Sunday, May 06, 2007

Tragic Tibet

I saw the Dalai Lama's residence! I walked the halls he walks when he's in McLeod Ganj, meditated in the temple where he and his monks meditate, looked out onto the mountain views that he sees each morning. It was so cool.

In a courtyard in the center of the monastery/temple complex groups of maroon and gold robed monks sat and stood gathered together. Some of them were debating in the traditional style which includes large hand slaps as emphasis for a particularly powerful point. The monks actually wind up their arms as if they were going to deliver a pitch and then smack their hands together in front of their adversary's faces. For all my friend (I'm going to call him Pirate) and I know they could have been debating the latest cricket matches. However, we chose to believe that they were debating the finer points of Buddhist philosophy. We've been using the hand slaps ever since observing the monks in action to emphasis our own points. It's pretty much never going to get old. We also created a new action hero, Buddhist Monk Lawyer (Ok, Pirate did but I helped with embellishment). She fights the good fight using her special hand slapping power. She's pretty much invincible.

Yesterday we also visited a monastery that had originally been built in Lhasa. When the Chinese invaded Tibet they destroyed the monastery and killed and imprisoned all but 4 monks who escaped. Later, those monks fled to Dharamsala and created a replica of that monastery. Of course most of the ancient texts, statues, and other art was lost.

I've been thinking a lot about the Chinese invasion of Tibet and that fact that the Western World, as far as I know, did absolutely NOTHING in response. I came across a book that tells the story of the CIA training Tibetans to fight against the Chinese, but that endeavor ultimately failed. The Chinese invasion of Tibet and the lack of response by the Western World is an immense tragedy. The Chinese destroyed over 6000 monasteries, bull dozing them into the ground, and killing and torturing thousands of monks and the world did nothing. The Chinese continue to persecute Tibetan monks in Tibet to this day. I know because I've represented several asylum seekers from Tibet, all of whom were imprisoned and tortured by the Chinese for such crimes as distributing pictures of the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama, or the Tibetan national flag. And still the Western World does nothing.

Tibet should be free.


Anonymous said...

Love the hand clapping monks. I wish you much luck with Buddhist Monk Lawyer! Will she be wearing orange robes to court? Or will she limit her orange-ness to accessories?

Buttercup said...

Ally Bean - I think accessories. :)