Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Saturday, August 01, 2009

A high school kid I met in the village invited me to his room at the Sichuan monastery. He is studying for the summer. He's not going to be a monk, or anything; he's here to study Tibetan language and culture under the tutelage of a local monk. I think he wants me to teach him English, but I am not going to be here long enough to accomplish much of anything. Nice kid, though.

Most of the young boys I see in the monasteries are here to stay. Supposedly. Some of them do opt out when they get older. The thing I have never been clear about is how there could be so many boys in the monastery, when boys are the desired child for rural people. Are they really so dedicated that they would sacrifice their only son to Buddhism? I don't know. They sure seem willing to sacrifice their money.

When the monks introduce themselves, they ask me where I am from. When I tell them I am an American, they smile and shake my hand. I was hiking in the ravine on the other side of town with a couple young ladies. One of them said, "Tibetans don't like us." I told her that it wasn't really her--it was that the Tibetans were upset about how the government treats minorities. I told her about the government's plan to destroy the traditional homes of Uygur people in Kashgar, and move them into government-built apartments. She said, "the government doesn't only do that to minorities. Look at the Three Gorges project." I couldn't argue.

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