Saturday, August 02, 2008
CNN is doing a show now on Buddhist Holy Warriors.
I am interested to see what they talk about. So far they have a very friendly view of Buddhist and the Dalai Lama. They do point to the fact that Tibet was under Chinese control for ages and had some autonomy for a number of decades after the Chinese cultural revolution,while the new Chinese governments interest were elsewhere. I do like that they are going further than most coverage goes, where the Chinese domination back into the dynastic days is glossed over. But Amanpour, who I deeply respect, seems to have a soft spot for the DL. But most people seem to. They don't talk at all about how the Tibetan government worked, the treatment of people, the abuses, the punishments of troublemakers, etc. Though when asked if he is a reincarnated figure he seems to say he no, or rather that he is first a human and second a monk. It seems like an answer that could leave leeway when with another audience. He also says he is willing for stay under China, but that Tibet should have autonomous rule under them. What that means is unclear, a government of the people or of the monks? And in talking about donations given, they note most is given away to the poor. Most, what percent? I would like to see the books, just out of curiosity.
The Buddhist group shown as more aggressively opposing China seems to find DL naive. They don't like the Chinese in Tibet. They also seem to think that they were free before. And they believe armed conflict is acceptable to free their lands. No matter what the tenets are. I have wonder what they would think if the monk ruling system also returned? Would they fight then to?
The show has a strange view about Buddhist and violence. The show wants us, or assumes, we will be shocked that a Buddhist worshipper might pick up a weapon and kill another. Have fun with this. How long does it take you to look up a general, soldier, or dictator (the DL doesn't count for this) that also happens to be Buddhist. What's more they seem focused on Buddhist warriors who fight for freedom and democracy, not the ones fighting to take land, money, power, etc.
Perhaps as the show goes on they will show the other side, but it seems they are embracing the classic view. Like the stereotypes of the British. Where they are either in bowler hats with umbrellas or have spiked pink hair and piercings. I am a little disappointed. But I will watch the rest and see if they cover more.
I do have some sympathy for the DL. He comes from a line of despot rulers, who held people as serfs. But he has been without a kingdom, and not as isolated as his predecessors. He has seen the world, seen new things, and new ideas. To say the least, he has been given a chance at a more rounded world view. So I hate to hold the whole history of cruelty he is a part of on him in total. He is a part, a leader, and a proponent of a broken system. But he seems smart enough to, maybe change things. Trouble is that I don't see him bothering to. Nor is he coming out, that I have seen, to change some of his outdated stance, like denouncing homosexuals. He has the opportunity and time to prove his critics wrong. Let's see him rise above earlier DL's and impress us.