Sunday, November 21, 2010

Why we must stand up for Ghandi

Gandhi, to some extent was labouring in obscurity, that is of course irrespective of the millions of other of Indians who followed behind him as he successfully squared off against British Imperialism. Not counting them, he did have comrades the world over and has inspired a linage of peace activists the world over, including Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma, Nelson Mandela south Africa, Martin Luther king, Dalai Lama, just to name a few of the heavy hitters! But yes, OK, if you want to say obscurity, I can get on board because, I agree that it was relative obscurity, but that was then.

Now, now, Now we have a different power, more power, to wage peace on a global stage.

I propose, to reflect that change in agency, we must change our discourse, even Thomas Freedman presents the core-periphery, no longer describes the real “global structure". I suggest something like high speed-low speed, or broad band-dial up (any catchy ideas welcome). New obscurity is not locational but positional, and how an individual/organization/initiative integrates with new media determines there success /failure.

In our generation NGOs will champion crowd sourcing, solar power computers, CONNECTION!

The discussion of the power that I.T. has, and the opportunities that it can provide for connection. We need to focus less on the opportunity and we must live out our responsibility and Wage Peace! When will our generation generate its Ghandi, where is our MLK jr. and what will her twitter name be?

Friday, October 23, 2009

21st Century Dharma

25 September – Long Beach, California

Buddhist monks from the United States, Vietnam, India, China, and Tibet sat on stage with His Holiness the Dalai Lama, facing him were approximately 10,000 Buddhists and non-Buddhist, believers and non believers, men woman and children, from all over the world. Making his opening remarks for the two day teaching His Holiness the Dalai Lama made sure to point out that those in attendance would be able to follow along in four languages. His Holiness spoke in English about various religious beliefs and how the purpose of the various traditions is to give humans conviction, love, and compassion.

A Vietnamese-American woman sat on the upper balcony of the Long Beach Convention Center with her two parents, this was her first time to see His Holiness the Dalai Lama; she ordered these tickets at the end of May. They will attend the two days of teachings before driving six hours back to Arizona. "My parents saw him once before, ten years ago, but I was in school then, I am excited to see him now." The three listen to the teachings in Vietnamese through FM radios.

His Holiness said, "now especially is the time for mutual understanding and respect, so therefore some knowledge is useful; 21st century Buddhists must be full of knowledge." The modern crowd that he addresses includes a large number of Vietnamese buddhists.

Vietnam has been a communist state for 79 years, the government ousted religion. Still, there are six million practicing Buddhists in Vietnam. His Holiness said "Although Vietnam is outwardly Communist I know that inwardly, it is Buddhist; even in China is like that now, military personal outwardly are genuine Communist. But deep down they have mobile phones, and some high officials have my picture there."

Inside Tibet even a simple photo of His Holiness the Dalai Lama is considered contraband, under the Chinese rule. Reporter for the Tibet Post asked His Holiness, "What will your next course of action be since you have said that your faith in the Chinese government has gotten thinner and thinner." His Holiness said "I don't know." He also said that in the meantime he has never lost faith in the Chinese people.

21st century Buddhism is transmitted over the air waves, throughout convention center halls, websites, and sometimes mobile phones, but in His Holiness the Dalai Lama's own country, prayer is the only means. He said, "there are many sincere Buddhists, and it is my responsibility to serve them as much as i can but the political situation for the time being is difficult almost impossible, so the only thing is to pray."

The teachings are being held at the Long Beach convention center from September 25-26. Friday there are two sessions each lasting two hours. The morning session considered The Four Noble Truths, the afternoon teaching is about Amitabha Permission Initiaton and Saturdays teaching is on Medicine Buddha. All the tickets were sold by the 17th of July. The Geden Shoeling Center is hosting center organized and staffed the event.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Monday, June 29, 2009

going home again

In the bottom of mail trucks there are large crates that the border police don’t check. Laying flat on his stomach below the mail, Sonam returned to his homeland Tibet. He went to see his family, and to act as a guide and smuggle individuals threatened by the Chinese government out of Tibet.

Last March the streets of the Tibetan capital Lhasa erupted into violence. The date marked the anniversary of the beginning of China’s occupation of Tibet in 1959. Now, the date marks the beginning of one of the most brutal periods in Tibet history, turning the roof of the world into what His Holiness the Dalai Lama has described as “hell on earth.”

On March 11 2008 Sonam tied a T-shirt over his face so that he was unrecognizable, he said, “I burned cars and broke windows I shouted slogans.” He was arrested; to get him out of jail Sonam’s friends gave a false alibi to the authorities, swearing that he was at home with them. Using knowledge he gained working as a tourist guide he was able to escape from his homeland and the Chinese authorities that hunted him. The other people that were arrested with him are still in prison.

In years past between 2,000 and 3,000 Tibetans made the dangerous crossing into Nepal to seek refuge in India where His Holiness the Dalai Lama has been residing since 1959. Since last March that number has decreased to a fraction; each month only 13 people arrive from Tibet.

Rikden a young man from Eastern Tibet, arrived in India before March 2008 and lived in the new arrival center in Dharamshala for two months, he said “when I arrived at the reception center everything was full there were people everywhere you couldn’t even go to the bathroom in the night without stepping on people. If you go there now you can see it is empty.”

Sonam said “I only brought four people, the situation is so bad since last March so I didn’t bring more, guides used to bring 20 or 30 sometimes even more than that.”

The four men that Sonam guided across the border are monks who had returned to Tibet to visit their families and had been unable to come back to India after the crackdown in March 2008. He said, “I did it for free because I brought my friends but other guides charge around 10,000 Yuan.”

“In Lhasa I have a lot of friends who took part in the uprising last March, they want to come to India but they can’t escape,” he continued. “I am scared to try again, I have friends in Nepal and friends in Tibet but the situation is so bad that I don’t know if I want to try again, it is too dangerous.”

an Indian summer