Thich Quang Duc's self-immolation that set off the Vietnam War and end of colonialism in Vietnam. | Image by Malcolm Browne; source and courtesy - iconicphotos.files.wordpress.com| Click for larger source image.
Quaking in their jack-boots
The Chinese regime, which so easily managed Tienanmen Square protests; engaged in stare-wrestling with the world’s super-power, USA, is afraid of 11 dead monks from Tibet.
What power do these monks have – after being out of power for 50 years now?
The Chinese who have made pious noises about wanting to resolve border issues with India, cancelled talks with India because of an out-of-power monks.
Like the Dalai Lama.
one of the most senior Tibetan religious figures—a young man who is likely to step into the shoes of the Dalai Lama as de facto religious leader of the Tibetan people—this week called on Tibetans to end a string of spectacular acts of self-immolation in protest against Chinese rule.
In the statement he issued in India, where he’s lived in exile ever since his dramatic escape from Tibet a dozen years ago, the youthful 17th Karmapa praised the “pure motivation” of the Buddhist devotees who set themselves on fire, saying “these desperate acts… are a cry against the injustice and repression under which they live.” However, in the first such statement from a senior Tibetan religious figure, the Karmapa went on to request that Tibetans “preserve their lives and find other, constructive ways to work for the cause of Tibet… We Tibetans are few in number, so every Tibetan life is of value to the cause of Tibet.”
The fact that the 17th Karmapa is recognized by both Tibetan exiles and by Beijing makes him a powerful figure. When the Dalai Lama dies, the Karmapa is likely to take the Dalai Lama’s place as the most influential adult spiritual leader of the Tibetan people.
So far this year, 11 Tibetan Buddhist monks, former monks, and nuns have set themselves on fire in Tibetan communities of China’s southwestern province of Sichuan, in acts of protest against official Chinese repression. In a 12th case, a man dressed in monk’s robes and draped in a Tibetan flag reportedly chanted “Long live Tibet” before setting himself on fire Thursday in Kathmandu, the capital of Nepal, which shares a long border with Tibet.
while suicides are rare among Tibetans, the recent self-immolations evoke a similar phenomenon during the 1960s, triggered by Vietnamese Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc, who set himself on fire and burned to death in a Saigon intersection to protest the anti-Buddhist policies of South Vietnam’s Ngo Dinh Diem administration—a fiery act that was captured in a Pulitzer Prize-winning photograph. (via Tibetan Leaders Struggle to Cope With Spate of Self-Immolations – The Daily Beast).
Chants and Idols?
What made Buddhism so powerful in these lands?
Buddha could not have gained so may followers with trite messages like follow-the-path-of-ahimsa, life-is-full-of-misery, respect-life. Obscure ideas (at least now) like Nirvana, dukkha, et al, could not have been the reason.
People don’t change so much for so little! Or resist change so much when confronted by the sword!
This was obviously not because Buddha’s statues were prettier than the statues of previous deities. If that, anyway, was the reason, the statues of previous divinities could have been prettified.
Or because Buddhist chants sounded better.
Threats and Fears
The real story!
Back then, Buddhism ended Confucian governance – and brought भारत-तंत्र Bharat-tantra to these oppressed lands.
Will history repeat itself? Is that the fear of the Chinese leaders?