Journey into the Hill

Moving upstream on the Irrawaddy broad tide, the ocean liner approaches the city of Rangoon, and the gold-leafed pinnacle of the celebrated Shwe Dagon pagoda welcomes it as it rises magnificently in the morning sunlight. The traveler is intrigued with the claim that this ancient shrine has been standing for three thousand years. This injects an anachronism, since Buddhism was founded not more than twenty-five centuries ago and something less than that for its lodgment in Burma. But no one seems to be embarrassed nor stultified by what, for them, is merely a slight chronological inaccuracy, which derives from the time-clocked occidental measurements, for theirs is that timeless eternity of the East.

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