segunda-feira, setembro 24, 2007


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Kenji Nagai, 1957-2007:

This gesture is a mudra; a well-recognized symbolic hand position in eastern religions. One hand represents the higher, spiritual nature, while the other represents the worldly self. By combining the two, the person making the gesture is attempting to rise above their differences with others, and connect themself to the person they bow to. The bow is a symbolic bow of love and respect.

     from Wikipedia - Namasté.

Some background on 8-8-88: Voices 88.

Monday, Spiegel: Buddhist Monks Lead Myanmar Protests, Source.

Tuesday, Washington Post: Myanmar Imposes Curfew, Bans Assembly, Source.

Wednesday, Globe: At least one dead as Myanmar cracks down on protests, Source.

Saturday, NYT: The Monks Are Cut Off, and Burmese Clashes Ebb, Source.

Saturday, NYT: 29/09/07, Editorial, See No Evil, Speak No Truth, Source.

Petition: Stand with the Burmese Protesters.

Burma News: Burma Net.

NCGUB - National Coalition Government of the Union of Burma.

Should I leave them by your gate,
Or, sad-eyed lady, should I wait?

     from Bob Dylan, Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands

     (entirely un-related,
     no connection at all,
     just came to mind y'unnerstan'

     not exactly sad-eyed anyway, is she.).

This from the Junta (via AlJazeera):

"However, a state television report claimed that despite the size of the protests, most monks were not joining the marches. 'Although the marching monks on the streets seem to be a very big number, their forces represent just two per cent of all monks,' it said. 'Ninety-eight per cent of the monks, most of the monks in the country, are busy learning and teaching Buddhism.'"

God bless you all.

But as the days go by I come back again and again to the trigger for these demonstrations, which was reportedly a five-fold hike in gas prices. Monks don't need gas do they? Just the trigger maybe but a telling happenstance. And I have thought for years that a way to get straight on the energy habit would be to do exactly that - double and triple and quadruple the price of energy to the point where people start seeing it.

Posted setembro 25, 2007 6:46 AM by Anonymous Gord /  

The most common Mudra is called Anjali. In my naiveté I thought that this was a wonderful way of greeting people. No need to approach directly to shake hands, even across a room the gesture can be used to greet someone. Also Anjali is more sanitary than a hand shake which is becoming more of a problem with flu, and avian viruses.

I then read a book, part of a series actually, called Culture Shock. The Culture Shock series visits many countries and tells of the cultural peculiarities of those countries. In the Thailand: Culture shock book the Anjali in Thailand is called “Wei”.. One gives and receives a Wei..

Turns out that the Wei has more to it than a greeting. As in Japan a Wei depends on class and status plus throw in age for good luck.

- A younger person always “Weis” an older person; the older person then returns the “Wei”
- A person of lower status first “Weis” a person of higher status. Employee “Weis” first, Employer Returns the “Wei.
- Everyone “Weis” a monk, A monk NEVER returns a “Wei”
- When one leaves a restaurant the staff line up and “Wei”, however in this case the “Wei” is not returned.
- So, as in Japan, confusion arises when two people meet and status is unsure. Who “Weis” first?

So it gets confusing. The Culture Shock book said that if the order of “Wei-ing” is out of sync then this puts the lower status person in a very embarrassing position. So if a Western business man, trying to be culturally correct, “Wei-ed” his secretary first, this error would put the secretary in an untenable position.

So my friend who lives there 6 months of the year says just forget it .. The “Farang” in Thailand do not “Wei”. This is too bad it is a good idea and a nice gesture.

Bottom line is that I don’t know how this works in Myanmar. In the picture you used on your Blog, I assume, using the above rules, An San Su Kye would be “Wei-ing “ the Monks first out of respect for them.

Anjali Mudra: The palms are held together at the level of the chest. This is the customary gesture of greeting in India. Used as a mudra, it expresses "suchness" (tahata).

I think I have sent you this before but I will repeat it just in case; a definition of Namaste:

1/ "The Great Perfection within me honours the Great Perfection within you".

The Great Perfection is the vast part of ourselves that is truly one with the universe, one with all others; one with all there is. This is true regardless of national origin, culture, race, age, political affiliation, religious or spiritual affiliation, gender, sexual orientation, physical looks, physical condition or whatever.

These words are spoken with deep reverence as recognition of the divine within another person.

2/ "I honour that place in you where the whole Universe resides. And when I am in that place in me and you are in that place in you, there is only one of us."

3/ "I bow to the Devine in you."

Posted setembro 25, 2007 6:49 AM by Blogger David Wilson /  

hahaha, so i got Namaste wrong? :-)she is not Namast-ing, she is Wei-ing (and this little pig went wee wee wee all the way home?) or Anjali-ing ?

gets complicated huh? tell ya what ... let's all go to Bahia, sweat off this lard, chase brown girls, catch 'em sometimes, and if the BIG HEAT comes too quick, go lie on a rock on top of a mountain (or hillock as the case may be) and instead of the one finger salute (which Vonnegut had his Bokonon do at the end of his Ice-9 story) we can do a moving gesture which starts out Anjali and ends up Namaste - sound good?

if you don't mind I will post this exchange as comments to the blog - nobody who comes there ever has much to say but this feels sorta related


according to news reports she was weeping, so was I when I read it, like when the choir sings, "and his name shall be call-ed, WONderful!", especially to see the people along the road joining hands to protect the monks, some of them looked quite fierce about it God love 'em!

I have found a português copy of Schumacher's O negócio é ser pequeno / Small is Beautiful, and I am working on the technology to scan it and turn it back into text and post it, along with the english of course side by each, start with Chapter 4 I think, Buddhist Economics, yeah ...

be well Gord, thanks, David.

Posted setembro 25, 2007 6:55 AM by Anonymous Gord /  

No No

You didn’t get it wrong. One would use Anjali as the Physical gesture and say the word Namaste. They go together.

Wei is Thai, I don’t know what the Burmans call it?

The Bahia things sounds good. Even to look at the Brown girls would be a nice meditation! :-)

I was going to post to your blog, I did it once before, but this time I couldn’t find out where the “Post” thingy is.. Refresh my mind!

Posted setembro 25, 2007 6:57 AM by Blogger David Wilson /  

at the top & bottom of each post there is a link that says "Post a Comment" - click it

Posted setembro 25, 2007 6:58 AM by Anonymous Gord /  

Yup, there it is right in front of my face. (It could be a bit bigger or in bold)

Posted setembro 25, 2007 6:59 AM by Blogger David Wilson /  

some of the nuns look sorta cute, I like those bare feet, are Buddhist nuns celibate?

Posted setembro 25, 2007 7:00 AM by Anonymous Gord /  

Yup, celibate. Unfortunately the Buddhists have the same problem that the Catholics do. Don’t like women in high places. Burma, I don’t know for sure but in Thailand the nuns in effect are just around to do the laundry, prepare the food, sweep the grounds. So no need to teach em the Dharma if they are in the kitchen.

Like the Pope, The Supreme Patriarch has his problems with uppity women. A growing movement to put Nuns on the same basis as Monks. Slowly, slowly, slowly, I guess..