• Tag Archives Buddhism
  • Myanmar’s ‘Buddhist Bin Laden’

    Wirathu Buddhist Bin Laden Myanmar
    Wirathu, the ‘Buddhist Bin Laden’ of Myanmar.

    Sharing this because I’ve heard it said that all of the world’s religions have some history of violence — except Buddhism.

    Well, leave it to people.

    Religion is a vehicle, like a car is a vehicle. The vehicle of religion is intended to help people arrive at a certain destination. But, like a car, the vehicle of religion can be misused.

    Meet Wirathu, Myanmar’s ‘Buddhist Bin Laden,’ as he is called.

    From The Star online:

    Barbet Schroeder spent months with Ugandan dictator Idi Amin at the height of his power, when corpses would wash up every morning on the shores of Lake Victoria and Kampala was rife with rumours that he was eating his opponents.

    But in his decades of documenting evil, the veteran Swiss filmmaker says he has never been as scared by anyone as he was by a Myanmar Buddhist monk named Wirathu.

    “I am afraid to call him Wirathu because even his name scares me,” the highly acclaimed director told AFP. “I just call him W.”

    “The Venerable W”, his chilling portrait of the monk who has been accused of preaching hate and inciting attacks on Myanmar’s Muslim Rohingya minority, has been hailed by critics at the Cannes film festival as a “stirring documentary about ethnic cleansing in action”.

    What dismays Schroeder is that Wirathu, whom Time magazine dubbed “The face of Buddhist terror” in a 2013 cover, is utterly unfazed by the chaos and suffering he has unleashed.

    More here.


  • Chinese Government Wants to Choose Next Dalai Lama

    The Dalai Lama turns 74 in July.  He’s had recent bouts of ill health.  The Chinese government wants to choose his successor.

    And the result might very well be two, competing Dalai Lamas.

    From the New York Times:

    Both the Chinese and the Tibetan exiles are bracing for an almost inevitable outcome: the emergence into the world of dueling Dalai Lamas — one chosen by the exiles, perhaps by the 14th Dalai Lama himself, and the other by Chinese officials.

    “It’s a huge but ultracritical issue, with no clear outcome or solution except one: trouble,” said Robert Barnett, a Tibet scholar at Columbia University. “It is going to end up with two Dalai Lamas and thus with long-running conflict, unless the Chinese agree to a diplomatic solution pretty soon.”

    The jockeying has put the Dalai Lama and the Chinese Communist Party in surprising positions. The Dalai Lama said late last month in an interview with The New York Times that all options for choosing his reincarnation were open, including ones that break from tradition. That could mean that the next Dalai Lama would be found outside Tibet, could be a woman or might even be named while the 14th Dalai Lama was still alive, before his soul properly transmigrated. Meanwhile, the party, officially atheist and accused of ravaging Tibetan culture, insists that religious customs must be followed.

    A traditional selection process would be easily controlled by the Chinese government, since the process is rooted in the landscape of Tibet, which the Chinese seized in 1951. China has already positioned itself in other ways, including enacting a law in 2007 that says all reincarnations of senior lamas must be approved by the government.

    The Communist Party has already tried its hand picking pseudo lamas who will be faithful to the Party and retain legitimacy among the people:

    In 1995, when the Dalai Lama confirmed a boy in Tibet as the reincarnation of the Panchen Lama, the second-ranking leader of the Gelugpa sect, the Chinese government whisked away the boy and his parents and installed its own child lama. The Dalai Lama’s choice, Gedhun Choekyi Nyima, now 20, is still hidden from public view, while the government’s selection shows up at official events to praise Communist policy — and is seen by many Tibetans as a fraud.

    Chinese leaders also tried to groom the Karmapa, the reincarnated head of the Kagyu sect, but he fled to India in 1999, at age 14. He now sits by the Dalai Lama at prayer ceremonies here.

    The people see right through this.

    Read the entire story at the New York Times.