Buddhism on the Maribyrnong

By Lorenzo

While taking the train across the Maribyrnong River, I have been observing the building of a Buddhist temple on the Western bank the most striking feature of which is a 16m tall gold-painted statue of Mazu, gazing out over the industrial ugliness on the Eastern bank towards Port Phillip Bay.

A golden goddess gazing over industrial ugliness

I have been meaning to walk over and have a look, so this morning I did.


A touch of China in Footscray

I find a new Buddhist temple bothers me much less than a new mosque.  While Buddhism hardly has a perfect record–it has played an invidious role in Sinhalese chauvinism in Sri Lanka and in encouraging militarism in Imperial Japan–it has a much better record of playing nicely with others than Islam.

So I was a bit surprised to find myself having a negative reaction, while I was looking at the temple, to the fact that every piece of writing was in Chinese. It seemed an almost deliberate distancing from the society around it. Because religious figures in emigre cultures are about traditions  “back home”, they can often be a barrier to integration; particularly as the role of a cleric is so often to be a “gatekeeper of righteousness”.

Of course, there was an extra little touch.

Stating where we are

On the way back, I came across an Asian man (probably in his 30s) rugged up in Demons beanie and Parramatta Eels jacket fishing alone on the river bank. He had clearly embraced his Australian tribalism!

(This can also be the weekend chit-chat thread.)


  1. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Permalink

    The only women who show up at Catallaxy these days have beards and a lush coating of back hair.

    Wrong there, sweetie. I’ve been commenting on the Cat for over a year now and no sign of any pelt on my back as yet. I don’t think it comes with the territory. If I was writing for RSVP I’d say I’m female, blonde, blue-eyed, toned and petite, not religious either and quite libertarian.

    If your interest is back hair, I refer you to my significant other. Hairy, and male.

  2. Posted June 28, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Permalink

    [email protected] I believe Mel is already taken. I am not aware of how hairy his partner is, or colour of said hair, but I understand said partner is, indeed, male.

  3. Posted June 28, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Permalink

    JC If kvd and Mel are both giving you a hard time, that is a sign that you are not in a good place and am likely trying the patience of the blog moderators.

    You are certainly trying the patience of this one.

  4. Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Just did my first trashing of a non-spam comment (from a new commenter). Play nice people.

  5. JC
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:05 pm | Permalink

    Interesting, Lorenzo because it seems it’s okay shit on other people’s beliefs here but the moment the shoe is on the other foot it’s not really a good place, right?

    What exactly would I be trying your incredible patience? Mine was tried with the unfair comments about the Cat and the pathetic comments that were posted about the Cat particularly by Kamel attacking Sinc in that unique way of his in addition to other stupid comments he made.

    Let’s here what SL and LE have to say as I’d rather hear it from them…. Lorenzo.

    Thanks for the comment.

  6. Gab
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

    Just did my first trashing of a non-spam comment (from a new commenter). Play nice people.

    Oh dear, my comment was obviously too hairy for you.

    But this is apparently acceptable:

    The only women who show up at Catallaxy these days have beards and a lush coating of back hair.

    Case of you can dish it out but can’t take it.

  7. John H.
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    Well JC and Gab, go back to the Cat and stay there. Glory in your “robust debate” and hatred of the Left. I’ll stay here thanks, where people are respected as people not as holders of certain political opinions. I’m pretty much done with The Cat because 50% of the time I post something I am abused. I want to discuss ideas not waste my time dealing with other peoples’ desperate need to hurl abuse.

  8. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:07 pm | Permalink

    Hey, I am not offering my Hairy Ape to Mal for anything other than a technical trichological observation. Although not sure if trichology covers back hair as well as scap thatch, and it was back hair that was the topic, was it not, not black hair? The colour was irrelevant. We must get the details right in this fascinating exchange, n’est-ce pas? As I just said on the Cat, how boring is this site, moderated as it is so ferociously by one Lorenzo that he can’t tolerate Gab’s ‘hairy’ and ‘feminism’ in a lock-step? Protective of your infants, teacher? Hi ho, hi ho, into moderation now we go. (it’s more fun on the Cat guys, you get straight up, no shit, how libertarian is that?).

  9. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:09 pm | Permalink

    Whooo. Got straight up. One for you.

  10. Gab
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for your enlightening comment, John H., especially when you did not even see my first comment, which was neither political nor abusive.

    I took the liberty of a wee retort at the females at Catallaxy being hairy comment here. Mea cupla.

    Legal Eagle, my apologies and your comments noted.

  11. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Permalink

    Legal Eagle, I do not think I wish to engage with this site because I find your tone and the whole tenre of your approach, as outined in 108 and 112, extremely patronising and irritating.

    I hope you have the grace to regard this as an intelligent comment. I am not generally known for my lack of intellect, nor for any inability to engage in serious discussion. I left univeristy, and university research and teaching at a fairly senior level, some time ago. 112 is rather like sitting in an extremely suffocating tutorial once more, or engaging with closed-minded academic colleagues in pussy-footing ‘debate’ that gets nowhere. This is your site, so obviously your rules. But not with my presence.

  12. JC
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    Well JC and Gab, go back to the Cat and stay there.

    John H, I hardly know you. I think I’ve always had pleasant dealings with you and we’ve never exchanged a bad word each way. In fact I always praised you on the stuff you brought over and shared.

    Glory in your “robust debate” and hatred of the Left.

    I don’t glory in it as you suggest. I’m actually really upset to see this circus unfold.

    I’ll stay here thanks, where people are respected as people not as holders of certain political opinions.

    Well and good. However I think your beef is perhaps to do with the way James treated you a few times suggesting you were peddling junk science. I never thought you were by the way. James is a doctor as you know and a pretty gruff Irish bastard, but I think you always added value at the Cat, John. You always referred to yourself as moderately left and I can’t even recall a time you were ever attacked for your political views which to be honest seem quite moderate and well thought out.

    I’m pretty much done with The Cat because 50% of the time I post something I am abused.

    Ignore James. If he says something negative about the stuff you present tell him to fuck himself and that he’s only a doctor anyway and doesn’t really know much about the research stuff. Be thick skinned with him.

    I want to discuss ideas not waste my time dealing with other peoples’ desperate need to hurl abuse.

    True, but I never ever abused or said a bad word about you. I don’t think even Gab did to be honest… or can’t recall. The only person who has was Mr Gruffy pants and I even recall standing up for you.

    John H, my temperance has changed because of the stuff I’ve seen from this government that I think will only hurt us more in them long run. In other words I’m upset and pissed at their apologists both at the Cat and in general.

    I’m sorry you feel that way about me, I honestly am and hope you change your mind. If James pisses you off ignore him.

    Remind me, weren’t you at the cat only this week posting comments and links about the argument between to evolutionary scientists? It not as though you’ve been gone for oceans of time then is it?

  13. JC
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Permalink


    No problems. You’ve always been fair a truly decent person. You can take the bat to me now if you want.

  14. JC
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

    In any event I often get accused of being anti left. However that’s not entirely true. What I have is a intolerance towards stupidity.

    For proof of my bi-partisan good nature I actually praised Paul Krugman today at the Cat no less and didn’t receive any boos. People actually agreed with it

    This is what i said with the link to his speech.

    Talking about Krugman.. I have to say that when the bearded tool puts on his economist hat and isn’t fucking around, setting up plays for the Demolitionists he really is an excellent economist.

    This stuff is first rate. Now you may not agree with his treatment, however his prognosis is absolutely first rate economics.

    Now, I’m not kidding, I know a bit about this stuff as we spent the entire 90′s talking, reading about and speculating in large licks on the European Monetary System, the advent of the Euro and what it meant. The krug gets it.

    See here. http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/24/revenge-of-the-optimum-currency-area/

    It’s really flawless.

  15. Movius
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 10:48 pm | Permalink


  16. John H.
    Posted June 28, 2012 at 11:24 pm | Permalink


    A long time ago on an internet far away there was the Usenet. I was actively involved in a number of forums there including bionet.neuroscience, sci.med.immunology, ai.comp.philosophy, sci. immunology, sci.anthropology, sci.anthropology.paleo. Then the ranters and abuse came. Those forums are gone.

    I benefited a great deal from those forums. Even today I still benefit. About one month ago I uncovered a very puzzling set of associations that left me with a seemingly intractable mystery. Fortunately one former participant on the neuro forum was a specialist in the field so I emailed him for help Within 3 hours I received a brilliant response. Not surprising, the bloke has done some brilliant work, check out the graphic on his web page. That is stunning stuff, at least to me.


    In his email Matt advised me he had long ago left that forum because of the ranters and abusers. That’s the tragedy, when a forum becomes dominated by ranters and abusers many good people go somewhere else. It may take one year or 5 but eventually the forum collapses into a bunch of true believers who pride themselves on kicking the crap out of anyone who disagrees with them. Reminds me of some International Socialists I used to argue with in the pub.

    Yes, I did post something recently. No response. Two years ago that sort of comment of mine may have attracted a lively discussion on the subject but now it is a different Cat.

    Do what you like with The Cat but some of us want to learn something and not have to waste time reading yet another tirade against so and so.

  17. Posted June 28, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Permalink

    Bad news. I’m back and I now have my machine.

    JC – you’re being boring. Shut up. Consider yourself sin-binned for 24 hrs or until SL or LE rescue you – whichever is the shortest.

    To everybody else – I don’t go over to Catallaxy much any more so to be honest I don’t really care what’s going on over there. If you have comments to make about something on THIS site, feel free. If not, then it’s not really relevant to post to one of the threads here.

    Now play nice or I’ll bloody spank you.

    (Sorry, computer withdrawal… I’ll be all right in a couple of hours.)

  18. Mel
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 10:37 am | Permalink

    John H @119:

    I always enjoy reading your accounts of neuro/ medical research.

  19. Fleeced
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    I did post something recently. No response. Two years ago that sort of comment of mine may have attracted a lively discussion on the subject but now it is a different Cat.

    John, I too enjoy reading your comments at the Cat, but your knowledge is very specialised, and even if I understand/find it interesting, will often have nothing to respond with – it just isn’t my field… I think you shouldn’t take things too personally.

  20. kvd
    Posted June 29, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

    Another vote for Mel’s comment @122 – and also what Fleeced just said, esp. the link between brain chemistry and intelligence/learning capability which I find fascinating. And I bet I just got that wrong 😉

  21. Posted June 29, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Permalink

    Segue on learning/intelligence … and I suppose it’s still the weekend chitchat thread until tomorrow … a lovely little “parable” on looking at things and where ideas can come from … kind of tying in with buddhist “make me one with everything”


  22. Posted June 30, 2012 at 5:22 am | Permalink

    Libertarianism is big on free speech. Good. Everybody who has visited this thread appears to have grasped this basic point. The other thing on which libertarianism is big is property rights.

    Which means, our property, our rules.

  23. Posted June 30, 2012 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    LE and I having had a side discussion of this issue, the binned comment was a borderline case where my chivalry reflex probably erred on the side of making a point. (In a classroom, it is usually a bad idea to be the next student to push the envelope right after the warning has been issued, said the freelance teacher.)

    I am still feeling my way in being one of the moderators, so a learning experience all round.

    But generic insults, not a good idea folks. Particularly so if you don’t actually know the ideological (or other) stripe of people you are insulting, or who might be caught in your category. Been known to have made that mistake myself, but that does not make it any less a mistake.

    We are aiming for a certain breadth of views and civility of comment–two things that go together. People being offended by tone or feeling insulted is not a good basis to elicit broad and open discussion. Abuse being, after all, both in intention and practice, a way of attempting to police views.

    There is a distinct difference between policing tone and policing views, especially as failing to do the former tends to end up, in effect, doing the latter. We will police tone because we want to encourage folk to participate.

  24. Gab
    Posted July 1, 2012 at 8:12 pm | Permalink

    Good lord, all this fuss.

    Look next time anyone is inclined to insult the females at the Cat, just call us furry :)

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