5 May 2008

Letter 1.27

Well, the package finally got here, complete with all items, which is more than I expected. That, however, is probably why it did happen. The mandel bread was very good and enjoyed by all. The Maha Thera enjoyed it also (Maha Thera means, literally, 'Great Elder' and is a term properly used toward any monk with 20 years or more standing from his higher ordination. In common usage, however, it refers to the chief resident monk - the 'abbot'. In fact, there are two 'Maha Theras' here, but only one of them is referred to as 'the Maha Thera'. The other one is known as the 'crazy monk', because he is insane.) I've now read the Razor's Edge, and think it worth the reading, though there is a lot wrong with it. (Esthetically and structurally, I mean - to hope for philosophical accuracy or relevance from Maugham would be absurd.) It mentions, at the end, that Larry's book consists of essays about the same length as Lytton Strachey's Eminent Victorians. By one of those odd coincidences, Eminent Victorians was the book I read immediately before reading the Maugham, and I found it to be one of the most enjoyable and best written I've read in a long time. It obviously has nothing to do with the Buddha's Teaching, so I can safely recommend it to you without fear of being considered a 'missionary'…

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