27 July 2008

Letter 2.50

I've returned to Kandy. The monk to whom the kuti was given has disrobed and gone home, and upon learning of this I thought it best to return, rather than leave the place vacant and untended, since it was originally built for me. I find, though, that it's been much altered in my absence. So it goes.

To answer your question, why 'everybody' doesn't meditate: I don't know. Why doesn't everybody become a real -- estate dealer? Or a shoe salesman? Is the store worth watching anyway? Let those who think so watch it, and those who think not may ignore it. I don't feel that I'm returning anything as 'payment' for the food etc. I'm given (although, obviously, the people who feed me feel that they're gaining something by doing so, else they wouldn't no so -- but whether their gain is from me or from the act of giving itself is another matter). Nor have I any interest in providing a return -- commerce is not my game. (I suppose that were I actually starving I might fine some interest -- but then again I might not: I reckon that I could live off the jungle's fruits, nuts, herbs, berries, leaves, and roots.

A few evenings ago I heard -- but could not see -- a fight in the tall grass in front of the kuti: between, to judge from the sounds, a mongoose and a viper. The mongoose's sounds were recognizable, but the opponent did not hiss, but rather hummed in a peculiar -- though obviously aggressive-manner. Cobras, I think, don't hum -- they hiss -- so I suspect a viper.

The monkeys come by only very occasionally nowadays, largely because a village dog comes around to eat up the leftovers. An elephant (and its keeper) happen along once in a while to feed (the elephant feeds: the keeper just chews betel).

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