Archives For Dalai Lama

There are lots of articles and essays of interest to modern Pagans out there, sometimes more than I can write about in-depth in any given week. So The Wild Hunt must unleash the hounds in order to round them all up.

That’s it for now! Feel free to discuss any of these links in the comments, some of these I may expand into longer posts as needed.

“As I have always said, unity and stability under brute force is at best a temporary solution. It is unrealistic to expect unity and stability under such a rule and would therefore not be conducive to finding a peaceful and lasting solution.”His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama

Since March 10th (Tibetan Uprising Day) peaceful protests, and later riots, have broken out in Tibet. The Chinese government, which has controlled Tibet since their 1951 invasion, confirms between 7-10 dead though internal sources say the death toll is much higher. Meanwhile Tibetans and their supporters around the world have engaged in protests and actions in solidarity with those marching in Tibet.

Picture of protesters in Tibet.

“Hundreds of Tibetan exiles pressed ahead Tuesday with a march from northern India to their Himalayan homeland, defying a police ban on the demonstration against Beijing’s hosting of the 2008 Olympics … It was one of several events launched around the world Monday by Tibetans commemorating their 1959 uprising against China. … Walking single file, waving Tibetan flags and holding aloft pictures of the Dalai Lama and Indian pacifist icon Mohandas K. Gandhi, some 350 exiles followed the road down from the mountains toward the plains of northern India.”

The US ambassador to China and the EU have urged China to show “restraint” in dealing with the Tibetan protesters, while China has blamed the “sabotage” on a small “Dalai clique”. Tibet’s chief administrator Champa Phunstok claims that the protests are “really nothing” and that “everything is really great.”

“Asked about the march, Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said, “Some ignorant monks in Lhasa abetted by a small handful of people did some illegal things that can challenge the social stability.” He said monks were dealt with “according to the law,” but gave no details.”

Yes, we wouldn’t want to give details, not when the upcoming Beijing Olympics are so close. After all, the Olympic torch is passing through Tibet, and we wouldn’t want that marred with talk of human rights abuses. Even the current administration in America seems ready to look the other way, as the State Department drops China from their list of the top ten human rights violators.

“Perhaps it’s because President George W. Bush really wants to go to the opening of the Olympic Games in Beijing this summer that China has been dropped from Washington’s list of the top 10 countries violating human rights. There’s nothing in the 63 pages in the annual State Department report on human rights in 190 countries to suggest China has been dropped from the top 10 on merit.”

Anyone familiar with China’s human-rights record knows that China has been brutally suppressing religious freedom for generations. This includes the indigenous faith traditions of China, various Christian denominations, Falun Dafa, and Buddhism. While some (State-controlled) religious freedom has been allowed in recent years, any faith seen as a political threat (that being any faith not controlled and overseen by China) is targeted as an enemy of the government. This is especially true of Tibetan Buddhism which China has been trying to subvert and control in a variety of ways in order to quell all remaining dissent in their occupation of Tibet.

I urge Pagans concerned about the religious freedom and human rights violations happening in Tibet* to consider participating in acts of solidarity on behalf of the Tibetan people. You can send a letter to Olympics organizers asking them to urge China to respect the values of the Olympic Truce. You can send a letter to the UN urging them to take action on behalf of the imprisoned Panchen Lama. You can urge your government officials to back a boycott of the Beijing Olympics, or give your support to Team Tibet.

* For ongoing updates on the Tibetan uprising and connected protests, I would suggest checking out the web site.

(Pagan) News of Note

Jason Pitzl-Waters —  September 3, 2007 — 1 Comment

My semi-regular round-up of articles, essays, and opinions of note for discerning Pagans and Heathens.

The Record takes a look at the spread of Santeria in the ranks of Major League Baseball, and interviews Chicago White Sox Manager Ozzie Guillen about his public devotion to the Orisha.

“If you see my saints, you’ll be like ‘Golly, they’re ugly … They’ve got blood. They’ve got feathers. You go to the Catholic church, the (saints) have got real nice clothes. My religion, you see a lot of different things you never see.”

The article lists MLB players Los Angeles Angels pitcher Francisco Rodriguez, Florida Marlins third baseman Miguel Cabrera, and the White Sox’s pitcher Jose Contreras as active adherents to Santeria, while Cincinnati Reds shortstop Alex Gonzalez and Chicago Cubs infielder Ronny Cedeno have reportedly “experimented” with the faith. Sort of puts a whole new spin on post-game prayer doesn’t it?

Over at Get Religion, Terry Mattingly looks at the latest round of news stories in the Veteran Pentacle Quest (involving the President’s snub and subsequent apology to Roberta Stewart) and wonders where the conservative Christian religious groups and activists were during this fight over religious liberties?

“Did conservative religious groups take a stand on one side or the other in this case, or where they divided? I think many journalists would assume that conservative believers oppose the Wiccan case. I do not think that can be assumed, because many conservatives now realize that equal access means equal access and freedom of association means freedom of association.”

But as commenters on the post (including me) pointed out, many conservative Christians have an irrational reaction to religious liberty and freedom cases involving Pagans. One conservative Republican Pagan was given the cold shoulder every time he approached a popular conservative pundit, while a Wiccan Army veteran was told outright by the American Center for Law and Justice they they “don’t support Satanists”. Kind of hard to build coalitions for a common goal with people who want nothing to do with you.

For those keeping track of China’s recent move to ban unauthorized reincarnations (in order to lessen the influence of the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile), the leaders of Tibetan Buddhism have issued a joint statement repudiating China’s attempt to control the “living buddhas”.

“The heads of all the religious schools of Tibetan Buddhism; the monks, nuns, mantra holders and other lay followers of the respective schools and the Department of Religion and Culture of the Central Tibetan Administration collectively issue this statement repudiating the so-called order no. 5 of China’s State Administration of Religious Affairs that it is against the United Nation’s Declaration of Human Rights and the PRC’s constitution; that it is against history and the aspiration of the broad masses of people who believe in Tibetan Buddhism. Furthermore, it is a new weapon employed by the Chinese government to undermine Tibetan Buddhism, and to insult and oppress the Tibetan people.”

Calls continue to either boycott, or use the Olympics to place pressure on China to respect the religious freedoms of the Tibetan people. Meanwhile tensions rise over what will happen once the current Dalai Lama passes on. Since the true Panchen Lama (the second-highest ranking lama) is being held by China, many believe that Ugyen Thinley Dorje, the 17th Karmapa will rise to leadership during the Dalai Lama’s absence.

In a final note, the lottery win of Ellwood “Bunky” Bartlett continues to gain attention. Boing Boing opines: “Dude, talk about blessed be.” The SoMA Review wonders if some lottery hopefuls might consider a conversion: “Christians who pray for lucky lottery tickets but never win might consider switching over to Wicca.” But perhaps a truly fitting statement comes from a friend of Bunky’s, who opens a post on her friend’s win with: “And people say that Magick doesn’t work.”

That is all I have for now, have a good (Labor) day!

China continues its cultural and spiritual genocide on the people of Tibet. This time they have passed a law saying that no “living Buddha” can reincarnate without the express permission of China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs.

“Tibet’s living Buddhas have been banned from reincarnation without permission from China’s atheist leaders. The ban is included in new rules intended to assert Beijing’s authority over Tibet’s restive and deeply Buddhist people. ‘The so-called reincarnated living Buddha without government approval is illegal and invalid,’ according to the order, which comes into effect on September 1. The 14-part regulation issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs is aimed at limiting the influence of Tibet’s exiled god-king, the Dalai Lama, and at preventing the re-incarnation of the 72-year-old monk without approval from Beijing.”

The fourteenth and current Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, who is considered a reincarnation of Avalokiteshvar: the bodhisattva of compassion, has already announced that if he dies in exile so his successor will be born. This no doubt worries the government of China who have been trying to take over Tibetan Buddhism through imprisonments, persecutions, and laws designed to move all decision-making to Chinese officials. As China continues to “convert” Tibet into a mirror-image of the Chinese mainland, tensions among native Tibetans are rising.

“The atmosphere in Lithang, eastern Tibet, is tense and there are fears of a further security crackdown after a local Tibetan nomad, Runggye Adak, was detained after speaking about the Dalai Lama and his concern about social issues in the area to a crowd of hundreds of people gathered for the horse racing festival in Lithang … According to various reports, many Tibetans congregated to protest about the arrest of Runggye and police had to fire warning shots in the air to disperse the crowds. Several Tibetans have sought the release of Runggye Adak from custody through dialogue with police and Kardze officials.”

Of course no real pressure is being brought to China for these offenses, the US doesn’t want to offends its number one “most-favored” trading partner and many American companies are more than willing to help China round up anyone who dares criticize the nation from within. But many are hoping that with China hosting the 2008 Olympics more political pressure can be brought against the nation for their abysmal record on human rights and their handling of Tibet. If you are interested in moving forward on this issue, there is a special website called “Race for Tibet” that discusses ways ordinary people can work towards real progress in Tibet.

Often ignored in the larger discussions of extremist Islam and its battles (both idealogical and physical) with the Western world is that the religious imperatives underlying those struggles aren’t limited to “decadent” Westerners, but include any faith that could pose a challenge to their monotheism.

“Security surrounding the Dalai Lama has been tightened after reports of an attempt by the al-Qa’ida-linked terrorist organisation Lashkar-e-Toiba to assassinate the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader … In a recent document, Osama bin Laden denounced “pagan Buddhism” as part of his general attack on anything not Islamic. The assassination threat picked up by Indian authorities is thought to be based on bin Laden’s denunciation and the extremist jihadi movement’s hatred for anything and anyone that is not Muslim.”

Also on the Lashkar-e-Toiba (“The Army of the Pure”) hit-list is Sonia Gandhi, current chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance, a center-left coalition that recent gained control of the Indian government after years of rule by the more nationalistic Bharatiya Janata Party. While an Islamic terror group in Pakistan-administered Kashmir wanting to kill Indian leaders is nothing new or unique, what is new is the focus on Buddhism and the Dalai Lama (who holds no political power in India).

But then radical Islam’s hostility to Buddhism isn’t entirely new either. The Taliban’s destruction of the Buddhas of Bamiyan (an act condemned by Pakistan) drew international attention and condemnation (some claimed that Osama bin Laden was behind the effort). It all comes down to the fact that monotheism, when taken to its worst extremes, desires the destruction of any faith that challenges its singular “truth”. While extremist forces within Islam may seem preoccupied with “the West”, we should never forget that non-monotheistic faiths will always be on the hit-list of such madness.