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Buddhism in the News


Friday, April 25, 2008

It's a Start.

London (PTI): World leaders on Friday welcomed China's decision to reopen dialogue with a representative of the Dalai Lama as a "major" and "first" step in resolving the vexed Tibet issue and to end the recent unrest there.

"We, together with other members of the international community, have consistently called for dialogue between the Chinese government and the Dalai Lama. I welcome today's announcement as the first step in that process," he said.

James: This is indeed a welcome development. However, my fear is that China is only doing this to improve its image abroad ahead of the Olympics and that after the games the talks will stop. That being said, I do have sincere hope though they will engage in a meaningful dialogue and
that the two sides really listen to one another. In Buddhism listening means being fully present with that person and being mindful of their concerns instead of just hearing them but thinking only of what you'll say next. Or how you can gain the upper hand with the issue being discussed and manipulate them.

Often we think of having a dialogue as better than resorting to violence and in the true meaning of the process it is of course the best way to settle disputes. However, dialogues can become verbally violent and abusive and cause harm and distrust as engaging in physical violence and intimidation does. We have to be careful because words can cause great suffering, they can bring peace but can just as easily cause war. So we must always try to listen with compassion and empathy because our "enemy" wants to be heard and understood just as we do.

However, there are times when one must speak sternly but we should always try to keep it from being abusive. In such instances it is easy to become haughty, insulting and patronizing. Thus I try to keep my stern language to a minimum but I often fail. Right Speech is a difficult teaching for me to practice sometimes. I always forget that when I do insult others that it causes more suffering for myself. It's pretty much impossible to insult others without causing pain to yourself as well. It's like throwing a boomerang at someone with the intent of hurting them but in doing so we open ourselves up to being hurt as well as the boomerang will come right back toward us.

Anyway, I sure hope that this new dialogue produces some results but perhaps at the very least it will build trust that is critical before any compromise and positive action can occur.

~Peace to all beings~

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G said...

This is a skillful and honest reflection on Right Speech, James, and typical of your blog. 'Forest Wisdom' also has a reflection on current developments regarding the awful situation in Tibet. Like your post here, it tries to reflect on the issues from the viewpoint of the Dharma, rather than mere personal opinion. Not always easy, of course, but a rewarding experience when done correctly.

Keep up the great posts!
G at 'Forest Wisdom'.

Red Flashlight said...

I'm sure we don't "always" forget, do we? I often forget the boomerang effect, but not always - it's just, as you say, a challenging practice. For me a very difficult part of right speech is overcoming old habits of thinking and speech. Replacing them with new habits is really helpful, but is that the same as being fully present in every moment? If I were fully present in every moment, would I develop habits in the first place?

Princess Haiku said...

Learning to listen with compassion could take a life time. Sigh... I learn this and then I forget. I remember and I forget........ Good post!

Robin said...

It is not easy..

and too sensitive to begin with.

If you have read about it, there were some talks being held before, but nothing come up in the end. (NATO- No Action, Talk Only)

Perhaps, a third party, EU or US, could mediate the meeting to fullfill a specific agenda.

And it is all about karma.

Riverwolf said...

Like you, I have concerns this dialogue will only be for show. But I'm crossing my fingers...

And thanks for the words on Right Speech. I really need that right now!

Anonymous said...

thanks for Your post, I'm going around the net just to discover buddist blogs: today I discovered Yours and I will visit it.

His Holiness visited us here in italy in december, He recommended to do not be sad and practice compassion instead. Good to spread His word.

thanks ! : )

They call him James Ure said...

G: Thank-you for your kinds words. I'm glad that I was able to shed some light on this situation.

Red Flashlight: No, we don't always forget.

Replacing them with new habits is really helpful, but is that the same as being fully present in every moment? If I were fully present in every moment, would I develop habits in the first place?

Good points.

Princess Haiku: I learn and forget stuff all the time too. I guess we just have to keep moving forward no matter how slow it might take.

Thanks goodness for rebirth!!

Robin: I agree that a third party should get involved in talks. Hopefully having a neutral party involved would help get things moving.

Riverwolf: Yeah I'm crossing my fingers too friend.

Andre: Thanks for the compliments and how exciting to hear the Dalai Lama speak!! I would really like that chance.

I have seen Thich Nhat Hanh, however, a couple of times and they were both very wonderful, peaceful experiences.

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