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.)

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.

Wealth

Vietnam is a much wealthier country than when I began coming here fifteen years ago. Not just more cars, but more Lexus & Mercedes. There is unequal distribution of this new wealth, which is certainly not unique to Vietnam, but one mark of the increased wealth of the middle and working class is the increase in well cared for pet dogs. From the pug riding the motorcycle and the pom wearing little shoes to protect its feet from the hot pavement to the intelligent shepherd-mix sitting at the entrance of a shop, dogs are everywhere.