I’m working on William Mcneill’s book, Plagues and People’s, at the moment, aside from everything else :). It is a fascinating study of humanity reduced purely to micro and macro parasitism. Those tiny organisms feeding on us (malaria, smallpox, influenza) being the micro and us (or other large organisms) feeding on us being the macro. The coherence of the study is stunning: based on simple parasite-host relationship models, Mcneill predicts and presents a wide range of historical events. His most… Read more

‘Philosophy Songs’: Proof that philosophers like to laugh – even at themselves. Reminds me of some of the stuff on Buddhanet for kids (although this has much higher production quality – )My favorite – great to hear the Pali chorus:Namo tassa bhagavato arahato Samma-sambuddhassa. *Translation: Homage to that Lord, the Worthy One,Perfectly enlightened by Himself.Pali (and other ancient languages) just lends itself to song in a way English seems to struggle at.And David Chalmers’ Blog … Oh…. lovely stuff. (not… Read more

I have to laugh a bit, but it seems like now that my dissertation is done and I should be relaxing, all I do is work! But in a sense it is more of a fun kind of work… but then my dissertation had its fun too.Amongst my recent readings, a poem called Tea, posted on Woodmore Village, was especially delicious.I also read (1997) Buddhist reductionism (mentioned on my last post). Zen Unbound says he’ll have a look, “wearing my… Read more

I haven’t had time to write much lately. I’m studying for a test on Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit, preparing to teach a class on Buddhism, and trying to keep up on a couple dozen other projects (including an interesting back-and-forth on Socrates/world as illusion with Steven), so time is has been lacking.One thing that I’ve been discussing with a friend here is the issue of selfhood in Buddhism, which famously seems to reject that there is a ‘self’ (atta in… Read more

There was a show a while back called “Wings” where one character, a not-so-bright mechanic, Loel, was reminiscing about his boyhood difficulties, and one occasion when he and his father went downtown and tearfully watched ordinary people.His boss remarked, “oh, that movie always made me cry too.”Loel, blank-faced, replied, “what movie?”Tonight, Ali gave a talk to the Philosophy Society on the Supremacy of Philosophy as a discipline, somewhat echoing my thoughts in Why Philosophy? but focusing on the curiosity that… Read more

From a recent interview with India Express, His Holiness the Dalai Lama is speaking about nonviolence as a motivation more than a label of particular actions. The interviewer asks: • Your Holiness, you also use the example of a man coming to shoot you. You say one has to do something, but instead of shooting him in the head, maybe, one could shoot him in the leg. Shooting in the head means killing. • But shooting in the hand or… Read more

First, my humble gratitude to the good folks at Blogmandu / Zenunbound for noting my last blog in their round-up. They have a fascinating blog, gathering stories from Buddhist types like myself. There is an especially poignant one on depression and meditation.I also noticed that my letter to the Buddhist Channel on “The Buddhist orientation of homosexuality” was published. It was in response to a woman who had written about the Dalai Lama and homosexuality. She has received some literature… Read more

I’m listening to music from the movie: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter… and Spring.It is a deep, peaceful melody, tainted with bits of melancholy and mystery. It is slow, artful, and delicate. It teaches you to examine each moment, and as you do, new sounds emerge. It is a loop, the same tones repeating themselves over and over; but it is different each time. It gets deeper, and if you let it, it will draw you into its rich, colorful depths.I… Read more

New satellite imaging reveals that the destruction to rainforests in the Amazon is much worse than previously known. (links 1, 2, 3)The cause? Beef (links 1, 2 (pdf.), 3). Beef and (mostly) illegal harvest of prized Amazonian hardwoods and other trees (links 1, 2). Who buys it? Not Brazilian farmers and ranchers. Americans, Europeans, and other affluent folks like you and me.Beef: It’s cheaper to cut down an acre of rainforest, plant grass, raise a cow, kill and ‘process’ it,… Read more

I’m still ‘cruising’ or ‘coasting’ (terms denoting when one’s mood is lifted about 3 points on a 1-10 scale following a short retreat or vacation) from my weekend in Bozeman.Matthew is as impressive and energetic as ever, demanding that we deal with issues in our lives that make our time on the mat (meditating) difficult. Mostly he means dealing with things in our past that keep coming up: resentment, grief, and incompletions. Some people found his intensity difficult, but others… Read more

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