Drawn Back to the Bodhicaryāvatāra

“The Bodhisattvacaryāvatāra or Bodhicaryāvatāra translated into English as “A Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life”, is a Mahāyāna Buddhist text written c. 700 AD in Sanskrit verse by Shantideva (Śāntideva), a Buddhist monk at Nālandā Monastic University in India which is also where it was composed.”


To anyone who studies {and enacts} Buddhist philosophy it quickly becomes obvious that many of the foibles of modern life are not considered to bring enlightenment. Self-promotion, greed, gossip, attachment to worldly goods and gonadal corporeal acts are considered to be hindrances to attaining bodhi-mind. One could say that the ambitious “cut and thrust” of modern society is at odds with Buddhist thought and society actively discriminates against anyone who practises and embodies the precepts.

To use a metaphor; if you do not blow your own trumpet sufficiently loudly you will never get promoted up the greasy pole. Buddhism does not promote such trumpet blowing.

Modern western society discriminates against people who are not forceful, nor demanding, ambitious or manipulative. People who won’t play the itchy back game do not advance in our society as it currently manifests. If you can’t be bribed with some desire, some wish, then you are not to be trusted. If you do not want there are no levers to apply. If you don’t bullshit and hype like everyone else, but are accurate and modest, then you can appear as a nothing, a no-hoper.

People in general do not like it if you reject their ethos and mores. They are likely to judge you and condemn you if you renounce their ways of being, this is especially so if you look like them and talk like them. {I can, for real, talk reductionist science better than your average human.}

I have an ongoing joke, if I wore Buddhist robes instead of black Levi’s 501s people would cut me more slack for my apparent “eccentricities”. If I tipped up at a UK science conference in Saffron or Magenta, people would metaphorically shit a brick, especially those who once had my acquaintance.

But I am not a clown, nor do I do tricks.

Similarly, if one practises Christianity as per Jesus and not the church, there would be conflict with what modern society deems to be dandy.

If what I was “told” is correct then in two previous lives I did indeed wear Buddhist robes and in another I was a Christian priest. I have been “told” that this is my very last incarnation on this planet.

When you look at all that stuff which people largely unthinking engage in, you can’t help but wonder why. Humanity is not happy, satisfied and at peace. There is precious little equanimity and a horde, a host of drama. There is a mental health crisis, allegedly.

Something in the way of life is not working…maybe it will one day lose its gloss…

 Anyway, today I am drawn once again to Śāntideva and the Bodhicaryāvatāra…

It is a candle in a dark and often petty world…

What is Significant?

I ask this in terms of life events. What is significant to some is not for others and vice versa. In a sense significance is personal and sometimes aligned to priorities, though life can chuck in a few curve balls.  Having a child is significant, for example.

Long long ago, in a land far away, the notion of getting a “chair” held some significance in my imagination and more so in that of those around me. It was some kind of a big deal and many worked directly at this “pot of gold”.  The career held significance and obsession for many to the extent that they sacrificed elements of their intimate relationships and mental health upon its altar. For some reason being able to say prof. was important. It was a rite of passage.

What I mentioned about superconductivity previously is significant to the science community and perhaps eventually society at large. Bold claims are bound to be met with scepticism and critique. It could change much.

Science loves a scandal and is terrified about being tainted by one personally.  There are a lot of hand wringing, ultra-conservative people who would not go near any whiff of a scandal even with a bargepole of infinite length. However, when the scandal passes, they will claim to be bezzie-mates with the prior leper. Courage is not a common quality amongst the conservative fearful of their precious reputation.


Everybody wants to be bezzie-mates with a Noble prize winner and might even dine out on such reflected glory. Nobody wants to be associated with a plague-ridden leper.

People can be fickle and many are “fair-weather” “friends”.

Human nature does not always attain lofty excellence and impeccability.

Significance is often a quality of hindsight and this is evidenced by the Nobel science prizes themselves. In general, though not exclusively, proximity to death is a common factor in the award of a prize. The committee is said to look into any reasons why not, these include any scandal and may once have meant that proven public sodomy precluded award. Fashion always plays a role in prize giving.

Blue LEDs have the changed the world but it was not “rocket science” to invent one, it was incremental progress.

People can miss things which are truly significant only for hindsight to slap them around the chops with a wet pollack.


What do you deem to be significant?

What does significant signify to you?

Have you ever missed something truly significant because you were self-absorbed?

Has hindsight ever slapped you with a wet pollack?

Messiah Complex and Jerusalem Syndrome

These from Wikipedia:

A messiah complex (Christ complex or savior complex) is a state of mind in which an individual holds a belief that they are destined to become a savior today or in the near future. The term can also refer to a state of mind in which an individual believes that they are responsible for saving or assisting others.

Religious delusion

The term “messiah complex” is not addressed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), as it is not a clinical term nor diagnosable disorder. However, the symptoms as a proposed disorder closely resemble those found in individuals suffering from delusions of grandeur or that they have grandiose self-images that veer towards the delusional. An account specifically identified it as a category of religious delusion, which pertains to strong fixed beliefs that cause distress or disability. It is the type of religious delusion that is classified as grandiose while the other two categories are: persecutory and belittlement. According to philosopher Antony Flew, an example of this type of delusion was the case of Paul, who declared that God spoke to him, telling him that he would serve as a conduit for people to change. The Kent-Flew thesis argued that his experience entailed auditory and visual hallucinations.


In terms of the attitude wherein an individual sees themselves as having to save another or a group of poor people, there is the notion that the action inflates their own sense of importance and discounts the skills and abilities of the people they are helping to improve their own lives.

The messiah complex is most often reported in patients suffering from bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. When a messiah complex is manifested within a religious individual after a visit to Jerusalem, it may be identified as a psychosis known as Jerusalem syndrome.


Jerusalem syndrome

Jerusalem syndrome is a group of mental phenomena involving the presence of religiously-themed obsessive ideas, delusions, or other psychosis-like experiences that are triggered by a visit to the city of Jerusalem. It is not endemic to one single religion or denomination but has affected Jews, Christians, and Muslims of many different backgrounds. It is not listed as a recognised condition in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders or the International Classification of Diseases.

The best known, although not the most prevalent, manifestation of Jerusalem syndrome is the phenomenon whereby a person who seems previously balanced and devoid of any signs of psychopathology becomes psychotic after arriving in Jerusalem. The psychosis is characterised by an intense religious theme and typically resolves to full recovery after a few weeks or after being removed from the area. The religious focus of Jerusalem syndrome distinguishes it from other phenomena, such as Stendhal syndrome in Florence or Paris syndrome in Paris.

In a 2000 article in the British Journal of Psychiatry, Bar-El et al. claim to have identified and described a specific syndrome which emerges in tourists with no previous psychiatric history. However, this claim has been disputed by M. Kalian and E. Witztum. Kalian and Witztum stressed that nearly all of the tourists who demonstrated the described behaviours were mentally ill prior to their arrival in Jerusalem. They further noted that, of the small proportion of tourists alleged to have exhibited spontaneous psychosis after arrival in Jerusalem, Bar-El et al. had presented no evidence that the tourists had been well prior to their arrival in the city.


Jerusalem syndrome has previously been regarded as a form of hysteria, referred to as “fièvre Jérusalemienne”. It was first clinically described in the 1930s by Jerusalem psychiatrist Heinz Herman, one of the founders of modern psychiatric research in Israel. Whether or not these behaviors specifically arise from visiting Jerusalem is debated, as similar behaviors have been noted at other places of religious and historical importance such as Mecca and Rome (see Stendhal syndrome). It is known that cases of the syndrome had already been observed during the Middle Ages, since it was described in the itinerary of Felix Fabri and the biography of Margery Kempe. Other cases were described in the vast literature of visitors to Jerusalem during the 19th century.

Bar-El et al. suggested that at the approach of the year 2000, large numbers of otherwise normal visitors might be affected by a combination of their presence in Jerusalem and the religious significance of the millennium, causing a massive increase in the numbers of Jerusalem syndrome admissions to hospital. Despite a slight increase in tourist hospitalisations with the rise in total tourism to Jerusalem during the year 2000, the feared epidemic of Jerusalem syndrome never materialised.


The classic Jerusalem syndrome, where a visit to Jerusalem seems to trigger an intense religious psychosis that resolves quickly after or on departure, has been a subject of debate in the medical literature. Most of the discussion has centered on whether this definition of the Jerusalem syndrome is a distinct form of psychosis, or simply a re-expression of a previously existing psychotic illness that was not picked up by the medical authorities in Israel.

In response to this, Bar-El et al. classified the syndrome into three major types to reflect the different types of interactions between a visit to Jerusalem and unusual or psychosis-related thought processes. However Kalian and Witztum have objected, saying that Bar-El et al. presented no evidence to justify the detailed typology and prognosis presented and that the types in fact seem to be unrelated rather than different aspects of a syndrome.

Type I

Jerusalem syndrome imposed on a previous psychotic illness. This refers to individuals already diagnosed as having a psychotic illness before their visit to Jerusalem. They have typically gone to the city because of the influence of religious ideas, often with a goal or mission in mind that they believe needs to be completed on arrival or during their stay. For example, an affected person may believe himself to be an important historical religious figure or may be influenced by important religious ideas or concepts (such as causing the coming of the Messiah or the second coming of Christ).

Type II

Jerusalem syndrome superimposed on and complicated by idiosyncratic ideas. This does not necessarily take the form of mental illness and may simply be a culturally anomalous obsession with the significance of Jerusalem, either as an individual, or as part of a small religious group with idiosyncratic spiritual beliefs.

Type III

Jerusalem syndrome as a discrete form, uncompounded by previous mental illness. This describes the best-known type, whereby a previously mentally balanced person becomes psychotic after arriving in Jerusalem. It can include a paranoid belief that an agency is after the individual, causing their symptoms of psychosis through poisoning and medicating.

Bar-El et al. reported 42 such cases over a period of 13 years, but in no case were they able to actually confirm that the condition was temporary.


During a period of 13 years (1980–1993) for which admissions to the Kfar Shaul Mental Health Center in Jerusalem were analysed, it was reported that 1,200 tourists with severe, Jerusalem-themed mental problems were referred to this clinic. Of these, 470 were admitted to hospital. On average, 100 such tourists have been seen annually, 40 of them requiring admission to hospital. About three and a half million tourists visit Jerusalem each year. Kalian and Witztum note that as a proportion of the total numbers of tourists visiting the city, this is not significantly different from any other city.

Kafue River and PTSD?

This from the Mail

“A couple have told Ben Fogle that growing up in the Zambian wilderness has made their daughters more confident – in spite of all the dangerous wildlife lurking around.

Ruth, 36, and Lyndon Pinches, 39, moved from the UK to Zambia six years ago to open a safari lodge business where tourists pay £218 per person per night.

The couple admitted on last night’s New Lives in the Wild that there’s dangers from the local wildlife on the edge of the Kafue River, which includes lions, cheetahs, leopards, hippos and crocodiles.

In spite of the fact one of their friends was eaten by a crocodile in a nearby stream, the couple insisted that the Zambian bush is an ‘amazing’ place for their two daughters Indiana, nicknamed ‘Indie,’ and Ivy, who are both under six, to grow up.”

We have recorded this episode of New Lives in the Wild and it will be interesting to see if it causes me any problems.

When I was ~11 years old I was involved in a boating accident on the Kafue River. There were three game wardens and three children, myself, my sister and another boy. A hippo came up under the boat and tipped us into the water. We were about a mile from camp. One of the wardens could not swim. He tried to grab me, I avoided him and he drifted off to drown. We tried to right the boat to no avail. I led the children in swimming to a nearby island. Later the two remaing wardens followed suit. One of them was taken splashing and screaming under water by a crocodile about five metres from where we were on the bank. We never saw him again.

We had to make our way back towards camp sometimes wading, sometimes swimming between islands, fully aware of what had just happened. When we got within earshot, we shouted to camp about what happened. The crocodile man’s wife started ululating in grief. We were stranded at dusk on a small island in the middle of a vast game park. My father drove a long way to another camp and got a canoe. At around midnight he and the other boys father canoed out to us largely by sound. They brought food, dry clothes, and a gun.

At dawn we went back to camp.

On leaving the game park I had to write a statement to the police. Because the policeman could not write.

I never spoke to anybody about this for twenty years. I was shit scared in open water thereafter…

I often wondered if I had delayed onset PTSD…

I was fond of risk taking behaviours…

We shall see if the TV programme brings back “happy” memories or not…

Self-Obsession – The New Pandemic

I think it accurate to say that the phenomenon of self-obsession is reaching dizzying new heights in this century. It is pandemic in that it can be found on all sides and in all nations. Never before in human history has there been so many terabytes of self-images recorded either with or without filters or photoshopping. People are obsessed by and with image. The imaginary illusion of image holds great power over the human psyche and causes untold self-induced mental angst and suffering. The obsession with self-promotion and having a blurb to sell to others about our wonderful “self” is a cul-de-sac, which leads nowhere other than our own lower posterior sphincters. It causes myopia and blindness, whereby we imagine that the entire universe rotates around our own wants, needs, desires and things that we imagine we deserve.

If we do not engage in this pictorial and presentational folly, we are to an extent excluded from the lunacy of the herd.

People can go to extraordinary lengths to protect this “image” without acknowledging the specificity of language implied. They can even imagine that their image is real!! They defend an illusion and feel thoroughly justified is so doing.

They do not suspect that they are blinkered or blinded. They cannot see the blinkers of obsession which prevent them from having a wider view with a more comprehensive perspective. They are unaware of their own selective and limited world view.


Are you blinded by your obsession with your own self-image?

Is your world view almost entirely self-centred?

Are you an important being?

Does the universe revolve around you?

The Throw Away Society

In  our current society there is a tendency to throw things away and that includes people. Jacinda Ardern has resigned, worn out, perhaps utterly knackered. These days there is not only the job to do but endless harping to endure. In the “wise” western world people are measured by things like performance metrics, requiring one to achieve more, year after year. This is especially true in “sales”. People “burn out” and are jettisoned to gardening leave or early retirement. Perhaps all they need is a year away from the hamster wheel. But no there are the young up and coming cannon fodder to feed into the hungry cogs of the meat grinder. So, they must trot off into the sunset.

And now dishy Rishi is suggesting that we entice the over 50s back into the work place. What for, some more metrical idiocy? More pissing up against the urinal wall? Once one has said foxtrot this for a game of soldiers, would one look to re-join the madness?

To my eyes this phenomenon of “burn out” is a symptom of the idiotic growth paradigm. People talk about growth but they forget that cancer is also a growth of sorts. In our case the “growth” eats the planetary and human resource at a tremendous and unsustainable rate. If capable people cannot sustain the effort demanded and required of them in the workplace, is it their fault or simply a systemic inadequacy? Is the frantic frenetic world it is my postulate that the current paradigm needs a radical overhaul. Hundreds of millions of people suffer so-called mental health problems because they find themselves at odds with the apparent demands of the throw away paradigm. Life is stressful if one is for ever measured against some arbitrary ruler.

“Is my cock sufficiently big to work in this august and noble company?”

I have met many people in and around my age, who remain very able and capable. Yet they have taken or were forced into, early retirement. They are societal jetsam, though materially comfortably off. All the young guns are free to make exactly the same mistakes as those who have gone before and who learned the hard way. That advice is no longer available, it is out walking its Labrador and is a regular visitor to the garden centre tea shop.

So now the young and thrusting will have to work until they are ~70 in order to pay the pensions and health provision of those who have been jettisoned early. Smart move, methinks. Dishy Rishi is of the generation that got rid of the likes of me.

People throw away those who do not conform to some rigid person specification made up on a spreadsheet and laden with bullet points. I have sat in interviews watching people check things off a list. I was thinking that these dudes are wankers and there is no point throwing pearls before swine. They were complexly unaware as to what was transpiring in the moment, fixated on their check list and unable to listen properly. They had never written a business plan which raised £5 million yet they were judging me on my entrepreneurial ability as per their omniscient spreadsheet.  Doh…

I thanked them for giving me the opportunity, they had no idea as to what I meant by that. They were oblivious to my nuance of tone. Autoproctology had them.

So, not only do we throw away plastic, we throw away people and talent all in the name of “Growth” which is in many ways an oxymoron. Stagnation of paradigm is not growth or change, it is stagnation. People do not evolve if they do the same shit over and over again…

Johnny Two Worlds

He was never the same

When he came back

Those eyes

Had seen too much

Those ears

Had heard too much

He often joked

About the crack

In him

Quiet as a mouse

He scurries down the corridors

Polite and friendly to all

Johnny is warm

And he laughs a lot

On the turn of a penny

He is at the front again

Running down the chattering nests

Of Kalashnikov rain

All battle plans

And lights, camera, action

And then he is far away

Lost in the tranquil dreams

Of another land

Of rustic charm and mystic dew

Of soft and yielding maids

And battleaxe dragons

When he isn’t looking

The passion plays

And he speaks in ways

That no-one forgets

Yet each time he does this

They all know

And look again

And then pretend

They haven’t heard

For somehow it is impolite

To stray from the weather

Johnny knows that

People seek him

So he hides

He told me it was gravity

And it was better to hide

Than to say no

Because he rarely takes

People are somehow

Ill at ease

They want him to give

Yet know there is no balance

Johnny said it was the crack

That made him a little mad

And that, lights were best


Under the carpet

Johnny two worlds

Is a practical man

He gets stuff done

Johnny two worlds

Is as reliable as bread





And Johnny two worlds

Walks the thunder

And the wonder



He was never the same

When he came back

Those eyes

Had seen too much

Those ears

Had heard too much

Prejudice Against Loners & Recluses

Whenever someone is murdered it is a shame and a tragedy because they were popular, well liked and an asset to the community. Often the murderer is typecast as a loner, a recluse, a weirdo who simply did not mix well. This is often hinted as causal in his {it is usually him} lunacy and deviance. Rarely is the deviance of someone who mixes well given such scorn. There are lot of deviants who mix “well” and often. Anyone who seeks to escape from the psychotic hurly burly is immediately deemed suspect.

I will postulate that society is prejudiced against loners and recluses.

{There must be something wrong with them, the nutjobs.}

If someone famous falls out of the public eye and becomes a recluse, it is reported as if that is a fate worse than death. Maybe it is a welcome respite from the prying eyes, the gossip ticker tape, and the rumour mill.

{Thank foxtrot I am away from all those vampires.}

A number of people here have asked us if we socialise and have made friends here. When we say no, they do not know what to say next. There is an uncomfortable silence, for them not for us.

What do you think, is my postulate accurate?

Self-Diagnosed Righteousness

Before I get into this it might be fun to take a look at your acquaintances and ask yourself, do they pertain to the light or the dark side of the force. Those that use any form or coercion however slight and apparently justified have at least a hint of shade to them

Many imagine themselves righteous, the good and the just. History is littered with these and the corpses which they produced. Racial apartheid was practised in America during my lifetime and to an extent it still is only now it is pecuniary apartheid which dominates and that may overlap with racial apartheid too. There were wars for the right to own and flog slaves. People who fought for the right to have slaves imagined themselves righteous and perhaps even Christian. Funny how one can twist religion as proof of being righteous over the heathen, whichever religion that may be.

I’ll postulate that the self-diagnosis of righteousness is often faulty.

Group mind can easily polarise and entrench this faulty diagnosis.

There is a related phenomenon group-diagnosed righteousness.

“We are right and justified, let’s go and kill all those bastards who disagree.”

Perhaps Mr Trump believes himself to be righteous?

At the moment there is debate about Harold Windsor hinting that everyone else is to blame for his dissatisfaction. He is making a few quid out of it. His wife has found her soapbox. He perhaps sees himself and his mother as the righteous. The truth perhaps is that everyone who read{s} a juicy and well paying gossip about Diana has had a hand in the current hand wringing. Each one who took {takes} a salacious bit of news has {is} adding fuel.


Would you diagnose yourself as being just, justified and in the right?

Do you pertain to the light or the dark side of the force?

Does butter melt in your mouth?

Hello Langley!

Sister Gwyneth Pritchard

from Abergavenny

says they don’t wire tap

NHS hospitals

well at least, not that many

Like her colleague

nurse Blodwen Jones

she doubts that

they are interested

in my mobile phones

The firewall here is intact

says my friend Fireman Sam

they don’t hide mikes

nor fisheye cameras

on that woman, with the pram

And when I meet on Monday

with the well-known august Dr Brain

he says that Mossad

are not here for me

they camp in the grounds, just to train

The FSB have now long since left

says the man in the bed next

they know he knows

all their codes

as he has sent them to Putin, in a text

Still, we count everyday

the visitor’s umbrella stand

just to be certain

and be sure

for strange isotopes, might be at hand

And when the server goes down

it is just a gremlin not the Kremlin

the CIA and FBI

do not listen

to the words we send

it is of course, all pretend

Sister Gwyneth Pritchard

from Abergavenny

says they don’t wire tap

NHS hospitals

well at least, not that many

Ah but what about the Alien horde?

They can’t wait, to get me aboard

my organs are precious

can’t you see?

They want to experiment on me

Hush now baby don’t you fret

and don’t you worry

tonight, we have a chicken curry

and before the lights go out

we can watch the X-Factor show

and even Langley will never know.