‹ tired, since 1985

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Jun 20, 2021

Finished reading: The Factory by Hiroko Oyamada 📚

Jun 13, 2021

Finished reading: The Changeling by Kenzaburo Ōe 📚

According to Fukuzawa, virtually every word that’s used to describe people can be a two-sided coin. For example, depending on your tone, frugal can mean admirably thrifty or despicably stingy, while rough and ready could imply either courageousness or bellicosity. The exception, he says, is enbo.

No matter how you look at it, enbo is a complete waste of time; time; there’s no way you can put a positive spin on envy, bitterness, and resentment, or turn those emotions into positive human traits. I’ve read a few Kenzaburo Oe books, most recently “Death by Water”, and was aware of the “Kogito” character loosely resembling the author himself.

Lately I’ve been into the films of director/writer Juzo Itami. He has a tragic backstory due to writing and directing a satire “Minbo” about the Yakuza which led to him being attacked and hospitalized by the Yakuza (his hospital stay inspired his next film “The Last Dance”) and later jumping to his death.

As I was reading “The Changeling” I couldn’t help but find the “Goro” character very familiar to Juzo, “could it be?,” I thought… This led to a quick Wikipedia search on the book itself and lo and behold:

Goro Hanawa (塙 吾良, Hanawa Gorō) - A legendary filmmaker who commits suicide. He is Kogito’s brother-in-law and best friend Goro is based on Juzo Itami, who was Ōe’s brother in law. Talk about worlds colliding! This made the book even more interesting as it became a fantastical sort of biography on both the author and Juzo.

Talk about worlds colliding! This made the book even more interesting as it became a fantastical sort of biography on both the author and Juzo.

May 16, 2021

Finished reading: No longer human by Osamu Dazai 📚

Society. I felt as though even I were beginning at last to acquire some vague notion of what it meant. It is the struggle between one individual and another, a then-and-there struggle, in which the immediate triumph is everything. Human beings never submit to human beings. Even slaves practice their mean retaliations.

Human beings cannot conceive of any means of survival except in terms of a single then-and-there contest. They speak of duty to one’s country and suchlike things, but the object of their efforts is invariably the individual, and, even once the individual’s needs have been met, again the individual comes in. The incomprehensibility of society is the incomprehensibility of the individual.

May 06, 2021

Finished reading: The Bodhicaryavatara: A Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life: The 8th Century classic in 21st Century language by Santideva 📚

A person who is completely blinded by illusion and believes it to be reality is in a very difficult position. Without the perspective that is gained from stepping outside of the illusion and seeing it in a detached way they will remain in the cycle of suffering.

Apr 26, 2021

Finished reading: The Zen Teachings of Bodhidharma by Red Pine 📚

Those who worship don’t know, and those who know don’t worship.

Apr 08, 2021

Finished reading: Dreaming in Code: Two Dozen Programmers, Three Years, 4,732 Bugs, and One Quest for Transcendent Software by Rosenberg, Scott 📚

Software is a heap of trouble. And yet we can’t, and won’t, simply power down our computers and walk away. The software that frustrates and hogties us also captivates us with new capabilities and enthralls us with promises of faster, better ways to work and live. There’s no going back. We need the stuff more than we hate it.

Mar 09, 2021

Finished reading: Wherever You Go, There You Are by Kabat-Zinn, Jon 📚

I often get these Walden ideas of retreating into the forest for extended periods of time, then I read the following sentence in the section titled “Parenting as Practice”…

For each child, it would be at least an eighteen-year retreat, with virtually no time off for good behavior.

Feb 09, 2021

Currently reading: Walden by Henry David Thoreau 📚

Shams and delusions are esteemed for soundest truths, while reality is fabulous. If men would steadily observe realities only, and not allow themselves to be deluded, life, to compare it with such things as we know, would be like a fairy tale and the Arabian Nights' Entertainments. If we respected only what is inevitable and has a right to be, music and poetry would resound along the streets. When we are unhurried and wise, we perceive the only great and worthy things have any permanent and absolute existence—that petty fears and petty pleasures are but the shadow of the reality.

Feb 05, 2021

Finished reading: The Way of Zen by Alan Watts 📚

There’s a concise history of sorts in this book about Zen Buddhism and its evolution from Taoism and Confucianism as well as the roots of it from India.

However, I basically ended up skipping most of the first section. The meat of this book resides under “Part Two: Principles and Practice,” particularly sections (or chapters) 1 & 2 titled “Empty and Marvelous” and “Sitting. Quietly, Doing Nothing” respectively.

A few highlights:

Presence! This is something that definitely awakens once you have a kid.

On the contrary, the measuring of worth and success in terms of time, and the insistent demand for assurances of a future, make it impossible to live freely both in the promising present and in the “promising” future when it arrives. For there is never anything but the present, and if one cannot live there, one can- not live anywhere.

I like this idea of not clinging to the past, not dwelling on the future (you’ll never know it) but to keep moving…

The identification of the mind with its own image is, therefore, paralyzing because the image is fixed-it is past and finished. But it is a fixed image of oneself in motion! To cling to it is thus to be in constant contradiction and conflict. Hence Yün-men’s saying, “In walking, just walk. In sitting, just sit. Above all, don’t wobble.” In other words, the mind cannot act without giving up the impossible attempt to control itself beyond a certain point. It must let go of itself both in the sense of trusting its own memory and reflection, and in the sense of acting spontaneously, on its own into the unknown.

This is why Zen often seems to take the side of action as against reflection, and why it describes itself as “no-mind” (wu-hsin) or “no-thought” (wu-nien), and why the masters demonstrate Zen by giving instantaneous and unpremeditated answers to questions. When Yün-men was asked for the ultimate secret of Buddhism, he replied, “Dumpling!”

In regards to meditation, the West often has a hard time to just sit. It’s seen as a “waste of time.” We can also see in other religions (note: Buddhism isn’t a religion) that it is to always just be in action. However we should stop and consider…

It should be obvious that action without wisdom, without clear awareness of the world as it really is, can never improve anything.

Jan 28, 2021
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