The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of emotion. I helped teach the Intro to Poverty seminar, watched my friend Chris get married, wrapped up my year-long internship and spent almost five days in the suburbs of Baltimore interviewing for a position at Lifepoint Church. Add that to moving out of my apartment, packing for India and um... starting to grow a beard? ...I think you get how crazy everything is.
And somehow in the midst of it all (not exactly sure how I've pulled this off) I've been able to devour a couple of awesome books. One that is especially fascinating is Debrahmanising History by Braj Ranjan Mani. In it, Mani seeks to re-write Indian history from a non-upper caste perspective. It's mind-blowing.
One of the most intriguing chapters is focused on the socio-political implications of Buddhism. To my surprise, Buddhism actually speaks very strongly against social injustice, and was apparently opposed to the caste system from its inception! I guess I always thought it was only a religion for warrior monks who fight each other high in the mountains using the legendary "anxious lotus" style or something...
To give an example, I found this beautiful poem by Daya Pawar, who is writing about the Buddha not as a mystical god-like being, but as a compassionate hero. I hope that some day this can be said of me...
I see you
breathing softly, healingly,
on the sorrow of the poor, the weak,
going from hut to hut
in the life-destroying darkness,
torch in hand,
giving the sorrow
that drains the blood
like a contagious disease
a new meaning.