Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 01, 2021

"Pull My Finger" - (Afghan Edition)

June 26 2020, New York Times

Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says

August 17 2020, CNN

US intelligence indicates Iran paid bounties to Taliban for targeting American troops in Afghanistan

December 31 2020, Axios

Scoop: Trump administration declassifies unconfirmed intel on Chinese bounties

January 1 2021, Moon of Alabama

Sources: To Keep Troops In Afghanistan U.S. Intel Paid Militants Bounties To Kill Them

Posted by b on January 1, 2021 at 5:42 UTC | Permalink

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I disagree with some points Parenti makes later in his essay, and with some language he uses to describe situations, as they falsely conflate social practice with social teachings. Parenti unwittingly ignores his own words:
Tibetan feudalism was cloaked in Buddhism, but the two are not to be equated… old Tibet was … a retrograde repressive theocracy of extreme privilege and poverty.
Posted by: suzan | Jan 2 2021 3:36 utc | 79

The Buddhist elites of Tibet in the Gelugpa tradition (which controlled the largest part of Tibet) all came from 100 families. Nobody else had any opportunity to rise, even as a monk. This was the most extreme oligarchy imaginable. Please read again the text of your own post and try to let go of those concepts that you are overly attached to. For your own words reinforce the oligarchic nature of that society (and that utterly includes the monastic elites, although that fact is not included in your words). Elites from those 100 families entering the monkhood had unlimited potential for education, and unlimited potential for rise in the higherarchy, but that opportunity did NOT exist - not even one iota - for the monastics coming from poor families. For monastics coming from poor families, the monastic life was a very hard and unrewarding life with very few spiritual opportunities and zero opportunity for real development.

The distortions of the teachings of Sakyamuni Buddha exercised by the Gelugpa monastic elites in governing Tibet were an outragious and disgusting ulcer on the venerable name of the Buddha. For example:

1) The Gelugpa monastic elites were the official government of feudal Tibet and jealously guarded and protected that privilege - both at policy-making level and every level down to low-level enforcement. The Buddha prohibited monks from such political positions. It is a fundamental contradiction of the Buddhist path and teaching.

2) Feudal Tibet was an extremely brutal society. If a starving child steals a morsel of bread to ease his hunger, his hands will be chopped off. For many of the tiniest of offences, offenders will be executed. Who is it who actually physically carries out these sentences on the offenders? THE MONKS !!! Not, of course, the monks from the 100 elite families, but those from the lowest echelons of the monastics. This is a most disgusting perversion of the Buddhist teachings. Ordained monks would with their own bloody hands chop off the hands of offenders accused of stealing. With their own bloodied hands they would execute offenders sentenced to death by their more elite co-monastics. Such violence is a most grievous betrayal of the monastic rules and automatically disqualifies them as monks (including those responsible for the sentencing, those advocating the sentence, those passing laws previsaging sach sentence, those enabling the right to pass such sentences, etc). All have committed the ultimate monastic crime of parajika which automatically disqualifies their monkhood.

3) Education for girls or women was totally prohibited.

4) Education for serfs was totally prohibited, including the right to learn to read.

Are you seriously suggesting these things can properly be equated with the teachings of the Buddha? I would seriously urge you to give serious contemplation to the inherent contradictions in your views, and especially to the 4 numerated examples above. The feudal Tibetan government was a truly cursed and contemptible ulcer on this world, what a relief it was overturned.

Those elite lamas around the world all - every one of them, as far as the Gelugpas are concerned - come from or are related to those 100 elite families in Llasa. Is it any wonder that they say the Chinese "took our country"? It WAS their country before the Chinese restored it to the people (but not rightfully theirs). If he was genuinely so spiritually advanced, it is inconceivable that he would reference Tibet in such a possessive manner, as it directly contradicts the Buddha's teachings.

Above you rubbished the Dalai Lama's close connections with the CIA, yet you yourself mention his own brothers' direct and explicit connections to the CIA and to terrorist activities planned and financed by the CIA. Don't you think you need to do a little contemplation on that?

Then there is the matter of money. The Dalai Lama acquires mammoth amounts of money. Whereever he goes, he receives mammoth amounts of money. Where on earth does it all go to? Twice a year, for example, he visits the extremely poor ethnic Tibetan city of Leh in Ladakh, and every time he receives about 2 million dollars in donations from the poor citizens of Leh (which used to be part of Tibet). Where does all that money go? Certainly the people of Ladakh benefit nothing from it. The Dalai Lama does indeed have a "development project" in Leh, which over the years has received millions of dollars but it has done absolutely nothing over the last twenty years and has achieved absolutely nothing. What happened to the money is a mystery. As an evident admirer of the Dalai Lama you have perhaps personally attended one of his worldwide tours - how much did it cost? The ticket income from these events is astronomical - where does all that money go? Extremely high costs for each ticket, and huge numbers of participants, numerous locations - where does all that money go.

A true spiritual teacher gives his teaching without charge and ensures that his students do not have to pay for it. The Buddha's teaching is priceless, it cannot be sold for money.

So, going back to that quote of Parenti which I emphasised, every word of the quotation is 100% beyond critique. Feudal Tibet under Gelugpa monastic rule was a treacherously barbaric regime founded on the greed and corruption and insatiable thirst for power of the 100 elite families in Llasa and their agents and representatives and kin on the monastic side of the family - all under the cloak of Buddhism. The elites of the monastic rulers were every bit inseperable from that greed, corruption and lust for power.

Posted by: BM | Jan 2 2021 15:39 utc | 101

China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi is interviewed and RT reports what he said.
It is worth reading as the US prepares, once again to ramp its efforts to start a war.
There is no moral equivalence between China and the US Empire. That is the first fact that people need to understand: China is trying to mobilise the human race to solve the very real problems we face, including climate change and the great problem of problems poverty and disease.
The United States is simply trying to start wars in order to maintain the hold that its tiny antisocial ruling class has on much of the world's wealth.
To put it very simply: China is on our side, the United States is batting for evil, greed and pestilence. Anyone who doubts the stark reality of this need only look at the comparative responses of the two systems to the threat that covid represented: in China, where the disease was first detected, 4600 people have died. In the United States where society had three months warning of the impending crisis the figure is around 300,000.
Is China Communist? The question is one for theologians and dilettantes. What we do know is that it is a society intent on solving the problem of poverty and its myriad evils. The United States is equally intent on maintaining the root cause of poverty, unequal distribution and the concentration of wealth and power over resources in a few hands. Before 1949 the average Chinese lived on the very cusp of famine, deprived of every social service and the plaything of ruling class violence: to such a level had society deteriorated in the century of western domination, conquest and chaos. In 1800 the living standards of Chinese were among the highest in the world. By 1945 they were the lowest. The difference is entirely attributable to imperialist domination.
Seventy years after the Revolution, years in which the Empire has used every strategy it could devise to cripple Chinese progress, years in which numerous attempts to subvert the state, from wahhabi militias in Xinkiang to "democracy' rioters in Hong Kong, to chemical and biological warfare and decades of trade embargoes, economic sanctions, boycotts and proxy wars, China is now at a point where it can claim to have abolished the worst forms of poverty among its citizenry. The poor in China are far better off than their equivalents in the United States or the UK where UNICEF is now feeding the increasing numbers of poor children from families which cannot feed themselves.
What the government of China is doing is in the best traditions of the many dynasties which, guided by Confucian common sense, realised that the basic purpose of government is to protect the population from the dangers it faces, including ill health, starvation, ignorance and natural disasters.
Western governments pay lip service to such ideas, which are enshrined in International Law and ethical systems but they rarely do anything concrete to put them into practice.
The coming year is likely to prove critical in the future of mankind as the United States attempts to make alliances aimed at weakening China and dividing its friends in the world. In this evil endeavour it has the assistance not only of its cannibal 'allies' who see in war a possibility of reversing their decline and securing a share of the flesh of those killed but also of states like Israel and India governed by racists who see in the impoverishment and suffering of the masses not a situation to be reversed but a desirable infliction of pain on inferiors.
For Europeans, where governments are taking the lead by baiting Russia, whose resources they long to steal, and for North Americans where governments are wedded to the idea that by intensifying the threat of war they can divert Chinese energies from development and social improvement to desperate and ruinously expensive measures of defence, the task of the peoples is to work against their ill intentioned rulers, to establish the democratic control that exists in theory but is absent in reality and to do so because war can only lead to the use of nuclear weapons and the end of all attempts not only at civilisation but at maintaining life.
Is China Communist? I neither know nor care but this I do know: the mantle of fascism, the death cult, has been taken up by the ruling classes of the capitalist states, for fascism is the political expression of neoliberalism.

Posted by: bevin | Jan 2 2021 16:03 utc | 102

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 2 2021 15:19 utc | 100

Well, I'm not a Buddhist or a student of Buddhism, so I claim no authority, but I do like to read and I have my own interpretations and experience, and on that basis, I agree. I'm certainly not defending the Tibetan form, and you can find militant Buddhists in a number of places. I'm not much of a joiner and I've never seen it as something to join. It's more take what you need and leave the rest for others. But of all I've seen and read, certain things have stood by me well, and the Buddhist view of reality is one. Camus and the Greek notions of hubris and limits is another. One of the pleasures of old age is the subduing of the passions.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 2 2021 16:12 utc | 103

It also seems true that the feudal and cruel society that was Tibet was somewhat unknown to the Lama class, which must include all my teachers, who never said anything other than that the Tibetan people were by nature a happy people.

I am still putting all this together, but currently I can only suppose that the Tibet that the monastic class experienced was quite different from the Tibet experienced by the rest of the population. And I can only suppose from my own experiences that the lamas themselves are unaware of this privileged difference.

So I have a very personal path to walk to put this story together and to understand what my teachers actually experienced, and how much of the western lies they have allowed into their understanding to the world - which, I would be the first to understand.

I appreciate the discussion on Tibet here. It remains a mystery that seems worthy of solving for us all.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 2 2021 0:22 utc | 63

Dear Grieved, I always valued and welcomed your contributions to MoA more than any other commenter, always cutting to deeper and more important issues ... so this one came as a surprise!

My answer to Suzan above was directed to you every bit as much.

I can assure you that the "monastic class" knew in every detail what was happening in their country to the serfs - how could it possibly be otherwise, for they were the government? They themselves were the perpetrators. (Indeed, one of the earlier Dalai Lamas, about the 5th or so if I remember correctly, was so depraved and debauched that he was arrested on the streets of Llasa for drunkenness on the street and thrown into jail by the invading Mongolian army). But it is wrong to talk of the Tibetan "monastic class" as though they were one class - they were not. There were those coming from the elite families, and there were the rest, and ne'er the twain shall meet. The elite monastics - including the elite monastics residing (in great luxury naturally) abroad today - have vested interests and objectives that coincide 100% from the elite lay families they were born to. It would be a grave mistake to impute that they are detached from those incentives.

Also regarding the succession of the Dalai Lama - despite propaganda claiming otherwise - it would be just as unthinkable for a successor to be chosen outside those 100 elite families as it would be for the western elites to allow truly populist political and sincere leaders to come to power in major western countries, such as Jeremy Corbyn. Therefore it is right and absolutely essential that China should have a say in the succession, and hopefully prohibit a candidate from those 100 elite families. We shall see when the time comes (or in fact not - we are talking of complex large extended families including distant relatives and obviously including major differences in wealth, so in reality when the time comes the intricacies of actual blood connections and vested interests will certainly be invisible to us, unless it was a major branch of one of the families).

Posted by: BM | Jan 2 2021 16:25 utc | 104

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 2 2021 16:12 utc | 103

As a practicing Buddhist for the past 20 years I can offer a description of my own interpretation. I will avoid any of the standard descriptions of Buddhism - you can find them in many descriptive writings of Buddhism, or the Canons:


Buddhism is the highest form of hedonism. It proposes that the pleasures of the world we live in, experienced through our temporal being are mediocre pleasures, impermanent and not worthy of the attention of the human mind or spirit.

Buddhism exhorts us not to waste time with mediocre worldly pleasures experienced through the temporal, claiming that there are even more intense and permanent pleasures available upon release from the sensory attachments and addictions of the temporal body and mind.

The highest state of hedonistic pleasure is Nirvana, experienced upon release from the need to enjoy temporal pleasures of the the physical world.

This is the central core of Buddhism. Surrounding this are thousands of years of metacognitive practices, pedagogical systems, dogma and documented experimental data offering a path to conditioning the mind and body to achieve this highest state of hedonistic pleasure.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 2 2021 16:39 utc | 105

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 2 2021 16:39 utc | 105

I've concluded that I'm not ready to do that yet, I still have attachments, but I wish you well on your journey. A pleasure to talk to you.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 2 2021 16:48 utc | 106

Posted by: d dan | Jan 1 2021 21:15 utc | 53

Regarding that video posted by d dan above, it is true that the Dalai Lama signed a treaty with China that unequivocably states Chinese sovereignty over Tibet. Both the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama signed that treaty, both freely and without duress. I saw a video of them signing it, once. That treaty states that the Chinese government will take exclusive responsibility for the administrative government of Tibet, while the Dalai Lama (and other Lamas) will take exclusive responsibility for the spiritual leadership of Tibet. And so it should be too - Buddhist monks have no place governing a country and enforcing punishments on offenders. Both Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama were in full agreement with the treaty at the time of signing. Of course, the Dalai Lama later tried to renounce it under pressure from the Americans, but that is meaningless - like Russia saying they renounce the sale of Alaska to the USA and will refund the purchase price to get it back!

It is true that both the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama were young at the time of signing the treaty, both about 20 years old. But it is very interesting that the Dalai Lama in the above video in no way refutes his preparedness to sign the treaty at the time nor suggests he was too young at the time to understand what he was doing.

Posted by: BM | Jan 2 2021 16:53 utc | 107

Posted by: BM | Jan 2 2021 16:53 utc | 107

It is true that both the Dalai Lama and Panchen Lama were young at the time of signing the treaty, both about 20 years old. But it is very interesting that the Dalai Lama in the above video in no way refutes his preparedness to sign the treaty at the time nor suggests he was too young at the time to understand what he was doing.

Regardless, I don't think anyone in his/her right mind, in this day and era would think it's appropriate that those boys should have been put in the position of signing away the rights to a nation with more than a thousand years of history.

The question of power and duress must be brought into the picture and an analysis done on that basis.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 2 2021 17:01 utc | 108

The last link is empty to point out the stupidityof previous clames, which are also empty of evidence!

Posted by: padre | Jan 2 2021 17:05 utc | 109

Arch Bungle @Jan2 16:39 @105

As a practicing Buddhist for the past 20 years ...

... intense and permanent pleasures available upon release from the sensory attachments and addictions of the temporal body and mind.

Well, have you experienced nirvana? Anything close to it? Do you know others that have? Any estimate of how long one needs to practice Buddhism to achieve nirvana? Or is the path to nirvana its own reward (albeit unheralded)?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 2 2021 17:23 utc | 110

Glad to see the discussion continuing. My post that was caught in the moderation filter has now been released, and appears at comment #76.

It contains information about the 17-Point Agreement, and shows that the CIA already laid down terms for western support to the Dalai Lama in 1951 - so the regime-change attack on China was fully ongoing through Tibet just about from the beginning of the game. So it's no wonder that in all our lives we've had clouded stories about this place - both overly rosy and overly despicable.

@70 karlof1 - yes, I believe China over the US also, and it's good to see Tibet become the subject of the same kind of clarification process that MoA discussions have brought to many other countries and events. History is written by the winners, and we are rewriting it now because the winners actually didn't win yet, and it appears that in fact they may well lose. Onward, then, all of us, with the revisionism, for the good of humanity :)

@85 uncle tungsten - yesterday was the anniversary of the Parinirvana of HH Dudjom Rinpoche, and practitioners all over the world were in meditation practices to memorialize this.

@99 William Gruff - yes, and what you say may happen in Tibet has already been happening in the west. Tibetan Buddhism has become distributed globally, to an extent, and the future is already here, just not distributed evenly yet ;)

@BM - noted, your observations on the monastic class. Cognitive dissonance is what I was referring to, in large part. What people knew or felt, how they saw the universe they were in - as we know, these things for all of us are very tenuous narratives, made of straw at best for all of us, every narrative. I would offer my comment at #76 as a beginning to try to see through what the people in the story thought the story was, versus what those outside the story can now draw as the correct sketch of the situation. We must beware of broad brush strokes - reality is never contained within such, not completely, not most usefully.


It is very important, I think, to consider the corruption of the monastic layer of Tibet as the greatest factor in its recent history - just as history may come to write the fall of the US from similar causes.

The corruption of the holy appears to be the most venal that humans can devise, far worse than the corruption of the ordinary criminal. The fall of the greatest angel comes to mind.

When we look at the corruption it may be difficult to see any light anywhere. But true Dharma as practiced by the true practitioners of Tibet is like the Lotus flower that arises from the muck at the bottom of the pond, and floats pristine above it all.

So we should not throw that away when we drain the bathwater of the terrible place that existed for ordinary Tibetans, and ordinary monks. The Buddhadharma also lived, strong and pure, and it was this that came to the west. I included a note on the purity of the doctrine in my comment at #76.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 2 2021 17:43 utc | 111

The elites of the monastic rulers were every bit inseperable from that greed, corruption and lust for power.

Yep- and Buddhism came to Tibet 1000 years after the death of Buddha (if he ever existed), and was combined with the Bon tradition.
Elite control, like all religion.

Posted by: Duncan Idaho | Jan 2 2021 17:43 utc | 112

@11 Jackrabbit - "Any estimate of how long one needs to practice"

The path unfortunately is really long.

When I first started a formal meditation practice, I was taught by people who'd been in the game for 20-30 years, westerners who had themselves been taught by Tibetans, etc. I remember sharing with another newbie once, how we kind of expected people doing it that long to have something more to show for it.

It took me some years to appreciate how much they actually did have to show for it, that I couldn't see.

The path is long, but the distance is nothing. All that stands between us and the stainless and indestructible nature of our own mind is our own delusion. Enlightenment is already here, and every sentient being is always and forever possessed of it, and is only alienated from it by the delusions of one's own belief.

Meditation is the practice that purifies the delusions to allow the true nature of mind be something that I have been taught, and am still learning, but only glimpsed and am not qualified to say more about.

But that glimpse - you can live on that glimpse for a long road of practice.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 2 2021 17:57 utc | 113

As to the nature of Buddhism, when I refer to it I'm referring to the practice of it. And just as, say, judo and KungFu are different endeavors, still they are common enterprises and they depend largely on practice. Of course, there is the doctrine of the practice, and the two always work together. Buddhism as I refer to it is exactly the same - simply as discipline, with various ends in view.

There are the Chinese and Japanese long-standing practices and views of Zen, which already came to the west in slightly earlier days, and there is the Tibetan branch of the discipline, which has its own features. But the bedrock of all these disciplines is the practice itself, which is meditation. And meditation, moreover, as taught by the practice - and so a TV meditation on a California beach may not be the meditation we're talking about here. It is the meditation as taught by the practice.

There is no advancement without the meditation practice, and there is no further understanding of the view without the meditation practice - just as there is no further development of the meditation practice without contemplation of the view. View and practice are two legs, and one doesn't go far without the other having to catch up.

The Buddha said two key things. One is that he has shown us the path but that only each individual can walk one's own path. The second thing is that meditation is the path to Enlightenment and there is no other path.

So, in sum, one must say that all discussion about Buddhism as a "philosophy" or "religion" or a scam or a superstition or any other thing, as discussed by those not on that path, will tend to miss a vital ingredient. And that ingredient is vital.

So as with any discipline, there are nominal Buddhists and there are practicing Buddhists. And the nominal Buddhists are not Buddhists at all, not in any way. And the practicing Buddhists are trying to be Buddhists - and this is all one can do until the goal is reached.

And this is all that Buddhism is, and nothing more than this and nothing less than this.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 2 2021 18:10 utc | 114

Here's the truth about Tibet:

Observing historical convention: reincarnation of Tibetan living Buddhas under central govt jurisdiction

People should stop with their Traditionalist delusions and see the whole thing as it really is.

Posted by: vk | Jan 2 2021 18:11 utc | 115

To whit, many of the ad nauseum statements of belief in the wisdom and superiority of Russia and China to reverse the decline and fall of the West (perhaps the most oft-repeated meme of this website's more frequent practitioners):

Three Magi arrived from the east to herald the salvation of a fallen mankind.

Xi, Putin, Lavrov bearing gifts at the manger (MoA).

Posted by: frtitzcat | Jan 2 2021 17:32 utc | 112

1) "To whit"?
2) one, two, three or more link evidenes for the "(perhaps the most oft-repeated meme of this website's more frequent practitioners)"

Posted by: lux | Jan 2 2021 18:20 utc | 117

fascinating conversation on buddhism, tibet and etc... thanks everyone.. here are my 2c's...

people are extreme.. they might not mean to be, but what it means is it is quite difficult to hold a neutral postion.. on the one hand we have @debs saying it is all superstition and on the other hand those who value it to a very high degree... so maybe it is something in between? people make of life what they will..

it seems to me idealism is expressed towards some of this too.. when the veneer of tibet or china comes off - the stark reality is that they are imperfect people, just the same as everywhere else... this extreme idealism skews our ability to see much of anything clearly... i am not pointing fingers at any one here, just suggesting to step back from the extreme viewpoint... of course this is impossible if one is very attached to this idealism and puts it onto a country, religion or absence of religion...

so i see posters very attached to how fantastic china, or buddhism is for example... and people who think it is a pile of tosh.. maybe it is more about us individually and how we express our idealism or realism and naivety too... maybe we can stop and think about how we don't see it all clearly, as opposed to thinking we do? but, it seems people need something to believe in.. belief systems are powerful and people generally never can step outside of them as they are too busy living them.

@ bm... nice to see you here and relatively back to normal! how is that for my own inability to get outside my personal view?

@ debs... sometimes you are very predictable... thanks again for sharing the link to that nomadland movie...

@ grieved and william gruff... i think the both of you are extremely idealistic on china, as is karlof1.... it's not that i want to burst your bubble, but this is how it looks to me..

@suzan, arch bungle and bemildred... you have successfully not fallen into one of my stupid categories yet! same with you jackrabbit! let the conversation continue!~

Posted by: james | Jan 2 2021 18:47 utc | 118

i guess i am pointing fingers at everyone including myself..

Posted by: james | Jan 2 2021 18:48 utc | 119

unlce t - thanks for the brilliant moon vid.. i will try to find some time to watch it..

Posted by: james | Jan 2 2021 18:52 utc | 120

| Jan 2 2021 18:12 utc | 118 and 117 VK and Arby

Quote from the article;

Living Buddha Dezhub was held in Lhasa. The young living Buddha, whose secular name is Lobsang Dorje and born in Shannan was selected as the reincarnation of the Fifth Living Buddha Dezhub, who passed away in March 2000, through lot-drawing from an golden urn. He was chosen as a candidate after years of searching by senior monks according to religious practice and traditions.

The Panchen Lama also gave him the religious name Dezhub Jamyang Sherab Palden. This was the first reincarnation of a living Buddha selected by lot-drawing from a golden urn after the promulgation of the Measures on the Management of the Reincarnation of Living Buddhas in Tibetan Buddhism in 2007.

By this I assume that the "second" Panchen Lama, the one said by the Chinese (Communist) Government to be the real one (They kidnapped the other, chosen by the Monks), is already acting in the function of Panchen. ie. overseeing the urn-lottery. He is the one that is a pure product of the Chinese Central Government. How did the rest of the tibetans and the Monks take that?

Posted by: Stonebird | Jan 2 2021 19:43 utc | 121

Posted by: james | Jan 2 2021 18:48 utc | 121

Well, I was going to say, "is that a high bar to get over?"

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 2 2021 20:14 utc | 122

Grieved @ 76:

I have been reading Ed Curtin's book "Seeking Truth in a Country of Lies". In one chapter "Happenings in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave", he mentions that quite a number of musicians associated with the US hippie culture of the 1960s were children of fathers with military or intel backgrounds. Frank Zappa's father was a chemical warfare expert. Jim Morrison's father was a US Navy admiral who commanded US warships during the Gulf of Tonkin incident in Vietnam. Many if not most of the musicians involved in the hippie culture were not drafted by the US Army. Curtin quotes another writer David McGowan ("Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon", a reference to Laurel Canyon where the musicians congregated and which had a covert military film studio at the time) who wondered if the entire late-1960s youth culture had been created as a fake "opposition" that could be controlled with drugs like LSD (which the CIA introduced in some experiments in the MK ULTRA program and similar programs it sponsored) to divert attention away from the anti-war and civil rights movements.

In those days one rock band that adopted an anti-war stance was the UK heavy metal band Black Sabbath. I sometimes wonder if the band and the genre of music that the Sabs inspired were demonised and made fun of throughout the 1970s because of they their early opposition to the Vietnam War. Black Sabbath also came from working class backgrounds in Birmingham and that fact in itself partly explains middle class hippie ostracism of the band and its music - which ostracism was picked up by the commercial music industry generally during the early to mid 1970s, until heavy metal could be neutered and turned into 1980s glam.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 2 2021 20:16 utc | 123

Sounds to me like Sunni Islam, Tibetan Buddhism, Catholism, and Protesters sore about not being the ones having their own indulgences granted are public baths were the only thing in them are dirty water and a baby corpse that is already in an advanced stage of rot. So does that explain the unorthodox bastardized version of classical liberal political economy and the bullshiite about Iran???

Posted by: William Haught | Jan 2 2021 20:20 utc | 124

117 & 118 &124--

What a fantastically comprehensive article that renders the Outlaw US Empire's "Tibetan Policy and Support Act of 2020" no different from anointing Guido as Venezuela's President or attempting to appoint the Pope or any other religious or political leader. From the article, it appears the current Dalai Lama was enthroned illegitimately:

"The current Dalai Lama was enthroned in the Potala Palace on February 22, 1940, during a ceremony presided over by Wu Zhongxin, minister of the Commission for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs of the nationalist government of the Republic of China (1912-49). The nationalist government ordered that he be confirmed as the boy with the reincarnated soul of the 13th Dalai Lama without the requirement of carrying out the established method of drawing a lot from the golden urn and that he instead directly become the 14th Dalai Lama. Therefore, the legitimacy of the 14th Dalai Lama came from the approval of the then nationalist Chinese government." [My Emphasis]

From all appearances, the current Chinese government is following historical precedent when it comes to the selection of the "living Buddha," a selective system two-three times older than the Outlaw US Empire, the latter of which legally rejected Chinese people and their culture @140 years ago and has no grounds to involve itself it China's affairs.

Global Times has a search function at the top-right corner of its webpage that can be used to search for articles concerning Tibet that interested people might use. As the article makes quite clear, Tibet is a very longstanding part of China and has always subordinated itself to the central Chinese government, the arrangement working fine until the West decided to meddle and cause strife.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 2 2021 20:33 utc | 125

@ 125 bemildred - it is a high bar, but you haven't fallen below it yet! stay up there! fun and games james..

Posted by: james | Jan 2 2021 20:34 utc | 126

Bevin @102

Bravo! A great summary of what is probably the key issue facing the world today. Very well said!

Posted by: expat | Jan 2 2021 20:48 utc | 127

Also, notice at the article I linked @ 117 that in no moment the Chinese historian who wrote it uses the term "feudalism" to designate pre-PRC Tibet. He uses the term "theocratic system" (with theocratic between "").

Posted by: vk | Jan 2 2021 20:54 utc | 128

bevin #102

Is China Communist? I neither know nor care but this I do know: the mantle of fascism, the death cult, has been taken up by the ruling classes of the capitalist states, for fascism is the political expression of neoliberalism.

Thank you and very well said post. The revealed rot within the Tibetan ruling elite is just as gross as that in the west. It is a constant struggle to eliminate the oligarchy and the worse they are the more people take refuge in a practice that enables them to transcend the evil.

I prefer a dual approach - smash the oligarchy and share compassion with humanity.

I viewed the current Dalai Lama new year message and it seemed apparent that he is far less lucid than normal and I guess there will be a rapid transfer being set up as we speak. Watch for the western fascist oligarchs meddling and using the process for geopolitical mischief.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 2 2021 21:20 utc | 129

Hey all,
Thank you jen @ 126 for your alway insightful posts. you are my favorite of all the commenters. The book you mentioned seems very similar to the information thing I know I learned from you - Inside the LC (Laurel Canyon) I live in SoCal. Laurel Canyon is one of the neighborhoods where back in Manson days a lot of stuff happened. { SoCal - Southern California }
I deffo am going to check out your reading suggestion. Also, thank you for letting me know about Clint Burnette and his USS Liberty project.
As my lovely wife told me, "At least now, we all know that 2020 is hindsight."
B, my bar tab is in the mail.
Much love to all the MoA crew. I thought I posted this. It might be a repeat, but happy 2021, y'all!!
Russian Village Boys

Posted by: lex talionis | Jan 2 2021 21:29 utc | 130

Well killings the US could use to justify the continuing occupation are here, Jan 2nd 2021:

Posted by: Jay | Jan 2 2021 21:59 utc | 131

bevin @102--

Bravo!!! We're in solidarity!!

Clearly, China is the first nation to achieve the most important of the Four Freedoms: Freedom From Want. It has picked up Henry Wallace's Torch and will do its best to establish the 21st Century as not only the Eurasian Century, but also the Century of the Common Man/Woman/Human.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jan 2 2021 22:03 utc | 132

vk #117

Great link and thank you. I always understood the lot drawing to be a last resort where one certainty could not be achieved through the other steps. Also I understand that it is the Karmapa stream (faction?) of thought and practice for the next occupant of the Dalai Lama role and that the current Dalai Lama has endorsed that practice. Others here might have views on that. Is it time for the Black Hats to offer their wisdom and skill? Is this an old Tibetan ruling class system of deal making and spoils sharing infiltrated into the religious order?

Regardless of the appointed Dalai Lama, there are magnificent Rinpoches in this world that bring great joy and wisdom into our affairs and they should not be overlooked as they are often more immediately beneficial to the masses than the political/spiritual office of the Dalai Lama.

I am sure that if there was a second (christian) coming in Palestine, the USAi would be apoplectic in rushing some bedraggled legislation through to prevent recognition unless the hapless child was born in the Israeli occupied sector. In fact it would be sort of fun if that were to happen and he (always a 'he') were born in Chiappas.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 2 2021 22:15 utc | 133

Jay #134

Well killings the US could use to justify the continuing occupation are here, Jan 2nd 2021:

link to NYT

Tell me again who it was that set up and paid for the taliban nutters? Oh yes the CIA so they could poke Russia in the eye and remove an effective socialist government from the planet in someone else's country and obstruct good neighbourly relations on the opposite side of the world.

No mention of that in the NYT report.

I tip Afghanistan to be one of Xerxes Biden first fails as he staggers into the White House and pours even more of other people's blood down the front steps. Xerxes will encounter a few more defeats yet.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 2 2021 22:30 utc | 134

Just checked in on the #forcethevote strategy for Medicare for All in the USA. Tomorrow is the big day where the progressive members of the Congress, all elected on the basis of getting medicare for all Americans, can choos to stand by their principles of refusing to vote for Nancy Pelosi as Speaker of the House unless the motion for medicare is put to a vote.

Will any of the squad members show strength and integrity and refuse to vote for Pelosi. Or will cash and cowardice continue to be the currency of the political class?

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 2 2021 22:57 utc | 135

Dave McGowan's exploration of the Laurel Canyon scene in the hippy 60s is compulsive reading. It is not exactly a pleasant read, and it is myth dispelling for those of us that who were youthful enthusiasts of that era. Like me.
Revisionism does that. It has to.

Posted by: Australian lady | Jan 2 2021 23:57 utc | 136

Trying to put up a link. (Damn!)
Hopefully this is it:

Posted by: Australian lady | Jan 3 2021 0:14 utc | 137

Posted by: frtitzcat | Jan 2 2021 17:32 utc | 112

"Xi, Putin, Lavrov bearing gifts at the manger (MoA)."

At least us barflies get to actually read what these three wise men say. Something totally missing from MSM.
I have not heard any of our illustrious leaders come withing 10 miles of speaking as clearly and addressing the very important issues of our times as those men do. Seems throwing poop at each other is the best our guys can come up with. That will save America for sure.

Posted by: arby | Jan 3 2021 0:20 utc | 138

@ Jen | Jan 2 2021 20:16 utc | 126.. i don't recall anyone when i grew up in the 70's making fun of black sabbath... they were a pretty popular band among my friends from the first album at least until the 3rd album... by the time they came on the scene the anti-war movement in the usa and canada had been already in place for a long time, and i never knew them as being some anti-war band or rep for that either.. are you getting all these ideas from a book?? it doesn't ring true from my experience in vancouver in the 70s where there were a lot of draft dodgers that we did support.. i would say black sabbath music was more raw - kind of like a precursor to punk, but slightly before punk.. it was more like hard rock, which is a far cry from the sounds of crosby, stills nash and young - who i do believe were more connected to laural canyon in los angeles....frank zappa and captain beefheart are from the l.a. area... i don't think they would care what black sabbath was doing one way or the other... and yes - bs were british, not american and like a lot of british bands at the time - were typically really great and interesting... the uk was and still is pretty good for music and humour, but not much else!

Posted by: james | Jan 3 2021 0:29 utc | 139

@ Posted by: William Gruff | Jan 2 2021 13:54 utc | 97

“There was no rule of law in Tibet other than what the monasteries dictated except for some fairly loose rules from the Chinese legal system that were lightly enforced. Trying to separate de jure from de facto makes little sense.”
Let’s take the last first. US history provides a stark example of the very real differences between de jure law and de facto law, a status distinction huge in peoples’ lives. The law itself was changed to stop apartheid and color discrimination and related inequities, but the reality of one’s life did not follow apace, leaving the inequalities and discrimination intact de facto with real harm experienced.

In the case of old Tibet the gap, imagine this type of difference, qualitatively different of course, trending in the opposite direction. Being a “serf” by law and living the life of a serf de facto in old Tibet trended with flexibility and unpredictability. Of course, I’m just blathering on about something I know little about. I did study usa legal history for a few years, a common law derived system. The old Tibetan system was very different.

Rebecca French has done some work on this. She wrote a book, The Golden Yoke: The Legal Cosmology of Buddhist Tibet, which I read when it came out (as I was studying legal history at the time) but it made little impact on me as it was not grounded in the kind of legal history I was learning.

I agree with the rest of your comment except for the last sentence. If the means of production are privately owned, including intellectual and scientific inputs, then what issues forth from earlier social relations of production will not necessarily be less “morally bad.”


According to Tenzin Namgyal,

“Tibet has long history of its own distinct legal system which can be traced back to the early Christian era. But, with the advent of Tibetan language under the first historical King Songtsen Gampo (620-866AD), the first codified law was written under this great empire. This codified law includes (a) The Ten Virtuous Acts and (b) Sixteen Moral Principles which were strongly based on Tibetan Buddhist canon.

The Tsang Kingdom was the third and last of three secular Tibetan dynasties lines--- known as Three Kingdoms. The fourth Tsang King, Karma Tenkyong Wangpo who reigned in 1623, was keen in legal administration. The Tsang Codified law was the first to widely distribute throughout Tibet right up to the mid-twentieth century.

In 1642, after the great fifth Dalai Lama in charge of Tibet, the Gaden Phodrang Code and Central Administrative Bureaucracy were codified, on the basis of the Tsang codified law, which was in the line with the spirit of Buddhism. Whereas, the Chinese legal system was based on ancient philosophy of Confucius and legalist. The Chinese legal system was later modernized in the 19th Century and was way ahead of us, as well.

In Tibet, laymen generally consider law as set of moral rules which used interchangeable with religion, politics and administration. Out of different categorization of laws, the “law of the kings” or state law (gya trim) and “local law”(yul trim) were the pivotal law in Tibet. Buddhism being the state religion, it had a great influence in the legal system of Tibet. The legal code consisted of phrases or proverbs and myth. Although these were suggestive in nature but very often played vital roles in conciliation of disputes. Unlike English laws, the concept of stare decisis or precedent and res judicata (finality of the case and a bar to subsequent suit/action) were alien to the Tibetan legal system. In other words, irrespective of case being similar to the past issues, the conciliator or the judge considers each matter as unique to other matter. And the decided matter can be re-opened in any future date. As a Tibetan proverb says “fighting and disputes does not decay with time.”

Until, 1959 the Gaden Phodrang law code was the main source of law that governed the Tibetan legal system…”
Posted by: suzan |

Posted by: suzan | Jan 3 2021 1:30 utc | 140

uncle tungsten, 137:

Just noticed that the second “reporter” credited at the top of the NYT piece, Thomas Gibbons-Neff, has this bit of biography down at the bottom:

“Thomas Gibbons-Neff is a correspondent in the Kabul bureau and a former Marine infantryman”

I’m guessing he’s a big believer in “the mission”. Obviously hasn’t paid much attention or done even a tiny bit of reading outside of whatever the generals (or NY Times editors) recommend.

Posted by: Jay | Jan 3 2021 1:39 utc | 141

@ Posted by: BM | Jan 2 2021 15:39 utc | 101

Parenti's discussion of the experiences of contemporaries (who now live in the West) conflated what they experienced (the horrid social practices of oligarchs) with the teachings of the buddhadharma. That’s what I meant. So I actually meant the opposite of what you interpreted me to be saying. We agree somewhat.

Regarding the three lettered agency opportunistically putting its fingers into any and every promising development, are you suggesting that if they supply a pot to the leader of a segment of people with which to make food, and one makes soup, the entire pot of soup is spoiled because the pot?

I have never traveled over 20 miles to receive teachings from Rinpoches. Fortunately for me they travel a lot and give free teachings.

Posted by: suzan | Jan 3 2021 2:02 utc | 142

Australian lady #140

Excellent link, thank you. I have always considered this to be reality.

As Barry Miles has written in his coffee-table book, Hippie, there were some hippies involved in anti-war protests, “particularly after the police riot in Chicago in 1968 when so many people got injured, but on the whole the movement activists looked on hippies with disdain.” Peter Coyote, narrating the documentary “Hippies” on The History Channel, added that “Some on the left even theorized that the hippies were the end result of a plot by the CIA to neutralize the anti-war movement with LSD, turning potential protestors into self-absorbed naval-gazers.” An exasperated Abbie Hoffman once described the scene as he remembered it thusly: “There were all these activists, you know, Berkeley radicals, White Panthers … all trying to stop the war and change things for the better. Then we got flooded with all these ‘flower children’ who were into drugs and sex. Where the hell did the hippies come from?!”

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 3 2021 2:05 utc | 143

@ Posted by: suzan | Jan 3 2021 1:30 utc | 143

The stereotype of feudalism as a system without social mobility is a liberal myth. Evidence is scarce, but there's no reason not to think serfs would always only cultivate the land and always be tied to the land. Unpredictability doesn't exclude the possibility of a feudal system.

In England, for example, the serf not only worked the land: he/she worked in the land, that is, he/she practiced all the kinds of manufacturing and other labors, specially those related to extractivist activities in the forest. There were also towns where manufacture happened. There were also vagrants (the future first Americans), specially in London. Feudalism wasn't just a monotonous desert liberals propagandized after the 16th Century.

I read the article you linked. By the descriptions of the author, it doesn't seem Tibet wasn't "feudal" (i.e. based on serfdom). I didn't notice anything extraordinary in Tibetan system that would place it as a sui generis place or proto-capitalist stage. When we talk about systems, we're talking about the mode of sociometabolic reproduction of the society, not what must happen. Ancient slavery wasn't just a society of slaveowners and slaves: you had the freedmen, equestrians, peregrini, coloni (future serfs in the feudal transition after the fall of Rome in the West), senators, imperial family etc. etc. But it was the relation between the slave and the slaveowner (senator, local elite) that made the economic engine to work.

Posted by: vk | Jan 3 2021 2:16 utc | 144

@Posted by: vk | Jan 3 2021 2:16 utc | 147

"The stereotype of feudalism as a system without social mobility is a liberal myth. Evidence is scarce, but there's no reason not to think serfs would always only cultivate the land and always be tied to the land."

Well, that explains a lot if true. I'm in over my knowledge level here and will bow out.

Posted by: suzan | Jan 3 2021 2:31 utc | 145

@126 Jen & 142 James

As a big fan of Black Sabbath I'll chime in on this one:

War Pigs written in 1969 and released in 1970 was an anti-war song criticizing Vietnam and Anglo-Militaristic culture. Growing up in the 80's in the USA, Black Sabbath was still a very popular band amongst those with counter-cultural tendencies, although a little too heavy metal for some Indie-Rock lovers.

War Pigs
Generals gathered in their masses
Just like witches at black masses
Evil minds that plot destruction
Sorcerer of death's construction
In the fields, the bodies burning
As the war machine keeps turning
Death and hatred to mankind
Poisoning their brainwashed minds
Oh lord, yeah!

Politicians hide themselves away
They only started the war
Why should they go out to fight?
They leave that role to the poor

Time will tell on their power minds
Making war just for fun
Treating people just like pawns in chess
Wait till their judgement day comes, yeah!

Now in darkness, world stops turning
Ashes where their bodies burning
No more war pigs have the power
Hand of God has struck the hour
Day of judgement, God is calling
On their knees, the war pigs crawling
Begging mercy for their sins
Satan laughing, spreads his wings
Oh lord, yeah!

Posted by: Haasaan | Jan 3 2021 2:46 utc | 146

Didn't mean to interrupt a fascinating discussion on Buddhism. I practice one of the many varieties which is less Tibetan and more Zen/Zhungzai.

To some extent, Buddhism derived from early Hinduism which itself was a hybrid of an older pagan religion and the religion Aryan conquerers brought with them. Tibetan Buddhism itself is a hybrid of the local Pagan Pon religion and imported Buddhism.

Retaining aspects of the Abrahamic conquerers religion, both Hinduism and Tibetan Buddhism retained for better or worse some aspects of social and religious hierarchy.

My preference is for the Buddhism derivatives that still retain their pagan roots and have less of the dogmatic hierarchy and traditions. That said, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is a wonderful spiritual text.

Posted by: Haasaan | Jan 3 2021 3:22 utc | 147

i am not sure what that ''hippie dispelling' stuff is about... not sure i believe it either on a surface glance at it..

@ Haasaan | Jan 3 2021 2:46 utc | 149.. just to add to your comment, i found this interesting reading it off wikipedia... as someone mentioned on wikipedia and to which i mostly agree- black sabbath were the original heavy metal band, before heavy metal was a thing... i personally never focused on words.. i can see the howls, but i listen to the sounds.. some of my folkie friends are aghast at the idea i have never listened to words, but only the sounds of music... at any rate, it seems there is a good bit of truth to black sabbath being associated with being anti-war.. i sure as fuck was anti-war but i didn't need a band to tell me to be... i continue to believe the friction if any towards black sabbath in the music community was from a bunch of pussies who hard a hard time swallowing rock music, let alone black sabbath which was generally much darker and heavier at the time it came out... i was around 15 when the first album came out and i totally dug it!

"The album's opening track "War Pigs" was originally intended to be called "Walpurgis".[4] It was then changed to "War Pigs", which the band intended to name the album until it was changed to Paranoid after the record company became convinced that the song of the same name had potential as a single.[4] Butler explained his intentions to Classic Albums: "I wanted to write a song called 'Walpurgis' – you know, the Satanic version of Christmas – write it about that Satan isn't a spiritual thing, it's warmongers. That's who the real Satanists are, all these people who are running the banks and the world and trying to get the working class to fight the wars for them. We sent it off to the record company and they said, 'No, we're not going to call it that. Too Satanic!' So I changed it to 'War Pigs'."

Posted by: james | Jan 3 2021 3:25 utc | 148

The new Cold War which US is hoping to ignite, in order to regain or even to endure her sole sole superpower status, unlike the last cold war, would be a Multipolar Cold War and not a bipolar. Major players would be US and Uk against Multiple states mainly Russia China and Iran which have no formal military, political or economic alliance or treaty of any sort. IMO major remaining European states will not join or participate in any meaningful way for or against either sides in this new Cold War.
US has correctly identified Iran, Russia and China as her main adversaries standing against her to regain a unipolar hegemony over the world affairs. US regime correctly feels she needs to defeat and overcome her main adversaries if she is to preserve a sole superpower status which is necessary if they are to maintain “there way of life”.
Again IMO, this time around due to multipolarity of opposition this is near to impossible for US/UK to achieve.
Iran like her historical role, being a main player if not the only, but the main balancing force for either side to achieve their goals in this now ongoing Multi Directional Cold War.


Posted by: Kooshy | Jan 3 2021 3:48 utc | 149

uncle tungsten @ 136, your reference to a second coming of Christ in Palestine triggers my Dostoevsky-oriented inner self (this thread has been fascinating, and I only wish to add a few crumbs) to point out in his final novel Ivan's mighty narrative of The Grand Inquisitor- where Christ returns to face what has happened to his church and its people.

I cannot speak to the issue of Tibetan Buddhism except to say that I admire its practitioners, a tiny segment of whom are members of my own dear family. They are loving and peaceful people. One of my daughters studied in China during the Clinton administration. Another visited her, and they took a train across China to Tibet together staying with a family in one of the great monastic towns. At night (said the older daughter) the monks would ascend to the rooftops to chant, a beautiful experience as was the journey itself....

It's a very different faith from my own, but it commands my respect.

Posted by: juliania | Jan 3 2021 4:41 utc | 150

@ karlof1 | Jan 2 2021 20:33 utc | 128

On the Tibetan Buddhist Dalai lamas succession you quote from theMa Bufang similar to British colonial "divide and conquer" with false promises resulted in both minorities being losers today.

Posted by: Antonym | Jan 3 2021 4:42 utc | 151

@ karlof1 | Jan 2 2021 20:33 utc | 128
I probably forgot some html and got a mangled comment.
The gist: if you concur with that a Chinese government should interfere with a next Dalai lama please do the same for the selection of the next roman Catholic pope - if you're not a hypocrite.

Han Chinese leaders played "divide and conquer" in the 1930-40's as good as the British colonials by letting Muslim general Ma Bufang take on Tibet. Both minorities lost, as was the plan.

Posted by: Antonym | Jan 3 2021 4:51 utc | 152

During the 2008 CIA orchestrated uprising bloody riots in Tibet, the anglos, Indians, euros...
thats right, those certified génocidaire, were shedding copious croc tears over those 'peaceful monks' clobbered by nasty chicom thugs, much like the way [[[they]]] cried over those 'peaceful students run over by tanks' in that 'TAM massacre'...

I was in better shape then , doing 'pitch battles' with an army of wingnuts AND libtards, who were crawling all over the MSM.

You must hand it to those CIA./MI5 bastards, when playing the 'human rights' card, both the 'left' and 'right' are united against China.

There are many 'anti imperialists leftists' who would tell us...
'This time, At least CIA is doing the right stuff in helping the oppressed Tibetans,'

Every time [[[they ]]] pull this trick, in Tibet, Xinjiang, HK, Russia, Myanmar, Sri Lanka...[[[they]]] got the entire 'international community' behind them.
Brilliant innit ?

Anyway, during the 2008 Tibet riots, while the anglos, indians and euros bleeding hearts were frothing at the mouth at the GUardian over those evil chicoms, I threw down the gauntlet to them....
Can you name me one other place that enjoys the same preferential policies like the Tibetans...

Exemption from one child rule,
Examption from tax,
Free education,
Heavy subsidy in economy,

How about Kashmir, Kurdistan, Chinese Indonesians, .....?

UNtil now no taker !

Posted by: denk | Jan 3 2021 5:36 utc | 153

@79 suzan

From that Parenti piece you quote, 2 things become crystal clear: (1) the initial troop occupation of Tibet by China in around 1950 was an anti-imperialist, geo-strategic deployment with no deep regard for the domestic Tibetan culture inside its borders and (2) it was only after the CIA-supported insurgency of 1959 that China took a new approach to Tibet - one that resonates perfectly, as a complete mirror image, of the actions initiated in Xinjiang following the CIA-supported insurgencies there.

These are the two playbooks. The CIA foments sedition and rebellion. The Chinese counter is to pinpoint and arrest/kill the active insurgents AND also to transform the entire domestic environment of the insurgency, changing the situation for the local inhabitants so that they have no grievances that can be exploited by outside agitators.

What we've seen in Xinjiang, then, is precisely what we saw in Tibet some decades earlier, if we had only known how to recognize the pattern.

What a brilliant, Taoist, civilized and egalitarian solution for the Chinese civilization to manifest, to defeat aggression.

This is why the west cannot win against China - its aggression never rises to the level of design that China's solution originates from, which is an order of magnitude more evolved. Imagine: only if the adversary were to adopt the same paradigms of sharing the wealth, and rising tides that lift all boats, and so on, could it hope to defeat China - and then what kind of defeat could it be, in a race between both sides to benefit all the innocent civilians of the battle ground?

Win-win defeats zero-sum, simply by existing. And we've been watching this, whether we knew it or not, since 1959.

What a gift to study.


@90 uncle tungsten

Thanks for the brilliant moon, I smiled all through it. And is it any wonder then that we all thought Tibet was a humble, simple, poor-yet-happy place? And is it any wonder that those lamas and supplicants, feeling the radiance from the actual realized masters, were transfixed by this above all considerations of poverty? And is it any wonder that the horror underneath all this never came to film , or to the stories told in the west, or perhaps never into the minds of these monks themselves?

In that whole film I never saw anyone partake of luxury.

This is why I feel I have to take the great moral strength I was given by the Tibetans, and use it to ask those same Tibetans what part of this horror they actually saw, and was it horror or was it not horror?

this will not happen overnight


suzan, I meant to thank you for all your comments, and now I finally carve out a space to do it. I have benefited greatly from most of the things you've said here, in many threads.

It's impossible to mention by name all the commenters in a thread whom one is grateful to, because even if one counted each comment, someone reading this would think, dammit, I should have dropped a comment in there - and to you also, one is grateful.

Sometimes there's an MoA thread that breaks out, stamped with that unique signature of good minds pursuing shared truth, and this has been one of those. Obviously an omen for the quality of commentary at Moon of Alabama in 2021 - many thanks, b.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 3 2021 5:49 utc | 154

@ Grieved

IMO meditation has different aspects. When it is used as a study of self it is a means of staying true to one's enlightened understanding. As a study of the nature of universals (which also has implications for self) it leads to enlightened understanding.


I see nirvana as a satisfaction that transcends hedonism, not the ultimate hedonism.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 3 2021 5:57 utc | 155

@158 Jackrabbit

There is no one meditation - this is why I specified that one uses the meditation prescribed by the discipline.

So, yes, when one uses "meditation" for this one purpose or for this one other purpose, as you say, different results occur.

The point is that the meditation prescribed by the disciplines of Golf or Judo will be different, and it will be important to follow the teachings from that discipline, to progress in its path of advancement.

This is why thinking that one knows the meditation prescribed by the teachings of the Buddha is not necessarily true until one knows what that meditation is, and what its object is, and what the Buddha taught.

It's really very simple, and I'm not trying to be a hard-ass with this. But there is no one thing called meditation, just as there is no one discipline, and no one thing called mastery.

Buddhism is only a discipline, and its practice is only a path of practice as prescribed by its teachers, following the original gift of the Buddha. Really, it's that simple, and that rigorous.

There can be much discussion by anyone and everyone of its footprint in the stream of life in the world. But there can be little discussion of what it actually is, unless one knows.

And it is very simple to learn. It's not an elitist thing. But you have to know what you're talking about in order to talk about it usefully.

Is my point.

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 3 2021 6:22 utc | 156

@159 - more...

google: "buddhist meditation near me"

Posted by: Grieved | Jan 3 2021 6:32 utc | 157

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 2 2021 17:23 utc | 111

(apologies for the long post, please don't butcher it, b)

Well, have you experienced nirvana? Anything close to it? Do you know others that have? Any estimate of how long one needs to practice Buddhism to achieve nirvana? Or is the path to nirvana its own reward (albeit unheralded)?

It looks like A.M.A day for me today. Let me give it a shot:

Well, have you experienced nirvana?


(If I had, you'd know ;-) I certainly would not be goofing off on MoA)

Anything close to it?

Yes. I've had concrete, life-changing transitions triggered and guided by engaging in metacognition based on Buddhist philosophy.

My accidental discovery of Buddhism and subsequent practice resulted in a series of events which I characterise as fleeting glimpses of Nirvana, of it's potentiality and plausibility:

1. Release from extreme and persistent anxiety that had affected me with frequent panic attacks, choking episodes during sleep and ulcers through most of my youth.
2. Development of the psychological machinery to control my response to pain while fully experiencing it.
3. An interpretation of Death which has provided me relief from the fear of it.
4. An interpretation of the cyclical nature of existence which has removed my existential fear of the Universe Death

I'll go into a little more detail:

1. Release from extreme and persistent anxiety that had affected me with frequent panic attacks, choking episodes during sleep and ulcers through most of my youth.

For most of my youth I suffered from persistent, overwhelming anxiety to the extent that my breathing would lock up during sleep.
For a time I tried anti-anxiety medication to no effect.
After a period of time (about a month) during which I was studying the Fire Sermon and The Birds of Appetite it became clear to me just how interconnected the mind-body complex was.

Thought and Reality are one. I remember consciously unlocking my breathing with a single thought. And in a single night decades of anxiety vanished, never to return.

2. Development of the psychological machinery to control my response to pain while fully experiencing it.

My reading of the Fire Sermon reinforced the perception of how interconnected Thought, the nervous system and human agency are and placed each of these in a hierarchy I could apply and test directly.
I arranged a ceremony in which, over a few hours, a mark was burned into my skin with pointed sticks during which I was able to completely ignore the pain response while being fully aware of the pain.

This was to me, one of my most powerful experiences of expressing agency over reality by means of Thought. Thought shaped by a reading of texts more than 2000 years old ...

Of course, nothing on the scale of this:

3. An interpretation of Death which has provided me relief from the fear of it.

The Buddhist interpretation of existence as a cyclical interplay between Void and "Emergence of Life from the Void" (this is supported by modern, rational scientific thought) has resulted in me losing concern for Death of the physical body.

The understanding that one is part of a continuum not a foreign body inserted into an alien world, allowed me to realise that Death and Life are merely states of transition within existence, and existence is eternal.

- "I" am alive as part of the greater enfolding fabric of universal life.
- "I" am dead as part of the same enfolding fabric when it dies.
- "I" am reborn when life re-emerges within the universal fabric.
- There is no "I"

Each of these accounts are examples of instances in which I was able to actualise a major theme in Buddhism: The power of thought to influence the nature of one's internal, thereafter external reality.

Each of these attempts to push the perceptual envelope of my reality led to a change in perception and treatment of it, leading to concrete changes I could effect upon the world around me (and more importantly the perceptual reality within).

And with each of these episodes it became clear to me that something larger lurked beyond my perceptual borders, a sense like I had been swimming at only the edge of an eternal and deep ocean and that, when I am ready, that eternal ocean of unknown awaits - Nirvana.

Do you know others that have?

Not personally. However, I put forward Thich Quan Duc as a candidate:

Nirvana on camera, for those who need it :-)

Any estimate of how long one needs to practice Buddhism to achieve nirvana?

The short answer: Anywhere from this very moment, to the entire span of your lifetime (on your death bed).

There are three schools of thought, in Buddhism, on estimates (that I'm aware of):

1) The Sudden School - Nirvana can occur in an instance to one in the right mind set at an appropriate (but unpredictable) time
2) The Gradual School - Nirvana occurs suddenly after a long process of conditioning (as in the case of the Gotama Buddha)

Buddhist philosophy reasons that attainment of Nirvana, or attainment of transitional points along the path to Nirvana can be:

- sudden (as in a revelation that occurs as a result of a change in one's perceptions) or
- gradual, as in a slow step by step process of mental and perceptional enlightenment over time that results in a radical change in one's interpretation of Reality and one's context within it.

The third school reasons that there is no essential difference between "sudden" and "gradual" attainment of Nirvana. There is no possibility of estimating when or how one will attain it, it depends on the seeker.

Personally I subscribe to Hui Neng's interpretation:

"The difference between the 'Sudden' School and the 'Gradual' school does not really exist; the only difference recognized is that by nature some men are quick-witted, while others are dull in understanding. Those who are enlightened realize the truth in a sudden, while those who are under delusion have to train themselves gradually. But such a difference will disappear when we know our own mind and realize our own nature. Therefore these terms, 'Gradual' and 'Sudden' are more apparent than real."

So, in classic Consultant's style: "It depends."

Or is the path to nirvana its own reward (albeit unheralded)?

Not at all.

The journey is not an objective in itself in Buddhism. The attainment of conscious, directed release from the cognitive attachments of the apparent material world around us is the objective.

The means of attainment must be discarded upon attainment of that state for the means paradoxically also presents the final burden to attainment.

(Note: I use the phrase "conscious, directed release" is emphasized to exclude delusions of attainment under the influence of psychotropics, natural or unnatural)

Finally, why do I call myself a "Buddhist"? Why not just a "truth seeker", or some other label of convenience? Or perhaps no label at all?

Simply because the fundamental teachings which provided me the metacognitive framework to effect changes in my belief system were derived from specific teachings and philosophical style of Buddhism as exemplified by these Buddhist

a) The Fire Sermon
b) The Dhammapadha
c) The Diamond Sutra
e) Platform Sūtra of the Sixth Patriarch
f) The Birds of Appetite (by Trappist monk, Thomas Merton)

Of course my composite philosophical lense is formed by many other sources of scientific and religious philosophy many not derived from Buddhism like quantum theory, mathematics, theory of computation ... but almost always within an evaluative framework provided by Buddhism as described in the texts above.

Regarding meditation, I have found it therapeutic in small amounts but I place more value on the reading of core buddhist texts and contemplation of the concepts therein, thereafter actualising Buddhist concepts in daily life and work and applying them to answering major philosophical and scientific questions of modern times.

Buddhism proposes the direct application of it's ideas to fracturing the delusion of reality.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 3 2021 6:37 utc | 158

Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 3 2021 5:57 utc | 158


I see nirvana as a satisfaction that transcends hedonism, not the ultimate hedonism.


I see satisfaction that transcends hedonism as the ultimate hedonism.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 3 2021 6:40 utc | 159

Grieved #157

I guess there were two societies within the one state: Fuedal masters and serfs and almost entirely separate other than commerce. I doubt the monasteries were ever a place where all were reduced to common level. There seem to be very enlightened beings who chose a life course of service to the people and perhaps were funded to continue in exchange for never challenging the political nature of the country.

The unspoken capitulation to power perhaps. But that is not to denigrate their compassionate force in the world.

I would be interested to know what Tibetan citizens think of their situation in terms of relative poverty/wealth, whether they have good services in education and health and dental provision. What that data looks like over the standard age ranges. Mortality data over age ranges tells a heap. I will see what is out there.

Stay happy.

Australian Lady that is one hell of a story!!! :)

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 3 2021 6:49 utc | 160

What an engaging round of comments on Buddhist spirituality and history. You sippers kept me up till 2:30 AM. I would welcome more white nights when MoA’s barflies take up in like fashion––that is, mostly sympathetically and for each faith its own night––the varieties of spirituality among Jews, Christians and Muslims.

Posted by: Jay-Ottawa | Jan 3 2021 7:37 utc | 161

Posted by: Antonym | Jan 3 2021 7:38 utc | 165

Chinese Communist Party steps up efforts to control Tibetan Buddhism

Tibetan (Bon) Buddhism, like Roman (Jesuit) Catholicism, like Wahabbi Islam, like modern Hinduism has been a house of whores and paedophilia for centuries.

In my opinion, the sooner these frameworks of human degradation, mental and spiritual destruction and tools of social oppression are buried, the better.

They can have what's left of it, in other words.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 3 2021 7:51 utc | 163

About the tibet situation. Mao was not some saint and neither were the dzungar tibetans.

The fact that mao killed all warlords and even scholars is a fact. But I don't think lama would lead tibet to what it is today if he were in charge.

if tibet is worse off today yrou would see riots all the time even in face of military security apparatus.

If it isn't, then if you feel so strongly against it, you can hold a fasting rebellion against china or india like ghandi did.

Posted by: Jason | Jan 3 2021 7:56 utc | 164

@ Arch Bungle | Jan 3 2021 7:51 utc | 166

The only top down structure I as a rational person would voluntary accept would be a real Guru = individual spirituality. Anything forced is automatically questionable - that includes CCP tactics or CIA machinations. By the way Hinduism lets people free and there are no bishops, mullahs or lamas that have to be followed - it is different, it has many different paths - non of which I follow b.t.w.

Still there are (many) people around the globe who are more devotional in nature and want someone else to tell them what to do. Let them follow (mass) religions or ideologies (like Marxism, Extinct Rebellion etc.).

Posted by: Antonym | Jan 3 2021 8:37 utc | 165

Tibet and some data on the Human Development Index at 2010 from the TIBET DEVELOPMENT AND POVERTY ALLEVIATION PROGRAMME

Key Partners:
China International Centre for Economic and Technical Exchanges/MOFCOM
Government of Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR)
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP):-

The past decades have seen remarkable progress on the poverty and social development fronts in Tibet
Autonomous Region (TAR).

The Human Development Index (HDI) has risen impressively from 0.387 in 1990 to 0.586 in 2003, moving the region from the low development level to the threshold of medium development.

The average annual GDP of 6,871 yuan is fairly high compared to other poor parts of China.

In spite of these significant improvements, however, TAR continues to be ranked last among the 31
provinces and regions of China according to most human development indicators. Education levels are
particularly low and reduce the HDI considerably: more than 45% of the men and 62 % of the women of
Tibet are illiterate or semi-illiterate. Life expectancy, at less than 66 years, is also the lowest rate observed in China.

Rural-urban disparities are large: urban GDP averages 19,891 yuan while in rural areas –
where the vast majority of the Tibetan population lives – it reaches only 3,837. This emphasizes the need
for balanced and human centred development in Tibet, in order to reduce disparities and improve
capabilities across the population. Adjustments that are made with relative ease elsewhere seem to take
longer in Tibet, and this demands the heightened attention of donors as well as government.

In this report they identify tourism as a key wealth generator and recommend efforts to expand. This blog is too limited to pursue the topic in detail but I may well find some comparative material.

Cambodia HDI is comparable from this source at wikipedia

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 3 2021 8:38 utc | 166

Arch Bungle #166

Tibetan (Bon) Buddhism, like Roman (Jesuit) Catholicism, like Wahabbi Islam, like modern Hinduism has been a house of whores and paedophilia for centuries.

In my opinion, the sooner these frameworks of human degradation, mental and spiritual destruction and tools of social oppression are buried, the better.

Thank you. I say if they are not part of the solution to what blocks human progress and improvement then they are part of the problem. The religious orders and propagandists have to grow up and fight with the people for equality, fraternity and peace. But I do not expect that to happen - they are retrograde and antisocial behemoths.

With the Buddhists partly exempt, those you list are complicit in war and providing comfort for the oppressor and aid to silence for the oppressed. Hinduism maintains the same detachment from the social sphere as do the others. This facade behind which Hinduism permits the construction of repressive social evils such as the caste system is reprehensible in the extreme. The scenes in India of violent opposition to positive discrimination are an affront to human and spiritual decency.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 3 2021 8:52 utc | 167

Posted by: Antonym | Jan 3 2021 8:37 utc | 168

By the way Hinduism lets people free and there are no bishops, mullahs or lamas that have to be followed - it is different, it has many different paths - non of which I follow b.t.w.

B.S of course, the barbaric practice of sati ("suttee") being just one example:

From voluntary to forced

According to ancient Hindu customs, sati symbolised closure to a marriage. It was a voluntary act in which, as a sign of being a dutiful wife, a woman followed her husband to the afterlife. It was, therefore, considered to be the greatest form of devotion of a wife towards her dead husband.

With time, it became a forced practice. Women who did not wish to die like this were forced to do so in different ways. Traditionally, a widow had no role to play in society and was considered a burden. So, if a woman had no surviving children who could support her, she was pressurised to accept sati.

Now, what would you say to the State needing to step in and legislate barbaric Hindu practices that have not kept pace with the times?

Prevention of Sati Act (1987)

In 1987, in the village of Deorala in Rajasthan, an 18-year-old married woman named Roop Kanwar was forced to become sati when her husband died after eight months of marriage. She refused. Consequently, a group of men from the village forcefully drugged and immolated her. Police investigated the case and those men were arrested. In light of this incident, the government created the Prevention of Sati Act, making it illegal to force or encourage a woman to commit sati, and anyone doing so would be punished by death. And yet, some widows still choose to become sati – at least four such cases were recorded between 2000 and 2015.

Even the hordes of foreign barbarians who've traipsed through India across the ages have had to step in and restore sanity:

If historical facts are to be believed, the practice of sati was prohibited many times between 15th and 18th centuries.
In 1582, Mughal Emperor Akbar outlawed sati, and in 1663, Aurangzeb tried to end it again.
Even the Portuguese, French and British, who came to India during the European colonial period, tried to stop sati.
In 1850, the British hardened their rules against the practice.
Sir Charles Napier ordered to hang to death any Hindu priest who presided over a widow burning.

Anecdotal: In my lifetime, I have lived in places where sati was enforced by the Hindu family of Indian widows in Indian communities in Africa.

Random ponderance: I wonder if sati, suttee and saute' may have some common etymological root ... ?

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 3 2021 8:59 utc | 168

China Mars probe has almost arrived at the Red Planet.

"China's Tianwen-1 Mars probe has travelled 400 million kilometers, and was 130 million km away from Earth and 8.3 million km from Mars as of 6 am Sunday. The spacecraft has flown in orbit for 163 days, and remains in good condition. "

It even took a selfie.

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 3 2021 9:05 utc | 169

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 3 2021 9:05 utc | 172

So, the second Asian-built probe to reach Mars orbit after India. Will it be the first Asian-built craft to land on Mars, is the question ...

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 3 2021 9:15 utc | 170

Posted by: juliania | Jan 3 2021 4:41 utc | 153

I wanted to let you know that I discovered my wife had a copy of the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation of Karamazov lying around so I have taken it up again. Appreciate the pointer, or I never would have gotten around to it. I have read The Idiot and Karenina, poked aound in a couple others. The Idiot was difficult (old translation) but worth it, Karenina a P/V version and very easy to read, and I'm looking forward to Karamazov which has been on my list for a long time. The prose in old translations drives me bonkers sometimes. They try to imitate Gibbon and Swift, but are not up to the job.

Posted by: Bemildred | Jan 3 2021 10:03 utc | 171

Posted by: denk | Jan 3 2021 5:36 utc | 156 -- "Can you name me one other place that enjoys the same preferential policies like the Tibetans... Exemption from one child rule... Examption from tax... Free education... Heavy subsidy in economy.... UNtil now (since 2008) no taker!

Thanks for that back story about CIA idiots shouting last 12 years "Human Rights For Tibet".

Just like the idiot here shouting, "but.... but... the Han Chinese are baaaaaaad because..... Tibet."

Posted by: kiwiklown | Jan 3 2021 10:18 utc | 172

Posted by: psychohistorian | Jan 2 2021 7:28 utc | 88 -- "The barbarism of the God of Mammon religion forced on all in the West is being challenged by the example of the truly secular civilization of China."

But China is not so much challenging the West as beavering away to provide a decent bowl of rice for every citizen -- Tibetans, Uighers included. So, not challenging, but perhaps, showing up the West.

The Chinese system is governance of the people for the people.

The Western system is governance of the people for the governors.

The Indian system is like the Western system because India is supposedly the world's largest democracy, and the West claim to also be democracies.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Jan 3 2021 10:35 utc | 173

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Jan 2 2021 5:42 utc | 85 -- "The capitalist west and its neo liberal economic captivity needs to be humanised promptly. It appears to me that the socialism evident in China is trending strongly in that direction. Not so much in the west."

Agreeing with you, uncle.

Come to think of it, not so much in India too.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Jan 3 2021 10:46 utc | 174

James @ 142:

I don't know Black Sabbath (their classic line-up from 1968 to late 1970s, when Ozzy Osbourne left and was replaced by Ronnie James Dio) all that well. Their records were not played much on the Sydney radio stations I heard in the mid-1970s, mainly because one of these stations which was very popular among kids and young teenagers at the time was actually owned by the Roman Catholic Church and much of Black Sabbath's music did encompass occult-themed topics as a collective metaphor for elements of the Deep State. So the Sabs were beyond the pale. In those days even Led Zeppelin was treated by a lot of mainstream pop radio stations and TV shows as having occult connections and the band's recordings did not get very much airplay, no doubt because of Jimmy Page's interest in Aleister Crowley and Crowley's Thelema creed.

Australia was still quite a conservative society in the 1970s. From the late 1970s onwards, popular music culture here caught up with the British scene as a result of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation importing pop and rock music video clips and broadcasting them on TV shows like "Countdown" and its various radio stations in the capital cities. Other pop / rock radio stations had to keep up with the ABC's TV and radio broadcasting.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 3 2021 10:56 utc | 175

Posted by: Dr. George W Oprisko | Jan 2 2021 2:38 utc | 75 -- "India chooses to pick fights with Pakistan over Kashmir, territory which according to USC resolutions does not belong to it.... chooses to pick fights with China over high mountain valleys, where nothing grows.... chooses to tweak China's nose over Tibet using the Dali Lama as pawn.... to hide their incompetence."

Yes, to hide incometence, but also, something else.

Kickbacks, anybody (Rafael jet fighters; Bofors cannons)?

Might be useful for Antonym to ask himself: Is there a difference between what's good for Modi & Friends and what's good for 1,000,000,000 Indians?

But then, for some reason, he is too busy slandering the Han Chinese....

Posted by: kiwiklown | Jan 3 2021 11:00 utc | 176

Arch Bungle @ 171:

"Suttee" is an older spelling of "sati". "Saute" (to stir-fry, to cook lightly by tossing) comes from the French word derived from the past participle of the verb "sauter" meaning "to jump" (because when you toss food while stir-frying it, it jumps) and that verb is derived from Latin "saltare" also meaning "to jump".

My understanding of sati is that the custom was originally limited to the upper Hindu castes (Brahmins and Kshatriyas) in Indian society. The paradox with sati is that it started to spread to other classes among Hindu communities as a result of British colonial obsession with outlawing it combined with the ongoing British destruction and degradation of many aspects of Indian culture and tradition from the 1800s onwards. At the same time the British colonial administration made attempts to understand Hinduism in order to deal with its subject peoples on a day-to-day basis (why, for example, did people from different groups refuse to work together and what was the religious or cultural basis for that refusal) and looked to the Brahmin caste for advice.

What the Brahmins advised the British was more or less their particular interpretations of Hinduism that favoured Brahmin Hindu interests. This resulted in a narrowly defined "orthodox" Hinduism that ended up being the Hinduism we think of today as the Hindu religion.

Pretty ironic, don't you think, that "Hinduism" turns out to be a British colonial invention full of the 19th-century European racism that also informed the roots of Nazism?

Posted by: Jen | Jan 3 2021 11:14 utc | 177

@ Arch Bungle | Jan 3 2021 8:59 utc | 171 & Jen | Jan 3 2021 11:14 utc | 180

I never read about a case of sati in any Indian newspaper the last quarter century. It is a non-topic, as much as some Chinese foot-binding their daughters.

Brahmin born form about 5% of the Indian population thus making an unattractive small vote bank for politicians. This resulted in them getting zero government privileges at all. Scheduled caste born are about 17% and got a lot of positive discrimination from the government side, apart from being wooed by Christian and Muslim missionaries with financial incentives upon conversion. Most of the latter keep up their sc status too for double benefits. The ones I know laugh about it when I remind them of their old Hindu names as it they see it as a game for profit.

Posted by: Antonym | Jan 3 2021 12:19 utc | 178

@ kiwiklown | Jan 3 2021 11:00 utc | 179

The distance between New Delhi and the Chines-Tibetan border is only 340 km, while the same for Beijing is 1240 km. Even a clown can see the problem here.

The distance between both capitals is 3760 km.

Posted by: Antonym | Jan 3 2021 12:29 utc | 179

Posted by: Antonym | Jan 3 2021 12:19 utc | 181

I never read about a case of sati in any Indian newspaper the last quarter century.

Even a clown can see the problem here.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 3 2021 12:55 utc | 180

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 3 2021 12:55 utc | 183

I too see multiple problems with that 'quarter century' statement by that clown who calls Gandhi a fool.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Jan 3 2021 13:31 utc | 181

Simple, just come up with many news links to India's big problem of Sati in the 21st century.

Posted by: Antonym | Jan 3 2021 13:44 utc | 182

The capital of India, like India itself is entirely a British colonial construction. Would you have preferred it if they had built it in Tamil Nadu instead?

Posted by: M | Jan 3 2021 14:28 utc | 183

interesting and unexpected discussion of buddhism.
re led zeppelin, it was played constantly on us radio in the early 70's, to the point that when i hear stairway to heaven it still triggers a gag reflex.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 3 2021 14:34 utc | 184

Posted by: Antonym | Jan 3 2021 13:44 utc | 185

Simple, just come up with many news links to India's big problem of Sati in the 21st century.

To what end? Your statements have already been debunked factually and logically.

But out of interest, there are many reports, in Indian media for the 21st:


Now to put into perspective the nuttiness of the culture that gives rise to this kind of lunacy, compare with other cultures:

a) The last Burning at the Stake in Europe occurred in Germany in 1835. Imagine if in 21st century four reports of cultural burnings at the stake had occurred?

Would you call that "many"? Perhaps a four or so cases of this kind of cultural barbarism is tolerable in your esteemed view?

b) Since you mentioned foot-binding in China, let's roll with that: Stamped out ruthlessly in China by 1957 - by, you guessed it - Mao Zedong:

"After foot binding was banned it became taboo, and in 1950 Chairman Mao ordered anti foot-binding inspectors to publicly shame any bound women they found. "

@ Posted by: kiwiklown | Jan 3 2021 13:31 utc | 184

To enumerate:

- Straw man to
- Deflect from the actual point of Hinduism not being heavily managed by an elite hierarchy.
- Moving the goalposts to a perceived favourable conclusion
- Setting up a deliberately fuzzy metric ("many")

... all the tactics of a crude propagandist.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 3 2021 14:37 utc | 185

i suppose if i could become enlightened, stairway to heaven would no longer annoy me.

Posted by: pretzelattack | Jan 3 2021 15:03 utc | 186

Arch Bungle @Jan3 6:40 #162

Thank you for that description! And thanks for mentioning Thich Quan Duc. The burning monks were the introduction to Buddhism for many Westerners (including me).

<> <> <> <> <>

From a philosophical point of view, I see Buddhism as simply recognizing that death is part of life. Traditional religions posit that life as part of death (in that life is something like a proving-ground for the soul).

IMO once one recognizes this fact then freeing oneself of attachments becomes easier. But that freeing will naturally lead to hedonism - enjoy it while you can! Enlightenment means that such a selfish instinct is overcome. We are leaves on a tree, not shooting stars.

To me nirvana occurs when everyone has this enlightened point of view: no more war, no more strife. People work together to build the tree. Thus, I see the path as the true individual goal as that leads to a communal nirvana.

We can surmise that when one has a conviction that is so strong that one will sacrifice one's own life (leaf) to save others (leaves) then one is already living in nirvana. Thus, I agree with your comment about Thich Quan Duc.


Tibetan (Bon) Buddhism, like Roman (Jesuit) Catholicism, like Wahabbi Islam, like modern Hinduism has been a house of whores and paedophilia for centuries.

I suspect that some of Buddha's teachings have been altered/interpreted just as with Jesus' teachings. Once an institutional structure develops around something that structure works to sustain itself and grow its power.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jan 3 2021 15:09 utc | 187

With all of these bounties in Afghanistan, there is obviously a lot of interest in controlling the global trade in heroin that is centered there.

But can the US CIA/DOD be dislodged as heroin trafficker in chief? Trump was trying to.

China Joe pulls a fast one keeping Afghanistan in his realm of 10%. China will have to do for now with the global fentynal trade.

Posted by: Liberty Blogger | Jan 3 2021 15:17 utc | 188

kiwiklown 175

China has one of the most enlightened minority policies in the world, yet its singled out for demonisation.

The smear campaign is deadly successful.
I once told those sanctimonious pricks at Guardian, China ought to get a Nobel prize for its exemplary policies in Tibet, that suggestion sent those thoroughly brain washed idiots into hysterical fits !

India with its genocidal wars in Kashmir and the NE is feted as the 'model democracy'.

INdonesia with its multiple genocides in E Timor, West Papua, Aceh etc etc and against the Chinese minorities, is billed as the 'model moslem country'. !

The [[[five liars]]] aks [[[five eyes]]] do not give a rat ass on the world's really oppressed.
'human rights ' is just another weapon from their imperial toolkit

tHE irony of it all...
FUKUS and its cohorts should be the last ones on earth to lecture anybody over human rights and all that jazz.

Posted by: denk | Jan 3 2021 15:18 utc | 189

"Jo Farrell tracked down 50 surviving women whose feet had been bound. Many could no longer walk, and kept their disfigurement hidden."

Sati was abolished in 1829
but one can never stop a person from committing suicide unexpected (your no.2 & 4)
In Europe women ("witches") were tied and burned by others.

From your no.3: "Cases of sati are very rare in India."

Posted by: Antonym | Jan 3 2021 15:18 utc | 190

pretzelattack | Jan 3 2021 15:03 utc | 189

I have read somewhere that Stairway to heaven was written about their landlady climbing the stairs in their house to the second floor.
Makes it a bit easier to listen to.

Posted by: arby | Jan 3 2021 15:20 utc | 191

@ Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 3 2021 6:37 utc | 161

Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism etc. etc. are cute when they come in the sterilized form they came to the West in the 1960s.

But in reality, those were as brutal religions as was Christianism and Islamism during the Middle Ages. They have institutions, they have societal orders, they use the violence of the State in their places of origin. Buddhism was not so funny to the Tibetan serfs who often lost their limbs or their lives for petty "crimes".

During the post-war miracle, the USA was growing at a breakneck speed. This speed prompted many of its citizens to get some kind of exhaustion from all the consumerism and made them give themselves body and soul to Hinduism and Buddhism. This fascination with Asian mysticism gave birth both to the hippie movement and, most importantly, the Traditionalist ideology - of which Steve Bannon is an ideologue.

Traditionalism is an ideology that's to the right of Nazism, and preaches not only to the extermination of billions and billions of human beings (beginning with the communist Chinese), but also the destruction of human civilization itself ("modernity"), with the resulting return to a spiritualized utopia dominated with an iron fist by an elite of "priests".

Don't fool yourselves: religion is the opium of the peoples - is, was and always will be.

Posted by: vk | Jan 3 2021 15:23 utc | 192

@ Jen | Jan 3 2021 10:56 utc | 178.. thanks jen.. that is interesting the australian angle! i don't recall what they were playing on the radio here at the time.. i seemed to get my cues from the group of friends i had at the time.. we were all into music recordings, maybe because we had a bond thru playing music..the occult was definitely an angle that black sabbath worked, as did some of the other british bands - led zeppelin and etc.. it seemed to give them more of an air of mystery which i would have definitely been drawn towards... black sabbaths whole vibe seemed fairly spooky and i would have been drawn to that too..

@ pretzelattack | Jan 3 2021 14:34 utc | 187... you must live in north america like me.. you are right - they played the shit out of that song stairway to heaven.. i have a similar response... i try to be impartial... it is a great song that captures some of the obvious folk elements from the uk... page was pretty good at ripping off great ideas and although i don't know if they got tied up with this one, but they certainly weren't above stealing great ideas from the past, or from the blues players they were exposed to in the early 60's....

Posted by: james | Jan 3 2021 16:43 utc | 193

@Australian Lady @139 & 140

A very interesting article. Isn't Jim Morison spelt with one R? No mention of Timothy Leary.

A incredible family. Admiral Samuel Morison wrote the 15 volume US Naval history of the Pacific war. Also descendants of TS Elliot.

Another Samuel Morison, according to Wikipedia, was convicted and later pardoned for suppling Janes Fighting Ships with classified information on the Soviet navy. It reminds me of the Julian Assange case. Of course Janes, the publisher, was not prosecuted.

Posted by: Paul | Jan 3 2021 18:43 utc | 194

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 3 2021 14:37 utc | 188

That fool who calls Gandhi a fool pretends to have read ALL newspapers in ALL India last 25 years, pretends there are NO sati cases in ALL India today, now pretends sati is but suicide !!!

Very poor troll training.

Or very dishonest.

Or both.

Posted by: kiwiklown | Jan 3 2021 22:37 utc | 195

Posted by: Antonym | Jan 3 2021 12:29 utc | 182

I asked about the difference between Modi's personal interest and the Indian citizenry's interest, and you tell me the distance between Chinese and Indian capitals?!?!??!!

Does your dishonesty include dyslexia as well?

Posted by: kiwiklown | Jan 3 2021 22:45 utc | 196

Jen | Jan 3 2021 10:56 utc | 178

Sydney did have 2JJ.
So it is Jen with a Seednee accent?

Posted by: tucenz | Jan 3 2021 23:22 utc | 197

Tucenz @ 200:

Yes, Sydney had 2JJ and still has its watered-down version 2JJJ-FM. It went national in the late 1980s. I do not if its equivalents in other state capitals, 3RRR in Melbourne and 4ZZZ in Brisbane, survive.

Posted by: Jen | Jan 4 2021 0:27 utc | 198

Posted by: Antonym | Jan 3 2021 15:18 utc | 193

None of your responses support your original claim (the actual point under contention):

By the way Hinduism lets people free and there are no bishops, mullahs or lamas that have to be followed - it is different,

Which has been shown with evidence to be complete bunk due to the fact that the Indian state has had to step in multiple times to legislate Hindu religious practices (sati being only one, we could talk at length aboutt child marriage, which was poorly legislated with the Hindu marriage act of the 1950s and required a "Prohibition of Child Marriage Act" in 2006!!!!).

Your implication is also false on it's face due to the reality of the Hindu caste system.

Your attempts at straw men deflection are not only irrelevant, but false and poorly argued. Nice try though.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 4 2021 0:57 utc | 199

Posted by: vk | Jan 3 2021 15:23 utc | 195

Buddhism, Hinduism, Zoroastrianism etc. etc. are cute when they come in the sterilized form they came to the West in the 1960s.

Don't fool yourselves: religion is the opium of the peoples - is, was and always will be.

"Buddhism", for me, is a "Spiritual Technology". It is a systematic tool for the conditioning of the human mind, spirit and body toward a personal end. It is not the dogma, bureaucracy, social and cultural norms that have grown up around it over the decades.

So, no, Buddhist philosophy, for me at least, is not an opiate of any kind. Buddhism is a harsh practice that forces you to destroy your delusions, seek and accept an objective reality and reject the mediocre in exchange for something finer.

The unfounded dogma, authoritarian structure, political, cultural and historical practices that encrust this "Spiritual Technology" evolves as a result of the human tendency to develop power structures. When this happens, religion not only becomes an "opiate" of the masses but a political system of government. I point to the fine examples of the Roman Catholic Church, the Thai Laiety, Tibetan Laiety and of course Political Islam ... all of these are both opiates and political systems of government and control. For a few, they are something more than that.

While religion remains a deeply personal practice, it may or may not become an "opiate" of the individual - that is a choice but then again, everything can become an opiate, even science, certainly politics. Capitalism. Communism. Socialism ... There is no limit to what man can subvert to become an "opiate of the masses".

As with religion, capitalism, science, technology, entertainment we should ensure that communism, socialism, humanitarianism do not become "opiates of the masses".

In my view, this is only possible when the right of sovereignty of the individual is held equal to the wellbeing of the masses.

Posted by: Arch Bungle | Jan 4 2021 1:37 utc | 200

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