Category Archives: Religion

The Elephant (象)

I will bear criticism like an elephant in battle bears an arrow from a bow. Most people are bad behaviour. (戦場の象が、射られた矢にあたっても堪え忍ぶように、われらはひとのそしりを忍ぼう。多くの人は実に性質(たち)が悪いからである。)

One can take a trained elephant even into a crowd. The king himself will ride a trained elephant. He who is disciplined is the best of men, since he can bear criticism. (馴らされた象は、戦場にも連れて行かれ、王の乗りものとなる。世のそしりを忍び、自らをおさめた者は、人々の中にあっても最上の者である。)

Trained mules are excellent, and so are thoroughbred horses from the Sindh, and so are great battle elephants, but more excellent than them all is a disciplined man. (馴らされた騾馬は良い。インダス河のほとりの血統よき馬も良い。クンジャラという名の大きな象も良い。しかし自己をととのえた人はそれらよりもすぐれている。)

There is no reaching the unattainable with mounts like these, but with himself well under control a disciplined man can get there. (何となれば、これらの乗物によっては未到の地(ニルヴァーナ)に行くことはできない。そこへは、慎しみある人が、おのれ自らをよくととのえておもむく。)

Dhammapalo, the elephant, is hard to control in rut. Even when tied up, he refuses his food. The great tusker is thinking of the elephant forest. (「財を守る者」という名の象は、発情期にこめかみから液汁をしたたらせて強暴になっているときは、いかんとも制し難い。捕らえられると、一口の食物も食べない。象は象の林を慕っている。)

Then a man is a lie-abed and over-eats, a lazy person who wallows in sleep like a great over-fed hog, a fool like that will be reborn time after time. (大食いをして、眠りをこのみ、ころげまわって寝て、まどろんでいる愚鈍な人は、大きな豚のように糧を食べて肥り、くりかえし母胎に入って(迷いの生存をつづける)。)

My mind used formerly to go off wandering wherever it felt like, following its own inclination, but today I shall control it carefully, like a mahout does a rutting elephant. (この心は、以前には、望むがままに、欲するがままに、快きがままに、さすらっていた。今やわたくしはその心をすっかり抑制しよう、___象使いが鉤をもって、発情期に狂う象を全くおさえつけるように。)

Take pleasure in being careful. Guard your mind well. Extricate yourself from the mire, like a great tusker sunk in the mud. (つとめはげむのを楽しめ。おのれの心を護れ。自己を難処から救い出せ。___泥沼に落ち込んだ象のように。)

If you find an intelligent companion, a wise and well-behaved person going the same way as yourself, then go along with him, overcoming all dangers, pleased at heart and mindful. (もしも思慮深く聡明でまじめな生活をしている人を伴侶として共に歩むことができるならば、あらゆる危険困難に打ち克って、こころ喜び、念いをおちつけて、ともに歩め。)

But if you do not find an intelligent companion, a wise and well-behaved person going the same way as yourself, then go on your way alone, like a king abandoning a conquered kingdom, or like a great elephant in the deep forest. (しかし、もしも思慮深く聡明でまじめな生活をしている人を伴侶として共に歩むことができないならば、国を捨てた国王のように、また林の中の象のように、ひとり歩め。)

It is better to travel alone. There is no companionship with a fool. Go on your way alone and commit no evil, without cares like a great elephant in the deep forest. (愚かな者を道伴れとするな。独りで行くほうがよい。孤独(ひとり)で歩め。悪いことをするな。求めるところは少なくあれ。___林の中にいる象のように。)

It is good to have companions when occasion arises, and it is good to be contented with whatever comes. Merit is good at the close of life, and the elimination of all suffering is good. (事がおこったときに、友だちのあるのは楽しい。(大きかろうとも、小さかろうとも)、どんなことにでも満足するのは楽しい。善いことをしておけば、命の終るときに楽しい。(悪いことをしなかったので)、あらゆる苦しみ(の報い)を除くことは楽しい。)

Good is filial devotion to one’s mother in the world, and devotion to one’s father is good. It is good to be a sanyasi in the world and to be a brahmin too. (世に母を敬うことは楽しい。また父を敬うことは楽しい。世に修行者を敬うことは楽しい。世にバラモンを敬うことは楽しい。)

Good is good behaviour up to old age, good is firmly established faith, good is the acquisition of understanding, and abstention from evil is good. (老いた日に至るまで戒しめをたもつことは楽しい。信仰が確立していることは楽しい。明らかな知慧を体得することは楽しい。もろもろの悪事をなさないことは楽しい。)

English translation by John Richards.
Japanese translation by 中村元 (NAKAMURA Hajime)

On god and gods

Therefore, God and the gods are only convenient means–themselves of the nature of the world of names and form, though eloquent of, and ultimately conducive to, the ineffable. They are mere symbols to move and awaken the mind, and to call it past themselves. This recognition of the secondary nature of the personality of whatever deity is worshiped is characteristic of most of the traditions of the world. In Christianity, Mohammedanism, and Judaism, however, the personality of the divinity is taught to be final–which makes it comparatively difficult for the members of these communions to understand how one may go beyond the limitations of their own anthropomorphic divinity. The result has been, on the one hand, a general obfuscation of the symbols, and on the other, a god-ridden bigotry such as is unmatched elsewhere in the history of religion. For a discussion of the possible origin of this aberration, see Sigmund Freud, Moses and Monotheism (translated by James Strachey; Standard Edn. XXIII, 1964).

Joseph Campbell, The Hero With a Thousand Faces, Fontana Press, 1993; pg. 258

On the topic of ‘mondou’

In Zen buddhism we are often in contact with the mondous (read as mondo, with a long ending o). A mondou is a Japanese word standing for a dialogue, or rather a rapid-fire question and anwer session, that tries to push the student closer to enlightenment (nirvana, 涅槃 – nehan). Mondou in kanji is 問答 (もんどう). One can easily see mon () from problem/question and kotae (), read in this case as dou, which is solution/answer.

Fear is the mind-killer

This quote from Frank Herbert’s Dune is a litany against fear from the Bene Gesserit. I find the litany quite a good way to deal with the unexpected things in life. People so easily succumb to fear, whereas the human mind can conquer a lot of issues encountered in life and the universe.

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past, I will turn the inner eye to see it’s path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.”

After the pebble has hit the pond, the water is calm again

Found the below tidbit on a site with regard to disturbing postings to a buddhist forum:

“It can be difficult enough to pursue the Dharma with diligence without outside interference, let alone the constant harping of those who may have another agenda, spiritual or otherwise, and/or excessive amounts of unsolicited spam hawking a continuous barrage of lower mortgage rates, enlarging certain body parts, and viewing live cam shots of a variety of body orifices left unnamed.”

I found it aptly worded and definitely funny… :)

A beautiful rendition of a Zen nun:

Coriolis winds blowing over Dune….

I reread Frank Herbert’s Dune recently. Things are so much clearer once you know more about Islam and the Qu’ran and some of the rituals there as well as Zen Buddhism and other topics such as Christianity and the Kaballah.
Magnificent book to be honest, he manages to drag you into the story and totally washes over you with a imaginary, yet possible future of mankind.

Dune Messiah is a most bizarre follow-up tale. Hard to describe what you read in those meager 200 pages, but they nonetheless make a tremendous impact. Amazing, just amazing.

The Butlerian Jihad was quite an interesting read by Brian Herbert, Frank’s son, to learn about the events that lead to the extermination of the thinking machines, the rise of the sorceresses, the Tleilaxu, Zensunnis and Zenshi’ites.

Now reading Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code.

Thank you

As I put on my poems page:

Thank you,
mom and dad,
for putting me on this world, hard as it was…
Thank you,
all the loving people in my life,
for you have guided me in my first steps…
Thank you,
all the people in the early stages of my life,
for showing me how the apparent strong have to pick on the seemingly weak…
Thank you,
all the people in the school-going phase of my life,
for being enemies, even though I had no idea of any crime committed…
Thank you,
all the people in my working experience,
for showing how simple values seemingly have to make way for money and power…
Thank you,
dearest of friends,
whom I consider my refuge and guardian angels when I need to exhale…
Thank you,
nature,
for being the ever-present pool of water in which to reflect…
Thank you,
universe,
for the realisation that I am but a small part of a bigger thing…
Thank you,
race of Buddhas,
for showing me the Eightfold Path,
the Four Noble Truths,
and the miracle of compassion and ‘the blowing out’ of the ego…
Namu Amida butsu…

Butterflies & Hurricanes

Well, thankfully it is a weekend again. I find I need more and more time to get back on energetic levels. Guess getting up every morning at 06:30 is asking a bit too much of my body. Darn that glandular fever (Pfeiffer) that I once suffered from. It never leaves your body.

Oh well, at least the good news is that I found out the appartment I was interested in, about two-three weeks ago, in Schiedam is now available again. Guess the financial stuff didn’t work out for the people who intended to buy it. Going to see it on monday. Yay!

Bought a bunch of books, amongst which: Classics of Buddhism and Zen – Volume One, Linkers and Loaders, Optimizing Compilers for Modern Architectures, Engineering a Compiler, C.S. Lewis’ first two Narnia books (The Magician’s Nephew and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe), Frank Herbert’s Dune (wanted to reread it again), Oliver Twist, Moby Dick, Poe’s Spirits of the Dead, Michael Moore’s Stupid White Men and Dude Where’s my Country?, and Asimov’s I, Robot and Caves of Steel.

Been coding a lot lately. Expanded the r9 bot with some modules for RDF fetching, bugzilla bug fetching. Next is notifications.