BUDDHISM AND BUDDHISTS 21
receptacle, and this forms the daily meal of their masters and themselves.
The women are a merry, pleasant set, and so struck were the stalwart Sikhs, that when, after the war of 1852-53-54, they returned to their own country, many took back with them these, comparatively speaking, plain women, preferring them as wives and companions to the far comelier women of the Punjaub. I have no doubt that our numerous native troops, principally Sikhs, located in Burma, have all taken wives of the country, and have settled down for good in the province.
There cannot be a prettier sight anywhere in the world than a crowd of Burmese gathered together en route to a pagoda on a gala day; what with their gay dresses, pretty figures, pleasant faces, banners streaming, flags flying, the beauty of the scenery, and the general jollity, no pleasanter scene could be wished for. The women of course can neither write nor read, because their priests cannot teach them, but I think their ignorance is preferable to what they learn at the schools instituted by Europeans.
I do not myself believe that the missionaries, though earnest, hard-working people, do any good. You cannot convert a Buddhist. If you talk to him of our religion, he will tell you Gaudama and Christ are one, and that the sayings and doings of the latter are but the utterances of the former, who lived some 700 years earlier.
To highly educate people like the Burmese, Chinese, and even Hindoos, is, I think, a great mistake. They were far happier when their minds were unhinged, and they did not ape the vices of the conquering race.
Whilst it is all but impossible to convert a Buddhist, the Karens, having no religion but a legend that the true faith would be preached to them by people ruled over by a queen, have been converted by the dozen. So whilst the missionaries, chiefly American, all but starve on the pittance they get from their Societies when dealing with Burmese, those that preach to Karens live in clover, as they are supported by their converts.
Although the country abounds in large game, it is very