Monday, November 01, 2004

bonne post-Fête des Morts,
et Joyeux Toussaint!

Happy post-Halloween and Happy All Saints' Day. We've shifted abruptly from hell to heaven, so let's commemorate the shift with some linkage.

It's Jeff's blogiversary. Congrats on hitting the one-year mark, dude.

Want to see someone being assaulted by an angry mollusc? Cosmic Buddha has the pic.

Pubic hair: sexy or disgusting? Daehee deals with this pressing question here. Take heart, man: some us in our mid-thirties are still wondering what the answer is.

(The title of Daehee's post reminds me that my book is currently on sale at Amazon. Go buy it for cheap.)

Lost Nomad notes that foreign envoys don't want South Korea to move its capital.

America-obsessed Stavros urges Americans to vote and do the right thing by voting for "The Other Guy," as he puts it.

Meanwhile, Jeff at Beautiful Atrocities links to an Iraqi who's also urging Americans to do the right thing by voting for Bush.

The ImpQueen and Lorianne are both talking about about the NaNoWriMo-- National Novel-writing Month. Julie and Lorianne, if you don't know each other yet, I think you should get acquainted.

Excellent post by Dr. Vallicella that begins with tombstone epitaphs and ends with a profound question: Does impermanence entail relative unreality? My quick answer is: from the Buddhist perspective, it depends on whether your approach is Indian Buddhist or Chinese Buddhist. The Indian approach would offer a yes, I think, while the Chinese approach would recoil with a horrified NO! East Asian Buddhism, as a whole, would probably agree with the Chinese perspective: impermanence has nothing to do with unreality. (My Buddhist readers should feel free to write in with comments and disagreements.)

The Chinese Buddhist term for enlightenment is very telling on this point: it's seong-do, or "attaining the Tao." This throws into question the dichotomy Dr. Vallicella sets up: Should we take the side of the worldling and view impermanence as a reason to enter into this life more appreciatively and to live it more fully, without hope for anything beyond it, or should we take the fact of impermanence as a reason to seek salvation from this world? The Mahayana answer, which actually originated in India but was seized upon by the world-affirming Chinese, is that nirvana is samsara. Enlightenment is no more and no less than living fully in this moment, finding perfection in right-now and just-this.

Andi offers another fantastic report of her travels, this time from Sarnath, where the Buddha gave his Sermon in the Deer Park and expounded on the Four Noble Truths (sa-seong-jae in Sino-Korean, or "four holy truths"). Andi could probably make big money writing for a travel magazine. I always enjoy her posts.

KBJ offers some sober (i.e., it's not the usual rabidly partisan cant that paints all liberals with an overly wide brush) thoughts on the upcoming election. He also offers his thoughts on bin Laden's video here.

People are spinning the video in two major ways. Conservatives are convinced that the video's release is great timing: scared Americans will be reminded that we're at war and that Bush is more likely to take the war seriously, unlike Kerry the Great Equivocator. Liberals, on the other hand, are saying the video is proof that Bush isn't delivering: Osama started out as a major concern, then Bush was dismissive of him, and now we're back to treating him (Osama) with concern again. How well can Bush be said to have defended the country if our (formerly?) Number One target keeps eluding us?

Which spin you believe will be determined by what your political alignment is, much like the election predictions people are making. Many liberals seem convinced that Kerry's going to win. Many conservatives seem convinced it'll be Four More Years. Partisan bias is clouding people's perspectives, so take it from a more or less neutral observer: I think Bush is going to win by a small margin because that's the predominant mood of the American people. I think Kerryites are being unrealistic, and have been for months. Instead of paying attention to facts, they've been paying attention to their own hopes.

That said, I won't take any delight in a Bush win. I do think Bush takes the terrorist threat far more seriously than Kerry seems able to, but I fear that Bush is going to embroil us, in the next year or two, in a conflict-- possibly a war-- with Iran. I also agree that Bush has trouble grasping details in both foreign and domestic policy. On top of this, I believe Bush's presence allows some unhealthy strains of thought more air time in the realm of public discourse (e.g., flag-burning amendment, gay marriage, religious right's agenda, etc.). It's going to be a rocky four years no matter who's in office.

Arn offers us a newly retooled blog and the possibility of an unpalatable view. Up his ass. No, don't ask me-- just read the post.

Annika gets historical in this great entry.

And in the place of honor as Final Mention: the Maximum Leader's post on Dracula. It seems that, while the rest of us geeky preteens were reading Star Wars novelizations and flipping through porn mags, Mike was busy being freaked out by the prose of Bram Stoker.

Off to take that crucial afternoon nap.


No comments: