January 19, 2006
I am leaving for Myanmar (Burma) today for about 7 weeks, partly to visit, partly to see if there are crafts from local people that Westerners might like, but mostly for a month or so long retreat.
I hope to go to the International Meditation Center in Yangon (Ragoon.)That was founded by U Ba Khin.
Emails are iffy so I am using an alternative service that may work better there. If you like you can address personal correspondence or emergency items to this address.
On an allegorical note, I ran into my Thai language teacher a couple days ago, who was with his boss. His American boss warned me that behind the smile the Burmese–and Thai–are not honest.
He is a cigarette smoking, drinker type bull in the china closet person. You can just feel it.He advised me to go to the airline ticket office to be sure my papers are in order.
So I went there, and the young Burmese lady and I got to talking, and I told her I had visited before and been to monasteries.
She said, “Oh yes I can tell from your calm face”
We discussed some points of meditation practice and she confessed that she goes to retreats, but doesn’t practice enough daily.
She then arranged my hotel reservation and called her brother who will take me on a tour of craft shops where she says I can get better prices. Oh, and she will drive me and another traveler to the airport today since she is already going.
All for free.
And I got an email earlier from a very nice woman who invited me to stay with her family when I get to Bagan in a week or so.
But just for good luck, I bought a little Kuan Yin (kind of a Buddhist version of Mary)to wear around my neck, as is the custom in Asia.
I think the world is a mirror. The American boss I met treats people as adversaries and so that is his world. My goal is to treat everyone as friends (if at all possible).
May you all be happy, healthy and peaceful, and I will write back as time permits.
First published at www.cuke.com