[Buddha-l] Christendom vs Buddhism in Cambodia

Christopher Fynn chris.fynn at gmail.com
Sat Jul 7 16:38:39 MDT 2012

On 02/07/2012, Richard Hayes <rhayes at unm.edu> wrote:
> On Jul 2, 2012, at 1:23 AM, Christopher Fynn <chris.fynn at gmail.com> wrote:
>> There was also a Canadian Jesuit, Father William
>> Joseph Mackey S.J.
>> <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Mackey_%28priest%29>, who was
>> active in establishing schools in Bhutan. While he supposedly didn't
>> convert anyone - some of his colleagues did.
> I thought the Jesuits were best known for converting to the religions of the
> people with whom they interacted. Isn't that why they're so often running
> afoul of the Vatican?

Though not a Jesuit David Snellgrove,  who  taught Tibetan Studies at
SOAS  and worked with Giuseppe Tucci was an advisor to the Vatican on
Tibetan Buddhism. Tadeusz Skorupski
one of his students who still  teaches Buddhist Studies at SOAS  is a
Polish ex-priest with a degree from the Vatican.

Interestingly the first European visitors to Bhutan were a couple of
Portuguese Jesuit missionaries, Father Estêvão Cacella and Father João
Cabral who came in the early 17C on their way to Tibet. They stayed in
Bhutan for some time and made good freinds with Shabdrung Ngawang
Namgyal, the the exiled Tibetan lama who was the founder of the Drukpa
state.  As you may know chilli peppers are the main vegetable eaten in
Bhutan (they are grown and eaten here in vast quantities as a
vegetable not a spice) and my own theory is that this plant must have
been introduced here by these two Jesuits.

> Just out of curiosity, Chris, is there a noticeable Mormon presence in
> Bhutan? Just about every place I have traveled I have bumped into a few
> tall, blonde, athletic men barely old enough to shave, yet wearing badges on
> their chests identifying them as Elder Whoever. They excel in offering free
> English lessons and warning the natives of the evils of tea, coffee and
> Coca-Cola. Mormon missionaries have even reached such remote parts of the
> world as New Mexico, so I would expect them to be swarming all over Bhutan.

There are a lot of short dark Keralan school teachers here - some of
whom are probably Syrian Orthodox Christians  but very few few young
tall, blonde, athletic men. I've spotted a couple of them working for
a UN agency and the Netherlands development agency (SNV) - I doubt if
they are Mormons, but you never know. The only person with Mormon
connections I ever met in these parts was the late Gene Smith
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E._Gene_Smith> who was the field
director of the Library of Congress Field Office in Delhi in the early
80's and at the time set up a program which is responsible for
preserving the bulk of Tibetan & Bhutanese literature that is
available today. He visited Bhutan a number of times. I believe he was
actually a descendent of Joseph Smith. The Book of Mormon seems to be
a kind of Christian terma,  so I guess it somehow all fits in.

[BTW I'm surprised to hear that Mormons are against something as
American as Coca-Cola - I guess Romney won't get too many votes in
Atlanta, Georgia then.]

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