joshu's blog

Realizing Dependent Designation: The Buddha's Middle Way


“If you perceive the existence of all things

In terms of their essence,

Then this perception of all things

Will be without the perception of causes and conditions.


Effects and causes

And agent and action

And conditions and arising and ceasing

And effects will be rendered impossible.


Whatever is dependently co-arisen

That is explained to be emptiness.

That, being a dependent designation,

Is itself the middle way.”

- Nagarjuna 1



The above verse is a rather dense, or concise, explanation of the Buddhist principle of Emptiness in terms of Middle Way fundamental philosophy. The author, Nagarjuna, is considered by many to have expressed what is known as the 2nd turning of the great Wheel of Dharma, or truth, of Buddhist thought. His school founded what eventually launched all of Mahayana Buddhism, which includes the school of Buddhism that is His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s own branch of Tibetan Buddhism, and also spreads out to include Thich Nhat Hahn’s particular brand of Zen Buddhism.

Nagarjuna, as foundational as his work is, can be a head scratcher, for sure. This post takes a close look at what he is trying to tell us here, as it's understanding is garaunteed to be rewarding, if not merely intellectually entertaining.


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Damn the internet blockades! Run your own Private Proxy server with Seamless Authentication


Paying attention to the news, and to certain types of legislation that are constantly being passed around, it becomes more and more obvious that we people might want to secure our internet usage form prying eyes, or find ways to keep access to the sites that we have come to rely on. I am a big proponent of the principle of freedom of information, privacy, and security, or of just people keeping their nose out of other people's business, especially mine. Fortunately, despite the looming climate of Orwellian anti-privacy and anti-free-information measures that are constantly being tossed about, there are things that we can do to secure our privacy and therefore peace of mind.

Over the last few weeks I posted some simple instructions on how to secure your internet traffic, and how to add a layer of security to your home server (every household should have a home server). This post is going to add to our security knowledge base and show how to set up a simple, anonymizing, caching, http/htttps (web) proxy server, with seamless authentication, meaning no need to log in. This server will be able to get around internet blockades, and will not be open to the public, but you won't ever have to enter in your user name or password. Again, I am opting for the added security of running my own proxy, instead of subscribing to a service, because I can set the security, manage the data retention (or lack of retention), and I just get free of having to pass my data through anyone else's hands.

So, check out how to install your own personal web Proxy, which can also be used to filter out ads or pesky "bad" web sites.


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A community resource

Here's a social work and human services oriented website that I developed as a part of an internship. It never reached full realization, but there are some really usefull resources there, especially if you happen to live in the SE Michigan, Washtenaw County area. Aside from the local resources there are resume building and job interview skill tips as well.

Please make use of... (what started of as...)




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Fancy 403: Ban them All!

Lot's of tech savvy computer users these days have figured out how to set up a home server to act as a file server, a streaming media server, a legitimate web-site server, a proxy server, and any number of other case sues. Surely, having access to your home computer, akin to your own personal "cloud", while away from home is not only a luxury, but in the professional or academic world, this can be a ral life saver.

But, along side that convenience, the problem of security arises when we connect our home computers to the internet and register a domain to our dynamic IP address. Suddenly, there are potential prying eyes that we may not want paying attention to us. There are, of course, several ways to mitigate this problem, here is one more...


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SOCKS5 Proxy in Ubuntu 14.04: mystery no more!

Secure Your Internet Traffic on Ubuntu 14.04 with a SOCKS proxy

(it's easier than you think!)



In this day and age, we use our computers for everything from banking and bills to searching for love, trolling our friends on social media sites, and even telling our deepest secrets to our most trusted allies. We trust our computers to handle all our most sensitive information, and so it is more important than ever that we do everything that we can to ensure the safety and security of our information and our connections. 

This step-by-step instructional will show you how to easily set up a SOCKS4 or SOCKS5 proxy server, which will harden your internet connection and provide you with the peace of mind in knowing that your identity, finances, and private life, are all that much more safe and secure.  

Just follow along, I did the homework so that you don't have to.


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A Tally of Banannas

Monkey BuddhaOn my mind as of late has been the realization that we are all merely hairless apes that found a  way off of the African savannas. Listen to the crowd roaring in an appreciative cacophony, "SCIENCE!" they cry, and, "EVOLUTION!" Huzzah, I add.

As a subtle result of this, I have been inadvertently thinking, among other things, "Mere humans, you are nothing more than arrogant apes, following hairless ape patterns, principles, perversions and instincts, and yet you do think so highly of yourself. You even think that a human-like PERSON created the entire universe, and that you are the center of it. That is very ape like, very DUMB and self centerd. Grow up, see past your nose." Not about a rejecting God here, just that particular idea. I personally think that God, or the Ultimate Transcendental Cosmic Intelligent Beingness is beyond human form, beyond binary sexual identification, beyond all that jazz. I also happen to find deep inspiration in the concept that so are we, deep in the core of our being, beyond the human form that is constantly changing, constantly withering away, constantly in need of maintenance. It's all relative, right? We just get to make awesome stuff with all of this stuff while we're here... and we're apparently here, so... So anyway, I had it wrong. It isn't just so that the mere human is in need of being humbled, and reminded of the inner ape within all of us in the light of our huge hubris, not just so. Actually, it's quite just so that we should consider considering the ape with a much higher regard.


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The delusion of the compulsory self

Sometimes I wonder at the person I go around in the world as, and at times how I managed to become him, if I simply managed to convince myself that I am him. A personal reminder slips into focus: Anything that I call my self that is changeable is not the actual, true self. It is at best a reflection. Mannerism, inner sense of culture, dominant thought pattern, habit, hang-ups: all transient, changeable, not lasting.


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Getting Serious

What happens when you take ten thousand tiny steps in the right direction?

was about finding a good place to start altering your diet and getting into a more active lifestyle, especially after finding yourself "off the health wagon" for some time. So, now you have made several small changes over time to your diet, and have been gradually and steadily increasing the workout intensity and frequency, maybe even changing walks into jogs. You're ready for more and are about to take the next step, but have some lingering questions. Now it's time to take the conversation a bit further, and explore a few of the hurdles in the approach to nutrition when stepping up the ante and delving into a more serious workout program, like P90X. My last post


A great place to start

For a good long while I found myself very miserable, and very overweight. I was always eating way too large of portions of horrible foods all too often, being very sedentary in my spare time, drinking too much, smoking, never exercising, living in constant stress, etc., etc.,.. While I lived this way, I was in no way happy with how the way that I was living was making me feel, and what it kept me from being able to do. Things like riding a bike or climbing stairs without wheezing, feeling good about myself, or knowing I could accomplish for myself. I knew, for some time that I wanted, that I needed a change in my life. I knew what I wanted to be but I had zero idea how to get form where I was then, to where I am now: healthy, fit, active, glad to be alive with the knowledge that if I set my heart and mind to something that I will achieve it. I know that rather than believe it because every moment I exist, I am constantly reminded by the truly amazing way I feel, and the obvious transformation that I have put my body through.

When I landed in the hospital over and over again due to hypertension, stress, and debilitating anxiety attacks I knew I had to make a change, or continue to suffer serious consequences. It took me several months to finally discover the way to treat myself in order to achieve my personal best direction. It took a lot of shifting in focus and the relationship I had with my basic environment had to change subtly and consistently over time in order to realize what I wanted to be doing. A friend recently asked me where a good place to start getting fit is for someone a good 40 pounds overweight. I had that same problem about a hundred pounds ago, and wish someone would have been able to tell me then, what I know now, and offer me the simple tools I am now able to offer my good friends and brothers and sisters who are just starting out their fitness journey.


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Tricking out Rhythmbox... or "How to share even more trivial minutia of your life with the world"

I have written before about some cool things you can do with Rhythmbox Music Player in linux, and it's no secret that I love to find ways to make my desktop experience merge with my server/online presence. So I was particularly happy when I found a great third party plugin for Rhythmbox that can post the now playing info to just about anywhere you want it to.

Ever wanted to trick out a forum signature, or a profile on a website you frequent? Or are you (like me) just looking for neat ways to make your personal website a bit more snazzy? In walks the rhythmtoweb plugin and this "need" is filled. Fret not, it's pretty straightforward to set up.


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How to clean up your Music library mess...aka: I just joined "Play Ogg"!

What do you do when your entire music library is infested with wma files, incorrectly tagged and renamed, sorted all wrong and just one big mess? You admit it was your own fault for not sticking to one single standard for naming and organizing, for letting Windows Media Player try to do the work for you, and not trying first to understand formats and codecs and licenses. Then you get rid of your wma files (DELETED) and re-rip, re-download, re-tag and re-encode until your entire library is ogg, uniformly named, sorted and tagged correctly. This is the 17000 file mess I am cleaning up right now, and I decided I should join the PlayOgg movement for some inner support. Henceforth, I will be displaying this or similar on my site. Ogg is a great multimedia format that is simply the one solution that will work for everything I need as a format, and as a piece of nicely licensed and supported free and open source goodness. It's widespread implementation would be just an awesome thing. The only reason I have not moved on this yet, is the knowledge that doing so would force me to do so much tedious work on my music library...well, I'm over it (Trying hard not to slam wma to compare it to ogg) and I am now taking the correct steps. Read below the break for some useful tips to get the job done.


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Twitter tricks with Ubuntu...How to serve your own personal Twitpic and Twitterfeed using Jaunty

A little while back I had a mind to set up a Twitpic account, so that I could post photos from my Centro directly to the microblogging service of kings, But for some reason, either my mobile provider, or mobile platform didn't want to play well with Twitpic, so I set out to find a different solution, thinking how nice it would be to self host this solution.


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