[Buddha-l] Re: Panchen Lama

Baopiguy at comcast.net Baopiguy at comcast.net
Sun Apr 16 12:46:37 MDT 2006

Easy answer....NO!!! Religions are either seen as subversive (Falun 
Gong) or are controlled by the state (Catholicism is under a Cardinal 
created just as the Panchen Lama was). As for Buddhists, the temples 
are all in terrible disrepair and the (mostly) very old monks have 
nothing to do but sit and beg in front of the temples. When the 
government asked me to help on their newest national treasure a few 
years back and I was the only outsider invited to spend two weeks 
with Dr. Sun Yat Sen's family, there was a "Temple of 101 Buddhas" in 
Wuhan. It had 101 statues of the Buddha in every type od 
incarnation....but was full of dust, the glass protecting the statues 
was all broken...it was very sad. I asked if I could photograph the 
statues and the abbot told me "NO." I asked if there was a book 
anywhere I could buy with pictures of them....same answer. Madame Sun 
was disgusted.

I have always wanted to have my picture taken in my full robes in the 
Forbidden City, so when I was back in Beijing meeting with top 
officials they set up a special tour for me.......I hid my robes in a 
paper bag under my arm, and fortunately, had a translator/handler 
assigned to me who developed a crush on me so I had more freedom than 
most official guests. At the right place I asked her to take my 
picture....she was shocked but could say nothing because of my 
special status when I proceeded to put my robes on for the picture. 
The Chinese people on the other side of the courtyard all began 
clapping and cheering......it was very fulfilling. However, my 
constant reminder of the inequalities in their country led to their 
not inviting me back the following year to visit Tibet as they had promised.

I must admit my behavior was a bit strong considering I was singled 
out as the only non-Chinese to help them with their project. For 
example one night we had a huge banquet with third level officials 
from Beijing and the governor of the province (who took me bowling in 
two secret lanes hidden from the rest in the bowling alley). At one 
point I asked how many of them had read the book by Mao's doctor 
about his last days. Every one raised his or her hand......to which I 
responded "You are all under arrest because that book is banned in 
China." They thought I was Jay Leno and just laughed and 
laughed....but I knew beneath the laughter they did not appreciate 
the sentiment. I did things like this over and over. I'm surprised 
they still consider me a friend of China, but have not invited me 
back on their dime since.

>There's a more *fundamental* question here:  do Communists "believe" 
>in religion?
>jkirk wrote:
>>Please explain why this question interests you---what is its point?
>>You must know that there are millions of communists and 
>>ex-communists in China today--which ones do you refer to? 
>>Government functionaries? ordinary people in Chengdu, for example?
>>Or are you trying to figure out why they picked a different (their 
>>own selection) Panchen Lama and why they are promoting him? If that 
>>is your concern, I can assure you that the official promotion of 
>>this Panchen Lama is purely political and does not necessarily 
>>signify that they "believe" in rebirth.
>>Best wishes,
>>----- Original Message -----
>>From: <mailto:rahula_80 at yahoo.com>Ngawang Dorje
>>To: <mailto:buddha-l at mailman.swcp.com>Buddhist discussion forum
>>Sent: Sunday, April 16, 2006 5:38 AM
>>Subject: Re: [Buddha-l] Re: Panchen Lama
>>Let me rephrase my question. I thought I was understood. Do 
>>Communist hina believe in rebirth like Tibetan Buddhist do?
>>Best wishes,
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