Sunday, September 16, 2012

Fundamentalism And The Dalai Lama--And The Mess In The Middle East

After this weeks riots in the Middle East and the death of our Libyan ambassador, I have to say I think the Dalai Lama is on target.  It's time the world looked past religion, with all it's tribalism, and reach for a secular ethics we can all agree on.  From Huffington Post:


Dalai Lama Tells His Facebook Friends That 'Religion Is No Longer Adequate'

dalai lama
The Tibetan religious leader was quoting from a book he published last year, entitled "Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World," in which he argues that religion by itself may no longer provide a satisfactory solution to the ills of the world.
"Any religion-based answer to the problem of our neglect of inner values can never be universal, and so will be inadequate. What we need today is an approach to ethics which makes no recourse to religion and can be equally acceptable to those with faith and those without: a secular ethics," he wrote.
In a review of the Dalai Lama's work, however, the Los Angeles Times notes the 77-year-old Buddhist monk was by no means "denouncing faith," but rather highlighting the need for a universally shared ethos that is rooted in compassion and is relevant in this modern age:
A metaphor the Dalai Lama likes to use goes like this: The difference between ethics and religion is like the difference between water and tea. Ethics without religious content is water, a critical requirement for health and survival. Ethics grounded in religion is tea, a nutritious and aromatic blend of water, tea leaves, spices, sugar and, in Tibet, a pinch of salt. "But however the tea is prepared, the primary ingredient is always water," he says. "While we can live without tea, we can't live without water. Likewise, we are born free of religion, but we are not born free of the need for compassion."
Awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989, the Dalai Lama has long been a vocal advocate for compassion, religious tolerance and the need to bring together science and spirituality in the face of modern suffering.
In his 2005 book, "The Universe in a Single Atom: The Convergence of Science and Spirituality," he wrote:
The great benefit of science is that it can contribute tremendously to the alleviation of suffering at the physical level, but it is only through the cultivation of the qualities of the human heart and the transformation of our attitudes that we can begin to address and overcome our mental suffering... We need both, since the alleviation of suffering must take place at both the physical and the psychological levels.
For his dedication to science (particularly neuroscience) and its positive application in the world (both physically and spiritually), the Dalai Lama was awarded the Templeton prize this year.


I really wish Catholic leadership would take a few notes from some of the Dalai Lama's talks.  Catholicism can't keep insisting on 'Catholic Identity' as opposed to living a compassionate Christian life, especially in a world torn by sectarian beliefs.  What the world really needs is less self identity and more identification with the rest of the planet as we are all in this mess together.  I have to give Pope Benedict great credit for staying out of the sectarian issues in Lebanon and focusing precisely on this issue of seeing similarities and not differences.  In addition he stressed the need for Christians of all denominations to put aside their own issues and be a source of peace and compassion in an area that sorely needs it.  Now if only he could integrate recent scientific, or for that matter even older scientific knowledge, with Catholic doctrine.

In other news from the Middle East, Jayden Cameron (Gay Mystic) has a link to a very disturbing report from the blog Boiling Frogs.  The article details the US CIA's involvement in promoting the very Islamic militant fundamentalists now causing such havoc in the Middle East over the movie Innocence of Muslims.  The more information I read about this movie and it's producers, the more I can readily believe this is a false flag operation promoted by the Intelligence agencies of the US and Israel and is aimed at fostering enough outrage in the First World to authorize another preemptive war on Iran.  That's the whole trouble with religious fundamentalism.  It's various adherents can be led but not reasoned with and so we are looking at another precarious time in which big things could very well be afoot, precipitated and planned by the worst kind of folks the first world has to offer.

This is certainly one of those times when the prayers of all peace loving people are sorely needed.  This kind of consciousness can only be changed by prayer, compassion, and meaningful acts of resistance.  I can easily believe Benjamin Netanyahu will authorize a preemptive Israeli strike on Iran, and do it for two reasons, first because he has always wanted to, and secondly because it would have serious effects on President Obama's re election campaign.  Old energy will not go down easily and unfortunately, we may be right on the brink of another stupid self serving war.



  1. If this posting & the links provided does not bring one to their knees in prayer, or to tears, or to the realization of the danger all people of all nations and all religions are in and could all suffer, then something is wrong.

    "...we are all in this mess together." We sure are.

    I have to give credit to Pope Benedict too, Colleen. I appreciate what he had to say. The Holy Spirit must have helped him to utter those words. May the Pope be always open to the Holy Spirit, for him to also hear the Holy Spirit in others he has distanced himself from truly knowing. May we all be open to the Holy Spirit, be the light of hope, instill the light of love within our hearts, be the light, bring the light, share the light for all to claim, be the voice of the living Christ, the Resurrected Jesus, be the maternal love of Mary, and to be, to say & do what needs to be done for Peace & Compassion for all people. That is my prayer. May God help us each day.

    If we do not get this right, I see the potential for real doom and gloom around the world on a scale unprecedented, with tremendous loss of life and liberty, freedom down the drain into hell. I see mayhem down the pike, as I am sure many readers of this blog do too.

    As well, winter is coming & there is great concern that we will not be able to keep ourselves warm, because the cost of energy is creeping up into some high numbers and many will not be able to pay their bills, pay for gas to get to their low paying dead end jobs at Walmart. (I tried to add a little humor to this serious subject, by adding Walmart. That would be the concern here in the US). The big concern is the tremendous loss of life in wars in the Middle East. Men, women, and children killed, so much loss of life. It's terrible. We are in danger here too as long as there are nuclear weapons and keep pumping out money for the military.

    During the Carter era we lost an opportunity to change course in our energy use & change the geopolitics. Now we are stuck with these low lifes that want world power and to cripple us in wars, debt, a sense of hopelessness. If Netanyahu goes ahead with a pre-emptive strike against Iran, it seems that will anger the fanatics even more throughout the Middle East, drive people into reacting with fear, violence, revenge and then possibly Russia would be dragged into the fight, and then China. Who knows how such a scenario would play out? It is complete insanity.

    I recall at the end of WWII, the old energy of a war mentality lived in General MacArthur. He wanted to attack Russia, as did other right-wingers at the time. He didn't know when to hang his military hat up into retirement. Then we had the Korean War, the Vietnam War and these blasted oil wars, and now the karma perhaps that is generated from these bloody, beastly wars has come to haunt us in the form of brainwashed zombie killers with ties to the CIA. It is almost too evil to comprehend the mindset of those for war & the brutality that comes with it.

    The Dalai Lama is right on in what he says. I believe he is a prophet of our times and a great spiritual leader. I hope too that the Catholic leadership & Catholic laity will hear what is being said and act accordingly with the guidance of the Holy Spirit to lead them to compassion & peace for all, for that will put evil spirits out of commission for the good of all.


    1. Colleen, great post. The Dalai Lama is an interesting fellow indeed. I would like to hear more from him on how such an inclusive non-partisan ethics might be encouraged.

      I'm afraid a huge number of people around the world are addicted to the tea, and a sense of certainty and superiority. The problem with being "just a human being" is that such a definition allows us no way to position ourselves above our neighbors, a process with huge appeal.

      As for Iran, has no one realized that an attack on Iran is the very best thing that could happen for the Iranian leadership?

      Everybody is threatening Iran, and I can hear the Iranian leadership in the background pleading, "Yes, yes, please attack us, puhleassssee!"

    2. Phil, I really hate to say this, but you are absolutely right.

      "The problem with being "just a human being" is that such a definition allows us no way to position ourselves above our neighbors, a process with huge appeal."

      I think one of the reasons people are so addicted to "religious identity' is because as adherents to a particular identity we are taught two things: we are intrinsically 'less than we need to be', and that if we 'belong' we are better than the other 'less thans'.

      I get why that kind of thinking works for the leadership of various religions, but I have yet to meet a true spiritual leader who hasn't been taught, some in very difficult ways, that we are all equal and all in this mess together. That includes me.

  2. Colleen,

    Thank you very much for bringing these thoughts to us. Your blog is super! dennis

    1. Thank you Dennis, and thank you Fran and Betty and Phil. Sometimes it's important to hear you are making sense to people you honestly respect for their feedback and thoughts. This is one of those times.

  3. Wow! Colleen, another incredible blog with so much food for thought (and prayer). The world is crying out for an assertion of an ethic which appeals to all regardless of (or lack of) religious belief. Yes! "Old energy will not got down easily" is a brilliant summation which certainly validates the charge that this latest "crisis" is manufactured. Yes!
    Betty Clermont

    1. It is most certainly manufactured. The idea seems to be to get the US to commit to a war against Iran no matter who is president. This strikes me as being the Israeli tail wagging the US dog. In the meantime, just a week or so ago, Iran held a conference for all the non aligned countries, and it was well received. It's like we don't care about non aligned countries who don't have our oil concerns and that may turn out to be a very very big mistake.

  4. Your shamman friends know that we create our own reality. Do not give in to the fear. Look on all involved with love. Love is conquering the old energy. This crisis is manufactured to create fear, to create more war and killing. Participate in much prayer for peace during the days around the upcoming fall solstice.

    From A friend who is learning

  5. Perhaps, just perhaps the Catholic bishops in Germany are giving the Holy Spirit the opening to go to work:

    I can understand refusing to give money to an institution - church or not - that then uses that money for things I deem unethical and immoral. To me this is a principled position. It would not surprise me at all that the Spirit inspired some of these people to find a more ethical use for their money. If the bishops want to withdraw the sacraments from these people, then I have to wonder how many of these people are going to start their own faith communities and thereby change more of reality around them.