Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Using Christian missionaries to destroy Buddhism

Obtaining conversions by whatever means may be necessary

From The Grauniad 

Going undercover, the evangelists taking Jesus to Tibet
by Jonathan Kaiman

"Chris and Sarah recently moved into a newly renovated two-bedroom apartment in Xining, a bustling Chinese city on the edge of the Tibetan Plateau, where they manage a small business and spread the teachings of Jesus Christ. The couple, whose names have been changed to protect their identities, are enthusiastic and devout. They say that they could stay for decades.

"I really love being in a place where, it's like, if you're an artist, and an artist comes in and sees a blank canvas, they go heck yes – they love creating something new, and that's how I feel," said Sarah. "That's not to say that there aren't times when I cry my eyes out and get discouraged, but I know that this is where I'm supposed to be, so we're going to find joy in the midst of difficulty."

Tibet is the K2 of the evangelical Christian world – missionaries see it as a formidable yet crucial undertaking, a last spiritual frontier. Of the 400 foreigners living in Xining, most are missionaries, estimates Chris.

Proselytising has been illegal in China since 1949, when Mao Zedong declared western missionaries "spiritual aggressors" and deported them en masse, so today's evangelists work undercover as students, teachers, doctors, and business owners. Moreover, Tibetans are tough customers in the market for souls – Buddhism is central to their cultural identity, making them notoriously difficult to convert.

Despite all that, experts say that changing economic circumstances could make foreign Christians more influential in Tibetan society now than at any point in history.

Robbie Barnett, a leading Tibet expert at Columbia University, argues that the missionary phenomenon overturns the standard notion of western attitudes towards Tibet – that western society is intent on protecting Tibetan religion, while the Chinese government is more concerned with dismantling it. "If you look at foreigners there, there are people whose commitment is to the opposite – it's to replace Tibetan religion with their own religion."

More than 10 people interviewed for this article said that Chinese authorities in Tibetan areas were selectively tolerant of missionaries for reasons that range from pragmatic to borderline sinister. One is that they are a boon to local economies – they open lucrative businesses and teach at local schools for next to nothing, supplementing their meagre salaries with donations from home. Authorities may also consider missionaries politically trustworthy, reluctant to undermine their spiritual missions by openly criticising regional policies.

And lastly, the government may welcome them as a powerful counterforce to Tibetan Buddhism, with its electrifying political overtones.

"China isn't trying to destroy religion by any means, but they're trying to destroy certain parts of Tibetan religion," said Barnett. "They're not the same project by any means, but they certainly have some congruency."
'For Tibetans, everything is about religion'

Most missionaries in Tibet belong to nondenominational organisations which believe that Jesus Christ will return to the earth only when people from every social, cultural and linguistic group have been exposed to his teachings. These groups view mass conversion as a high form of ecclesiastical service, and as such, their tactics can be covert and transactional. Some lure young Tibetans with the promise of English lessons or professional training and coax them into conversion after making sure of their loyalty. Various Tibetans in Xining expressed disgust with this tactic. One likened it to bribery..."

Full article 

TIP FOR CHRISTIANS - If some aspects of Buddhist beliefs seem unfamiliar, obscure, or confusing, then bear in mind that Buddhism is a process philosophy.   Difficult aspects of Buddhism often become much clearer when viewed from a process perspective.

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Sunday, 24 February 2013

Buddhism will disappear from Sri Lanka, Thailand and Burma

Sri Lanka Buddha Statues will be destroyed like those at Bamiyan

From an article by Shenali Waduge

"Given the present trends we foresee a future date where Sri Lanka will be termed a “once Buddhist” nation as Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Maldives, Malaysia, Indonesia and probably Thailand and Burma in time to come will face. Yet, many Buddhists in Sri Lanka are not prepared to be passive observers and watch in silence their religion and culture fade away into the sunset without any resistance on their part...

...The gradual diminution of the place held by Buddhism is what has finally awoken the Buddhists of Sri Lanka. The politicians have chosen to side with the vociferous demands made by minorities because it comes with various tags that lure politicians towards appeasing their wishes ignoring the silent majority and taking them for granted as well as ignoring their own duty towards preserving the Buddhist history of Sri Lanka. We now need the injustices to be addressed and rectified because since colonial times and for 508 years now a 2600 year Buddhist civilization has been put into the background and it is time to restore the status quo of Buddhism and Buddhist culture as it existed in the pre-colonial era.

Buddhist ethos stress the need to establish a compassionate society where both man and animal exist side by side in peaceful co–existence. In such a society violence is eschewed and non–violence and Ahimsa is promoted towards all living beings. Ideally this should be the moral aim of Sri Lanka.  It is a perfect way for all the people in Sri Lanka to move forward. The Buddhist moral community embraces all living beings. This is the message of the Buddha. Our forefathers embraced it. We are morally bound to follow this noble tradition.  All that we now ask is for people to reflect and conclude that this path is the best path to follow which ensures lasting peace and peaceful co-existence."

Full article

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Click for larger image

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Iran confiscates Buddha statues to stop promotion of Buddhism

Buddha - Cultural Invader?

From The Grauniad 

"Buddha statues have joined Barbie dolls and characters from "The Simpsons" TV cartoon as banned items in the conservative Muslim nation.

Authorities are confiscating Buddha statues from shops in the Iranian capital, Tehran, to stop the promotion of Buddhism in the country, according to a report Sunday in the independent Arman daily.

Iran has long fought against items, such as Barbie toys, to defuse Western influence, but this appears to be the first time that Iranian authorities are showing an opposition to symbols from the East.

The newspaper quoted Saeed Jaberi Ansari, an official for the protection of Iran's cultural heritage, as calling the Buddha statues symbols of "cultural invasion." He said authorities will not permit a specific belief to be promoted through such items. Ansari did not say how many Buddhas had been seized, but that the "cleansing" would continue... More

TIP FOR MUSLIMS - If some aspects of Buddhist beliefs seem unfamiliar, obscure, or confusing, then bear in mind that Buddhism is a process philosophy.   Difficult aspects of Buddhism often become much clearer when viewed from a process perspective.