Please note: This blog is – at the moment – in a rather confusing order. Everything but the latest consists of re-edited and expanded versions of a series of articles originally published in Thailand’s Plus Seven magazine in 2020. They have a continuous narrative, and so are arranged in the opposite order to a traditional blog, ie. oldest first. This means that the arrows at the bottom “Previous/Next Post” are the wrong way around – you’ll figure it out. But I have just decided to continue writing. I’ll have a think about structure another day. It’s late now…
So, it took me nearly 6 months of procrastination deep reflection and research to come up with the last blog post, in which I then rashly gave myself a fortnight to come up with this one. I have decided that deadlines and structures are good for me (much as I resist them), while “getting aroundContinue reading “Tree – mend us”
Hello! So, after a hiatus of several months, I’m back on the blog. Why? When I first put these pieces up online, in early 2021, my initial motivation was: After nearly a year of travel restrictions, we had seen hardly any non-Thai patients at the detox in Thamkrabok monastery. Speaking to old friends back inContinue reading “The Devil made me do it…”
First published June 13th 2020 “Monks – all is burning. And what is the all that is burning?” – The Fire Sermon, Samyuta Nikaya 35.28 I had a fairly typical upbringing in England. In some respects, anyway, but certainly insofar as: you can safely assume that Buddhist monks weren’t really something that I thought aboutContinue reading “Prologue: “Monks, All is Burning””
First published: July 5, 2020, Plus Seven In the previous piece I discussed the personal impact of seeing the image of Venerable Quang Duc on fire. Profound as that was – establishing my idea of monks as formidable, righteous, worthy of great respect, and definitely onto something – it was only an underlying condition thatContinue reading “Monks ‘n’ Drugs ‘n’ Rock‘n’Roll”
Part II: First published: July 20, 2020 Plus Seven Thamkrabok monastery is disappointingly easy to get to for a questing hobbit. It lies a mere 60 miles from Bangkok, just off the main highway North. Back then, international flights still came into Don Muang airport, which is right on that same highway, and has aContinue reading “Smörgåsbord of Desolation”
Part the Third: First published August 4, 2020 Plus Seven The last article was mainly a story of internal drama. Externally, what was now happening was that I was in a communal room with half-a-dozen assorted westerners, inside a walled compound containing around fifty detox patients overseen by eight or nine monks. This, in turn,Continue reading “Fellowship of the Bling”
Part IV: In which popular-culture references begin to spiral out of control. First published August 4, 2020 Plus Seven The Force Awakens 31st December 2002, Chris and I had been through the worst of it, and were rediscovering eating and sleeping. Although we were still quite ragged in many ways, our health and moods wereContinue reading “Jedi Hobbit”
Part V, first instalment: First published: August 18, 2020 Trigger Warning: May contain nerds, or traces of nerds. I fear I may have overdone the well-known popular-culture references in the previous article. To restore balance, this one instead leans towards niche-ey/obscure/high(ish)brow ones, starting with the title of the piece. Nerdy in-jokes, basically. Not too muchContinue reading ““Ask a Philostipher ‘n See What He Says””
Part V, second instalment: nb: If you’re newly arrived here, this won’t make a lot of sense without reading the previous article. If you have read that, a quick up-to-speed reminder: we were discussing what interposes itself between a person’s stated beliefs and values (armchair/”bloodless” philosophy) and what actually happens, or even what is perceived.Continue reading “Ask a Philostipher (again) ‘n See What He’s Saying Now”
Part V, third instalment: This third instalment is intended to be the last, for the time being, that tries to map out the philosophical basis upon which Buddhist beliefs and practices rest. It takes quite an effort of will to decide to draw a line here, since this philosophy section has been growing exponentially outContinue reading “Ask a Philostipher (yet again)”
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