25 April 2008

Journal 19

I went on to the village of Hiniduwa, where there was, I learned, a wedding. A number of pseudo-sophisticated government employees spoke to me. Also a man in yellow clothes who was both the ayruvedic (native) medicine pharmacist and the coroner. Well, if the first trade is unsuccessful, never mind; there is always another possibility. He seemed very wealthy and bejeweled. I was asked – it was about 1:00 - if I would like a 'late lunch'. I was told it was the custom here: the place is, it seems, corrupt. There is a large and very well built Catholic church here as well - the first I've seen in Ceylon outside of Colombo - and Catholicism seemed to be thriving. No wonder. I was assured, of course, that there were 'only a few' Catholics: who, then, paid for the fine church? Rome? When the Buddha's Teaching is allowed to fall into corruption not only in its teaching of wisdom, not only in its teaching of mindfulness, but in the simple virtues of keeping a vow which one has voluntarily undertaken, then it is no wonder that another religion thrives. These people were terribly complacent, as well they might be, for they have no understanding of what the Buddha actually taught. They want the Dhamma on easy terms; but it cannot be had easily; so they accept what can be so had.

I refrained from commenting to them, of course: it would be of no use to tell them that they couldn't be Buddhists so easily, and besides, I am not a missionary nor am I fit to be a missionary; it's my general policy not to point out to people how complacent they are about such things…

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