Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofChina?

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Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofChina?

Postby JKhedrup » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:45 pm

As Chinese society continues to grow in the direction of modernization there is a real spiritual vacuum that needs to be filled, and many opportunities for the promotion of Buddhism. For those of you who do not know, all Buddhist activities taking place in China in theory must be approved by the Buddhist Association of China (BAC).

The sad truth, however, is that the BAC is one of the organs most responsible for the oppression of Buddhism, especially Tibetan Buddhism, within the Chinese state. Although it is a religious organization, its functioning is determined by avowed communist party members who must eschew religion.

In Tibet, the BAC is a major player in terms of human rights abuses. It monitors the Sangha members working in monasteries and communities, and enforces political education campaigns. http://phayul.com/news/article.aspx?id= ... m+in+Tibet

The regulation called “Measures to determine qualification and employment of religious instructors in Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries” was published on December 3, 2012 after its approval during the second session of the eighth council of Buddhist Association of China held on November 25, 2012.

Under the regulation, all religious instructors at Tibetan Buddhist monasteries must be legally registered to continue teaching Buddhist scriptures (Article 2) and must meet mandatory credentials, including support for the leadership of the Chinese Communist Party and the socialist system, patriotism, discipline, safeguard national unity, and uphold religious and social harmony [Article 4 (ii)].

Article 5 of the regulation requires candidates to be nominated and recommended by Monastery Management Committees, following which they will then be assessed and reviewed first at the county level Buddhist Association of China office. Another assessment and screening of the credentials of the candidates will be done at the prefecture level of BAC following which shortlisted candidates must sit for an examination administered by the same office. The BAC, founded in 1953 to place Buddhism under the leadership of the Communist Party, strictly limits Buddhist activity and controls the monastic institutions.


My question is, does it not go against the principles of Buddhism to work with an organization that enforces policies that inject politics into the dharma, and suppress the aspirations of a people? Would it not be more effective to challenge China's interference in Buddhist teaching and propagation?
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby Indrajala » Thu Jul 11, 2013 1:56 pm

Good question.

As an outsider and foreigner you'll probably never have enough influence and power to direct things, so participation would be on their terms, not yours. Actually the conventions of such an organizations would likely disenfranchise all but the most cooperative foreigners, but even then let's be realistic how likely is that?

However, to participate might actually enable worthwhile projects to be undertaken that might otherwise prove infeasible, which in turn benefit many people. In the PRC you simply have no choice but to cooperate with the authorities, otherwise you go nowhere or are shut down prematurely.
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby Ramon1920 » Thu Jul 11, 2013 4:32 pm

:coffee: At least it's not Sharia law.

There are times when Buddhism must be practiced in secret. You can play by the rules of some ridiculous regime and keep the prohibited stuff hidden until things are resolved or lost.

If you were really serious about it you could plant people in BAC to set things right. Never mind you're a Westerner, if you get together enough money you can do it. Political boundaries mean little when you have money. You could start a fund raiser in the USA, find a sympathetic person that is close to the ruling party. Deliberately introduce them to the people you want to protect and build strong ties between them. Then pay people in china to character assassinate the current BAC authorities in the eyes of the ruling party and at the same time offer some deals or arrangements to make your sympathetic person the prime candidate replacement.
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby JKhedrup » Thu Jul 11, 2013 5:22 pm

Such a coup would require an immense amount of money I think :tongue:

The BAC's function is to make Buddhism non-offensive to the Communist Party of China establishment. They can also use monks and nuns as political tools, for example the shameful behaviour last year when they recalled their entire monastic delegation from an important conference in Korea because Samdhong Rinpoche was speaking on a Buddhist (non-political) topic.

I actually think the BAC prevents the flourishing of Buddhism rather than aiding. We see many regimes in Chinese history that were on the surface friendly to Buddhism but as soon as they saw it become a real force for the loyalty of the people crushed it without so much thought.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby Monsoon » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:01 pm

When someone can offer an analysis that is unbiased (or as objective as possible) then we can move forward. I am not seeing this in this thread. As this is (one would assume) a pro-Buddhist forum then all argument about the position of Buddhism in China is biased. What I would like is for some of the wiser heads on here to have a serious and concerted attempt to think about the situation from the Chinese side of the fence, to try to understand the reason for the current and historical position that China (as a government) has taken with respect to Buddhism. Until then all I am hearing is 'our way is better than theirs'.
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby JKhedrup » Thu Jul 11, 2013 10:08 pm

If the Chinese side of things means the Chinese Buddhist side of things, I am all ears. I want the genuine dharma to be available to relieve the suffering and contribute to the happiness of the Chinese people.

The BAC does not represent Chinese Buddhism anymore than the CPC represents the Chinese people. Although not facing the same suppression as Tibetan monks, authentic Chinese sangha are still manipulated. Genuine monks and nuns have no real control over their own institutions and the government uses historic temples for money making and propaganda purposes.

http://www.chinasmack.com/2009/stories/ ... walls.html
The Famen Temple Cultural Scenic Area Construction Company, having the strong support of relevant government departments, is forcefully building walls in front of the Famen Temple gates to create gates in which to sell extremely high priced tickets, even sealing the entrance and exit roads for the temple’s internal cars. This has seriously violated the State Council’s promulgated “Regulations on Religious Affairs”, infringing on Famen Temple and the entire world’s religious masses’ lawful rights and interests, and seriously harming all Buddhists’ religious feelings.

Famen Temple, in accordance with safeguarding the dignity of the country’s law, have decided that from 1:00pm today, Famen temple will close its gates and engage in lawful resistance/protest, and respectfully request that all worshipers and tourists give their understanding and support.


Basically, the BAC under the control of the government of China is little more than an organization designed to manipulate Buddhism to serve the government's purposes and nip things in the bud when there is a threat to government control.

This is not about whether Chinese or Tibetan Buddhism is better at all, but about whether any authentic expression of the dharma can flourish anywhere but the most remote regions in the modern Chinese state.

The basic premise behind this thread is that working with the BAC in fact harms Buddhism in the long run, and organizations in the global Buddhist community would do better to demand reform. Working together with an organization ultimately run by atheists who see religion as superfluous at best will not lead to the long term benefit of the dharma.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby Ramon1920 » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:16 am

Perhaps you young people have heard about the Thai government having a similar operation. They got monks to teach a version of Buddhism where enlightenment and jhana wasn't possible in this era so people would focus on materialistic endeavors instead of renunciation. It was an attempt to improve the Thai economy. This is actually how the forest traditions came to garner so much respect, they reacted to the government's modulating the sangha. In the end the gov control inadvertently squeezed out a group of people that revitalized Buddhism.
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby Huifeng » Fri Jul 12, 2013 2:21 am

Is it ethical to boycott the Buddhist Association of China simply because of the political leadership under which they find themselves (which they themselves did not choose)?

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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby Monsoon » Fri Jul 12, 2013 3:34 am

Basically, the BAC under the control of the government of China is little more than an organization designed to manipulate Buddhism to serve the government's purposes and nip things in the bud when there is a threat to government control.

This is not about whether Chinese or Tibetan Buddhism is better at all, but about whether any authentic expression of the dharma can flourish anywhere but the most remote regions in the modern Chinese state.


There are similarities between the current situation in China and the post-Reformation era in England. In the latter case Christianity is still alive and has many adherents. Therefore, it is, in my limited opinion, a bit previous to leap to...

The basic premise behind this thread is that working with the BAC in fact harms Buddhism in the long run, and organizations in the global Buddhist community would do better to demand reform. Working together with an organization ultimately run by atheists who see religion as superfluous at best will not lead to the long term benefit of the dharma.


Besides which do we really want to bring evangelism to Buddhism?
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby JKhedrup » Fri Jul 12, 2013 8:30 pm

Not evangelism but the people in the PRC deserve better than a Buddhism that is manipulated for political expediency.

For a long time I too believed the myth that appeasement of the Communist Party was the best way to ensure progress towards more freedom in China, convinced that economic growth would lead to great improvement. I am no longer convinced that this silence and politeness is the way to go in order to change things, for Buddhism, the Chinese people, the Tibetan people or anyone else.

The house arrests of the famous blind activist Chen Guangcheng, the Tibet writer Woeser, the shooting of several Tibetans simply for celebrating the birthday of HH Dalai Lama just last week- it is simply too much for me to bear. The Chinese people themselves deserve a better system. And as we saw with oppressive regimes in Sri Lanka, Eastern Europe, Myanmar etc. international pressure, economic sanctions and so forth do actually work to change things.

If strong pressure leads to the dismantling of the BAC in favour of a non-political organization that truly has the interests of the dharma at heart, the next generation of Chinese Buddhist will be thanking those who helped.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jul 13, 2013 2:52 am

JKhedrup wrote: And as we saw with oppressive regimes in Sri Lanka, Eastern Europe, Myanmar etc. international pressure, economic sanctions and so forth do actually work to change things.


China however has the rest of the world by the balls.
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby Zhen Li » Mon Jul 15, 2013 9:38 am

If you can bring more exposure of Buddhism, even if it has some politically altered guise, I don't think it can be detrimental. Allowing people to come into contact with the Dharma, in even small forms, allows them to build up affinities and merits with relation to the Dharma.

Also, we should not lose faith that there are in fact CPC officials who are privately Buddhists, and have expressed their Buddhist faith to visiting monastics in private - it happens quite frequently according to rumour. It doesn't take a coup, and in fact, it may take decades, but China will have to gradually open to Buddhism because of human nature and Buddha nature. I think that if we withhold now, we may hamper this opening - whereas if we can make as much available as possible, we may possibly increase demand for more.

Moreover, people in China are interested in Buddhism. The second of the Eighteen Root Bodhisattva Vows is that one will not refuse to share Dharma teachings or wealth. If there are people willing to receive the Dharma, and we have the means to give it, we should - even if it gets limited in some degrees. This is also the seventh of the Forty-Six Secondary vows, "Not giving Dharma to those who wish to learn," and if we are invited to give teachings it violates the fifth, "Not accepting when invited as a guest."
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby Monsoon » Mon Jul 15, 2013 10:30 am

:good:
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby JKhedrup » Mon Jul 15, 2013 6:28 pm

For a long time I was convinced of this as well. But working with the BAC in fact means turning a blind eye to all the deliberate damage they are bringing to Buddhism, and I think this is also contrary to the Bodhisattva vows, particularly:

16. Not employing the methods to overcome others' negativities.
If it is possible to overcome others' negativities of body and speech through forceful methods, but you elect to use flattery and help them save face instead, you incur this downfall. You should make an effort and use all your skill and suitable methods to help those who create negative actions, break their vows, harm others and so on. Where possible, teach them ways to purify negative karma, such as the 4 opponent powers, and practise such methods yourself as an example.


http://www.viewonbuddhism.org/resources ... _vows.html
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby Zhen Li » Tue Jul 16, 2013 1:51 am

That is quite true.

But also!
11. Not committing a destructive action when love and compassion call for it. (Berzin)
Occasionally, certain extreme situations arise in which the welfare of others is seriously jeopardized and there is no alternative left to prevent a tragedy other than committing one of the seven destructive physical or verbal actions. These seven are taking a life, taking what has not been given to us, indulging in inappropriate sexual behavior, lying, speaking divisively, using harsh and cruel language, or chattering meaninglessly. If we commit such an action without any disturbing emotion at the time, such as anger, desire, or naivety about cause and effect, but are motivated only by the wish to prevent others' suffering - being totally willing to accept on ourselves whatever negative consequences may come, even hellish pain - we do not damage our far-reaching ethical self-discipline. In fact, we build up a tremendous amount of positive force that speeds us on our spiritual paths.

Refusing to commit these destructive actions when necessity demands is at fault, however, only if we have taken and keep purely bodhisattva vows. Our reticence to exchange our happiness for the welfare of others hampers our perfection of the ethical self-discipline to help others always. There is no fault if we have only superficial compassion and do not keep bodhisattva vows or train in the conduct outlined by them. We realize that since our compassion is weak and unstable, the resulting suffering we would experience from our destructive actions might easily cause us to begrudge bodhisattva conduct. We might even give up the path of working to help others. Like the injunction that bodhisattvas on lower stages of development only damage themselves and their abilities to help others if they attempt practices of bodhisattvas on higher stages - such as feeding their flesh to a hungry tigress - it is better for us to remain cautious and hold back.

Since there may be confusion about what circumstances call for such bodhisattva action, let us look at examples taken from the commentary literature. Please keep in mind that these are last resort actions when all other means fail to alleviate or prevent others' suffering. As a budding bodhisattva, we are willing to take the life of someone about to commit a mass murder. We have no hesitation in confiscating medicines intended for relief efforts in a war-torn country that someone has taken to sell on the black market, or taking away a charity's funds from an administrator who is squandering or mismanaging them. We are willing, if male, to have sex with another's wife - or with an unmarried woman whose parents forbid it, or with any other inappropriate partner - when the woman has the strong wish to develop bodhichitta but is overwhelmed with desire for sex with us and who, if she were to die not having had sex with us, would carry the grudge as an instinct into future lives. As a result, she would be extremely hostile toward bodhisattvas and the bodhisattva path.

Bodhisattvas' willingness to engage in inappropriate sexual acts when all else fails to help prevent someone from developing an extremely negative attitude toward the spiritual path of altruism raises an important point for married couples on the bodhisattva path to consider. Sometimes a couple becomes involved in Dharma and one of them, for instance the woman, wishing to be celibate, stops sexual relations with her husband when he is not of the same mind. He still has attachment to sex and takes her decision as a personal rejection. Sometimes the wife's fanaticism and lack of sensitivity drives her husband to blame his frustration and unhappiness on the Dharma. He leaves the marriage and turns his back on Buddhism with bitter resentment. If there is no other way to avoid his hostile reaction toward the spiritual path and the woman is keeping bodhisattva vows, she would do well to evaluate her compassion to determine if it is strong enough to allow her to have occasional sex with her husband without serious harm to her ability to help others. This is very relevant in terms of the tantric vows concerning chaste behavior.

As budding bodhisattvas, we are willing to lie when it saves others' lives or prevents others from being tortured and maimed. We have no hesitation to speak divisively to separate our children from a wrong crowd of friends - or disciples from misleading teachers - who are exerting negative influences on them and encouraging harmful attitudes and behavior. We do not refrain from using harsh language to rouse our children from negative ways, like not doing their homework, when they will not listen to reason. And when others, interested in Buddhism, are totally addicted to chattering, drinking, partying, singing, dancing, or telling off-color jokes or stories of violence, we are willing to join in if refusal would make these persons feel that bodhisattvas, and Buddhists in general, never have fun and that the spiritual path is not for them.

11. Not knowing the full purpose of compassion. (Harderwijk)
If it serves a special purpose for others, it is permissible for a Bodhisattva to commit the seven non-virtues of body and speech. If you refuse to commit a such a non-virtue, when by doing so you could help numberless sentient beings, you will incur this downfall. Generally, you have to avoid all non-virtues. But when the circumstances arise in which, through compassion, you can help numberless sentient beings by engaging in one of the seven non-virtues of body and speech, then you must do so. For instance, suppose you were living in the country and a hunter came by and asked you whether you had seen any deer. If you had seen some and decided not to lie, you would keep your Vinaya precepts and retain observance of the seven virtues, but the hunter would kill the deer. In this case you should rather tell a lie than follow the normal rule. This judgement obviously requires wisdom.

:juggling:
Maybe this issue differs from individual to individual, depending upon how capable one is of engaging in these actions without ill intent and with a mind of bodhicitta. I honestly think that most people who are asked to "pat the horse" by the Communist Party, unless they are truly brainwashed (which is rare these days, even in China), rarely mean what they say, so perhaps this is not so bad as it looks.
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby uan » Tue Jul 16, 2013 4:18 pm

I'm trying to understand the issue a bit - we should take political action against a Buddhist organization (BAC) because they are political? And we get to say the Dharma backs us up on this? Not only backs us up, but demands us to act. So I guess it's okay for some to politicize the Dharma when they disapprove of someone else politicizing the Dharma. Hmmm.

Working together with an organization ultimately run by atheists


How do you know this? There are a lot of assumptions buried in the word "atheist" some of which you are implying (especially w/o further clarification) to be extremely negative - unless it's only because they are "Chinese" or "Communist Party" atheists. Your use of the word atheist also implies someone lacking a moral compass, as if only religion is able to give that to people, yet some very morally outstanding people are atheists and some morally bankrupt people are deep believers. Regardless of that, defining a person by a labeling (atheist or otherwise) allows you to view individuals not as human beings but as symbols, as things. When you do that you are not actually seeing things "as they are" but "as you have created them in your mind".

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? I wonder who the atheist is when we toss out fundamental belief structures when dealing with the mundane/secular world?

Treating people as symbols, and organizations as "real" now that's not a Dharma path I want to go down. That's just me. YMMV.

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.
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby JKhedrup » Tue Jul 16, 2013 9:00 pm

So I guess it's okay for some to politicize the Dharma when they disapprove of someone else politicizing the Dharma. Hmmm.


If by politicizing the dharma you mean arguing against a government sponsored organ that tramples on the rights of Chinese and Tibetan Buddhists and prevents the dharma from being accessible in its full form due impossible, poorly motivated interference and regulation, then yes, I guess I am politicizing the dharma.

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.

There are a lot of assumptions buried in the word "atheist" some of which you are implying (especially w/o further clarification) to be extremely negative - unless it's only because they are "Chinese" or "Communist Party" atheists. Your use of the word atheist also implies someone lacking a moral compass, as if only religion is able to give that to people, yet some very morally outstanding people are atheists and some morally bankrupt people are deep believers.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of ... c_of_China

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
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)

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?
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby uan » Wed Jul 17, 2013 3:56 pm

JKhedrup wrote:
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).


JKhedrup wrote: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.


JKhedrup wrote:
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.

JKhedrup wrote:
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.
uan
 
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Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:31 pm

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"?


Uan if you are going to make an argument on my behalf (one that I did not make), and then post a lengthy response refuting your own argument, that you attributed to me, this discussion is not going to go anywhere.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2327
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

Re: Is it ethical to work with the Buddhist Association ofCh

Postby JKhedrup » Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:54 pm

'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.


Uan you don't know me or what I do- I may not call on people here to support such initiatives but I am very involved. As I said, I spent long periods in monasteries of the Chinese tradition and very much enjoyed my experience in one of them. My decision to work within the Tibetan tradition is due primarily to the fact that I have good connections with many of its teachers and can use my Tibetan language ability to serve the dharma. If my Chinese had been better than my Tibetan, things could have been quite different.

In terms of the initiatives the Geshe I work for has a real interest in interactions with Chinese people and has taught several courses especially for the Chinese community. People from mainland China who come to his courses feel a good connection and he interacts with them as people, always saying in fact that the Tibetans and Chinese are the same family. I have also translated for a couple of low key dialogues with people from the mainland.

What I am expressing here is my distaste for a political construction that oppresses Buddhism, nothing more. Why you are trying to infer it as a broad condemnation of atheism, China etc. is beyond me. We see that up to the present day the BAC has done more to harm Buddhism than to help it. You mention the restoration of temples in China and Tibet. But if they are mere tourists spots where monastics are selling tickets rather than practicing and teaching the dharma, is it really something laudatory?

And remember, when the monasteries are rebuilt and become too attractive for students of Buddhism, they are often razed to the ground, as was the case with Khenpo Jigme Phuntsok's place.
In order to ensure my mind never comes under the power of the self-cherishing attitude,
I must obtain control over my own mind.
Therefore, amongst all empowerments, the empowerment that gives me control over my mind is the best,
and I have received the most profound empowerment with this teaching.
-Atisha Dipamkara
brtsal ba'i bkhra drin
JKhedrup
 
Posts: 2327
Joined: Wed May 30, 2012 8:28 am
Location: the Netherlands and India

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