Dharma2Grace Discussion

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Dharma2Grace Discussion
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I saw a picture of a Tibetan monk setting himself on fire. Are they doing this for political reasons or do they really believe in what they are doing? Why would anyone want to invite such pain?
I just worry that this will do no help or bring any change--you know killing yourself for no reason. I worry that China won't care at all.

You can see picture at: http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/

Re: fire

Uncertain Buddhist, in my humble opinion, the only reason why the People's Republic would care about such an act of protest is if it seriously lost face about it, but that's doubtful. In the late 1960s a number of Vietnames monks set themselves on fire to protest the presence of U.S. troops and the ongoing war against the Viet Kong. In those cases those acts at least contributed to public opinion in the States against the war. Whether those monks did the right thing, and whether the U.S. acted properly are matters we can leave to the side for the moment. The point is that those self-immolations at least weren't totally futile. In the case of Tibet, I'm not sure I can say the same thing.

Re: fire

Uncertain Buddhist & Dr. Corduan, I agree that VC propaganda had contributed to self-immolation of Vietnamese monks in 1960s. It's sad to watch Tibetan monks to take such an action. Perhaps it is more meaningful for them to fast, pray and spread Buddha's message to China like the early Buddha's disciples.

Re: fire

Uncertain Buddhist,

I do sympathize with those monks. The problem is that their hearts are bitter and their intention is to revenge by horrifying their enemy, which, as Dr. Corduan said, may not work. Recently I read a biography of Dietrich Bonhoeffer who was a German theologian in Hitler's time. He was involved in the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler and was prisoned and hanged. I believe his pain and suffering were no less than those monks'. But his eyes were fixed on his God. Here is a short message he wrote.
" Who stands fast? Only the man whose final standard is not his reason, his principles, his conscience, his freedom, or his virtue, but who is ready to sacrifice all these when he is called to obedient and responsible action in faith and in exclusive allegiance to God....". This attitude of life gave him complete peace when he was being executed, witnessed by the doctor who was there at that time. Understandably there was no fear, hatred, or revenge in his view of death. "Fundamentally we feel that we really belong to death already, and that every day is a miracle. It would probably not be true to say that we welcome death.....We still love life, but I do not think that death can take us by surprise now. ...IT IS WE OURSELVES, AND NOT OUTWARD CIRCUMSTANCES, WHO MAKE DEATH WHAT IT CAN BE, A DEATH FREELY AND VOLUNTARILY ACCEPTED."
This is the death I pray by God's grace and mercy and I pray God give you peace on your way of searching wisdom.