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Nie Trink Wasser
23rd September 2003, 06:36 AM
Torture and Mutilation in Shanghri-La

In the Dalai Lama's Tibet, torture and mutilation -- including eye gouging, the pulling out of tongues, hamstringing, and amputation of arms and legs -- were favored punishments inflicted upon thieves, runaway serfs, and other "criminals." Journeying through Tibet in the 1960s, Stuart and Roma Gelder interviewed a former serf, Tsereh Wang Tuei, who had stolen two sheep belonging to a monastery. For this he had both his eyes gouged out and his hand mutilated beyond use. He explains that he no longer is a Buddhist: "When a holy lama told them to blind me I thought there was no good in religion." (19) Some Western visitors to Old Tibet remarked on the number of amputees to be seen. Since it was against Buddhist teachings to take human life, some offenders were severely lashed and then "left to God" in the freezing night to die. "The parallels between Tibet and medieval Europe are striking," concludes Tom Grunfeld in his book on Tibet. (20)

http://www.swans.com/library/art9/mparen01.html





Myth and Reality
Tibet's isolation and unique religious practices
have made it the focus of many Western myths.

Western concepts of Tibet embrace more myth than reality. The idea that Tibet is an oppressed nation composed of peaceful Buddhists who never did anyone any harm distorts history. In fact the belief that the Dalai Lama is the leader of world Buddhism rather than being just the leader of one sect among more than 1,700 "Living Buddhas" of this unique Tibetan form of the faith displays a parochial view of world religions.

The myth, of course, is an outgrowth of Tibet's former inaccessibility, which has fostered illusions about this mysterious land in the midst of the Himalayan Mountains -- illusions that have been skillfully promoted for political purposes by the Dalai Lama's advocates. The myth will inevitably die, as all myths do, but until this happens, it would be wise to learn a few useful facts about this area of China.

http://journeyeast.tripod.com/myth_and_reality.html

c0rbin
23rd September 2003, 06:39 AM
Why go all the way to Tibet for strange religious hypocricy.

Alabama suppoirts the Ten Commandments in one hand and the death penalt in the other.

Nie Trink Wasser
23rd September 2003, 06:51 AM
Originally posted by c0rbin
Why go all the way to Tibet for strange religious hypocricy.

Alabama suppoirts the Ten Commandments in one hand and the death penalt in the other.


look, I understand that you're a lefty and you have trouble focusing on the subject, but could we please discuss my topic instead of working to derail my thread ?

it would be a fresh change of pace, troll.

this forum is going downhill faster now that elections are coming closer. Every thread is like a campaign poster.

Suddenly
23rd September 2003, 07:19 AM
Originally posted by Nie Trink Wasser



look, I understand that you're a lefty and you have trouble focusing on the subject, but could we please discuss my topic instead of working to derail my thread ?

it would be a fresh change of pace, troll.

this forum is going downhill faster now that elections are coming closer. Every thread is like a campaign poster.

He was discussing your topic. You posted two links with parts of articles. You never expressed the point you were trying to make. Religious hypocracy in general is a reasonable direction to be taken from your post. If you want to discuss a specific point regarding these articles, try posting something that would indicate or make a statement about where you want to go.

If you are just going to post general information, you have no right to complain if the discussion veers in a different direction than what you intended.

Of course, the above assumes you actually want to engage in discussion rather than insult people who disagree with you, so maybe you should ignore it. In the past when you have tried to discuss your point you have been unable to do so without an insulting reference to those that disagree, thus poisoning debate before it started. I guess it is easier for you to complain about others than to actually make a decent argument. That way you won't have to face the possibility of being wrong.

Nie Trink Wasser
23rd September 2003, 07:31 AM
:rolleyes: here we go.......again.

Originally posted by Suddenly
He was discussing your topic. You posted two links with parts of articles. You never expressed the point you were trying to make. Religious hypocracy in general is a reasonable direction to be taken from your post.



he was not discussing my topic. He read my topic and instead of discussing the myths and realities of tibet and Dalai Lama, he chose to immediatly divert the topic to western religion...which is NOT the subject. If he wants to discuss religious hypocrisy, then help him start his own thread. This thread is about Tibet/Dalai Lama. Deal with it.



If you want to discuss a specific point regarding these articles, try posting something that would indicate or make a statement about where you want to go.


Try using your own brain and not some political grudge.



If you are just going to post general information, you have no right to complain if the discussion veers in a different direction than what you intended.


its not general information, it's actually very specific. You're trolling my thread.


Of course, the above assumes you actually want to engage in discussion rather than insult people who disagree with you, so maybe you should ignore it.


ad hominem. useless.



In the past when you have tried to discuss your point you have been unable to do so without an insulting reference to those that disagree, thus poisoning debate before it started.


false. you are doing that now so that you can accuse me of it when I respond.



I guess it is easier for you to complain about others than to actually make a decent argument. That way you won't have to face the possibility of being wrong. [/B]


hypocrite

Sundog
23rd September 2003, 08:00 AM
Originally posted by Suddenly


He was discussing your topic. You posted two links with parts of articles. You never expressed the point you were trying to make. Religious hypocracy in general is a reasonable direction to be taken from your post. If you want to discuss a specific point regarding these articles, try posting something that would indicate or make a statement about where you want to go.


Well duh. :D I suspect the point is something like "See, you lefties who protest about Tibet and the Dalai Lama, here's why you're all a bunch of lefty morons."

After a while of reading Nie's threads you figure out what motivates him to post. :D :p

chulbert
23rd September 2003, 08:02 AM
Originally posted by Nie Trink Wasser
[Bhe was not discussing my topic. He read my topic and instead of discussing the myths and realities of tibet and Dalai Lama, he chose to immediatly divert the topic to western religion...which is NOT the subject. If he wants to discuss religious hypocrisy, then help him start his own thread. This thread is about Tibet/Dalai Lama. Deal with it.[/B]

What is it you want to discuss? What do you ever want to discuss? You post links to articles. Wow, thanks for the MLP.

If you have a point, a point of view, or a solicition for discussion, then make it. Don't post links, fail to direct discussion and then bemoan that the thread isn't what you wanted.

Nie Trink Wasser
23rd September 2003, 08:21 AM
Originally posted by Sundog


Well duh. :D I suspect the point is something like "See, you lefties who protest about Tibet and the Dalai Lama, here's why you're all a bunch of lefty morons."

After a while of reading Nie's threads you figure out what motivates him to post. :D :p


wrong.

for some reason my motivations are always the discussion instead of the subject.

That's really unfortunate on your part.

I wanted to discuss the realities of Tibet and the Dalai Lama as as opposed to western myth in a skeptics forum.

Is it possible to have a discusion free of political filibuster/trolling anymore here ?

hgc
23rd September 2003, 08:22 AM
It is true, though, that most of the world is ignorant of the nature of pre-Chinese Tibet. I don't think that it bears strongly on the question of Tibetan sovereignty today, but people who think that life in Tibet before 1950 was some kind of Shangri-La are really missing the point. It was in no way acceptable by the standards promoted by Euro/American thought.

Sure, the Dalai Lama is a swell guy, and he was just a child back then, but if he advocates a return to free Tibet, I'd like to hear him explicitly refute the standards of liberty that characterized his country and his sect prior to 1950. If anyone knows where he's done this, please post links.

In any case, Chinese sovereignty over Tibet is a fait accompli of many years standing. Religious freedom in Tibet, and all over China, is always a worthwhile goal (even for those whacky qigong folks), and DL is a great spokesman for that at least.

Don't throw out the baby of this thread topic with the bathwater of the thread starter.

Nie Trink Wasser
23rd September 2003, 08:25 AM
Originally posted by hgc
It is true, though, that most of the world is ignorant of the nature of pre-Chinese Tibet. I don't think that it bears strongly on the question of Tibetan sovereignty today, but people who think that life in Tibet before 1950 was some kind of Shangri-La are really missing the point. It was in no way acceptable by the standards promoted by Euro/American thought.

Sure, the Dalai Lama is a swell guy, and he was just a child back then, but if he advocates a return to free Tibet, I'd like to hear him explicitly refute the standards of liberty that characterized his country and his sect prior to 1950. If anyone knows where he's done this, please post links.

In any case, Chinese sovereignty over Tibet is a fait accompli of many years standing. Religious freedom in Tibet, and all over China, is always a worthwhile goal (even for those whacky qigong folks), and DL is a great spokesman for that at least.

Don't throw out the baby of this thread topic with the bathwater of the thread starter.


thank you hgc ! my hero !

Im interested in learning more about this, because Ive always just followed the beastieboy-freetibetbumpersticker-Kudun basic pop knowledge and havent looked far enough to find the real truth about tibet. Thanks for the help.

Lothian
23rd September 2003, 08:31 AM
Originally posted by No Think Wanker
here we go.......again. Yes, you are a one trick troll.

Nie Trink Wasser
23rd September 2003, 08:39 AM
hgc

can you recommend any books or links for reference on this subject ?

hgc
23rd September 2003, 08:41 AM
Originally posted by Nie Trink Wasser
hgc

can you recommend any books or links for reference on this subject ? I don't know much more than what you've already posted. I'll look around.

Suddenly
23rd September 2003, 09:01 AM
Originally posted by Nie Trink Wasser
:rolleyes: here we go.......again.


If I ask you what you are trying to say, you say I'm somehow stupid for not knowing.

If I make a reasonable conclusion, based on your pattern of behaviour, of the point you are making you will complain I misrepresent you.

If you just bothered to explain what you mean there wouldn't be a problem. For some reason, you don't. Why?

I'm beginning to be convinced that you are in denial of the fact that you simply can't express your views very well. You are afraid of being out argued so you hide and jump out into the open only to insult the viewpoints of others. Since you never even try to make an argument or try to back up an opinion you no one can find fault with you, right?

That is what it is about in your mind, is it not? Wouldn't it be scary to find out that you can't justify many of your own beliefs, that maybe, gasp, you are possibly wrong? Better to play it safe, keep your mouth shut except to hurl insults and cryptic statements. That way, even if one of your statements is shown to be poorly concieved, you can claim that you didn't mean that or that you were being humerous or some such dodge.

Much safer than exposing your beliefs to debate. Something horrible might happen. It may turn out that someone else's opinions and reasoning are better than yours, and you may be able to improve yourself by incorporating them into your worldview. Horrible!! Of course, for that to happen you have to first admit to yourself that you have no unique claim to wisdom.

By HGC
Don't throw out the baby of this thread topic with the bathwater of the thread starter.

There is also the point that there are severe cultural differences. We seem alarmed at human rights abuses in pre 1950's Tibet, which was admittedly an inaccessable region and not influenced by the outside world. As a purely historical point, it can't be refuted that there are human rights abuses. Where the issue gets interesting in my opinion is the significance of those abuses. Is this a case of western thought objecting to the lack of western ideals in an isolated culture? Is the free Tibet movement discredited by the fact that a free Tibet commited human rights abuses when China is likely worse?

I just wonder if hand-wringing over potential nastiness in Tibet is really justified. The stories related are horrifying, and I'd agree not a good thing. However, not shockng when compared to Medeval Europe or even modern day China. I think it may be the case of condemning Tibet for their failure to live up to the ideal we created for them. Of course, those that will profit from a free Tibet aren't going to go out of their way to discredit the myth. Hardly shocking that a country seeks to profit from a favorable myth rather than kill its own golden goose.

hgc
23rd September 2003, 10:08 AM
Originally posted by Suddenly

snip ...

There is also the point that there are severe cultural differences. We seem alarmed at human rights abuses in pre 1950's Tibet, which was admittedly an inaccessable region and not influenced by the outside world. As a purely historical point, it can't be refuted that there are human rights abuses. Where the issue gets interesting in my opinion is the significance of those abuses. Is this a case of western thought objecting to the lack of western ideals in an isolated culture? Is the free Tibet movement discredited by the fact that a free Tibet commited human rights abuses when China is likely worse?

I just wonder if hand-wringing over potential nastiness in Tibet is really justified. The stories related are horrifying, and I'd agree not a good thing. However, not shockng when compared to Medeval Europe or even modern day China. I think it may be the case of condemning Tibet for their failure to live up to the ideal we created for them. Of course, those that will profit from a free Tibet aren't going to go out of their way to discredit the myth. Hardly shocking that a country seeks to profit from a favorable myth rather than kill its own golden goose. I'm not holding the way of life in pre-1950 Tibet up as the reason they shouldn't be a free country again, but I'd also hardly relegate it to history nor write it off as the quaint ways of an isolated society, since many victims of such abuse are alive today and remember it well. I mainly think it's important as a truthful (I believe) counter-point to the general image among the free-Tibet types the world over of a happy la-la land. That's part of their justification for a free Tibet, and if it's not true, then let it be known.

Is life under China worse, or has it been. In many cases (cultural revolution), it's pretty bad, but I don't think this comparison is worthwhile, namely because it's impossible to pick a winner, and because it really won't have any effect on the real-world situation.

Nie Trink Wasser
23rd September 2003, 10:24 AM
Originally posted by Suddenly

If I ask you what you are trying to say, you say I'm somehow stupid for not knowing.

If I make a reasonable conclusion, based on your pattern of behaviour, of the point you are making you will complain I misrepresent you.

If you just bothered to explain what you mean there wouldn't be a problem. For some reason, you don't. Why?

I'm beginning to be convinced that you are in denial of the fact that you simply can't express your views very well. You are afraid of being out argued so you hide and jump out into the open only to insult the viewpoints of others. Since you never even try to make an argument or try to back up an opinion you no one can find fault with you, right?

That is what it is about in your mind, is it not? Wouldn't it be scary to find out that you can't justify many of your own beliefs, that maybe, gasp, you are possibly wrong? Better to play it safe, keep your mouth shut except to hurl insults and cryptic statements. That way, even if one of your statements is shown to be poorly concieved, you can claim that you didn't mean that or that you were being humerous or some such dodge.

Much safer than exposing your beliefs to debate. Something horrible might happen. It may turn out that someone else's opinions and reasoning are better than yours, and you may be able to improve yourself by incorporating them into your worldview. Horrible!! Of course, for that to happen you have to first admit to yourself that you have no unique claim to wisdom.


you're comments are absurd and baseless. Im not going to go on defending myself or my beliefs to someone who is not interested in what I say anyway. You see my screen name and immediately trash what I have to say regardless of it's actual worth. Nothing I say is cryptic and when I post material, Im interested in discussing it....most of the time you just dont get it and have to go on at length in text form. It's useless and you're acting like a jackass when you do it.

stay on topic.






There is also the point that there are severe cultural differences. We seem alarmed at human rights abuses in pre 1950's Tibet, which was admittedly an inaccessable region and not influenced by the outside world. As a purely historical point, it can't be refuted that there are human rights abuses. Where the issue gets interesting in my opinion is the significance of those abuses.


what the articles are helping me understand is that Westerners are very ignorant to Tibet's actual history as it relates to the signifigance of Buddist's good intentions v/s actions.


Is this a case of western thought objecting to the lack of western ideals in an isolated culture?


no it's not. It's a study into the real history and practices of a religion that is rarely criticised in western culture.


Is the free Tibet movement discredited by the fact that a free Tibet commited human rights abuses when China is likely worse?


no it is not. It's revealing a side that is not discussed popularly in our own culture. When claims are made that Tibet is an innocent victim from an oppresive Chinese force, you cannot ignore their history. If you choose to ignore the fact that a free Tibet was not innocent and that Buddism is just like any other religion, it's a terrible tragedy for knowledge and history preservation.


Most westerners asign a general themeof Buddism=perfect religion-of-peace-with-nature, while they ignore it's actual roots and actions in reality.


I just wonder if hand-wringing over potential nastiness in Tibet is really justified. The stories related are horrifying, and I'd agree not a good thing. However, not shockng when compared to Medeval Europe or even modern day China.


it's the "better" of multiple evils so we should just ignore it ? Im not going to take part in ignoring an era of history for the sake of politics or religious fervor


I think it may be the case of condemning Tibet for their failure to live up to the ideal we created for them.


?! We didnt create this ideal. It is what we have been taught (selectively) by them that pushes us away from arriving at a truth. How can we possibly blame ourselves for what we haven't bbeen able to find out until now ?


Of course, those that will profit from a free Tibet aren't going to go out of their way to discredit the myth. Hardly shocking that a country seeks to profit from a favorable myth rather than kill its own golden goose. [/B]

very true.

Suddenly
23rd September 2003, 10:44 AM
Originally posted by hgc
I'm not holding the way of life in pre-1950 Tibet up as the reason they shouldn't be a free country again, but I'd also hardly relegate it to history nor write it off as the quaint ways of an isolated society, since many victims of such abuse are alive today and remember it well. I mainly think it's important as a truthful (I believe) counter-point to the general image among the free-Tibet types the world over of a happy la-la land. That's part of their justification for a free Tibet, and if it's not true, then let it be known.

I'd largely agree. I'm not saying the abuses are completely unimportant or should be ignored, rather that they should be viewed in cutural and historical context. Mutilation as punishment for theft is not reasonable and should be stopped as a practice. To consider those that have engaged (or engage) in that practice bad people ignores cultural reality. Cultures evolve differently. I think Tibet's image says a lot more about the proponents of that image than it does Tibet.

Is life under China worse, or has it been. In many cases (cultural revolution), it's pretty bad, but I don't think this comparison is worthwhile, namely because it's impossible to pick a winner, and because it really won't have any effect on the real-world situation.

The context of the article suggested the Tibetian atrocities were committed as punishment for a crime. I maybe should have been clearer, but I was speaking on that level. The Chinese criminal justice system is quite brutal as well. Executions are swift. There have been some reports in some regions that organ harvesting has been going on w/r/t the bodies of those executed.

Of course, this brings up the question of the context of the mutilation. Our supreme court OK'ed a 25 year to life sentence for someone stealing a couple of golf clubs. On its face that is outragous, but once context is included (long and violent criminal history, the golf clubs were worth in the thousands) it becomes less outragous. I'm wondering what a poor small community in Tibet would consider an appropriate and workable punishment for theft. Imprisonment is expensive. A fine seems unlikely to be useful. That pretty much leaves some sort of physical punishment or maybe exile?

Nie Trink Wasser
23rd September 2003, 11:19 AM
more :


http://www.nytimes.com/2003/09/19/opinion/19FREN.html

The Dalai Lama has become whoever we want him to be, a cuddly projection of our hopes and dreams. This enthusiasm, though, has not translated into any tangible political benefit for Tibetans. He has been seen on advertisements for Apple computers and SalesForce.com software; significantly, he was not paid for either of these uses of his image. Some of the books that purport to be written by the Dalai Lama are scarcely by him at all, but have his face on the cover to increase sales.

In reality, Tibetan Buddhism is not a values-free system oriented around smiles and a warm heart. It is a religion with tough ethical underpinnings that sometimes get lost in translation. For example, the Dalai Lama explicitly condemns homosexuality, as well as all oral and anal sex. His stand is close to that of Pope John Paul II, something his Western followers find embarrassing and prefer to ignore. His American publisher even asked him to remove the injunctions against homosexuality from his book, "Ethics for the New Millennium," for fear they would offend American readers, and the Dalai Lama acquiesced.

When he is speaking to his own people, the Dalai Lama is very different from the genial figure we see in the West. I remember a public talk he gave at his headquarters in Dharamsala in northern India in 1990, after conflict between Tibetans and Indians there. He spoke in Tibetan, and his delivery was stern and admonitory, like a forbidding, old-fashioned father reprimanding his children. The crowd listened respectfully, and went away chastened.

Suddenly
23rd September 2003, 11:36 AM
Originally posted by Nie Trink Wasser


you're comments are absurd and baseless. Im not going to go on defending myself or my beliefs to someone who is not interested in what I say anyway. You see my screen name and immediately trash what I have to say regardless of it's actual worth. Nothing I say is cryptic and when I post material, Im interested in discussing it....most of the time you just dont get it and have to go on at length in text form. It's useless and you're acting like a jackass when you do it.

stay on topic.

There is a bit of causation fallacy in your thinking. I do not bash you because you are you. I rarely even disagree with you, as you rarely post anything substantial. As soon as you make a good point I'll either agree with it or attempt to refute it. This is called debate.

what the articles are helping me understand is that Westerners are very ignorant to Tibet's actual history as it relates to the signifigance of Buddist's good intentions v/s actions. What do you mean by "Buddist's good intentions?" Taken literally, you seem to be saying the Tibetians mean well but get bad results?

If you mean that Tibetians do not live up to their popular image, I'd agree with that. It is just that I don't really think that in itself in any big deal. Rarely does anything live up to the ideal placed upon it, good or bad.



no it's not. It's a study into the real history and practices of a religion that is rarely criticised in western culture. Yes, but criticised for what? I'm saying the conduct complained of seems much worse when viewed through western sensibilities. Other cultures have a much harsher view of crime and punishment than we do. Maybe by their sense of justice we coddle thieves. Seems wrong to me as a moral matter to judge an isolated culture by our own standards, standards unkown to them. As a practical matter, however, I think this sort of mutilation for theft should be stopped.



no it is not. It's revealing a side that is not discussed popularly in our own culture. When claims are made that Tibet is an innocent victim from an oppresive Chinese force, you cannot ignore their history. If you choose to ignore the fact that a free Tibet was not innocent and that Buddism is just like any other religion, it's a terrible tragedy for knowledge and history preservation. Are you saying that Chinese control over Tibet is justified by the harshness in the Tibetian criminal justice system? As for geopolitics, Tibet was an innocent victim of Chinese agression and expansion in that it wasn't like Tibet attacked or were even a threat to China. Furthermore, they were taken over by a system that committs human rights abuses to a similar if not greater degree.


Most westerners asign a general themeof Buddism=perfect religion-of-peace-with-nature, while they ignore it's actual roots and actions in reality. Yes. I agree. (Wouldn't it be boring if I always agreed?) I will say that Tibet and Buddism are two different things. Note that the atrocities seem to stem from Buddists acting in a governmental capacity. Perhaps another example of the necessity of a seperate church and state?

it's the "better" of multiple evils so we should just ignore it ? Im not going to take part in ignoring an era of history for the sake of politics or religious fervor Not a question of ignoring it as much as giving it the proper weight. We don't run around screaming that Europe is evil because torture was once common there. Tibet should not be considered a utopia, but what is?



?! We didnt create this ideal. It is what we have been taught (selectively) by them that pushes us away from arriving at a truth. How can we possibly blame ourselves for what we haven't bbeen able to find out until now ? Actually, I really don't know where the myth began, besides with Richard Gere. I suspect it was a fuzzy feel-good thing that nobody wanted to question. Very few societies do nice things to those it considers criminals, Tibet is by far not an exception. There are unique qualities to their culture, its just that they aren't as perfect as many would like them to be or even believe they are. I'm not placing blame on those that buy into the myth as much as I am saying those that do aren't very skeptical.

Personally, I blame "Caddyshack." :D