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Archive for the ‘Research’ Category

Abhidharma teachings, the higher, systematic, and highly philosophical presentation of the dharma within Buddhism, developed, like Medieval Scholasticism, into a highly complex system of thought detailing all kinds of distinctions, leading to list upon list, definition upon definition, of those elements which constitute reality and how they relate to one another. It is understandable why Mahayana rejected an objectified version of the Abhidharma, yet, this ultimately led to neeed for the creation of a new, just as subtle, systematic Abhidharma teaching for Mahayana. And it is one version of this which I have to go through right now, reading through Asanga’s Abdhidharmasamuccaya. 

It’s a very condensed presentation. It is very slow going (about 15 pages/hour). It is also providing an ample amount of notes for my dissertation (perhaps explaining why it is going slow). While it is fascinating, it is also very difficult. I am sure I am not getting half of what is intended wihtin the text. I am also sure commentaries will help explain things better, but I will have to be careful as to which ones to follow. 

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Balthasarian Break

I’ve been reading Balthasar for several weeks now. Of course, not all I read has been from him (I do read different books at night to relax and get my mind off of my studies). But I’ve decided this weekend I am having a Balthasar overload. Thus, I decided I need a short break and so I am now reading Frederick’s short book, Buddhists and Christians: Through Comparative Theology to Solidarity. It looks like a fair work. But more importantly for me right now, it gets me out of Balthasar and gives me a refreshing glimpse to other theological styles and concerns.

Of course, come Monday, I’m back to the Theo-Drama, of which I am near completion — I just I have Volume IV: The Actto get through. Once done, I plan to go through some Buddhist texts before reading Balthasar’s Glory of the Lord.

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This morning, the headache did not appear immediately after I woke up, but slowly I felt its insistence to be noticed. I finally decided to take two advil, and it started to help. Having had some coffee, it is even better. I think today the headache will be defeated.

I can only hope.

I was able to get it to the sidelines yesterday enough to do some reading; I have much more reading to do today. I’m going slower through Balthasar than I would like. I have decided that once I am finished with the Theo-Drama, I need a break from his writings and will look into some of my Buddhists sources for the sake of variety.

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Boxing Up Books

I’ve known for some time that I have needed to get the books I am working with for my dissertation together. They were scattered throughout my bookcases, making it difficult to keep track of them all. After doing my normal house cleaning, I decided to box up some books (ones I have on Egypt, the Mayans, and the plurality of worlds), and move my Balthasar and Yogacarin texts together to replace them. 

balthbooks.jpg

While this is a start, I should probably box up more books within the next week or two. My bookcases are overfilled. Some books I have will not be used within the next year, and it would help clear up my shelves. 

I just need to make sure I only pack up the right ones. 

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Collecting Data

I’m at CUA today reading from Balthasar and collecting articles and dissertations people have written either on Balthasar or Comparative Theology. If they are online as PDFs, I have created directories for them and copied them to my computer. Too bad not all articles are so readily available: it would save my fingers a lot of work.

Kevin came to do some study at the library today, and so I asked him to look over my computer as I went to get some coffee. I was late out the door this morning and had yet to have any; my throat, while not sore, still feels the remains of the flu still trying to attack it, and I need something hot to help loosen whatever is left up and to help it in its evacuation. In other words, there was a double need for the coffee: for the energy it provides but also to help clear my throat!

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Library Research

Despite being sick, I went to the research orientation at the Library of Congress. I am not as bad off as I was yesterday, but I am still coughing and still have a very sore throat.

I was not sure whether or not my online registration for the class had been received by the Library of Congress; I have not been sent any confirmation email. I still do not know, but apparently, it does not matter; I was able to get to the class and learn the procedures  they have in place. 

While they have great resources, the thing I found most disturbing is the cost they charge to copy documents: 20 cents a page. While it could be higher, it’s near enough the most expensive charge I’ve seen in the area. I just hope the copiers are easy to use, otherwise, mistakes will end up being very costly!

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