Saturday, 25 September 2010

A new semester begins...

The summer is over and I return to work towards the completion of my thesis. Over the summer I've done a number of things:

  1. re-read the Chinese text and my translation.
  2. made corrections/amendments based upon information obtained from Karashima's glossary.
  3. resolved ambiguities in the reading of the text.
  4. resolved a number of topics which were unclear including 12 ascetic practices. the rishi, the division of the bodhisattva path.
  5. completed a chapter-by-chapter summary of the text.
  6. examined the text for key questions which underpin the specific development of the narrative of the text
  7. explored the topic of threshold experiences between altered states of consciousness.
  8. read-up how research in such altered states contribute to our understanding of prehistoric culture
  9. broadened the examination for evidence that might indicate how the Mara mytheme has origins in proto-indo-european culture. The evidence for this relies heavily upon comparative phonology, mythology and reconstructed phonology. This cannot rely upon Jungian ideas of the Archetype as, in general, the mythologies he considered are closely related.
  10. reviewed Maleksara's view of the nature of Mara, metaphor vs psychological reality.
  11. found an interesting reference to a parallel to Mara, but not developed in Jaina commentaries.
  12. began to structure the list questions into a chapter
  13. reflecting on how the prototype descriptions of the bodhisattva path can be contribute to the discussion of the text.
  14. exploring the notion that the traditional etymology of the word Mara be reconsidered in the light of comparative linguistics and mythologies which describe of evil spirits approaching during sleep. The significant issue here is that the English word 'mare' denotes such a dream-spirit and in the earliest texts that contribute to the current Mara mythplex typically denotes and approach at the sleep threshold. (ie during night, raining and victim in a possible semi-samadhi/sleep condition.

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