Spring is definitely here and it is lovely. Probably too lovely, if I’m honest, because it is really making it difficult to knuckle down and do the nitty-gritty school work that I just don’t want to do! Next week I have to do a presentation on Buddhism in Sri Lanka for my Buddhism seminar (World Religions is a minor concentration for me). Honestly I’m not really that captivated by the subject – though I have learned a lot. For example, Sri Lanka in the 20th century was the home of a Buddhist revival that scholars often dub “Protestant Buddhism.” The religion had long been marginalized through increasing westernization under British colonial rule. The English language was the language of education, politics, and commerce, and the schools that taught it were often Christian schools. Unfortunately, the missionaries, as was so often the case in colonial times, were as intent on establishing western social customs as with sharing the gospel. Gradually, resentment grew, such that even today Christianity is often seen as a western imposition and equated with killing local culture and the like. Interestingly enough, it was an American, Henry Olcott, who is often credited with the Buddhist resurgence. He arrived with Madame Helen Blavatsky (a famed Russian-American occultist) to spread the ideas of the Theosophical Societies they had begun in the US, and used American methodologies to spread new Buddhist ideas – even forming a YMBA (Young Men’s Buddhist Association) and many schools. So it’s kind of interesting…. but not what I want to immerse myself in on a lovely spring afternoon!
My sister and brother-in-law are here visiting and we’ve had fun. Yesterday we went to Waterfront Park (the water, for those not familiar with Louisville, being the Ohio River). After hanging out a while and tossing a frisbee around, we ate at nearby Joe’s Crab Shack. Our spot on the deck looking out over the river was great, unfortunately the food was not and I wouldn’t advise going there. Then we caught the Louisville Bats playing Ottawa in our great riverside stadium to cap off a great day of outdoor fun.