Monday, March 17, 2008


Does the heart not bleed for this poor country in its long night of oppression? What is it about this human species that we need to crush, dominate, destroy? Centuries of accumulated wisdom, religious experience, art and culture are threatened by the willful ignorance and arrogance of men (mostly, yes, men, unhappily) whose need to wield temporal power over others recognizes no boundaries and respects the rights of no other human soul.

Is there a time for violence? The Dalai Lama would have us believe there is not, that all things will resolve themselves as they must in the course of time. Others--including many of the Dalai Lama's followers--clearly disagree. News from Tibet brings reports of many deaths, of violent revolt on the part of some, and violent repression by others. One clear thing is that who's right and who's wrong is insignificant to those who lose their lives; another, that in the shadow of those great mountains and the course of centuries of history, all this currently tragic human strife will seem as trivial as a battle between warring ants.

In my metta practice, I send out as much compassion as I can to those who oppress as well as those they persecute. I still feel helpless in the face of these events, but as Than Geoff (Thanissaro Bhikkhu) frequently points out, the world would be a better place if all of us could find true happiness.


thailandchani said...

He states the obvious. :) The thing is that certain ideologies have to become obsolete before that can occur.

The question about violence is an interesting one. At what point is it justifiable?

As for why most people engage in it, I think it might be an underlying belief in limited resources?

PeterAtLarge said...

Yes, Chani. I fear that we are in for many more "resource wars" as the world shrinks and the population of human beings continues to explode.

Nigel said...

Hi Chani,

The Buddha told us why most people engage in violence. The root cause is that we posit a 'self' which is separate from all the other 'selves'. We are then willing to do whatever is necessary to nurture and protect this 'self'.


PeterAtLarge said...

Hello, Nigel, good to hear from you on The Buddha Diaries! All's well with you, I trust? Metta, PaL

heartinsanfrancisco said...

H.H. The Dalai Lama has said all along that he prays for the Chinese as well as for the Tibetans. Interestingly, though, he is not telling his followers in Tibet to cease their present protests.

I believe that those who operate from a scarcity mentality cannot feel connected to all others and are likely to defend to the death what they believe is theirs by right.

It's quite astonishing that it has taken the Tibetan people 49 years of brutal oppression to openly revolt.

Cardozo said...

If, as you suggest, peace is sewn with seeds of individual happiness, isn't the cultivation of that happiness our most pressing task?

Furthermore, if that is true, is following world affairs (over which we have little to no direct influence)an unnecessary distraction from that task?