Sunday, April 26, 2015

Birth and Death Portfolio Guide

Story 1: The Songbird's Fate
This story elaborates on the life of the little songbird in the opening of Buck's Ramayana.

Story 2: Chatterbox's Worst Day EVER
A story of a manipulative brother and a poor gullible little girl.

Story 3: Loving A Crazy Lady
Santanu's thoughts, ideas (and maybe a few regrets) about marrying that crazy lady Ganga. 

Story 4: The Fate Of The Disobedient
We all disobey our parents from time to time, right? But this time, for Ferra, things end tragically in her world.

Monday, April 20, 2015

College Writing Review

            Writing has always been a strange thing for me. I was an absolutely box-minded, horrible writer when I was younger until I was inspired by a teacher of mine in 5th grade (see “Writing Review Week” post during Week 8).  Since, I have had no real trouble with it, that is, until recently. This past semester I have written more than I have in over two years. This class, as well as my Law & Society class, has forced me out of my comfort zone of technical writing into a more creative realm I hadn’t visited in quite some time. Writing without the strict constraints of  “hypothesis, steps, justification, etc.”  has been incredibly difficult for me to get used to. Many would argue that there is no “wrong” writing, and anyone who has written a technical report would quickly refute that: hence my struggle. Many times I sat down with my fingers resting on my keyboard and no idea what to do. I didn’t have an outline. I didn’t have a set goal. I was just supposed to write. And I did, and more often than not, beauty fell out.

            Writing, especially in a college setting, always seems to have so many constraints placed upon it. “Make sure it’s five pages. Have an obvious thesis. Stay on topic. Follow this format.” and so on and so on. I always sit there with a rubric in my hands, holding back a little scream and all of my creativity. It’s a little backwards. If I can adequately convey my point in four and a half pages, why must it be five? What if my thesis isn’t blatantly stated by design? It’s a big no-no to cross the rubric in collegiate writing, and granted the constraints are there to weed out the excuses, but is completely restricting my thinking better than half a page of babble? I’m not sure I know that answer but to that I say:

            I am SO incredibly thankful that I ended up taking this course. While it may have been stressful at times to think of a story and execute it with proper grammar and punctuation, it re-opened my thought processes and my love of literature and prose. I am really excited to finally have time to read over the summer for the first time in months. I’ve even decided to start a blog of some sort for me to babble about my struggles and successes, at least through the summer. Hopefully throughout the rest of my college experience as well.  I have a feeling that blog is going to be a lot like me: confusing, random, ridiculous and overly sarcastic… but that’s beside the point.  “Epics of India” was much more than just another class to get through, but an eye opener to culture, stories, writing…creativity! I would have thought I would enjoy something like this as much as I did and I am so glad that a strange series of events led me to this rekindling of such a wonderful thing.

Image which reads
"Find your voice.
Express yourself.
Creative Writing"
Provided by Wikipedia Commons


Friday, April 10, 2015

Week 12 Essay: The Life of Buddha

        This week, I explored The Life of Buddha by Andre Ferdinand Herold translated by Paul C. Blum. The original text was written in French but the translation by Blum was seamless. The story flowed very well, and gave enough background information within the story itself to keep confusion at bay. Each chapter was relatively short, but incredibly descriptive and entertaining. It is obvious that this book was well thought out, and each word was placed with intention.

        The Life of Buddha was my favorite Un-Textbook story I have read. The simple, modern English made the reading so much easier than a couple others I have come across. The only issue with the available text was a lack of PDF. I often close everything out, without thinking and found myself having to re- find the website and re-find my place in the book. Not a huge deal, but enough of an ordeal for me to think of it as a hassle.

        I have always been somewhat acquainted with the story of Buddha, but told from the Asian point of view which, believe it or not, is different. Every piece of information I gathered from Buddha throughout my life focused almost exclusively on him after his revelations. Learning the story of Buddha from birth was so informational.

        My favorite story from the reading was Siddhartha’s trips into the city in Gopa’s Dream and Siddhartha is Eager to Know the Great Truths. Siddhartha was shocked to discover pain and suffering. So much so that he completely changed his entire life path toward seeking the end of these terrible pains. These two stories took me by surprise not because of their content but the message. We so often brush off the pain of the world and accept that sickness and age and death are inevitable, and while that is true and should be remembered it is all too often a justification. To see that Siddhartha was so incredibly inconsolable, reminded me that suffering is not mundane. Life is not mundane. The parallels between the story of Jesus and Siddhartha was also a little unexpected. I have always been aware of the principle of universal history but these two stories were much more similar than I had originally realized.

        I absolutely loved The Life of Buddha. It is one of those things that I feel was unjustly excluded from being a classic. The religious aspects aside Siddhartha’s story is such a good “Food for Thought” provoking story. This story has inspired me to re-kindle my exploration of the Greek, Roman, and now Eastern classics. 

Image of Buddha Meditating
Provided by Wikipedia

Bibliography: The Life of Buddha by Andre Ferdinand Herold (1922) 
Translated by Paul C. Blum (1927)

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Week 12 Storytelling: Siddhartha's Diary

Hey, Diary!

I have exciting news! Dad finally decided to let me leave the palace! It’s so exciting I've been waiting to do this for years. I’m glad he realizes that I’m mature enough handle what’s out there.

I am so excited!

Dear Diary,

I know it’s been a while since I've talked to you. I've just been so heart-broken. It’s been hard to figure out what to say. Dad finally let me leave the palace about a couple weeks ago and explore the city. I know it should have been fun and exciting but the things I saw….. I will never be the same…

Let me explain. So you know that I've lived a pretty sheltered life. I know that Dad just wants to protect me and keep me innocent but so much exposure all at once… It scared me.

Each trip started out great. The guards opened the gates and off we went into the streets of the city. It was so cool to see the land that we rule. We traveled down the road seamlessly until I saw this weird looking- man and turns out he’s sick. Not only is he sick, but anyone can become sick. Anyone can suddenly be stricken with complete disaster.

I got over it the first time. I just accepted that there is sickness out in the world and took another trip into the city. That trip started out well until I saw a beggar and the next trip an old man. I put my disappointment and pain aside and took another trip into the city today and this time someone was DEAD. People DIE. I just don’t understand how everyone can go on about their life knowing that it’s all for nothing. Why are we living if we are just going to die? Why am I living if I’m just going to die?

Until next time,

Hi, Diary,

I know I promised I would talk to you again, but I have been so busy trying to figure out what to do. There is just so much despair in the world and here I am living a lavish life in the palace. I have to do something about it. I can’t just sit back and live my life without purpose. I have to find the end of death and suffering. I have to.



Today is the day. Today is the day I've figured out what to do to end the world’s pain. I have to leave the palace. I know Dad and Gopa are going to be so heart -broken, and Rahula is going to grow up without a father, but I just can’t take it anymore. I have to leave and find the answer to my questions. I’m not sure where I’m going, and I’m not sure what I’m going to encounter but I have to go. I have to leave tonight. Gopa and Rahula are asleep. The chariot is ready. I have to go now.

I hope to be able to talk soon, Diary.

Image of Siddhartha Leaving His Family
Provided by Imgarcade

Author's Note: I wrote this story based off of The Life of Buddha by Andre Ferdinand Herold Translated by Paul C. Blum. In this story, Siddhartha is finally able to leave the palace but because of his sheltered life, he is completely shocked by the pain that exists in the world. He cannot believe that everyone continues to live knowing that sickness and age and death are just around the corner, ready to truncate life at any moment. Siddhartha becomes convicted of his lavish life and goes on a pilgrimage to find "True Knowledge" and end the world's suffering. In this story, I took the thoughts expressed in the book and elaborated into a further detailed narrative of what is going through Siddhartha's Mind.

Bibliography: The Life of Buddha by Andre Ferdinand Herold (1922) Translated by Paul C. Blum (1927)

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Week 12 Reading Diary B: The Life of Buddha

Siddhartha is so distraught from the discovery of age and sickness and death decides to leave the kings palace to commence his quest for good. *tear*

He reaches a forest full of hermits and here he decides is the place he will begin to find a way to destroy old age and death.

This quote on page 63 is really great“Unhappiness is born of desire; that man is to be pitied who is a slave to his passions. When a man dies, there are always heirs to his fortune, but heirs to his virtues are rarely found, are never found.

And this one

“…the practice of virtue is never untimely.”

When Gopa and Suddhodana find out Siddhartha is gone they are in complete despair.

Siddhartha meditates for many years eating nearly nothing, exposing his bones

Image of Siddhartha Meditating
Provided by Wikipedia Commons

Siddhartha is beginning to collect disciples, beginning with five, who leave him calling him crazy because he has yet to gain true knowledge.

He has several crazy dreams and upon awakening he realizes that he has gained the true knowledge- he is ready to become Buddha.


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Week 12 Reading Diary A: The Life of Buddha- His Birth

The beginning of The Life of Buddha has been quite interesting. His mother, Maya is the Queen to Suddhodana. She gives up her “worldly” evil desires for a life of good, virtue and abstinence. She heads to an apartment to act out her creed.

While she is away she has a dream that she becomes pregnant with a white elephant with many tusks and the Gods praise her and her good deed. When she woke up, she was overjoyed and wanted to speak to the King, her husband.

He agrees to meet her and as he is approaching her, he feels a sense of weakness and uneasiness. Shortly, a voice from above tells him that his wife, Queen Maya, is going to carry this wonderful son of the Gods, Buddha. He is overjoyed by the knowledge of having this son.

Months passed and the time came for Maya to give birth to Buddha.  She goes to give birth in the garden to allow Buddha to begin his life surrounded by the innocent purity of the flowers. When she entered the forest, she saw a beautiful tree full of flowers and suddenly and easily, she gave birth to Buddha. The Earth was full of joy. Every creature rejoiced as this wonderful child came to be born on earth.

The Birth of Buddha
Provided by Wikimedia Commons
The Life of Buddha by A. Ferdinand Herold,translated by Paul C. Blum