Friday, July 28, 2006

Eliot Pattison, Tibet, and Social Security

I’ve been reading Eliot Pattison mysteries. Set in contemporary Tibet, they expose the actions of China in that country as political genocide, heinous beyond belief, and illimitable bad karma for that Party for centuries to come. But they also reveal the Buddhist persistence and integrity still active in certain secret corners. And reveal one of the weaknesses of the western world quite well.

The lama looked at the patch of the night sky visible through the open portal. “I talked to a monk once who had spent years down below,” he said, meaning the world outside the high ranges of Tibet. “He had gone away lighthearted and came back full of sad news. He said to me that many people had lost the way, that they ignored what was in their hearts because it was the safe way. He thought, incredible as it seems, there were millions of people down below who just wanted to live to be old, as if they were enslaved to their bodies.”

Gendun lifted one of the sticks of incense and waved it slowly in the space over the table. “So instead of human beings fighting the wrong, he told me, they just say it is for governments to do so. And governments say we must have wars to be safe, so armies are raised. And armies say we must must have wars to be safe, so wars are fought. And wars kill children and devour souls that have not ripened. All because people just want to be old, instead of being true.”
~from "Water Touching Stone"

1 comment:

Chris L said...

Thanks for this excerpt-- I'm always on the lookout for literate, interesting genre titles. Life support for when my trudge through Proust sucks all the oxygen out of me :)