Friday, November 06, 2009

Guard Bhutan: A Divination


"Muslims and Christians are not simply invaders and conquerors of the past, they are fixed in eternal postures of aggression which, today, translates as insidious and covert gestures of hidden expansionism and conquest, carried on through conversion and terrorism."  --Tanika Sarkar
Bhutan is one of the few places left in the world where Buddhism has been permitted to thrive, unmolested, and indeed supported by the government. Nevertheless, at a time in history when overtly Buddhist nations may be counted on the fingers of one hand, this ancient refuge -- blessed and pacified by Padmasambhava himself -- is quite clearly in serious trouble.

As reported earlier ("Big Trouble In Bhutan," 27 October 2009), there have been devastating earthquakes, unusual weather anomalies,  insidious acts by troublemakers, epidemic illness, and now, from Pemagatshel, comes word of a plague of grasshoppers.

Because I care very deeply for this place -- very deeply -- I decided to do a divination. In some ways, I wish that I had not, because what I saw is not going to make anybody happy.

It came to me that the cause of the misfortunes is the Western fundamentalist Christian missionaries who have been allowed to visit Bhutan and set up shop. These missionaries have caused a number of people to break samaya, and to forsake the Dharma. This breakage and outrageous abandonment of all sentient beings has caused the oath-bound protectors to rise up in anger. Numerous other things came to me, but this is the essential point.

So, this is a message to the people of Bhutan from someone who honestly cares for your country:

Strongly and relentlessly guard Bhutan against the influence of anything that undermines the vows you have taken, and your forefathers have taken. If you have to close the doors and close them tight, denying entry to those who slyly subvert your nation's spiritual security in order to line their own pockets with gold, then do so. You not only have a responsibility to yourselves, but you have a sacred obligation to Buddhists everywhere else in the world to keep Bhutan pure, and free of obnoxious foreign influences.

Those religious leaders who propose otherwise on the grounds of interfaith tolerance have absolutely no idea of the damage that will follow any decision to permit barbarians to enter the gates.  Those leaders have never had to live with oppression of Buddhism under Christianity. Let the samaya saboteurs scream "persecution" all they want, and covertly employ their secret friends in the press to cause problems where none exist. You must identify them, interdict them, and isolate them before they do any more damage.

Article 3 of the constitution declares Buddhism as the spiritual heritage of Bhutan. If people want to engage in cult worship in their own homes, that is one thing, and they will individually earn karmic results accordingly. But, in the process of serving individual freedom, please do not forget the duties under Article 7(4): “No person shall be compelled to belong to another faith by means of coercion or inducement.” Do not forget the duties under Article 7(22). Vigorously and strictly enforcing the provisions of the Religious Organizations Act of Bhutan is essential -- because failure to do so will earn collective karmic results.

This has come very clearly, very purely, and very directly, and although it will cause me many problems to openly say these things, I simply do not care.

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19 reader comments:

Stephen said...

Who are the Dharma Protectors of Bhutan ? Maybe we could start a campaign to get many mantras and/or relevant pujas of/to the relevant Dharma Protectors performed on a daily basis worldwide with the specific dedication that Bhutan be swiftly and totally freed of anything that undermines the Dharma ?

dorjejaguar said...

I am not a Christian, but I was raised in a fundamentalist Christian home.
As a child I heard all other religions described as "cults".
It pains me to hear you use the words "cult worship" here too. It sounds too like the intolerance I was taught.
People chose their religions for deeply personal reasons.
Threatening with hell or karma won't have much effect in the long run.
If it did, I'd still be a Christian.

Do I think care needs to be taken in Bhutan? Yes, yes I do.
Do I think dehumanizing Christians and Muslims by calling them cult worshipers and barbarians will help? No, in fact I believe it's extremely counterproductive and may bring about exactly what you wish to prevent.

Missionaries have not *caused* people to break samaya. People have chosen their own beliefs as they always do. The missionaries might be giving them an opportunity, but they certainly didn't have to take it.

You cannot win this by making them the enemy.

So, without making anyone an enemy how can Bhutan be healed of the current imbalances? There must be many ways.
I feel sure of this.
It must be done with compassion and wisdom.

TENPA said...

There is an enormous amount of hypocrisy in interfaith dialogue.

People hold beliefs in private that they dare not express in public.

However, what is true is true.

Western Christian missionaries have no business stirring up trouble in a Buddhist nation.

I clearly understand what is fashionable today. I clearly understand what is said in public.

I also know that in the old days, in Tibet, they used to liberate Western Christian missionaries on a fairly frequent basis.

I am only reporting what I saw. I saw that Bhutan should just give them the benefit of the doubt and either deny them entry or deport them. I didn't see that they need to be castigated or anything like that, as much as they might wish to make themselves into martyrs in order to bolster the drop.

I guess you think Christians aren't barbaric. I study history rather carefully, so I happen to hold a different view.

It is my idea that the last Christian was Jesus, and after the Greeks got finished re-inventing his philosophy to validate hegemony and obedience to colonial power, it has been all down hill ever since.

Stephen said...

Maybe another divination could be performed to determine which simple practice within the reach of most people could be performed worldwide to solve the situation in Bhutan. The precisely-worded "motivation" and "dedication" must be formulated, too.

TENPA said...

These things come, they come. They don't come, then they don't come.

Meanwhile, the protectors have eyes to see.

Anonymous said...

The Protectors are waiting for our prayers !

Anonymous said...

I am telling THANK YOU for have courage to tell truth. You are GREAT!

MORRELLI said...

this is not the meaning of protectors. they are not irritable beings that fly off the handle and cause earthquakes because a buddhist becomes a christian! the protectors means the power of the enlightened intention of all the buddhas benefitting all beings. whoever wrote this must be completely delusional.

dorjejaguar said...

I'm not asking you to be a hypocrite or state a belief you don't believe. What I'm hoping is that you'll examine whether your language is likely to win your cause or not, whether it's both compassionate and wise.

What I think is that those that call themselves Christians and those that call themselves Buddhists are humans. They don't chose their beliefs to be barbaric or contrary, they chose them for personal reasons.

Tell me, if the missionaries were ejected, what do you believe would and should happen to those who remain in Bhutan who now call themselves Christian?

I am aware as anyone can be what harm can come from what passes for Christianity these days. It's always the judgment and intolerance, the self righteousness of humans who would believe that their belief makes them better humans that causes this harm though. Buddhists are not immune from this disease of the ego either. It can be just as corrosive in a Buddhist as in a Christian.

You've already stated your belief that all the missionaries should be kicked out and kept out.
Is there anything else that can be done as well?
If it's the Dharma Protectors that are rising up in anger, perhaps they should be approached directly and worked with directly to find solutions.

TENPA said...

Oath-bound protectors can include local spirits subdued by the enlightened intention of all the Buddhas benefiting all beings.

You can, for example, examine Canto 104 of the Padma bka'i Thang, "The Questioning About the Offenses of the Master of Life, Those of the Planets, and the Nagas," particularly the dialogue between Padmasambhava and the gaynyen.

What is delusional is charging whiskey prices for water in order to purchase champagne, and thinking nobody will notice.

Ahh... the "finer" things in life. Isn't that how some put it?

TENPA said...

Dear Dorjejaguar:

I am neither compassionate nor wise, which is rather a blessing, as I do not have to choose my words in order to appear compassionate and wise.

It may be difficult to see, but Buddhism is actually being eroded in many places around the world. If you want to witness this in action, go up to Chengdu's "Tibet Town," and see the busloads of Christian missionaries devouring what is left of East Tibet's Buddhists.

The small group operant conditioning of people in crisis is flat out wrong, and that is precisely how the Western missionaries in Bhutan are proceeding.

I will tell you a little story, O.K.?

After the tsunami hit a while back, the Christian operators descended on Sri Lanka and Thailand like a swarm of locusts.

There were numbers of children who had been orphaned by the disaster, and the Christians made special effort to collect them.

They would put up two big boxes, with a hole in the side of the box, just big enough for a child to reach in.

One box was the "Christian" box, and the other was called the "Buddhist" box.

When the recently orphaned children reached in the Christian box, they came away with a treat or a small toy.

When they reached in the Buddhist box, they came away with nothing. The box was empty.

Can you imagine how that must have felt to Buddhist children who had just lost everything?

Note to Bhutan: give the Western Christian missionaries a polite smile and a quick ride to the airport.

Stamp their passports "PNG."

dorjejaguar said...

Thank you for the illustration, though you really don't have to convince me that Christian missionary efforts can be manipulative.
I've no doubt of this.
I was raised in the religion, I know quite well.
Though not all Christians are created alike.
I'm only talking about what might be the best way to proceed, what would be the most skillful means.

If we separate the world into "us" and "them" there will never be peace.

In your aversion to the Christians be careful that you don't become what you dislike so much.

Let me be clear, yes, I think it wise for Bhutan to do it's best to protect it's people and that it be both compassionate and wise in doing so.

Lazarus said...

I support the appeals to the Protector. The guys who wrote about appealing to the Protectors were NOT delusional. In fact, Morelli is the one who is totally mistaken about the role of Protectors. Appealing to Protectors when the Dharma is threatened is CORRECT practice, in addition to helping us in our spiritual advancement. Praying to Protectors to take revenge on that person who bad-mouthed you or to win first prize in a competition is delusional. Morelli, please get your facts straight. I support appealing to the Dharma Protectors.

Anonymous said...

Learn about the persecution of Buddhism in Korea by Christians. Scroll down and visit "Buddhism under siege in Korea" at : http://www.buddhapia.com/eng/tedesco/index.html

Anonymous said...

An example of what some Christian pastors in Bhutan get up to: "Woman hung as witch"

-LD

TENPA said...

Dear LD --
Thank you for bringing that to everyone's attention. These offenses continue to reverberate.

dorjejaguar said...

Alright I see the horribleness. My question is what's the answer? How to prevent this?
Everyone involved in the crime obviously needs to be prosecuted and jailed. What else needs to happen to make sure this stuff doesn't continue aside from not letting missionaries in?
Cause somehow I don't think just that is enough.

TENPA said...

I think Dungse Thinley Norbu Rinpoche's recent efforts will go a long way toward invigorating those people who felt so disenfranchised that, for whatever reason, they fell vulnerable to the blandishments of the missionaries.

You know, sometimes people become very disgusted with their lives, and they decide to try something even their heart tells them is wrong. It is like getting drunk, or taking drugs, or playing around -- a kind of slow spiritual suicide.

But, when Thinley Norbu arrived there last month, it was like a breath of fresh air, or a message of hope, and certainly in the places he went, literally everyone turned out to see him. My confidence in him is such that I believe his mere presence is sufficient to pacify much of the trouble.

The refutation of Christianity is an issue that he understands very well. You will perhaps recall when he pacified the Pope's reckless mouth a few years ago: Welcoming Flowers from Across the Cleansed Threshold of Hope: An Answer to the Pope's Criticism of Buddhism. So, maybe that could usefully be circulated in Bhutan.

Also, if we all strengthen our practice, and dedicate our efforts accordingly, this will be the best thing of all, because then we will naturally unfold the wisdom to know what is useful and what is not.

Anonymous said...

// Western Christian missionaries have no business stirring up trouble in a Buddhist nation. //

Agreed, and

// There is an enormous amount of hypocrisy in interfaith dialogue.

People hold beliefs in private that they dare not express in public. //

Also agreed, but 'interfaith dialogue' and Christian missionary work are not at all the same thing.

Interfaith dialogue is mostly an academic exercise, but not necessarily an hypocritical one. I should know because I've done it many times as a witness and also as a representative of Tibetan Buddhism, in formal and informal situations. Interfaith dialogue is useless at worst, and genuinely inspiring at best. It depends on the participants.

THe best case scenario is when some or all of participants are genuine 'mystics', for want of a better word. That would mean for instance "Sufis" (who rarely if ever call themselves Sufis), rabbis that study Kabbalah, Christian contemplatives, or Vajrayana practitioners.

If you can get some individuals who deserve to called as such (even if they refuse to call themselves as such) into the same room with a reasonable academic agenda for dialogue, it can be instructive and positive-- so-called 'dialogue' can become a sort of spiritual communion. Differences become points of appreciation rather than contention. It really does happen and it is good.

As I see it, anyone who deserves to be called a 'mystic' will have no interest in converting someone else to their point of view. Direct experience is purely subjective and most so-called 'religious' people will not appreciate that fact, whereas true contemplatives of any religion appreciate that fact more than anyone else. It makes them tolerant and willing to listen.

On the other hand when bible-thumpers and nerdy academics try to dialogue inter-religiously they will just follow their own concepts and ideas (or theology, or dogma) and end up feeling subtly frustrated and indignant when others don't really understand or appreciate what they're saying.

'Mystics' on the other hand, if they are genuine, will realize that dogma and theological constructs cannot really communicate the reality of spiritual enlightenment, however that be formulated. They know that to be believed, so-called 'faith' or experience has to be embodied directly, and to whatever extent that is true of oneself, others will appreciate it in a dialogue situation.

Granted that Christian missionaries have no business converting the Bhutanese. But maybe some of them at least are just there because they want to help people in a more material way. That's usually what missionaries do and in itself there's no harm int hat.