I’ve moved to Boston as of September 13th as some of the first autumn leaves began appearing. I am temporarily residing in Reading, MA, house-sitting for a family friend while looking for a permanent place. It will be interesting to wait and see what this new endeavor will bring but I have already visited several libraries and have been rethinking my approach to study and living arrangements. The move in it self was facilitated by someone who I met in an interview in May of 2017 soon after I arrived in Virginia. I certainly believe he played the part of a Bodhisattva in all his efforts to get me here and now I owe it to him and the Tathagata to take full advantage of the many scholarly access I have gained.
I was really compelled to write this post to share photos of the many spider webs in the grass and trees that have become laden with the autumnal raindrops. The only other observation being the constant beckoning of Jainism from some of the most unsuspecting areas discourse since early this year. Perhaps in the incipient age of the machine, the dawn of the Anthropocene, one cannot afford to ignore the heart. This image is an offering to Mahavira and to all the Tirthankaras and Bodhisattvas.
As I sit alone in the rain under a slim bit of shade drinking what was donated to me and watching a ladybird climb up my chair, I am reminded of my past bacchanalian excesses. Of a time when good friends of high standing, not of wealth or pillars of society but instead rich in music and learning met to discuss our disillusionment and drank and danced the night away.
Perhaps a fictional past of a fictional individual.
I may have a scintilla of red dust still clinging to my garment but good to revisit the past even if in a daydream.
In 2010, at my first Yi lesson, I was told that I ought to read three stoic texts before proceeding. The three texts being Marcus Aurelius’s Meditations, Seneca’s Epistles Vol. I-III and Epictetus’s Enchiridion. Although at first I read the Penguin translations, however, as I found myself returning to these texts every year, I invested in the beutifully made Loeb Classics editions which have excellent translations with the original Greek & Roman texts and very good footnotes.
I recently picked Epictetus off my shelves as I have not revisited him since I was first told about him. I have found the text just as fresh as when I first read it. Epictetus seemed as pertinent now in my current situation as it was pertinent for someone wanting to learn the oracle.
I have been wanting to devote more time to the Stoics, Cynics. Heraclitus, Parmenides, Epicurus and would have liked to read Diogenes or Euphrates but nothing remains. There is, however, a far greater urgency to grapple with and come to a true understanding of Advaita and Madhyamika. For now, I have Epictetus and Nisargadatta’s Self Love, The Original Dream on the arm of my reading chair.
I was once in the company of friends who could sniff out the author of a poem regardless of who recited them or medium. Now I am in the company of people of who miss quote adverts they barely remember.
I never understood poems, i never understood Mark E. Smith and yet I long for my good old friends that kindly introduced me to the words uttered by the ancients, some belonging to my own heritage or the moderns who reintroduced the ancients. Those good old friends are no longer here and perhaps never to be seen again. To an extant they have expired just as Mark has. T’was them who introduced me to The Fall.