[Buddha-l] Stanford scholar Tenzin Tethong couldbe the nextprimeminister of Tibet

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Sun May 8 20:36:50 MDT 2011

Franz writes:

>I found HHDL's words
> surprising and I'd love to hear more from you, Dan, along the lines of
>> For the record, his HHDL is not suddenly saying something he hasn't
>> been
>> saying, consistently, for many decades.

This is an invitation to write a long monograph, with extensive 
documentations of prior statements by HHDL and other prominent Tibetan 
spokesman. With many deadlines, I'll desist from that, and instead offer 
some brief remarks:

1. Anyone who has followed his HHDL's statements over the years should not 
be surprised. He has, e.g., made it clear on many occasions that 
"compassion" means sometimes one spanks the child. He has never been an 
advocate of the sort of nonviolence that eschews corporal punishment, and 
has forthrightly attempted to set the record straight on that on more than 
one occasion. Similar statements concerning lethal responses to events in 
Afghanistan, etc. have been forthcoming from Tibetans, including HHDL, 
usually to the shock and surprise of the mantrically-imbued, at least since 
9/11, i.e., they have been repeatedly reported in mainstream media since 
then, but were made in various forms even before. There is nothing out of 
keeping with either Tibetan tradition or Tibetan Buddhist doctrine in this. 
Tibetans were feared warriors for many centuries, and had a standing -- if 
obsolete -- army when the Chinese invaded and dismantled it. Had that army 
been better equipt and prepared, HHDL would not be living in Dharamsala 
instead of Lhasa.

2. Nevertheless, many prefer their "saints" to be effeminized do-gooders 
without a harsh bone or thought in their body. Mother Theresa can help the 
poor and sick, but she's not allowed to have self-doubts (nor -- horror of 
horrors -- political views far to the right of Sarah Palin). Our saints have 
to embody the virtues and qualities that WE treasure and idealize. That's 
their job. Nevermind if they see things differently. If they don't do that, 
then they are not OUR saints! And if not OUR saints, then they're not really 
saints at all. We get to decide, since it's our disillusionment that's on 
the line, right?

3. We have had this discussion of HHDL's views in this regard before on this 
list, so someone with more time on their hands may wish to search the 
archives. My memory is that usually he or another prominent Tibetan makes a 
comparable statement, and folks exert some effort to explain it away -- he 
was misquoted, he didn't mean it, it's just a rhetorical game he plays, 
whatever... Having found a reason to dismiss it, it can be forgotten, and 
shock and surprise can sprout anew at the next instance. Having to our 
satisfaction replaced what he said with what we might prefer him to *mean,* 
we can happily go about our business...

4. HHDL makes no secret of his strong affinity with the Kalacakra (The wheel 
of time). Has anyone here read it or important parts? Its "time" is 
calendrical and eschatological. It contains an apocalyptic account of how 
peace will eventually reign on earth when the king of Shangrila finally 
annihilates all Muslims in a huge war. Yes, folks. That's what is says. 
Muslims are the cosmic villians in that drama. They have to be exterminated. 
And, no... it was not written by either George Bush or Karl Rove. You can 
probably find some splendid artistic renderings of the final battles online 
by Tibetan artists of various periods by an images.google.com search. Order 
a tanka for your home!

5. One of the "hermeneutics" I have heard Tibetan lamas use when speaking 
approvingly of US actions in Afghanistan and against Al Qaida, et al., is 
that the prime principle is alleviation of suffering. These tyrants cause 
many to suffer, and thus putting an end to them alleviates great suffering. 
The justification for killing tyrants is found in the Bodhisattvabhumi (with 
some important caveats), and this passage has been discussed in depth in 
Tibet, including by Tsong-kha-pa.

6. Shall we agree to make a concerted effort to remember this is what he 
said on this occasion, so that the next time he makes a comparable statement 
we don't have to reemerge from amnesia again?


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