So tonight I'm doing to press some email into service as
most of a log entry, because I think it'd made a not-bad one.
I wrote recently to a friend:
I'm reading "The
Eight Gates of Zen";
it's a fun read, but the whole "eight gates and ten
stages" stuff seems sort
of (what?) overly conceptual without acknowledging
the paradoxes much.
Which is I guess my feeling about Loori in general;
Zen isn't that
straightforward, darn it! *8)
("The Eight Gates of Zen" is John Daido Loori Roshi's book
about the course of training at Zen Mountain Monastery, and
it talks about the eight different kinds of practice that
they do there, and the ten stages through which students
pass on the way from starting out to being a master and
all, and I found it, well, as I said awfully conceptual
and (unintentionally?) funny.)
My friend replied that I should look up "Buji Zen" in the
glossary of that book, and I did, and I wrote this extensive
"Buji Zen: Free-styled, non-conformist attitude toward Zen
training that arises out of an intellectual misunderstanding
of Zen practice and enlightenment."
That's wonderful! I proudly embrace my Bujiness. *8)
I am strongly reminded of the whole Watts v. Kapleau, Dharma Bums
v. "aching legs", battle-of-the-footnotes thing. Very endearing all around!
For me the heart of Zen is the meme that the universe (THIS) is far more
than anything we could ever capture in words, and that (keeping that first
phrase in mind) we are all of us perfect as we are, whatever we do is the
Buddha's practice, wherever we are is the Pure Land. Closely wrapped
around that heart is zazen, the thing that we do to most immediately remind
ourselves of that, by experiencing THIS as directly as we can. (We do it
sitting, because that works and that's what we're used to, but we also
acknowledge standing Zen, eating Zen, typing Zen.)
And that's it. From that basic heart there are all sorts of things you can do.
The Eight Gates and Ten Stages and Monastic Life thing is one thing that
you can do. It's a sort of elaborate (and I'm sure sometimes quite effective)
psychotherapy, aimed at mindfulness, not being mastered by one's habits
and emotions, and all that sort of thing. The whole Crazy Logic, up in the
mountains dancing naked with the birds and bursting into the zendo to
throw strawberries at roshi is another thing you can do, and that's all good
But at least for me a key part of all this is that none of the stuff that you do
once you've got the basic meme (or even if you don't!) is required or correct
or 'misunderstanding' relative to that meme. There isn't anything that you
'should' do, since you're perfect aready, you're enlightened already. You're
enlightened if only you could realize it, but you're also enlightened even if
you *don't* realize it.
So when Loori writes, as he does somewhere in the Gates book, that we
are all perfect as we are, and therefore "we should..." something or other,
he's clearly neck-deep in paradox; a perfect being has no "should" in any
ordinary sense. Should in order to what? To make himself better, or more
in accord with the dharma? Clearly not!
Not that all these mistakes aren't wonderful. *8) But I still enjoy teasing at
them as mistakes. My own favorite reaction to the meme is to say that yes,
marvelous, the monastery is a great place, the liturgy should be followed,
the buddha-nature is here. But the Buji-folk are no less great, no less in
accord with the dharma, no less accurately expressing their own unique
buddha nature. We need both (all) of these things, whichever way the
pendulum happens to be swinging any given decade.
Why do people always have to disapprove of each other? Of course I
shouldn't disapprove of the disapproval, either! Or of my own disapproval
of the disapproval. Or... Mu! *8)
This is something I'd love to ask Daido-roshi about and see what he says.
If I could express the thought clearly enough to be comprehensible. Of
course he might well say "that's quite correct; there's no point in your ever
coming back here then". That would at least be interesting! I don't recall
seeing anything along those lines in his writing so far.
(See, of course, December.)
And then, synchronicityfully enough, I just happened to pull an
old copy of Camden Benares' "Zen Without Zen Masters" from deep
in some teetering pile of books, and within seconds of opening
it I was full of the familiar old spirit of Buji Zen, and this
cloud of blues (which I've been distressed and
fascinated by for a little while now, but I guess haven't
really mentioned in the weblog because it's hard to
say anything sensible about from this perspective) vanished like the
Nice universe you've got here!
And that got me googling around and reading about the original
Discordians and Camden Benares and all them.
This led me to
(memories and a memorial to Camden Benares, who may no longer
be wandering around as such, which is sort of too bad),
and to this
person in general (who among other things uses the word
which is great), and finally (thread convergence) to
National Anthem in Yiddish
Everything is indeed circular!
Oh, and from roughly the same place we
about some more and stumble across
the First Edition
of the Principia Discordia.
Some life soon, I definitely want to be a Flower Child, a
disciple of Alan Watts in his prime, a Dharma Bum, an
early Discordian, a hardcore SF fan, a prankster,
and like that.
In the meantime I'm just glad some other people are
(were, will be).
Buji on down! *8)
Well, so, let's see.
I read the scotus decision in Marshall v. Marshall
(the latest Anna Nicole Smith case), on the theory that
any case this steamy must be worth reading about and oooooooh
I can highly recommend it as a sleep aid.
It's all about exactly how broad the "probate exception" to
the usual pattern of Federal jurisdiction is, and it
doesn't mention exotic dancing even once.
I still intend to read Stevens' concurrence, though, just
for completeness. If I can keep my eyes open.
Stumbling around in some of the dustier recesses of my mind, I came
across the phrase "The Darkness on Diamondia", which turns out to be
the title of an A E Van Vogt novel.
My memory of it has a fascinating and indescribable feel to it;
I must have read it, or intended to read it, or something, at a
pretty interesting time in my life.
Similar (but not identical to) the feel of my memory of
"A Wrinkle in Time", although that's a book that I actually
remember, and that I've read and reread over the years; whereas
I don't recall and may never have actually read "The Darkness
Its title just has this wild memory-flavor.
I like wild memory-flavors.
Apropos of nothing:
if you want to get rich, it's not enough merely to be determined. You
have to be smart too, right? I'd like to think so, but I've had an
experience that convinced me otherwise: I spent several years living
in New York.
Philosophical Theory o' the Day:
This theory (or class of theories) holds that there are
nonexistent and impossible things.
Not that nonexistent or impossible things exist,
but that even though they don't exist they are.
Whatever that might mean.
Thinking about this kind of stuff too much tends to lead
to whimsical paper writing:
is an exercise in hunter-gatherer ontology. More precisely, the
region of space and of spatial objects will be adopted as a happy
hunting ground for the purposes of Meinongian metaphysics.
Meinong, notoriously, struggled against the prejudice in
favour of the actual and fought on behalf of the ontological
rights of incomplete, impossible, and indeterminate objects.
A parallel struggle, as we shall see, can be waged in the
domain of spatial objects. Meinong's ideas can in this way
be seen to have relevance for studies of the philosophical
foundations of the theories of land-surveying and of international law.
(I highly recommend Figures One and Two in the above-cited
goin' straight to hell, well above the speed limit
Lesser Path and Greater Path are Buddhist in origin?
Wild! I knew them as D&D paradigms, with the latter
as the usual boring Magic Users and the former as the
folks who understood (and used) the dangerous underpinning
of magic. Rather like Engineers and Physicists. Remind me
to talk to you about it some time.
The time derivative of your location. That's so derivative!
Ongoing! Ongoing! Ongoing! Ongoing lovers embracing by
an ongoing fountain! Ongoing! An ongoing soft warm sponge
with ongoing fragrant oils! Ongoing!!!
I guess that payload-less "spam" messages are people testing
their newly acquired spam tools
Oh, not Dave Eggers, please
Today's Google Quote of the Day is: "Information is
temporarily unavailable." How true!
All sorts of political and religious baggage around "Lesser Path"
and "Greater Path" (and/or "Vehicle") in Buddhism, whether it's
ever polite to say "Hinayana" even if you aren't suggesting that
it's a synonym for "Theravada", etc.
Looking it all up is left as an exercise for the reader.
Engineers and physicists, though: that's funny!
On the payloadless spam, I suspect that's about right.
In a funny coincidence just the other day I got another
instance of exactly the same payloadless form-spam that
I commented on back in March, except this time it had
embedded in it a single link to some stupid commercial site
trying to sell me something.
So maybe this is Phase Two of the test?
Funny that it had exactly the same oddly-phrased message,
since that'd make it hard to do targetted googling for.
But then if these people were bright they wouldn't be
spammers I guess.
I think I read something by Dave Eggers once, and I have
a vague memory that it was annoying.
But I could be wrong.
(Information is temporarily unavailable! Labia?)
Amanece, lo veis?, a la luz de la aurora?
lo que tanto aclamamos la noche al caer?
sus estrellas sus franjas
en el fiero combate
en señal de victoria,
fulgor de lucha, al paso de la libertad.
Por la noche decían:
"Se va defendiendo!"
Oh decid! Despliega aún
Su hermosura estrellada
sobre tierra de libres,
la bandera sagrada?
I gotta admit I completely don't understand the whole broo-ha-ha
about this Spanish version of
"The Star-Spangled Banner".
I mean yeah, I'm not actually all that crazy about this
particular translation or this particular cover, but
if I were the United States of America, I'd think
"cool, a Spanish version of the National Anthem!".
And I'd hope there'd be a Latvian version, and a French
version, and an Urdu version, and a Latin version,
and a Klingon version, and remixes of all of the above
in reggae, blues, banjo, steel-drum, and waltz styles.
The more the merrier!
That's, like, what the country's all about.
But even in just googling briefly around for the lyrics and
the mp3 after hearing Our President's whiny little
"well, I think everyone should only sing the national
anthem the way that I sing it" on the news, I came across
what appear to be vast reams of right-wing Shock and
Horror, nasty mean-spirited attacks on the people who
did it, and general predictions of the End of Civilization
This Time For Sure.
Some people are just So Insecure!
Aside from that, we'll pass along three links from
the mysterious HTML o' the Day, and then
dash back to the mysterious Real World.
That's it! Sleep soundly, and dream about vegetation.
Well, w00t! DiskWarrior seems to have fixed the corrupted
directory structures, recovered more of the vanished files
than I'd expected it to, and made fsck all happy again.
I also found a
program that makes it easy to suck music files off of the
iPod back onto the iBook, and used it to get back some of
the most inconvenient of the files that DiskWarrior didn't
The little daughter and I also both re-ripped a couple
of CDs, and I think she actually re-bought a track or
two from the iTunes store.
And everything seems to be all better!
(We even have a few hundred MB of free space that
we didn't have before.)
So that's nice.
Weekly World News headline o' the week:
"Amusement park owner builds world's first emotional roller coaster!"
(I just thought that was funny, and since I was recycling
the WWN that it was in I thought I'd stick it here in
the weblog for safe keeping.)
A reader asks "Do you use MATLAB?" (probably wrt the MATLAB
virus that I logged last weekish).
Nope, I don't.
I think I may have once, sometime back in the mists
of time, but I don't now.
I may even never have.
Subject: full sheet of ice, but that didn't
Subject: regeneration snuggle
So we've whined at least
once before here
before about how complex Europe is, with
countries that are subsets of each other, and that
all have the same names (or one country with multiple
different ones), and like that.
Our latest datapoint on the subject comes from following
the referer log to
testing range dot com,
and thence to
page, which describes (inter alia) some
pieces of the Netherlands (or "Holland", where the "Dutch" live),
which are entirely surrounded by parts of Belgium (the country that
Flanders is in), which are in turn entirely
surrounded by the Netherlands!
As each house is deemed to pay taxes in the
country where its front door is located, it
is an old tradition in Baarle to move the
front door some meters if that is profitable
for the taxes, especially for shops.
Especially for shops.
It's time for another round of Pangrammatize the spammer!
This time I'll use spamtext I received myself rather than
one of yours. I was rather fond of this sentence:
"The woman had cut off his foot with an axe and his
thumb with an electric knife, and here she was with
a pile of caviar big enough to choke a warthog."
But it's missing j, q, y, and z. Therefore, I propose:
"The woman had cut off his foot with an axe and his
thumb with a quirky jigsaw, and here she was with a
pile of caviar big enough to choke a zebra."
And that's the way it is.