The world #

Here's a tanka for today by "Herbert, a retired chemist":

Consumed with anger,
The world is an ugly place.
Bathed in happiness,
The world is a wonderful place.
But, aha! the same world.

— Found on page 203 of Taitetsu Unno's Shin Buddhism : Bits of Rubble Turn to Gold. New York: Doubleday, 2002.

/misc | Jul 17, 2021

Mechanical meditation timers: gongs, cymbals, bells, and bowls #

/misc | Jun 17, 2021

Who exactly are "they"? #

Alexandra David-Néel in The Secret Oral Teachings in Tibetan Buddhist Sects:

In reality, although the well-read among them deny it, some of those who call themselves Buddhists—Mahayanists of the Northern countries as well as Theravadins of the South—have practically remained attached to the belief in a jiva,4 that is to say in an ego, an entity which transmigrates from life to life, forsaking its material body at the moment of death "as one throws away wornout clothing to put on new clothes".5

4 The equivalent of that which Westerners call the soul. Jīvātman is the principle which gives life to the body, and that which, according to the Hindus, is reincarnated. The Jīvātman is, according to the Vedanta, the Paramātman in its individualised form.
5 Bhagavad Gîta II, 22.

This belief is, however, formally and continually denied by the Doctrine of the Buddha, of which Doctrine the negation of the ego is the fundamental article and marks it off from the orthodox Hindu doctrines.

The Buddhist creed, as a matter of fact, consists of two short, incisive statements:

"All aggregates are impermanent"
"All things are devoid of self (atman: "ego" or "soul")".

This means that if we discard the component elements which form that which we call a man, a horse, a tree, a mountain, a star, or no matter what, if we abstract the qualities which make them perceptible to us, we discover nothing which is distinct from these constituent elements, from these qualities, we do not, in any way, find the man, the horse, the mountain in itself. These names apply only to a collection of elements.


[I]f from a man you take away the physical form, sensation, perception, mental activity and consciousness, what remains? Where will you find the man existing in himself outside the corporality and mentality?

In the Secret Teachings great importance is attached to propounding this negation of the ego as a fundamental doctrine. Those who lag behind in the belief in an ego, it is said, do not understand the meaning of the Teaching, they are in no way Buddhists, they cannot attain to liberation, to salvation, for without understanding (of a transcendent insight) of this absence of any ego, they will not perceive the means by which to go beyond being and non-being. [emphasis added]

Since, according to the author, there is no in-dwelling self/atman/ego/soul, who exactly are "those who lag behind", who "cannot attain to liberation, to salvation", who "will not perceive the means by which to go beyond being and non-being"?* Why, according to her, there are no such beings!—simply impermanent, arbitrary aggregates.

Note too the confusion and conflation of "soul" and "ego" for "atman", which is more accurately described as:

Ātman, sometimes spelled without a diacritic as atman in scholarly literature, means "real self" of the individual, "innermost essence", and soul. Atman, in Hinduism, is considered as eternal, imperishable, beyond time, "not the same as body or mind or consciousness, but... something beyond which permeates all these". In Advaita vedanta, it is "pure, undifferentiated, self-shining consciousness," the witness-consciousness which observes all phenomena yet is not touched by it.

The foregoing conflict results in such mental gymnastics as:

The tulku, on the contrary, is the incarnation of a lasting energy directed by an individual with the object of continuing a given kind of activity after his death. The tulku does not coexist with his ancestor.

and casual attempts to dismiss reincarnation out of hand:

An amusing point to note on this subject is that the person "reincarnated" generally boasts of having been, in his preceding lives, an important personality, or even several such in succession. No one seems to remember having been an obscure cobbler or a humble farm labourer. At least one does not hear of such.

In fact, such ordinary existences are just about all one does hear of in the research:

* Cf. this dialogue on HN.

/misc | Jun 05, 2021

Two GIF processors added to graphics page #

/windows | May 24, 2021

Remove loop from animated GIF #

with Gifsicle:

$ gifsicle in.gif --no-loopcount > out.gif

/mac | May 23, 2021

Emulating Windows XP x86 under M1 Mac via UTM & QEMU #

While VMWare does not plan to support x86 emulation on M1 Macs and Parallels support staff only offers misdirection when asked, thanks to UTM & QEMU you can emulate x86/x64 Windows versions like XP and 7 on Apple Silicon right now:

  1. Download UTM, the requisite template (Windows XP in this example), and SPICE Guest Tools and QEMU Drivers for Windows.
  2. Unzip and open Windows XP.utm in UTM.
  3. Click "CD/DVD" at the bottom of the window and select your Windows XP installer ISO.
  4. Start the VM and install Windows normally (if Windows hangs after installation with "Please wait", turn the VM off and on again).
  5. Replace the Windows XP installer ISO with the SPICE tools ISO (spice-guest-tools-0.164.iso) and run spice-guest-tools-0.164.exe.

The result is surprisingly performant: MP4 | GIF



/mac | May 22, 2021

Added to system page: New Linux-on-a-floppy distro #

🌱 Floppinux 0.1.0 [1440k] {S}+ "An embedded Linux on a single floppy". Released May 2021. Includes build instructions. 📺 | HN discussion

/nix | May 22, 2021

Rare addition to the graphics page #

μGiffer 0.9.12 [108k] + Simple screen-to-GIF recorder by the author of Bvckup 2 and Hamachi. 📺

/windows | May 08, 2021

Bluetooth promixity lock for macOS #

Takeshi Sone has generously crafted and shared (under an MIT license) BLEUnlock, "a small menu bar utility that locks and unlocks your Mac by proximity of your iPhone, Apple Watch, or any other Bluetooth Low Energy device." Unlike Unlox (formerly MacID), no iOS app is required and scripting is supported. Vital for protecting data from laptop snatchers. For a wired solution, see Introducing BusKill: A Kill Cord for your Laptop.

/mac | May 06, 2021

How do you measure, ♫ measure a kalpa? #

/misc | May 04, 2021

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