Good karma.

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‘God is still a quest, an exploration, or an unexpected flourish of grace, not a ghetto to be safe in, or a set of traditions to be defended.’  Neil Darrogh

‘I feel especially lucky today,’ the cafe proprietor informs me as I sip on nectar from the gods in the form of a mango and passion fruit smoothie, costing less than $2. ‘Its my birthday. I didn’t feel I needed more karma today. Anyway I am preparing a meal to share with my friends, and in our culture, and even the monks agree, we need to take care of family first.’ I’ve been asking about the custom of the early morning alms-giving to monks here in Vientiane. Apparently when  the monks take their early morning walk around the streets  near the local temple,  there’s no obligation to provide. Just when the spirit moves as it were.

Im a bit concetned about my own level of  karma  after failing to take up the opportunity offered to me yesterday outside Wat Than Phoun,  the national monument. Releasing two small  birds was a mere $6., and indeed it did seem quite a bargain on a karma-gaining level. I was told the birds came from the forest many miles distant.  Deciding to reserve my options until after the temple visit, the bird handler, who strangely resembled the child catcher from the Chitty Chitty Bang movie -I think it was his hat – headed for another more likely tourist. I’d missed my chance actually, for when I’d finished touring the monument I was just in time to see 2 Japanese tourists releasing the final pair. It did cast slight doubts on their origin being from the forest far distant when they just hopped down and stayed close by.  The Japanese man looked a little disappointed: my thoughts moved to putting a bit of food in the cage later and having them hop back in….

Perhaps my karma comes in other ways, such as coming to the aid of the Belgian tourist on his rented bike? He’d called out to the proprietor asking if she knew how he could reinflate his back tyre. Much to his credit he managed to cover some of his surprise when an older lady tourist with anglicized french leapt up bike pump in hand. I’m trusting thats good karma all round.





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