Tuesday, October 12, 2004


About six year ago, more specifically in the fall of 1998, I designed and published my first website. I called it Sparśabhūmi, which refers to a well know gesture in which the Buddha is depicted touching the earth with his right hand and requesting the Earth Goddess to acknowledge his enlightenment.
It was largely (and still is) an index of links to a lot of materials that at the time I found useful in my research on Buddhist and Indian philosophy.

The internet was still young and much of that selection reflected my own marvel at what was beginning to seem like a liber mundi (liber=book, mundus=world), a true open ended book about an imaginary (read virtual) world that resembled Borges' imaginary encyclopaedia in Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius. In the early 90s while studying classical and mediaeval philosophy at the University of Bucharest, I had been constantly puzzled by the idea of the infinity of knowledge, that attempt "to gather all strands of learning together into an enormous TEXT, an encyclopedia or summa, that would mirror the historical and transcendental orders" (Gellrich, The idea of the book in the middle age 1985:18).

In 1998, five years after graduating in philosophy and after having spent the greater part of my twenties on a philosophical quest in India, I was embarking on a doctoral research in Buddhist philosophy at the Australian National University in Canberra. India had been an overwhelming experience, one from which I needed a lifetime to recover. Between then and now, I had fallen in love, spoken before a fifteen thousand strong crowd at the World Parliament of Religions (the Calcutta not the Chicago one), entered the arcane world of Indian doxography, took a holy dip in the Ganges in Varanasi, bused the yatra to Kedarnath to see Shiva's own abode, went gompa hopping in Sikkim after discovering Tibetan Buddhism, travesed the vast and empty Nullarbor Plain
Nullarbor Plain
three times on the back of a Greyhound bus, lived on a Byron Bay beach for a year, went hunting for Sanskrit manuscripts in Cambridge, museum hoping in Paris, snap shooting around Venice, trekking in the Annapurna National Park, and almost died on a vipassana retreat in the Blue Mountains.


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