Friday, September 11, 2015

odds and ends

I finished Eat Sleep Sit: My Year at Japan's Most Rigorous Zen Temple on my labor day camping trip. I don't have too many thoughts about a book at the end, that's why I review as I'm reading it. It's a good book and if I won the lottery I'd go to Joshua Tree with Anandi and see where she grew up and then maybe fly to Japan and do a retreat at Eiheiji. But I'll forget my interest in that probably in a few years, we'll see.

I had my kindle along with me as the backup for books on the trip and read Mind in Harmony: The Psychology of Buddhist Ethics. I've been savoring that book for quite a while.

When I got home I started in on Moonlight Leaning Against an Old Rail Fence: Approaching the Dharma as Poetry. It's a Zen book with poetry and exposition. It's like Milan Kundera, who writes a novel with a metaphor, and then he goes on an on to interpret the metaphor in his own novel. It also reminded me of two Zen people who seemed to love stories and wrote profoundly interesting books about with stories.

I've been dipping into Time to Stand Up: An Engaged Buddhist Manifesto for Our Earth -- The Buddha's Life and Message through Feminine Eyes (Sacred Activism). This is the antidote to political apathy. I have political apathy. I must say I sometimes think that the 47% who think the way they do, we can't have a society that tries to do something right, because so many people are not in favor of the government doing things. They pollute government with their self fulfilling prophesy, and run so that they won't do things, and yet ironically often do quite a lot and like Reagan raise taxes. For every example that proves the conservative viewpoint, there's a counter example. One man's modus ponens is another man's modus tollens.  There is very little real dialogue about politics, and I'm not sure if there is much changing of opinions. Isn't Bernie Sanders lauded for the fortitude of sticking to his position. A political philosophy is an assumption, not to be proven. A political pragmatist utilitarianism still has a political view about the greatest good. There's no consensus on what the greatest good is. For the Democrat it's high speed rail. For the Republican it could be high speed rail of there's no government involved. I happen to share the viewpoint of Thanissara, so the book just says quite well, what I already think. I just wonder if the more my 47% stand up, if the more the other side's 47% stand up to neutralize it, and prove that government doesn't work. The wild west mentality still exists here in America.

But sometimes there comes a hero. Longmire has been saved by Netflix. I love the way Longmire crumples of legal papers and yet tries to work within the law with integrity. He's not easily swayed, and he pays deep attention. He's a man of action who utilizes all his brains. The book is set in Wyoming, but the show is set near Santa Fe, which I dearly love. I watch shows on Netflix sometimes just for the scenery. This show came sometimes drag, but there are high points, and character development. A hero in the postmodern world of antihero.

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