Thoughts on: “The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei” by John Stevens

My major feat this summer was to inflate a pool in preparation of a BBQ party (see pic. 2). Due to lack of proper equipment it had to be done manually. It took quite some time and effort on my part to get it ready; But I persisted and felt a little bit of pride afterwards.

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When the guests arrived their reaction was; “That’s crazy! I can’t believe you didn’t use a pump for that!”.

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Now cut to the Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei:

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Instead of being dressed in traditional black Buddhist clothes, they wear white, the color of death. They carry a knife in their belt. This is to take their life if they fail in any element of their practice. Knife for self-disembowelment – belt for hanging.

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These buddhist monks and super athletes reaching for enlightenment in the here and now thought physical movement.

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Their training schedule is crazy. The “1000-Day Marathon”, a big part of their practice, takes 7 years to complete. For the first 5 years they run a marathon a day for 100 days straight. This is repeated 7 times. For the last 2 years the distance is increased to two Marathon distances a day (84km!). They also throw in a 9-day fast into their practice, with continuous meditation, without water and sleep, to keep things interesting.

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⭐️ TAKEAWAY: When we get familiar with feats like these, either through books or elsewhere, our ability to complain about trifles is diminished.

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Our standards and expectations of ourselves and others are so low nowadays… SO LOW.. (at least in Sweden where I live), that learning about stuff like this can, at least temporarily, raise the expectation bar a bit. So that you don’t get too cocky for blowing some air into a pool. Or praise the one that did it. 😀😎

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And yes! It’s a great book! The writing is so-so but the content is truly fascinating!

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5/5

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Thoughts on: “Hardcore Zen” by Brad Warner

Brad Warner is punk rocker turned Zen master. He is “controversial” because he is not part of either of the two dominating fractions of Zen in the west; the overly intellectualized one or the woo-woo New age version. ——————————————

He wants to make Zen available and practical for to regular people with normal lives and jobs. Not having rules for the sake of rules. In the end, zen is all about silent sitting. No more, no less.

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When his publisher was slow to take action on turning the book into and audiobook, he recorded the it himself with GarageBand in his kitchen.

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This recording style definitively adds to the punk vibe. Cats interrupting the recording by walking on the laptop keyboard is quite charming. The book being a bit unstructured is also punk, but it makes the message less powerful and takes away more than it adds.

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The book also has autobiographical parts about his bands and how he got is dream job. To work with Japanese monster movies. He realizied that reaching that goal didn’t made him happier and deepened his journey into zen. ——————————————

📝 “You may find that having is not as pleasing a thing as wanting. This is not logical but it is often true” – Mr spook

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📝 The origin of suffering is desire

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📝 Instead of accepting reality for what it is, we often compare reality to our ideal version of it. Suffering comes from the comparison between our ideal and what is.

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📝 The most poisonous lie that religion spreads is that truly moral people never have immoral thought. The truth is that they have. They just only act on the moral ones.

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📝 Reaction to anger is a habit. It takes more energy resisting than to go with it.

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📝 Do what you do as well as you can. How you approach thing matters.

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3/5

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Thoughts on: ”The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin”

Benjamin Franklin was probably the most prominent character of the American Enlightenment. A scientist, politician, inventor, postmaster, civic activist, and one of the founding fathers of the United States of American.

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The reason I like Franklin so much is his sense of wonder and curiosity about life and learning. This in combination with being a great observer of the world around him helped him come up with crazy inventions and experiments in all aspects of life and work.

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I suggest you read W. Isaacsons biography “Benjamin Franklin: An American life” if you are totally new to the subject, to get a full picture of the man. But there is definitely something cool about getting the information straight from the pen of Franklin. It’s a very honest and readable account of his life and I really like how he shares the processes that lead to his discoveries.

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In addition to inventing the lighting rod, the Franklin stove and the water harmonica, he did a lot of experiments in self improvement which I found fascinating .

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In an bold attempt to achieve moral perfection, he developed a creed of “13 virtues”. After noticing it was too tough to eliminate all his vices at ones, he decided to focus on one virtue each week. In case he failed to live up to the “virtue of the week”, he put a dot for that day in a special notebook. The aim to go a full 13 weeks without placing a single dot on the paper. (Google Franklins 13 virtues and check it out).

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My main takeaways:

I’m impressed with his industry, especially his balanced combination of input and output. It’s easy to indulge in information all day and think you’re doing great, but you need to get out there and create things too. Don’t be a passive consumer. And do more experiments in life 😀👍🏻

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Good stuff! Now I need recommendations for biographies about women. It’s been a sausage party here lately. 😀

4/5

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Top Books of the Year – #6

#6 “Radical Honesty” by Blad Blanton

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  • It’s about anger.
  • It’s about how moralism comes back to bite you in the ass.
  • It’s about neurosis.
  • It’s about deadening. Low intensity suffering caused by being on guard.
  • It’s about growing the fuck up!
  • It’s about willingness to take care of oneself.
  • It’s about telling the truth as you experience it, regardless of how it portraits you.
  • It’s about the struggles you face – and their insignificance in face of your death.

It’s all over the place in a wonderful way!

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

This book so crazy, yet so sane. It is books like these that keeps me motivated to read. It is finding books like this that is the payoff for time I put into reading. I don’t agree with everything Blaton says but I’m grateful to still be able to pick up new perspectives and ideas that can help me understand the human condition.

————— IMPACT —————

I’m more aware of when I withhold information, bend the truth and tell small lies. I have also started experimenting with being more honest in situation where it’s would be more comfortable not to be.

——— 🤔QUESTIONS🤔——-

What new ideas and perspectives did you pick up this year?

————— MORE —————

Read my full Radical Honesty Review!

Find more over here: Favorite Books of 2017

Top Books of the Year – #7

#7 “The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei” by John Stevens

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The “1000-Day Marathon”, a big part of their practice, takes 7 years to complete. For the first 5 years they run a marathon a day for 100 days straight. This is repeated 7 times. For the last 2 years the distance is increased to two Marathon distances a day (84km!). They also throw in a 9-day fast into their practice, with continuous meditation, without water and sleep, to keep things interesting.

——- WHY THIS BOOK? ———

This books in not for everyone – It’s poorly written at times and weirdly edited, but if you are a fan of running, endurance or just fascinating by incredible human achievements – then look no further!

————— IMPACT —————

It has has impaired my ability to complain about monotonous and repetitive tasks. It also pushed me to train harder for the 20km trail race I ran with (against?) my brother this November. Unfortunately for me he finished faster 🤬 🏃

——— 🤔QUESTIONS🤔——-

Do you run?

Find more over here: Favorite Books of 2017

Meeting the mysterious @BooksOnTheTub.

05.45 AM – Meeting the mysterious man behind Books on the Tub.

He got a hold of my “to-read”-list and had a few books in his collection that where in the list. So this morning, at un ungodly hour, I meet him in person for the first time and got a stack of interesting books.

  • “King of the world” – David Remnick
  • “The Four Alignments” – Don Miguel Ruiz
  • “Siddhartha” -Herman Hesse

 

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