Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Roots of Mystery

I have some Buddhist friends, and much of the philosophy appeals to me. I don’t like it when they take it so far as to worship Buddha as a god, but I can agree with the philosophy, well most of it.

What I have trouble with is this whole passive I-wont-lift-a-hand-in-protest modern day approach to violence. I respect the theory behind it: life is sacred, and killing anything is wrong. Some go so far as to not kill bugs, or eat meat, but still eat plants (which they don’t think is killing because a plant isn’t respected as a reincarnate).

But this is what I don’t get. To me, allowing yourself to die in protest is killing yourself. You allow yourself to die. Sure, you didn’t kill yourself, but you allowed yourself to be killed, which to me is the same thing.

None of us were around to hear the Dharma firsthand, but one would think that allowing for ritual suicide was not part of the curricula for escaping suffering.

Nearly 1,000 years after Sidhartha (The Buddha) established his philosophical approach, a Buddhist named Ba Tuo spread the teachings into China and built the first Shaolin monastery.

A teacher named (by the Chinese) Ta Mo brought Ch’an Buddhism to China and came upon the Shaolin Ssu temple. Finally he, after several years of meditation outside the temple, is said to have been let inside. He saw the monks were weak and needed skilled training in meditation and physical arts.

You see where this was going. Soon after the Shaolin kung-fu monk was born. The temple was not poor and was often attacked by peasant armies, and the monks would often be called to defend the monastery and travelers from bandits.

This was all taught and sanctioned by the first Buddhist temple in China. Ta Mo is considered one of the brightest Buddhist teachers from India for his time. These men devoted their lives to physical training for the defense of the weak. This is not indicative of passive resistance.

So now we bring this full circle. The accepted Buddhist tradition of passive resistance is, to me, contrary to what the Buddhists originally taught.

Instead of letting oneself be slain so that a praying mantis won’t get squashed beneath the boot of an overanxious Chinese soldier, the monks of today, in my opinion, need to re-embrace the teachings of the Shaolin Ssu temple, and fight back the oppressors that destroy the lives of their kin in Tibet.

I don’t care if the Chinese army has 1 billion bloodcrazed soldiers. The Law of Conservation of Ninjas applies here. The Chinese army doesn’t stand a chance.

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