Friday, 1 April 2016

Ingyinbin Journal: Words Not Mattering

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.

7 January

In Monywa, the careful young man trimmed my hair with a set of mechanical clippers like those my father used fifty years ago, though more carefully. Last evening, on our walk, we watched with several villagers the rice harvester set to work in the adjoining field. What takes hours if not days for a group of industrious villagers takes a matter of minutes for this machine. The bystanders' amazed eyes tell a story - if only an initial chapter, because the process of transition to the mechanical and new, impressive in its own limited way, has several chapters still to run and of necessity the tale is not one simply of the alleviation of misery but also the permutations and distresses of novelty.
The body effulgent
breathing somewhere (breathing)
body effulgent.
While this occurs, with the large orange sun mimicking the flat horizon, the small puppy with its degenerate legs is near its last. Not a month old, and born half paralysed, its many sores have begun to smell rank and it has stopped dragging itself around. Instead it lies on the blanket Karen has prepared, and, to her surprise, the mother who has kept its distance until now emits a small whine and comes to her to be stroked.
The children arrive hands outstretched,
‘thank you’ & ‘whats name’?
Words not mattering, they saunter away.

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