31 March 2008

Suspects in Lhasa Arsons Arrested

All the main suspects in the four major arson cases during the Lhasa riots, which burnt 12 people to death, have all been arrested, local police said on Sunday.

Main suspects in the four cases, including the case happened in Dagze county on March 15, and the ones in Yishion clothing store, Hongyu Trousers store and the Playboy clothing store in downtown Lhasa on March 14, had been arrested, local police said.

Suspect named Loyar has confessed to his role in setting ablaze the motorcycle garage in Dagze county and then throwing two LPG cylinders from the next door into the garage, causing a fire that claimed five lives, police said.

Among the five owner Liang Zhiwei, 33, from central China's Henan province, his Wu Hongxia, 31, their eight-month-old son and two workers.

Another unidentified suspect confessed to setting fire in Hongyu trousers store, and looting the Metersbonwe clothing store and Snow Spider shoes store, local police said.

A sales assistant in Hongyu store named Zuo Rencun, 45, from central China's Hunan province, was burnt to death in the fire at 4:00 p.m. on March 14th, police said.

Zuo's relative named Peng Zhongyang found his body on the second floor after the mob left. According to Peng, Zuo was more than 170 centimeters tall but scorched to less than one meter long and his head had only skull left.

Five young women at their twenties were burnt to death in the Yishion clothing store. They were Cering Zhoigar from Xigaze, Tibet, Han Xinxin from Henan Province, and Chen Jia, Yang Dongmei and Liu Yan all from neighboring Sichuan Province.

The arson at Yishion was committed by Qi'me Lhazom and two other suspects, the police said.

The fire at Playboy killed a girl named Liu Juan, 19, from central China's Hunan province.

30 March 2008

Foreign diplomats visit Lhasa after March 14 riot

The diplomats came from Beijing-based embassies and diplomatic missions of Brazil, Japan, Germany, Canada, European Union, Italy, Spain, Slovenia, Singapore, Tanzania, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Russia and the United States.

Upon arrival on Friday afternoon, the delegation went to the burnt Yishion Clothes Store on the Beijing Middle Road in downtown Lhasa where five young girls were burnt to death in the riot.

The shop boss and a girl who survived the fire answered questions from the diplomats. The survived girl told in detail what had happened in the afternoon of March 14, as foreign diplomats required.

The delegation's buses passed through the Beijing Middle Road, Qingnian Road, North and East Linkuo roads on which some shops and institutions were smashed, looted and burnt by the rioters. Then they arrived at the Second Middle School of Lhasa which was partially burnt in the riot.

The schoolmaster talked about the whole process of how rioters burnt school buildings and their efforts to evacuate students and teachers.

George Manongi, minister of the Tanzanian embassy in China, said he felt very sad while seeing the burnt houses and wounded innocent people.

"Those 'peaceful protests' were in fact ended up with violence. No government will tolerate this," he said.

So far, at least 18 civilians, including an eight-month infant, and one police officer had been confirmed killed in the Lhasa unrest, which also saw 382 injuries. Damage was estimated at about 250 million yuan (35.21 million U.S. dollars), according to the regional government chairman, adding that no foreigners had been hurt in the unrest.

During his meeting with the delegation, Qiangba Puncog also urged Tibetan monks to stay out of politics, saying, "Politics is not in line with Buddhism doctrines."

29 March 2008

Tibet riot victims to be compensated

The families of the 18 civilians killed in the March 14 riot in the Tibetan capital Lhasa are to be compensated, local authorities said on Friday.

Compensation for each victim is 200,000 yuan (US$28,170), a notice issued by the government of Tibet Autonomous Region said.

Measures are to be taken to help people repair their homes and shops damaged in the unrest or to build new ones, the notice said.

"The government will provide interest-free or government-subsidized loans to help businesses resume," said Duan Xiangzheng, director of the regional administration for industry and commerce at a press conference on Thursday.

The riot killed 18 civilians and one police officer and injured 382 civilians and 241 police officers. According to official statistics, 908 stores were smashed, looted or torched and 120 homes were burnt, causing losses of nearly 250 million yuan.

In addition, all of the injured could enjoy free medical treatment.

28 March 2008

Listen to what the Living Buddhas and the Tibetan people have to say

The conduct of the rioters in Lhasa violated the basic principles of Buddhism and the religious concept of mercy and compassion advocated by Sakyamuni, living Buddhas said in Tibet on Wednesday.

"Some monks didn't learn the Buddhism scriptures or follow the religious code, but disrupted the religious order and undermined the basic interests of the religious sector as well as Buddhists," Dazhag Dainzin Geleg, a living Buddha with the Dagcha monastery, said.

The basic doctrine of Tibetan Buddhism according to which monks should cultivate themselves is to "avoid all evil, do all good", Dazhag Dainzin Geleg, who is also vice-president of the Tibetan chapter of the Buddhist Association of China, said.

Chubakang Tubdain Kaizhub, head of the Tibetan chapter of the Buddhist Association of China, said he felt saddened to see people in crimson robes engaging in barbaric acts of violence, looting and arson.

"According to Buddhist karma, they cannot reincarnate after death because of the sin they have committed," he said, calling on all living Buddhas and lamas from monasteries in Tibet to "recognize the true nature of secessionists, manage their own monasteries well and educate believers".

Lobsangba Chilai Qoisang, a living Buddha from Qamdo, Tibet, said: "Over the decades, the government has given a lot of money for the maintenance of monasteries and provided subsidies for elderly monks.

"The few ungrateful monks who violated Buddhist tenets were really disappointing."

Ngagwang Qoizhag, with the Jokhang temple, said the monks involved in the riots represented neither Tibetan Buddhism nor its believers.

Violent riots broke out in Lhasa on March 14. Mobs set fire to shops, schools, hospitals and private houses. The 11th Panchen Lama Gyaincain Norbu has also condemned the riots.

The attempt of a handful of rioters for undermining the regional harmony and stability goes against the desire of local people, officials and Buddhists in Tibet. Yuxi Norzhui, a local Lhasa resident, said that he felt indignant and tormented at the sight of burned-down, dilapidated houses, innocent people under an intense medical care in hospitals and wounded police constables for the sake of protecting people.

Living Buddha Tsongkang Norzui had this to say: "The riot has filled him with much anger and grief, and those Buddhist rioters involved in the violence breach not only the national laws and decrees but the tenets and codes of (Tibetan) Buddhism." There is absolutely no way out for those plotting for "Tibet Independence," he warned, and the unrest, involving beating, smashing, ransacking and arson, is totally unacceptable.

20 March 2008

Right and Wrong

One question that I haven't heard asked or answered much in Western news media over the past few days: were the actions of the rioters in Lh@sa justified?

One thing that's become quite clear is that the protests in Lh@sa devolved quickly into an all-out riot — complete with lynchings — while in other places monks seem to have marched more or less peacefully. (At least according to what we know now, which is very little.) Even if half the stuff written in the Chinese media about what Tibetans in Lh@sa did to local Han and Hui residents is true, I'm gonna have to step out on a limb here and say that it's just plain wrong.

From Xinhua:

In the Lh@sa unrest, rioters sliced off people's ears, gored children, clubbed young Tibetans into coma and tried to block nurses from saving an injured 5-year-old.

Tibet regional chairman Qiangba Puncog told a news briefing in Beijing on Monday that 13 innocent civilians were burned or stabbed to death in Friday's riots.

Puncog said that the mobs' actions were extremely brutal. "In one incident, they poured gasoline onto an innocent person and burned the person to death. In another, they knocked over a police officer, and then knifed a fist-size piece of flesh out of the officer's buttocks."

From China Daily:

Some rioters wielded iron rods, wooden sticks and long knives, randomly assaulting passersby, sparing neither women nor children....

Tubdain, a local resident, said he saw a girl in red-clothing who appeared to be an ethnic Han chased and clubbed by six people on the Dosenge Road in the downtown area. "The mobs stoned her head and batted her knees with wooden clubs," said the 50-something Tubdain.

"Blood trickled down her face. She stumbled to the ground, crying and begging the rioters to let her go," he said. "They seemed like a bunch of insane people, growling, stabbing, smashing and burning. It was so hard to believe what I saw."

Jin Hong, a clerk with the Bank of China outlet on Lh@sa's Beijing East Road, suffered a broken pelvis after jumping from the second-floor of the building while trying to protect a cash box.

"About 60 rioters, all young men and women, attacked the bank with rocks and axes and set fire to the building on Friday afternoon."

"I hid in the toilet with three colleagues, but the mobs thronged against the toilet door. I had to jump out of the window," she said.

19 March 2008

Dalai Lama to Resign if Violence Worsens

The Dalai Lama threatened Tuesday to step down as leader of Tibet's government-in-exile if violence committed by Tibetans in his homeland spirals out of control because he is completely committed to nonviolence. Much of the violence appears to have been committed by Tibetans violently attacking ethnic Han Chinese people, businesses, and schools.

13 March 2008

Digging Caves to Cultivate the Tao

Hao Datong, one of the Seven Supreme Taoists in Quanzhen Taoism, is well known in China. He once traveled to Wozhou in today's Hebei Province in northern China. There he sat still in meditation under a bridge for six years. During that time, naughty children made fun of him but he was not bothered. The children even piled stones on top of his head yet he was still not disturbed. When the river rose he did not leave but nonetheless remained safe. That is to say, he was a person with high tolerance and supernormal abilities.

Hao Datong was a disciple of Wang Chongyang, the master of Quanzhen Taoism. After Wang Chongyang passed away and became a Taoist god, his seven disciples separated from one another and traveled around. Hao Daotong went to various places and survived by begging for food.

One day Wang Chongyang descended into the human realm in the form of a young adult and told Hao Datong that only by digging caves in a mountain and cultivating in them could he reach enlightenment.

Hao Datong followed his teacher's words and went to Hua Mountain in central China. He spent three years digging the steep western slope. While digging the cave, two disciples began to follow him: Meiliang and Zhuqing. These two disciples helped Hao Datong dig the cave and worked very hard. Hao Datong was also responsible to them. When they completed the cave, they named it Purple Rose Cave and prepared to cultivate in it.

Unexpectedly as soon as Purple Rose Cave was finished, an elderly Taoist monk arrived and said, "Your cave looks very nice. I do not know how to dig a cave; can I borrow this cave to cultivate here?" Hao Datong agreed and gave the cave to him. The two disciples became upset but could not do anything since their teacher had already agreed.

Hao Datong and his two disciples went to another part of the mountain to dig a cave. As soon as the second cave was finished, another fellow Taoist came and asked for it. In this way, one cave after another, Hao Datong and his two disciples gave away the caves they dug.

Hao Datong and his disciples spent more than 40 years digging, completing 70 caves, but they still had no place to settle for their cultivation.

Hao Datong led his two disciples to a cliff on Hua Mountain called Nieniechuan. He asked his two disciples to hold a rope with which he lowered himself down the cliff to dig a cave on the side of the cliff.

These two disciples had originally planned to follow Hao Datong to cultivate themselves into Taoist gods but throughout the years, they only helped Hao Datong dig caves to give away to other people while learning nothing about the Tao. They wanted to quit, but they did not want Hao Datong to see them leave. Since Hao Datong was down the cliff, the two disciples thought it was a good opportunity to leave. They cut the rope, leaving their teacher down on the side of the cliff and immediately left with their belongings.

As they walked away, passing a boulder, they saw Hao Datong walking nonchalantly towards them. The two disciples immediately realized that their teacher had reached enlightenment, and so they felt great regret.

Seeing their regret, Hao Datong once again accepted them as disciples. That boulder was later named the "Rock of Turning Hearts."

Hao Datong took his two disciples to Southern Heavenly Gate at the southern peak of Hua Mountain and started to dig a cave there. One day, while Hao Datong was sitting inside the cave, he passed away to became a divine Taoist god. Thus this cave was not completed, and was later named the "Unfinished Cave."

10 March 2008

The Tao and the Buddha

Buddhists are often attracted to the Tao and visa versa. Both paths accent happiness through intellectual cultivation, and they both originated around the same time historically. While Buddhists are often encouraged to read alternative ideas and religions, following another path while trying to be a Buddhist is specifically discouraged.

In China, Buddhism and Taoism, grew up together. In fact, according to the Platform Sutra, transcribed from the words of the great Zen Master Hui Neng in the 8th century, Taoists attended least one, and probably many other, of his lectures.

Since Buddhism arrived in China well after Taoism had developed, the Chinese used familiar Taoist terms to describe similar Buddhist ideas. This has led to countless poor translations of Sutras from Pali, Sanskrit and Tibetan into Chinese and caused a lot of misunderstandings. The Tao even has a similar writing style to Chinese Zen (actually called Ch'an in Chinese) writings.

The most common misunderstanding people have about the Tao is that "Emptiness" in the Tao has a similar meaning to "Emptiness" (Sunyata, Chinese: Kung, Japanese: Ku) in Buddhism. This is because different words in Buddhism and Taoism were all translated as Emptiness in English.

Several different Chinese characters are used for Emptiness in the Tao, but Chinese Buddhists mostly use the character pronounced 'Kung'.

'Taoist Emptiness' is completely different to 'Buddhism Emptiness'. The Emptiness in the Tao is about restraint, patience, frugality, simplicity, lack of worldly desire etc. These are all good things for Buddhists, but they have nothing whatever to do with Buddhist Emptiness, which is about the inaccuracy of our "externalist" perceptions of reality and the fictional objects that are created from that misunderstanding.

Some Taoists believe that when Lao Tzu left LuoYang, he travelled to India to tutor the Buddha. It's an interesting idea, but no serious historian would look at it because of timing, distance, language and credibility barriers to this possibility. Instead this legend probably grew out of the complex relationship between Taoism, Buddhism and Confucianism that existed in the 1st millennium. This relationship is probably also responsible for the legend of Lao Tzu's meeting with Confucius.

07 March 2008

Worry Not!

I know I haven't been updating as much lately, but its not due to lack of subject material.

There's still much to talk about when comparing and contrasting Eastern philosophies and religions like Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism to Western philosophies and religions like Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Rather, I've been very busy and unable to blog. Very soon some very interesting blog entries will be added on a daily basis again, so please keep checking back regularly.

02 March 2008

Buddhist Fu Dogs

The Lhasa Apso is a hunting, non-sporting dog breed originating from Tibet. It was bred originally to guard monasteries. The Lhasa Apso was expected to follow the intruder barking until his master arrived to check on the intruder.

The Shih Tzu (traditional Chinese: 獅子狗; simplified Chinese: 狮子狗; pinyin: Shīzi Gǒu; Wade-Giles: Shih-tzu Kou; literally "Lion Dog"), is a dog breed which originated in China. The name is both singular and plural. The Shih Tzu is reported to be the oldest and smallest of the Tibetan holy dogs, its vaguely lion-like look being associated with the Snow Lion. It is also often known as the "Xi Shi Quan" (西施犬), based on the name of Xi Shi, regarded as the most beautiful woman of ancient China.

The Snowlion or Gangs Senge is a celestial animal of Tibet. It symbolizes fearlessness, unconditional cheerfulness, east and the earth element. It is one of the Four Dignities. It ranges over the mountains, and is commonly pictured as being white with a turquoise mane. In Mainland China, the Snow Lion is called a Fu Dog.
The Snow Lion resides in the East and represents unconditional cheerfulness, a mind free of doubt, clear and precise. It has a beauty and dignity resulting from a body and mind that are synchronized. The Snow Lion has a youthful, vibrant energy of goodness and a natural sense of delight. Sometimes the throne of a Buddha is depicted with eight Snowlions on it, in this case, they represent the 8 main Bodhisattva-disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni, the historical Buddha. Associations: main quality is fearlessness, dominance over mountains, and the earth element.
The roar of the Snow Lion embodies the sound of 'emptiness', courage and truth, and because of this is often a synonym for the Buddhadharma, the Buddha’s teachings, as it implies freedom from karma and the challenging call to awakening. It was considered to be so powerful that just a single roar could cause seven dragons to fall from the sky.

In Buddhism, the Snow Lion is the protector of Buddha and in paintings and sculpture is usually seen as holding up the Buddha's throne (one on the left and one on the right of the throne.)

The Chow Chow, or Chow, is a breed of dog originating from China, where it is referred to as Songshi Quan (Pinyin: sōngshī quǎn 鬆獅犬), which literally means "puffy-lion dog." It is believed that the Chow Chow is one of the native dogs used as the model for the Foo Dog, the traditional stone guardians found in front of Buddhist temples and palaces.

The Pekingese or Pekinese (Also commonly referred to as a "Lion Dog") is an ancient breed of toy dog, originating in China. They were the favored pet of the Chinese Imperial court, and the name relates to the city of Beijing where the Forbidden City resides. The breed has several characteristics and health issues related to its unique appearance. Pekingese are often mistaken for Japanese Chins, due to their strikingly similar looks.

These dogs are also called Dogs of Foo or Fu by the Chinese, and how much they are revered can be seen in the number of Chinese artworks depicting them. They were considered a guardian spirit as they resembled Chinese lions.

The most common origination story for the Pekingese is the story of The Lion and the Marmoset:
A lion and a marmoset fell in love. But the lion was too large. The lion went to the Buddha and told him of his woes. The Buddha allowed the lion to shrink down to the size of the marmoset. And the Pekingese was the result.
Because the Pekingese was believed to have originated from the Buddha, he was a temple dog. As such, he was not a mere toy. He was made small so that he could go after and destroy little demons that might infest the palace or temple. But his heart was big so that he could destroy even the largest and fiercest.

When Buddhist travelers, probably out to trade, brought stories about lions to China, Chinese sculptors modeled statues of lions after the travelers' descriptions--and after native dogs, since no one in China had seen a lion with his or her own eyes. The mythic version of the animal was originally introduced to Han China as the Buddhist protector of dharma. Gradually they were transformed into guardians of the Imperial dharma, and some Qing realizations of them came to look more like the dogs of Fo. (Compare the Chow Chow, Pekingese, Shi Tzu, Shar-Pei, and Pug breeds.) These beasts have been found in art as early as 208 BC. In the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the ruling Manchu derived their name from the Manjushri Buddha, who rides on a lion.

The beast is sometimes associated with feng shui or Buddhism. Fu means 'happiness' in Chinese; however, Fu Dogs are known as Rui Shi (瑞獅) ("auspicious lions").

The lions are generally present in pairs, with the female on the left and the male on the right. The male lion has his right paw on a ball, which represents the "flower of life" The female is essentially identical, but has a single cub under her left paw. Symbolically, the female fu dog protects those dwelling inside, while the male guards the structure. Sometimes the female has her mouth closed, and the male open. This symbolizes the enunciation of the sacred word "om". However, Japanese adaptions state that the male is inhaling, representing life, while the female exhales, representing death. Other styles have both lions with a single large pearl in each of their partially opened mouths. The pearl is carved so that it can roll about in the lion's mouth but sized just large enough so that it can never be removed.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...