Two Buddhist Monks Immolate Themselves–Free Tibet!Posted by Jim Newman on May 30th, 2012 – Comments Off – Posted in atheists, religion
Post by Jim Newman
Two monks set themselves on fire but were stopped within 2 minutes; one died and the other is in the hospital. China has little to say other than to continue its repression of Tibet. ABC News reports.
There have been at least 34 immolations since March of last year to draw attention to China’s restrictions on Buddhism and to call for the return from exile of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama. Most have taken place in heavily Tibetan areas of China, but only one had occurred in Tibet itself and none in the capital…
The twin immolations in the heart of the Tibetan capital are certain to embarrass the region’s communist leadership, who have pledged to prioritize social stability and ethnic unity. That mandate is especially pressing this year as China prepares for a once-a-decade leadership transition in the fall and doesn’t want the occasion undermined.
The immolations are also likely to prompt tough, new restrictions on Tibetan social gatherings and religious activities in Lhasa, as they have elsewhere.
Sam Harris and others are often criticized for discussing the evils of Islam and JudeoChristianity–why don’t they pick on other religions? They do. The issue is that religions like Buddhism and Jainism as they get more extreme don’t do violence to others. There just aren’t Jainist suicide bombers. Buddhists don’t wish to fly planes into buildings. Sam feels this so strongly that he sees profiling as an effective security weapon as he does not think there are going to be many other ideologically imbued zealots willing to kill themselves along with others. This isn’t sufficiently true for security but it is true as a guideline at this point at least.
It isn’t that the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism are true, they are not, it’s just that both the ideology and the practitioners aren’t the problem right now. When the Noble Truth, Life is Suffering, means Buddhists vie to change the law so antidepressants are illegal, then I’ll worry.
We have come a long way from when we didn’t get suicide bombing, and it was our grandfathers that brought back memories of the Kamikaze and Bonzai bombers of World War II. For awhile psychologists and materialists could not digest that people would kill for ideology, even in times of peace. Rogue idiots going postal seemed like unleashed spontaneous anger, and psycho’s. Young educated Muslim men bent on virgins in heaven were too preposterous and in a way they are. It is unlikely that men kill themselves and others for Virgins, though the promise of salvation in martyrdom includes family and friends. But it all adds to to a coordinated effort to protest.
Atheists do in fact also often deny other parapsychology, water dowsing, ESP and metaphysical types of belief but since it’s hard to care if Uncle Joe wastes your time by insisting to dig where his stick points, and you don’t care that Aunt Lou has the Irish gift of insight, and she knew Aunt Claire was going to call, we don’t ridicule them. There is freedom after all. But if these sorts of mistakes were to become harmful to the extreme then we would pay attention. When Benny Hinn bilks people for tremendous amounts of money through charlatan Faith Healing, then we care enough to act.
Where this line of activism lies on the continuum of bad and false belief is individual. But clearly, we know the difference between barking mad dogs and benign though idiotic practices of those that have the freedom to be different, wrong, not, or unknown.
Frankly, I see self immolation as very sad and it is an effective gain of empathy to me. More so than a mad bomber. But then I don’t live in a culture where passivity is a problem. Perhaps if I were a Jew in Israel where the Hasidim refuse to fight I would be frustrated at ideologies of passivity–perhaps if there were war in the states on our land and the Quakers, Amish, Mennonites, Hutterites, and Hasidim refused to fight to even save their families, saying it’s god’s will, I would feel different. Ask me then.
Jim Newman, bright and well
www.frontiersofreason.com and www.brightpride.com