ང་ཆར་ལི་ཡིན། I am Charlie

Posted: January 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

Apso was horrified to read about the Islamist murders in Paris ིin relation to the French satirical publication ‘Charlie Hebdo’. Their crime? Poking fun at insane, religious, patriarchal, misogynist homogeny and po-faced, hypocritical, morally corrupt preachers and institutions.


Sadly, many well-meaning, yet deluded, Left-liberals and those on the Religious Right have attempted to ‘blame’ or ‘justify’ the murders by stating that Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons were ‘racist’ and that Muslims were ‘rightly’ offended.

Talk about racist double standards. Anyone remember the Islamist destruction of the 1700 year old Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan and the lack of a violent, angry reaction to it by Buddhists? Has everyone forgotten about the decades of murder, torture, oppression, imprisonment and colonisation of Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetans by the Communist Chinese government? I have yet to read of any mass killing spree by devout Tibetan Buddhists, have you? Yet the world remains largely indifferent to Tibetan suffering. Crazy, ‘Allahu Akbar’ shouting gunman mercilessly murdering innocent people with an AK47 on the streets of Paris and they bend over backwards to defend and justify them. What kind of message is that sending people? Violent murder gets sympathy and headlines? What a crazy, old world this is.

Murder is murder. No matter how ‘offended’ you are, no religion worthy of being called a religion condones killing people in its name. If it does, then it deserves to be relegated to the dustbin of history. As the great Tibetan Buddhist leader, 17th Karmapa, Orgyen Trinley Dorje said about the destruction of those ancient statues:

In 2001, the huge Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan were intentionally demolished. From a certain perspective within Islam, these statues were offensive instruments of idol worship, while to Buddhists they were reminders of sacred principles and the very best of our innate human potential. Basically, we Buddhists use physical images in our spiritual practice, while Muslims worship without images. Clinging to either position was creating a wall between people. But they are just statues. Allowing ourselves to be pitted against each other over a statue – now that is really clinging to biases.

Personally, I do not see a basis for treating religious differences this way…..Walls come up between people when we attach more importance to the form of our religious identities than to the substance of what they teach us. When spiritual beliefs are used to build up walls between people, this is a total misunderstanding of the purpose of spirituality. Spirituality should mean coming closer to yourself. When this happens, you become closer to others, too. Spirituality and religion should dismantle discrimination and labels, not shore them up. It should break, not create, barriers between people.

from the book “The Heart Is Noble: Changing the World from the Inside Out”.

Silence or excuses in the face of injustice is tantamount to supporting it. Something Tibetans understand far better than most. Let no one ever become too complacent though. As renowned Tibetan scholar, Tsering Shakya lamented today:

Sadly, the tradition of satirical songs (in Tibetan society) has disappeared and leaders are rarely lampooned. Now we are learning to be offended and less critical of our own tradition.

charlie yin


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s