javanese philosophy

"Mother, I will become a true dalang (puppetmaster)"

"My child is already a man of letters. Now he wants to be a dalang too. What else do you want to be? You'll no doubt become a doctor. You want to achieve so much! How much suffering you call down upon yourself, suffering that will knot you up inside even more, taking away your happiness."

'That is Europe's disease. Shouldn't you learn to think of others too? Haven't I told you, learn to be thankful? You have become like that child. I haven't forgotten your stories. The clever try to become cleverer, the rich, richer. No one has any gratitude in their hearts. Everyone is hurrying around trying to be better. Isn't what you yourself have told me? They all suffer. Their desires and ideals become monsters that rule over them. Do you remember?"

"There is a punishment, my child, for all those who cannot place themselves in the order of things. If it were a star it would be a shooting star. If it were a forest, it would be a forbidden forest. If a stone, a kidney stone."

I gave thanks that I had a mother who was so strong and firm in her beliefs and her thoughts. She was a Javanese woman and she had her own wisdom. And I would never be able to marry a woman like her. But it is not a punishment, Mother, it isn't. Mother, truly it isn't.



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