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luar
13th February 2002, 04:06
Gassho,

Ever since September 11, our branch has held a few interesting philosophical discussions about the WTC attack, Afghanistan and how Kongo Zen can be applied to this international crisis. Although I was not present, I had heard that we stopped our practice the Thursday after the attack simply to talk about what happened.

In today's New York Times, this article came about how September 11 is affecting Buddhism in New York. Here is the article below. It is interesting and sad too.

Peace

Raul Rodriguez
NYC Branch


February 12, 2002

A Tough Time To Talk of Peace

By BARBARA CROSSETTE

In the war against terrorism, the Buddhists of New York are suffering some collateral damage.

Messages of peace and compassion that once seemed attractive to New Yorkers are now anathema, Buddhists are discovering. As Buddhists prepare for several days of festivities this week in celebration of Losar, the Tibetan Buddhist New Year, and Tibetans from communities along the East Coast and Canada converge on the city, some sad and sober reckoning is going on.

Barely six months ago, Buddhism Tibetan and Zen was on a phenomenal upsurge in the New York area, attracting eager students to rural monasteries and urban meditation centers. Then came the attacks on the United States and the American war in Afghanistan. Nonviolence is no longer in fashion, particularly in New York, where the scars go deep and wounds are still fresh months after the destruction of the World Trade Center.

"We're just getting shoved off the radar screen," said William K. McKeever, president of the Deer Park Initiative, a Brooklyn clearinghouse for information and research on all schools of Buddhism, which adherents see as a philosophy rather than a religion.

For Mr. McKeever, who left the Asia Society last year to start his group in response to the growing interest, the distinctions between serious Buddhists and dabblers are becoming clearer.

"The trendiness of Buddhism, and of the Dalai Lama, it's hard to know how deep that was," he said.

But his group and other centers in New York have felt "an unfortunate backlash," he said. Well-meaning colleagues have warned him not to approach donors for contributions in this climate. Buddhists, without a church hierarchy, a formal membership system or congregational organizations, depend heavily on donations and fees.

Robert Thurman of Columbia University, a Buddhist monk and a scholar of Buddhism, said a fear of terrorism had paralyzed or "rendered seditious" peace movements or even expressions of nonviolence. That includes pleas from the 14th Dalai Lama, the leader of Tibetan Buddhists, the fastest-growing Buddhist school in the Western world, for a measured response to the atrocities of last September. Within days of the attack on the trade center, the Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet in 1959 to escape the Chinese Army, wrote to President Bush urging discussions. The letter received little attention.

Buddhists were shocked when, on Oct. 20 at Madison Square Garden, Richard Gere, Hollywood's best- known Buddhist who is a serious student of the faith, was booed off the platform at a rock concert where Paul McCartney and Mick Jagger, among others, were performing for the benefit of victims of the September attacks. Mr. Gere had advocated compassion in the face of aggression.

Most troubling to many Buddhists in New York was the unexpectedly lukewarm response to a planned visit to the city in April by the Dalai Lama. He had intended to visit the trade center site and lecture on Buddhism as part of a tour of Europe, Canada and the United States.

On Thursday the tour was canceled at the recommendation of his government in exile in Dharamsala, a Himalayan town in India.

In August 1999, 200,000 people converged on the East Meadow in Central Park to hear the Dalai Lama. His appearance came at the end of a visit during which he delivered a series of philosophical discourses over three days at the Beacon Theater. "Others read about the event or saw it on television," Mr. Gere and Khyongla Rato wrote in the afterword to a book based on that visit, titled "An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life" (Little, Brown & Company, 2001). "Consequently, millions of people generated good thoughts as a result of that morning in Central Park."

Hundreds of thousands flocking to hear the Dalai Lama? "I bet that wouldn't happen today," Mr. McKeever said. Advance ticket sales this year for a three-day series of teachings by the Dalai Lama that had been set, optimistically, for Radio City Music Hall, had been disappointing.

That now-canceled event, sponsored by Tibet House, was important to Buddhists here for a number of reasons, not least of which is that the Dalai Lama, 66, has been in poor health. Last month he was treated for acute stomach pains. An intestinal infection was thought to be the cause. His office said he had recovered, but it added that he suffered from exhaustion and had canceled his tour to rest.

For exiled Tibetans, the loss of their charismatic leader would be catastrophic to their cause, even more so now that China has joined an American-led war on terrorism. Tibetans fear this will lead to greater repression in Tibet, which the Chinese Army occupied in the 1950's, driving the Dalai Lama into exile. New York has been a center of pro- Tibetan activity and a major source of funds for the International Campaign for Tibet, an umbrella group.

The campaign's director, Bhuchung Tsering, said that while his worst fears that China would succeed in painting Tibetans as terrorists have not materialized among knowledgeable people, he has nonetheless seen Buddhism marginalized. "If there is a lesson to be learned," he said, "it is that the United States and the international community need to pay greater heed to nonviolent movements like ours while we have the presence of able leaders like the Dalai Lama. Otherwise, the alternatives are clear."

Mr. Tsering was in New York last week to try to block a Chinese move at the United Nations to bar Tibetan exiles from an upcoming world conference on development. On Friday, China succeeded in banning the International Campaign for Tibet from the meeting. Last year, the Chinese failed to have Tibetans banned from a conference on racism.

But not all Buddhists are discouraged. Although figures on the number of Buddhists in the United States are elusive (estimates range from three million to six million), immigrants continue to add to its strength.

At Tibet House, Ganden Thurman, the director of special projects and son of Robert Thurman, said that he saw no drop in support among New Yorkers who had discovered Buddhism and accept the idea that violence should always be a last resort. For them, there is more need for Buddhist philosophy now, not less, he said. "Given current circumstances and an unending war against another `-ism,' people will be wanting some solace," he said.

Some Buddhists are already finding ways to help. At the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra monastery and study center in Woodstock, N.Y., Lois DePiesse, the organization's secretary, said that people who lived near ground zero had been coming for short retreats in greater numbers, "needing to find time out of New York City, looking for a quiet place to settle their fears and re- evaluate their lives."

13th February 2002, 05:22
Hello,

it is very tough being Buddhist in the USA these days. Right now the current attitude is kill the bad guys, get even...If you don't agree with that you in for trouble.

The Buddhist attitude is to see beings as beings first, nationality second. To understand the Buddhist mind set, you must understand that Buddhists believe the our bodies are temporary coming together of many aspects and that the very nature of this is to disolve into yet another formation on and on.

Our personalities also are temporary based on many aspects as it's cause. And what we believe is true in the sense of what goes on, what will experience the results of our actions is our mind stream.

Our mind has no defining edges, no boundry, you can not mesure it, touch it weigh it whatever. So then where is it different than any other mind stream?

So you see the basic American mindset is we are american they are not, we are the good guys they are the bad guys and they should all die. (I know that not EVERY american feels this way...)

But Buddhists say, condem the ACTION NOT the individual! The people who rammed those buildings are going to experience TERRIBLE karma, what THEY themselves did to themselves is far worse than whatever Americans could do. Osama Bin Laden as well, we can give him death, but HE has given himself so much more than that. We Buddhists feel sorry for the Terrorists, what they have done out of ignorrance. We also feel sorry of course for the victims and families of the victims.

But causing more pain and suffering and death does not put the buildings back up, or bring the lives back. Instead it brings down other buildings, kills other people, imagine the suffering of the people of Afhganistan, just imagine what did THEY do? What about the Terror we caused them?

Of course Buddhists believe they Osama and the gang need to be stopped and controled, for our good AND their own good! But retaliation and blind violence is not the answer, neither is knee jerk reactions.

Anger can be transformed into mindful ACTION!

So as you see these views are not popular right now, but you can still wave the flag and do the right thing, be mindful of the results of every action we do as a country and as individuals, get a far seeing perspective and try to do the right thing.

I was happy to see Richard Gere stand up for his beliefs and offer the option of compassion and mindful reaction.

Best,

-Rick

Keith Frederick
14th February 2002, 00:47
So you see the basic American mindset is we are american they are not, we are the good guys they are the bad guys and they should all die. (I know that not EVERY american feels this way...) What a stupid and moronic thing to say and completely groundless --- using a qualifier is also a rather childish tactic when making a strong statement that demands a response.

Please provide some tangible evidence to suggest that this is the _basic_ American mindset. The fact is that the US has been very mindful in not hitting Afghan civilians, who, for your information, are NOT Americans. If the Afghan civilians aren't part of the "ALL" then who is? Polls of citizens, articles in the press, statements by politicians, media statements, etc. all destroy your cliche statement. A "THEY SHOULD ALL DIE", as you state, mentality is clearly not in the US.

I think it would be fair to say the US people want "justice" -- we can all differ on what that is or _how_ to "get" it or if anything even needed to be done with force but "THEY SHOULD ALL DIE" is not in the debate and never has been and I ask you to provide solid evidence suggesting otherwise.

How many at Camp X-RAY have been executed? If "SHOULD DIE" was part of the mindset then the mass execution SHOULD be happening...perhaps you should wait until it happens before making your broad accusatory statement. Remember you essentially branded the majority of Americans with your statement about the "basic" mindset. Where's the proof? Last I recall, there has been a massive public debate over how those arrested should even be handled...no basic mindset of just kill them.

President Bush even included an "OR ALIVE" for Bin Laden in his now famous statement :) Please, given the massive firepower of the US and its capabilities, if "THEY SHOULD ALL DIE" was representative of the people and thus manifested into policy, things would have been really ugly. What happened, like it or not, from an Afghan history perspective, was quite minor for a regime change...and quite amazing in its limited civilian damage...the result of a THEY SHOULD NOT ALL DIE policy.

REPEAT: Review archives at any of the news sites or polling sites and you'll realize that avoiding civilian casualties has been on the minds of Americans of all walks of life, including our political leaders. There is no THEY SHOULD ALL DIE mentality here in the USA, thankfully.

Was there any public support for any of the post-9/11 hate crimes against foreigners living in the US? Moreover, given the size of the US, if your statement were true then a lot more hate crimes would have been expected...A LOT MORE. Did the government pardon any of those who committed hate crimes? NO. I think your statement is completely backwards and I believe the facts back up my view - the basic mindset is not THEY SHOULD ALL DIE...that is the minority mindset.

Personally, I believe most Americans are struggling to find exactly where they stand on the _precise_ use of force and cannot be very specific as to how it should always be applied. There is also a noticeable difference in the polls with respect to the black community and white community on the use of force when going after terrorists. The poll numbers (if you have better evidence let us know) in both communities, and more so in the black community, indicate something different than what you are saying. (FWIW, I do not use the term "African-American" because it is not always clear to me from the polls if the individuals are actually American per se or if they are just black and no attempt made to determine nationality.)

If you want me to comment on your other simplistic cliches, I can do it via e-mail but I couldn't let this particular statement go by in a popular international forum since it attacks the people of an entire nation.

Review your history or ask a current terrorist in Sri Lanka, Buddhists are not foreign to "retaliation" -- and if you are accusing the US of "blind violence" then you are really living in fantasy land. If you need information on the difference between "blind violence" and the US action, let me know...Mullah Omar would most likely be dead if "blind violence" had been applied during the war.

- Keith

14th February 2002, 06:46
Dear Mr Frederick,

I am sorry for upsetting you. It was late at night and I was on the phone at the same time I was writting the above. Therefore, I was careless in my wording. I dropped the ball on this and you were correct in bringing it to my attention.

My intention was not clearly stated in my words and that is my fault and responsibility. What I should have said to more clearly reflect my feelings was that the great majority of people I have met and talked to about the incident very clearly stated their wish that we would blow them off of the map! I don't know what to tell you other than that has been my experience and the experience of the people I have talked with. Like I said, I know not ALL americans feel that way.
Why you think that is childish I don't know (there is no need to enlighten me about it either thank you.)

I stand by the rest of my post. I should say again to be clear. I don't think america reacted in blind violence. I simply was stating that *I* feel that we as a people individually and as a country should be mindful. Thats all and thats my opinion.

So, sorry to upset you, if you disagree with anything else I wrote, then you just disagree. Not much left for me to say.

Have a nice Day/Night...
-Rick

Kimpatsu
14th February 2002, 06:48
Gassho.
Before this thread wanders too far off-topic, I thought I'd add my 2-yen worth concerning Barbara Crossette's article.
Like many non-Kenshi, Crossette has assumed that Buddhist messages of compassion are the Buddhist equivalent of the Christian "turn the other cheek", whereas as all Shorinji Kenshi know, the message of Kongo Zen is to be strong enough to stand up to aggressors, as it is only from a position of strength that you can negotiate a true and lasting peace. The article doesn't mention which Buddhist sect she interviewed for the article, but I'm willing to wager that it's a southern "instantaneous enlightenment" school, and not associated with the Chinese Shaolin temple. Buddhism, including Shorinji Kempo's Kongo Zen, teaches compassion, yes, but compassion with strength; remember, "Strength without justice is only violence, and justice without strength is useless." Turning the other cheek, regardless of the consequences to yourself, was more the teachings of Jesus, and I suspect that the author of the original article was filtering her understanding through the prism of Christianity rather than taking time out to understand the core teachings of Buddhism. So it is wrong to say that because Buddhism is non-violent, it does not advocate self-defence.
BTW, why do I get the feeling that the previous two posts were written by non-Shorinji Kenshi?
Kesshu,

14th February 2002, 07:08
Mr. Kehoe,

You are correct in that I am not Shorinji Kempo.

May I ask, are you Buddhist? If so, do you believe in the concept of an enemy? You are not required to answer of course...

Also just for the record, I very much do believe in protection of life.

Best to you,

-Rick

Keith Frederick
14th February 2002, 08:45
It was the French skating judge that has had me upset! You should have seen the e-mails I sent to the International Skating Union and the IOC :redhot:

On a serious note, my booklet has the following quote (from a list) attributed to the teachings within Kongo Zen: "Right speech, to communicate the truths to others and thereby help them. Buddhists are aware of the power of words and the thought-entities they can invoke"

As such, I think it is an appropriate exercise to dissect (more pleasantly I suppose but I was responding to my perception of the tone of the message) at every level that which we write - unless writing is considered different than speech.

The repeated use of blanket statements (Buddhists this, Americans that) written in an authoritative manner is what I thought was inappropriate in RickRay's message and thus quite worthy of clarification.

Cheers, :toast:

- Keith

Kimpatsu
14th February 2002, 10:37
To all Kenshi, Gassho.
To answer Rick Ray's question, I'm not sure what you define by "Buddhist", so it's a little difficult to answer. I'm a Shorinji Kenshi, which means I ascribe to a body of teaching that is clearly Buddhist, but you don't need to be a Buddhist to ascribe to the teachings. Confused? I know it sounds like a Zen koan, but I can't get any closer to the truth than that. I certainly do believe in the concept on an enemy, but so does Buddhism: The enemies of Buddhism are envy, jealousy, ego, and other negative concepts. To say that Buddhism does not ascribe to the notion of an enemy is to misunderstand Buddhism.
To Keith Frederick, right speech is one of the eight truths of the noble middle way, along with right action, right mind, etc. Dissection is not only important, it's mandatory for debate, which in turn encourages logical thinking. I hope my answers are clear enough for you, gentlemen.
Kesshu,

14th February 2002, 10:59
Originally posted by Kimpatsu
To all Kenshi, Gassho.
To answer Rick Ray's question, I'm not sure what you define by "Buddhist", so it's a little difficult to answer. I'm a Shorinji Kenshi, which means I ascribe to a body of teaching that is clearly Buddhist, but you don't need to be a Buddhist to ascribe to the teachings. Confused? I know it sounds like a Zen koan, but I can't get any closer to the truth than that. I certainly do believe in the concept on an enemy, but so does Buddhism: The enemies of Buddhism are envy, jealousy, ego, and other negative concepts. To say that Buddhism does not ascribe to the notion of an enemy is to misunderstand Buddhism.



very interesting that tells me a great deal thank you.

Best to you,

-Rick

14th February 2002, 11:02
Originally posted by Keith Frederick
The repeated use of blanket statements (Buddhists this, Americans that) written in an authoritative manner is what I thought was inappropriate in RickRay's message and thus quite worthy of clarification.

Cheers, :toast:

- Keith

Sir you are very correct to call me on that, thank you for the lesson in awareness!

My best to you,

-Rick

Kimpatsu
14th February 2002, 11:26
I'm very pleased to see that once again, Shorinji Kempo has worked to bring people together. Two down, seven billion more to go...
Kesshu. :toast: