It seems no religion is free from distortions that creep in after the founder has left the scene. Buddhism is not free from this phenomena nor Christianity. The changing of the Bible over the years is fairly well documented but not very well known. One change that has retarded people's progress is the phrase "son (daughter) of God" which was changed to "children of God." That deliberate change was part of the Romanizing of Christianity, i.e. placing Gods on pedestals as they did in ancient Rome. And so we have Jesus on a pedestal, removed from us. Christians rely too much on Jesus for salvation while not realizing they are sons and daughters of God also capable of far greater things (as He said) by only increasing the God within. Indeed, we are responsible for our sins (karma) and by the Lord's grace, he has helped us balance that karma. I'm not in to Christian bashing here, just trying to be balanced.
Buddhism is not free from the permutations of time either. While Christianity has focused too much on the God above, Buddhism is devoted too much to the God within. At the extreme end of Buddhism there is Zen, which you might have guessed I have no small interest in since Boddhidharma graces my web site, well, he used to be on my front page but I took him off because I think he scared some people. Anyway, Zen has become too intellectual bordering on nihilistic. The focus is on the mind almost to the exclusion of the heart. The close proximity of Buddhist Saints and the need to pray to them is not pursued as it is in Tibetan Buddhism. Often times lip service is given out of rote. Meditation is on the self not always on the Real Self and not enough on the Buddhas above who are waiting to help us.
I should add a proviso, pacifism may be the need of the hour for a Buddha or very advanced yogi. There is no telling what functions he is performing at etheric levels for the planetary body. For him to be become mired in the physical confrontations of the world could result in grave circumstances elsewhere. In that case, it would be up to the Master's chelas or disciples to defend him if he needed physical protection. It would be their dharma and karma to do so.
Perhaps the most detrimental belief that has taken hold of Buddhism is pacifism; detrimental because this attitude may have contributed to the downfall of Tibet. While the Buddha did not have to fight in physical wars, he did recognize the need to stand against evil. This is symbolized by the earth touching mudra. When the temptress, Mara, came to him to challenge his right to be there, he touched the ground with his right hand, signifying that he will stay in defense of the little people yet asleep to their Buddha nature. Mara and the astral forces did not want opposition to their evil designs upon an unsuspecting populace. By logic, they tried to subvert Gautama's desire to defend his right to be; his right to preserve the Path on Earth.
Communism is the polar opposite of the Sangha (community of the Spirit). It is a counterfeit, taking on the name of 'the brotherhood of man.,' but without God in the equation, the system will eventually breakdown. Much damage and evil works are done before this happens though. Millions of lives are lost and culture and religion destroyed. It is a battle of Light vs. Dark with reincarnated leaders at the helm who have no allegiance to God, the Buddha, the Sangha and the Tao.
The Thirteenth Dalai Lama warned of the dangers facing Tibet in 1932 when there was still time to prepare a defence against China. (See "Buddhist Prophecy" section in the Prophecy section) The Dalai Lama recommended peace where applicable and a strong army where necessary. After he passed in 1933, the people and the lamas did not come up higher as he urged and the Government of Tibet made compromises with China. If the government of Tibet might have realized there is no compromise with such evil; if their faith and beliefs allowed such a possibility then things might be different today. I do not fault or judge them, it was nearly an impossible situation and maybe exile was the only path. The current Dalai Lama admits he is not the thirteenth Dalai Lama. I think this is born out by the fact that 'the thirteenth' saw the need for military solutions.
I do know that the U.S. should have come to the defense of Tibet. They did so but it was limited. There are forces within the U.S. government that have always supported communism. Whenever the U.S. tries to help, these strategically placed individuals subvert the plan at the highest levels and at the scene. Right in the midst of a U.S. trained and sponsored counterattack by Tibetan nationals, the U.S. ambassador to India, John Kenneth Galbraith, refused to send U.S. aerial support, dooming the mission.
The United States cannot not be the policeman everywhere in the world, but there are places and times that demand our intercession. Tibetan Buddhism is the closest form of Buddhism to the original teaching and intent of Buddha. The Fire, Light and Love of this religion and people in Tibet is a tremendous sublime power that uplifts and supports the forces of good in that part of the globe, indeed the whole world. The U.S. failed in its Dharma of protecting the Sangha.
The greatest fortress and barrier on the entire planet, the Himalayas, as well as the Gompas, fortress monasteries, afforded the lamas the opportunity to practice the way of pacifism. It worked for centuries. But in this modern age, with atheistic states aggressively on the rise, it became a false sense of security. No one should underestimate the unseen seen force driving communism. It is hatred of God and the Divine Mother. Dharamsala may not be safe either.
On the other hand, if a certain percentage of the World's population, say even ten percent, radiated a tremendous quantity of love and devotion in their hearts and were able to draw down the fire from above, then maybe the tide of darkness could be turned back. But one also needs to be wise to the ways of Mara and serpent. Darkness, people's karma and ego, destructive behavior, hatred, and the reactionary forces of totalitarian governments and super-states are on the rise. One must make the necessary provisions to guard the Light.
Buddhism grew out of Hinduism much the way Christianity came from Judaism. Both were a needed course correction to a religion that had gotten away form the Divine intent. In the case of Hinduism, Buddha was concerned with wrong desires especially materialism. He also saw that people began to see God outside themselves, in their representations of God and in some yogis. He taught that God, the Buddha, is within.
The vast body of knowledge and wisdom of Hinduism is still the foundation of Buddhism. The Old Testament is to the New Testament as Hindu texts are to the Buddhist canons. At that core, piercing the shroud of inaction and cries for peace are the words of Krishna to Arjuna in "The Bhagavad Gita,' one of the greatest expositions on why a man of peace, a spiritual man, has to take action. Arjuna tells Krishna he will not fight. This is Krishna's response:
Thou grievest where no grief should be! thou speak'st Words lacking wisdom! for the wise in heart Mourn not for those that live, nor those that die. Nor I, nor thou, nor any one of these, Ever was not, nor ever will not be. Forever and forever afterwards. All that doth live lives always! To man's frame As there come infancy and youth and age, So come there raisings-up and layings-down Of other and of other life-abodes, Which the wise know, and fear not. This that irks-- Thy sense-life, thrilling to the elements-- Bringing thee heat and cold, sorrows and joys, 'Tis brief and mutable! Bear with it. Prince! As the wise bear. The soul which is not moved. The soul that with a strong and constant calm Takes sorrow and takes joy indifferently, Lives in the life undying! That which is Can never cease to be; that which is not Will not exist. To see this truth of both Is theirs who part essence from accident, Substance from shadow. Indestructible, Learn thou! the Life is spreading life through all; It cannot anywhere, by any means, Be anywise diminished, stayed, or changed. But for these fleeting frames which it informs With spirit deathless, endless, infinite, They perish. Let them perish, Prince! and fight! He who shall say, "Lo! I have slain a man" He who shall think, "Lo! I am slain!" those both Know naught! Life cannot slay. Life is not slain! Never the spirit was born: the spirit shall cease to be never; Never was time it was not; End and Beginning are dreams! Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineth the spirit forever; Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house of it seems! Who knoweth it exhaustless, self-sustained, Immortal, indestructible--shall such Say, "I have killed a man, or caused to kill"? Nay, but as when one layeth His worn-out robes away, And, taking new ones, sayeth, "These will I wear today!" So putteth by the spirit Lightly its garb of flesh, And passeth to inherit A residence afresh. I say to thee weapons reach not the Life, Flame burns it not, waters cannot o'erwhelm, Nor dry winds wither it. Impenetrable, Unentered, unassailed, unharmed, untouched, Immortal, all-arriving, stable, sure, Invisible, ineffable, by word And thought uncompassed, ever all itself-- Thus is the Soul declared! How wilt thou, then-- Knowing it so--grieve when thou shouldst not grieve? How, if thou hearest that the man new-dead Is, like the man new born, still living man-- One same, existent Spirit--wilt thou weep? The end of birth is death; the end of death Is birth; this is ordained! and mournest thou. Chief of the stalwart arm! for what befalls Which could not otherwise befall? The birth Of living things comes unperceived; the death Comes unperceived; between them, beings perceive: What is there sorrowful herein, dear Prince? Wonderful, wistful, to contemplate! Difficult, doubtful, to speak upon! Strange and great for tongue to relate, Mystical hearing for everyone! Nor wotteth man this, what a marvel it is, This Life within all living things, My Prince! Hides beyond harm; scorn thou to suffer, then, For that which cannot suffer. Do thy part! Be mindful of thy name, and tremble not! Naught better can betide a martial soul Than lawful war; happy the warrior To whom comes joy of battle--comes as now, Glorious and fair, unsought; opening for him A gateway unto Heav'n. But, if thou shunn'st This honorable field--a Kshatriya (warrior)-- If, knowing thy duty and thy task, thou bidd'st Duty and task go by--that shall be sin! ...
Some look at the positive side, that Tibetan Buddhism is being spread far and wide as a result of the Chinese invasion. That does not make it God's Will however. We all have choices and there is no sealed fate. Who is to say the Dharma would not have flowed down from the Himalayas no matter what. Those mountain vastnesses are treasures and focuses of Light, retreats of yogis and adepts, repository of enlightened teachings and home to a sweet people with an extraordinary devotion to God. That purity of heart is under assault. Even Dharamsala is being overwhelmed with the trappings of the modern world.
The losses suffered in Tibet need not have occurred. There can be no compromise with communists, to do so destroys the Dharma and weakens the tie to the heart of the Buddha.
May your Peace be one of stilling the emotions, never giving rise to hatred, but not the peace of submission to the implacable foe.
God Bless all, especially the beautiful people of Tibet
Dalai Lama Says Terror May Need a Violent Reply
By LAURIE GOODSTEIN, New York Times, Sept 17, 2003
New York, USA -- The Dalai Lama, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize and one of the world's most prominent advocates of nonviolence, said in an interview yesterday that it might be necessary to fight terrorists with violence, and that it was "too early to say" whether the war in Iraq was a mistake.
"I feel only history will tell," he said. "Terrorism is the worst kind of violence, so we have to check it, we have to take countermeasures."
The Dalai Lama spoke in his first visit to New York City since the 2001 terrorist attacks. He is on the last stop of a United States tour that has highlighted his dual roles as Buddhist teacher and head of state.
In the past 13 days, he has met with Tibetan exiles in several cities, dedicated an interfaith temple in Bloomington, Ind., and pressed the Tibetan cause in Washington.
At a time when many political and religious leaders are saying that the American antiterrorism campaign and the war in Iraq are only fueling additional terrorism, the Dalai Lama refused to pass judgment.
But he emphasized that "the real antidote" to terrorism in the long run is "compassion, dialogue peaceful means" even with terrorists. "We have to deal with their motivation," he said. "Terrorism comes out of hatred, and also short-sightedness."
Editor: To be fair here is the response to the above article:
Letter to the Editor of NY Times from Dalai Lama's Representative
September 19, 2003
To the Letters Editor of the New York Times:
Your headline, as well as the report on the interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama by Laurie Goodstein (Dalai Lama Says Terror May Need a Violent Reply, September 18, 2003), gives the misleading impression that His Holiness is endorsing violence as a way to confront terrorism. I am sure, as many of your readers are aware, His Holiness has always advocated nonviolence as the most effective method for dealing with conflict. More specifically, with regard to the war on Iraq, His Holiness has publicly issued a statement expressing his opposition to war as the momentum was building towards and invasion.
As the Official Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, I was personally present at the interview that was the basis of your article. I can assure that your article has taken His Holiness' comments out of context. For example, on the question of contering terrorism, His Holiness emphasizes the need for another level of response. This is the long-term approach. Efforts should be made towards transforming human hearts and minds, which, His Holiness suggested would require, among other things an emphasis on closer contacts between the Western world and the Middle East. A truly effective counter to terrorism is to transform the human emotions of hatred and suspicion that motivate acts of terror.
Furthermore, the reference to Osama bin Laden is not reported the way His Holiness put it. In response to Laurie Goodstein's question on how one can understand Osama bin Laden's behavior of expressing delight in the death of thousands of people as a result of the terror acts, His Holiness stated that it is partly a question of conditioning. He gave the example that, although an average person may feel hesitant from killing animals, because of their conditioning, butchers learn to kill animals without experiencing such discomfort.
Nawang Rabgyal Representative of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to the Americas
More on pacifism by Reverse Spins: