Too many hours in the sun yesterday left me with a light head and the lack of sleep in the previous 48hrs not much help anyway. But here I was sitting in this restaurant called Le Logon a few km outside of Bamako with my client and his brother.
We had met up again after spending almost the entire day in his office and walking the market in search of information. Conversation was general, bordering on the personal when he mentioned his intention to seek another wife - the two biggest issues he was apparently faced with in this quest was a) whom to select from a large number of potential mates and b) the need to build a second house - which he intended to share with just his new wife as opposed to his currant residence which includes wife #1, two kids of his own, his two brothers and their respective wife's and children.... the problems people have eh?
From what I gathered the quest was progressing well, and he seemed in no hurry to make a decision... but surreal really kicked in once the conversation slipped into religion; in this instance Buddhism and Islam
Now I'm one of those easy going types when it comes to religion, live and let live I believe and unless I am witness to an act of cruelty as defined by my perceptions, I tend to treat people the way I would they treat me.
And generally, when the person I'm talking with edges on intensity, I prefer to resort to nodding my head and making appropriate noises at appropriate moments.
When I mentioned that Buddhists did not have gods to believe in (yes I know, we have the Hindu ones) and that there was a cycle of re birth and accountability, things got interesting; I tend to be amused by people who while trying to convince me of the merits of their argument are unwilling to conceded that there might be other options - is this due to my practice of Buddhism and its call for compassion and tolerance? But then I know of so many others who claim to be better Buddhist and yet seem unwilling to be tolerant.
Take for example the issue of Buddha Bar and the general usage of the Buddha's image as art. I freely admit that I am quite taken up with his image used as art - in my own home I have wood carving hung on a wall, the 'Pièce de résistance' of all the trinkets I have - by currant SL standards I might be in big trouble!
It seems so silly really, who gave us the right to act in such a churlish manner - are we not expected be more tolerant, is it rather not better if we lived and changed people by example? These are the double standard issues that SL seems to be today - the national dressed politician with eyes cast down worshiping at a temple only to leave with tires screeching, tearing at breakneck speed along narrow roads and barely a care of a human or animal...