Schopenhauer the Bad Buddhist (Like Me)

Jim Holt, in his new book, Why Does the World Exist? An Existential Detective Story:

Schopenhauer himself hardly practiced the pessimistic asceticism he preached: he was fond of the pleasures of the table; enjoyed many sensual affairs; was quarrelsome, greedy, and obsessed with his fame. He also kept a poodle named Atma–Sanskrit for “world soul.”

At least my terriers don’t have pretentious names. (Jett, Dash, & Candy, since you ask. And since they are all rescues, they came to us with those names already given.)

The Sacred & The Secular

One of the first things that struck me about Vietnam when I first came here was the way the Vietnamese failed to draw a sharp line between the sacred and the secular. It is not that these categories do not exist in Vietnamese culture so much as they constantly interpenetrate each other. Little temples pop up in commercial districts, certain ancient trees are venerated with incenses and offerings of food & flowers while in front of the temple & beneath the tree commerce goes on at its usual frenetic pace.

Guardian Dog

Guardian Dog at temple on Lo Ren Street, Hanoi Vietnam

 

A Calm Dog in the Old Quarter

Took a walk around the Old Quarter yesterday evening. Lots of dogs, as I noted earlier, but this one struck me by his self-possession. It’s hard to tell from the photo, but he’s sitting in a narrow alley where motorbikes regularly whizzed by six inches from his nose while he practiced a Buddhist sort of equanimity. Perhaps some old bodhisattva radiating peace & quite in a noisy city.

Dog in Hanoi

A calm dog in an alley in the Old Quarter of Hanoi.