Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Making Merit

The other day I met a 91 year old Japanese man. He was still pretty energetic given his age and could speak English very well. He had donated a school for the children, a sleeping area for them and a small temple in front of the big temple where I have been volunteering. The temple he built has a set of train tracks in front of it as a way to remember the people who died (91,000 of them!) building the Burma Thai railway during the Japanese occupation.

He served in the Japanese Army as a translator in this area. I am not sure what that means, but often times when Buddhist in this part of the world are approaching the end of their lives, they try to do good things in part to make amends for bad things they have done earlier in their lives. They call it making merit... gives them an opportunity for a better life the next go around.

It is kind of funny that so many of my Japanese friends used to say that there was no way that they could do these sorts of things and here is a 91 year old man helping others. Pretty impressive.

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