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Journal 2008-08-29

I am sitting in the German Bakery. Shortly after I came here a heavy rain shower began. Now it's still raining off and on, and a wonderfully cool wind is blowing in through the open window at my side. The window overlooks the fastly moving river and Lakshmanjhula Bridge, which is currently crowded with pedestrians.

Earlier I confided with Ahmad my thoughts about how we might continue in the C and D office, and I have been continuing to think about this since, while reading The Stone Woman.

An Indian family are sitting in front of me. While walking to the restaurant I had a feeling of love for these people, their simple devotion. How they bow to the statues of Ganesha and Devi while passing by the 13 story temple People who are very poor, hoping that their dreams will be fulfilled by the Gods. On the bridge you notice how they come in waves. There will be a group of white-clad turbanned men, then a group of colourfully clad women carrying bags and luggage on their heads. They are groups of people on pilgrimage, often from distant parts of India.

One thing about this country is that it is a nation on the move, aware of itself. The country is a world of its own in so many ways, and has been so for a long time.

29 8 Evening

'In the Discourse on the Many Realms (Bahudhatuka Sutta), the Buddha taught that all our anxieties and difficulties come from our inability to see the true face, or the true sign of things, which means that although we see their appearance, we fai to recognize their impermanence and interbeing nature. If we are afraid or insecure, at the root of our fear or insecurity is that we have not yet seen the true face of all dharmas. If we investigate and look deeply into the 18 Elements, we can transform our ignorance and overcome fear and insecurity.' p.77

Beggars

I have resisted almost every beggar in India so far. The couple of times I gave something, they asked for more, so I give nothing. Not every beggar directly asks for money. Sometimes they just rattle their tin, sometimes they just say a word of greeting. These, I have been ignoring too, or usually not ignoring, but responding with a smile or an acknowledgment. Sometimes I have patiently listened to their story or spiel, and still not given anything. Today a crippled man, driving a cart that was driven by a chair peddled by his left arm, asked me to push him, and that too I ignored, Eventually I saw an Indian man pushing him. It was near Sivanandashram. One day a man in orange said that he was a disciple of Swami Sivananda and needed money for medicines, or for an operation. I listened but did not give him any money.

I am not completely sure why I ignore these people. After all I am grateful that they are asking for money and not stealing it from me. Maybe it is lazyness, or a lack of feeling of responsibility, or a wish not to be involved or implicated in the reality that they face, or a feeling that I am an outsider and therefore exempt. If it is the latter I have a question mark. It is the same excuse I give in Israel. Either I am always an outsider, or I am always an insider - I have to decide. Some people are natural outsiders, whereas others are natural insiders. They become involved wherever they are at the moment, sometimes erroniously, because they misread the reality - but maybe this feeling of responsibility is preferable. Obviously what is preferable is an informed and intelligent involvement, rather than the two extremes that I have presented. The sense of being an alien is erronious, a fallacy.