Puffing serenely at my stogie, I marched with the officiating monks, who had given me place of honor in their ranks, from one shrine to another. Behind us surged a murmuring, self-prostrating multitude. No one sat during the service, and there was nothing resembling a sermon. The priests addressed themselves only to the dreamy-eyed Buddhas, and craved boons or chanted their gratitude for former favors in a rising
and falling monotone in which I caught, now and then, the rhythm and rhyme of poetry.
It was late when the service ended. The boiler-factory music ceased as suddenly as it had begun, the worshipers poured forth into the soft night, and I was left alone with my guides and a dozen priests.
“See,” whispered the intermittent Christian. “You are honored. The head man of the temple comes.”
268An aged friar, emerging from an inner shrine, drew near slowly. In outward appearance, he was an exact replica of the surrounding priests. A brilliant yellow robe was his only garment. His head was shaven; his arms, right shoulder and feet, bare.
Having joined the group, he studied me a moment in silence, then addressed me in the native tongue.
“He is asking,” explained my interpreter, “if you are liking to see the sacred tooth?”
I bowed my thanks. The high priest led the way to the innermost shrine of the temple, a chamber in arrangement not unlike the holy sepulchre in the church of that name in Jerusalem. In the center of the vault he halted, and, imitated in every movement by the attendant priests and my guide, fell on his knees, and, muttering a prayer each time, touched his forehead to the pavement thrice.
Erect once more, he drew from the tabernacle before him a gold casket of the size of a ditty-box. From it he took a second, a bit smaller, and handed the first to one of his companions. From the second he drew a third, from the third a fourth. The process was repeated until nearly every subordinate priest held a coffer, some fantastically wrought, some inlaid with precious stones. With the opening of every third box all those not already burdened fell on their knees and repeated their first genuflections. There appeared at last the innermost receptacle, not over an inch each way, and set with diamonds and rubies. Its sanctity required more than the usual number of prostrations and murmured incantations. Carefully the superior opened it, and disclosed to view a tooth, yellow with age, which, assuredly, never grew in any human mouth. Each of the party admired the molar in turn, but even the high priest took care not to touch it. The fitting together of the box of boxes required as much mummery as its disintegration.
The ceremony was ended at last, the tabernacle locked, and we passed on to 杭州水疗会所 inspect other places of interest. Among them was the temple library, famous throughout the island. It contained four books. Two of these—and they were thumb-worn—were in English,—recent works of Theosophists. For the priests of Buddha, far from being the ignorant and superstitious creatures of Western fancy, are often liberal-minded students of every phase of the world’s religions. Printed volumes, however, did not constitute the real library. On the shelves around the walls were thousands of metal tablets, two feet long, a fourth as wide, and an inch thick, covered on both sides with the hieroglyphics of Ceylon. When I had handled several of these, and heard a priest read one in a mournful, sing-song chant, like the falling of water at a distance, I acknowledged myself content and turned with my guides toward the door.
Central 杭州丝袜兼职 Ceylon. Making roof-tiles. The sun is the only kiln
The priests of the “Temple of the Tooth” in Kandy, who were my guides during my stay in the city
269The high priest followed us into the outer temple. During all the evening he had addressed me only through an interpreter. As I paused to pick up my slippers, however, he salaamed gravely and spoke once more, this time, to my utter amazement, in faultless English.
“White men,” ran his speech, “often join the true religion. There are many who are priests of Buddha in Burma, and some in Ceylon. They are much honored.”
“You see,” explained the son of the innkeeper, as we wended our way through the silent bazaars, “he did not wish that you should at first know that he speaks English. He has done you great honor by asking you to become a priest; for so he meant. But often 杭州水磨服务项目 come white men to the temple and mock all that is brought to see, making, many times, very cruel jokes, and he who is close to Buddha waited to see. You have not done so. Therefore are you honored.”
We mounted to the second story of the inn and, stripped naked, lay down on our charpoys—native beds consisting of a strip of canvas stretched on a frame. But it was long before I fell asleep; for the youth, seeing it his clear duty, harangued me long and ungrammatically from the neighboring darkness on the virtues of the “true religion.”
Somehow the impression gained ground rapidly among the residents of Kandy that the white man who had attended the Sunday evening service contemplated joining the yellow-robed ascetics at the Temple of the Tooth. Just where the rumor had its birth I know not. Belike the mere fact that I had turned 杭州桑拿验证 none of the rites to jest had won me favor. Or was it that my garb marked me as one more likely to attain Nirvana than the bestarched Europeans whose levity so grieved him who was “close to Buddha”?
At any rate, the rumor grew like the cornstalk in Kansas. With the morning sun came pious shopkeepers to fawn upon me. Before I had breakfasted, two temple priests, their newly-shaven heads and faces shining under their brightly-colored parasols like polished brass, called at the inn and invited me to a stroll through the market place. Never an excursion did I make in Kandy or its environs without at least a pair of saffron-garbed companions. That I should find a ready welcome in the temple a hundred natives assured me, the priests by veiled hints, the laymen more openly. They were moved, perhaps, by 270a no more altruistic motive 杭州水疗会所哪家好 than a desire to have on exhibition in the local monastery a white priest. But to their credit be it said that no suggestion of a material inducement crept into their arguments.
“Buddhism,” ran their plea, “is the true religion. The mere fact that it has many more followers than any other religion proves that, does it not? And the doctrine of the Enlightened One embraces every anomaly of humanity—even white men. Only those who accept it can hope for future happiness. Even if you are not yet convinced of its truth, why not accept it now and run no risk of future perdition?”
Surely, the most conscientious of Christian missionaries never attempted proselytism less underhandedly.
My escape from Kandy savored of strategy, but I reached the station unchallenged, and, exchanging my last two rupees for a ticket to Colombo, established 杭州水磨服务 myself in a third-class compartment. It was already occupied by a native couple more gifted with offspring than attire. Barely had I settled down to study Singhalese domestic life at close range, however, when a mighty uproar burst out near at hand. A half-breed in the uniform of a guard raced across the platform, and, thrusting his head into the compartment, poured forth on my apparently unoffending companions a torrent of incomprehensible words. Had he denounced me as a victim of the plague? Plainly the family was greatly frightened. The father sprang wildly to his feet and attempted to clutch a half-dozen unwieldy bundles in a painfully inadequate number of hands. The wife, no less terrified, raked together from floor and benches as many naked urchins, in assorted sizes, but entangled, in her haste, the legs of her lord 杭州夜生活好去处 and master, and sent him sprawling among his howling descendants. With a sizzling oath, the trainman snatched open the door and, springing inside, tumbled baggage, infants, and parents unceremoniously out upon the platform. Still bellowing, he drove the trembling wretches to another compartment; a party of well-dressed natives took possession of the recently vacated benches; and we were off.
That self-congratulatory attitude common to traveling salesmen the world over betrayed the caste of my new companions. All of them spoke English, and, eager to air their accomplishments, lost no time in engaging me in conversation. Marvelous was the information and the variations of my mother tongue that assailed me from all sides. It is with difficulty that one refrains from “stuffing” these vainglorious, yet childish fellows and it was 杭州桑拿按摩多少钱 evident that some other European 271had already yielded to the temptation. But my astonishment at the treatment of the exiled family had by no means subsided.
“Will some of you chaps tell me,” I interrupted, “why the guard ordered those other natives out of here, and then let you in?”
The drummers glared at me a moment in silence, looked at each other, and turned to stare out of the windows. Most grossly, evidently, had I insulted them. But even an insult cannot keep an Oriental long silent. The travelers fidgeted in their seats, nudged each other, and focused their stare once more upon me.
“Know you, sir,” said the most portly of the group, with severe countenance, “know you that those were base coolies, who are not allowed to ride in the same compartment with white gentlemen. We,” and the brass buttons of his embroidered jacket struggled to perform their office, “are high-caste Singhalese, sir. Therefore may we ride with sahibs.”