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Showing posts from February, 2007

Stephen Hawkings on Desert Island

Sue Lawley interviewed Stephen Hawkings on Christmas Day 1992 for the BBC radio show Desert Island Discs.

Desert Island Discs is a long-running BBC Radio 4 programme. It was first broadcast on January 29, 1942 and is said by the Guinness Book of Records to be the longest-running music programme in the history of radio. Guests are invited to imagine themselves as castaways on a desert island, and asked to choose the eight pieces of music they would take with them; discussion of their choices permits a review of their life. Aside from the music they select, they are also permitted to take one book, excluding the Bible or other religious work and the complete works of Shakespeare, which are deemed to be already present on the island (probably to force castaways to make more interesting choices). They also choose one luxury item which must be inanimate and of no survival value, though "endless supplies of champagne" seem to be allowed.

Stephen Hawking choose the following :

Firs…

Buddha meets a Determinist

When, soon after his enlightenment, he set off for Benares, which lay several arduous days on foot away, the Buddha was only thirty-five years old. He had been a householder, a sramana and an ascentic. He had known sexual love, political power, the homelessness of a sramana, the trances of a yogi and the self-mortification of an ascetic. And now after this range of human experience he had known what he thought was true wisdom.

A naked sramana, one of the Ajivikas who were extreme determinists, met him on his way to Benares, and was clearly struck by his confident mood. He asked the Buddha who was his teacher. The Buddha declared that he was the enlightened one, had no teacher and was a teacher himself. Instead of falling at his feet, the sramana merely said, ‘it may be so, brother,’ and walked away.


Pankaj Mishra, An End to Suffering: The Buddha in the World – p. 188 quoting Majjhima Nikaya, trans. as The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha, by Bhikkhu Nanamoli, pp263-4.