303 A BURMESE ENCHANTMENT.
are those which rise naturally from so idealistic a philosophy as Buddhism, which views life in a light which we, with our widely different training, cannot easily appreciate. The laws of Karma, Impermanence, and Transiency are misty visions to us. But they are real, living truths to the Burmese. They repeat them daily in the pagodas. They are no mere empty words, but realities which have moulded the Burmese character, just as surely as our own philosophies have moulded ours. The Burmese have learnt through Buddhism the folly of possessions. Nature has placed them in a country where they can live comfortablyaeven luxuriouslya without any. And though we may pretend to despise men with so little worldly ambitionaat least we envy them their freedom. The natural result of the idea of Impermanence is a desire to spend money immediately and lavishly, and every Burman without exception does so. He does not spend much on himself, but acquires merit by making extravagant gifts and building superfluous pagodas ; and with characteristic recklessness, shares the merit of his charity with " all the three worlds of Bhramas, Men, and Nats " The charity is misplaced perhaps, but we must not overlook that underlying motive of charity. The Burmese are essentially a people who think that it is more blessed to give than to receive.
And let us not judge these things as harshly as some people do. We are strangers who stand only upon the very brink of a new and wonderful world.And let us not judge these things as harshly as some people do. We are strangers who stand only upon the very brink of a new and wonderful world.