes diverse parameters defining the network architecture. The network structure avoids multiple crossing of galleries and minimizes the overlap of foraging territories. Thus, these termites are able to minimize the number of galleries they build, while maximizing the foraging area available at the nest mounds. We present a simple computer algorithm that reproduces the basics characteristics of this termite nest network, showing that simple rules can produce complex architectural designs efficiently.
Emergence, self-organization and network efficiency in gigantic termite-nest-networks build using simple rules
Diego Griffon, Carmen Andara, Klaus Jaffe
Sourced through Scoop.it from: arxiv.org
Confucius observed that when humans follow a particular, internalized code and logic, the need for the top-down command and control forms of social organization disappear, allowing for much more effective and efficient bottom-up systems of organization to arise. In other words, laws from on high levels of government should be simple, basic, and in accordance with the present natural laws and conditions of bottom-up organization. Imagine a border collie moving sheep in a particular direction. It guides the system by moving them in the general direction that the farmer needs while simply correcting and focusing on those sheep who stray from the flock or begin to pull the flock in undesirable directions. Each society probably uses different strategies depending upon their own internal logic and “state of propriety”.
In the United States, it seems that we get extremely focused on the details and what was past rather than consider the general principles behind the laws, which are reflective of our actual values and stable desires as a nation. We need to refer back to the principles and deeper meaning of the Constitution and not get so hung up about what is or isn’t actually written in the Constitution. It’s this intuitive base level of understanding where the logic of our society is and how we are doing that is relative to that common direction we all share as Americans that is more likely to help us. The details of which sheep are going where is insignificant relative to the big picture of what direction are the sheep as a flock headed and which ones are pulling us in those unhealthy directions. Sadly, Americans prefer to look at the sheep rather than the flock at their own expense. That’s probably how we got so many highly detailed laws and rules that are contradictory or counter to our base principles and values. Silly society. Silly people.
Value, in terms of economic and financial growth, can only be created in a society up to a certain point. I believe that the aggregate demand function for a society is, in fact, nonlinear just as everyone’s individual demand curves for goods and services may also be nonlinear. I believe that they start off going up exponentially. But I also believe that, as the diminishing marginal utility kicks in, the curve evens out or maybe goes down, possibly spiking back upward at a certain point (depending upon the good or service in question). It makes sense to say that demand may shift from goods, as people come to a limit of the amount of stuff that they can want, and moves into service and services, as people demand the already excellent products delivered in a more effective and customer friendly format. As such, the market will slow down in growth, unless costs can be cut in production (this may be rendered moot, as we’ll need to pay people from the profits to have demand if there is a permanent loss of jobs), or unless new technology and methods of production can be explored and invented. This can create a cycling of products as goods become obsolete and new ones come into being. However, and this is critical, people need to be able to spend, innovate, and buy the new products and services, in addition to have enough savings to sustain themselves through shocks and retirement. As such, we have a dynamic flow happening in the market where growth will naturally even off, bound by technological limits and the environmental resources needed to support. This carrying capacity is about as close to a macroeconomic equilibrium as we will likely get. It will be highly sensitive to external and internal shocks, and there will be periods of oscillating around the carrying capacity as people see that there’s no more room for money production, divest in the economy, and then cycle back up as they find that there is room for “growth” again.
It should be pointed out that this is not absolutely likely to happen, especially if wealth is more equitably distributed and more agents have a greater capacity to innovate, spend, invest, and save in the market economy. By democratizing the economy through wealth redistribution, many other goods, services, and innovations may happen which can destabilize the existing social, political, economic, and environmental systems. This can be a bad thing, in the sense that we get destructive goods, services, and innovations which hang around and wreak havoc in our societies and environments. It can also be a good thing as we get new products, services, and innovations which are more healthful and helpful to us. It will be critical to link peoples’ costs and benefits to themselves as individuals, in order to ensure that they select those goods, services, and innovations which are healthful to society. Should that not be possible, the government may have to intervene in the market to encourage people to avoid negatively affective products and services and take up positively affective ones. The goal is to preserve the actual (not perceived) health and well-being of society for the individuals’ who live in society’s sake. Anything short of that leads to problems in the society and for the government in question who would, accidentally or purposefully, harm the society and the people who live in the society.
Therefore, we are left with a picture of a dynamic, flowing economy with multiple possible and highly fragile equillibria. Some of these quillibria states are more beneficial for the society and for all the individuals in the society than others. It is the government, through its power to create and enforce laws in the society, who determines the legal and social environment in which the market comes into being. The environment also has a powerful check on market growth in terms of its size, nature, and composition.
Don’t ever tell me that poverty is a condition that will always be around or is something that laissez-faire economics will take care of. Quite frankly, it’s lazy thinking and unfeeling to view a challenge such as poverty or extreme poverty as a feature of human society that has a place in such global abundance or that doing nothing will solve the problem. Furthermore, I am willing to hypothesize that these efforts to relieve poverty, using time, energy, and resources from the production of wealth in our societies will not come at a great expense to that production of wealth and may, in fact, balance out or exceed on its returns for the overall global economy, especially with more consumption, increased savings to protect against shocks, and if it is done in an environmentally sound and sustainable way. It’s science, but it’s not rocket science. Enjoy!