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draftsman

Controversial Article About Tibet?

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Tashi Delek,

 

In the last issue of the magazine Ona (weekly supplement of the newspaper Delo) was an article about Tibet. It was a sort of description of author's time spent in Tibet, surely authentic, I don't doubt that it really took place. But I thought that if someone is writing about Tibet, one should be careful about the way one represents Buddhism - especially in a magazine read by the majority of people knowing nothing or little about the matter.

 

So, 3 things bothered me a bit.

1. Right in the beginning there was talk about phowa (practice/visualization of the consciousness leaving the body through the top of the head, sort or preparation for death). It was also written that one gets a small hole in the back of the skull, if practicing well - this hole can be checked with a straw, said the article.

 

2. There was a story about a monk, who got married and had lots of children and was scorned in the village for breaking his vows. Yet at the time of death his body didn't decay, so it became apparent that he was a great practitioner.

 

3. The article included a description of a Tibetan graveyard/burial, including the choping of the body, throwing it to the vultures etc. And a photo of a young (deceased) girl's hair.

 

Just wondering - do you think that the listed information are appropriate to be included in an article intended for general public?

 

Best regards,

Draftsman

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Just wondering - do you think that the listed information are appropriate to be included in an article intended for general public?

Draftsman

Now I know where my friends got the information on the bodies being chopped and served to the vultures (surprisingly? they found it shocking and wandering if 'my' Buddhists would do the same to me when I die and maybe then after chopping me apart, would sell my body parts, since there was an article about China's flourishing trade in organs published somewhere sometime...''Tibet is China, isn't it - I read just recently that their relations are now greatly improved, very friendly''...surely your à¢-Ëœsmoked' friends - a term used by someone actually very close to me :-( to describe someone not white nor black - ranging from Asiatic to local gipsy- in this case Tibetan, can make some money on it'').

 

And...now I wait for someone to come with a straw to check my scull to see if there are any proofs that I meditate sometimes or I am just fooling around with everyone because I want to be à¢-Ëœcool' and being Buddhist is so cool, isn't it?

 

I find writings like this not only inappropriate, but extremely irresponsible! What is their purpose? What is the motivation behind? I can only think of to sell and become famous, but I sincerely hope I am wrong.

 

However, if the person who wrote the article (which I still haven't had a chance to read, so I only write on the basis of Draftsman's comment and what I have been told and asked by friends who had read this article, which I acknowledge is irresponsible of me too) is not very or not at all familiar with Buddhism, I can imagine and understand that witnessing certain things on à¢-Ëœfamily holidays in Tibet' unprepared and without a proper explanation could be shocking, misleading and confusing, but it is a pity to spread this misunderstanding on to wider public - might be much better to seek explanation from a qualified teacher - maybe if someone knows the author could give this web page address with all contact info where a proper explanation can be obtained?

 

All the very best!

Dani

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Guest Petra S

Hi Dani and others!

 

However, if the person who wrote the article ... is not very or not at all familiar with Buddhism
This went through my mind when I was reading Gea magazine, but in fact this man is the president of the Tibet suppport group and I heard that he is also a Buddhist. 8/

 

I can imagine and understand that witnessing certain things on à¢-Ëœfamily holidays in Tibet' unprepared and without a proper explanation could be shocking, misleading and confusing, but it is a pity to spread this misunderstanding on to wider public - might be much better to seek explanation from a qualified teacher
Already the Gea article was confusing, now the same is going on in Ona. Never trust the media. :mad: Joking. Partly. ;) I think this man is picking up the most exotic events to entertain the readers and to become more popular. You know, for some people it doesn't matter what they are telling as long as people are listening. ://

 

But this man has a public function! This should make him responsible for his words. :taptap:

 

Talking about responsibility: is somebody who doesn't think how he will influence the others, but has no intention to harm, responsible for the consequences or not?

 

Bye,

Petra

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Talking about responsibility: is somebody who doesn't think how he will influence the others, but has no intention to harm, responsible for the consequences or not?
I might be out of the line, but isn't not thinking about the consequences of my acts by definition completely irresponsible?

 

Maybe thinking of the consequences of my acts due to my ignorance I could expect them to have a positive impact, but then it turns out the consequences are rather negative... maybe I get some good karma becasue I put effort into generating good motivation, but some negative karma as well becasue of the negative consequences which result from my 'well motivated acts'...?

 

Even with a perfect motivation negative consequences of 'good deeds' are probably due to ignorance - 'ups...I didn't know' ;-) -...but then again...who can I blame for my ignorance? Any volunteers :-)?

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Guest Petra S
I might be out of the line, but isn't not thinking about the consequences of my acts by definition completely irresponsible?
Yes. But we have many habits, and here we don't think much. A large majority of our lives is made of habits. Uf, a bit scary conclusion, but i think that in general we don't think about consequences very much.

 

I get some good karma becasue I put effort into generating good motivation, but some negative karma as well becasue of the negative consequences
I see, this makes sense. If that article is spreading misunderstanding or even aversion towards Buddhism, the autor is still responsible, even if he had good intention. (After a similar article about sky burials an acquaintance was convincing me that Tibetans just seem to be kind while in fact they are cruel.)

 

All these "exotic" stories are making Buddhism strange and distant to most people. I believe that Buddhist ideas, at least this little that I know, are useful in every culture, even for non-Buddhists. I don't think that Buddhism is as "exotic" as media (or certain persons) write.

 

Ciao,

Petra

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It is clear that such articles are creating confusion. And we can wonder what the purpose is. I guess, writers want to show off all what they know, sometime trying to make other believe that because they know they have integrated ie. In spiritual field, this is often the case that people confuse knowledge and Wisdom.

 

In a country like Slovenia, where Buddhism is new and is growing slowly despite the frequent attacks from Catholic theologians, it is obviously unwise to spread such information in popular magazines and newspapers. Specially written, as you mention, by the president of the Tibet Support Group of your country.

In fact, it harms Buddhism, and Tibetans. And we can guess that some theologians will use such information as a stick to beat Buddhism in Slovenia! After all the efforts done by Dharmaling to integrate Buddhism is that country, it is very much a pity.

 

Thank you.

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Guest Ani.Chödrön

Tashi Delek,

 

another commentary to this post:

http://www.forumsvibe.com/slothera/viewtop...mforum=slothera

 

Approximate English translation of the excerpt that talks directly about this topic (posted by Clarity):

 

But it is interesting that the Dharmalingers are again agitated about Matjaž's writing in Ona (here the link to this topic is added).

 

Personally, I find the article very good, it places the idea of a sky burial in the right context, and the main message (at least as I understood it) is about the necessity of preparation to death, and how death and life are two inseparable parts of our existence.

This was interesting to me, because just yesterday I heard from my friend that her acquaintance told her, that she read this article and that she liked it very much, because it presented things in a completely different way as an other article that was published in Delo recently, presenting the Tibetans and sky burial as something very barbarian and cruel.

 

All the very best,

chödrön

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But it is interesting that the Dharmalingers are again agitated about Matjaž's writing in Ona
It is interesting to see how some people confuse à¢-Ëœexpressing their opinion' with à¢-Ëœagitation'! May be because they are not used to have clear opinions... and to see people having some, give them a sense of agitation! :0022:

 

Thank you.

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Good evening,

 

Some “Dharmalingers” did not get agitated because this or that person writes this or that, it is by no way a personal matter (as some would like to think); but our concern arise from foreseeing the possible consequences of some content, quickly taken by those who are seeking the mistakes of Buddhists (whom they consider as à¢-Ëœsect', in negative meaning) to bring them to their readers, to the tv, or homilies.

Everything we write is written very carefully, choosing words and explanation according to the context, to the people. It is done with care of the consequences.

And we are of course sadden to see some information displayed in large public magazine which are not meant to be there (such as description of the powa particularities, physical results, etc...). What the author wrote is not untrue. This effectively can happen. But what we can wonder is why to expose such things there?

Not only it is in contradiction with the Tantric vows (and a breach of them to expose to people who are not ready to such information) but it gives to an uninformed public a wrong conception of what Tibetan Buddhism is.

 

Dharmaling carries at each moment a sense of responsibility towards Buddha-Dharma. It is not limited to a moment in the day, or to a single aspect of life. It is a full-time commitment, as Refuge is, as Pratimoksha, Bodhisattva or Tantric vows are.

 

It is therefore our way to remain aware of all what is happening in our societies, and help people understanding and acting in the best way, for themselves and the other around. This takes place by discussing, acting, reacting, according to information, mis-information, events, and situations of our conventional reality.

 

Dharmaling is not dedicated to support egoistic missions, but dedicated completely to help as many beings as possible, wherever and whenever it is possible, by all means deemed appropriate. From hospital to visit patients, to parliament to discuss religious law, to seminar teaching how to practice, to schools explaining basis of Buddhism, or to business offices to helping to deal with stress, Buddha-Dharma has its place. It has its place at all layers of the societies because it is meant to help people finding Peace and Happiness.

But its presence has to be the result of Wisdom, not boldness, and of Compassion, not seeking for fame. Away from the 8 worldly dharmas, the practitioner walks on the path to Enlightenment for the benefit of all other sentient beings.

 

The present situation gives us to think even more deeply about in which way Buddha-Dharma has to be transmitted, adapted correctly, to fit our societies, the needs of the people in each situations.

Indeed, people shall not mix Buddhism with a particular culture or tradition. Buddhism is a universal tool to free the mind of the people. Not a dogmatic path. It is not built has a politico-financial institution; and shall not become.

If a line of Buddhism is getting too political, aside of the reality, unadapted to the changes of the world and unable of proper adaptations with a supple Wisdom mind, it has to be left aside. We have to seek always what has been truly transmitted by the Buddhas, the meaning of the words rather than their amount of letters. Buddha-Dharma is an alive Tradition maintained since over 2500 years, which entered different counties, and adapted to them.

Buddhism is at the service of the people; not the other way round.

 

It is sad to see that some Buddhists do not share these views, do not join us in that direction, for the proper development of Dharma in our societies.

We pray that Peace establishes between all religions, and also inside religions.

 

All the best, Lama Shenphen Rinpoche

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