Friday, August 17

Caste and Buddhism

For a very long time, I always thought that Buddhism was totally against caste. In so many references, the Buddha has explicitly said that what you are is defined by your deeds not birth such as sutta nipata verse 136 or majjhima nikaya 2-147ff.

So it was quite surprising that I read in the digha nikaya 3.80 ff about how the caste system came about and how this was the natural order!!!!

Mind you, the epistle does say that it's not what the shudhra or Brahman's birth condition that determines the future post death state or trajectory but the deeds.

Still to read that caste is the natural order is surprising. But then the association is also described based upon what they do. Or deeds. If you make war then you are a Kshatriyas. Period.


Wednesday, August 15

The second most popular sport to commit suicide

When I went to Beachy Head and took loads of pics, I noted that it was the third most popular place to commit suicide, 20-25 people die there every year. The first is the Golden Gate Bridge in SF but the second place in the suicide lists is Aokigahara Forest at the bottom of Fuji Mountain in Japan.

Suicide (something that I am quite close to) and death is a fascinating human phenomena. It is very powerful and leaves behind swarms of emotional strands which make those places very very interesting. Which is why I love pottering around in cemeteries and tombs. The arrested life, the sheer pain, the regrets, the tears and cries.

This documentary is about a nature guard who goes about in the Aokigahara Forest, trying to dissuade people from committing suicide or cleaning up the place. The cinematography is absolutely brilliant, its like you are there almost. You can feel the flies buzzing around and if you sniff deeply with your eyes closed, you can almost catch a whiff of corruption amidst the sunbeams, mossy tree trunks and brilliant green foliage. Very sensitively done.

Warning, please do not see this if you get upset with gory photographs or matters relating to death.

Monday, August 13

Give me a hand bro

This was fascinating to read. How a series of hands were found in the excavations of a palace in Egypt.

Apparently they used to do this in serious quantities. See this.

This reminded me of how there are strange un-identified feet which wash up in the Pacific north west. lol


Sunday, August 12

Some weirdest Roman laws

I stumbled upon this site which talked about some laws in Roman times. Some of the really strange ones:


(1) Women are forbidden to interfere in every kind of business matters and obligations, in behalf of males, as well as of females.

(3) Money lent on bottomry can bear any amount of interest as long as the vessel sails, on account of the risk assumed by the creditor.

(8) An absent man can marry a wife; an absent woman, however, cannot marry.

(1) A man cannot keep a concubine at the same time that he has a wife.....1 Hence a concubine differs from a wife only in the fact that she is entertained for pleasure.

(1) A man cannot keep a concubine at the same time that he has a wife.....1 Hence a concubine differs from a wife only in the fact that she is entertained for pleasure.

(1) A dowry either precedes or follows marriage, and hence it can be given either before or after the ceremony, but where it is given before marriage it anticipates its occurrence.

(10) It should be noted that two adulterers can be accused at the same time with the wife, but more than that number cannot be.

(11) It has been decided that adultery cannot be committed with women who have charge of any business or shop.

(12) Anyone who debauches a male who is free, against his consent, shall be punished with death.

(14) It has been held that women convicted of adultery shall be punished with the loss of half of their dowry and the third of their estates, and by relegation to an island. The adulterer, however, shall be deprived of half his property, and shall also be punished by relegation to an island; provided the parties are exiled to different islands.

(16) Fornication committed with female slaves, unless they are deteriorated in value or an attempt is made against their mistress through them, is not considered an injury.

(36) Anyone who steals his own property is not liable in the action of theft, provided that in doing so he does not injure another.