James Martini archive

Tag : pain (4)

Is Buddhism Really That Depressing?

Categories: Buddhism
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Published on: September 9, 2011

I’ve been reading What Makes Me Not a Buddhist and although it’s a short book I find that it’s going very slowly. Not because the content is particularly challenging, the first couple chapters are essentially a rehash of the story of Siddhartha Gautama, but because on the surface it appears to paint a very drab and pessimistic picture of life, the universe and everything. This has to be confusing for the outsider because the general public image of Buddhism here in the west is that of smiling monks in maroon and saffron robes.

I think that things generally go awry when discussing two basic principles of Buddhism: suffering and emptiness.

Nihilists
These men are not Buddhists

I want to /facepalm every time I hear the phrase “life is suffering” uttered or written in reference to Buddhism because it is so pernicious a misstatement and so counter to our everyday experience of life. It’s no wonder that people unfamiliar with Buddhism reject it as some strange nihilistic philosophy. How can anyone accept a philosophy with the statement “life is suffering” as one of its basic principles when life so obviously can be pleasant, joyful, beautiful and even ecstatic?

Part of the problem is that the original word, tanha, doesn’t mean specifically physical suffering although that is part of it’s meaning. It also means unsatisfactory, unfulfilling, and incomplete so when we say that all emotions and pleasures are suffering it makes absolutely no sense to the casual listener and we sound like a bunch of pretentious emo douchebags.

Life is unsatisfactory and incomplete. We and yearn and ache and shop looking to find that sustaining joy or pleasure and always come up short. We know deep down that the new clothes will fade and go out of style, we know that the new car will break down and, in our honest moments, we know that we will age, sicken and die. We pursue pleasure and flee from discomfort. Our now isn’t perfect so we feel nostalgia for the past and look to the future, to the horizon, never mindful of where we are and what we are doing. Certainly everything has within it the seed of dissatisfaction but honestly, all life is suffering?

Emptiness is another phrase westerners run across with respect to Buddhism that seems to get thrown around and misunderstood. I’m not going to get into it right now but say what you like about the tenets of Buddhism, at least it’s an ethos.

The Itis

Categories: Fitness
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Published on: August 19, 2011

My knees hurt a little the other day. It’s not entirely unexpected, I’ve had issues with my knees since I fenced too much in college with too little warmup and I’ve been loading about ten pounds a week onto my squats. I took some ubuprofin, glucosamine and chondroiton and took an extra recovery day.

Yesterday: same deal. Not as bad but I figured I’m over 40 so being conservative with the joints was a good idea.

Now not only do my knees still hurt and feel “full” but the second knuckle joints on my right middle and ring fingers feel the same. WTF? I don’t even work those. My left shoulder, however, is just fine even though it’s always been a little stiff.

About the only change in my diet is that I added milk because I was worried about making sure I got enough calcium and protein to support the extra stress I was putting on my body. I guess GOMAD is not in my future (not that I was GOingMAD to begin with). Back to salads, veges, water and meat.

So, in conclusion, don’t grow up kids. Stop aging once you hit about 26 because it’s all downhill from there. If that isn’t an option, get fit as hell in your mid twenties and hang onto it. Trying to reverse a decade of bad food and no exercise in your 40s is not an easy road.

Let me explain… no there is no time, let me sum up

Categories: Family, Life
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Published on: March 17, 2010
  • Wife was ill
  • Grew another eye on the back of my head
  • Wife is better
  • I was ill
  • The eye is still there
  • Exercise is hit and miss
  • Emily loved the Lightning Thief
  • Emily loves Lady Gaga
  • Still hacking out ideas for Memento
  • Going to get the eye removed soon

Still hurt

Categories: Taekwondo
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Published on: July 13, 2009

So here it is Monday night a little after midnight and I still hurt from Saturday TKD even though I only did half the class before hitting some kind of metabolic wall. Things started off well and I went for maybe twenty or 30 minutes before I started feeling increasingly lightheaded. About five minutes after that started I started to gray out and my body felt about as weak as a kitten’s. Embarassing as hell.

I’ve gotten light headed from exercising before but that hasn’t happened in a while. All I can think of was that I’d eaten pancakes with syrup about an hour to hour and fifteen minutes before class and somehow all the sugar andcarbohydrates did something ugly to my insulin levels which, in turn, blocked access to some metabolic pathway. As far as I can tell, once I used up the fuel  stored in my muscles I didn’t have anything else available.Going forward I’ve got to skip the high carb breakfast on Saturday morning and get something with a little protein in me a couple hours before class.

Even with the limited workout I got I still feel like I’ve been punched in the stomach my Mike Tyson. Crunches and leg lifts with a 10lb medicine ball followed by some evil pike position followed later by another round of crunches has left my upper abdominals in agony.

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