Karmapa’s Tour Canceled-additions Apr. 20, 2010 and Apr. 23, 2010

There have been several posts on the Internet about HH Karmapa Lama’s European tour being canceled because the Indian government denied him an exit visa. Barbara, JohnRev Danny and others have contributed.

I am glad to see there wasn’t a lot of conclusion-jumping and fist-waving about it initially, as was the case with the Sri Lanka situation and the detention of the Muslim writer. (That’s a complicated situation-not simply one of free speech etc) Although with the introduction of a petition now that seems to have changed somewhat.

A number of people have posited speculation on this topic as well as commentary in various forms. I want to address some of that as well as throw in some of my own.

From Others

Barbara O’Brien of the About.com Buddhism blog wrote:

the problem is that China is a major trading partner with India, and so China is a position to help or hurt the Indian economy. For the past several years it’s been pretty obvious that India is caving in to China on several issues. And China, which shares a border with India, has the largest standing army in the world.

Mr. Bill Schwartz, aka Ryder Japhy-writer at elephant journal and all round provocateur,  provides the following in comments on an article in elephant journal.

Look no further than the Tibetan exile community in India itself which is perfectly content to have their best and brightest hope for the future remain a rare bird in a gilded cage.

I need no explanation of the Indian Government’s continuing to keep HHK17 under house arrest for the past decade other than this is what the Tibetan people want.

If the Tibetan exile community wanted to see His Holiness continue the work of the 16th Karmapa in the West they would be in the streets over this which they aren’t obviously.

Don’t expect Tibetans to allow their best and their brightest to be corrupted by life in the West like was allowed to happen with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche and other prominent Rinpoche’s of his generation.

Until we wake up to the reality of what we are up against in terms of Tibetan xenophobia which is so much a part of being Tibetan nobody but tourists will ever see HHK17 in the West I’m afraid.

And now there is a petition (read it, sign it if you will, but I’m going to talk about its contents more) being fielded by a group calling itself FREETHEKARMAPA and advertised by Robert Thurman and others. In that petition to be sent to Sonia Gandhi, president of the Congress Party of India (the ruling party nationally) there is evocation of certain sections of the  Constitution of India (available here 471p. pdf) as well as policy of the Congress party.  It was clearly written by people with little knowledge of international relations, the situation of the Tibetan people within India or the zeitgeist of Indian politics.

The following appears in the petition:

As he is not a criminal, but is in fact an important spiritual teacher for the entire world, this confinement contravenes the fundamental principles to the preservation of human dignity and respect for universal, fundamental and ethical principles. We call on you to secure his immediate and unconditional release.

We call for Orgyen Trinley Dorje’s immediate and unconditional release from confinement in India.

The unreasonable and inconsiderate practice of confining him in India is a violation of his human rights and a blatant abuse of his freedom for religious expression.

We request his right to travel freely outside of India be respected and supported.

The petition itself goes on at length trying to paint HH Karmapa’s conditions to be almost as dire as Tihar Jail in Delhi (not good) or as some kind of gulag. Hyperbole is often a useful tool but not necessarily in a petition to a government. By insulting the Indian government with these kinds of statements HH Karmapa Lama’s followers in the West can be pretty sure it will be a good long while before he can leave again if ever.

India is a benefactor to the Tibetan people. And that began at a time when no one else was willing to step up including America or any country in Europe! Not a good idea to piss on that generosity people.

Some of the Affecting Issues and Related Matters

History. One thing I have found in India is that if you don’t know history and if you don’t see it as something that still lives today with almost as much force as in the past then it is very difficult to understand politics or anything that goes on in this region. We’re talking long long chains of causality.

Tibetan Buddhism in America Now as Bill has pointed out in his numerous articles on elephant journal, the history of one branch (Kagyu) of Tibetan Buddhism in America was not without it’s problems. Some early teachers, even though dead now,  still provoke controversy. That these teachers weren’t properly dealt with and even encouraged to partake in Occidental-style hedonistic abandon (how’s that for euphemism?) rankles with many still. And the results of that in terms of detriment to some students also remains cause for concern. Bill writes in detail over at elephant journal about that and having been there he knows what he’s talking about. So I’ll leave that to him rather than go into details here. You might also want to read the Dharma Mule blog for more.

Confinement. HHKL is not confined in India. No one has claimed he is a criminal except those who wrote the above mentioned petition. He speaks at many places in India freely including universities, Bodhgaya, and even at the TEDIndia conference last November. He is not shackled up in his room without contact. Who hasn’t read the article about his enjoyment of video games and the Internet? He is frequently interviewed by newspapers and holds audiences on a regular basis. The hysterical tone of the petition makes it out to be the same situation as the Tibetan Panchen Lama in China. Not even close.

Refugee Issue. Refugees have no rights. Anywhere. Period. Some countries may grant a right to asylum but that does not extend the rights given of citizens to those refugees.  Nor does it bring them under the rights granted to citizens in other countries. And even the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as endorsed by the United Nations is non-binding on anyone let alone refugees.  They are not guaranteed a right of travel under the Constitution of India nor under any other constitution, declaration or bill of rights. Refugees are essentially stateless. Statelessness means that there is no one to defend any rights in any way whatsoever. The Tibetan government in exile (article is not completely correct regarding the history of the Central Tibetan Authority-CTA) has no power on the international scene. They are not signatories to any binding treaties. They are not a member of the United Nations or any other international group such as ASEAN or others. They have founded a small group called Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) but it has little clout. They are not recognized as a political entity by anyone. Their political function is mainly limited to administrative work  in terms of handling the needs of the Tibetan refugees within India.

A big reason some of the commentary above is erroneous is that the Indian Government doesn’t really give a shit about what the Tibetan people want. Slightly overstating yes-they have not got the means, opportunity,  functionality or the will to give them all that they may want. They have plenty enough to concern them with the Indian population as well as neighboring countries. Tibetan refugees are pretty far down the list. At times it appears that they sometimes only suffer the presence of these refugees in the country because to do otherwise would make them look very bad in the eyes of the world. Especially after so much time has passed.

You can be quite sure that if the Tibetan community voted to move out of India and any other country accepted them the Indian government would be sending people to help them pack their bags. The Tibetans are quite segregated from the majority of the Indian population with their own settlements, schools and other amenities. These amenities are paid for by the Tibetans themselves not by the Indian government. The only way they could be deemed equal, and have equal rights under the Constitution of India,  is if they abandon refugee status and become Indian citizens.  In that case they are deemed to have abandoned the Tibetan cause by both the Indian and Tibetan communities generally. Citing the Constitution of India as the petition does, with regard to people who are not citizens of India is a pointless endeavor. It does not cover them. Refugee status is very shaky ground.

Protest in India by Tibetans. The Tibetan people are not allowed to protest without permission in India. And they are prohibited from engaging in any sort of political activities or even those that look like political activities. Same is true of any foreign group. Some leeway is given occasionally but any ongoing protests are strongly discouraged. Protests against the Indian Government are not undertaken nor would they likely be tolerated if they were to occur. And as for wanting to see work continued of the 16th Karmapa in the West, quite likely most couldn’t care less because they are too busy trying to put food on the table. People in most of the world have more pressing things to do than worry about the enlightenment of whiny spoiled Westerners.

Indian Government Visa Regulations There have been extensive changes to visa regulations in India. Any foreigner who leaves must stay out for 2 months before being readmitted.  This is becoming the norm for all classes of visas. I am not sure why this rule has been brought up but possibly it might be due to foreigners abusing the visa system and the hospitality of the Indian government as well as disrupting wildlife and the local people, blatantly violating the law in a wildlife sanctuaries and religious areas and generally fucking things up for other foreigners as well. (here’s an example going on right now from the Kumbh Mela in my area- Times of India, Yahoo News India, Chennai Online, India Today-video – This seems to be one of these Rainbow Gatherings-their motto might be Disturbing the Peace Wherever They Go. The news media is fairly tame in it’s criticism compared to what people say on the street. Someone I know thought the army should go in and shoot them.  I am so holding back a mega-rant at the moment about these self-indulgent air-headed foreign idiots! )

Leadership. The Tibetan government in exile needs to keep a “leader” even in name only in India (HHDL is out of the country for considerable time to come) This indicates the increasing importance of HH Karmapa Lama. With new duties continually being given to the Chinese Panchen Lama it is obvious he is being groomed to lead Tibetans in Tibet. This is a threatened power struggle.

If something happened to HHDL & HHKL (do you ever see them together in a public appearance-very rarely) which is far more likely outside of India than inside of India due to the tight security here,  the Chinese government is poised to set the Chinese Panchen Lama up as figurehead. To in effect thrust his political leadership upon the Tibetan population. Should that ever occur the refugee population would have no spokesperson with any sort of standing. India would be in something of a quandary then. The Tibetans would be under great pressure to either be assimilated into India or return to Tibet under strict conditions and the leadership of the Chinese Panchen Lama. Further then any future Karmapa or Dalai Lama would be coming from that tainted situation.

Security and the Dorje Shugden Issue. The Dorje Shugden situation is very complicated and involves what can only be called infighting within the Tibetan religious community. There were a number of murders in Dharamshala that were linked to this controversy. Some people believe that they are still a great threat to some members of the Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy.  The Indian government takes this matter very seriously and where the Dorje Shugden faction has thrived, mostly outside India now, there is concern that there may be assassination attempts. Many in the Shugden movement have disavowed violence now and wish only to continue their practices in peace. However some still remain attached to the more vitriolic rhetoric and activities. (see Tricycle article Dorje Shugden: Deity or Demon? -with over 2500 comments for examples of the passion this subject engenders)

Xenophobia. It stands to reason that the Tibetan people are somewhat protectionist of their culture and those who are icons of that culture. Their country was invaded and many were forced to flee or chose to flee due to the restrictive environment including HH Karmapa Lama.

In a later article though Ego, Where Art Thou? , Bill wrote:

When I look at the past 30 years’ history of the Karma Kagyu in America I can hardly find fault with Tibetans taking care of Tibetans.

This is in part reference to Tibetan Lamas who came to America early on and experienced some difficulty. OK I’m talking about Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche mostly and I believe this is what Bill is referring to also. Read his article for more on this.

And it is not surprising as well since it is only very recently that the West has taken any interest in the Tibetan’s plight at all. How can foreigners be trusted when they profess all these high ideals and only when celebrity status is wafting around do any of them try to manifest all that lofty talk into action? The Tibetan people are not stupid.

Security Concerns. The Indian government would hold HH Karmapa Lama under excessive security because of his past. He came to India barely 10 years ago. There have been sleeper agents and moles who didn’t emerge for 20+ years. I am not saying that is the case here by any means but from the point of view of international relations and the intelligence community there would be a good deal of suspicion. And believe me the Indian Intelligence community is as paranoid as they get. I know because I’ve been visited by members of the Local Intelligence Unit inquiring as to what I am doing here and I’m only a middle-aged house-wifey-type Canadian citizen with no titles or followers or anything even remotely like that. But can you blame them? There are a lot of disruptive elements here. (Maoists, Naxals, terrorists and other hostile elements from at least a dozen neighboring countries, land Mafias and other organized crime, corruption at an unbelievable level, international drug lords, smugglers of every type, international human trafficking at an astounding level, etc.)

Right now in fact there is a huge increase in security due to the Kumbh Mela and the upcoming Commonwealth Games in Delhi in the fall. I came from a trip to Delhi 2 weeks ago and at every crossroads were at least half a dozen police and/or troops. We got stopped once by the army and they checked our vehicle even though it is locally registered. As well at this time of year there are spring troop advances into Himalaya. As the passes and roads open huge convoys move up to border regions to fortify positions there.

All border regions especially in the North East and Kashmir (Ladakh) require permits for anyone, not just HH Karmapa Lama to visit. They are disputed areas and have come under fire on numerous occasions. There is also the potential problem of political kidnapping in those areas.  In some comments people have discussed the issue of HH Karmapa Lama’s previous denial of a visit to the North East. This is not particular to him. These permits are very hard to get for ordinary folks never mind anyone who has serious security concerns attached to them beforehand.

Chinese Incursions into India. The Chinese have invaded India before. This event called the Sino-Indian War caused the Indian government to move HH Dalai Lama from the proposed place of residence, Mussoorie, where I live currently, to Dharamshala which is not within such easy reach of Chinese troops should such an incursion occur again. Mussoorie has the first temple and school built by Tibetans in India. There has been speculation that one of the impetuses for that incursion at the time, at the height of the Cultural Revolution, was to reach HHDL and bring him back to Tibet or to assassinate him.

There are currently continuous border incursions in the Ladakh area of Kashmir as well as other border areas. These are often propaganda type exercises meant to demoralize and/or provoke Indian troops in the area. Here are some recent reports. (Indian Express, Hindustan Times, Express Buzz)

Trade with China and the Chinese Military. Increase in trade seems to mean increased interference in domestic issues by the Chinese government all over the world. All too often the Chinese government, when questioned about human rights for example, falls to the position of “internal matter” yet has the audacity to try to meddle around in everybody else’s business. India is no pushover when it comes to China. There may be some small concessions made but the Indian government is very much it’s own. It doesn’t cave to Russia, the U.S. or China very often. And in the past India has been far closer to Russia than to China. Should China become too much the big brother that could easily happen again. With Russia’s free markets now more in accord with the Indian free markets, both easing up on the socialist agendas a lot, there is more of an attunement with Russia than with China anyways.

One of the reasons that India is not hand in glove with China is because of the Chinese army. India has a huge army too, and from some reports a much better trained, armed and disciplined army. The Chinese military is beset with numerous problems that will take a long time to address. (here’s a couple of articles. Defense News, Facts & Details, The Strategy Page, Chinese Gov’t White Paper on Military Improvements, Civil-Military Relations and Domestic Power and Policies (policy and strategic analysis), Chinese role models and classical military philosophy in dealing with soldier corruption and moral degeneration (scholarly paper from the Journal of Third World Studies)

Frankly I think India would win a war with China if such a horror would ever take place. India has more allies (the Commonwealth Nations for example, many of which are also in NATO). Who are China’s allies?  That is the problem with closed societies. One must spend a huge portion of the GNP on simply controlling and policing one’s own population. Defense against external threats or offense as the case may be,  suffers because of it. Compare the American military. Huge budget, thought control is left up to the corporations.

[A bit of an aside-With the advent of the Security and Prosperity Partnership and other integrative programs in a similar vein (NAFTA and it’s subsequent amendments and partner agreements), increasingly the term American comes to mean North American of which Canada and Mexico are a part. (Not an NAU-North American Union-by any means but the SPP has been a cause for concern for many-here’s a couple of articles for those interested Toward a More Corporate Union of the Americas?, Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America)

China can and always will try to influence domestic policy and decision making with all of it’s trading partners, particularly by using it’s economic clout. But the more it tries to interfere with small issues such as visa granting and the like, if indeed that had any bearing on this matter at all, the more likely it will begin to lose the larger battles. There is a much greater arena to consider and to waste time, resources and partners patience on these small matters is to lose focus on larger goals.

The fact is most Westerners have no idea who HH Karmapa Lama is or of his significance.  And even if they do the majority of those have more pressing matters on their minds. The same is true of most Indian people.

The only reason I am writing about this is that I know and care about it and happen to have the time to put down some of my thoughts here. I would like to see the Tibetan people in a better and more secure position than they are. Some of the commentary that has transpired, I feel, will not assist in that situation.

HH Karmapa Lama Responds

HH Karmapa Lama himself has made a blog type letter on the topic. He does not address any reasons and only expresses his regrets. It is available at A message from His Holiness

Asking the Questions of Those Who Might Have an Answer

I sent a message to Shashi Tharoor on Twitter.

He is “author, humanitarian, peacekeeper, columnist, former UN Under-Secretary General, now Minister of State for External Affairs, Govt of India.”

He is also well known to HH Karmapa Lama. They both recently shared a stage at TEDIndia. TEDIndia Session 9: Within You, Without You Shashi Tharoor’s talk from that session is available but HH Karmapa Lama’s is not. Perhaps someone wants to talk to TED about that.

As the Minister of State for External Affairs of India the visa issue is well within his pervue.

I asked him the following at 5:12 PM Indian Standard Time on Wed. 7 April, 2010:

Marnie L. Froberg NellaLou @ShashiTharoor Dear Sir. Can you give reasons why HH Karmapa Lama’s visa for Europe visit was turned down? Thank you.

It is not that I expect an answer by any means. And I’ve not gotten one at the time of publication of this post.  Maybe you want to tweet him yourself. Or RT mine if you want.  Perhaps he’ll make a blog post on his blog to give us some further understanding of the situation. Or perhaps not.

Further Suggestions

If HH Karmapa Lama 17 so deeply wishes to continue the work of HH Karmapa Lama 16 in the West why don’t his followers arrange that. What I mean is why don’t they arrange to have his asylum taken up in one of the Western countries? Why not lobby the American government to allow his acceptance as well as that of other Tibetans into America as refugees? Why not sponsor these folks?

[China would have a total breakdown over it for sure. It might be worth it just for that alone.]

Write to opposition ministers in the Indian Parliament. Parties in power don’t worry much about these kinds of issues. Opposition parties like to have barbs to throw at them. But make a case for the votes it may attract. Not easy in the Tibetan situation since refugees don’t vote.

[Now I get to really piss some people off.]

Visit India. If you want the teachings and the teacher is here make arrangements to come. The Buddhadharma is not like some fast food joint that you can just call up and have a teacher arrive on your doorstep.

A few of the comments I’ve come across on this and similar issues just smack of (YES!) white privilege, colonialism, Orientalism, classist arrogance and outright ignorance. It’s as if to say,

“Hey I’ve done them the honor of taking up their religion so they should scurry on over here and serve it up to me as per my order. And if they don’t then there’s something wrong with them….And everyone else better just get out of the way to make that happen.”

Some of the rhetoric is just that off putting. I don’t really want to go there too much right now-got another post brewing on a related topic-but some of the language of that petition and surrounding comments has that flavor to it.

  • From the Petition:
  • …the Karmapa’s capacity to perform as a spiritual leader in our world has been significantly compromised. ["our world"-interesting phrase. Actually it hasn't been compromised-he can teach and receive audiences in India pretty freely for a guy with security concerns]
  • …Thousands of tickets for the important teachings in nine European countries had to be returned and large groups were left disappointed. Many dharma centers suffered economically due to the unexpected cancellation. [Do you realize you are making this plea to a third world country? Why should they give a shit about some upscale dharma centers in the West?]
  • From elsewhere:
  • …HH has been abused by the Indian gov’t in this fashion for years now (two canceled trips just last year). Now everyone knows HH’s plight. ["abused" -being given safe asylum from a totalitarian regime is not exactly abuse]
  • We need to see Karmapa! NOW! [stamps foot and throws something!]
  • I appeal to all people of the world irrespective of age, color, caste, religion, bank balance and political preference to join us in stirring the global consciousness in an international arena concerning the Karmapas unwarranted confinement in India. Through this dedicated campaign we will free the Karmapa, make headlines, move illogical policies and change many lives. Stop the religious and political suppression of the Karmapa. Free the Karmapa now!  (from the petition organizers website-italic emphasis mine-also stamps foot and throws something!)

So you get the gist of my issue with some of the rhetoric around this situation. That’s all I feel like writing about this right now.

Addendum

In comments someone asked me to support this petition. I am not and here is my response.

Concerned supporters are a good thing. Methodology is another matter. I am not questioning anyone’s motives in this project, I’m sure they are the highest. I’m questioning the way it is being rolled out. To have any kind of significant impact in any activist cause supporters need to inform themselves of as many of the prevailing conditions as are applicable. Sometimes do-gooders do more damage than help because of their naivete.
This particular petition won’t have my support because:

  • a) the language smacks of First Worlder entitlement
  • b) the implication that he is being held captive is wrong
  • c) the missed opportunity is one of the petition writers
  • d) I don’t jump on every “noble” bandwagon just because the crowd suggests I should particularly when the wheels aren’t that stable
  • e) sometimes “the majority” is just a mob.
  • f) the tone and even some of the statements insult the country that has been my host for nearly 10 years
  • g) the petition is addressed to Sonia Gandhi. She is still considered a foreigner in India even having been the wife of Rahul Gandhi and having his children and being a citizen. She is more of a figurehead, albeit a powerful one, than anything. That it wasn’t addressed to the Prime Minister, President, Lok Sabha ministers (the lower parliamentary house), Rajya Sabha (the upper house), cabinet ministers or anyone actually in government makes it a moot document. It is foreigners calling upon a non-elected foreigner with some connections to interfere in decisions made by the Indian government. This is part of the First Worlder issue as well. It says “We can’t talk to you Indians so we’ll talk to one of our own.”

It is not that I am against a petition. One that were appropriately worded and addressed to parties that could do something (Sonia Gandhi may be president of the Congress Party but technically she is powerless) I might be inclined to promote it. As it stands that is not the case.

Addendum April 20, 2010:

The Kagyu office has issued an announcement here

http://www.kagyuoffice.org/#KOAnnouncement

Excerpt:

However, we would like to request the many followers and devotees of His Holiness to take heart and not cast aspersion on any organization or government body for the cancellation of the tour.

We wish to thank the Government of India for all the assistance, hospitality and kindness that His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa has received after his arrival to India in the year 2000.

Addendum April 23, 2010

The Kagyu office has issued another  announcement
An announcement regarding the petition from the Kagyu Office. It doesn’t get much more explicit than this.

http://www.kagyuoffice.org/#PetitionAnnouncement

Excerpt:

In this petition some false accusations are made. While it is true that the proposed Karmapa’s Dharma tour to Europe in mid-May was not approved, it is not correct that the Karmapa is kept under any confinement or duress in India nor is he under any harassment. Therefore, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa and Tsurphu Labrang categorically deny these unfounded accusations.

Related links:

Trying to guess why the Karmapa’s tour was cancelled

55 comments on “Karmapa’s Tour Canceled-additions Apr. 20, 2010 and Apr. 23, 2010

  1. Well, strictly, if he’s not allowed to leave India, he’s confined in India, but I get your point. The argument that it’s okay for India to restrict his travel because it helps them with China, and that Tibetans must not mind since they aren’t demonstrating in their host country India, seems to suffer from a lack of logical depth.

  2. Just a technical note, it’s not Karmapa “Lama” but Karmapa. The “Lama” addition first appeared in the Indian and international press when His Holiness escaped to India in January 2000, it was never used before.

  3. Note One:

    Persons visiting illustrious and holy Tibetan luminaries in Dharamsala bring valuable tourist revenue to India, and boost the local economy. If all the high rinpoches and tulkus were free to leave at India at the same time, this might lead to fewer visits to India by those Westerners eager to see them.

    And it isnt just India but also the network of local economies in and around Dharamsala, Bodhgaya, Bylakuppe and others, that stand to benefit from the tourists and their paise–plus the busses, trains, etc. That stand to benefit so long as at least one rinpoche or tulku with celebrity status remains in that area while the others are travelling.

    In his memoir, One God Clapping:The Spiritual Path of a Zen Rabbi, Alan Lew (who died suddenly last year, to the great grief of many)
    wrote this account. It illustrates both Trungpa and the stature of the 16th Karmapa. This was probably very early in the 1970s.

    “About this time, Chogyam Trungpa, a great Tibetan Buddhist teacher who was all the rage among poets and writers, came to speak at Berkeley…he was perched on a platform. I could tell that he was dead drunk, because he kept falling off the platform, but soem big goons were stationed behind him and they caught him. Finally, he gave a brilliant dharma talk.

    ‘There was a big scandal surrounding him at the time. The word was he intimidated people and took their girlfriends away. A little while later, teh Karmopa (Lews spelling), the reigning Tibetan religious authority, came to town and the rumor was that he had come to read Trungpa the riot act, that all this screwing around and getting drunk wasnt real Buddhism.”

    (It isnt. The mahayanana Boddhisattva precepts warn us to beware of darkening mind and body of self and other with intoxicants. And also not to take away from other what has not been freely offered–whether its possessions, money, or lady friends)

    Lew continues:

    “Ostensibly the Karmopa had come to the Bay Area to perform the Black Hat Ceremony, the occasion of a great Buddhist conclave.”

    The ceremony was performed in a packed hall at Fort Mason. “There was a disappointingly picnic like atmosphere, with many young children screaming’ Lew wrote. “The din was unbearable, in part due to the bad acoustics…Finally after hours of waiting, the Karmopa and his monks came out.”

    Just before the hat was removed from its box, monks began to play on long trumpets. Most stopped talking, though the stressed out little kids still wailed.

    ‘They took the hat out of the box” Lew reported “a three cornered black hat, and when they put the hat on the Karmopa, the hall was suddenly filled with subtle but dazzling light. The babies stopped crying. There was a white sheet of sound and light that totally filled me, and I felt as if my mind was going to explode.

    “Over the years, Ive speaken about this event with many people who were there. Not everyone experienced this, but quite a few did. After it as all over, they handed out little strings to wear around your neck. I waited for hours to get one of those strings, as did everyone else. I wore it for awhile, until I saw that a lot of people were wearing them, and then I stopped.” (Pages 104—106, Alan Lew,One God Clapping)

    It is all the more interesting that the little kids were calmed.

    This is what we lose when certain practitionrs are not able to travel and teach freely.

    In another chapter, Lew reminded us that the point is not spiritual pyrotechnics but to use that as a signal that there is more out there than just increasing our mundane comforts.

    (quote)The petition itself goes on at length trying to paint HH Karmapa’s conditions to be almost as dire as Tihar Jail in Delhi (not good) or as some kind of gulag. Hyperbole is often a useful tool but not necessarily in a petition to a government. By insulting the Indian government with these kinds of statements HH Karmapa Lama’s followers in the West can be pretty sure it will be a good long while before he can leave again if ever. (unquote)

    Professor Thurman, who is supposed to be an academic, should have insisted on the petition being edited to remove the hyperbole and remedy its other rhetorical flaws before allowing his own name to be assigned to it. You cannot pass defense of ones Masters thesis or Ph.D dissertation if one’s material is that over-wrought.

    Reportedly Chogyam Trungpa had his troubles long before he became celebrated. Get and read Vickie McKenzie’s book, Cave in the Snow, a biography of the British born nun and teacher Tenzin Palmo. As a young girl, Palmo met a very young Trungpa when he was in London. He offered to teach her, and at the same time, he tried hard to get his hands on her.

    The young lady was not a prude. She physically rebuffed Trungpa’s advances (as in using the heel of her shoe) because he had said he was a monk under vows, and she respected the importance of vows, and refused to be co-respondant in breaking a monks vows, even when that monk was inviting her to do so. She told her interviewer that if Trungpa had been truthful and said he came from a non celibate tradition, she wouldve been pleased to partner with him. But he’d represented himself as a vowed monk and she therefore kept the boundaries even when he refused to.

    So, Trungpa was already showing signs of trouble, long before he became famous and acquired celebrity and a plethora of enablers. If everyone had had the rare good sense and Dharma eye possessed by this lady when she was just 19, matters would have gone better.

  4. Why so negative? It looks as if these people are trying to help which is so rare to see these days. The petition is a political issue because it has to be to address policies in the country in which the Karmapa is being “confined” (which IS clearly the case). The author of the petition and the comments from the signers are not politicians but are obviously concerned supporters, Buddhist followers and people who care about our basic rights as human beings. You can criticize the way its written if you need to, but to fail to see the genuine human qualities that this initiative represents would be a missed opportunity for you and your readers. I support this petition. I hope you will reconsider your stance on it and use your voice to also support it.

    • Hi Fred.
      Concerned supporters are a good thing. Methodology is another matter. I am not questioning anyone’s motives in this project, I’m sure they are the highest. I’m questioning the way it is being rolled out. To have any kind of significant impact in any activist cause supporters need to inform themselves of as many of the prevailing conditions as are applicable. Sometimes do-gooders do more damage than help because of their naivete.
      This particular petition won’t have my support because:
      a) the language smacks of First Worlder entitlement
      b) the implication that he is being held captive is wrong
      c) the missed opportunity is one of the petition writers
      d) I don’t jump on every “noble” bandwagon just because the crowd suggests I should particularly when the wheels aren’t that stable
      e) the tone and even some of the statements insult the country that has been my host for nearly 10 years
      f) the petition is addressed to Sonia Gandhi. She is still considered a foreigner in India even having been the wife of Rahul Gandhi and having his children and being a citizen. She is more of a figurehead, albeit a powerful one, than anything. That it wasn’t addressed to the Prime Minister, President, Lok Sabha ministers (the lower parliamentary house), Rajya Sabha (the upper house), cabinet ministers or anyone actually in government makes it a moot document. It is foreigners calling upon a non-elected foreigner with some connections to interfere in decisions made by the Indian government. This is part of the First Worlder issue as well. It says “We can’t talk to you Indians so we’ll talk to one of our own.”

      It is not that I am against a petition. One that were appropriately worded and addressed to parties that could do something (Sonia Gandhi may be president of the Congress Party but technically she is powerless) I might be inclined to promote it. As it stands that is not the case.

  5. The only line I don’t agree with in the petition is “Orgyen Trinley Dorje has been living under political and religious oppression”. It just a bad choice of words.

    The rest of the text is okay, I think. But maybe, yes, it needs to be re-phrased. I’m actually waiting a bit before signing it. I’m actually hoping that something more official would come, maybe from the organizers of His Holiness European tour. But they should act soon as everything goes so fast these days.

    • Contemplating action and $1.50 will get you a cup of coffee – and that’s all.

      Remember…”for all beings as vast as space”.

  6. The only issue I have with the petition is also the language – it can be phrased better. Also talking about Occupation in Tibet in such a way may prohibit the India govt from accepting it. However, I think the writer of this post, although well-versed in India life and perhaps the politics, failed to address a very central issue in the lives of Exile Tibetans – sectarianism. The writer seemed to think that ALL Tibetan people are united in the way they think of China, India, or each other. They most certainly do not. There are historical rifts between ethnic groups (Tibet is mostly made up from 3 almost distinct ethnic groups with a number of smaller minorities) and Buddhist schools. The religious differences has mostly disappeared within Tibet itself but it’s still an issue within the Exile community. If there are some exile Tibetans who didn’t want to see HHGK visiting the west, its it certainly not done with benevolence or any sort of strange thoughts such as “let’s keep him pure!”

    To think that Tibetan people “actually want to keep their Lama in India” is very laughable as they themselves would want to leave the India if they get a chance. They also know that much of the funding for the upkeep of the monasteries and the feeding of the monk came from the offerings made to the Rinpoches when they teach overseas. They also WANT their lamas to visit other places also for the spread of Dharma. Not to mention the Tibetans living in the West who suffers under racism like the rest of the non-whites – the DEFINITELY wish for lamas to visit the West. To say that they somehow do not want HHGK or other high lama/rinpoche going abroad to each “to keep them in a cage” does not make sense at all. Have the writer talked to a single Tibetan before coming up with that theory?

    The writer doesn’t’ seemed to know a whole lot about Kagyupas before (like calling HHGK “Karmapa Lama”), and to all the sudden come with a theory like this and passing it along is actually harmful. Seeing their leaders under house arrest is not a dream of ANY people. They just simply can’t do much about it if they’re in India. To suggest that they would rather keep them locked up “so they wont’ end up like “some other Rinpoche” is both offensive to the Tibetans and to the student of the said Rinpoche. It’s like claiming the Native Americans or the First Nationers actually wanted to Whites to take over their land “so they can get better use of it”. To ask the Kagyupas just to “live with it” and visit India to see HH is ridiculous at best. Is this happening with HHDL? Why is this only OK to live with it when its the head of the Kagyus? If HHGK did not want to visit other countries, then of course we’ll gladly go and visit him all the time. But the issue is that HHGK has repeatedly said he wishes to visit the entire world and was repeatedly denied. No, I’m sorry, no student with their right mind will want to live with this. This maybe an obstacle unique to us but it’s something which we need to overcome, not just accepting it without care.

    • Hi AVP. Some of your critiques seem to be addressed to me and some to the other comments I quoted but I’ll try to discuss both as well as I can.
      As I mentioned to another commenter the use of Lama is local convention so that is what I use.
      I am aware of sectarianism within the Tibetan refugee community here. But I don’t think that is the impetus for denying a visa to Karmapa. Nor is any wish of any particular group within the Tibetan community. The decision is based on far greater issues.
      I don’t believe I said that anyone wants to keep Karmapa in India, others have suggested that.
      In all the issue is just much bigger and more complicated than what people, Karmapa, his followers, Tibetans of any sect, refugees in general-pick your group want for themselves and each other. We are all within a greater milieu and very few of us can control those forces.
      I am not saying this situation should merely be accepted. I am saying that there are more skillful ways to go about producing change than insulting people and throwing petulant fits.

      • ..I am saying that there are more skillful ways to go about producing change than insulting people and throwing petulant fits…

        Sorry for reality check, but that is precisely what you are doing in your blog.

        • There’s a huge difference between a miniscule insignificant blog in the hinterlands of the Internet and trying to persuade a national government to change their policy.

          Blogs are generally done on topics that interest their writers for myriads of personal reasons. Petitions are official documents presented for specific political purposes.

          Totally different purposes, audiences, methods, tones.

          It’s like the difference between a summons to court and a text message to your friends to meet at the neighborhood bar.

          The petition purports to speak for “The international community of Buddhist practitioners and supporters…” As a member of that international community I’m saying, ON MY OWN BLOG, not on the petition site, not in some newspaper, not all over the Internet, that it does not speak for me.

          And sir I am still miles away from petulant.

          Reality check right back atcha.

      • It looks like you have edited your post so the part I was talking about was taken out. You have clearly disparaged the Tibetan people before about how they wanted to keep them from visiting the West and be corrupted, but I can’t find that passage anymore. It’s your right to do that I guess.

        As the freedom of movement for HHGK – HH has been repeatedly denied access to parts of India – He basically need to report to authorities when he decide to leave his residence. You call that freedom? This has happened many, many times, but it’s only publicized a few times. Now he was able to visit the US and Bodhgaya before, that’s because the permssion was GRANTED. The whole issue has been – WHY does need to ask for permission in the first place? Do you have to get permission when you want to visit a monastery or leave India? If you live like him, will you call yourself free?

        You also claim to be a Zen Buddhist now, but yet you speak with such an authority about Tibetan Refugee issues. Looks like you’re just another outsider trying to explain things they do not understand by reading a few articles. That explains how you feel about some Rinpoches who visited the West before, you utter lack of sympathy to the Tibetan cause or Tibetan Buddhists in general, and how clueless you are about Tibetan Refugees and their plight in India. I see no need to debate you in these points since these issue is just another blog gossip to you. I just hope no other people who read your blog will be mislead into thinking that you are somehow an expert in these issues and really start to believe in what you wrote. HHGK has no freedom in India. Anyone who claim he does is simply ill-informed.

        • Dear AVP

          > Comment:
          > It looks like you have edited your post so the part I was talking about
          > was taken out.

          I have not edited the post except to add the bit at the end. I do not redact
          anything I write here ever. It would be pointless since it exists in it’s
          original form in Google cache or in the RSS feed or in the browser caches of the couple of hundred people that have read it.

          > You have clearly disparaged the Tibetan people before about how they
          > wanted to keep them from visiting the West and be corrupted, but I can’t
          > find that passage anymore. It’s your right to do that I guess.

          I did not disparage the Tibetan people. I did not remove any words from the post. You have been reading your own interpretation into what was stated. And the parts you are referring to are inferences made by Mr. Bill Schwartz in his quote. And in that case it is possibly a disparagement to the Western people, not to the Tibetans.

          > As the freedom of movement for HHGK – HH has been repeatedly denied access
          > to parts of India – He basically need to report to authorities when he
          > decide to leave his residence.

          All foreigners in India have to register their whereabouts. I am registered
          with the office locally myself. Any time I go to a hotel I have to fill out
          a Form C with all my particulars and this form goes to the office that
          tracks foreigners in India. This is Indian law for foreigners. As I don’t
          have security concerns, unless I go to areas requiring permits there is a
          little more freedom. But there is no where on earth anyone has absolute
          freedom.

          > You call that freedom? This has happened many, many times, but it’s only
          > publicized a few times. Now he was able to visit the US and Bodhgaya
          > before, that’s because the permssion was GRANTED. The whole issue has
          > been – WHY does need to ask for permission in the first place? Do you
          > have to get permission when you want to visit a monastery or leave India?
          > If you live like him, will you call yourself free?

          The issues of WHY have been speculated upon in the above post. If you choose not to address them or if they don’t satisfy you then I suppose you should ask someone in the Indian government.

          Yes I do have to get permission to visit certain monasteries such as in
          Sikkim or areas of Ladakh and also when I leave India. Everyone does. It’s
          called an exit visa. For most of us, who have valid passports, it is granted
          by the Immigration officer at the airport. The Karmapa does not have a
          passport from any recognized country. He is in essence stateless and that is the issue.

          There is no one who can call themselves truly free. If they do then they
          have some kind of issue with reality contact…or they have become Buddha.

          Freedom is a very relative thing. The rules of one country are not
          applicable to another for more reasons than I care to outline. But consider the case of freedom in America for example. That country purports to be the “land of the free”. One cannot freely go to certain areas there (ie grounds of the White House, Area 51, military bases, environmentally protected areas, court and government buildings are just a few examples) illegal immigrants get detained and sent back to countries of origin, foreign students have to register and maintain documentation as to their whereabouts, anyone without an American passport can be subject to detention and deportation. And even American citizens are subject to restrictions on activities and movement. You call that freedom? The same is true in every country in the world to a greater or lesser degree. There is no such thing as absolute freedom in the nationalistic realm.

          > You also claim to be a Zen Buddhist now, but yet you speak with such an
          > authority about Tibetan Refugee issues.

          I have always said my main Buddhist practice is Zen. And I’ve also said my academic credentials and studies have been of Zen, Pure Land, Theravada and Tibetan Buddhism and that I’ve learned Buddhism, from a practice point of view, mainly in Asia (Taiwan, Hong Kong, Thailand, India) spanning nearly 30 years. I am quite familiar with the Buddhist terrain.

          As for refugee issues in a general context I have been involved in refugee
          rights activism since the 1980s. And in the specific area of Tibetan
          refugees I have been involved for the past 8 years. I live in the midst of a
          Tibetan refugee settlement and I know what happens here on a daily basis.

          > Looks like you’re just another outsider trying to explain things they do
          > not understand by reading a few articles. That explains how you feel
          > about some Rinpoches who visited the West before, you utter lack of
          > sympathy to the Tibetan cause or Tibetan Buddhists in general, and how
          > clueless you are about Tibetan Refugees and their plight in India.

          Of course I am an outside since I am not Tibetan. That doesn’t preclude
          having some understanding of the issues. You bet I read articles-mainly to see how much fluff they contain. I have no feeling about the Rinpoches who have visited the west before other than that it is a shame that so many wasted so much time with ungrateful, self-serving, disrespectful students. That’s the first time I’ve said that by the way. Again you are mainly referring to comments made by others. And misconstruing those comments as well. They do not denigrate the Tibetans who brought their version of the Dharma to the west. They speak to the self-interest and egotism of many of the Western students. The same attitude which prevails to a large extent today. And as for your last accusation clearly you have no idea of where my sympathies lie even though I have stated them on many occasions here. You have no idea what clues I have about anything since this is likely the first time you’ve even stumbled across my blog.

          And if you think you do why don’t you tell me what you feel I don’t
          understand? Why don’t you point out the discrepancies in my arguments? Why don’t you let me know where I am factually inaccurate? You seem to have all the answers. I invite you to be forthcoming with them. Educate me if you think I am so ignorant.

          > I see no need to debate you in these points since these issue is just
          > another blog gossip to you.

          To make accusations-especially about things you have misconstrued-and then to back out of correcting all these alleged errors makes little sense. This blog contains very little gossip. It contains factual data and opinion
          backed up by said data. I don’t really care if you want to dismiss it.

          > I just hope no other people who read your blog will be mislead into
          > thinking that you are somehow an expert in these issues and really start
          > to believe in what you wrote. HHGK has no freedom in India. Anyone who
          > claim he does is simply ill-informed.

          People can believe whatever they want. If they come to some no-account blog to get their beliefs then they have way bigger problems than any exchange of comments can resolve. I have never said I was an expert. I report what I see and experience on a daily basis backed up by the information given to me by others who are more directly involved, logical analysis, in-depth research and factual data.

          If my lack of agreement with your perspective is what is bothering you then why not just say that rather than to try to make me out to be something I’ve never stated that I am. If it rubs you the wrong way that I won’t just jump on the bandwagon without thinking about what I am doing and questioning it then I wonder what kind of consideration goes into blog comments you have made.

          If you don’t like my opinion why not just say that? To continue to try to
          pressure me into agreeing with you is pointless. If your purpose is just to
          wear me down til I agree with an untenable position, forget about it. Not
          going to happen.

          You go on about freedom yet imply that I do not have the freedom to think for myself, investigate circumstances on the ground and to make my own conclusions and express my own opinion. You call that freedom? Is that what you offer the Karmapa too?

  7. Friends, if this turns into a fight, it will only attract trolls and massage afflictive emotions.

    This *is* Nella’s blog and she has studied and practiced dharma and has lived in India for longer than most of us have ever been in college.

    Providing this blog is an act of hospitality.

    If someone opens thier door (or blog) and does not want to sign a petition, the polite thing to do is respect that persons preferences and then move on to the next address to see if others are willing to sign.

    It is bad manners to nag after a blogger or brick and mortar house holder has already stated they do not wish to be signatory to one’s petition.

    My cousin used to be in sales and learned to accept that he’d get ten refusals and hang up calls for everyone who did say yes.

  8. Your comments on the Dorje Shugden controversy not only bite off more than you chew, but completely mischaracterize it. First, you don’t even mention the documented unnecessary upheavel and harassment created by the Dalai Lama on this situation. Second, you only mention an unresolved isolated incident for which is there is no definite legal conclusions to link Dorje Shugden to violence. Please try to learn more, a segment of the Tibetan exiles has been ostracized for simply trying to adhere to their beliefs by a ridiculous, unprecedented policy created by the TGIE and the Dalai Lama.

    How would you like it if your government came to your door and required you to sign a petition to renounce the Karmapa?

    • Hi JJ

      This post is not about the Dorje Shugden controversy. That is only a tangential point. I quite agree that to get into that issue would be taking a really big bite as it has a very long historical context and no one would ever be satisfied with any comments made about it. I realize there are very strong feelings and opinions around the entire issue.

      As for your question. I am not a Tibetan Buddhist but a Zen Buddhist so it wouldn’t affect me in the same way. But should such an incident ever happen you can be sure there would be quite a vitriolic blog post appearing soon after.

      I do really hope that there can be some generosity and compassion on both sides of the issue and that healing within the Tibetan community can take place. But I also know realistically that it will be quite some time before that happens. Probably another generation or longer.

      • Unfortunately you’re tangential point is wrong , so it needs to be clarified.

        Mischaracterized means, in other words, that people think we are a threat, potential murderers. Why? Simple, that is how DL and TGIE describe us. So what others say is just repeating what they say.

        Here you (mis)characterize in this very statement: “where the Dorje Shugden faction has thrived, mostly outside India now, there is concern that there may be assassination attempts.”

        The only assassination that I can see is ours: it’s called character assassination.

        • Dear JJ

          There is a concern on that issue from some elements in the Indian security establishment. That has been reported on for years. I can neither verify nor dispute what information they may have in their possession.

          I am sure that majority of the participants in the NKT are devout, peaceful and honorable individuals. But can you verify that is the case with all of them considering what has taken place in the past?

          I would like to but I cannot either.

          > Comment:
          > Unfortunately you’re tangential point is wrong , so it needs to be
          > clarified.
          >
          > Mischaracterized means, in other words, that people think we are a threat,
          > potential murderers. Why? Simple, that is how DL and TGIE describe us. So
          > what others say is just repeating what they say.
          >
          > Here you (mis)characterize in this very statement: “where the Dorje
          > Shugden faction has thrived, mostly outside India now, there is concern
          > that there may be assassination attempts.”
          >
          > The only assassination that I can see is ours: it’s called character
          > assassination.

  9. Your views on this petition sound so arrogant like a PhD board review of a dissertation of social movements of the west!

    Yet in the field social movements rarely have the strategic design plan unless the NGO has paid a consultant to do it. And by then it has lost the spirit and half the people on route!

    The remarkable quality of this petition is the absence of this – there is not a coordinated organization, the language is clear cry of an injustice..theis is the nature of resistance when things have gone too far.

    It is a spark that can ignite a fire that spreads across continents…as it has done!
    It is not a lesson in good diplomacy. That can be left to the coordinators to continue in good faith.

    Even so what I find extraordinary is why should Thurman ask the author to re-write the statement before signing his name? He chose to support it as is. He gave it his endorsement and maybe he believes it, who are you to say ?
    Im a bit worried about democracy in Cabaret Land!

    Realtiy Check! This is clearly not a targeted government approach—otherwise all those figures would be listed. This petition does not claim to be any of what you would do if you had written it!

    Indeed you didn’t do anything except complain of others action and tweet a failed UN job applicant that china blocked. Im not encouraged in your alturism in the least!

    I believe you fail to miss the motivation. My dear this as an appeal to the conscience of India and for some odd reason even those in India respect Sonia for this!

    If it makes you feel good – fine, give everyone a history lesson and tell them actually she is not from India! Yet this is hardly news.

    Your equally nit pick semi fact/ view that the Karmapa is free to travel is just not true otherwise he would have the permit for Europe.
    The reality is India has chosen to deny the Karmapa his permit after 5 months of consideration.

    No doubt India is prepared for a western response well researched and strategic to your standards or not.

    The fact is the underlying cause has touched the heart of thousands of people across the globe! whether India reads the partition or not the consience of india must decided to let the Karmapa be free !

    • Dear Wendy

      Clearly you are upset that I don’t get your vision, have your enthusiasm for this particular project and that I disagree with you.
      Fair enough. Most people who are thinking about what they are doing will
      likely disagree at some point.
      But there are a few things in your comment I will address anyways.

      > Comment:
      > Your views on this petition sound so arrogant like a PhD board review of
      > a dissertation of social movements of the west!

      Numerous people don’t like my writing style. That’s quite fine with me. They
      don’t have to read it.

      > Yet in the field social movements rarely have the strategic design plan
      > unless the NGO has paid a consultant to do it. And by then it has lost the
      > spirit and half the people on route!

      Planning does have it’s disadvantages.

      > The remarkable quality of this petition is the absence of this – there is
      > not a coordinated organization, the language is clear cry of an
      > injustice..theis is the nature of resistance when things have gone too
      > far.
      > It is a spark that can ignite a fire that spreads across continents…as it
      > has done!
      > It is not a lesson in good diplomacy. That can be left to the coordinators
      > to continue in good faith.

      As an emotional outburst it works well.

      > Even so what I find extraordinary is why should Thurman ask the author to
      > re-write the statement before signing his name? He chose to support it as
      > is. He gave it his endorsement and maybe he
      believes it, who are you to say ?

      Robert Thurman is free to sign what he wants. I don’t believe I said he
      should ask the author anything.
      Who am I to say? Just another idiot with an opinion on the Internet. I’ve
      stated that before numerous times on this blog.

      > Im a bit worried about democracy in Cabaret Land!

      Funny you cite democracy then expect me to check my opinion at the door
      because it disagrees with yours. Who’s blog are you commenting on unedited
      and undeleted?

      > Realtiy Check! This is clearly not a targeted government
      > approach—otherwise all those figures would be listed. This petition does
      > not claim to be any of what you would do if you had written it!

      “not a targeted government approach” Then what is the purpose of it? Another
      feel good exercise? A wail of disappointment? An expression of backlash
      against the Indian government? What a waste of time then.

      > Indeed you didn’t do anything except complain of others action and tweet
      > a failed UN job applicant that china blocked. Im not encouraged in your
      > alturism in the least!

      I am not here to live up to your expectations. You have no idea what I have
      or haven’t done. My altruism is not for public
      consumption. That kind of validation is entirely self-serving. I merely
      cited an example. And if you don’t like Shashi Tharoor-the man does have a
      name-even though you dismiss him without such-that’s hardly my concern.

      > I believe you fail to miss the motivation. My dear this as an appeal to
      > the conscience of India and for some odd reason even those in India
      > respect Sonia for this!

      “My dear…” isn’t there a more condescending epithet you could have dug up?
      I’m nobody’s “dear”. And I think, by your vitriol that I’ve captured only
      the tip of the iceberg of the motivation. I’ll get to the rest of it when I
      address all your comments here. Your phraseology appears to indicate you
      think Sonia-who is a figurehead at best-is the only one in India to have a
      conscience.

      > If it makes you feel good – fine, give everyone a history lesson and tell
      > them actually she is not from India! Yet this is hardly news.

      If all I cared about was feeling good I’d get myself about half a ton of
      drugs and not waste my time writing a blog. If people don’t care about
      history that’s not my problem. They can read something else.

      > Your equally nit pick semi fact/ view that the Karmapa is free to travel
      > is just not true otherwise he would have the permit for Europe. The
      > reality is India has chosen to deny the Karmapa his permit after 5
      > months of consideration.

      I have stated some of the many possible reasons very clearly. They chose to
      deny the visa and they have their reasons. Just because you want them to
      choose a different course of action doesn’t mean they have to acquiesce. To
      put your question back at you… Who are you to say?

      > No doubt India is prepared for a western response well researched and
      > strategic to your standards or not.

      I doubt the Indian government much cares about this issue. It’s not like
      it’s a treaty on nuclear weapons with Pakistan or something. There is far
      more on the table involving far greater issues than this for them to deal
      with. What a small group of Buddhist followers in the west do is not of
      great consequence on a global, national, regional or even local scale.

      > The fact is the underlying cause has touched the heart of thousands of
      > people across the globe! whether India reads the partition or not the
      > consience of india must decided to let the Karmapa be free !

      Dictating what must move the conscience of the Indian government is a
      typical colonialist attitude. They don’t have to do what you want them to
      do. No one does just because you and several thousand other people say so.
      You want your wish fulfilled. Someone has denied that. Petulance ensues.

  10. To evaluate the style of this petition or to serve as a guide for re-drafting this contested petition, one organization that works on behalf of persons who need advocacy offers some advice:

    “..be polite and thoughtful when
    choosing your words.”

    “Use respectful language throughout your letter (email or petition).
    Do not discuss political ideology or politics.”

    “Use the proper salutation. Begin by stating your main concern.”

    This means, learn and verify the correct title of the persons and department of the government. And learn and be certain of the Karamapa’s proper title/s.

    Point of clarification.

    Bear in mind that persons interested in Buddhism, especially Kagyu and who are thinking of entering the Dharma Stream, may be this discussion.

    If anyone behaves in a needlessly quarrelsome manner, this behavior will reflect poorly upon the Karmapa whom many wish to help. Others may thin, ‘If this is how Tibetan Buddhists behave, why bother practicing withing that set of lineages? I do not want to risk being turned into a foot soldier in someone’s lineage battles or political squabbles.’

    To go further:

    Nella (who owns this blog) did not say anything about about Ph.D dissertations.

    It was I, Noodlebowl, who wrote the comment referring to Ph.D dissertation committees.

    “Your views on this petition sound so arrogant like a PhD board review of a dissertation of social movements of the west!”

    I begged to differ with how Thurman, an academic choose to associate himself with a petition whose language lacks precision and would not be acceptable within the academic circles where Thurman has gained much of his own prestige.

    I wrote:

    “Professor Thurman, who is supposed to be an academic, should have insisted on the petition being edited to remove the hyperbole and remedy its other rhetorical flaws before allowing his own name to be assigned to it. You cannot pass defense of ones Masters thesis or Ph.D dissertation if one’s material is that over-wrought.”

    At no point did I ever refer to “a PhD board review of a dissertation of social movements of the west”

    I stated, “You cannot pass defense of ones Masters thesis or Ph.D disseration if mone;s material is that over-wrought.’

    The point I tried to make was that if Thurman had written his own Ph.D dissertation and his early articles in the over-wrought rhetorical style that characterizes this Karmapa petition, he would never have gained tenure track.

    Over-wrought language has no place in either secular academia or in Dharma dialogue.

    A petition that puts the Indian government on defensive through use of agitated and hyperbolic language will not benefit the Karmapa.

    The thing to do is yes, circulate a petition but let it be carefully written and composed so that it seeks justice and does so with a language that is respectful of all parties concerned, assertive where the Karmapa’s true interests or concerned and at the same time respectful and steadily gracious in relation to the government of India which is burdened by security concerns of very many kinds.

    T provide further clarification, I am not in any way involved with the Indian government, am and American citizen, and have nothing personally to gain by suggesting some precision and courtesy when drafting a petition to be sent to the governing authorities of India.

    Be grateful to Nella that she is willing to keep this blog open and available.

  11. How to write a petition!

    Well, then,Nella are you going to tell the thousands of people who signed this petition– that you can redraft with user friendly lingo? And like a film set reshoot? Take Two!

    In all fairness Nella I do believe you have missed the point of what I am trying to say. This is not going to happen! In an ideal world yes –we could write the ideal petition but this is the petition that lives!

    Of course it is great all the points you say and to have guidelines and toolkits on how to write a good pettion!

    Yet…these things rarely happen like this! . It is like child birth.. you can read all a thousand books..go to classes — yet when it happens – the real moment.. ..its is all you can do to breath! Those who are sometimes most prepared end up with complications.

    While the rural african woman who have nothing in Sierra leone will laugh and say we just do it! Even with 29% of child mortality under 5 –because all the international community have abandoned them–with no fresh water …and disease

    Let me tell you –if i had the time resources courage and determination- to do this petition at the moment it needed to be done — I would choose different words! Review it carefully. check my guidelines .Im sure I would not miss any opportunity! But I didnt do it.. couldnt –yet the man who did it! Did it as imperfect as it may be …

    And maybe it is not ideal. But by God, I take my hat off to him because something needs to be done. What is happening with this Karmapa is so very wrong.

    this is why Thurman signed it!

    The moment is now ! He did it!
    He knew he wasnt going to get a pettion together– he wouldnt have time to review it or anything like what you say!

    Do you know for certain that if Sonia received a petition with thousands from 40 countries that it would have no impact?

    I pray this petiton brings benefit!

    You call yourself a Buddhist yet you have given no credit or kindness or compassion to this persons efforts! On the contrary I am shocked at the words you choose to cut him down!

    to live without judgement .. to see the good in all people.

    with our thoughts we make the world!

    Thank you Nella for your blog!

    • Dear Wendy

      > Comment:
      > How to write a petition!

      I’m not the one who gave the information. But it could have been useful before the petition was put out in public.

      > Well, then,Nella are you going to tell the thousands of people who signed
      > this petition– that you can redraft with user friendly lingo? And like
      > a film set reshoot? Take Two!

      I’m not going to tell thousands of people to do anything. I am not that full
      of myself. We all have to live with and address the results of our actions.
      They are as free to sign or not sign for whatever reason, as I am. And they
      are as free to state those reasons in whatever venue is appropriate, as am
      I. If you want to promote this petition so much why not do so in a venue
      that will be effective. Wasting your time trying to convert me to your point
      of view is another example of ineffectiveness.

      > In all fairness Nella I do believe you have missed the point of what I am
      > trying to say. This is not going to happen! In an ideal world yes –we
      > could write the ideal petition but this is the petition that lives!

      Clearly the world is not ideal. Ideals are bullshit delusions. This
      petition lives in the dreams of the petitioners and no where else.

      > Of course it is great all the points you say and to have guidelines and
      > toolkits on how to write a good pettion!
      > Yet…these things rarely happen like this! . It is like child birth.. you
      > can read all a thousand books..go to classes — yet when it happens -
      > the real moment.. ..its is all you can do to breath! Those who are
      > sometimes most prepared end up with complications.

      One can be prepared to some degree. Does one forget everything when writing
      a document? Does all thinking go out the window just because someone has
      some feelings about something? By comments on blogs it sometimes appears so.

      > While the rural african woman who have nothing in Sierra leone will laugh
      > and say we just do it! Even with 29% of child mortality under 5 –because
      > all the international community have abandoned them–with no fresh water
      > …and disease

      Why don’t you make a petition about that since you know so much about it? It
      would relieve a lot more suffering. But the suffering of disappointed
      well-off dharma devotees in the west is no doubt of greater importance.

      > Let me tell you –if i had the time resources courage and determination-
      > to do this petition at the moment it needed to be done — I would choose
      > different words! Review it carefully. check my guidelines .Im sure I would
      > not miss any opportunity! But I didnt do it.. couldnt –yet the man who
      > did it! Did it as imperfect as it may be …

      Well you have the time, resources, courage and determination to take me to
      task at length. Why not put that to more appropriate use?

      > And maybe it is not ideal. But by God, I take my hat off to him because
      > something needs to be done. What is happening with this Karmapa is so
      > very wrong.

      Then why doesn’t he move to a Western country? Oh yeah THEY DON’T WANT HIM.
      Never have, never will. So Indian hospitality is not to the liking of
      others. What hospitality does your country offer to this Karmapa in terms of
      living arrangements? India, despite an absurd amount of pressure from China,
      for over 50 years has provided a safe haven for the Tibetan refugees. Maybe
      it’s not perfect but what other options present themselves at this moment?

      > this is why Thurman signed it!
      > The moment is now ! He did it!
      > He knew he wasnt going to get a pettion together– he wouldnt have time to
      > review it or anything like what you say!

      Mind reader are you too? You attribute a lot of motivation to someone you
      don’t even know.

      > Do you know for certain that if Sonia received a petition with thousands
      > from 40 countries that it would have no impact?

      I have no idea. I didn’t say it would have no impact. I said it would be ineffective.

      > I pray this petiton brings benefit!
      > You call yourself a Buddhist yet you have given no credit or kindness or
      > compassion to this persons efforts!

      Yes I am a very Bad Buddhist by many people’s reckoning. Much improvement
      required. I did not question this person’s motivation.

      > On the contrary I am shocked at the words you choose to cut him down!

      I did not cut him down. I did not question his motives. I did not wallow in
      ad hominem arguments. I took issue with the wording of a document. If you
      cant tell the difference…

      > to live without judgement ..

      And what exactly are you writing about here then if not judgment. That
      statement is nothing but hypocrisy.

      > to see the good in all people.
      > with our thoughts we make the world!

      What new age book did you get that from?

      > Thank you Nella for your blog!

      Thank you Wendy for your comments.

  12. Wendy, Nella suggest guidelines for petition writing, I did.

    If you want to be angry, direct the anger toward me, not at Nella.

  13. Noodle, I dont want to disappoint but I was not responding to you either time. Nella’s review of this petition.. using her phrase, “smacks” of academic arrogance and political correctness based on assumptions that have little credibility for the reasons stated above. Im not angry either -shocked yes, not angry. I would not “take out” anger on you –nor her..rest assured. Enjoy the day!

  14. And if you still have doubt let me be clear: I found a great deal more integrity honesty and compassion in the petition to free the Karmapa than in the critical assumptions and ill- made judgements of Nellas blog on the subject.

    • > Comment:
      > Regarding the real facts of the Karmapas lack of freedom to travel in
      > India I suggest anyone including Nella goes to the Asia On line
      > correspondent:
      >
      > http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LD15Df01.html
      >
      > If you have true grace Nella you will provide your readers an apology!

      You realize where Asia Times is published don’t you? Do you think they
      might then have an editorial slant that favors the Chinese and would attempt
      to disfavor India?

      That article is full of unsubstantiated suppositions. Example:

      “The Indian government apparently makes its decisions on Karmapa’s travel
      requests in view of its ties with China”

      That is an allegation without proof. Who said it? What documentation was
      provided to determine the truth of it or is it just the author’s opinion?

      Shall I go through the entire article and point this kind of stuff out to
      you?

      There is nothing in that article which hasn’t been expressed here. It is
      supposition. At least I label it as such and don’t masquerade it as
      journalism.

      So obviously I’ve read it. Why aren’t you petitioning China then? It’s their
      interference
      allegedly.

      I don’t owe anyone an apology for having an opinion.

      Why don’t you stop telling me how to behave and what to write and who to
      apologize to and what to feel and what my loyalties should be and who I
      should condemn and what my motivations should be and who to feel compassion
      for and what my blog should contain and what my objectives should be and
      what kind of Buddhist I should be and what country I should write about and
      what my living arrangements should be and who I should know and what my
      political response should be and ? Did I leave anything out? Probably but if
      necessary I’ll get to it.

      Fuck you. How’s that for an apology. No passive-aggressive bullshit here.
      Just straight on pissed-off-ness. And I’ll even own it to. Try it some time.
      You’d be amazed at how freeing it is.

  15. If the two of you keep on with nagging Nella, who is a private person and owns her own blog, this is as nasty as hounding a homeowner who refuses to display your political party’s badge in their window.

    This nagging of Nella this will make the Karmapa look bad, for it will give the tragic impression that he attracts thugs and bullies as supporters.

  16. Oh Noddle bag for goodness sakes! Anytime someone tires to disagree with real facts and the same tenacity as Bella ( she is the one that is so critical!) — You call everyone thugs and bullys. Im not asking her to sign the petiton!

    You are becoming a nusiance. If she writes this blog and tries to advise people a global petition oin human rights is unworthy –she has to get her facts clear! Either her facts stand or not and in this case we know they dont. And that is important otherwise words loose their meaning and we can no longer take responsibiltiy for the human conscience.
    You are so whimsical and endearing as the blog protector like a wrathfully diety but you are guarding the wrong door of the blog!

    You remind me of the doormouse in Alice in Wonderland -who I loved yet -please go back to sleep in your teapot because you seem to have it all topsy turvey.

    Bella choses to crucify a petition that was defending the cancellation of 9 countries across all Europe!! This was not just Kagyu! This was every Buddha societry and dharma centre that have been active for decades in most cities of Europe of which thousands have signed this petiton! The Europe trip that was denied was faciliated by those who have been working with His Holiness the Dalai lama since 1970s ! Im not a thug or a bullies to defend these principles! These people deserve true facts and consideration!

    Thank you Fred! Blessings
    Tashi Delek

    • Dear Wendy

      Thank you for all your passive-aggressive hostility.

      I prefer to acknowledge my hostility as it is and not pretend to be
      otherwise especially when it comes to discussions of political and human
      rights issues. I am quite aware that I am critical.

      What facts are you referring to exactly in your comment? You have presented
      no facts and only a lot of emotionally toned rhetoric. You are disgruntled
      at a government decision and that I have criticized a certain document. You
      have labeled someone who has been responding to you in good faith as a
      nuisance among other things.

      If you do not want me to sign this petition what are you doing here? What do
      you want? Do you even know? Do you just want to vent your spleen to the
      world so everyone can see how absolutely fabulously enlightened you are?

      Your entire concern is with your own inconvenience and comfort and opinion.

      > Comment:
      > Oh Noddle bag for goodness sakes! Anytime someone tires to disagree with
      > real facts and the same tenacity as Bella ( she is the one that is so
      > critical!) — You call everyone thugs and bullys. Im not asking her to
      > sign the petiton!
      >
      > You are becoming a nusiance. If she writes this blog and tries to advise
      > people a global petition oin human rights is unworthy –she has to get her
      > facts clear! Either her facts stand or not and in this case we know they
      > dont. And that is important otherwise words loose their meaning and we can
      > no longer take responsibiltiy for the human conscience.
      > You are so whimsical and endearing as the blog protector like a
      > wrathfully diety but you are guarding the wrong door of the blog!
      >
      > You remind me of the doormouse in Alice in Wonderland -who I loved
      > yet -please go back to sleep in your teapot because you seem to have it
      > all topsy turvey.
      >
      > Bella choses to crucify a petition that was defending the cancellation
      > of 9 countries across all Europe!! This was not just Kagyu! This was
      > every Buddha societry and dharma centre that have been active for decades
      > in most cities of Europe of which thousands have signed this petiton!
      > The Europe trip that was denied was faciliated by those who have been
      > working with His Holiness the Dalai lama since 1970s ! Im not a thug
      > or a bullies to defend these principles! These people deserve true facts
      > and consideration!
      >
      > Thank you Fred! Blessings
      > Tashi Delek

  17. I must correct myself it is Nella and not Bella as I accidental wrote in my last post. You see it is possible to correct when one makes a mistake and apologies. There is no blame.

    Nella could take a step down from her self elevated priviled position of having lived in India and have compassion for her western brother and sister dharma friends rather than dismissing the actions as “first worlder entitlement.”

    As she now has aquired her second or is third world permit and identity badge to live in democratic India and be a Buddhist why does she not tell the truth?

    On the contrary she does what is incomprehensible and deeply devisive –she buys into the worse aspect of a class society that is still the home of the largerst slum in all of Asia with no citizenship of the slumdwellers let alone the Karmapa!

    Yes the country that has given her a home administers daily demolitions to the slum dwellers of Mumbai when the girls get raped ! Yet Bella has the audacity to tell everyone the Karmapa is free to travel in India when this is just not true. Yes there are many wonderful aspects to India yet dont be blinded by spirituality let it provide more compassion and clarity.

    Privialleged Bella the Buddhist in your castle of poltical correctness please rethink the principes and objectives of your blog otherwise I for one would not be disappointed to see its impermanace pass over the the next life! May you have good rebirth!

    Until then I wish you well and good in third world nirvana!

    • Dear Wendy

      > Comment:
      > I must correct myself it is Nella and not Bella as I accidental wrote in
      > my last post. You see it is possible to correct when one makes a mistake
      > and apologies. There is no blame.

      Bella? Cool. Just like the great feminist Bella Abzug. Or even better Bella
      Legosi. I do wear a lot of black.

      The only reason to mistake a name is to insult. Don’t pretend to teach me some great lesson in the art of the apology. That is beyond condescending.

      > Nella could take a step down from her self elevated priviled position of
      > having lived in India and have compassion for her western brother and
      > sister dharma friends rather than dismissing the actions as “first
      > worlder entitlement.”

      This is so beyond absurd. Considering elevation-am I the one telling the Third World to behave according to my standards. Oh the poor put upon Westerners. No one understands the dire nature of the plight of the mildly disappointed. I’m sure your little world feels like it’s ending.

      > As she now has aquired her second or is third world permit and identity
      > badge to live in democratic India and be a Buddhist why does she not tell
      > the truth?

      Identity permit-they don’t give merit badges for that.

      And one doesn’t need a permit to be a Buddhist either.

      Truth about what? I believe I cited quite a number of facts. Or are you
      talking about the truth according to your emotional state. And I do believe
      I’ve just been labeled a race traitor! Not the first time that’s happened by any means.

      Wait for it here it comes…

      > On the contrary she does what is incomprehensible and deeply
      > devisive –she buys into the worse aspect of a class society that is still
      > the home of the largerst slum in all of Asia with no citizenship of the
      > slumdwellers let alone the Karmapa!
      > Yes the country that has given her a home administers daily demolitions to
      > the slum dwellers of Mumbai when the girls get raped ! Yet Bella has the
      > audacity to tell everyone the Karmapa is free to travel in India when this
      > is just not true. Yes there are many wonderful aspects to India yet dont
      > be blinded by spirituality let it provide more compassion and clarity.

      I think the one who is blinded by spirituality is you. Your belief in your
      own self-righteousness and imaginary view of the world is astounding. And your pathetic Oprah-dharma is making me vomit. You
      equate the little vacation of the Karmapa with the plight of the rape of
      slum dwellers as if they are the same thing and of equal valence. Get your
      head out of your ass.

      I too would like to see the Karmapa and every other Buddhist teacher in Asia come to the west. Because what is passing for dharma there now, from the comments of so many of my “dharma brothers and sisters” is some kind of Oprah self-help that teaches nothing but ego wanking. Get out your “vision board’ maybe you can use the Law of Attraction to get an exit visa and enjoy the teachings you feel so “entitled’ to.

      > Privialleged Bella the Buddhist in your castle of poltical correctness
      > please rethink the principes and objectives of your blog otherwise I
      > for one would not be disappointed to see its impermanace pass over the the
      > next life! May you have good rebirth!

      So now I am supposed to rewrite my blog to fit with your version of reality
      of the world. Give me a fucking break. Clearly political correctness is not
      a big part of my agenda. And what sort of gobbledygook is the last part of that section. Is that supposed to be Buddhadharma. For my own protection I am supposed to buy into the racist party line, protect my Western dharma brothers and sisters, condemn a third world nation, whose standing as such is brought about in large part by the West and particularly western political and economic policy and atone for having an opinion on such matters for the sake of future rebirth. Baby I’m concerned with here and now. Sorry to disappoint you-again-but that’s what all of your fuss is about anyways-your own disappointment and self-serving attitude. You’ve mentioned women in Sierra Leone and slum dwellers in Mumbai neither of which has anything to do with the discussion. Why? Do you think that passing off these people as tokens of your “concern” gives you some kind of

      And I plan to be reborn as a lizard anyways. Just like last time.

      > Until then I wish you well and good in third world nirvana!

      No you don’t. So many times I’ve written on this blog about those folks who
      grit their teeth in anger and pretend it’s a smile while passing out
      Buddhist platitudes. Pretending to be all full love and light but when pressed the snark just oozes.
      I don’t pretend to be anything I’m not. I won’t pretend to go along with people just to pacify a bunch of whiny egos.

  18. Dear Nella the Buddhist

    Protector of the third world from wester first world entitlementers
    those who write petitions telling the third world what to do!

    Actually I work with those slum dwellers in Mumbai — and I know they dont speak about westerners as you do.

    And they would support any social movement that is critical of the lack of human rights in India…they invite it! they dont have poltical correctness like you and do nothing!

    I was not comparing their plight to what did you say the” Karmapas vaction”
    It is clear you hold such a patronising view of Great spiritual teacher
    You have no regard for anyone other than yourself!

    You are both vindicative and proud Nella the Buddhist in the castle of political correctness!

    You tell all the westeners of their first worlder entitlement failings while you are the saint of all saints !

    your spirituality has blinded you!

    Ok then if you are so good about reserch and telling the first worlders what to do.
    why did you not do some research into who the author of the petition is?

    Hmm? Do you know? No, I thought not.

    the author is just like you having lived in india yet she went and inteviewed the Karmapa for leading international Buddhist magazine. She got the truth! and writing for magazines far more respected than this blog!
    Her facts are true!

    You dont even know the truth and what is worse you dont care!
    it is incomprehensible and it is devisive that you buy into the common assumptions without investigation the very worst of the class society.

    The author of the petitition has been in india providing food to the hungry..
    not writing blogs!

    So if you still have no regard for this authors actions –maybe the author of the pettition should learn from Nella the Buddha in her castle of poltical correctness who is saving the third world from first world entitlment petittioners!

    Go on Nella the Buddhist – -tell her to “be here and now”

    tweet Shashi Tharoor as you did to find out the truth!

    and that way they wont behave like first worlders telling the third world what to do!

    and they can learn first rate interviewing techniques so their next petition does not smack of anything at all.

    Or maybe the author of the petition could learn from you and write an blog on original sin..

    the slum dwellers in Mumbai will love it- -accept of course they are illiterate!

    I believe for all your words Nella the Buddhist in your castle of poltical correctness so critical of others who are taking action…

    the original sin is yours

    and rebirth as a lizard as you wish would at least keep you silent!

    • Dear Wendy

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem Please note the section on ad hominem abusive.

      Since you have not addressed much of the argument and prefer to attack me personally that’s OK. Continuous ad hominem arguments are something I’ve become accustomed to. It is not something I am inclined to do in return very often. So again I will address your comments only and not infer things that are not there.

      > Protector of the third world from wester first world entitlementers those who write petitions telling the third world what to do!

      I am not a protector of anything although I do like images of Yamantaka very much.

      > Actually I work with those slum dwellers in Mumbai — and I know they dont speak about westerners as you do. And they would support any social movement that is critical of the lack of human rights in India…they invite it! they dont have poltical correctness like you and do nothing!

      It is good you’ve had a chance to do such worthy work. And I agree that slum dwellers do not speak about westerners as I do. They don’t know many and have not had much education. It is difficult to have an opinion on what you have not encountered in life. Frames of reference are quite different as are priorities. However many people in India do bring up similar points. If you’ve ever heard speeches by Brinda Karat, Jyoti Basu or members of the CPI(M) or read the writings of many in the academic realm, or have even had a chance to read the works of Dr. Ambedkar you will find that there are quite a number of opinions similar to my own here. Even newspaper editorials go at it with quite a flourish. Some of said opinions, taken to extremes have unfortunately formed the basis of Naxalism and other anti-social movements that undermine the very causes that they seek to promote. There is an entire spectrum of opinion in India. Just like everywhere else. I am not presenting myself as a representative of any of them, only as an ally.

      > I was not comparing their plight to what did you say the” Karmapas vaction” It is clear you hold such a patronising view of Great spiritual teacher You have no regard for anyone other than yourself!

      It is quite clear that my regard is for a number of people other than myself which was the reason I wrote the post.

      > You are both vindicative and proud Nella the Buddhist in the castle of political correctness!

      Hurling such personal abuse, name calling and speculation as to the factors of my personality and re-invoking what I have quite recently addressed is not doing your argument any favors.

      > You tell all the westeners of their first worlder entitlement failings while you are the saint of all saints !

      I have never claimed to be a saint. Entitlement has been aptly demonstrated here.

      > your spirituality has blinded you!

      This was addressed in a previous comment.

      > Ok then if you are so good about reserch and telling the first worlders what to do.why did you not do some research into who the author of the petition is? Hmm? Do you know? No, I thought not. the author is just like you having lived in india yet she went and inteviewed the Karmapa for leading international Buddhist magazine. She got the truth! and writing for magazines far more respected than this blog! Her facts are true!

      I am glad this person got an interview and that it was published. Were I a professional writer I would want the same thing I suppose. There was no reason to investigate the person who wrote the petition in great depth because I was disagreeing with elements of the document. I’m not about to go cyber-stalking someone just because I don’t like their opinion on one piece of writing. That’s fairly unbalanced and obsessive.

      > You dont even know the truth and what is worse you dont care!

      The truth we are speaking about in this context is a relative thing. Are you sure you know what I care about?

      > it is incomprehensible and it is devisive that you buy into the common assumptions without investigation the very worst of the class society.

      I’ve not bought into anything that you claim I have. I have not defended castism. I think it is appalling. There seems to be quite a lot of “all or nothing” thinking going on here. There are quite a lot of nuances to my relationship with India. It is not a “love it or leave it” package. That is very superficial thinking.

      > The author of the petitition has been in india providing food to the hungry..not writing blogs!

      A person can’t do both?

      > So if you still have no regard for this authors actions –maybe the author of the pettition should learn from Nella the Buddha in her castle of poltical correctness who is saving the third world from first world entitlment petittioners!

      If I had no regard for the writing of this author in this particular instance I would have ignored it. Again with the suppositions and name calling. Your attachment to your dislike of political correctness might merit some examination. None of this is about political correctness. Political correctness is quite different from political action and activism. I am no big fan of political correctness. In fact your position more closely resembles political correctness than mine does. I don’t want to reinvoke the Culture Wars of the 90s when said term came into disrepute. So let’s be clear what is actually being discussed. Heres a of link that outlines exactly what that means:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_correctness

      Political correctness as it stands today in the extreme seeks to stifle speech completely. To have people be silent. I have not once asked you to do so. Nor have I suggested that the petitioner do so. I have only questioned the effectiveness of the document in the political realm.

      > Go on Nella the Buddhist – -tell her to “be here and now”

      You are very good at giving orders to people. Do you have a military background?

      > tweet Shashi Tharoor as you did to find out the truth!

      Nice you remembered his name.

      > and that way they wont behave like first worlders telling the third world what to do!

      Sort of like you telling me what to do all the time.

      > and they can learn first rate interviewing techniques so their next petition does not smack of anything at all.

      Maybe they can learn a few tips to write a more effective document that will actually have some impact. I would not spend as much time as I did on a blog post if the central cause were not of sufficient import to me.

      > Or maybe the author of the petition could learn from you and write an blog on original sin..

      I have not asked the author of the petition to do anything. I have pointed out the way that particular document reads from my perspective. They are free to do as they wish. If they want to write a blog and it has a Buddhist perspective I’d be happy to include it in my blogroll. Glad to know you are reading my other posts as well. Original sin is a concept alien to Buddhism as you well know.

      > the slum dwellers in Mumbai will love it- -accept of course they are illiterate!

      I know there are many illiterate people in India. That is why I teach some of them to read.

      > I believe for all your words Nella the Buddhist in your castle of poltical correctness so critical of others who are taking action…

      I am not critical of others. I am critical of certain actions and documents. I have not said I was against a petition in concept or action. Only certain passages within this particular petition. They are different matters on quite different scales.

      > the original sin is yours

      I am a Buddhist. I don’t believe in original sin. That is a Christian concept.

      > and rebirth as a lizard as you wish would at least keep you silent!

      Have you made your point yet? Is that all you require of me is to keep silent? I ask again. What do you want here? You do not require my signature on that petition, as you have stated. You just seem to enjoy engaging in this lengthy personal attack for some reason. It seems you are offended that I’ve postulated that the Indian government might be offended by some wording in a document. It feels like you take that personally. It seems that something in these words has challenged your perception of yourself as a petition participant and you don’t like it and are trying to make that feeling go away by attempting to silence me. It won’t work- either silencing me or making the feeling go away.

      It feels like this is becoming a huge shenpa issue for you. It is unfortunate that is happening. Here are a couple of links which offer teachings which might be of benefit for you in that regard.

      They are by Pema Chodron

      http://www.shambhala.org/teachers/pema/shenpa3a.php

      http://www.shambhalasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=1610&Itemid=247

      http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=163114570&blogId=236233183

  19. Dear Nellalou,

    You have hurled abuse swearing and cussing with rage!

    Everyone can read it ! Everyone can see your contradictions!
    Everyone can see that you have made judgments and are trying to control your blog so that whatever comments people make — you dispute them with whatever means you can.

    So you ask why do I continue ?
    As I’ve said I don’t expect you to sign the petition.

    For your information I have not signed the petition.

    You make so many assumptions –rumors and assumptions are not good.
    When did I ever say I signed the petition?

    3. Rumour and assumptions mislead people from the truth.
    And clearly The Buddha set out the four Nobel Truths to end suffering.
    May all people have happiness and the cause of Happiness.

    4. The phrase political correctness is the nature of your assertion that the petition represents first worlder entitlement which you assume is only oppressive. For you that is a big no no because first worlders according to what you say have written words that do not have any respect or understanding of the reality of the people living in the third world. They don’t understand the politics so the inference is such that that although their intentions may be good they are locked in the politics of the other that creates a duality and ultimately oppresses.
    It is a real issue and term that has credibility in certain circumstances.

    Although a petition is seen as democratic non-violent tool you are suggesting that the author of this petition is a first worlder entitlement because of the words she has used.

    5. The fact is the author of the petition knows a great deal more about the subject than you do. – The cry of injustice is genuine–

    6. You also disputed the accuracy of the facts –saying the author had it wrong you say the Karmapa is free. Both the article by Asia on Line and the fact this woman has first hand interview is strong case for determining facts. Even now you won’t apologies for wrong asssumptions! You won’t apologies to the insult you have done to these people!

    7. Your article came across with arrogance that you knew and you judged. It is your language– “smacks with firstworlder entitlement! This is deeply offensive and arrogant language. It is a kind of literary journalistic phrase ” smacks of” that in its nature is very self important stylistically.

    Your blog is the means by which your view is not compassion at all!
    It is to be superior and judge — you say you asknowledge the petition otherwise you would not have made comments I disagree,

    You used the petition to build your own case you did research to support your view then make a judgement!
    You were more engaged in your own interpretation than in seeing the truth even now!
    Even when it is clear both myself and the petition author– who I have not met are clearly very experienced in working with India and the third world.

    And what I find so shocking on a Buddhist blog is the lack of real dialogue.
    What makes the sacred literature of India–including ancient Hindu and Buddhist traditions so valuable is that they are dialogues Question and answers.
    While the Abrahamic religions are based on revelations a quote by Dr Karan Singh.

    Questions and answers is a form of allowing the participants to explore and investigate the truth. It is a dialogue.
    I’m not controlling anything I am asking you to engage in kindness to this human being who has written the petition –you could try and see the good in each person. So let’s go through the key issues.
    .
    7. Do the Slum dwellers know about western first worlder entitlement and how would they react?

    I stand my ground they are not as dismissive and judgmental as you.as they have more to worry about from the class system in India than from westeners. For example when the local municipality decided to put the Dharavai slum up for sale to international developers to wash their hands of any responsibility. What was the response? Did the slum dwellers write a nice letter to the government? Did they petition?
    No they did not. They took direct action went on strike refused to work so no money for food yet mobilsed so utterly that the city came to a standstill. This is how social movements must stand to make change!
    You can look back over hundreds of years of democracy even women getting the vote and it was always by strong social movements that confront the existing laws. Often it is the minority so even democracy needs to go deeper.

    Fact: The slum dwellers federations have a great deal of experience working with those in the West. They are organised federations represented by community leaders –International Federation of Slum Dwellers who have replicated their process in 18 countries. They advise UN agencies for many years and recently held many workshops in Rio at the World Urban Forum last month with international donors. National Federation of slum dwellers is programme has been running for 25- 30 years supported by NGOs.
    They organise and inspire and coordinate social moments across the slums of the world. They can be diplomatic yet not in all cases. Sometimes it is necessary to cry injustice and direct action.

    They don’t judge the westerners as you have done! – They need the help and they know they are trying to help and they try and work with them when they don’t agree they say but they are in dialogue –they participate. They don’t insult them or denounce them as first worlder entitlenment oppressors! What good would that do?

    The point is the manner in which you have judged and told others that discredits these efforts and discredits the reality of how change happens.
    The fact that you had wrong facts and cannot apologies!

    I’m not the only one on your blog that disagreed with you!
    I was one of the majority who disagreed with you.

    You have no idea the impact of this petition on the Indian government.
    You can base your assumptions on several key issues of which I have shown –most of them are not true.

    1You say you are not interested in the background of the author of the petition yet you searched out all the articles and quotes of other blogs responding to the cancelation of Karmapas teachings tour to Europe. This is exactly what you do!
    The fact that you researched the blogs –others opinions and not gone to the source of the author is your mistake!
    Why not accept the fact that this person is not a first worlder entitlement criminal?
    This is good research or you choose to write very weak misguided blogs that does a dis- service.

    My concern here is that you call yourself a Buddhist blog yet you have shown no compassion for those who are trying to do something good! You created rumors and assumptions that have hurt the credibility of a people and misled the truth of their situation and because they are refugees they cannot protest themselves.

    I stand my ground it would be far better for you to be silent than continue to offer a blog where you rant and rave and swear and curse every time someone corrects your mistakes!

    There is no dialogue on this blog! Therefore there is no truth!
    Therefore you are not addressing the central concerns of the Buddha’s teachings

    I am not pretending to say I am Buddhist practioner –I have not set up a blog on Buddhist teachings. I’m just making a comment. Yet the manner in which you have responded has convinced me that there are no teachings of the Buddha, no real practice on this blog.
    And that is disappointing.
    Perhaps you are the one that has missed the opportunity.
    not the person who has written the petition if you think as you do.

    I have another view.. it is never too late.
    I think this petition writer has done the best they can to do some good to make change.
    and you have set up a blog to do the same.
    Why keep the distance of the other
    why create duality?
    why not write to the author direct and see the author as living human being that is truly like a brother or sister?
    in the traditions they speak of all mother sentient beings.. because mother love is so unconditional

    at any rate this is all not so important
    as you dont seem to truly understand what is at stake….
    — the earthquake in china is the Kham region of tibet has destroyed one of the key monasteries of the Karmapas teacher ..thousand dead tens of thousands injured.

    This life is precioius thing — just try and have more balance and some compassion in your critical reveiws on your biddhist blog. Try and make your language lead to truth that will bring benefit and not just critical of the actions of others! and if you get it wrong just try and little to see the view of your readers.

  20. The folks who do not like what Nella writes would do better for themselves if they went and created their own blogs.

  21. Im not a petition participant.

    Again you have made the wrong assumption

    when did I say i signed the petition?

    Why do you always make assumptions that are wrong!

    Nellalou you are imprisoned in a castle of political correctness and illusions and you use the blog to to spill out your views!

    You are the one that smacks of the very first worlder entitlement that you accuses others of doing.

    You displays the same arrognance of self elevated importance to judge others and tell others what to do.
    You say their words will upset the indian government you believe
    well your words have upset the majoriyt of those who have made comments on your blog!

    It is not just me– I was one of many and anyone who reads this will see the truth …

    You rants and rave — your swear and cuss.

    Why?
    because this is truned into a huge shenpa issue for you!
    This is not unfortunate it is the way it is

    look how it has raised your ego and pride and self assertion to prove yourself
    Even the last line telling me what to do!

    it is your medicine that you prescibe to others!

    It is always so telling to see how those who advise other what to do as you have done on this petition author and now me

    reflects your own character and issues and in this case the cure!

    You have actually presecribed your own medicine far better than I could

    See we get there in the end! !!!!

    Clearly its you who could listen to Pema Chodens words on working with Shenpa.

    I think its time we dedicate this to benefit of all beings!

  22. Amazing! Wendy Hewit, I give you many props again. I appreciate the fact that you can see the worthiness of this situation. Your compassion is worthy of praise. Nella on the other hand…I find your posts stale and full of bitterness, qualities that are far from Buddhist and far from what we need in our human society. Be the lizard Nella, and slither back under your rock. But as a Buddhist, I hope that one day you will have a good human rebirth and find the value of compassion and wisdom in life, contributing it to the whole in myriad ways. Like making unbiased blog posts, for example. Contributing, not sucking the life out of others who are doing the best they can with what they have, as you so commonly do in your blogs. Good luck with that! Getting a human rebirth that is. Lizard sounds about right.

  23. Addendum April 20, 2010:

    The Kagyu office has issued an official announcement here

    http://www.kagyuoffice.org/#KOAnnouncement

    Excerpt:

    However, we would like to request the many followers and devotees of His Holiness to take heart and not cast aspersion on any organization or government body for the cancellation of the tour.

    We wish to thank the Government of India for all the assistance, hospitality and kindness that His Holiness Gyalwang Karmapa has received after his arrival to India in the year 2000.

    • Clearly an attempt to smooth the feathers of the giant ego that is Indian politics (corruption). Anyone can see that.. who has any intelligence. The powers that seem to dominate our world always try to paralyze freedom movements. They have killed and imprisoned many great people who stand for justice. Im not just saying it, history is. We humans in this type of primitive form of fear and discontent are the real threat. Freedom movements are our choice and our legacy. To buy in to any sort of truth about this statement, is to choose to be an animal.

      • Well fred I was kind of feeling some of it until the last line then you lost me.

        I agree with these sentiments you express:

        -those in power will seek to remain in power and will go to great lengths for that purpose.
        -many great people have paid severe penalties for standing up for justice
        -history does demonstrate this pattern
        -humans are just fancy apes
        -to join any movement is a choice
        -there’s plenty of fear and discontent on all sides of any issue. Perhaps that is what Buddha meant in part by suffering.

        I take some issue with some of your other statements.

        -politics is the exercise and administration of power. Wherever that is happening there is a great likelihood of misuse, abuse and corruption. India is no exception. There is no nation, anywhere on the planet that is free of corruption.
        -intelligence and interpretation are two different things.
        -hating on humans for the state we all find ourselves in is not too beneficial. It is as it is and we have only that to work with so we can wail away about it or try to understand it deeply and make some significant and meaningful changes.

        I take exception to the last line completely.

  24. An announcement regarding the petition from the Kagyu Office. It doesn’t get much more explicit than this.

    http://www.kagyuoffice.org/#PetitionAnnouncement

    Excerpt:

    In this petition some false accusations are made. While it is true that the proposed Karmapa’s Dharma tour to Europe in mid-May was not approved, it is not correct that the Karmapa is kept under any confinement or duress in India nor is he under any harassment. Therefore, His Holiness the 17th Gyalwang Karmapa and Tsurphu Labrang categorically deny these unfounded accusations.

  25. Nella

    Thank you SO very much for this excellent, intelligent and well-analysed blog post. Its a shame there aren’t more followers of the Karmapa who have the knowledge, patience and foresight about the issues that you do. The petition is a great example of what is normally termed ‘idiot compassion’. I agree with everything you say about it.

    The fact is that the Karmapa has officially distanced himself from the petition stating that is contains ‘false accusations’ and praises the Indian government for their kindness. Need there be any more said?

  26. Yes, there is one thing left to be said. How do you know the Karmapa is in agreement? Do you know him? Do you know how he feels? Did he say he was in agreement personally? Something to ponder.

    • Hi again fred

      It seems your comment is in response to the one by Atomgirl but I will take it up anyways.

      The reason I am doing that is that your sentiments are representative of a certain segment of interested parties to this matter. And there are some notions that I want to either dispell or cause to be questioned in terms of a greater context. That’s also one of the reasons I wrote the original post. There is always a much bigger context and a lot more viewpoints that need to be taken into account in any situation. Particularly if that situation involves others who are involved but have not been included in decision-making processes regarding their own well-being.

      This is not only from a Buddhist standpoint (dependent origination, karma-vipaca, relative-absolute, and so forth) but the relative and samsaric situation itself.

      The implications of statements in your last two comments are pretty heavy and rather insulting:

      1. “To buy in to any sort of truth about this statement, is to choose to be an animal.”

      2. “How do you know the Karmapa is in agreement? Do you know him? Do you know how he feels? Did he say he was in agreement personally? ”

      You have basically called the Karmapa and his appointed members of his staff liars. You seem to think you know his conditions better than he does himself.

      And your statements on the facebook pages reiterate that.

      “A Bodhisattva would never discredit the work of a noble cause.” your comment from http://www.facebook.com/Karmapa17

      It is up to you to decide what constitutes Bodhisattva behavior and what doesn’t?

      Talk about presumptuous. This is hardly a noble cause. It is a childish attempt to get what the petitioner and you and a few others want right now (instant gratification) even at the expense of harassing the Karmapa and his office as well as aggravating difficult political situations.

      The attention seeking statement by the petition writer is just exacerbating the situation.

      http://www.theroaringlions.com/roaring_lions_news.html

      I have read all of the articles that are listed that allegedly support the petitions contentions and many are contradictory at best. If you even read the Karmapa’s website you will see a list of all his social engagements. They are numerous and require quite a bit of travel. This in itself belies a lot of media speculation.

      In one of the media articles listed:

      … The Karmapa has been given a significantly looser leash by Indian security, winning a chance to visit with U.S. followers last summer in New York, Boulder, Colo., and Seattle, a trip he called “wonderful” and adding, “I found some freedom.”

      This is what I mean by contradictions. Just because it is not happening when YOU want it to does not mean that it is not happening.

      Do you think that there are not people here working on behalf of this very issue for the Karmapa? Do you think they might know the situation a lot better then you do? Maybe get the fuck out of the way and let them do it then rather than stirring up a big mess that they have to waste time cleaning up. Especially when it has been so explicitly stated.

      The Karmapa, like ALL other tulkus is in a position that is supported by a specific structure of residence, learning, guidance and yes restriction. Even his statement “When I was recognized as the reincarnation of the 16th Karmapa, I was just eight and from that time I have been living a very traditional, closed life in a monastery. For me, it’s ok. I am quite used to living in a cage (smiles).” supports that.

      Part of the issue currently is security and another far greater part is the tradition of the Tibetan tulku system. Westerners may not find that to their taste but this isn’t the west and things are how they are here.

      Additionally at his still young age it is natural to seek to go beyond those boundaries. Who wasn’t like that, no matter what their circumstances, at that age? So his statements such as:

      ” It was a big change for me, because I had only seen pictures of America. Now I have seen America in real life, and I was amazed. The Western world is so different from the Eastern world. I feel that I can learn so much from the Western world.”

      It is very clear if you read the statements chronologically, that as he has matured he has been allowed greater and greater freedoms. As a boy of 18 his immaturity shows in the frustration at way his expectations were not immediately granted. (like about taking his place at Rumtek) Now that he has a lot more education and understanding of not only his situation but of the world he is stating things in a more mature and pragmatic manner.

      This person with the petition campaign has no authority to speak on behalf of the Karmapa nor does this person have sanction to campaign on his behalf. The entire episode has been disavowed by the Karmapa and his office. The demand that the Karmapa personally discuss the matter with the author is nothing but a demand for attention from that author. In fact to demand that the Karmapa speak personally to this individual before they cease and desist from their detrimental actions is extortion. It’s worse than a stalker’s behavior.

      Your understanding of politics is facile at best and the self-important attempts at “idiot compassion” by you and the petition writer are causing a great deal of problems for the Karmapa and many others.

      That a public statement even had to be issued to disavow it is a pretty good indication of the consternation this has caused.

  27. Having just come across this blog, I would like to point out that if HH Karmapa was free to travel around India – at a time and to places solely of his choosing without having to seek permission – he would not still be cooped up at the Gelug Monastery. As his teacher Tai Situ Rinpoche has a monastery a few hours up the road, he would have chosen to stay there. More to the point, he would be back in Rumtek.

    Consequently, I couldn’t see any flaws in the petition describing Karmapa’s predicament as being one of “confinement.” To the best of my knowledge (which may not be up to date & happy to stand corrected)Karmapa has never even been permitted to visit Sherabling – let alone set up camp there – though there was much coverage of his trip to Tso Pema, which is a lot further up that particular road.

    Can i suggest that if you’d like people to read your views and respond, you might want to make your blog a lot less wordy! Edit and edit ruthlessly is usually a good maxim for writers to live by. Brevity is the soul of wit!

  28. Hi NellaLou,

    I know I’m late to this party, but boy, why did you have to put up with that troll Wendy Hewit for so long. Its your blog, just edit her out. She wants a voice, she can start her own blog and edit folks she doesn’t like.

    • I could do that Dorji, and I seriously considered it, but similar comments will just pop up again. So by addressing them this time I can just refer people here.

      It also illustrates some of the attitudes of some members of the sangha, their selfishness disguised as altruism, their insistence on both having their own way and being ignorant of greater issues, their demands as if they are entitled and so forth. It also may be useful for those who harbor similar attitudes to read some responses to them and perhaps then question themselves.

      Those particular comments are also one of the most obvious instances of projection and fantasy and misreading that I’ve ever had on this blog. Complete willful ignorance. So it’s a bit of a psychological curiosity.

      Sometimes if one lets the trolls have their voice they tend to destroy whatever case they are making all by themselves. In this situation that process is pretty obvious.

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