Fatty and Bo Bo Gyi
Addressing Our Nation’s Problems

At the end of this week, Fatty, my youngest granddaughter in Myanmar, will be celebrating her 12th birthday. I met her on my first trip to Myanmar during winter break from teaching in 2013. Back then, Ti Ti was nine and thought she could beat me at Scrabble, which she did. However, she had two younger sisters, who were two and four. Fatty was the youngest, and Snow was four. The first photo is of Snow, Fatty, and their mother, Moh Moh. The second photo is of Fatty and Snow in their preschool class.

I returned during my winter break in 2017. Ti Ti told her younger sisters who the American was that was coming to visit them and how I fit into their family. Ti Ti told them that I was their PaPa Al. Snow accepted that nomenclature, but Fatty didn’t accept Ti Ti’s naming of me. Fatty saw me as Bo Bo Gyi and has never called my PaPa Al.

Bo Bo Gyi, ဘိုးဘိုးကြီး, means honored or hallowed grandfather. Bo Bo Gyi is a guardian spirit in Theravada Buddhism, called a nat. Nats appear as human beings but are rather spirits regardless of looking like a person. Bo Bo Gyi is the preeminent nat. Bo Bo Gyi appears as an elderly man carrying a cane due to his age. Additionally, he is an alchemist who can turn ordinary metal into gold. His followers bring food to him and present him with scarves as acts of devotion.

Bo Bo Gyi

Bo Bo Gyi

Essentially, Bo Bo Gyi is a very protective grandfather who reaches out to anyone in need. What is interesting is that Fatty saw me as a recent incarnation of Bo Bo Gyi. Beyond that, Fatty knew that I had recently had an operation on my plantar fasciitis and the nerves in my tarsal tunnel on my left foot. I received this note from Fatty.

I read her email that included this attachment. That was a very loving expression from my granddaughter. Whenever Fatty and I are together, she looks at me and flutters her eyes to express her love for me. I have written about her Bette Davis Eyes.

Additionally, Fatty became an incarnation of Bo Bo Gyi by reaching out to her grandfather, wanting to help me walk. Beyond the personal aspect of Fatty’s incarnation of Bo Bo Gyi, you might grasp something Fatty understands.

Additionally, you can also be an incarnation of Bo Bo Gyi. We can reach out to others, especially those in need. Many Americans discriminate against communities of black or brown people. Along with racism, many males have decided how women should deal with their reproductive rights. That is blatant sexism. Men wouldn’t tolerate being told by women how they should act.

White supremacist males tell communities of color, and females how to act and behave isn’t conscionable. Interestingly, their attitude actually shows that they feel less adequate than the minorities or women whom they diss.

A far better alternative is for all of us to become incarnations of Bo Bo Gyi. Minorities and women will benefit from your concern, and you also will benefit. One of my mantras is that it is in giving that we get.

One important addendum. George Eliot, which was Mary Ann Evans’ pseudonym, wrote the novella Silas Marner.

Silas Marner

Silas Marner

It was published in 1861, exactly a century before I stood in front of Mrs. Davis in my high school English class to recite this passage from Silas Marner.

In old days there were angels who came and took men by the hand and led them away from the city of destruction. We see no white-winged angels now. But yet men are led away from threatening destruction: a hand is put into theirs, which leads them forth gently towards a calm and bright land, so that they look no more backward; and the hand may be a little child’s.

Fatty is not only an incarnation of Bo Bo Gyi; she is a child leading us away from threatening destruction by example.