Category Archives: Tibet

More Earthquake Follies

Will Buckingham at thinkBuddha.org has an article on Sharon Stone’s clumsy comments on Karma, linking to BBC reports covering the remarks (1 and 2) and notes that people who really know what they are talking about (such as Lati Rinpoche), reaffirm my own understanding, that metaphysically speaking, according to at least some schools of Buddhism, it is quite possible that there may be a causal link between the actions of the Chinese government and some of the citizens of the PRC enduring an earthquake.

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The Dalai Lama and The Interdependent Nature of Reality

[A series of articles reviewing blogs and websites (here The Dalai Lama) on my blog-roll; see the about page.]

Mark Vernon has provided some reflections on the Dalai Lama after his recent talk in the Royal Albert Hall and I have just come from the five days of teachings in Nottingham completed yesterday so I thought I would add some of my own.

It was amusing listening to the area announcers, accustomed as they are to making announcing the Boyzone and ice dancing, tripping over ‘His Holiness’ (but by the end they had it). While the Dalai Lama is famous for the formalities on going into exile he has contrived that a deference-averse secular people use this title. Any publicity agent would likely have wet dreams at the prospect of being able to pull this off, and bear in mind that this Buddhist monk has nothing other than his own personal qualities and his Buddhist tradition to reccomend him—no navy, not even a country). This is quite a neat trick and I really do have to laugh at the likes of Nicholas Kristof dispensing advice to the inept representative of the Tibetan people and his fight against one of the most populous and powerful nations on earth, known for habitually throwing its weight around on the issue.

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Guns, Food, Trust

[I have put this article in the Jane Austen category so that those familiar with Jane Austen’s writings may like to think about the relationship between a people’s trust in their government government according to Confucius, and a person’s standing in the community—their character—according to Austen, and how integrity is critical to both (and my apologies if this sounds like something that belongs in a college essay paper).]

Tzu-kung asked about government. The Master said, ‘Give them enough food, give them enough arms, and the common people will have trust in you.’ Tzu-kung said, ‘If one had to give up one of these three, which should one give up first?’ ‘Give up arms.’ Tzu-kung said, ‘If one had to give up one of the remaining two, which should one give up first?’ ‘Give up food. Death has always been with us since the beginning of time, but when there is no trust, the common people will have nothing to stand on.’

— Lun Yu (Analects of Confucius) VII.7

Following on from my screed against Jacqui Smith I see that George Monbiot has written an eviscerating column in the Guardian asking why any liberal would rally in defense of the New Labour government—This government has been the most rightwing since the second world war (or Nothing Left to Fight For on Monbiot’s website). In many ways he is right. After the war a social-democratic consensus emerged that started to break up in the 1980s with Margaret Thatcher, but she was always restrained by the fact that nobody trusted her with (for example) the health service. Blair and Brown are truly Thatcher’s children (John Gray saw this clearly) and just couldn’t see beyond the market to any coherent idea of society—for them it didn’t need to be said but was self-evidently true, that there was no such things as society. Rowan Williams’s stunning 2002 Dimbleby Lecture perfectly understood the problem—what a wonderful gift to the government in return for his appointment, and how it was squandered.

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