icebergs are buddhist monks

icebergs are buddhist monks i send forth,released into the world from the great monasteries of the poles.their mantra is the blue light humming within their frozen cores.their message is peace and oneness,but alas they simply vanish.every year monks leave me and never return.- yann martel Read the rest here. (found here via twitter. Thanks Isabella!)I missed the whole Blog Action Day thing this year (tisk tisk), but this poem fragment reminded me of it and the whole fact of Global Warming. … [Read more...]

A return to Glacier

Julie and I made it back to Glacier National Park this weekend, exactly one year after first journey there together. As before, it was gorgeous. Going-to-the-Sun road was closed, unlike last year when we made it all the way to the top of Logan Pass (big map). So we decided to focus our efforts on the west side of the park.After camping at Apgar campground Friday night we took the road north (the Inside North Fork Road) that takes you to Fish Creek campground and then onward, on a narrow dirt … [Read more...]

Gratitude, Nerves, and Academic Adventures

Big sigh as I just completed my online CV for the American Academy of Religion annual conference and job center. I passed by an former colleague (we were grad students together in philosophy at UM) today and informed him of this and he said, "wow... that's so... grown up!" He, on the other hand is in his second or third year applying to PhD programs. He's right though, it is pretty grown up. And, by golly, I do feel a bit nervous.But then... I have taught university courses with glowing … [Read more...]

Merleau-Ponty and Buddhism

Luckily Amazon isn't always flaky, and this week suggested a book I would love to get my hands on (except, perhaps, for the price and the fact that I have a stack of un-read books before me that are more directly related to my thesis).I have long admired the ideas of Maurice Merleau-Ponty. Merleau-Ponty was a phenomenologist, one who sets experience itself as the starting point for philosophy, for understanding life. In that respect he finds good company in Buddhist thought. So the new book, … [Read more...]

Omens of Cold

Awakening in a world of white,Early, I suppose, these days.August snow memories,From childhood come to life.Smiling in bathrobe warmth,Fresh coffee and newspaper.My lover sitting beside me,Her smile colors the world.Gas stove fights the cold,Burns ice from windowpanes.Reveals nature's glory,Painted on white this fall day. … [Read more...]

Discoveries only a nerdy scholar could fully appreciate

"It's the little things," my roommate said to me today with excitement, upon discovering that his Mac version of excel could open Microsoft Access documents too...Yea, it's true.Today - just now - I found this: the Digha Nikaya! And it looks like the WHOLE thing, in English! Even Access to Insight (a long-time friend of mine) has some gaping holes in the available suttas. Of course I had to discover this 10 minutes AFTER ordering a copy from amazon for $30.Now the Majjhima Nikaya... that costs … [Read more...]

appetites for oughty things

Philosophers can be funny too:2009 dialectica essay prize (£500): 'ought'*******************************************'Ought' is one of the most used words in philosophy. But what does it mean? There are oughts to do, oughts to be, ought to F of all sorts.There is the ethical ought, the epistemic ought, the semantic ought, and many others. What do they have in common? Or are there as many oughts as there are reasons and stars in the sky? Can deontic logic tell us something about them? What are … [Read more...]

A Pause for Metaphysics

Some people like to say the Buddha didn't do metaphysics. Or that he did ontology instead of metaphysics, with some idea that ontology is necessary and useful while metaphysics is just a bunch of empty speculation.So I open up a couple dictionaries of philosophy to ontology and get the following entry: see metaphysics. Granted, other dictionaries do define ontology as a subfield of metaphysics, but even then the definition doesn't support the idea that ontology is inherently useful and … [Read more...]