November 02, 2010

100+ Western Buddhist teachers sign letter to President Obama


Over 100 Western Buddhist teachers have joined together and signed a letter to President Obama "imploring [him] to repudiate the results" of the upcoming "sham" elections in Burma. The letter reads:

Dear President Obama, As you know, the upcoming elections in Burma, scheduled for November 7th cannot be legitimate without participation of the National League for Democracy (NLD). The NLD is boycotting this sham process because the Burmese military regime has designed electoral laws that insure that a rigged and non-representative election will transpire precluding the participation of Burma’s 2100 political prisoners and other democracy supporters. As leaders in the western Buddhist community, we implore you to repudiate the results of this upcoming election. We appreciate your Administration’s support for a Commission of Inquiry. We urge the U.S. government to exercise all diplomatic means to call the Burmese junta to account for allegations concerning Crimes against Humanity perpetrated against ethnic nationalities. It is essential that the international community witness your clear and unwavering support for the freedom of the Burmese people at this pivotal time in their history. We thank you in advance for your care and wisdom in responding to this urgent request and we look forward to your reply.

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gfeinstein's picture

This type of letter is exactly what the Buddhist community in the United States should be writing. While our monks and other fellow Buddhists are protesting all over Asia for Human Rights (Tibet,India,Nepal,Burma), a strong voice, committed in action, should support them. Many American Buddhists do not realize how important action is in support of these movements. Buddhism is under attack in Tibet, and this had been made clear year after year by the Tibetan Exile Government. As a student, and a Buddhist, keeping to the non-violent principles is always important, but it doesnt mean that Buddhist should stay quiet while the Dharma is being systematically eradicated. We have to remember what it took for these teachings to come to the West, and make a pledge to be the protectors of the Sangha everywhere.

Wisdom Moon's picture

If it's about the Dharma, fair enough, but is it? It seems like a pretty straighforward political action to me.

The practice of Dorje Shugden is being systematically eradicated by the Dalai Lama, even though this was the practice of his root and lineage Gurus. Are 100 Buddhist Teachers going to sign a petition asking the Dalai Lama to stop doing that and to reinstate the human rights of those practitioners who are being ostracised and persecuted? I thought not.

Double standards.

gfeinstein's picture

You are comparing the conflict between Shugden pracitioners and the Tibetan Buddhist community to that of the entire Tibetan issue? Shugden pracitioners are not being thrown in jail or tortured, and monasteries burned down because of their practice, especially here in the West. Yes, you guys have it rough sometimes, but this is not about 6 Million Tibetans who still live under Chinese oppression. At the end of the day, you end up ostracizing yourselves by insulting His Holiness; you really dont see the connection in how Tibetans interpret Dolgyal groups actions. Slander will never work in your favor,. Neither does protesting outside an empowerment further your cause. Personally, i have no problem with Shugden practitioners doing what they please, nor do i think they should be treated unfairly. But the unity of the Sangha is so important in these dark times, especially when it comes to challenges we face inside Tibet. Even the Shugden practices have been affected by the Chinese decimation of Gompas all over Tibet. What have you done besides touting Shugden all over the world to show your solidarity with this movement as a whole? What logical solutions do you have for this problem?

Wisdom Moon's picture

I'm not sure it's a good idea for Buddhist Teachers to take political action, no matter how well intentioned it is.

Why don't Buddhist Teachers get together and protest every atrocity and abuse of human rights across the globe? Why just Burma? There would be plenty of work to do there and not much time for meditation, teaching and prayer which is the main way in which Buddhists help the people of this world. We need wisdom, not political action.

Dolgyal's picture

Agreed, therefore WSS an obvious front for the New Kadampa Tradition should therefore disband but not before apologizing to the Tibetan people and disclosing from whence their abundant funding comes. Since former Geshe Kalsang Gyatso publicly claimed leadership of the WSS political group, he is the one who needs to apologize to his countrymen. Simple as that.