Saturday, April 07, 2007

Tibetan Warrior Monks

National Review Online has more on "The Dalai Lama's Army." Interesting stuff. I used to be a member of Students for a Free Tibet in High School... ah, youthful idealism.

An al Qaeda organization is attempting to assassinate the Dalai Lama. Lashkar-e-Toiba, al Qaeda’s South Asian affiliate, is acting consistently with Osama bin Laden’s April 2006 denunciation of “pagan Buddhists.”

This raises an interesting question: Can an ethical follower of Tibetan Buddhism kill someone in order to save the Dalai Lama? Or in order to fight religious totalitarianism in general?

Absolutely yes. Although some Westerners imagine that the Dalai Lama is an absolute pacifist, the teachings of the present Dalai Lama and of his predecessor, as well as the traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, all legitimize the use of deadly force against killers and would-be tyrants.

This may come as news to certain anti-American pacifists in the United States and Europe who are guilty of “Shangri-La-ism” — of what Jane Ardley (in her book The Tibetan Independence Movement) describes as the “idealized, romantic vision of Tibet as a land of enlightened, non-violent, happy and exotic people.” She observes, “For those in the West who look to Tibetan Buddhism for all the answers to their insecurities, the image of ‘violent’ Buddhists is uncomfortable particularly where Buddhism itself can be offered as a justification for their actions.”

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