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The Soul of a People   By: (1859-1917)

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THE SOUL OF A PEOPLE

[Illustration: Publisher's logo]

THE SOUL OF A PEOPLE

BY

H. FIELDING

'For to see things in their beauty is to see them in their truth'

MATTHEW ARNOLD

London MACMILLAN AND CO., LIMITED NEW YORK: THE MACMILLAN COMPANY 1899

First Edition, 1898 Second Edition, 1898 Third Edition, 1899

DEDICATION TO SECOND EDITION

I dedicate this book to you about whom it is written. It has been made a reproach to me by the critics that I have only spoken well of you, that I have forgotten your faults and remembered only your virtues. If it is wrong to have done this, I must admit the wrong. I have written of you as a friend does of a friend. Where I could say kind things of you I have done so, where I could not I have been silent. You will find plenty of people who can see only your faults, and who like to tell you of them. You will find in the inexorable sequence of events a corrector of these faults more potent than any critics can be. But I am not your critic, but your friend. If many of you had not admitted me, a stranger, into your friendship during my many very solitary years, of what sort should I be now? How could I have lived those years alone? You kept alive my sympathies, and so saved me from many things. Do you think I could now turn round and criticise you? No; but this book is my tribute of gratitude for many kindnesses.

PREFACE

In most of the quotations from Burmese books containing the life of the Buddha I am indebted, if not for the exact words, yet for the sense, to Bishop Bigandet's translation.

I do not think I am indebted to anyone else. I have, indeed, purposely avoided quoting from any other book and using material collected by anyone else.

The story of Ma Pa Da has appeared often before, but my version is taken entirely from the Burmese song. It is, as I have said, known to nearly every Burman.

I wanted to write only what the Burmese themselves thought; whether I have succeeded or not, the reader can judge.

I am indebted to Messrs. William Blackwood and Sons for permission to use parts of my article on 'Burmese Women' Blackwood's Magazine , May, 1895 in the present work.

CONTENTS

CHAPTER PAGE

I. LIVING BELIEFS 1

II. HE WHO FOUND THE LIGHT I. 17

III. HE WHO FOUND THE LIGHT II. 34

IV. THE WAY TO THE GREAT PEACE 46

V. WAR I. 56

VI. WAR II. 77

VII. GOVERNMENT 87

VIII. CRIME AND PUNISHMENT 102

IX. HAPPINESS 116

X. THE MONKHOOD I. 127

XI. THE MONKHOOD II. 153

XII. PRAYER 158

XIII. FESTIVALS 166

XIV. WOMEN I. 185

XV. WOMEN II. 205

XVI. WOMEN III. 224

XVII. DIVORCE 228

XVIII. DRINK 242

XIX. MANNERS 248

XX. 'NOBLESSE OBLIGE' 256

XXI. ALL LIFE IS ONE 277

XXII. DEATH, THE DELIVERER 302

XXIII. THE POTTER'S WHEEL 322

XXIV. THE FOREST OF TIME 342

XXV. CONCLUSION 348

THE SOUL OF A PEOPLE

CHAPTER I

LIVING BELIEFS

'The observance of the law alone entitles to the right of belonging to my religion.' Saying of the Buddha.

For the first few years of my stay in Burma my life was so full of excitement that I had little care or time for any thought but of to day. There was, first of all, my few months in Upper Burma in the King's time before the war, months which were full of danger and the exhilaration of danger, when all the surroundings were too new and too curious to leave leisure for examination beneath the surface... Continue reading book >>




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