Sunday, May 24, 2015

Luke 14: 28-30
For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it? 29Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him, 30saying, 'This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.

This reminds me of King Bodawpaya's unfinished pagoda. He started construction in 1790, but it really drug down the economy and almost everybody hated the pagoda, and the huge bell that had been commissioned to go along with it. Bodaypaya was superstitious so the people started a rumor of a prophecy that his reign would be over and that he would die when the pagoda was completed. Obviously there was only one thing to do, slow construction as much as possible. Eventually Bodawpaya died of something else and construction of the pagoda stopped all together. There is still a ruin of the pagoda in Mingun, and the bell was actually completed and it's huge! There is room for maybe ten people to stand underneath it. It is not as big as the Dhamazeddi Bell, but it's the largest in Myanmar, I think.

It is easy to blame Bodaypaya's superstition on the failure of the pagoda. But if the pagoda had been completed it might have brought about the end of his kingdom anyway. We can't know. Mingun is still a town, small but proud of its history. And Burma is still a country, though it's been occupied a couple times, and ruled by tyrants ever since Thibaw was sent into exile.

I don't want my life to wind up like the Unfinished Pagoda. I want to finish, and finish well. There are times when I would like to quit. But I don't. I won't. I do think I'll aim for something smaller than Bodawpaya, though.

So, here it is:

I won't quit on life.

And I won't use slave labour to build myself up. 

And I won't do anything to take away from the prosperity of others. 

And I won't get caught up in wild superstitions.

This is the gospel according to Bodawpaya. 

And here is a picture of the bell, if you're interested:

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