So after staying at the Bodhizendo, the Zen Center whose teacher is a fine, very kind Jesuit priest, who trained in Japan with the same teacher as Robert Aitken Roshi, I have come on pilgrimage to Bodhgaya, where the Buddha realized Enlightenment. I have sat under the Bodhi tree (replanted 1000 years ago), wandered around, talked with lots of people –Thai, Indian, Westerners, Tibetans, Chinese, and so on.
The poor people are inveterate beggars, who are criticized as lazy and dishonest, which why they can’t pull themselves up. All true.
However, they seem to forget that LOTS of money disappears before it gets to its intended use.
Also, these people are told, that due to their past bad actions, which were from a former life that they cannot recall, they are only fit for the worst jobs, cleaning toilets, picking up garbage, etc.
Question; If you were told over and over that you are only fit to shovel shit and garbage for the rich, would you be very motivated, especially since the education system and the social system are heavily stacked against you?
I pointed out to a young Indian graduate student that in Venezuela, illiteracy was lowered from 70% to 5% in just a few years. So change is possible but it has to come from the top via reform, or outright rebellion from below.
First published at www.cuke.com