spacelove - alec's blog

Your life is short fiction, too, if you really think about it.

I dress my wounds with sugar

Kampong Speu reeked of staph and all of the kids in our village seemed to get it. They had milky, irregular scars all over their arms and legs. You hardly see anyone outside Cambodia with that many scars. Some of the Westerners got it too. I'm a Westerner. Like a ritual, I’d get infections in my feet just from the friction of my sandal straps. Was there staph in the soil? The water that I showered in? The noxious Kampong Speu air? I still haven't found a good explanation. In the US children wa...
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A short life

I watch the clouds, The clouds go by. They drift across an empty sky and dissipate, as so do I. To mountains, seas, and deserts dry, are not we measly cumuli: just barely born before we die? ...
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New study on biofields has scientists soul-searching

LOS ANGELES, CA — A breakout team of scientists from the University of California, Los Angeles has published the latest in a controversial series of papers on the mammalian biofield. Citing dozens of new case studies and laboratory experiments, the researchers presented a convincing case that the mammalian biofield may persist for some time after death, and even with the host body in absentia. The discovery comes on the heels of a previous study in which Rebecca Gletshman et al. demonstrated th...
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This year's top Zen koans

The following koans were selected by a group of awakened Japanese roshis specialized in the koan technique. Koans are short poems designed to entirely rupture one's sense of logic, reason, and sense of reality, eventually culminating in insight. This year provided limitless such material to the roshis, who were scribbling down koans as fast as their little brushes could be dipped. They then diligently pared down a long list of about a thousand koans to the most essential few, which I have pres...
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Suttas for the uninitiated

Do you know what a "sutta" is? It might help explain what the hell these Buddhist fanfics are about. Quick historical primer: Theravāda Buddhism, which claims to be religion's oldest school, bases its teachings around a huge collection of texts written in a dead Indian language called Pālī. The Pālī Canon is divided into suttas (Pālī: discourses). Theravādin monks claim that the suttas are the direct teachings of Siddhartha Gotama, also called the Buddha (Palī: awakened one.) Interestingly, the...
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The Buddha's world tour: a Buddhist fanfic

So I have heard. At one time the Lord Buddha, the ascetic Gotama, was sitting in the shade of a bodhi tree in Jeta's Grove. The Buddha was relaxing with a pleasant, serene look on his face while contemplating the highest dharmas. Suddenly a tremor moved the earth and a magnificent deva appeared in front of him. He introduced himself as Sakha, the king of all devas. Sakha stood to one side and began speaking. "Lord Gotama," said the king of devas, "I have come to tell you that you have impres...
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The sandal sutta: a Buddhist fanfic

So I have heard. At one time the Lord Buddha, the ascetic Gotama, the Blessed One, was traveling near Benares, along the road between Ghandara and Nalanda, with a large sangha of around five hundred mendicants. Word passed through all these cities of the Lord Buddha's arrival. The wanderer Rakhito who was traveling along the same road had managed to save up fifteen silver pãdas from begging. The soles of his feet swollen and tender from walking under the hot sun, he visited the nearby brahmin...
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The river of mind sutta: a Buddhist fanfic

So I have heard. At one time the Lord Buddha, the Blessed One, the ascetic Gotama, and his five venerable ascetic disciples, were being ferried from Cittapālo to Kāsapo along the Titopañño river. The trip by ferry had lasted many hours, and hours on the ferry still remained. Word had begun to spread through the countryside of the Lord Buddha’s journey. The Buddha was looking out over the water. He swept out a horizontal arc with his hand. "Look at this river," he said. And the venerable ascetic...
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Mushroom hunting in Salentu

Mugnola: yellow-fleshed boletes of the genus suillus. I didn't know what I was looking for at the beginning. Giuseppe just showed me a picture and told me, "yellow." They don't distinguish different kinds of mugnole around here, "they're all mugnole," I was told. I was terrifically excited when I first found them. I came home with a whole basketful, loaded with this big, dome-shaped boletes with twigs (rametti) glued to the caps (pellicini.) Some varieties are tastier than others, especiall...
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