Burmakin: Your majesty, you may be a poisonous communist rather than a King Buddhist! Who knows what Heaven dislikes and what it likes? I have felt ashamed that these elite Mahayanists, influenced by Western education or biased towards the support of the West, are liberalizing Buddhism. I now feel that their liberalizing Buddhism is not that worse than what you are propagandizing – communizing Buddhism. No, people are not equal and can never be equal. I am sure about that. Exactly, this is the illusion of communists!
King of Angels: Well, my son.
Who knows what Heaven dislikes and what it likes? Even I, the King and the Great Representative of Heaven, found it a very difficult question. Discover this blame of yours yourself, my son. You can uncover the truth. This is the revelation of Buddha and Heaven!
I see, your majesty. We all are so equal in that any one of us can't establish the truth. We all are so equal in that every one of us must respect this universal truth that we can't establish the truth. I see, your majesty. Have we deviated so much from Buddha's Middle Way by establishing us on the middle way(s)?
King of Angels: Well, my son. Of course, I appreciate you Burmese for your love of Heaven. You, Burmese race, are perhaps the last men in Asia to maintain this great traditional love of Heaven of mankind. The love of Heaven can make one heavenly. But the same love can make one helly if one is tempting to establish Heaven on Earth.
Burmakin: OK, I see we have two big problems in our Burmese Buddhists' understanding. The first is the fallacy of the middle ground. We simply believe the middle ground between two extremes is always or usually correct. The second is the same problem with communists' intellectual arrogance. We haughtily believe our current position is the true middle and is the only solution to all kinds of human problems. In that way, all Burmese have the same spoiled attitude with communists. We believe we are intelligent; our intuition is very strong; we know how to do; we can make moral prophecy for setting everything right, and we can powerfully establish those right things on earth.
King of Angels:
Well, my son. Let me repeat here. What Buddha teaches us eight right practices in the Middle way is to set yourself (NOT yourselves) right. You Burmese should be cautious to stop your singular self at this point, not to root and distribute yourselves as true.
For me, there is only one problem to you mankind, that some men believe they are more equal than others.
Burmakin: Isn't it true? I am a medical doctor. I am highly educated. Few people in this world can go to classified universities and learn the best education. Shouldn't I or a Harvard, Brown University graduate or a PhD doctor believe we are more equal than others? How can such belief make the only problem to mankind?
King of Angels: Is that so? My son, I then need to drive you into a disillusioning method, famously known to the West as the Socratic Method.
Burmakin: I don't think Socrates was the only person to use that method. Our Teacher, Buddha, applied this questioning method to encourage critical thinking in many of his debates that our nominal Burmese Buddhist culture was absolutely lacking. I will prefer to call Buddha's method that Socrates might have copied. You know both great sages were born around the same time. Anyway, I will welcome your set of questions.
King of Angels: OK, my son. Why do you believe a Harvard PhD graduate or a highly educated person is more equal than the rest of the mankind?
Burmakin: I think these few elite people who earned very high degrees from prestigious universities can perform better human relationship than the lowly educated which are the majority that Plato once thought as the ignorant who would dominate democracy into the tyranny of the majority. Until today's modern Democratic age, we need the platonian philosopher kings for establishing better and perhaps perfect human relationships, your majesty. You can't deny that.
King of Angels: Hey, my son. Did Buddha ever teach us that performing human relationship should be based on the medical degree, Harvard graduation or PhD fellowship or something coming out from Brown?
Burmakin: No. But your majesty, perhaps, at that time, there was no Brown or Harvard University in the time of His holy enlightenment.
King of Angels: Did Buddha ever teach us something definite for performing human relationship?
Burmakin: Of course, why not? Buddha taught us very definite that performing human relationship should be based on metta (non- anger), karuna (compassion, putting yourself in the shoes of others), mudita (non-jealousy), and upekkhā (non-bias to one's own feeling).
King of Angels: Do you think a Harvard PhD graduate do have less anger than a Roman Catholic Nun?
King of Angels: Do you think a Harvard PhD graduate can have less anger than a Buddhist monk?
Burmakin: No. Why should we compare that crazy graduate with our venerable Buddhist monks?
King of Angels: How about a beggar? Can this elite educated person have less anger than a faceless lowly educated nothing-venerable beggar? As a matter of fact, let us remember that faceless beggarhood is the generic choice of my Supreme Teacher Buddha in founding his Sanga society.
Burmakin: Yes, beggarhood is the generic choice of our Supreme Teacher as the noblest livelihood in this world.
No, your majesty, I can't say a Harvard PhD graduate can have less anger than a holy beggar. But at that point, I am not sure pennilessness and educationlessness is certainly related.
King of Angels: OK, how about just a seven year old child, my son? That great elite PhD person can have less anger than a child?
Burmakin: No. But a seven year old child can also be irritable.
King of Angels: Ok, which irritability is harmful? The irritability of a seven year old child or arrogance and anger of an Ivory League person?
Burmakin: Of course, arrogance and anger of an Ivory League person is more harmful. Robert McNamara, who wrongly justified the Vietnam War that killed millions of the Vietnam people, was a Harvard Business School graduate. I heard that he scored the undefeatable highest grades in all kinds of examinations in his education life.
King of Angels: So, do you still think an Ivory League highly educated person performs better human relationship than a seven year old child? You are now speaking that he is not even better than a nun, a Buddhist monk, a faceless beggar or even a seven year old child.
Burmakin: Yes. How bad had been I to hold this kind of intoxicated mistake for such a long time of my old and even nearly extinguishing time of life! What is the problem with that? It is obvious that the graduate degrees or education scores have nothing to do with performing better human relationship. What really matters in human relationship?
King of Angels: It is called moral intelligence. Buddha and I beautified it as Four Great Dharmas of Brahma. You know they are metta, karuna, muditha and upekkhā. The fourth Dharma, upekkhā, "let it be", non-action that is Wu-wei, in Chinese Taoism, is the most important of all. The problem of McNamara, American Southerners during the civil war and your whole lot of Burmese at present was this ignorance about the let-it-be Brahma Dharma of Teacher Buddha and Lao-Tzu.
Burmakin: Let me ask you later for illustrating why this fourth Dharma of Brahma is the most important for human relationship. For the moment, I still think a highly educated person is still much more useful. Perhaps, they can't perform better human relationship but they can perform better for providing a lot of beneficial human services. Since they are better educated, they can provide better services. It does make sense, your majesty?
King of Angels: Let me ask you, my son. Aung San Su Kyi was an Oxford graduate. When her son Alexander was seven years old, what kind of services to this seven year old child from his mother was important? The services of an Oxford graduate or the services of a mother?
Burmakin: What a non-sense! What has to be done with the Oxford degree to a seven year old child? The services of the mother are the most important to any child.
King of Angels: Which one is nobler? Motherhood or Oxford graduatehood?
Burmakin: Stupid. Motherhood is the noblest of everything. Even Buddha had to venerate it.
King of Angels: Then you are now acknowledging that a mother who provides good mother services to her child is better and nobler than any kind of high, high prestigious degree person.
Burmakin: OK, I understand you will again say being a good son (daughter), being a good brother (sister), and being a good friend, and being a good citizen and being a good man (woman), offers better services to any of us than Oxford or Harvard graduates can offer their services to mankind. Perhaps, this good-looking word "mankind" even is a big problem of our illusion in not understanding the fundamentals.
But, I am not losing to you yet. How about a medical doctor who can alleviate the suffering of his patients? A mother doesn't know what to do when her child becomes ill but the pediatrician does. There is usefulness in those highly educated degrees. Such higher education gets you skills to provide better human services.
King of Angels: Ok, my son. Let me ask you. Your eldest brother and many of your friends are very high-earning physicians in America and Singapore. Their income is in the 95th percentile in those countries. Do you respect them or think them as noble persons?
King of Angels: Why you can't respect them? They have such high medical skills from higher education to earn such enormous income that do commensurate with their beneficial services to society.
Burmakin: No. I can't respect them for their higher education, skills and wealth. All these things, when a person, even with a normal average IQ, works hard and his family support is good enough, he can achieve such a status. That is not a surprise.
King of Angels: Of course, my Teacher Buddha once criticized about stunning ascetic practices, "What has to be done with those incredible practices. Even a slave girl can practice such and such". So when will you respect your brother and your colleagues?
Burmakin: Yes, I will respect them if they are good persons. If they have minimal greed, minimal anger and minimal ignorance and bear their genuine sincerity towards others. I can't respect them for their skills and income but I will respect them if their mind is good.
King of Angels: Well, my son. Even if you don't respect them for their skills, I will respect them because their medical knowledge and skills are dealing directly with your worst human problems of suffering, disease, death and aging. Skills are the essentials of the morals. Without accumulating the skills, a person cannot be moral enough, no matter his mind is purely good.
For me as a third person impartial spectator, I must bow to a person who has the skills. But be aware that even though we, Savakas, admire the skills as important, my noblest Teacher, Buddha, would not call the skilled people as holy people (See The apology of Burmakin VII). For you as a first person, a free human being, you are free to not respect any skilled person if you like because you do have your own role of your skill and any of you human can achieve any kind of skill if everything else is Ceteris paribus.
(Note: The government as a third person also is needed to respect
the skills and roles of all citizens)
Burmakin: So what is your point?
King of Angels: Obvious enough, my son. Degrees and education are nothing to do with goodness of a person. Only the person who applies the skills consciously and morally is a good person, that Buddha and we Savakas will appreciate.
Burmakin: And that good person who applies skills consciously and morally will never be arrogant to think and act that he is more equal than all others.
King of Angels: Of course, that is the
worst problem of failing Burmese society, my son. There are two gravely wrong assumptions in your enclosed society. The first one is many come to think they are the philosopher kings. The second one is many think a society ruled by philosopher kings will develop wish-everything-you-get-tree from the ground.
Burmakin: What is that fault in a person thinking to raise himself as the philosopher king? If somebody tries the hardest and incredible, he can even be a Buddha. What is wrong with that?
King of Angels: If I repeat my set of questions, will you still think that a philosopher king is more important than a mother, a son or a friend or a physician or a good person?
Burmakin: I see. Even with due respect, you can even replace Buddha in the place of the philosopher king. That is why; Buddha didn't bother to live more than eighty years. Both in principle and practice, his presence was not important to us and human affairs. The only importance is we should try ourselves to be good men. "Be a lamp onto yourselves", that is the core Buddha's teaching for individualism of Buddhist philosophy.
King of Angels:
Well, my son. Don't find a brilliant father and but let yourself be a good son to your own parents. Don't find to be a father to many, but be a modest father to your own children. The desideratum of mankind is that don't fool yourself to be a holy person to many but just be a good person to yourself and your environment.
That " just " I stressed out presents the understanding to all four Noble truths, Dukkha Truth (limitation of your human being), Samudaya Truth (Limitlessness of exaggeration), Magga Truth ( Understanding of your limitation and behave modestly according to this understanding), and Nirodha Truth (Realization of a state).
Burmakin: Looking like this "just" is very important. Is this called Wu-wei, non action in Tao?
King of Angels: Of course, this is the way of Tao. If all of you know how important is "just", your mankind will be on the just way and you all can adjust to situations correctly to be living good together. Buddha also expressed four components of Wu-wei in Mingala Suttra: to respect, to be humble to yourself, to be modest, to know gratefulness. Those are great blessing to human society, my son.