25 July 2009

Wei to visit Cambridge and Stirling

Having left Britain for more than two years, I am about to visit this country again. I miss so much the pubs, cold weather, unexpected heavy rains, fierce gales, bloody crows squawking at 4.00 o'clock in summer, depressing darkness at 16.00 in winter and, above all, the friends who have supported me in all aspects of life in this distant land.

I will land in London on the 5th of August then take the train to Stirling on the 6th. After packing up my stuff left in the former landlady's attic and singing with the Choir of the Church of the Holy Rude in a Sunday service, I will travel down to Cambridge to visit Yung-Yao, the best man. I shall return to Taipei on the 15th.

Unfortunately, and surprisingly as well, Fanne is not going, because she is pregnant and advised not to take long-haul flights during the first three months of pregnancy. Yes, I am a prospective father now. Although I am on myself this time, I believe in the near future I will take my child to the distant land where once I have worked so hard.

24 July 2009

The three minds unattainable

While I have been pondering over the question raised in the previous post all the night, on facebook Connie has already made a comment on it. She contends:
there is no such experience which is identical to another in my life so far.
Upon reading her remark, a passage from Section XVIII in the Buddhist text Diamond Sutra (originally वज्रच्छेदिकाप्रज्ञापारमितासूत्र Vajracchedikā-prajñāpāramitā-sūtra in Sanskrit, and known as 金剛經 Jingang jing in Chinese) came to my mind:
[Buddha said] it is impossible to retain past mind, impossible to hold on to present mind, and impossible to grasp future mind.
Based on what I studied more than one decades ago, these few words suggests that the mind is in all places and present at all times, yet it is in no places and is present at no time. The mind is formless and therefore no one can locate the mind from the past, present or future. Everything, including our experience of suffering and happiness, is nothing but the projection of our mind.

There is no such experience which is identical to another in our life, because we can never stay in the past, present or future. What an aphorism from Connie!

23 July 2009

Does everyone chase something of a life time?

Yesterday many people in Asia saw the longest total solar eclipse of the century. Many scientists, amateur stargazers, as well as those who just wanted to catch up on the fashion, travelled far to India, China or Japan to join people their see the eclipse, which lasted over six minutes at its maximum point.

As only a partial eclipse was visible in Taipei, I did not see the 'total solar eclipse of a lifetime', as some witnesses described. However, the phrase 'of a lifetime' poses a question to me: Is it really necessary to chase something of a lifetime? Is there anything that does not occur more than once in my life?

I shall think about it tonight.

12 July 2009

Can't be bothered to maintain another blog

It's almost the end of the academic year 2008; 2009 is coming on the 1st of August. I was reorganising all sorts of article files in my computer, which happens regularly, more or less twice a semester. I suppose it is human nature to categorise things into groups, either for preservation and easy reference or due to obsession with order.

The re-sorting process usually takes a couple of hours, even a whole afternoon because sometimes it is difficult and thus time-consuming to decide to which folder an article should be assigned. However, another reason for the slow process is that from time to time I would be distracted by some entertaining or inspiring items, which I just can't ignore but have to read again.

I found an interesting item about blogging, which I collected last October from a BBC blog site. The author argues that although 'Twitter, Flickr and Facebook make blogs look so 2004', what we are seeing now is 'the development of a mixed economy, where blogging has many forms, professional, amateur, micro and mega.'

I don't mind if, as he points out, 'our attention span is now so short that we can't read more than the 140 characters in a Tweet or the one line status update you see on Facebook', but I would definitely be drained of physical as well as mental resources if, in response to friends' kind invitations, I joined all the social networking websites, added all the third-party applications, played all the mini-games and updated my personal profiles and whereabouts.

I've joined MySpace, then Facebook, then Windows Live Spaces and then Wretch (a Taiwanese community website), and turned down invitations to Twitter and Plurk.

I feel uncomfortable to sign up for a networking site, a community or a blog site but dismiss it later. As a result, what I would do now is creating an entry or simply giving a line beneath the title banner, for example:
I don't use Windows Live Space. Visit my blog at Blogger.
Just can't be bothered to maintain another blog. Interested to know more about me? Check out Principal Wei's Weblog.
I am sure there will be more online social network services featuring more unprecedented applications, but I don't think I would follow the trend.