Friday, May 9

How Ajātaśatru Was Reformed: The Domestication of "Ajase" and Stories in Buddhist History

Magadh was the source of so many empires son which has made a huge impact on the world. Bimbisara to Ajatshatru to his successors in the nanda dynasty to the maurya empire. This empire gave rise to Buddhism Jainism and significantly enhanced Hinduism. Changed the course of history of billions of people in India and across Asia. One of the greatest empires was born here. 

And the book review talks about how this story morphs as it crosses time, countries, and cultures. Fascinating 



H-Net Reviews

Michael Radich.How Ajātaśatru Was Reformed: The Domestication of "Ajase" and Stories in Buddhist History. Tokyo: International Institute for Buddhist Studies, 2011. iii + 202 pp. ISBN 978-4-906267-65-1.

Reviewed by Juan Wu (The University of Tokyo)
Published on H-Buddhism (March, 2013)
Commissioned by Dan Lusthaus

The present book provides the broadest and most systematic survey to date of the history of the transmission and transformation of the Ajātaśatru (Japanese: Ajase) narrative in the Buddhist world, tracing its two and a half millennia-long journey from ancient India, across medieval China, to premodern and modern Japan. The primary concern of this survey is to explore the process of how the Ajātaśatru narrative was changed, gradually and transculturally, from a patricide-regicide tragedy in its ancient Indian versions eventually into a story about mother-son psychological conflicts in its modern Japanese presentations. Michael Radich has performed an exemplary feat of synthesizing abundant and complex textual materials coming from a wide range of historical and cultural backgrounds and composed in a variety of languages (Pāli, Sanskrit, Chinese, and Japanese). Through demonstrating the great diversity and adaptability of the Ajātaśatru narrative throughout its history, Radich suggests that the modern Japanese domesticated versions, however unusual they appear to be, should be understood within and contextualized as part of the long and continuous process of transformation of this narrative. There seems to be no precedent study, so far as I am aware, that has offered us such a wide and holistic perspective on the history of the Ajātaśatru/Ajase narrative spanning from ancient India to modern Japan. Radich surely deserves great praise and gratitude for his remarkable contribution to our knowledge of both the historical transformations of the Ajātaśatru/Ajase narrative in particular, and the significance of Buddhist stories in the study of the history of Buddhism in general.

Thursday, May 8

The Atlas Blaeu-Van der Hem


I saw this atlas long time back at the British library where it was on loan. 

It's a massive tome. At the time this was made, you've got to remember that the books weren't printed in colour that easily so these were made by hand. 600 maps kids. By hand. Painted. Imagine doing such kind of painting with very very fine brushes, sometimes containing only a few hairs. 

These were meant for royalty. And the royals would commission these books for posterity. Like they would commission a painting or sculpture. 

Fine fine work. And it would open up vistas across the world. These royals will look at the maps and want to send out their people in embassies to go visit and trade and colonise. Maps are powerful things kids. Do you know that many governments still control maps? Or they force google not to show some maps of military bases or private land? It's location information. And so it's expensive. 

Cartography is a fascinating subject. Remember the map we got didu? That's almost 200 years old. She loved it. She is after all a professor of geography but you two also should realise the importance of geography and cartography. It's beautifully illustrated for Diya and it's all about politics, philosophy and economics for Kannu. 

Very interesting. See the images. And these were imagined just a few hundred years back. Lest you find this funny, remember the Malaysian airline which was lost in the South Indian Ocean? A searcher said that there are locations on the earth which are literally unknown. We know more about the surface of the moon and mars than earth. Go figure. 



The Atlas Blaeu-Van der Hem -

This documentary takes a look at the Atlas Blaeu-Van der Hem – one of the largest and greatest atlases ever assembled. Created by Willem Blaeu and his son Joan in 17th century Amsterdam, the atlas contains nearly 600 maps charting the world. It was published in different languages – Latin, German, French, Spanish and Dutch.

This documentary also shows how publishers created a facsimile of the historical eight-volume Atlas in the Austrian National Library.

Wednesday, May 7

Caring for Your Introvert

I learnt quite a lot from this article. But then extroverts like me don't understand this behaviour. This can cause issues. Curious perspectives son. 

I loved the quote, hell is other people at breakfast. Completely incomprehensible of course. I love mornings. It's bright. Cheerful. New day. New battles to fight. New visions to dream. New loves to be won. New dreams to be dreamt. How can anybody be grumpy in the morning? I feel most energised in the morning. Well also in the afternoon and evening and nights aren't that bad either :) 

So I was thinking about my son. Is he an extrovert or an introvert? It was a difficult one. I'm going to say you are 50 50 son. Perhaps a bit leaning towards introversion. But you are very open and sociable with your friends. Which means you are an extrovert. Do an Myers Briggs test. See what comes up. I'm an entj if that helps. 

But reading the article was funny. While I understood why the author says what he says. But it's bloody weird. 

So don't talk to them. But that doesn't stop you from giving them a great big hug, kiss them soundly and walk off whistling while they sit there in their pool of solitude glowering at your back in irritated exasperated love. 

Because if you don't kiss them, they will be even more grumpy son. Never forget the power of a kiss. :)

Or a hug :)

Preferably both.

Have a wonderful day son. I love you. 


Caring for Your Introvert

Personal File March 2003

Caring for Your Introvert

The habits and needs of a little-understood group

Jonathan Rauch Mar 1 2003, 12:00 PM ET

Do you know someone who needs hours alone every day? Who loves quiet conversations about feelings or ideas, and can give a dynamite presentation to a big audience, but seems awkward in groups and maladroit at small talk? Who has to be dragged to parties and then needs the rest of the day to recuperate? Who growls or scowls or grunts or winces when accosted with pleasantries by people who are just trying to be nice?

If so, do you tell this person he is “too serious,” or ask if he is okay? Regard him as aloof, arrogant, rude? Redouble your efforts to draw him out?

If you answered yes to these questions, chances are that you have an introvert on your hands—and that you aren’t caring for him properly. Science has learned a good deal in recent years about the habits and requirements of introverts. It has even learned, by means of brain scans, that introverts process information differently from other people (I am not making this up). If you are behind the curve on this important matter, be reassured that you are not alone. Introverts may be common, but they are also among the most misunderstood and aggrieved groups in America, possibly the world.

I know. My name is Jonathan, and I am an introvert.

Tuesday, May 6

Lunch with the FT: Mary Midgley

Here are two oxford graduates, coincidentally who both studied one of the topics you are going to read, philosophy, talking about philosophy.
It's an interesting topic. At one end, it can termed as meaningless mental masturbation, full of arcane meanderings in obtuse corners of the human experience, using convoluted language which bears no resemblance to reality.
On the other hand son, philosophy underpins and originates all human knowledge. Studying physics or economics or chemistry or astronomy hard enough and you end up in philosophy land.
Have a good grounding in it son. If nothing else it will help you keep questioning yourself and challenging yourself. Search for the truth always.

I saw this article when using the Financial Times app and thought you might be interested:
Financial Times,
Lunch with the FT: Mary Midgley
By Peter Aspden
The moral philosopher who was labelled a ‘heretic’ for championing common sense talks about scientific arrogance, macho philosophers and impending ‘catastrophe’
Read the full article at: