17 February 2008

The Dharma of Rambo?

AFP reports that hundreds of Myanmar residents in Singapore gathered on Sunday for a screening of the new "Rambo" film starring Sylvester Stallone.

"The filmgoers, including Buddhist monks in saffron robes, watched largely in silence," according to AFP. "But the nearly full house erupted in loud cheers and applauded after the film's blood-spattered climax, when Rambo arrived to save the missionaries and slaughter the abusive troops."

I haven't seen the film myself, but I infer it does not emphasize the interconnectedness of all beings, including one's oppressors.

Elsewhere -- Adam Karlin writes a lovely essay about his travels to Myanmar (Burma) at World Hum. "The junta certainly likes to take advantage of Buddhist scripture for propaganda purposes," he writes. However, "Buddhism is a major component of Burmese identity, and its sense of right was in lockstep with those monks who risked—and lost—their lives protesting the junta."

The Buddha said, "If, like a broken gong, you silence yourself, you have approached Nibbana, for vindictiveness is no more in you" (Dhammapada 134). Yet compassion moved the Buddha to speak and teach. Our brothers and sisters in Myanmar have a terribly difficult path to walk, pulled between fear and compassion, mindfulness and anger. We might keep them in our thoughts as we stumble along our own path.

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