Friday, October 18, 2002

Oh those wacky Buddhist monks

For some reason I just thought of something from my vacation in August: in northern Cape Breton Island, one of the most isolated places I have ever been in the industrialised world, there is a Buddhist monastery. The captain of the whale-watching boat we were on was also a fisherman, and ten years ago the monks bought a good chunk of his crab catch (cheaper than lobster). And the monks set out in a boat to release them back into the ocean, but unlike lobsters, fresh crabs do not need to be kept in water. After a complex hour-long ritual, the Buddhists dropped all of the crabs in the water, only to watch them float belly-up. Understandably devastated, each year since has involved the purchase and release of the lobster catch - creatures guaranteed to still be alive when the time came. Also - according to the locals, young monks venture out from the monastery every so often to enjoy a good hamburger - and to be fair, the locals visit the monastery just as often to partake of the lentils. Fascinating little village.

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