TROUBLE IN TIBET – WHERE IS THE PATH TO FREEDOM?

Posted on Updated on

TROUBLE IN TIBET – WHERE IS THE PATH TO FREEDOM?

TROUBLE IN TIBET – WHERE IS THE PATH TO FREEDOM??? “VAGUE TALK ABOUT PEACE WILL ONLY DISTURB SOME PIGEONS.” H.H. The Dalai Lama

 

For there is ‘Trouble in Tibet’, we need to continue our search for a Path to Freedom. Tibetan Cause was at the center of America’s Cold War interests. Vague talk of peace Dalai Lama said, “will only disturb some pigeons.” It is imperative to find a clear path to Freedom in Occupied Tibet.

Rudranarasimham Rebbapragada
Ann Arbor, MI 48104-4162 USA
SPECIAL FRONTIER FORCE

THE WASHINGTON POST

THE DALAI LAMA’S PRACTICAL PATH TO PEACE

Trouble in Tibet – Where is the Path to Freedom???

The Dalai Lama, center, can be informal and mischievous, as when he rubbed his head into the beard of a very dignified Muslim cleric. (Tenzin Choejor/Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama)

gersonm.jpg?ts=1440533350591&w=80&h=80 By MICHAEL GERSON Opinion writer May 5 at 8:00 PM

DHARAMSALA, India

When posed a policy question, the Dalai Lama is surprisingly (for a religious leader) un-prone to moralism. What, I asked him, does he think of the European backlash against migration? “In the name of sympathy, for the few who are desperate, [resettlement] is worthwhile.” But Europeans, he continued, “have a right to be concerned for their own prosperity.” Better, he said, “to help people in their own land.” He added: “It is really complex.”

Michael Gerson is a nationally syndicated columnist who appears twice weekly in The Post.

In conversation, the Dalai Lama’s cast of mind is thoroughly empirical. You can see him considering a matter from various angles and revising his views based on new input. He is a Buddhist who recommends “analytic meditation” instead of employing spiritual exercises as a “tranquilizer.” Self-reflection, he believes, should be the basis for action in the world. Vague talk of peace, he said, “will only disturb some pigeons.”

For decades, the Dalai Lama has embodied the Tibetan cause, which was once at the center of America’s Cold War interests. With that cause now something of an international orphan, the Dalai Lama has cultivated a different type of influence — global celebrity based on spiritual charisma.

I saw that charisma up close as the fortunate witness to a singular event. Under the auspices of the United States Institute of Peace, the Dalai Lama spent two days mentoring 28 exceptional youth leaders — men and women doing peacebuilding in conflict zones across Asia and Africa, often at great personal risk.

The Dalai Lama is, despite recent health issues, energetic and apparently (at 80) tireless. He is informal and mischievous (at one point rubbing his bald head into the beard of a very dignified Muslim cleric). He is disarmingly self-effacing: “I am not god,” quoth the 14th reincarnation of the Lord of Compassion. “I don’t know” is a consistent refrain.

But his view of the world is also highly consistent and occasionally controversial. He argues that ethics are primary and unifying, while religion belongs to “a secondary level of difference.” What he calls “secular ethics” can be derived from “common experience and common sense,” which teaches the “sameness of humanity” and the universal capacity for, and need for, love and compassion. For evidence, he turns to neuroscience and social scientific research on child development rather than to scripture. (He has mandated a science curriculum for Tibetan monasteries.) Human beings, in his view, are essentially good and responsible for doing good. “We promote a more compassionate world,” he said, “through education, not through prayer.”

If this sounds familiar, it is not far from the social ethics — not the theology — of some strains of liberal Protestantism. And the Dalai Lama shares something with Pope Francis: an impatience with institutional religion, which he says is prone to be “narrow and rigid.”

The Dalai Lama is keen to argue that “all religions carry the message of love and compassion.” In more careful moments, he says, “all religions have the same potential.” This is true — from a certain perspective. Each of the world’s major religions has resources of respect for the other that can (and should) be emphasized at the expense of less attractive elements.

Some of the faithful will resist the Dalai Lama’s frank insistence that religion be modernized. “Some traditions must change. I tell my Hindu friends, they must change their treatment of outcasts.” In Islam, “the meaning of jihad is not hurting other people.” His own tradition he described as “too close to the feudal system.” “This is not a change in religion. It is changing habits due to social tradition.”

This religious essentialism — defining a core of humane teaching that stands in judgment of a tradition’s cultural expressions — is what helps ensure that religion is a positive cultural force. Conservative Protestants in the United States who dispute this idea still demonstrate it. The treatment of women in most evangelical churches is closer to common American practice than to the Apostle Paul’s first-century attitudes, and it should be.

The uniqueness of the Dalai Lama’s voice in global debates is his emphasis on the inner life. He roots the pursuit of peace in a “calm mind” — and displays it. “External disarmament,” he told the gathered young activists, “begins with internal disarmament. If you show anger, things get worse. A genuine smile and warmheartedness and a joke are the only way to cool things down.”

It is good advice for anyone facing conflict — as well as the only basis for a peace that involves trust, forgiveness and healing.

gersonm.jpg?ts=1440533350591&w=180&h=180
Michael Gerson is a nationally syndicated columnist who appears twice weekly in The Post.

  • © 1996-2016 The Washington Post
  • Trouble in Tibet – Where is the Path to Freedom???
    TROUBLE IN TIBET – WHERE IS THE PATH TO FREEDOM???

     

    TROUBLE IN TIBET – WHERE IS THE PATH TO FREEDOM???

     

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s