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TOPIC: Kenneth's notes

Kenneth's notes 30 Oct 2015 11:19 #100937

I am not the voice that says "I".
I am not these sensations.
I am not these feelings.
I am not these thoughts.
I am not this.
I am not that.
I am not here.
I am not there.
None of this is mine.
This is happening.
I am not in this picture.
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Kenneth's notes 31 Oct 2015 12:01 #100950

If I can respectfully ask, do you still find that there is a happiness beyond circumstances? (in light of that we are well and truly F***d)
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Kenneth's notes 31 Oct 2015 12:50 #100952

Kacchapa wrote:
If I can respectfully ask, do you still find that there is a happiness beyond circumstances? (in light of that we are well and truly F***d)

The idea of a happiness (or OKness) independent of conditions is not entirely without merit. But talking about it is confusing. It's possible to access a lens from which the question of happiness is a non-issue. But unless we insist that all other lenses are invalid, we'd have to admit that access to the lens in question is impermanent and dependent on conditions.
Last Edit: 31 Oct 2015 16:13 by Kenneth Folk. Reason: typo
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Kenneth's notes 02 Nov 2015 14:19 #100992

Today's reading:

Discours de la méthode pour bien conduire sa raison, et chercher la vérité dans les sciences (Discourse on the Method of Rightly Conducting One's Reason and of Seeking Truth in the Sciences) par René Descartes

Other than the jaw-dropping genius and elegant simplicity of Descartes' thought, what jumps out while reading his work in the original language is how much the French of 1637 looks like the French of our own time. Compare this to the changes in English over the same period. Shakespeare's King Lear, for example, was written in 1606, and the 400 intervening years have seen the language change so much that it's barely recognizable to us as English. The consistency of the French language over this same time is due to the efforts of the Académie française (French Academy), first established in 1635 for the very purpose of standardizing and purifying the French tongue. I must say, they have done a remarkable job, since Discours de la méthode, judging by the language alone, looks like it could have been written yesterday.

Heidis Frühstück - a detective story for German language learners by André Klein

This is the fifth book in a five-book series of detective stories for German language learners. I've read the first four, and I'm bummed that there aren't any more after this one. So much fun. This one starts when a human ear is found in a can of dogfood. Heidi is the dog that finds it, and the title translates into English as "Heidi's Breakfast."
Last Edit: 02 Nov 2015 16:17 by Kenneth Folk.
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Kenneth's notes 03 Nov 2015 18:22 #101005

Here's how I learn to read languages:

I'm reading a detective novel in German on the ebook reader on my tablet. But I'm new to German. How to start?

First, I highlight a word or a block of text. For example...

„In anderen Worten, jemand hat Wertensen Betäubt, sein Ohr abgeschnitten und in den Baggersee geworfen“, fragte Katharina.

Then I tap on the highlighted text. The translate box pops up automatically and shows me the German to English translation, which is...

"In other words, someone drugged Wertensen, cut off his ear, and then threw him in the quarry pond?" asked Catherine.

This is already a language learner's dream. But it gets better. If I set the translator to "German to German," it shows me the original German text. But it also offers a little speaker icon. If I tap on it, it will say the passage aloud in surprisingly natural sounding German.

And here is where it gets really good: I set the translator to "German to Spanish," hit the speaker icon, and read this while it's simultaneously being spoken in perfectly pronounced Mexican Spanish:

"En otras palabras, alguien ha drogado Wertensen, cortó oreja y lanzado en el lago", le preguntó a Catherine.

This translation is not perfect, but pretty darn close, and easily close enough to get the sense of what's going on.

Next, I set the translator to "German to French" and read and hear this in beautifully spoken Parisian French:

« En d'autres termes, une personne a drogué Wertensen, coupé son oreille et jeté dans le lac », a demandé à Catherine.

I do the same for Portuguese, Italian, and Russian. There are nine other languages available on the translator including Chinese, Japanese, and Hindi along with several European languages, but I'm not studying them yet.

I believe this ability to listen to a new language being pronounced while you are learning to read it is hugely important because we will always hear something inside our heads as we are learning to read, and if we get in the habit of subvocalizing the words wrong (usually attempting to use the sounds of our native language), we will be unable to speak or understand native speakers should we ever decide to learn those skills in the future. And even though my interest is by far tilted towards reading rather than speaking or listening or writing second languages, I still need to hear it as I'm reading in order to get the feel of it.

Some of the languages I'm interested in, e.g., Latin, Pali, Romanian, and Sanskrit, aren't yet available on my ebook reader translator, but I won't be surprised if they show up soon. Meanwhile, it's already an embarrassment of riches.
Last Edit: 03 Nov 2015 18:28 by Kenneth Folk.
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Kenneth's notes 29 Dec 2015 12:48 #101865

Am I this body?

Am I these body sensations, sights, sounds, smells, tastes?

Am I these emotions?

Am I these thoughts?

Am I the one who knows these sensations, emotions, and thoughts?

Am I a disembodied field of awareness?

Each of these questions, when carefully and patiently engaged, yields the same result:

"Nah. Doesn't seem like it."

The belief that there is, was, could be, or should be an "I" doesn't get any traction from this point of view. From here, it follows that there is no need to get rid of the "I", in the same way that people who don't believe in demons have no need for exorcism.
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Kenneth's notes 29 Dec 2015 13:00 #101866

Thus the wonderful odd-ness of what's called not-self, which is not the same as no self, and is not self, either.

:)
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Kenneth's notes 29 Dec 2015 13:20 #101867

Chris Marti wrote:
Thus the wonderful odd-ness of what's called not-self, which is not the same as no self, and is not self, either.

:)

Yes, no-self as doctrine is arguably counterproductive as it seems to point to a "correct" way to be, in which the sense of self never arises.

Not-self, on the other hand, just says that if you look for a self, you won't find one. This is a claim about observable human experience rather than a claim about the nature of the universe or the "right" way to be. If a self is not assumed in the first place, the arising or non-arising of the sense of self is neither good nor bad, it's just something that often happens to the patterns we call humans.
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Kenneth's notes 31 Dec 2015 14:02 #101877

Knock knock....
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Kenneth's notes 31 Dec 2015 14:26 #101878

- Who's there.

- No, Who is on first...
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Kenneth's notes 31 Dec 2015 14:56 #101879

What?
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Kenneth's notes 31 Dec 2015 19:52 #101883

FWIW, an argument by Peter Harvey for non-Self

i.imgur.com/SCdGO36.png
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Kenneth's notes 01 Jan 2016 01:54 #101887

"The doctrine of anatta is the best doctrine. It is the greatest of doctrines. There is none higher. He who becomes attached to the doctrine of anatta...

hopeless."

-the Buddha(?)

(Paraphrased from memory. I believe I heard this in a dharma talk by Joseph Goldstein at Insight Meditation Society in 1991.)
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Kenneth's notes 01 Jan 2016 10:38 #101891

I've been musing on this lately, and remembered "First there is a mountain, then no mountain, then there is."

We get so excited about the mountain 's disappearing trick that we forget the rest: what does "then there is" amount to?
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Kenneth's notes 01 Jan 2016 11:39 #101893

... what does "then there is" amount to?

Wisdom
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