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Friday, July 30, 2010

Kindred spirits

"... at the time of his [Dharmakīrti's] composition of the Seven Treatises, he was so deeply engrossed in the subject-matter of these that even when *tikta ([a] bitter [herb?]) was put into the curry, he could not detect it."
  • Tāranātha's History of Buddhism in India (1608) Ch. 26 : The period of Śrī Dharmakīrti, p.237
"I got a letter from him [Wittgenstein] written from Monte Cassino, saying that a few days after the Armistace, he had been taken prisoner by the Italians, but fortunately with his manuscript. It appears he had written a book in the trenches, and wished me to read it. He was the kind of man who would never have noticed such small matters as bursting shells when he was thinking about logic. ... It was the book which was subsequently published under the title Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus."
  • The Autobiography of Bertrand Russell (1968) Ch. 9 : Russia, p. 330


Blogger zsolt said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

2:41 pm  
Blogger PDSz said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

2:54 pm  
Anonymous krishna said...

Thanks for this small but nice post! I didn’t know this particular aspect of Dharmakīrti. It appears that these big thinkers had/have some sort of insensibility towards the external world while plunged in their stuff. To the list I would add another philosopher: Socrates, about whom Plato writes (Apology) that, when he was spellbound in his thoughts and discussions, he did not feel heat and cold. It seems that he was able to stand thinking alone for hours, in the snow, during battles, etc.
:-) k

8:35 pm  
Blogger Dan said...

Hi PSz,

I think Tig-ta is a more general word for Saxifrage, but perhaps more specifically Saxifrage imbellulata. Tibetan materia medica texts know several sub-varieties of it. Try this free PDF for reference:

Or just schmoogle for it.

Here is a good source.

I haven't tasted it, but I understand it's really very bitter, so bitter that sometimes Tibetan sources just call it "Bitter" (kha-ba).

I'll just leave you with this final cliché hoping it won't leave a bitter taste in your mouth:

Life is what happens to us while we are busy doing other things.


4:55 pm  
Blogger Dan said...

Asafoetida, sure, but Saxifrage? What mean-spirited person would have put that in his curry?

I remember once ordering something I'd never tried before in a Chinese restaurant in NYC, but the waiter warned me, "Bitter gourd very bitter!" I insisted I wanted it. But boy was it bitter! I not only noticed it, but will always remember it as one of the most difficult eating jobs of my entire life. I can't imagine even Dharmakirti not noticing it.


8:15 pm  
Blogger PDSz said...

You should have compiled some more Tibskrit entries while eating it ;)

Thanks for the precise identification. I saw that tikta was Sanskrit, but, as always, it can refer to a plethora of plants. I wonder where Taranatha got this story from. There's nothing to suggest that it was not from Indian sources.

Boy, don't you wish we had those... Not the tikta, the sources.

9:29 pm  
Blogger Dan said...

Yes, I get what you mean. It appears that in Sanskrit tikta[ka] may not be as specific in its meaning as in its Tibetan[-ized] borrowing tig-ta. But anyway I'm almost always in favor of falling into Tibetanizing understandings, which some, especially your DeJongians, see as a fault (Tibetans, unless they are Sakya Pandita, usually don't).

11:34 pm  

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