From the monthly archives:

December 2009

Where is My Third Eye When I Need It?

by Larry Bish on December 29, 2009

I’ve been reading Hubert Benoît (pronounced, Ol-behr Ben-wah) and, believe me, if Hubert is your  choice of authorities on finding the path to enlightenment you’d better bring along a dictionary. This is more true in that he didn’t write in English so his ideas on Zen, insightful and deep as they may be, are translated from French. Why don’t translators make more of an effort to present the ideas of foreign writers in simpler language? OK, so Ben-wah likes to condense meaning by using single words that seem to succinctly convey ideas of deep complexity, fine. But I think the use of more, but simpler, wordage might produce  greater effect. Within the first couple of chapters of the book I’m sloggingg through, Zen and the Psychology of Transformation: The Supreme Doctrine, I’ve looked up the following words in order to clearly understand what the author wants to say in context: ersatz, ternary, hypostasis, scotomy, nounenon, ulteriorly, in situ, chimera, revendicative, filiation, anodyne. This is the problem with translations, I think. I knew some of these words and most I could surmise the meaning from the root, but not the meaning used in context of the book. This might be a limitation of English. There’s no word for that thought in English so we end up with difficult reading. I think the basic ideas and rules of writing in general apply tenfold for the translator. [click to continue…]

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Holiday Welcome

by Larry Bish on December 27, 2009

Welcome, welcome, welcome! It’s Christmas morning and, instead of watching kids open presents and passing around gifts to adult family members, I sit here in my cabin writing the first post for my new blog. That sounds sad, doesn’t it? All I can say is . . . think about it. The mental picture of a lonely old man, shuffling slump-shouldered between his coffee pot and a chair, lost in despair and feeling empty, is no more accurate and true than the one of a happy gathering of friends and family with no anxiety or hassle.  Those last four words are very important to my point.  I have ideas about how I’d like the day to unfold, just as I do every day and, like every day before it, this one will proceed according to an agenda set in ways I will never understand as long as I remain encased in flesh. Still, I do have an idea that I’d like to do the following. [click to continue…]

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