Egyptian, Greek, and Roman beliefs, and Druidism), and also that a great many superstitions and customs have survived among the people to the present day, but no one who has been taught the most elementary tenets of Buddhism believes in nats and demons. Many Buddhists (and most of them are women) perform mysterious rites unknown to Buddhism, but it is the result of an inexorable tone-zan (custom) which, like many other customs, is rapidly dying out.
never remonstrance, unless perhaps another sentient being is being ill-treated.
One more idea, arising out of the religion, needs to be treated of before we can clearly grasp the Burmese social system, viz., the status of women according to Buddhism. Miss Pankhurst and Miss Cicely Hamilton would not like to be Burman ladies and risk being looked upon as inferior to men ; but Buddhism teaches that man is superior a spiritually,a if the expression is permissible,
to be born again on earth, it may be as Buddhist men. But it must not be understood from this that the women of Burma are kept in a state of subjection ; it will be seen later on that their lot is happier and freer than that in any other country of the world.
The priesthood of Burma is a remarkable organisation, consisting of men who have retired from the worldly life, and spend their days in study and meditation. It is considered a great merit and honour to belong
A CREW OF INTHAS (LAKE DWELLERS).
(They row with one leg round the oar, which is from 8 to 9 feet long).
The Burman, true to his faith, is infinitely tolerant, and that his charities are not confined to purely Buddhistic objects will be gladly admitted by many foreign missionaries who have received substantial assistance from Buddhists of this country in the carrying out of philanthropic, and even propagandist, schemes. Besides, the Burman Buddhist never judges others, and a sin committed by another will merely excite compassion,
i.e., a being born as a man is higher advanced in the path of holiness, and the female is only a complement and a snare. Hence it is that only men may aspire to the nine attributes of the Sangha (priesthood) ; only men may enter the inner compartments of sacred shrines ; only men may perform the chief offices required by religion. Our women admit this unreservedly, and one of their most earnest wishes is that, if they are
to the order, because they are the true disciples of Buddha who have conquered desire and have determined to attain the eternal peace. A pone-jee is obliged to shave clean, wear a simple yellow robe, and give up all property save a few necessary articles, such as a wooden bowl for his food, a razor, needle and thread, a small filter, and the like ; he must go round the town or village with his bowl in the morning,to the order, because they are the true disciples of Buddha who have conquered desire and have determined to attain the eternal peace. A pone-jee is obliged to shave clean, wear a simple yellow robe, and give up all property save a few necessary articles, such as a wooden bowl for his food, a razor, needle and thread, a small filter, and the like ; he must go round the town or village with his bowl in the morning,