Sunday was my birthday, and I started reading a book I had received earlier in 2010 as a gift: Paul Theroux’ Ghost Train to the Eastern Star. (Thank you Isabel, the timing is perfect).
I jumped start to the chapter Ghost Train to Mandalay. Indeed, he says it all with the right words. Paul Theroux returned to Burma after 30 years and found the country pretty much in the same shape, if not worse. A sharp contrast with the rest of booming South East Asia, and an obvious result of the disastrous policies from the government (military junta) in place.
Here are some words of wisdom, which I read in the book. Beautiful and powerful. They are actually from the Buddhist text Diamond Sutra, the world’s earliest dated printed book. It’s a description of…
What life on earth is…
A falling star, a bubble in a stream.
A flame in the wind. Frost in the sun.
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud.
A phantom in a dream.
I took this photo on our sunset cruise in Bagan. It was a rather simple fisherman’s wooden boat. Highly recommended!
I learnt from our guide that the Buddhist flag was invented by an American who left the civil war in the USA and lived in Sri Lanka. He converted to Buddhism and upon observing the 6 radiating colours on top of Buddha’s head, he decided to create a flag,with 6 colors. I love seeing those flags, and the Buddhist monks in their reddish/brown robes everywhere we go in Burma. They are strong symbols of peace in a country where freedom does not exist.