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The truth about The Dalai-Lama.

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posted on Nov, 17 2006 @ 07:27 AM
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Originally posted by IAF101
Dont make me laugh! While you may be so ignorant... not the way it is pronounced in Sanskrit... bastardized pronunciation that you so eagerly tout... ignorance with regard to Vedic cultures.

Pardon my temerity in asking, O Wise One, but who exactly taught you your Sanskrit pronunciation? Sanskrit is a dead language, so any pronunciation you (or your teacher, or I) choose to adopt can be no more than guesswork.

I have heard Buddhist monks and lay Buddhists use the words karma and kamma innumerable times over a lifetime of nearly half a century. I haven't heard them use your pronunciation once.

As for my ignorance with regard to Vedic cultures, I never claimed any special knowledge of them. Buddhism isn't very Vedic. The Buddha lived and died towards the end of the Vedic period or soon after. As far as we know, he and his disciples didn't speak Sanskrit; they spoke 'Maghadi', a form of Pali.

Sorry for making you laugh. I won't do it again, I promise.




posted on Nov, 17 2006 @ 12:23 PM
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After reading this I feel like walking over to the gun closet and shooting myself in the head for being so foolish as to engage you in this verbiage!!

WOOSAA.......

Okay, I learnt Sanskrit during my childhood in India for 6 years in school (4-9 grades). Sanskrit is NOT a dead language as in DEAD and GONE . Its usage now has been limited to prayer, official ceremonies, some literature and other formal usage due to its complexity and the inability of all the locals to communicate in the language with the influx of other languages into the Vedic culture in India back in the day. But it has always been in use in prayer and of recent there has been attempts to review the language and bringing it more into everyday usage. There are people who speak only Sanskrit today in India, out of choice and there is even a news program on the local DD1 that comes on in the Afternoons on Sunday (India Time).
Anyway the important point here is that anybody who can read the Devanagri script can and should be able to read Sanskrit as it is the same script and thought it might be more tedious to pronounce the vowels and the consonants have the same use as in Hindi.

I cannot fathom where you arrived at this notion that it was akin to some Babylonian language that has been long lost to time~ ! That makes me laugh!

The Buddhist monks and the Buddhists you speak of are using the Anglicized pronunciation to maybe convey their ideas to people or dont know the pronunciation themselves. Obviously if they are not Indian or brought up with the expose to the Indian languages they wouldnt be able to pronounce Sanskrit the way it is supposed to be. If its been a half century (as you claim) then it is a long time but its still not too late to learn the correct pronunciation, is it?

Buddhism isn't very Vedic. The Buddha lived and died towards the end of the Vedic period or soon after. As far as we know, he and his disciples didn't speak Sanskrit; they spoke 'Maghadi', a form of Pali.


Incorrect. The Buddhist philosophy taught by Gautham Buddha is based on the Vedic philosophy. The concepts of samsara, moksha and kurma were all there for centuries in the vedic culture before Buddha incorporated them into his philosophy. Moreover all the languages in the Indian sub-continent are drawn from Sanskrit, with the exception of Tamil( which is also highly influenced but has some unique roots of its own) and a few tribal languages. Every thing else in all most all periods, even bhraj bhasha (pronounced Bb-r-uj Baa-sh-aa) which came before Hindi is drawn from Sanskrit.

The language you talk about Magadhi is from the area of an ancient city state called Magadha (Muh-guh-dha) now Patna (I think! ) is what is part of now modern Bihari. Bihari is a quaint dialect of Hindi which is quite understandable if you know Hindi. All these languages develop as dialects in one region or the other and are very very similar to each other, so much so that if you know one language you can pretty much understand the other language pretty well too. Sanskrit being the "Latin" which stands as a foundation/guide for all these languages.

That is all I have to say here.

IAF

[edit on 17-11-2006 by IAF101]



posted on Nov, 17 2006 @ 07:39 PM
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Originally posted by Gear
Your joking, right? Do you really think it is any different? Do you think China really abolished slavery? The only difference being that China is now benefiting from the slavery, The Dalai Lama did not.
Besides, I'd rather be a slave to my own country than be beaten by another, should I disagree with them

What part of me saying Chinese rule is "infinitely more brutal" than that of the Lamas did you not understand? My whole point was that although Chinese rule over Tibet is atrocious, let's not delude ourselves by saying Lama rule will be perfect.


Originally posted by Gear
Maybe so, but you should also redifine your idea of a Utopia.
Do you have any idea how many people are below the poverty line in the US, or any other country, for that matter. Do you have any idea what oppression you never hear about on the news or in the papers? Tibet was one of the closest things to a Utopia there is.

Well I would beg to differ about Tibet being a Utopia at any stage, but thats my opinion and you are entitled to your own. I'm not bigoted enough to say that Tibet should have x,y,z culture to be a Utopia. But as far as my standards of governance and freedoms are concerned, Tibet is no where near Utopian.

I personally believe in the separation of church and state, which is the complete antithesis of Tibet under the Lamas. That's not me passing judgement over Tibet, just my personal opinion.


Originally posted by Gear
At least Prokurator got close to getting this one right. It is not Tibet's choice unless an uprising is commited. It is China's. China is not about to give up a massive piece of passive income.

You've taken my quote way out of context there. I was saying it's Tibet's choice who they have leading them. Which was a rebuke to Chinese rule as well as any of us picking their leaders for them. I in no way said Tibet chose Chinese rule.


Originally posted by Gear
By 'ours' I assume you mean the US. Again, your mistaken. You are so liberal in invading or threatening other countries. But why not get involved with Tibet? Tibet is under the control of China. China has trade agreements with the US. US won't hinder their relations for something that is of no benefit to them.

You're way off the mark here too. I'm Australian, not American. I'm not advocating the invasion of anywhere. Australia has trade agreements with China as well, what's that got to do with my views on the Lamas?



posted on Nov, 19 2006 @ 11:54 PM
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Originally posted by IAF101
Okay, I learnt Sanskrit during my childhood in India for 6 years in school (4-9 grades).

Yes, I thought so. I had you figured for Indian from this clause in your earlier post:


The bastardized pronunciation that you so eagerly tout.

Indian English has an unmistakable character of its own in which the influence of the great stylistic models of the Victorian era, Carlyle and Macaulay, can still be heard quite clearly.


Sanskrit is NOT a dead language as in DEAD and GONE. Its usage now has been limited to prayer, official ceremonies, some literature and other formal usage...

Exactly similar, in fact, to Latin -- which is generally regarded as a dead language, nehi?


...due to its complexity and the inability of all the locals to communicate in the language with the influx of other languages into the Vedic culture in India back in the day.

Precisely the kind of linguistic contamination that makes it impossible for anyone to know how Sanskrit was pronounced at the time it was a living language. Again, just like Latin. You may not be aware that Latin scholars could not agree on a standard pronuciation until after 1900. I doubt whether Sanskrit scholars have done any better, though there may now be an 'official consensus' adopted due to 'political (i.e. nationalistic) considerations'.


...of recent there has been attempts to review the language and bringing it more into everyday usage.

You mean 'revive, not 'review'. Only dead languages -- or dying ones -- can possibly be in need of revival. I'm sure you are already aware that the study of Sanskrit in modern times was begun by European scholars of the late seventeenth century. That's where the Sanskrit 'revival' began.


There are people who speak only Sanskrit today in India.

Yes. Fervent nationalists on the lunatic fringe.


Anyway the important point here is that anybody who can read the Devanagri script can and should be able to read Sanskrit as it is the same script...

Except that Devanagari script only emerged in the thirteenth century CE, about seven hundred years ago, long after Sanskrit died out as a language in common use.


The Buddhist monks and the Buddhists you speak of are using the Anglicized pronunciation to maybe convey their ideas to people or dont know the pronunciation themselves.

They are doing nothing of the kind, IAF101. Most of the Buddhist monks I speak of can't speak a word of English or any other European language, and the ones who can are extremely reluctant to do so.


Obviously if they are not Indian or brought up with the expose to the Indian languages they wouldnt be able to pronounce Sanskrit the way it is supposed to be.

Why should they? The language in question is Pali, not Sanskrit. To repeat myself, the Buddhist scriptures are written in Pali.


The concepts of samsara, moksha and kurma were all there for centuries in the vedic culture before Buddha incorporated them into his philosophy.

Correct, apart from your mouthwateringly unconventional spelling of karma. They were, in fact, the common currency of faith in that time and place. But the elements of thought in Buddhism that are uniquely Buddhist have nothing to do with Vedic culture. Which was my point.


Moreover all the languages in the Indian sub-continent are drawn from Sanskrit...

No, most of them arise from the common Indo-European root language that bred Sanskrit, as well as many of the other languages currently spoken in the world.


...with the exception of Tamil

Telugu? Kannada? Malayali? Urdu? Sinhalese? Divehi?


The language you talk about Magadhi is from the area of an ancient city state called Magadha (Muh-guh-dha) now Patna (I think! ) is what is part of now modern Bihari.

Extraordinarily confident statement. If you look up some of the relevant scholarship I think you will find that the experts are by no means as certain of these assertions as you appear to be. And -- how many times do I need to repeat this? -- the language of the Buddhist scriptures is Pali, not Sanskrit or Maghadi.

Anyway, none of this has any direct bearing on the actual subject being discussed on the thread. My apologies to other thread participants for this digression. I shan't be going on with this argument any longer. IAF101, if you want to keep up the conversation about the deadness or otherwise of Sanskrit and how to pronounce the name of a well-known mutton curry, U2U me. I'm more interested in the real topic under discussion here than in parading my knowledge -- or, as IAF101 would have it -- my ignorance of Indian language and culture.

[edit on 20-11-2006 by Astyanax]



posted on Nov, 20 2006 @ 12:05 AM
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One quick note, I am not Indian and never claimed to be!

No amount of looking up on the internet can dispute what I know for a fact.

That is what you ass-u-me apart from other things.

[edit on 20-11-2006 by IAF101]



posted on Nov, 20 2006 @ 12:36 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
Credentials first: my experience of Buddhism has been lifelong. I am from a country where Buddhism is the majority religion. Although I was not born into a Buddhist family, I inevitably came to learn quite a lot about both the philosophy and the practice of Buddhism. I even dabbled in it for a while myself when I was younger.


All right, here's mine. I'm married to one.


Many Westerners think of Buddhism as a kind of rarefied, sanitized, philosophical approach to personal or, if you prefer, spiritual development.


And if you go chant with Richard Gere, that's exactly what it is.


This may well have been the kind of thing the Buddha had in mind, but since the man's sayings and thoughts weren't written down till about 500 years after his death


Sounds like another famous religious figure.


In fact, the gulf between 'intellectual' or 'mystical' Buddhism of the sort favoured by Westerners and the kind of Buddhism practised by ordinary folk in countries like Cambodia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Tibet is even wider than this.


Yes, that's because it was merely overlaid on the animism and mysticism that was already there. In Thailand and Cambodia it displaced Hinduism, but not animism.


I'll debate this in as much detail as anybody wants to. Just ask me. I have seen, at first hand, the evil that Buddhism does to societies, to human relationships and aspirations. I'd be only too happy to share what I have learnt with others.


Which societies?


The fact is that Buddhism, in every one of the countries mentioned above, is closely linked to traditional and highly oppressive power structures -- in all these countries, with the possible exception of Tibet under the Chinese, it is the State religion.


Not true. For a decade and a half Buddhism was either actively hunted and destroyed (by the Khmers) or carefully managed (by the Vietnamese) in Cambodia.


And it is an oppressive, demanding faith. The Buddhist establishments of the countries I mention have been in cahoots with princes and politicians for centuries and centuries.


Let's see, Jayavarman VII introduced Buddhism to replace Hinduism in Angkor. The Royal Family in Cambodia, with the exception of a couple of episodes of "backsliding" into Hinduism ala England and Edward/Mary/Elizabeth, followed Mahayana, the so-called "greater vehicle", while the peasants followed Hinayana, otherwise called Theravada, the so-called "lesser vehicle". Greater Vehicle puts the King front and centre, Lesser Vehicle puts Joe Bloggs front and centre.

Not too much cahootin' goin' on there.

The Khmer Rouge went after Buddhism even more efficiently than the Nazis destroyed the Jews.

The SOC (one incarnation of the post-KR VN-puppet government) and its predecessors directly controlled the "church", directly appointing the Abbots (always old men) and deciding which Wats would be funded and which wouldn't be and even deciding whether young men could take up their vocation or not.

Hmm, doesn't exactly fit my description of "cahoots".


They have grown obscenely fat on the relationship, bloated with princely favours and paupers' alms, while the countries themselves and the people who live in them remain, as they have always been (Thailand excepted), horrifically poor.


You would need to seriously squint, or to radically readjust your dictionary to be able to describe the monks in my wife's village as "fat". You would also need to tell me which part of living in a wooden shack a stone's throw from the Royal Palace in Phnom Penh (at either Wat Ounalom or Wat Botum) counts as a "princely favour".

As for the other half of your equation, the CPP didn't get fat from Buddhism, just old-fashioned corruption and murder. Why is Cambodia poor? Ask the CPP, they control the money.


Buddhism in practice actively promotes religious bigotry, racism and moral tyranny in all these countries. It actively wars against free thought and free speech.


Buddhism as followed may do these things, but Buddhism as practised in Cambodia does no such thing. In the last twelve months two churches have been demolished by angry locals who were upset at Christianity moving into their Buddhist villages. Each time the legal and religious authorities condemned the action and local abbots lectured the villagers, explaining that their actions were particularly un-Buddhist.


It is, in short, just as bad as any other religion and worse than many of them.

As for the Dalai Lama, he's just another celebrity, isn't he? No different from Janet Jackson at the end of the day, really.


Clearly two statements designed simply to agitate and atagonise.

So, the Dalai Lama is no different to a self-aggrandising singer and "actress" who exposes herself on live television and then invents a mealy-mouthed excuse in order to shift blame?



posted on Nov, 21 2006 @ 05:05 AM
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Originally posted by subz
My whole point was that although Chinese rule over Tibet is atrocious, let's not delude ourselves by saying Lama rule will be perfect.

Well you've got a point there, but I doubt anyone actually insinuated that the Dalai's rule would be perfect.


Originally posted by Gear
At least Prokurator got close to getting this one right. It is not Tibet's choice unless an uprising is commited. It is China's. China is not about to give up a massive piece of passive income.


Originally posted by subz
You've taken my quote way out of context there. I was saying it's Tibet's choice who they have leading them. Which was a rebuke to Chinese rule as well as any of us picking their leaders for them. I in no way said Tibet chose Chinese rule.

Nope. I didn't take your quote out of context. You, infact took mine out of context. I did not suggest that you said that Tibet chose China to rule over them. What I said is that it never was Tibet's choice, and never will be. Not until China releases their grasp on them, which they will not, or another country intervening. Which they will not. See below.


Originally posted by subz
Australia has trade agreements with China as well, what's that got to do with my views on the Lamas?

It has nothing to do with your views. My point was to say that America (or Australia) will not initiate or help to release Tibet because of their relations with China. If per chance China, voids their trade agreements, then I guarantee that Tibet will be freed by the western world.



posted on Nov, 22 2006 @ 07:00 AM
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Originally posted by HowlrunnerIV


Originally posted by Astyanax
I have seen, at first hand, the evil that Buddhism does to societies, to human relationships and aspirations. I'd be only too happy to share what I have learnt with others.

Which societies?

You ask a fair question, HowlrunnerIV. I have very good reasons for not answering it directly, but I'll admit that my experience of Buddhist societies doesn't include Cambodia.

Rather than pretend to knowledge I do not have, allow me to show, if I can, that the facts you present actually support my case. I'll do this by relating them to what I know about Buddhism, particularly Theravada, and its impact on society. I will also make reference to some well-known facts about Cambodia, most of which you have already stated.

Buddhism and the Cambodian State in recent times

You say that Buddhism was suppressed and Buddhists violently persecuted under the Khmers Rouges. True. You omitted to mention, however, that the Buddhist establishment in pre-revolutionary Cambodia actively supported the widely despised 'legitimate' government, even demonstrating in favour of it.


In the [pre-Khmer Rouge] 1970s monks joined pro-government demonstrations against the communists.

That quote is from a US Army handbook on Cambodia, reproduced on the US State Department Country Studies website. You can find it on this page.

I expect this toadying to power annoyed many ordinary, impoverished Cambodians, not just Pol Pot and his mob. But it was only to be expected of the monks, since they were very much part of the establishment. Here is another quote from the same page.


Cambodian Buddhism is organized nationally in accordance with regulations formulated in 1943 and modified in 1948. During the monarchical period, the king led the Buddhist clergy. Prince Sihanouk continued in this role even after he had abdicated and was governing as head of state. He appointed both the heads of the monastic orders and other high-ranking clergy. After the overthrow of Sihanouk in 1970, the new head of state, Lon Nol, appointed these leaders.

So while it is correct that Buddhism was briefly displaced from its position of eminence under the Khmers Rouges and the Vietnamese, it was, for 32 years before and 17 years after, the State religion. It is the State religion to this day.

The anti-social religion

There was another reason why Buddhism was growing unpopular in Cambodia, a notoriously poor country. It may be inferred from another passage on the same page. This is about Buddhism as practised in Cambodia:


The most effective way to work actively to improve one's karma is to earn merit... Cambodian Buddhists tend to regard opportunities for earning merit as primarily connected with interaction with the sangha [the Buddhist monastic order], contributing to its support through money, goods, and labour and participating in its activities... Activities that gain merit include sponsoring a monk or novice, contributing to a wat [Buddhist monastery], feeding members of the sangha at a public meal, and providing food for either of the two daily meals of the sangha.

Perhaps the Cambodians had begun to tire of lavishing their meagre substance on these State-sponsored freeloaders. It seems very likely, especially considering that


Some of the favourite ways for a [Cambodian] male to earn merit are to enter the sangha as a monk or as a novice.


In fact, being fed and pampered by one's doting, impoverished, worked-to-the-bone neighbours had become so popular in Cambodia that during the 1950s, the nation was blessed with 100,000 monks and novices out of a population of 5 million. One in every 25 Cambodian men had become a non-productive social parasite.

Here we have a fine example of the antisocial character of Buddhism. In order to attain enlightenment and set oneself on the path to nirvana -- a very personal goal, by the way -- it is necessary first to reject all one's social responsibilities, then to live as a parasite off the society one has rejected. If all men were to become true Buddhists, society would crumble and -- since sexual intercourse is prohibited to those who have embarked upon the Path -- mankind would ultimately die out. And remember that, according to Theravada doctrine there is no attaining nirvana without becoming a bikkhu, a 'world-renouncer'. No salvation for the layman, who can only expect, at best, to be reborn into happier circumstances.

So much for recent history. Let's go back a little further.

Buddhism in Cambodian history

As you point out, Buddhism was first imposed upon the people of Cambodia by royal fiat. The interlocking relationship between Buddhism and the State was established at the very outset. In fact, it was no mere relationship, it was identity. This is from another page on the Country Studies site:


Unlike his predecessors, who had adopted the cult of the Hindu god-king, Jayavarman VII was a fervent patron of Mahayana Buddhism. Casting himself as a bodhisattva[a Buddha-in-becoming], he embarked on a frenzy of building activity that included the Angkor Thom complex and the Bayon... The impressive stone buildings were... the focus of Hindu or Buddhist cults that celebrated the divinity, or buddhahood, of the monarch and his family.

What, you may ask, was this society like to live in? Well, it depended on who you were.


Angkorian society was strictly hierarchical. The king, regarded as divine, owned both the land and his subjects[my emphasis]. Immediately below the monarch and the royal family were the priesthood and a small class of officials, who numbered about 4,000 in the tenth century. Next were the commoners, who were burdened with heavy corvée (forced labour) duties. There was also a large slave class that, like the nameless multitudes of ancient Egypt, built the enduring monuments.

This Mahayana Buddhist society didn't last long. As you point out, Theravada began filtering into Cambodia and displaced it, overthrowing the old social order in the process. You suggest that this was a good thing because it helped rid the people of monarchic oppression. You don't mention that it also opened the door to the slow erosion and dissolution of Cambodian society by bringing the country increasingly under Siamese (Thai) influence. Theravada Buddhism contributed to the ruin of the old Khmer states; it was as political, in its way, as the Mahayana strain that preceded it.

In fact, Buddhism -- of one flavour or another -- has been, as I said earlier, 'closely linked to traditional and highly oppressive power structures' throughout Cambodian history. The recent interregnum was a mere tiff in a marriage that has lasted centuries.

[edit on 22-11-2006 by Astyanax]



posted on Nov, 22 2006 @ 07:23 AM
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No place for the Devil

There's one more point I'd like to address. You mention in your post that the difference between Buddhism in Western and Asian practice is due to the substrate of animism or 'mysticism' over which Asian Buddhism is laid and with which it coexists. This is quite true, and it highlights one of the main problems with Buddhism as a religion for Everyman.

In treating basic human impulses and drives as programming errors that can be repaired through mental discipline, Buddhist doctrine trivializes evil -- human wickedness -- as something illusory that can be 'corrected' or 'outgrown'. It distorts the reality of being human, denying believers the conceptual or symbolic space necessary to deal with the very real evil that abides us all, Buddhists and unbelievers alike.

At least the Mahayanists have their bodhisattvas and demons and so on. Theravadin have none. Instead of acknowledging and dealing with evil in mythic or archetypal terms, Theravadin can only ignore, reason or chant it away. This is not much of a solution for most people, so they turn to primitive animist rituals, sacrifices to Hindu gods and the like.

This is a fundamental flaw in the Theravada conception. You can't ignore, reason with or chant away nature -- it just comes back at you with even greater force. That, in my humble and admittedly somewhat ignorant view, at least partly explains the horrific orgy of violence and hatred that convulsed your wife's unhappy country in the Seventies and Eighties, and why Theravada Buddhist countries have such dismal political histories.

I leave the last word to a Buddhist website.


It must be remembered that the western concept of 'church' and 'state' separation is meaningless in Cambodia and the Theravada lands of Southeast Asia.

Some people never learn.



posted on Nov, 23 2006 @ 06:11 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
Rather than pretend to knowledge I do not have, allow me to show, if I can, that the facts you present actually support my case. I'll do this by relating them to what I know about Buddhism, particularly Theravada, and its impact on society. I will also make reference to some well-known facts about Cambodia, most of which you have already stated.


Cetain assumptions you make need to be examined.


Buddhism and the Cambodian State in recent times

You omitted to mention, however, that the Buddhist establishment in pre-revolutionary Cambodia actively supported the widely despised 'legitimate' government, even demonstrating in favour of it.


The only people who despised the Prince were Son Ngoc Thanh, the Yanks and a group of Paris dropouts who had failed to understand the truth of student communist movements.

Yes, Sihanouk did repress the Battambang "peasants' uprising", and yes, he was drifting ever further to the right. However, the man has never lost the love of his people. He is the least despised national leader in the region with the exception of his neighbour, Bhumibol Adulyadej (and he has no constitutional power).



In the [pre-Khmer Rouge] 1970s monks joined pro-government demonstrations against the communists.

That quote is from a US Army handbook on Cambodia, reproduced on the US State Department Country Studies website. You can find it on this page.


There is no such thing as "pre-Khmer Rouge 1970s", there is Lon Nol. And given what the Khmer Rouge did to the Church, I'd say that was a pretty good piece of prediction. Added to which is the fact that one infantry officer in Lon Nol's army was a Buddhist monk by the name of Um May (??). A man who carried no weapon into battle, only a towering need to extract justice from the people who massacred all the monks, lay-men and pagoda boys at his pagoda.

You're mixing your crowds and assigning them a single motivation. Tell me, was everyone at Seattle in agreement? Or were there many different factions supporting different ideals but condemning one?


I expect this toadying to power annoyed many ordinary, impoverished Cambodians


I know you are dead wrong.


So while it is correct that Buddhism was briefly displaced from its position of eminence under the Khmers Rouges and the Vietnamese, it was, for 32 years before and 17 years after, the State religion.


And? I've already said it is the state religion. That was what set Muad-dib off.


There was another reason why Buddhism was growing unpopular in Cambodia, a notoriously poor country...Perhaps the Cambodians had begun to tire of lavishing their meagre substance on these State-sponsored freeloaders. It seems very likely...


Another great misconception.

Cambodian (Khmer) culture is one of hospitality. Weary travellers are invited to rest in the shade of your house, drink from your cool water, enjoy some of your food if you are eating. This applies to all travellers. Pol Pot's legacy was the immediate destruction of this communal spirit and its replacement with "look after number 1", but that was brought about by the KR's radical social experiment "the even greater leap forward".


In fact, being fed and pampered by one's doting, impoverished, worked-to-the-bone neighbours had become so popular in Cambodia that during the 1950s, the nation was blessed with 100,000 monks and novices out of a population of 5 million. One in every 25 Cambodian men had become a non-productive social parasite.


Next misconception. Every village school was housed in a pagoda. The Monks were the teachers and (like pre-industrial Europe) were most often the most-educated people in the village. The monks were the spiritual heart of the village and they had to work hard for that food.

As I said, you'd have to seriously squint to describe the monks in my wife's village as fat. Now, if Cambodia is so impoverished, what riches were the fat, lazy monks collecting?


So much for recent history. Let's go back a little further.

Buddhism in Cambodian history

This Mahayana Buddhist society didn't last long. As you point out, Theravada began filtering into Cambodia and displaced it, overthrowing the old social order in the process. You suggest that this was a good thing because it helped rid the people of monarchic oppression.


I make no such suggestion. I merely pointed out the differences, you chose to read such a meaning into it.


You don't mention that it also opened the door to the slow erosion and dissolution of Cambodian society by bringing the country increasingly under Siamese (Thai) influence. Theravada Buddhism contributed to the ruin of the old Khmer states; it was as political, in its way, as the Mahayana strain that preceded it.


Maybe you have been to Cambodia after all "The Thais did it. We were great once, we built Angkor, but the Thais ruined us and stole our land" bleat, bleat, whinge, whinge...

Incompetence and greed by the Khmer princes led directly to the ruin of the Angkorian Empire. The Thai kings were smart enough to exploit it (along with the Viets), Buddhism has sfa to do with it.


In fact, Buddhism -- of one flavour or another -- has been, as I said earlier, 'closely linked to traditional and highly oppressive power structures' throughout Cambodian history. The recent interregnum was a mere tiff in a marriage that has lasted centuries.


Buddhism may have been linked to power structures, Buddhism has never been one of those power structures, nor has it directly held up those power structures. Kings may come and Kings my go, Presidents, Premiers and Prime Ministers likewise, but the church has remained to comfort the people throughout.

When you have been there, then you may comment directly on it.

As other commentators have pointed out, Christianity has warred with itself as much as Islam, even over its own interpretations, Islam has constantly been at war with itself, Judaism has gone to war and been warred upon. I'm waiting for someone to tell me the last time a war was launched by Buddhists against other Buddhists based on how they pray. Buddhists don't war over Buddha.



posted on Nov, 24 2006 @ 12:39 AM
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Let's get well off-topic, because that's where the reply lies.


Originally posted by Astyanax
No place for the Devil

There's one more point I'd like to address. You mention in your post that the difference between Buddhism in Western and Asian practice is due to the substrate of animism or 'mysticism' over which Asian Buddhism is laid and with which it coexists. This is quite true, and it highlights one of the main problems with Buddhism as a religion for Everyman.

This is a fundamental flaw in the Theravada conception. You can't ignore, reason with or chant away nature -- it just comes back at you with even greater force. That, in my humble and admittedly somewhat ignorant view, at least partly explains the horrific orgy of violence and hatred that convulsed your wife's unhappy country in the Seventies and Eighties, and why Theravada Buddhist countries have such dismal political histories.


Theravadan countries have political histories no more dismal than anywhere else.

Tell me, was Lutheranism responsible for the Nazis?

The Khmer Rouge can be explained by one thing: ignorance.

Like all relatively static societies, Cambodia has a social heirarchy. Like most asian countries age is at the top. You respect your parents, they respect your grandparents and they, in-turn, respect your ancestors. (You do all of this, too). You respect your teachers, the village headman and the monks. You respect the King (and possibly the PM). In turn, those people are supposed to care for you. In the current context the political leadership have remembered your half of the bargain, but forgotten theirs.

Now, when you begin to educate people beyond these simple concepts, some of them will understand the new teachings, some will half understand and some will completely misunderstand. You cannot cosmopolitanise a people in a single generation.

When you send some of these people off to their colonial masters for that education you get another set of problems.

What made the KR do what they did? and how could they come about?

Saloth Sar was sent to Paris to study for an electrical engineering degree. As he wasn't the sharpest tool in the shed, he eventually failed that degree. But, and this is the important part, not before he had become fully immersed in Paris' radical student communist movement.

Seeing as the guy wasn't all that smart to begin with, it wasn't hard for him to be bamboozled by Paris' left-wing. It also wasn't too hard for him to misunderstand what they wanted to do. At the time he was studying in Paris France had a succession of Socialist governments. In France, left-wing idealism could be made to work. By educated people.

Pol Pot was typical of the Khmer Rouge leadership. They were almost universally failed students. They were almost universally radicalised by Paris' left-wing student movement (I knew there was a reason I've always hated the French) and they were almost all universally ignored by the peope of Cambodia.

Khieu Samphan is a major exception to this rule.

Once these guys began to create some power in the jungles, they began to reorganise the country, one village at a time (until they could do the whole country in one stroke in 1975), breaking down the old social order, giving the kids AKs and telling them they were now in charge and they could shoot any adult who didn't do as he was told. After a lifetime of haveing to show respect now, suddenly, the tables have turned and your are the object of respect. In the words of Khieu Samphan "Clay is best molded when it is fresh."

If the US (Kissinger and Nixon) hadn't intrigued in Cambodia and bombed the country secretly there is very little likelihood that Lon Nol could have or would have staged his coup. Without that coup there is no KR.

Cambodia has, since 1967 been the pawn of the major powers with little or no control over its destiny.

China supported the KR because they wanted to surround VN.

VN supported the SOC because they wanted control.

Meanwhile the UN recognised the "tripartite" government which consisted of Sihanouk, Sonn San and, you guessed it, Pol Pot. This "government"-in-exile was supported by the US. The French have resolutely stood behind Sihanouk, except when Lon Nol controlled their rubber plantations. No-one else gave a toss about the place.

(Even worse than this, Cambodia was a pawn in China's internecine political disputes. Because Mao and Chou Enlai, and Deng Xiaoping, supported Sihanouk, the Gang of Four threw their weight behind Pol Pot. 90% of the early defeats of Lon Nol were directly attributable to royalists fighting for Sihanouk. Over the next three years Pol Pot would very carefully purge them to guarantee the KR absolute control over the resistance. Sihanouk's strongest supporter in his struggle was Beijing under Chou Enlai)

Now that there is no evil empire to confront, Cambodia has been forgotten by the major powers.

Or not. China is suddenly lavishing low-interest loans to the tune of hundreds of millions on the country and, in living proof that those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it, the political leadership (all one man of him) is eagerly lapping the money up without thinking about the cost come the due date.

What has Buddhism (Therevada or any other kind) to do with any of this?

Sweet Fanny Adams.



posted on Nov, 27 2006 @ 01:16 AM
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The other participants in this thread seem to have toddled off and left us to it, Howlrunner IV. Can't say I blame them.

Let me just set a couple of things straight before I toddle off to join them.

If your point is that the Khmer Rouge were ineffably loathsome, I am in full agreement with you. If your intention was to set the record straight concerning the status of Buddhism in Cambodia during those hideous years, you have achieved it. The story you tell isn't new to me, but I certainly wasn't aware of many of the details you mention.

The trouble is, you are trying to extrapolate a refutation of my arguments from your knowledge of certain events taking place over a very few years in one single Buddhist country. My thesis is based on a far wider geographical and historical range than that. You're trying to turn a special case into a general one.

How deep, really, is your experience of life in a Buddhist community? You make me wonder when you begin repeating tourism-industry shibboleths about hospitable villagers, shady homes, cool water, etc. This is typical Buddhist pastoralist propaganda -- and is not, you may be surprised to learn, confined to Cambodia by any means. In truth, there is nothing special about Buddhist hospitality; if Cambodian hospitality impresses you so much, you'd better not try the Arab equivalent. It might inspire you to convert to Islam.

Sadly, the reality of life in the Buddhist communities I know is very different from the idyllic picture you paint. Individuals must subordinate themselves to the 'will of the community' as expressed by its oldest, most conservative and most ignorant members: monks and dotards (who are often one and the same). Pride in one's work, the desire to attain better living conditions for oneself and one's family, the freedom to adopt new cultural attitudes and any number of other good things are dismissed as 'attachment' or 'craving' and condemned. Beauty is vilified. Sexual frustration is rife, breeding perversion and misery in the community at large and most particularly among the monks. Cases of sexual abuse of minors (homosexual rape, to call a spade a spade) are so common in monastic communities that jokes about it are part of the traditional culture. None of this is revealed to outsiders; denial, first among Buddhist virtues, is all.

[edit on 27-11-2006 by Astyanax]



posted on Nov, 27 2006 @ 03:30 AM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
The other participants in this thread seem to have toddled off and left us to it, Howlrunner IV. Can't say I blame them.

Just because I'm not posting, it doesn't mean I'm not watching you!



posted on Nov, 27 2006 @ 04:04 AM
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Originally posted by Gear
Just because I'm not posting, it doesn't mean I'm not watching you!

Same here



posted on Nov, 27 2006 @ 06:06 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
The trouble is, you are trying to extrapolate a refutation of my arguments from your knowledge of certain events taking place over a very few years in one single Buddhist country.


Er, yes, I believe I made my knowledge of Buddhist societies as limited to Cambodia clear at the outset.


How deep, really, is your experience of life in a Buddhist community? You make me wonder when you begin repeating tourism-industry shibboleths


I've lived there, I'm married to one. Already stated that. Have spoken to many Khmer "refugees" in Australia and older Khmers in Cambodia. All painted the same picture of pre-KR Cambodia. If I'm repeating things, I'm repeating what I've been told in Australia and Cambodia and what I've experienced a little of in Cambodia.


This is typical Buddhist pastoralist propaganda


Sweeping statements of contempt do not enhance the reception of your argument.


In truth, there is nothing special about Buddhist hospitality;


I wan'st speaking of Buddhist hospitality, I was speaking about Cambodian hospitality. I believed I had made that distinction quite clear.


if Cambodian hospitality impresses you so much, you'd better not try the Arab equivalent. It might inspire you to convert to Islam.


Ah, so HR's cliche's are to be derided and ignored, but yours are evidence to support a strong argument? (Besides which, I'm a Christian)


Sadly, the reality of life in the Buddhist communities I know is very different from the idyllic picture you paint.


That's right, the Buddhist communities you know. First you say you know nothing of Cambodia, then you go on to write a thesis on Khmer culture as crystallised through half a millenium of Theravada Buddhism...

With no first-hand knowledge of the country you have singlehandedly dismissed all I have said, yet I do have firsthand knowledge of the country. I can, to a limited extent, speak the language. I can make myself understood in the most rural of villages (and have done so), I can shop in the markets and eat in the restaurants without resorting to English. I can insult the prime minister, revere the king and dismiss Sam Rainsy in their own language.


Beauty is vilified.


Not in any Cambodian village I've visited.


Sexual frustration is rife,


An argument can be made to support that.


breeding perversion and misery in the community at large and most particularly among the monks.


Are you sure you're not talking about Catholicism?


Cases of sexual abuse of minors (homosexual rape, to call a spade a spade) are so common in monastic communities that jokes about it are part of the traditional culture. None of this is revealed to outsiders; denial, first among Buddhist virtues, is all.


Again, are you sure of your targets here?


Cases of sexual abuse of minors (homosexual rape, to call a spade a spade)


Now you've let your prejudices get in the way of your own argument.


Cases of sexual abuse of minors


Are all too common in Cambodia at the moment. However,


homosexual rape, to call a spade a spade


Is not what is taking place. 100% of reported cases of the sexual abuses of minors (child rape, to call a spade a bloody shovel) in Cambodia are heterosexual. Often the perpetrator says he copied the porn he watched in the local cafe.

Remember that bit I said about cosmopolitanised societies? Well Cambodia ain't one. Many people will read my previous statement about rapes and say "feh, I watch porn, I'm not a rapist". I agree. But, an understanding of Cambodian culture and its destruction and agonisingly slow rebuilding are needed. After January 1979 the Vietnamese rebuilt those bits of Khmer culture which assisted them in their mission of dominating Cambodia. One thing Cambodia has never had is high school sex-ed classes.

So, relatively uneducated young men are watching porn and copying it. Cambodia outlaws all forms of hardcore pornography. Not regulates, outlaws, which makes for a thriving black market, where Japanese nasties circulate freely. So, it's possible (possible, mind you) that a little deeper digging might reveal that those young men copying what they saw are literally copying what they saw.

(You will note, however, that I have explored several different strands of this problem, not merely pointing to a single cause for it all. That's because, unlike the Neocons, I live in the real world, where real problems are complex and difficult to solve.)

What has that to do with Buddhism?



posted on Nov, 28 2006 @ 02:32 AM
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Hmmm... nice to know I'm being watched. I shan't take my clothes off, though; believe me, the naked truth is an ugly business.

I came to participate in this thread out of a strong conviction that Buddhism is no better than any other religion (in my view they are all bad) and a sense of great annoyance at the free ride it gets from Westerners who have misunderstood the reality of it. I feel that acceptance of the Dalai Lama's theocratic would-be-state is driven in large measure by this (and of course, the PR skills of the Dalai Lama himself). Instead of discussing this, however, I seem to have got myself wound up in futile arguments about Sanskrit pronunciation and the genesis of the Khmer Rouge.
Never mind. Once more into the breach, dear friends...



Astyanax: This is typical Buddhist pastoralist propaganda

HowlrunnerIV: Sweeping statements of contempt do not enhance the reception of your argument.

This is not a sweeping statement. If I had a dollar for every time I'd heard or read some guff about idyllic Buddhist societies quietly flourishing under kind paternal monks, gentle villagers offering their simple all to passing travellers, etc., I'd be a very rich man. Read a Thai or Sri Lankan tourist brochure. They're full of it. Or if you prefer something of greater vintage, try the works of Anagarika Dharmapala.


First you say you know nothing of Cambodia, then you go on to write a thesis on Khmer culture as crystallised through half a millenium of Theravada Buddhism...

This is unfair. I repeated a set of historical facts, providing them with a context based on my own wider knowledge of Buddhist societies. I also provided documentation for my statements. But if it makes you feel better to misrepresent me, please go ahead.


With no first-hand knowledge of the country you have singlehandedly dismissed all I have said, yet I do have firsthand knowledge of the country...

Again, this is simply not true. I did not 'singlehandedly dismiss' a single thing you said. On the contrary -- see my previous post -- I have accepted quite a lot of it. I have indicated that I doubt your in-depth knowledge of Buddhism and Buddhist societies, and with good reason, because the picture you paint of them is absolutely typical of the way they are misunderstood by Westerners.

About your qualifications. You are married to a Cambodian Buddhist, you've lived as a temporary guest in a Buddhist community and have visited others. This amounts to, I admit, considerable exposure to Buddhism. My turn now. My paternal grandfather was a Buddhist who converted to Christianity. I have numerous Buddhist uncles, aunts, cousins, great-aunts and so forth. I have lived with them, visited temples and attended -- sorry, make that participated -- in Buddhist ceremonies with them. I have been forced to sit at the feet of Buddhist monks and listen to their prating more times than I care to remember. Much of my life was spent living, studying and working among Buddhists (among others). I have any number of Buddhist friends and have had more than one Buddhist girlfriend. As far as theoretical knowledge goes, I embarked on a close study of Theravada about 25 years ago and my interest -- purely intellectual, I fear -- has maintained itself ever since. Would you like a quotation or two from the Vinaya or the Mahaparinibbana-sutta?

I have travelled and spent time in many Buddhist countries (though not, I admit, Cambodia) as a keen and well-briefed observer. I also have an abiding interest in religious and philosophical matters in general. I believe I know enough to sustain an argument about Buddhism.

And that, frankly, is quite enough from me. You're welcome to the last word. Don't worry, I'll be watching for it.

[edit on 28-11-2006 by Astyanax]



posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 05:46 PM
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Originally posted by Astyanax
You're welcome to the last word. Don't worry, I'll be watching for it.


Thanks, I think I'll take it.


I seem to have got myself wound up in futile arguments about Sanskrit pronunciation and the genesis of the Khmer Rouge.
Never mind. Once more into the breach, dear friends...



Astyanax: This is typical Buddhist pastoralist propaganda

HowlrunnerIV: Sweeping statements of contempt do not enhance the reception of your argument.

This is not a sweeping statement.


I hate to argue with your debating style, but I suggest you go back and study the principles. Citing no reference you make a generalised statement and then fail to back it up, which allows your prejudice to show. Therefore the bit about contempt.


If I had a dollar for every time I'd heard...


What was that about sweeping statments?..


...idyllic Buddhist societies quietly flourishing under kind paternal monks, gentle villagers offering their simple all to passing travellers, etc.


Once again, I wasn't talking about Buddhist societies, I was referring only to Khmer culture.


Read a Thai or Sri Lankan tourist brochure.


Finally, a little reference. But, let's face it, you must be desperate if you're quoting tourist brochures as your evidence.


First you say you know nothing of Cambodia, then you go on to write a thesis on Khmer culture as crystallised through half a millenium of Theravada Buddhism...

This is unfair. I repeated a set of historical facts,

No, you didn't.


providing them with a context based on my own wider knowledge of Buddhist societies.


Which you refused to disclose.


I also provided documentation for my statements.


Documentation which was written to further the political purpose and strategy of a US administration. Documentation which you clearly used Google to find as you, self-admittedly, have no knowledge of the subject. Documentation which, in your ignorance of the subject, you failed to question because it dove-tailed so nicely with your preconceived notion of Cambodia simply because it is majority-Therevadan.


But if it makes you feel better to misrepresent me, please go ahead.


I simply take you at your word, you fail to read mine and note the distinctions.

Now, it's time to get pedantic, if that's the only way you wil be induced to read what is written.



With no first-hand knowledge of the country you have singlehandedly dismissed all I have said, yet I do have firsthand knowledge of the country...

Again, this is simply not true. I did not 'singlehandedly dismiss' a single thing you said. On the contrary -- see my previous post -- I have accepted quite a lot of it. I have indicated that I doubt your in-depth knowledge of Buddhism and Buddhist societies, and with good reason, because the picture you paint of them is absolutely typical of the way they are misunderstood by Westerners.


At no point did I make points or statements about Buddhist societies. I repeat, once again (tautoligical, I know), where you choose to read Buddhist, I am writing Cambodian. I have no experience of Thailand or Sri Lanka, nor northern India, therefore I do not write about them. I have only ever referenced Cambodia here, you keep wishing to expand the argument as, in its limited form, you cannot prove yourself correct.


As far as theoretical knowledge goes, I embarked on a close study of Theravada about 25 years ago and my interest -- purely intellectual, I fear -- has maintained itself ever since. Would you like a quotation or two from the Vinaya or the Mahaparinibbana-sutta?

I have travelled and spent time in many Buddhist countries (though not, I admit, Cambodia) as a keen and well-briefed observer. I also have an abiding interest in religious and philosophical matters in general. I believe I know enough to sustain an argument about Buddhism.


I'd suggest your belief is well-founded. However, you've clearly got the wrong end of the stick. At no point did I debate Buddhist societies. I wrote only of the country I have lived in and its culture, not of Buddhism regionally. Buddhism and local culture are separate issues. The Chams are not Buddhist, yet they practise many of the same cultural customs as the Khmers. The Phnong, Jarai and other hill-tribes are not Buddhist, yet they have cultures of communalism and hospitality.

Once again, you wished to blame all of Cambodia's ills on a religion which you personally don't much care for. As an outside observer of that religion (yes, I've gone to the Wat for various ceremonies, Pchum Benh among them), I find I have less to fault it for (it has its faults) than my own. I didn't visit Cambodia until four years after my curiosity was peaked and in that four years I put in some not inconsiderable study. Study I continued after visiting and then living there. Study I still continue today.

I will reccomend two books to you as a primer. Once you've read them you'll probably want to find more on your own.

Sideshow: Kissinger, Nixon and the Destruction of Vietnam by William Shawcross
and Cambodia's New Deal by William Shawcross.

I also suggest an author by the name of Short.


edit:damn quotes (and bold)
[edit on 29-11-2006 by HowlrunnerIV]

[edit on 29-11-2006 by HowlrunnerIV]



posted on Nov, 29 2006 @ 06:04 PM
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Interesting debate. I know little about this topic but I do think that a people that want to explore a mode of existance and they all agree to it should be allowed to do so outside of our ideals.

It is the people that are not interested in this way of life and want out that are the issue. If that is allowed then they should be able to go somewhere else and live a different life.

Freedom of choice is the godly choice I think.

Again we as westerners do not have the right to impose our views of life and how it should be lived on other cultures.

Someone mentioned the idea of these holy men living on the backs of working peasants but what do we have in the west with liberalism and socialism? We have probably two in ten living for free and that does not include the non-profit sector either.

Then there is the obvious fact that western society lives on debt which is yet to be paid back.



posted on Dec, 12 2006 @ 09:12 AM
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Subz,
I think you're misinterpreting the 'free tibet' movement and drawing too many parallels to the religion itself.
Are you sure a free Tibet is just all about a separate homeland for the 'buddhists and monks'?
Its much more than that IMHO..
Primarily its an ethnic difference between the resident tibetians and the implanted 'Han' chinese population. The religion(buddhism or not), of the indigenous tibetian population is is of significantly less importance.
The Lama is a leader figure of course and nobody's taking that away from him.
But a free Tibet if allowed would most certainly be all about democracy and maybe a constitutional monrachy of sorts involving the Lama and his successors.
A look at the 'youth' driving the free Tibet movement (which is incidently based in India) will give a great idea of what the actual objectives are all about.



posted on Jan, 31 2009 @ 10:44 PM
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reply to post by SpeakerofTruth
 

It would be a lot less populated.



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