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Sunday, August 02, 2009

Thich Nhat Hanh's Disciples in Vietnam Facing Turmoil.

By BEN STOCKING Associated Press Writer

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6 comments:

Freddie said...

Hi,
I am a Chinese reader who is currently in the US. I forgot when I ran into your blog but I have been reading your blog for maybe over a month, and really have learned a lot--and I love your English writing as well.
Just one question, do you know much about DaLai Lama or his followers(esp. personally)? As a Chinese, I never felt that Buddhism was oppressed in China, as least nobody would be prevented from practice Buddhism or had to conceal their alter at home ( unless they are communists). however, I understand that I know very little truth about the real situation. I do think, however, the gov't is really against the splitists in Tibet, and the fact that religion is used as a political tool. Plus not everyone in Tibet wants to separate from China--there are many who don't want to.
Thanks in advance for your answer. I am at a very early stage of learning about Buddhism, and hopefully one day I would be better prepared to discuss it with you.

YuJing

They call him James Ure said...

YuJing:

I'm pleased to hear from a Chinese reader who has lived in China. By the way, China is one of the places I want to visit before I die. I love Chinese culture so much and find it so beautiful, noble and impressive.

Though my sometimes strong statements about the Communist government in China might get me banned from the country at the airport. ;)

Anyway, I'm happy to hear that Buddhism isn't as oppressed in China as much as I thought. I have excitedly read many articles lately showing the Buddhist population is growing in China and is larger than thought for many years. As well as hearing about the government easing up on restrictions of monasteries, practitioners and temples.

The huge exception of course being Tibet. I can see the point of not wanting to see bloodshed and turmoil in Tibet from both sides. I think therefore that the Dalai Lama's position of autonomy rather than independence is the best compromise, which is in keeping with the Buddha's advise of always following the middle-way.

When I first began studying Buddhism I was led to Tibetan Buddhism and became well acquainted with it but never met or heard the Dalai Lama speak, unfortunately. However, I didn't stay long with Tibetan Buddhism though its early influence in my Buddhist practice is still felt with the malas I wear. Now I'm a Zen practitioner and have been for most of the years I've been Buddhist.

I'm certainly no expert on China nor Tibet but it interests me greatly. Both sides and culture because while I'm not supportive of full and complete Communism I do believe a degree of Socialism is important.

I think that is why I appreciate the European models of Democratic-Socialism so much. It's a blend of the best of both systems while discarding what failed under the USSR.

Anyway, I'm honored and humbled you like reading my blog and that you have learned much. I hope to learn more from you as well. Again, I'm certainly not an expert on Buddhism but I have learned a few things. I mostly like sharing my Buddhist journey with others. Sharing ideas, break-throughs, set-backs and how the Dharma and modern society interact.

I'm always excited to hear from people that they are learning about Buddhism. It is such a wonderful practice to have in one's life. It has brought so much calm, peace, meaning and order to my life. Yet it doesn't preach in a strict way (at least that's always been my experience) whereas in the tradition of Christianity I was raised with it was very dominering and not too compassionate.

I like how Buddhism will teach you as far as you want to go without forcing things upon you. I also really like that they don't send out missionaries to convert masses of people who might not even want to be Buddhist. So many religions today are so arrogant in saying they have the only truth.

Well, I've learned in Buddhism that truth isn't only found in one place. Just like how diamonds are found hidden not just in rocks deep beneath the Earth but in river beds and even encased in ice up in northern Canada.

Was Once said...

James,
Was Once appreciates your blog. I started with Mahayana appreciating their dhamma talks, but all the while thought that with all their buddhas it was too detailed for my own taste. After becoming a novice monk in Theravada for a month, it seems like more of "hands on" mindfulness. I am not trying to find fault, and I still maintain my connection with them with their good intention that spurs me into more compassion.

We can only hope that Thich Nhat Hanh's Disciples understand the impermanence of everything.

Freddie said...

Thanks James, for sharing your thoughts with me. I was brought up in a family with strong religious beliefs (or at least a mix of religion and superstition), which is very common in China, esp. in the South. I have experienced the so-called alternative realities before,which made me deeply believe in the existence of gods. Also, I claimed myself to be a Buddhist before I started to read anything about it, just because I always visited temples when I had a chance, like my parents. And we do have an alter at home. I have never felt like there were restrictions on practicing Buddhism/superstition over the 24 years I lived in China (I just came to the US 2 years ago).

My first contact with the real Buddhism, however, was just 2 months ago, through the autobiography of the Zen Master Shengyan: Footprints in the Snow. The book really fascinated me in many ways and deepened my understanding about Buddhism. Later on, because of some other coincidence, I read three of his other books and now understand the very basics of Buddhism.
I just heard of Thich Nhat Hanh's name for the first time last month from a video my Vietnamese friend shared on facebook. I have read a little bit about his book on how to practice Zen. I still know very very little about it, however, I do feel my need to practice it as I have a hard time focusing now.
Yeah, I agree, the fact that Buddhism recognizes and acknowledges the values of other religions really makes it unique and totally convincing to me.
The core of Buddhism is really its Dhama, instead of god(God), like most of other religions.
I am touched when I read that the prostration to Buddha doesn't even matter as much as your adherence to the Dhama in your life.

Chris said...

YuJing,
I'm happy that you have found Buddhism but saddened by your naivete concerning Tibet. You stated: "as least nobody would be prevented from practice Buddhism or had to conceal their alter at home ( unless they are communists)." Actually, any Tibetan who has an alter in their house with a photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama could be deemed a "splitist" and thrown in jail. Numerous religious festivals and ceremonies are banned in Tibet because of the Chinese authorities fear of large crowds of Tibetans gathering together. There have been quotas placed on the number of young men who want to join a monastery and be ordained as a monk, and the age minimum to join has been placed in the high teens. All monasteries are required to hold patriotic re-education classes each day in which monks are "taught" the benefits that the PRC has brought the Tibetans and glories of communism. Is this what you call freedom? You also stated: "I do think, however, the gov't is really against the splitists in Tibet, and the fact that religion is used as a political tool." The fact that you use language like this is proof that you have been brainwashed by the very powerful propaganda machine of PRC. As you may or may not know, the goal of Tibetans is to establish an autonomous Tibetan province within the PRC that encompasses all of greater Tibet, which includes parts of Yunnan, Sichuan, Ganzu,and Qinghai, as well as the TAR. This is a small request by the Tibetans given that their independent country was invaded in 1950 by the Red Army and have since lost over a million lives and 6000 monasteries and seen their leader forced into exile for over 50 years! Finally, you stated: "Plus not everyone in Tibet wants to separate from China--there are many who don't want to." How do you know this? Do you know any Tibetans personally? What do yo know about Tibet besides what you've heard from the propaganda machine of the PRC? I would ask you to meet and speak with Tibetans both in and out of Tibet and see what their true feelings are. Do not make claims about people's beliefs if you don't know those people to begin with. I pray that you, and all Chinese in and out of China, may one day be freed from the clouds of ignorance and realize the truth concerning Tibet. May Tibet be free!

Chris said...

YuJing,
I'm happy that you have found Buddhism but saddened by your naivete concerning Tibet. You stated: "as least nobody would be prevented from practice Buddhism or had to conceal their alter at home ( unless they are communists)." Actually, any Tibetan who has an alter in their house with a photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama could be deemed a "splitist" and thrown in jail. Numerous religious festivals and ceremonies are banned in Tibet because of the Chinese authorities fear of large crowds of Tibetans gathering together. There have been quotas placed on the number of young men who want to join a monastery and be ordained as a monk, and the age minimum to join has been placed in the high teens. All monasteries are required to hold patriotic re-education classes each day in which monks are "taught" the benefits that the PRC has brought the Tibetans and glories of communism. Is this what you call freedom? You also stated: "I do think, however, the gov't is really against the splitists in Tibet, and the fact that religion is used as a political tool." The fact that you use language like this is proof that you have been brainwashed by the very powerful propaganda machine of PRC. As you may or may not know, the goal of Tibetans is to establish an autonomous Tibetan province within the PRC that encompasses all of greater Tibet, which includes parts of Yunnan, Sichuan, Ganzu,and Qinghai, as well as the TAR. This is a small request by the Tibetans given that their independent country was invaded in 1950 by the Red Army and have since lost over a million lives and 6000 monasteries and seen their leader forced into exile for over 50 years! Finally, you stated: "Plus not everyone in Tibet wants to separate from China--there are many who don't want to." How do you know this? Do you know any Tibetans personally? What do yo know about Tibet besides what you've heard from the propaganda machine of the PRC? I would ask you to meet and speak with Tibetans both in and out of Tibet and see what their true feelings are. Do not make claims about people's beliefs if you don't know those people to begin with. I pray that you, and all Chinese in and out of China, may one day be freed from the clouds of ignorance and realize the truth concerning Tibet. May Tibet be free!

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