I’m not a Tibetan Buddhist. I’ve studied Tibetan Buddhism and have huge problems with it — even more problems than the Buddhism that is practiced in countries like Vietnam and Thailand. Buddhism isn’t exactly a religion but is more of a set of guidelines to help people on their own path to reality. There are many, many kinds of Buddhism, but most teach a set of moral guidelines that are good. Here is the Noble Eightfold Path:
- Right Speech — One speaks in a non-hurtful, not exaggerated, truthful way.
- Right Actions — Wholesome action, avoiding action that would do harm.
- Right Livelihood — One’s way of livelihood does not harm in any way oneself or others; directly or indirectly.
- Right Effort/Exercise — One makes an effort to improve.
- Right Mindfulness/Awareness — Mental ability to see things for what they are with clear consciousness.
- Right Concentration/Meditation — Being aware of the present reality within oneself, without any craving or aversion.
- Right Understanding — Understanding reality as it is, not just as it appears to be.
- Right Thoughts — Change in the pattern of thinking.
No, it’s not Christianity but the Eightfold Path does recognize that there is right and wrong behavior as well as right and wrong thoughts. That’s a big first step and one that much of the world has never taken.
According to Francis of Assisi, Christians should “preach always and use words when necessary.” The scriptures say much of the same thing by saying that Christians will be known by our love. Not by our oratorical skills, not by forcing people to go to church, but by our love. Jesus showed love to all of us while we were still sinners in rebellion; we should do the same.
Now to the story from Reuters:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President George W. Bush hosted the Dalai Lama on Tuesday despite China’s warning that U.S. plans to honor the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader could damage relations between Beijing and Washington.
The White House talks were held on the eve of a congressional award ceremony for the Dalai Lama, but the Bush administration took pains to keep the encounter with the president low-key in a bid to placate China.
“We in no way want to stir the pot and make China feel that we are poking a stick in their eye — to a country that we have … a good relationship with on a variety of issues,” White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said.
Beijing has bitterly denounced plans for the Dalai Lama, who has lived in exile in India since staging a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, to receive the Congressional Gold Medal on Wednesday.
Bush will attend the ceremony on Capitol Hill, the first time a U.S. president will appear in public with the Dalai Lama, spiritual leader of Tibetan Buddhists and a Nobel Peace laureate whom China regards as a separatist and a traitor.
“We are furious,” Tibet’s Communist Party boss, Zhang Qingli, told reporters in China. “If the Dalai Lama can receive such an award, there must be no justice or good people in the world.”
The White House denied Bush’s private meeting with the Dalai Lama, his fourth since taking office, was meddling in China’s internal affairs. But Perino said: “We understand that the Chinese have very strong feelings about this.”
Returning to his Washington hotel, a smiling Dalai Lama told journalists and a small group of cheering followers that his meeting with Bush had been “like a reunion of one family.”
“Naturally he’s showing his concern about Tibet and he inquired about the situation there,” the Dalai Lama said.
Asked about China’s anger over his U.S. visit, he waved his hands dismissively and said: “That always happens.”
China should butt out. China has a history of persecuting the religious, mostly Christian and Buddhist, and even persecuting meditation sects, such as Falun Gong. Good for Bush and good for congress for standing up to China. China need to realize that if they are to join the world community, they need to let their people live in freedom.