Thursday, 7 April 2016

Ingyinbin Journal: The Scratchings of a Broom




John, a meditator from New Zealand, spends extended periods in Ingyinbin each year, the home of the revered Webu Sayadaw and with his friend Ashin Mandala. This winter, he has decided to keep a journal, which he has kindly offered to share with us. His journal alternates between observation and poetry, between meditation practice and commentary about Burmese Buddhist society, from his learnings and his questions. The full collection of his musings can be found here.

8 January 

Each day on the way to breakfast we walk over dust that has been swept, at least from a ‘here’ to a ‘there’, the scratchings where the broom has passed forming an interesting pattern, more watery than the lake. Meanwhile various white birds are still settled in the trees; in ones or twos or threes they depart. The patterns left in the dust by other birds as they stroll about are in contrast tangled, like ripples.

Nearby, sweetly intoning monks; on mp3
U Jotika expounds the citasikas; & entering
at the window light, blend of blends.
Around the corner a monk reclines in his chair of wooden boards, reciting what is on the sheet before him. Someone has dropped a fresh gladioli stalk onto the ground, its serial flowers still fresh in the dust. A couple of schoolboys respond to my greeting and we high-five …otherwise it is mainly dust on the ground all the distance round the crumbling perimeter wall of the monastery to our sitting hut. I do notice, near the gate entrance, a couple of ox-carts loaded high with rice hay, the driver precariously balanced atop; and a sweet-looking light brown-grey bird of reasonable size, a firm beak and I think russet on the upper breast. Another bird like this, maybe larger, is perched high in the tamarind tree immediately opposite the entrance, where often we see the little squirrels take a leap from the bare electric cable on the wooden poles onto the tree, a good metre or two’s gap.
Half the length of its tail, the squirrel
scampers along the aerial cable:
earth its mirror.