I certainly hope that reincarnation isn’t true.
In West Africa, the two worst things to return as would certainly be as a dog, or as a village chicken.
With my irreverent disposition toward much of the human traditions they hold sacred, I suspect that the average christian fundamentalist would assign me to return as something nasty, something that would suffer, if they believed in such things.
I’d be the stinking chicken, i just know it.
An elderly man gave me this chicken as a gift. I was humbled by his generosity. As he handed it to me, he actually apologized, saying,
“I am sorry the chicken is so small, but she is the only one I have right now.”
Talking about humbling. Receiving a poor man’s last chicken? But you dare not refuse, and thus insult him. But it’s hard to take.
The old man tied the legs of the chicken together with a strip of cloth, and my friend hung the chicken upside down on his motorcycle handlebars for the 85 km ride home. The first twenty kilometers were on a pounding dirt path out of the bush too. You see this repeated a thousand times a day, because this is simply how chickens are transported from place to place here.
Its got to hurt the poor animal.
Sorry Buddha…. i don’t buy it, and I don’t want it. I may deserve it, but I’m thankful I will never return as a chicken in West Africa. That kind of karma would really suck.
But this kind of generosity, which we often see among the poorest of the poor, speaks volumes. We westerners think we give to the poor? The poor, in their generosity, give more to their fellow poor (and the rich) than we ever will. They keep each other alive. I’ve seen this generosity of the poor often, with my own eyes, and, unfortunately (or is it fortunately?) i am the recipient of it at times as well.
If I am reincarnated, I hope to return as a similar generous old man.