Do not forget that the Vice President of the BAC is the Chinese appointed Panchen Lama, who was designated as the reincarnation of the Panchen due to both his parents being Communist Party Members. The boy selected by HHDL as the Panchen candidate was the youngest political prisoner in the world for many years, and his whereabouts are still unknown. Indeed, we cannot know if he is dead or alive.
regardless of the reason, or supervision, are you saying the current Panchen Lama (Chinese appt.) is an atheist who solely exists to further the agenda of the CCP? And what does it mean that his parents were members of the CCP? Again, you can talk about causes and conditions all you want, but then you need to bring in ALL the causes and conditions - which you don't know.
Beginning with the fact, that like any organization or group of people, the CCP is not a unified body with some type of hive mind. There are hard line hawks, and the most liberal reformers within the CCP, and everything in between.
Your logic falls apart because you want to pick and choose who represents what the organization is and your view is based on incredibly broad brushes that gloss over the most fundamental truths of the human experience, mainly that we each live out our lives as discreet human beings, with all the cloudy obscurations that samsara brings. We are all ruled by our emotions, our passions, our reasons and intellect, and each of those our seriously flawed - which is the whole reason d'etre for Buddhism, being to over come those things.
Should I point towards Tibetan Buddhists who are Tibetan and Gelug but who are supporters of that which should not be named or discussed per the TOS? And say - they are TB, they and their actions define TB? Or the schism caused by there being two 17th Karmapas and some of the actions done in their names? Or is the HHDL a tool of the CIA for taking funding from them in the 60's?
Going back to the question of the PL being a stooge of the CCP, do you think the causes and conditions of his selection where "let's just pick anyone" (and where his parents already members of the CCP before his selections?) or was there at least an attempt to find an incarnation who may have been somewhat realized? The Chinese may be official atheistic, but they do believe in oracles and the power of qigong, etc.
Let's not forget the dubious history of tulkus in general, where there are a good many identified incarnations that were made for expediency (within Tibet itself, with no interference whatsoever the Chinese). Or that have been influenced by politics (the two Karmapas being an example).
I am not speaking about the Chinese atheists in general at all or atheism as being by nature opposed to ethical conduct, the issue at hand here is that the BAC is controlled by the Communist Party of China. Atheism is a requirement for party membership, which means that it is politically motivated. Despite being atheists and not believing in religion, the BAC enforces state-controlled regulations for the recognition of reincarnate lamas, for example (odd that atheists would be concerned with such matters!). http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/china/2007 ... 448242.htm
Tell me who are the 5 most influential people within the BAC, and tell me what they truly think and believe.
Yes, it is odd that the Chinese government would still allow recognition of reincarnate lamas - a point in their favor for allowing religion in the country. How much actual interference, etc. there is on the ground, hard to say - for sure with major incarnates such as lineage holders, etc.
It's actually quite normal and expected for a government to keep a watchful eye and groups it deems potentially divisive or dangerous - I'm sure your Canadian government keeps a secret but watchful eye on certain Islamic groups within its borders (as does the US) and probably not just Islamic groups, but some you'd think are totally benign.
In contrast to treating people as symbols, you are treating an organization as if it were a real, tangible thing. I know of some vehicles of Buddhism, where the very idea that a single person can view themselves as "real" (e.g., I am uan) is fundamentally challenged. That whole emptiness thing. How much more absurd when we apply tangibility to a group of people?
The BAC is a dependent arising like any other organization or functioning thing according to Buddhist philosophy. It is useful, therefore, to understand the causes and conditions from which it arises. It is a political entity formed to ensure the control of the Communist Party of China, a political organization, over all Buddhist activity in the country- this is its primary function. Because it has arisen from these conditions, in order to make sure that it is possible to establish a Buddhist organization that actually wishes to help nurture the practice of Buddhists within the PRC, the global Buddhist community should voice their concern over how the BAC is run and not allow it to bully during international Buddhist conferences. Just as it voices concern over the 969 movement in Myanmar. I find it interesting that the politically correct Western Buddhist community has been so quick to denounce what is happening in Myanmar, while offering very little coverage to the recent shooting of 11 Tibetans for celebrating the birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. (http://phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id= ... ings+grows
Could you expand on the causes and conditions of the Western Buddhist Community? Am I a part of the WBC?
I can't imagine talking with some of my teachers and going "but I am real, there are causes and conditions that I arise from, and this angst about not getting a promotion at work is real because it's a real things with causes and conditions and I lost a real thing when I don't get more money in my paycheck." Emptiness. Even causes and conditions are illusory. Or would you advise someone coming to you and talking about their problems from a starting point of "yes, you're right, you lost a real and tangible thing"?
So back to the question of who the atheist is. Are you an atheist if you put more substance in the mundane world over an understanding that grows out of, not just a belief in, but realization, that comes from the Buddha's teaching?
There are causes and conditions to suffering. You can change the names and circumstances, but attacking the names is the same as tilting at windmills. There's no addressing the underlying root.
It's easy to be against things, it takes strong application of patience, generosity, compassion, wisdom and perseverance to be for something and to bring groups of people together in a positive way.
The practices of patience, generosity, compassion or wisdom are something that I need to work on- I make no claims in this department. As for being about bringing people together in a positive way- that is exactly what I am trying to do. Without the BAC and SARA (State Administration for Religious Affairs), Buddhists of China of both Han and Tibetan backgrounds would be able to build bridges of understanding based on the dharma rather than the political concerns of the communist party.
Rather than defend SARA and the BAC, why not think about supporting organizations like the Chinese-Tibetan Friendship Association, which is not associated with a state-sponsored agency with a long history of suppression of religion to serve the interests of the political elite in China?
I'm not defending SARA or BAC.
What's missing in your analysis is that there is zero expression of compassion for the individuals within the BAC in your posts. They are as much a victim, as those you are perceiving as victims. That's the view that HHDL takes and you can see how that realization expresses itself in his own dealings and comments about China itself, not just a minor department within the country.
Expressing and having compassion for them doesn't mean to not be critical of their actions, but it fundamentally alters the conversation. You are effectively posting - boycott the BAC, they are wrong and do bad things, and are preventing the growth of dharma. Perhaps you could rephrase the question, how can we interact with the BAC to establish stronger dharma connections? One way is start by acknowledging that they (BAC) have every right to be concerned for their country. They may have different values and see threats to their country where there aren't any, but the underlying concern is legitimate and should be acknowledged. Even the Chinese government takes this view (famously Deng Xiao Ping), who effectively allowed capitalism and economic reforms as long as it didn't challenge the CCP's authority.
I'd be curious to know what your involvement and support of the CTFA is? Have you posted here calling on people to support them or other similar organizations? Have you worked to extend their reach? It's interesting, I do see lots of overseas TB lamas, etc. who do go back to Tibet (which the Chinese allow), to restore their former monasteries and the like. Start with positives and move from there. Find the positive expression of a situation, and move to expand on that, rather than finding the negative in a situation, and trying stamp it out. Weeds don't grow in lush fields of grass. Killing weeds in a barren, patchy field is pointless.