Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Matter of Shambala

In today's news we see items about the destruction of Buddhist statues in Uddiyana (Swat), and the joyous revival of Buddhism in Mongolia. In common with all things, there is the appearance and then there is the reality.

When I look far into the future, I seem to understand that by fostering the regeneration of Buddhism in Mongolia (and patiently wet-nursing Buddhism in the West), we are laying the groundwork that will eventually overcome the forces now afflicting Uddiyana.

If, indeed, there may be said to be "forces," and anything at all may be said to afflict Uddiyana.

It would appear that there are some fairly horrible characters running around Uddiyana, blowing up things and murdering people.

My late friend, the Ngakpa Gonpo Tsetan, was fond of telling me (many years ago) that the fundamental tenet of Islam is destruction, and that this has always been Islam's role. He liked to say that there was nothing anybody could do about this except sit back and accept the truth. So, maybe we can say this is one of those situations where appearance and reality resemble each other.

What we need to do is transform this into something rather more useful.

Raising public consciousness about the need to protect and preserve Buddhist monuments is one thing, but the deeper thing comes from recognizing that every act of destruction can be the first moment of creation.

We, as Tibetan Buddhists, need to take our place with Buddhists of every other persuasion in a united effort to seize the creative moment. The sangha of today is the you-know-what of tomorrow.

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