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From: Tom Sweetnam (
Date: Sat May 13 2000 - 13:20:50 PDT

Ernest N. Prabhakar wrote:

> I think the Eastern view of sentience is probably more about awareness of
> God, rather than of self. I think some would even claim only enlightened
> gurus are truly sentient in any meaningful sense...

Maybe so. There is certainly an aspect of discipline about a holy man's
convictions in the East that is very difficult to dismiss as anything but
divine sentience. I watched a Buddhist monk douse himself with gasoline and
burn himself to death in Hue in 1970. Like all those who'd done the same
before him, and like the half dozen who'd do the same that week in I Corps,
he was protesting what was happening around him. He didn't flinch, not a
muscle. He simply sat down, ignited himself, burned to death, and then
toppled over, a smoking molt. It's the same way they all died, in a state
of transcendence baffling in the West. No catechism class I'd ever suffered
through and no High Mass I'd ever attended elicited the sense of reverence I
felt there, that day, on that dirty street. Surely there must be a God I
thought, at least for him there certainly was.

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