Thursday, October 30, 2008

Today's Rig Veda (RV 2.12.3)

RV 2.12.3

yo/ hatvā/him a/riṇāt sapta/ si/ndhūn
yo/ gā/ udā/jad apadhā/ Vala/sya
yo/ a/śmanor anta/r agni/ṃ jajā/na
saṃvṛ/k sama/tsu sa/ janāsa I/ndraḥ

Traduction par Renou:

Celui qui ayant tué le dragon a fait couler les sept fleuves,
qui a poussé les vaches au-dehors, pour dé-couvrir Vala,
qui entre les deux pierres a engendré le feu,
lui qui rafle (l'enjeu) dans les combats, celui-là, gens, c'est Indra.

Geldner-Übersetzung:

Der den Drachen erschlug und die sieben Ströme laufen ließ,
der die Kühe heraustrieb nach Beseitigung des Vala,
der zwischen zwei Steinen Feuer erzeugte,
der Spielgewinner in den Kämpfen -- der, ihr Leute, ist Indra.

辻訳:

アヒ(悪魔)を殺して七河を流出せしめたる彼、
ヴァラ(悪魔)[の囲み]を開きて牡牛を駆りいだしたる彼、
二個の石のあいだに火を生みたる彼、
戦闘における[獲物の]収斂者 -- 彼は、人々よ、インドラなり。

My translation:


Who, having slain the dragon, released the seven rivers;
Who drove the cows from the pen of Vala;
Who has given birth to fire between the two stones;
The appropriator in battles: He, O men, is Indra!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Pāli Love Poetry from the Dīgha Nikāya

DN II: 265

vande te pitaraṃ bhadde, Timbaruṃ Suriya-vaccase |
yena jātā 'si kalyāṇi, ānanda-jananī mama ||

I laud your father Timbaru, O lovely Suriyavaccasā ("Radiant as the Sun"), who gave birth to you, [such] a lovely woman [who is] the source of my joy.

vāto va sedakaṃ kanto, pānīyaṃ va pipāsino |
aṅgīrasī piyā me 'si, dhammo arahatām iva ||

Like the pleasant wind to one who is perspiring, like drink to one who is thirsty, like the Dhamma to an arahant, you are my dear woman of the Aṅgiras ("Radiant Ones").

āturass' eva bhesajjaṃ, bhojanaṃ va jighacchato |
parinibbāpaya bhadde, jalantam iva vārinā ||

Like medicine for the sick, like food for the hungry, O lovely one, extinguish with [your] waters [my] burning [passion].

sītodakiṃ pokkharaṇiṃ, yuttaṃ kiñjakkha-reṇunā |
nāgo ghammābhitatto va, ogāhe te thanūdaraṃ ||

Like the elephant [that], overcome with heat, [plunges into] the cool waters of a lotus pool with its [lotus flowers with their] stamen and pollen (*image of the phallus; this is out of place here in this poem! Perhaps stamen and pollen is just a synecdochical expression for the lotus flower as a whole.), I plunge into your breasts and vagina (belly, insides?).

accaṃkuso va nāgo ca, jitaṃ me tutta-tomaraṃ |
kāraṇaṃ na ppajānāmi, sammatto lakkhaṇūruyā ||

Or like the unmanageable elephant [that knows] he has overcome the [elephant driver's] goad and lance, I am intoxicated by the sight of [your] thighs [and] know not what to do!

tayi gathita-citto 'smi, cittaṃ vipariṇāmitaṃ |
paṭigantuṃ na sakkomi, vaṅka-ghasto va ambujo ||

My mind is bound up in you, [my] mind is all bent out of shape [over you]; I cannot get away [from this passion], like a fish that has swallowed the hook.

vāmūru saja maṃ bhadde, saja maṃ manda-locane |
palissaja maṃ kalyāṇi, etam me abhipatthitaṃ ||

Embrace me, O lovely one with voluptuous thighs! Embrace me, O one with tender eyes! Completely embrace me, O beautiful one! That is what I wish for!

appako vata me santo, kāmo vellita-kesiyā |
aneka-bhāgo sampādi, arahante va dakkhiṇā ||

Aah! My desire for [this] woman with wavy hair knows little rest! Like the donations for arahants, [my desire] increases manifold.

yam me atthi kataṃ puññaṃ, arahantesu tādisu |
tam me sabbaṅga-kalyāṇi, tayā saddhiṃ vipaccataṃ ||

That merit that has been performed by me towards these sorts of arahants, that has ripened for me [in that I can be] together with you, O beautiful woman [who is] perfect in all aspects.

yam me atthi kataṃ puññaṃ, asmiṃ paṭhavi-maṇḍale |
tam me sabbaṅga-kalyāṇi, tayā saddhiṃ vipaccataṃ ||

That merit that has been performed by me on this piece of earth, that has ripened for me [in that I can be] together with you, O beautiful woman [who is] perfect in all aspects.

Sakya-putto va jhānena, ekodi nipako sato |
a-mataṃ muni jigiṁsāno, tam ahaṃ Suriya-vaccase ||

Like the son of the Sakyas [who], with meditative trance, is concentrated, wise, and mindful, a sage striving for immortality, [so] I [strive for] you, O Suriyavaccasā.

yathā pi muni nandeyya, patvā sambodhim uttamaṃ |
evaṃ nandeyyaṃ kalyāṇi, missī-bhāvaṃ gato tayā ||

And as the sage would delight, having attained highest awakening, so I would delight, O beautiful woman, having entered into sexual union with you.

Sakko ca me varaṃ dajjā, Tāvatiṁsānam issaro |
tāhaṃ bhadde vareyyāhe, evaṃ kāmo daḷho mama ||

If Sakya, the lord of the 33 gods, would grant me a wish, I would surely choose you, O lovely one, so steadfast is my desire!

sālaṃ va na ciraṃ phullaṃ, pitaraṃ te su-medhase |
vandamāno namassāmi, yassa s' etādisī pajā ||

O wise one, I shall reverently pay praise to your father, [who is as beautiful] as the sāla [tree that] will soon bloom, for [having] such offspring as you.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Yeti: Santa Claus for grown-ups?

I have been bedridden for the past few days due to a cold. I finally started feeling better today and should be on my feet tomorrow.

These past few days, I haven't been able to do much except surf the net, where I found some weird sites and lectures that I may blog about sometime. One of the amusing sites I came across this evening is the Yeti Project Japan. The first thing that caught my eye is that the project is backed by some major companies, which you can see at the bottom of the top page of their site.

According to their website, this year's project involved a team of seven guys who spent a couple of months in the mountains of Nepal trying to get a good shot of the elusive yeti. It is obvious from their site that they are true believers.

Looking at the official blog for their project, it appears that they have returned home with no good evidence other than something that looked like yeti footprints (whatever they may look like!). It seems like they got into this in 2003 when some people of their group spotted three human-like figures in the mountains and then rushed to the conclusion that they were indeed yeti.

The blog is a good example of the attitude of true believers: They have essentially returned empty-handed but consider their trip a complete success. They purport to have found more yeti-like footprints on this trip, and one of the members announced that (even though he has absolutely no convincing evidence) he still wants to believe (!) in the existence of yetis.

They report on their blog that NHK has done an interview with them that should be aired soon. With all the pseudo-science and fortune-tellers/aura-readers on TV in Japan these days, people will eat this up.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More from Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Platero y yo



First movement of Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Platero y yo (op. 190), a collection of twenty-eight pieces written in 1960 for narrator and guitar. The donkey Platero makes his first entrance here, trotting along and enjoying the idyllic sights of the meadow.


The lyrics for the narrator (pasted below) were written by the Spanish poet Juan Ramón Jiménez (1881-1958).

Platero es pequeño, peludo, suave; tan blando por fuera, que se diría todo de algodón, que no lleva huesos. Sólo los espejos de azabache de sus ojos son duros cual dos escarabajos de cristal negro.

Lo dejo suelto, y se va al prado, y acaricia tibiamente con su hocico, rozándolas apenas, las florecillas rosas, celestes y gualdas... Lo llamo dulcemente: «¿Platero?» y viene a mí con un trotecillo alegre que parece que se ríe en no sé qué cascabeleo ideal...

Come cuanto le doy. Le gustan las naranjas mandarinas, las uvas moscateles, todas de ámbar; los higos morados, con su cristalina gotita de miel...

Es tierno y mimoso igual que un niño, que una niña...; pero fuerte y seco por dentro como de piedra. Cuando paso sobre él, los domingos, por las últimas callejas del pueblo, los hombres del campo, vestidos de limpio y despaciosos, se quedan mirándolo:

-Tien' asero...

Tiene acero. Acero y plata de luna, al mismo tiempo.


(続き)

Some Pāli Poetry from the Dīgha Nikāya

DN III: 199-200

yen' Uttarakurū rammā, Mahā-Neru su-dassano |
manussā tattha jāyanti, a-mamā a-pariggahā ||

In the beautiful [land] of the Uttarakurus, [where] the majestic [mountain] Mahāneru [is found], there men are born, [men] free from selfishness [and] attachment to possessions.

na te bījaṃ pavapanti, na pi nīyanti naṅgalā, |
akaṭṭha-pākimaṃ sāliṃ, paribhuñjanti mānusā ||

They (those men) don't sow seeds, nor are ploughs drawn; the people [there] partake of rice that [can] mature [even] in unploughed [earth].

a-kaṇaṃ a-thusaṃ suddhaṃ, su-gandhaṃ taṇḍula-pphalaṃ |
tuṇḍikīre pacitvāna, tato bhuñjanti bhojanaṃ ||

[Those men], cooking in a gourd the kaṇa-less, husk-less, pure, aromatic [rice that] ripens [in a form] that doesn't need threshing, [they] then partake of [their] food.

DN III: 201-02

tattha nicca-phalā rukkhā, nānā-dija-gaṇāyutā |
mayūra-koñcābhirudā, kokilābhi hi vaggubhi ||

There, the trees are always in fruit, inhabited by flocks of various kinds of birds, filled with the songs of peacocks, curlews, [and] lovely cuckoos.

jīvaṃ-jīvaka-sadd' ettha, atho oṭṭhavacittakā |
kukkuṭakā kuḷīrakā, vane pokkharasātakā ||

There, the sounds of partridges, oṭṭhavacittakas, wild cocks, kuḷīrakas, and cranes [fill] the forest(s).

suka-sālika-sadd' ettha, daṇḍamānavakāni ca |
sobhati sabba-kālaṃ sā, Kuvera-nalinī sadā ||

There, [accompanied by] the songs of parrots, mynas, and daṇḍamānavakas, Kuvera's lotus pond is lovely at all times.

ito sā uttarā disā, iti naṃ ācikkhatī jano |
yaṃ disaṃ abhipāleti, mahārājā yasassi so ||

People [often] refer to that [location] (Uttarakuru) [by saying], "The area [that lies] north of here." [The person] who safeguards that area is a particularly illustrious king.

yakkhānaṃ ādhipati, Kuvero iti nāma so |
ramati nacca-gītehi, yakkhehi purakkhato ||

He is called Kuvera [and] is the lord of the yakkhas. [He] is revered by [those] yakkhas [and] delights in [their] song and dance.

Today's Rig Veda (RV 2.12.2)

RV 2.12.2

ya/ḥ pṛthivī/ṃ vya/thamānām a/dṛṃhad
ya/ḥ pa/rvatān pra/kupitāṁ a/ramṇāt
yo/ anta/rikṣaṃ vimame/ va/rīyo
yo/ dyā/m a/stabhnāt: sa/ janāsa I/ndraḥ

Traduction par Renou:

Celui qui a consolidé la terre vacillante,
qui a fait s'arrêter les montagnes qui s'étaient mises en mouvement,
qui a mesuré plus au loin l'espace-médian,
qui a étayé le ciel, celui-là, gens, c'est Indra.

Geldner-Übersetzung:

Der die schwankende Erde festigte,
der die tobenden Berge zur Ruhe brachte,
der das Luftreich weiter ausmaß,
der den Himmel stützte -- der, ihr Leute, ist Indra.

辻訳:

動揺する地を固定したる彼、
怒り狂う山々を鎮めたる彼、
空間を測量していや広くせる彼、
天を支えたる彼 -- 彼は、人々よ、インドラなり。

My translation:

Who made fast the wavering earth,
who set to rest the raging mountains,
who meted out the atmospheric space more widely,
who supports Heaven: He, O men, is Indra!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Today's Rig Veda (RV 2.12.1)

RV 2.12.1

yo/ jāta/ eva/ prathamo/ ma/nasvān
devo/ devā/n kra/tunā parya/bhūṣat
ya/sya śu/ṣmād ro/dasī a/bhyasetāṃ
nṛmṇa/sya mahnā/: sa/ janāsa I/ndraḥ

Traduction par Renou:

Celui qui, à peine né, doué de pensée (sage), le premier,
en dieu, a environné les dieux par son pouvoir-spirituel,
lui devant la fougue duquel les deux Mondes ont eu peur,
par la puissance de sa force-virile, celui-là, gens, c'est Indra.

Geldner-Übersetzung:

Der Gott, der eben geboren besonnen als Erster
mit Umsicht die Götter beschirmte,
vor dessen Wut beide Welten Furcht hatten
ob der Größe seiner Manneskraft--der, ihr Leute, ist Indra.

辻訳:

生まるるやいなや、最初の・思考力ある者として、
[最初の]神として、神々を賢慮によって掩護したる彼、
その息荒き勢いを、雄力の偉大さのゆえに、
天地両界の怖れたる彼、-- 彼は、人々よ、インドラなり。

My translation:

Who, as the foremost celestial being [of those] endowed with powers of mind,
surpassed [all other] celestial beings in insight [even when he had] just [been] born;
at whose [hissing/terrifying] vehemence the two worlds (Heaven and Earth, "the weepers") were trembling,
[trembling at] the might of [his] manly power: He, O men, is Indra!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Today's Rig Veda (RV 1.1.9)

RV 1.1.9

sa/ naḥ pite/va sūna/v[e
A/]gne sūpāyano/ bhava
sa/casvā naḥ s(u/)vasta/ye

Traduction par Renou:

Tel (étant), sois nous d'accès facile
comme (l'est) un père pour le fils, ô Agni;
tiens toi à nos côtés, pour (notre) salut!

Geldner-Übersetzung:

Sei du Agni uns zugänglich
wie ein Vater dem Sohne!
Sei mit uns zum Heile!

辻訳:

かかる汝は、アグニよ、われらにとり近づき易きものたれ、
父の息子におけるがごとく。
安祥のためわれらと共なれ。

My translation:

As such, O Agni, be easily approachable to us,
like a father to his son.
Accompany us for [our] prosperity!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Today's Rig Veda (RV 1.1.8)

RV 1.1.8

rā/jantam adhvarā/ṇāṁ
gopā/m ṛta/sya dī/divim
va/rdhamānaṃ s(u/)ve da/me

Traduction par Renou:

...toi qui régis les rites
(comme) gardien de l'Ordre-sacré, (dieu) éclatant,
qui prends croissance en ta propre maison.

Geldner-Übersetzung:

Dem Walter der Opferhandlungen,
dem Hüter des rechten Brauches, dem leuchtenden,
der im eigenen Hause heranwächst.

辻訳:

祭事の主宰者、
天則の保護者、光彩を放つ[神]、
自己の居所に増大する[汝に近づく]。

My translation:

[We respectfully approach thee], the ruler over the sacrifices,
the guardian of natural order, the radiant [celestial being],
[who] is growing in thine own house.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Today's Rig Veda (RV 1.1.7)

RV 1.1.7

u/pa tvāgne dive/-dive
doṣā/vastar dhiyā/ vaya/m
na/mo bha/ranta e/masi

Traduction par Renou:

Nous t'approchons jour après jour, ô Agni,
grâce à la vision-poétique, ô toi qui éclaires durant les nuits, nous-mêmes,
en t'apportant l'hommage,

Geldner-Übersetzung:

Dir, Agni, nahen wir Tag für Tag,
du Dunkel-Erheller, mit Andacht,
Huldigung darbringend,

辻訳:

アグニよ、日にけにわれら汝に近づく、
詩想を伴い、
頂礼を捧げつつ、暗黒の中に輝く[神]よ。

My translation:

O Agni, O illuminer of darkness,
by the [power of our] prayer
we [respectfully] approach thee day-after-day to convey [to you our] reverence.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Today's Rig Veda (RV 1.1.6)

RV 1.1.6

yad aṅga dāśuṣe t(u)vam
Agne bhadram kariṣyasi
tavet tat satyam Aṅgiraḥ

Traduction par Renou:

En vérité, quand tu décideras toi(-même),
ò Agni, de faire du bien à l'adorateur,
c'est à toi (qu'en reviendra le mérite) réel, ò Aṅgiras.

Geldner-Übersetzung:

Wenn du wirklich dem Spender
Gutes tun willst, Agni,
so wird bei dir das wahr, o Aṅgiras.

辻訳:

アグニよ、実(げ)にいかなる吉祥事を汝が祭祀者になさんとすとも、
そは汝にありてこそ真実なれ(必ず実現する)、
アンギラス(アグニの称呼)よ。

My translation:

Indeed, O Agni, the good you [deem to] do
for the worshipper,
that [good] of yours [becomes] real, O Angiras.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Today's Rig Veda (RV 1.1.5)

RV 1.1.5

Agnir hotā kavikratuḥ
satyaś citraśravastamaḥ
devo devebhir ā gamat

Traduction par Renou:

Agni, oblateur ayant le pouvoir-spirituel d'un poète,
(Agni) réel au renom très éclatant,
dieu (lui-même), qu'il vienne avec les dieux!

Geldner-Übersetzung:

Agni, der wahre Hotṛ mit Sehersinn
und am meisten ruhmglänzend,
der Gott soll mit den Göttern herkommen.

辻訳:

アグニ、詩人の霊感に富むホートリ祭官、
真実にして最も輝かしき名声をもつ神は、
神々と共に来たらんことを。

My translation:

O Agni, the sacrificer [endowed with] the spiritual power of the poet,
the true one of utmost brilliant glory,
the celestial being (Agni himself) shall come hither [to us] with the [other] celestial beings!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Daniel Dennett: Elbow Room

Daniel Dennett
Elbow Room
The Varieties of Free Will Worth Wanting


The following is a short summary of my impressions after reading Daniel Dennett's thought-provoking Elbow Room, a medium-length (172 pages) philosophical inquiry into the perennial problem of free will.

What I have always appreciated about Dennett's methodology is that he takes the findings of science seriously, using it to fuel much of his philosophical speculation. As he says:

"[The fear of science] survives on ignorance. It is fostered by oversimplified visions of what science has to tell us about ourselves and the rest of the universe, about causation, about time, about possibility. So long as we refuse to look closely at the details of what the scientific image of humanity might be—for fear of what we might find—the suspicion will always persist that abstract philosophical arguments purporting to prove the compatibility of freedom and science are just so much whistling in the dark." (p. 170)

And:

"I know that the naturalistic attitude I have espoused, the attitude that encourages us to think of ourselves, imaginatively, as organic robots, as designed portions of the material universe, is odious to many humanists. I have tried to show them that in shunning it, they turn their back on a fruitful source of philosophical ideas." (p. 171)

Dennett's argument is that while "we are afraid of not having free will" (p. 5), when we examine the "bogeymen" (The Invisible Jailer, The Nefarious Neurosurgeon, The Cosmic Child Whose Dolls We Are, The Malevolent Mindreader, The Disappearing Self, The Dread Secret, as he calls them) a world devoid of free will is purported to entail, there is not as much cause for concern as we may think. Dennett urges us to think of the issue in the following way:

"Ask yourself: can I even conceive of beings whose wills are freer than our own? What regrettable feature of our lot as physical organisms is not a feature of their lot? If the ideal of freedom we hold out for is simply self-contradictory, we should hardly feel bereft when we learn we cannot have it. There's no sense wringing our hands because we can't undo the past, and can't prevent an event that actually happens, and can't create ourselves ex nihilo, and can't choose both alternatives at a decision point, and can't be perfect." (p. 172)

Another section I found interesting was Dennett's discussion of the issues of agency, deliberation, and the limits of self-knowledge. Micro-knowledge of how these processes occur within ourselves is likely impossible—indeed, these are areas to which we have "underprivileged access." Because of this, we are prone to attributing a center of agency (a self) to our mental processes:

"Faced with our inability to 'see' (by 'introspection') where the center or source of our free actions is, and loath to abandon our conviction that we really do things (for which we are responsible), we exploit the cognitive vacuum, the gaps in our self-knowledge, by filling it with a rather magical and mysterious entity, the unmoved mover, the active self." (p. 79)

And:

"...there is something like an illusion of scale caused by magnification of effects by the nervous system. Whatever else we are, we are information-processing systems, and all information-processing systems rely on amplifiers of a sort. Relatively small causes are made to yield relatively large effects." (p. 76)

With regard to the mental activity of deliberation, which could be described as running various scenarios in our heads to determine optimal ways of acting (the "inner game of tennis" in which conflicting options compete in our heads), Dennett has some interesting things to say about why such a strategy may have arisen during the course of the brain's evolution:

"Under what conditions would the activity of asking oneself questions be useful? All one needs to suppose is that there is some compartmentalization and imperfect internal communication between components of a creature's cognitive system, so that one component can need the output of another component but be unable to address that component directly. Suppose the only way of getting component A to do its job is to provoke it into action by a certain sort of stimulus that normally comes from the outside, from another creature. If one day one discovers that one can play the role of this other and achieve a good result by autostimulation, the practice will blaze a valuable new communicative trail between one's internal components, a trail that happens to wander out into the public space of airwaves and acoustics." (p. 40)

Maybe this explains why our heads are filled with so many (often superfluous) thoughts!

Today's Rig Veda (RV 1.1.4)

RV 1.1.4

Agne yaṃ yajñam adhvaraṃ
viśvataḥ paribhūr asi
sa id deveṣu gachati

Traduction par Renou:

O Agni, le sacrifice, le rite
que tu environnes de toutes parts,
celui-là seul va chez les dieux.

Geldner-Übersetzung:

Agni! Nur die Anbetung und das Opfer,
das du ganz zusammenhältst,
gelangt zu den Göttern.

辻訳:

アグニよ、汝が
あらゆる方面より包囲する(保護する)祭祀と祭事のみ、
神々のもとに到達す。

My translation:

O Agni, the worship
[and] the sacrifice that you completely envelop,
only that [can] reach to the celestial beings.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Today's Rig Veda (RV 1.1.3)

RV 1.1.3

Agninā rayim aśnavat
poṣam eva dive-dive
yaśasaṃ vīravattamam

Traduction par Renou:

Grâce à Agni puisse (le sacrifiant) atteindre richesse
(et) prospérité jour après jour,
(richesse et prospérité) honorable, très abondante en hommes d'élite!

Geldner-Übersetzung:

Durch Agni möge er Reichtum
und Zuwachs Tag für Tag erlangen,
ansehnlichen, der die meisten Söhne zählt.

辻訳:

アグニにより[祭祀者は]、
日にけに富をかち得んことを、
名声に満ち・勝れたる男子に最も富む繁栄をこそ。

My translation:

Thanks to Agni, [the sacrificer] will [surely] attain riches
day-after-day [and] nothing less than prosperity most abundant
in glorious offspring.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Today's Rig Veda (RV 1.1.2)

RV 1.1.2

Agniḥ pūrvebhir ṛṣibhir
īḷio nūtanair uta
sa devāṁ eha vakṣati

Traduction par Renou:

Agni est digne d'être invoqué par les Prophètes antiques
ainsi que par ceux de maintenant:
qu'il convoie les dieux ici!

Geldner-Übersetzung:

Agni war von den früheren Ṛṣis
und ist von den jüngsten zu berufen;
er möge die Götter hierher fahren.

辻訳:

アグニは古(いにしえ)の聖仙により[讃えられ]、
また今の[聖仙]によりて讃えられるべきなり。
彼のここに神々を運び来たらんことを。

My translation:

Agni, worthy of being praised by the ancient Seers
and also [the Seers of] the present--
he shall [surely] lead the celestial beings here!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Castelnuovo-Tedesco: Melancolía

This is movement no. VII (Melancolía) from Castelnuovo-Tedesco's Platero y yo (opus 90), a set of pieces written in 1960 for narrator and guitar. The lyrics to be read by the narrator are from Juan Ramón Jiménez's poem of the same name. The Spanish poet Jiménez (1881-1958) received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1956. This poem was written in 1914 as a reflection on his hometown in Andalusia.

Tedesco's composition style is programmatic, and this movement depicts the narrator's visit to the grave of Platero, his beloved donkey. The narrator asks Platero if he still remembers him down here on earth. As a sign from heaven, a white butterfly flutters by. This is the "fluttery" passage that you can hear at the end.

Here is the section of the poem (section no. 135 of 138 sections) that goes with this movement:

Melancolía


Esta tarde he ido con los niños a visitar la sepultura de Platero, que está en el huerto de la Piña, al pie del pino redondo y paternal. En torno, abril había adornado la tierra húmeda de grandes lirios amarillos.
Cantaban los chamarices allá arriba, en la cúpula verde, toda pintada de cenit azul, y su trino menudo, florido y reidor, se iba en el aire de oro de la tarde tibia, como un claro sueño de amor nuevo.
Los niños, así que iban llegando, dejaban de gritar. Quietos y serios, sus ojos brillantes en mis ojos, me llenaban de preguntas ansiosas.
—¡Platero amigo!—le dije yo a la tierra— ; si, como pienso, estás ahora en un prado del cielo y llevas sobre tu lomo peludo a los ángeles adolescentes, ¿me habrás, quizá, olvidado? Platero, dime: ¿te acuerdas aún de mí?
Y, cual contestando a mi pregunta, una leve mariposa blanca, que antes no había visto, revolaba insistentemente, igual que un alma, de lirio en lirio...

The 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics

I just saw on the news this evening that three Japanese researchers, Yoichiro Nambu, Makoto Kobayashi, and Toshihide Masukawa have received the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physics. This is great news! I hope this will inspire younger generations in Japan to pursue the sciences.

With the increasing number of pseudoscience/antiscience books seen on the market in Japan recently, it is refreshing to know that Japan can still kick some butt in these areas.

Today's Rig Veda (RV 1.1.1)

RV 1.1.1

agnim īḷe purohitam
yajñasya devam ṛtvijam
hotāraṃ ratnadhātamam

Traduction par Renou:

J'invoque Agni (en tant que) préposé (au culte),
dieu du sacrifice, officiant,
oblateur conférant les trésors par excellence.

Geldner
-Übersetzung:

Agni berufe ich als Bevollmächtigten,
als Gott-Priester des Opfers,
als Hotṛ, der am meisten Lohn einbringt.

辻訳:

アグニをわれ呼び讃う、先頭に立てられたる者(司祭官)、
神なる祭祀の執行者、
もっとも多く財宝をもたらすホートリ祭官として。

My translation:

I praise Agni, the presiding priest,
the celestial ministrant of the sacrifice,
the sacrificer, the greatest bestower of treasures.

And here I start...

Had a good meeting today at Kyoto Univ. with the linguistics professor. I am hoping to get into the program next April if everything goes as planned.

I'd like to keep this blog as a record of my thoughts and experiences I'll have over the next few years. I made a big change in my life recently--that's a topic I'll write about later.

After the meeting, I came back to Otani and spent an hour or so reading Daniel Dennett's Elbow Room, a philosophical inquiry into the issue of free will. It looks like it should be interesting.