As in the ocean's midmost depth no wave is born,
But all is still, so let the monk be still, be
Motionless, and nowhere should he swell.
—The Sayings of Buddha
At an hour when a man can first discern the shadows of the veins on the back of his hand, the monks arise. The great temple drum, hanging from its roughhewn log rack, summons the faithful to alms. Twisting a single saffron shift round their bodies, the monks move out into the quiet streets in single file, eyes to the ground, fingers clasped beneath their...