Thoughts Notes on Buddhism

My Thoughts

April 14th, 2024

Making Mead

This isn't the first time I've made mead, but it is the first time I've made a lot of it, and also wrote down my whole process.

I made almost a full gallon this time! I decided to go with a 3:1 water to honey ratio, which made it really sweet. I used 5g of yeast, which I'm not entirely sure why specifically 5g but it worked so I won't complain. After two weeks it was still fermenting a bit so I put it in the fridge for a little to kill the rest of the yeast. Now that it's all settled to the ground, I've noticed some film developing on the top as well. Now that I have a syphon, I can just syphon out all of the mead in the middle and discard the top and bottom bits. It's not an ideal process, but I don't have some sort of separator, so it'll work for now.

Up next I'll try out 4:1 water to honey and see how it turns out. Since I went heavier on the honey this time it turned out a lot sweeter, but also a lot darker. I'm looking for that spot in the middle where you can still taste the honey, but it's also gold and clear. After that, I'll try flavoring and infusing!

April 11th, 2024

In the past three or so years, I cannot deny I've changed quite a bit. I try to refrain from saying so, because a man that always goes on about how much he's changed really hasn't changed at all, but I bring it up because it's relevant in this scenario. I like to refer to my "seventeen year-old self" as the representation of the person I once was. I was selfish, full of myself, and a complete egomaniac. I thought that I knew everything and wanted to enforce my supposed omniscience on everyone that I viewed as "below" me. I mention this to say that I understand this sort of mindset very well, and that I know exactly how someone might end up here and how they can escape.

I frequently see people who exhibit this sort of behavior, sometimes they're much older than me, other times much younger. I wish that I could help them, but because of the nature of this sort of mindset, they are virtually unable to realize just how controlled they are by their ego. Any advice I give will be seen as the naive worldview of a young man with no experience. They'll say, "Ah just give it a couple years and you'll understand," when really it is them who misunderstands.

Or maybe none of this really exists? I'm no mind reader. I can't tell what people's intentions are, or what they're thinking, all I know is what I see.

April 4th, 2024

The greatest problem among young boys and men today is one thing: egotism. Some call it narcissism, some call it arrogance, but it's all derived from the obsession with oneself over others. I first began noticing this in my younger self, and once I had an idea of what it was I began noticing it in boys all around me. I recently saw a boy, around 14, at the supermarket "jokingly" shove his mom. Of course, his father was nowhere to be found, and the boy was dressed head to toe in sportswear. These are the kinds of boys that I'm talking about, and I am very thankful that I was able to pull myself out of this spiral so that I can spread what I've learned from it. What is the cure for egotism? Ego death. Complete and utter humiliation. If you're reading this and you have a young egomaniacal son, humilate him.

Recently I was reading Musashi, as I'm sure you already know by now considering how much I mention it, and a realization occurred to me. Early on in the book, Musashi is a menace to his village and frequently gets into trouble. At the age of seventeen this all comes to a head when Musashi comes back to the village while on the run from the local Daimyo. The man in charge of capturing Musashi is Aoki Tanzaemon, but he's completely incompetent, so he agrees to allow a Buddhist monk Takuan Soho choose Musashi's punishment. Takuan captures Musashi and ties him high up in a cryptomeria tree and leaves him there for days, possibly weeks. All he is able to eat is whatever bug may be crawling nearby, all he can drink is the rain that might fall, he has no choice but to pee himself when the urge arises. Musashi during this time faces death, and genuinely believes that his time has come. He's left with entire days to think about his actions and how they've affected others. On the verge of death, he is cut down and freed. This, I feel, is what these boys need. Something to completely destroy their ego, so that they can rebuild themselves from the ground up into a new, humbler man. If for some reason a parent is reading this, I encourage you to read the book yourself so that you can understand the true nature of the punishment and its effects. Regardless though, the ego must go.

April 1st, 2024

I haven't felt the need to post anything here lately, which I see as a good thing funnily enough. I like to think that the desire to express yourself is something that builds up over time until you release it somewhere. I've been focusing all of that energy toward strengthening my mind and becoming that pillar of strength I've talked about before. Of course I'm not there yet, I may never be there. There's a part of the Hagakure that I've committed to memory: "Your life is something you build everyday. You must convince yourself that you have surpassed yesterday. And tomorrow you must feel that you have surpassed today. In this way, there is no end to your mastery."

I recently felt the urge to rewatch Samurai Champloo, so I downloaded the entire series and am putting it on a flash drive so I can watch it on the big screen. Thinking about Samurai Champloo, I can't help but imagine the characters as a high school friend group, doing everything together for those four years, and then never seeing each other again afterward. I don't typically like to publicly profess that I watch anime because I get grouped in with the kinds of people that watch Naruto and One Piece and the like, but I believe as far as anime is concerned, I haven't seen very many better than Samurai Champloo.

March 9th, 2024

I've been learning about old game console hardware lately, I even stumbled across a bit of software based on the SNES's MusEd (Music Editor) called EBMusEd (Earthbound Music Editor). All of this got me thinking about the hardware limitations of the time, and how those limitations actually resulted in more uniqueness among the games of the time. With SNES music, there was no set music editor at the time (MusEd was a tool programmed by game devs to make it easier to make SNES music), so developers had to come up with their own solutions to this problem. Some programmed their own sound drivers so that they could get the sounds they wanted, others just used the sample packs that Nintendo sent out, you can usually tell which ones are which.

Taking a look at games today, there are no hardware limitations, period. Any game developer that tries to tell you their game can only be run on new gen consoles today is either outright lying to you to sell consoles, or is too lazy to put in the work to optimize the game properly. As far as I know, every single SNES game could fit on a 3mb cartridge. If someone today were to attempt to make that exact game with modern technology, it would undoubtedly be a lot larger than 3mb, because modern game development pays no mind to any sort of optimization. There really isn't any clever way of solving a problem unique to your game anymore, because modern hardware can handle anything. With that being said, I've noticed a lot of people online realizing the same thing, that hardware limitations actually breed creativity and uniqueness in the game world. So why do people dog on the Switch so much? Everyone that talks about the Switch has two criticisms about it: the Switch hardware is "outdated", and the JoyCon drift makes it practically unplayable. I happen to agree with the JoyCon drift take, but since when do hardware limitations make the games worse? I think when comparing modern-day remakes to 2D originals, most people prefer the originals. There is something about the restriction, the idea that you can't go anywhere and do anything like most games today will try to tell you, that makes these games more enjoyable. Would Chrono Trigger be remembered by anyone if it were a modern third-person JRPG? I don't believe so. The reason Chrono Trigger is said to be one of the greatest games ever made isn't just because it's a good game, but that in playing it you could actually see the developers' well-thought-out solutions to problems throughout development. Playing the game, you can tell the devs came upon the problem of, "Well we want to make a JRPG, but turn-based combat is boring, so how can we make it interesting?" and they solved it in a way that was completely unique to their game.

I may be rambling a bit just because I like Chrono Trigger, but my main point is that I don't believe the Switch is a bad console (if they just fixed the JoyCon drift ;-;), nor do I believe it is inferior to PlayStation or Xbox. In the end, what makes a console good is its games, and in that regard, I would consider the Switch to be more of a success than both of its competitors.

March 5th, 2024

The concept of what a man is supposed to be has all but completely vanished in this modern age. It really is true what they say, chivalry is dead. Most people today don't even understand what chivalry actually is. It isn't simply holding the door for the lady at the store. I like to compare the image of the ideal man with that of the knights of medieval Europe, or the samurai of feudal Japan, or the ancient Roman generals. Though worlds apart, they all seek to better themselves to the grave and don't bother those around them with useless complaints of their own troubles. Personally, I look up to these figures of history, men like Marcus Aurelius, Miyamoto Musashi, and Alexander the Great; I'm not concerned with whether or not these men were actually good people. What matters more is the concept that they represent. Marcus Aurelius teaches to never hold a grudge, to not worry yourself over useless conflicts, to value your friends and family, and to always forgive when asked for forgiveness. Musashi teaches that you should spend every moment of your entire life devoted toward achieving a goal, and never stray from that path. Alexander the Great shows you what a true leader is supposed to be. All of them are undoubtedly great men, and I aspire to learn from each of them.

However, I've noticed around me the true weakness within men today. I am consistently appalled at how pathetically some men choose to live their lives, fearing conflict and holding in their minds petty arguments as if they were vital to their survival. For the sake of my argument, I label these as feminine traits, and the men that possess them as feminine men. So often I see men who engage in useless drama and allow it to consume their lives. Forgive the cliche, but these men are snakes. As I've surely said before, a man's job is to be a pillar of honor, strength, and reliability to all around him. If something is asked of him, he should provide it gladly. Some may call that "being a pushover" but there is a significant difference between allowing yourself to be taken advantage of and proving to be useful to someone else. Anyone that truly wishes to become a man will keep this in mind, and will always help others when they are able.

One of the biggest issues plaguing men today is misogyny. I don't simply refer to the hatred of women, as I feel the hatred of anyone is immasculine. In this case I'm referring to the men that treat women as equals. It is a difficult phenomenon to describe to someone unfamiliar with the idea, but I will try my best. True misogyny is much more common than the widely accepted form of misogyny. Only a small portion of men truly hate women, but nearly all men today treat women as their equal. This is partly good, as women should not be treated as inferior obviously, but women are not men. I've seen countless cases of men, myself included unfortunately, expecting women to behave as they themselves would. The classic case of, "I want a girlfriend that likes everything I like." These men don't really want a girlfriend if this statement is to be believed. Women are women, and men are men. Women have different interests than men, so for a man to expect a woman to be interested in his own interests, he would have to impose them onto her, which is immasculine. Even if you were to find a woman that shares your interests, she does not share them for the same reasons as you. This misunderstanding of women, along with countless others, lead to a plague of men accusing women of being unloveable and not worth their time. The, "You can't fix her," mentality. Women are, men are made. If a woman has problems that must be fixed, they are there because of weak men, and it is the duty of strong men to fix them. Bad women are created by weak men. Absent fathers, abusive boyfriends, useless brothers, all contribute to ruining a girl's life. A real man recognizes this reality, and takes up the responsibility of being a pillar of strength for anyone that may need it.

Upon realizing this, you will take the first steps to becoming a respectable man. First you learn the true meaning of chivalry, how a man should treat a woman: with respect, with honesty, and with kindness. After this step comes the truly difficult endeavor, obtaining skills that allow you to provide for the woman you've chosen. It is my personal belief that women should never have to work a real job. Of course they can if they really want to, but it should always be an option, never a requirement, and thus it is the man's job to provide for her her needs and wants. This should not be seen as a bad thing either. "Ugh, I'm always paying the bills and buying the groceries, when is she going to do something?" This is the mindset of a child. A man derives a feeling of fulfillment from providing for those he loves, and should perform such tasks with pleasure.

Outside of relationships, a man should focus all of his time toward accomplishing goals. In the Hagakure, it states that a man that cannot function while unhappy is useless. Seeing as the Hagakure was written in feudal Japan, it should go without saying that a man who is of no use to those around him only had one choice: seppuku. Of course I'm not advocating for the suicide of useless men, but I would like to point out the true severity of being useless to those around you. A man's true purpose is to be of use to others, and he should be happy to fulfill such acts. It is undeniable that a man who provides nothing for anyone is miserable himself, and the only cure for this misery is to become useful.

There are countless other acts and behaviors that make a man, but it is impossible to codify them all. I hope that in reading this you derive some form of meaning from it, and that if you would consider yourself a weak man, you take this as your sign to become strong. Learn, grow, and above all else, help others.

March 4th, 2024

Sake Update

I will admit, I got a little impatient and bottled it a few days early, so it's not entirely done fermenting, but it's basically done! Here's what I've done since the last update:

  • Once the constant bubbling began to slow (about two weeks after starting) I spent a few hours laboriously straining the entire gallon of sake I have
  • I strained the fermented mush using a collander with fairly big holes just to get the larger grains of rice out
  • I then restrained all of it with a finer collander to get even more rice out
  • Once it was a liquid instead of a mushy paste, I bottled it up and let it sit for a while

The cloudiness you see is caused by even smaller particles of rice still floating around that I've yet to filter out. I could leave it like that if I really wanted to. Cloudy, white sake is called nigorizake, and it's traditionally how all sake was made and consumed. However, I'd like mine to be a bit clearer. In order to do this, I'm going to let it sit for a while until the sake and rice have completely separated, and then I'm going to siphon the clear sake out. Unfortunately this means I'll be left with a good bit of "waste" nigorizake, but I've read it tastes good with chocolate ice cream, so maybe it won't go to waste after all. I'm hoping I can get it clear by Monday next week, but we'll see I suppose.

I've tasted both the clear parts and cloudy parts and I will say it makes you feel really warm inside. I'd imagine it tastes even better hot and with a meal. The cloudy part has a strange texture to it, because of the rice obviously, so that's mainly why I want it gone.

March 2nd, 2024

I'm beginning to experience firsthand the internet's transition from blogs to social media posts. I now have a deeper understanding of why such a change occurred, being that I've implemented it myself via this page to replace my old "blogs" page. It's an interesting thing to notice.

March 1st, 2024

They say you shouldn't drink raw milk because it can spread disease. Without thinking, this makes sense, but if you consider it for just a moment, the question arises: how did people drink milk before pasteurization? They drank raw milk. People have been drinking raw milk for thousands of years, and it wasn't until 1886 that the idea of pasteurizing milk popped up. Why? Health articles online say it's because there is a particular strain of bovine (cow) tuberculosis that was being spread through raw milk and killing 50,000 people a year, and this is most likely true. However, what they don't tell you is that this outbreak of bovine tuberculosis is most definitely caused by keeping large amounts of cows in dirty living conditions and within close proximity to each other. One thing I've noticed over the past year or so is that when you create an unnatural environment, it naturally becomes filthy and disease ridden. Pigs only become filthy when they're confined to a pig pen, same with all other livestock. So then, drinking unpasteurized milk is okay if I know where it's coming from? Most likely. The food regulations come as a side effect of not being in control of where your food comes from. Same with sashimi. How do you suppose they protected against parasites in Edo Japan when they didn't have freezers on hand? They just ate the fish fresh! In our present day we don't know how long our supermarket fish has been in transit, so by the time it reaches our kitchen it really isn't very safe to eat. You can avoid almost all foodborn illnesses by simply knowing where your food comes from, or even better, producing the food yourself. Bringing it back to milk, the reason I'm so strongly for raw milk, and against pasteurized milk, is that raw milk contains lactase. Lactase is the enzyme that helps you break down milk in your stomach. During pasteurization, this lactase is removed, thus leading to many cases in which peoples' bodies don't contain enough lactase to properly digest the milk, so it spoils inside them, hence lactose intolerance. You'll find that when supposed lactose intolerant people drink raw milk, it doesn't affect them at all. This is only one example, but consider this for a moment: if a widely accepted practice, like pasteurization,that we believe to be beneficial is actually causing us harm and discomfort, what other normal things could be harming us?

February 25th, 2024

Sake Update

The jug I'm using to ferment my sake. I got it on Amazon for about $10. It's been a little over a week since the fermentation began and you can now start to see a separation between the rice and sake.

Inside the jug it smells kind of like apples, or maybe flowers. I made the mistake of sticking my nose in and taking a huge whiff and I almost passed out, the smell burns your nostrils and your entire body jumps back. You might not be able to see, but it is constantly bubbling. It's like when you open a soda and all the bubbles rush to the top, but it's been doing that nonstop for over a week. This is because yeast, being a fungus, consumes sugar from the rice and spits out carbon dioxide and ethanol as a result, meaning the yeast is currently creating the alcohol and carbonating it. Once the alcohol levels reach a certain point, around 20% ABV, the yeast will no longer be able to live in the sake and it will all die. At that point, the fermentation is done. All that's left is straining and aging!

February 24th, 2024

An excerpt from Musashi:

He (Musashi) had conceived of his present plan while standing by the farmer's fresh grave in the tiny burial ground. "I'll lay down my sword for a time," he had decided, "and work with a hoe instead." Zen, calligraphy, the art of tea, painting pictures, and carving statues were all useful in perfecting one's swordsmanship. Couldn't tilling a field also contribute to his training? Wasn't this broad tract of earth, waiting for someone to bring it under cultivation, a perfect training hall? By changing inhospitable flatlands into farmlands, he would also be promoting the welfare of future generations. He'd lived his whole life like a mendicant Zen priest — on the receiving end, so to speak, depending on other people for food, shelter, and donations. He wanted to make a change, a radical one, since he'd long suspected that only those who had actually grown their own grain and vegetables really understood how valuable they were. Those who hadn't were like priests who did not practice what they preached or swordsmen who learned combat techniques but knew nothing of the Way. As a boy, he had been taken by his mother into the fields and had worked alongside the tenants and villagers. His purpose now, however, was more than just to produce food for his daily meals; he sought nourishment for his soul. He wanted to learn what it meant to work for a living, rather than beg for one. He also wanted to implant his own way of thinking among the people of the district. As he saw it, by surrendering the land to weeds and thistles and giving in to storms and floods, they were passing their hand-to-mouth existence from generation to generation without ever opening their eyes to their own potentialities and those of the land around them.

February 22nd, 2024

Awesome video:


February 19th, 2024

Life is too complicated to understand it with words, go out and experience it firsthand. Subsequently, lived experience is more valuable in the real world than one hundred years of academia.

February 15th, 2024

Attempt #2 at sake (the last one failed)

What could have gone wrong:

  • Failed to keep rice at 30C
  • Failed to keep rice moist at all times
  • Didn't stir rice at exactly the 10 hour mark (was working at the time)

Changes for attempt #2:

  • Storing inoculated rice in oven with the light on (oven itself is not on)
  • Regularly misting and stirring rice at the 10 hour mark

February 12th, 2024

At some point I'll have to figure something out. I'm only barely stable financially, and it's not with a job I'd particularly enjoy doing for decades. I've resolved to practice a variety of skills, and each with the commitment and dedication that any singular skill demands. Should I try my hand at pottery, I'll pour my entire soul into it. I'll continue martial arts, and continue to practice it as if it were my only path in life, as with everything else.

February 11th, 2024

First attempt at making sake:

  • Weighed out 400g of medium-grain rice
  • Washed it and soaked in water for one hour
  • Drained water and steamed it for 1:30
  • Let it cool for a bit until it was 30C
  • Mixed in a teaspoon of koji
  • UPDATE 02/12/2024: Tried to keep the rice warm and burned it a lil :'(

Changes for future:

  • Figure out a way to keep rice from drying out after steaming
    • Developed a system for misting the rice while I stir it so it stays moist
  • Figure out how to keep rice warm while inoculating

February 11th, 2024

As our society has become over time more logical, more scientific, and more materialist, we have abandoned spiritualism, yet we wonder why life feels so meaningless? I've just read an excerpt in the book Musashi by Eiji Yoshikawa where Musashi himself, trapped outside in the freezing cold, blames his coldness on the coldness of his heart toward others, and uses this as a reason to treasure his independence and freedom without having to burden others with his presence. It's interesting, drawing the parallel that if this sort of thing were to happen in the present day, no such revelation would be achieved. A man would simply say, "It's so cold out here, I need to get inside!" rather than resolving any sort of inner conflict within himself that may be causing him to dwell on the cold. Believe it or not, someone with a sound heart and mind can easily brush off even the freezing cold without a second thought. "The difference between a beggar and the great wandering priest Saigyō lies inside the heart!"

February 4th, 2024

My very first post on this thing! I threw it together in about half an hour, so I'm sure it will change a lot over time, but this will be the place I put all of my thoughts that I can't quite coherently fit in to a blog post. Maybe this will make my blog posts more readable, who knows.