Civilisation and barbarism

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Civilisation and barbarism

Postby JKhedrup » Mon May 12, 2014 7:46 am

Discussion split from this thread.

The idea that Tibetans are backwards isn't racist, but saying that Sino-Tibetan or Mongoloids are genetically inferior and therefore backwards is.


It is simplistic to say that racism is only looking down on people because of their genetics. It widely considered racism to look down on people's culture and way of life. Which I think Ven. I has done with both Indians and Tibetans. If someone here described other cultures rather than Tibetans as "backward" they would be called racist and in far less polite and subdued language than I have used- look at some of the other threads. How do you think people would react if someone called native American culture backward?

As I pointed out we trumpet the miracles of the "Modern" Western paradigm as somehow better than "backward" traditional societies, I have already discussed this at length. The Western Industrial model has led to material comforts but an unsustainable lifestyle for the planet. Due to industrial society we are now facing a serious environmental crisis that threatens humanity and will make the discussions we have here seem utterly silly.

"Backward" traditional societies were far more sustainable and in harmony with the environment. The Tibetan plateau was almost like a wilderness reserve until the PRC came and began their program of mining and pillaging.
Last edited by Sherab Dorje on Mon May 19, 2014 4:35 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Added link to original thread
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: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby JKhedrup » Mon May 12, 2014 7:52 am

One thing, I do hope you have a superb institutions, but you belong to it, your loyalty is bound to it. Ven. Indrajala is freer to criticize, he can't get kicked out.


Most Western monks who spent time at Sera are rather critical types, and no one has been kicked out.

Frankly and this is my own opinion, I think those young Tibetan children would be better off brought up in China with a decent education then stuck in India with no escape and a dead end future.


Just like Native Canadians would be better brought up in residential schools rather than learning their traditional ways? Or Australian Aboriginees? How is your statement any different than saying something like that?

It is clear you think the Tibetan culture has no value and what is important is making money in the Chinese pseudo-capitalist system. But that is because you have never studied Tibetan culture or religion and don't know the remarkable treasures it contains. A pity.
It is also pretty clear to me you have never met or befriended a Tibetan and asked them what they want for their children. Maybe they think being able to speak the language of their people is more important than becoming a tour guide for the Chinese government.


I've heard the orphaned and colonizer tale before to explain away abuse: Ireland was cruelly colonized by Britain, their language (irish) and their culture crushed, only the brave RC priests carried the light of Irish culture. This excuse was used to explain endemic child abuse


You are welcome to your opinion but academics who mentioned the higher rates of sexual abuse in African American communities were pilloried in their university communities. I personally think societal traumas have a huge impact on all different types of abuse. We see in severely traumatized communities, for example Cambodian-Americans and Cambodian -Canadians, rates of abuse are much higher. This is not excusing bad behaviour, merely understanding that certain pressures lead to an increase. Understanding such things can help prevent and address abuse. That is something worthwhile.
Last edited by JKhedrup on Mon May 12, 2014 7:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Malcolm » Mon May 12, 2014 2:12 pm

Indrajala wrote:
Malcolm wrote:Some people apparently think that Buddhism in China is more important than the Buddhism in its homeland. This really is a reflection of the belief amongst many Chinese Buddhists that late Indian Buddhism was completely corrupt. A false belief, of course, but one that is widely diffused amongst them.


That's true. Some Chinese Buddhists also believe they civilized Buddhism, too.

Incidentally, some Shingon proponents believe late period Vajrayāna is corrupted and degenerate, and that theirs represent pure esoteric Buddhism.


Of course they believe this. It comes out of believing that some human cultures are better than others, a belief to which you strongly adhere.

M
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Zhen Li » Mon May 12, 2014 5:27 pm

JKhedrup wrote:
The idea that Tibetans are backwards isn't racist, but saying that Sino-Tibetan or Mongoloids are genetically inferior and therefore backwards is.


It is simplistic to say that racism is only looking down on people because of their genetics. It widely considered racism to look down on people's culture and way of life. Which I think Ven. I has done with both Indians and Tibetans. If someone here described other cultures rather than Tibetans as "backward" they would be called racist and in far less polite and subdued language than I have used- look at some of the other threads. How do you think people would react if someone called native American culture backward?

As I pointed out we trumpet the miracles of the "Modern" Western paradigm as somehow better than "backward" traditional societies, I have already discussed this at length. The Western Industrial model has led to material comforts but an unsustainable lifestyle for the planet. Due to industrial society we are now facing a serious environmental crisis that threatens humanity and will make the discussions we have here seem utterly silly.

"Backward" traditional societies were far more sustainable and in harmony with the environment. The Tibetan plateau was almost like a wilderness reserve until the PRC came and began their program of mining and pillaging.

That has nothing to do with race. Racism is a useless word now because people use it for anything that offends them. Yes, Native American and Tibetan civilizations were relatively backwards. That's not to say living in a backwards society isn't more satisfying than living in a modernized one.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby mañjughoṣamaṇi » Mon May 12, 2014 6:40 pm

Zhen Li wrote:That has nothing to do with race. Racism is a useless word now because people use it for anything that offends them.


It does border on a racialized discourse though.

Yes, Native American and Tibetan civilizations were relatively backwards. That's not to say living in a backwards society isn't more satisfying than living in a modernized one.


Not even relatively. For them to be relatively backwards, we have to assume either that there is a teleological drive for all societies to move in a certain direction and that the US/Western Europe/China/|whoever| is representative of the current apex, or otherwise assume that other cultures(Tibetan/Native American/whoever) are at the very least representative of an earlier stage of our own line of development(1). Neither of these can even be established relatively. At best we can look at the contingencies that enabled certain societies to develop in the fashion that they did. Otherwise we are just engaging in ethnocentric speculation about advancement.

(1) For those arguing that Tibet was feudal, you should read the works of some of the structural 'marxists' like Maurice Bloch on the notion of 'exotic feudalism'. They have long ago problematized the very notion that feudalism is an socioeconomic category that is applicable outside of a narrow European context contra classical, marginalist, and 'orthodox' marxist socioeconomic thinking.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Malcolm » Mon May 12, 2014 6:51 pm

mañjughoṣamaṇi wrote:It does border on a racialized discourse though.


Indrajala is not a racist, but he is a chauvinist.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby JKhedrup » Mon May 12, 2014 6:56 pm

It is true, cultural chauvinism is a more appropriate label for the views that were expressed. This is usually the term I use but was sloppy today. I have to admit that I feel a little worn out from much of the recent anti-Tibet sentiment on the board here, as well as from witnessing the same sentiment outside HH DL's teachings in Holland yesterday.
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: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Luke » Mon May 12, 2014 7:26 pm

JKhedrup wrote:I have to admit that I feel a little worn out from much of the recent anti-Tibet sentiment on the board here, as well as from witnessing the same sentiment outside HH DL's teachings in Holland yesterday.

People in Holland have anti-Tibet feelings? May I ask why?
Are they just racist? Or were they just upset about some specific religious/political issue?
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Malcolm » Mon May 12, 2014 7:27 pm

Luke wrote:
JKhedrup wrote:I have to admit that I feel a little worn out from much of the recent anti-Tibet sentiment on the board here, as well as from witnessing the same sentiment outside HH DL's teachings in Holland yesterday.

People in Holland have anti-Tibet feelings? May I ask why?
Are they just racist? Or were they just upset about some specific religious/political issue?


It's the Dogyal crew shouting their same stupid slogans at HHDL.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby mañjughoṣamaṇi » Mon May 12, 2014 7:30 pm

JKhedrup wrote:It is true, cultural chauvinism is a more appropriate label for the views that were expressed. This is usually the term I use but was sloppy today. I have to admit that I feel a little worn out from much of the recent anti-Tibet sentiment on the board here, as well as from witnessing the same sentiment outside HH DL's teachings in Holland yesterday.


Malcolm wrote:
mañjughoṣamaṇi wrote:It does border on a racialized discourse though.


Indrajala is not a racist, but he is a chauvinist.


His speech is definitely chauvinist, but that isn't new. He was repeating classical Chinese narratives about being surrounded by barbarians here in the past. I was using "racialized" in terms of the way it is used in the contemporary social sciences to describe an essentializing discourse. It is used a lot in analyzing, for example, discourse around Muslims where a kind of essentialized prototype Muslim is developed with certain characteristics (Gulf Arab wardrobe, hijab) that erases the vast differences on the ground amongst Muslims, or in this case Tibetans. I think some of the discourse here towards Tibetans is veering in that direction, kind of straddling the line between chauvinist "Tibetan-culture-as-collection-of-(inferior)-practices" and racialized "there-is-just-something-wrong-with-those-Tibetans". I think this is especially evident in the repeated suggestion that the accreditation process which includes visits is indicative that 'something is amiss' in the Tibetan case, but not in the Indian secular case.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Prasutagus » Mon May 12, 2014 7:46 pm

I find this thread tragic, not because it attacks my tradition of practice, but because of it's negativity. There are real forms of violence in Tibetan and non-Tibetan religious institutions, both in the historical past and present. However, instead of this thread taking a trajectory of aiming to support and help those suffering, it has become polemical. As such it servers little than to generate negativity and damage the faith of others in the dharma. One doesn't need to historically deconstruct Tibetan religious history any more than one needs to quote sutras and tantras to address these abuses. Turning addressing abuses in Tibetan religious institutions into a sectarian smear certainly derails the actual issue of abuse and doesn't help anyone.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Zhen Li » Tue May 13, 2014 2:57 am

mañjughoṣamaṇi wrote:
Yes, Native American and Tibetan civilizations were relatively backwards. That's not to say living in a backwards society isn't more satisfying than living in a modernized one.


Not even relatively. For them to be relatively backwards, we have to assume either that there is a teleological drive for all societies to move in a certain direction and that the US/Western Europe/China/|whoever| is representative of the current apex, or otherwise assume that other cultures(Tibetan/Native American/whoever) are at the very least representative of an earlier stage of our own line of development(1). Neither of these can even be established relatively. At best we can look at the contingencies that enabled certain societies to develop in the fashion that they did. Otherwise we are just engaging in ethnocentric speculation about advancement.

It's simple. They had so much less military and diplomatic power and influence, less productive power, and less scientific knowledge, that their presence or non-presence in the world would be the difference of a quart out of an ocean. It's not ethnocentric to accept the fact that Tibet had no chance against any of the great powers. In Younghusband's campaign, their haphazard army didn't even know what a machine gun was, and continue to walk forwards in the open while it opened fire. We're talking relatively, which is also in the sense of competition, which nation can out compete another is a very simple question - economically it's a question of numbers and trade balance, militarily it's a question of who can beat who, diplomatically it's who can call more allies to field. That 2 is bigger than 1 isn't ethnocentric. That one country can out produce another, even per capita, isn't ethnocentric, and that one campaign of 3000 can out gun a nation and be received in the capital, whereas the other would require a few millions, plus maybe ten dozen Dreadnoughts isn't ethnocentric.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 13, 2014 3:02 am

Zhen Li wrote:less scientific knowledge....


You're normally a smart guy, but this is simply ignorance.

Tibetan Medicine for example has a germ theory, understood circulation correctly, how nerves functioned in relation to the brain and other sense organs, etc., hundreds of years before anyone in Europe had similar ideas.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Zhen Li » Tue May 13, 2014 3:11 am

Malcolm wrote:
Zhen Li wrote:less scientific knowledge....


You're normally a smart guy, but this is simply ignorance.

Tibetan Medicine for example has a germ theory, understood circulation correctly, how nerves functioned in relation to the brain and other sense organs, etc., hundreds of years before anyone in Europe had similar ideas.

Scientific knowledge that doesn't allow one to out compete other world powers doesn't prevent one from being backwards. For instance, the development and use of quinine allowed Britain to colonise Africa to an extent that the Ottoman Empire was unable to because they simply were not equipped with the science. Knowledge is power, but some knowledge, particularly if other factors aren't present, can't help one. For instance, if one has invented small pox inoculation but not mass production, only the very rich can benefit, and you won't have the kind of population growth that Europe saw in the 19th century where it was mass produced.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 13, 2014 3:14 am

Zhen Li wrote:Scientific knowledge that doesn't allow one to out compete other world powers doesn't prevent one from being backwards.


As Todd pointed out, this is very biased definition of "backwards". Your thinking on this needs some work. As far as I am concerned, the Europeans, et al were the backwards ones, issuing unheralded barbarisms the world has never before seen.

M
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Zhen Li » Tue May 13, 2014 3:22 am

Malcolm wrote:
Zhen Li wrote:Scientific knowledge that doesn't allow one to out compete other world powers doesn't prevent one from being backwards.


As Todd pointed out, this is very biased definition of "backwards". Your thinking on this needs some work. As far as I am concerned, the Europeans, et al were the backwards ones, issuing unheralded barbarisms the world has never before seen.

M
I don't really think there are barbarisms the world has never seen. Pretty much all the bases were covered in prehistoric times where we more or less annihilated and assimilated the entire Neanderthal species. After that, you can do it with bigger sticks, you can add more fire, but it's still the same old thing.

I'm open to arguing about backwards, but I defined my terms - which is comparative and competitive. I don't think there's much debate on this one - history is the witness.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 13, 2014 3:38 am

Zhen Li wrote:
I'm open to arguing about backwards, but I defined my terms - which is comparative and competitive. I don't think there's much debate on this one - history is the witness.


All that history attests to is that we are deeper in the Kali yuga. It is we who are moving backwards.
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Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Zhen Li » Tue May 13, 2014 3:42 am

Yes, quite. But that's not the meaning of backwards I was using.
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Malcolm » Tue May 13, 2014 4:02 am

Zhen Li wrote:Yes, quite. But that's not the meaning of backwards I was using.


Yes, you were saying that which is actually moving us deeper into strife and barbarism is "forward", based on competitiveness and martial prowess, as opposed to a civilization, which despite its many faults, was one of the few remaining dedicated to the principles of Buddhadharma.
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Tibetan institutional religious violence

Postby Zhen Li » Tue May 13, 2014 4:31 am

Yes in terms of competitiveness. The question as to whether things as a whole are getting better or worse, I suppose you can judge as you like.
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