April 2005

sidgau-tm.jpg Birthday of Imprisoned Panchen Lama: The World’s Youngest Political Prisoner Turns 16: On May 17th, 1995 the Chinese government abducted Gendun Choekyi Nyima who was then six years old and had just been recognized by the Dali Lama as the 11th Panchen Lama – which is the second most prominent holy man in Tibetan Buddhism. He is considered to be the youngest political prisoner in the world. He turns 16 today.

Interview with Robert Thurman (Chair of Religious Studies at Columbia University, where he is the Jey Tsong Khapa Professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies): Tibet has always been a separate country and a separate culture. The Tibetan language is different from Chinese. The people are different. They live in especially rugged high-altitude territory over two miles in height, average altitude actually 14,000 feet, almost three miles. So they are very, very different.

However, during two periods of history, one was when the Mongol Empire controlled all of East Asia and actually much of Central Asia, and the second was where the Manchurians, which are non-Chinese people also, they controlled a large amount of Eastern and Central Asia. In those two periods, the Tibetans were under the protection of them, although those two people, the Mongols and Manchus, never directly inhabited Tibet, and no Chinese people inhabited Tibet.


House Approves Energy Bill: The House approved a broad energy bill aimed at boosting domestic production, including provisions to allow oil drilling in an Alaska wildlife refuge and to shield makers of a gasoline additive from water contamination lawsuits.

The House [also] voted to shield makers of the gasoline additive MTBE from lawsuits involving the contamination of drinking water, though opponents warned the measure would leave the public with billions of dollars in cleanup costs.

House Votes to Protect Makers of MTBE

“What do you think America will be remembered for, Yaw? ”

“I think they will be best known for one of their goals in foreign policy Mog, and that is to preserve their economic interests around the world. This goes under certain innuendoes, one of which is ‘demanding democracy’ of other nations. What that really means is ‘comply with America’s interests’ — that is America’s definition of democracy.”

“And how have they gone about doing that?”

“There’s an Agency charged with that task. It has conducted covert operations in over twenty countries in order to destabilise these foreign governments–in plain language, these terrorist acts safeguard America’s exploitations of other nations’ natural resources. Do you remember what they did in Guatemala? Death squads, poisoned water supply, bombings…They are good at creating an illusion of worldwide instability. Bombing-by-proxy is one of the tricks in their trade.”

“Why would they want to do that for, Yaw?”

“Oh, for certain reasons Mog, the major one of which is that foreign policy I just mentioned–protection of America’s financial interests abroad. But another possible reason at this juncture in time, is to distract the American people from their government’s huge deficit spending, the highest inflation in 37 years, a poor economy, unemployment of about nine million people, a weak dollar to the euro and a gigantic trade shortage.”

“And why don’t the American people and the international community see through the farce?”

“Propaganda, Mog, is an excellent camouflage. America hides behind the mission ‘to bring democracy’ to the world. Camouflaged behind this white paint, it can be difficult to see their true colour.”

“But who do they think they are to ‘demand’ democracy?”

Reviving Cold War Reporting in Nicaragua
Rice Presses Russia on Democracy

also read:
The War to Save the Dollar
Perfect Leadership

buddha and lotus.jpg zen symbol.jpg soto zen monk 3.jpg
soto zen monastery door panel2.jpg soto zen monk 2.jpg vegetarian meal.jpg
• Zen exists in one form: the Absolute Now. Now, Here, and Yourself is all that matters. Go for everything Now. Your Past and your Future depends on Now. Everything that matters is Now. Now is never anywhere but Now.

• Sincerity is the Reality. Everything in your head is a Mirage.

• Your body is like a mirror: what you see, hear, smell and taste does not remain. And because nothing remains, the heart and mind is at peace. Meet each instance with a new mind and a new thought.

• Zen is all that is simple.

(Zen meditating at the Soto Zen Sect Soji-ji Head Monastery with Soto Buddhist monks: Tsurumi Ward at Yokohama City, Japan)

nanjing.jpg The Nanjing Massacre: In December 1937, Nanjing fell to the Japanese Imperial Army. The Japanese army launched a massacre for six weeks. According to the records of several welfare organizations which buried the dead bodies after the Massacre, around three hundred thousand people, mostly civilians and POWs, were brutally slaughtered. Over twenty thousand cases of rape were reported. Many of the victims were gang raped and then killed.

A number of Japanese politicians and writers claimed that the Massacre had never ocurred and history textbooks were rewritten by the authority describing the Massacre as a minor incident. They claimed that they had “liberated” Asian peoples from Western colonialism. The Nanjing Massacre is one of their so-called “liberations”.

May the victims of the Massacre be remembered and not buried in lies.

Japanese Atrocities in the Philippines

On the [Bataan Death] march, the men witnessed arbitrary executions of their fellow American and Filipino soldiers and of Filipino civilians who had offered food or water to the marchers. Bert Bank remembers:

One of the POWs had a ring on and the Japanese guard attempted to get the ring off. He couldn’t get it off and he took a machete and cut the man’s wrist off and when he did that, of course, the man was bleeding profusely. [I tried to help him] but when I looked back I saw a Japanese guard sticking a bayonet through his stomach.

On the second day, a fully pregnant Filipino woman threw some food out… this POW in front of me picked up the food and started eating it; and a Japanese guard came… and decapitated that POW… and then he went and cut the stomach out of the Filipino woman. She was screaming “Kill me, Kill me,” and they wouldn’t do it.

A Survivor’s Account of the Nanjing Massacre
The Hundred Head Contest
Manga Depicting Nanjing Massacre

japbayonetting.jpg “Mog! What are you doing lying in bed when the sun is shining, the birds are singing and the flowers are in full bloom?”

“I am contemplating on the meaning of my existence, Yaw.”

“And what is that?”

“Yaw, what purpose is there in reciting prayers by rote?”

“Well Mog, rote prayers are the foundation for how to pray to God.”

“But can’t you use your own words?” Mog asked. “I think rote praying serves to engrave religious dogmas in your mind. I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth…. And when we are not reciting prayers, we are asking for something. Please let me pass the exams, please let me win the jackpot in the lottery, please protect me at the wheel…. But really, all one has to do is to study hard, buy all the lottery tickets, and drive carefully. It’s rather like a hungry cat asking for it to rain mice. So is the course of our lives decided by God?”

“I don’t think so, Mog. In fact, that kind of thinking is very destructive. That makes people believe that they have no responsibility for their own lives because a god predetermines their fate. That makes us believe that prayer solves problems. So here we are taking a leisurely stroll through life because for centuries the Church has induced us to believe that Someone up there is looking after us. That attitude restricts initiative. The Church has taught the people to know no defence but Christian resignation. But the fact of the matter is, how your life turns out to be is up to you.”

“But Yaw, if there is only one God, then this God is accountable for both good and evil. Suffering, they say, is God’s way of testing our faith. So we pray for deliverance from suffering that He Himself subjects us to, because He is testing our faith? Isn’t there a French Marquis who has lent his name to describe this kind of temperament? And Yaw, can we honestly believe that confession can clear us of sin, both big and small, from petty misconduct to taking someone’s life?”

“The justice system does not think so, Mog.”

“… you know Yaw, during the War, my grandmother walked all night on her bleeding knees from the church door to the altar. She was praying for the safe return of her husband who was captured by Japanese soldiers. She believed that her suffering would make God listen to her plea.

“My grandfather was found tied to a wooden post. He had been blindfolded, and like a practice bag of sand, repeatedly stabbed with a bayonet by the Japanese. He had died a slow and excruciatingly painful death.

“Where was my grandmother’s God when she prayed on her bleeding knees? Where was my grandfather’s God when he surely must have prayed for salvation or a quick death? Their prayers were not unreasonable — praying for a million bucks to fall from the sky could be a lot more to ask for.

“… If only my grandmother had organised a search party for him instead… Yes, I am beginning to have serious doubts about that Someone looking after me.”

List of Japanese War Atrocities

update: Dissect Them Alive: Only in the twilight of his life has Mr Makino begun to talk about the secret he carried for more than 60 years. In 1944, as a medical auxiliary in the Imperial Navy, he was stationed on the island of Mindanao in the southern Philippines. There he was party to one of the most notorious and poorly chronicled cruelties of the Japanese war effort — the medical dissection of living prisoners of war.

Over four months before the defeat of the Japanese forces in March 1945, Mr Makino cut open ten Filipino prisoners, including two teenage girls. He amputated their limbs and cut up and removed their livers, kidneys, wombs and still beating hearts for no better reason than to improve his knowledge of anatomy.

“You know Yaw, I once lost about ten kilos by starving myself for a week.”

“I don’t think that’s good for your health, Mog. Your whole system goes haywire.”

“Well you see, Yaw, I suffer from dizziness spells and at that time, I was having one really terrible bout where I couldn’t move my head a centimetre without the room spinning madly. So I remained in one frozen position during a week.”

“Good, gosh Mog! How did you recover from that?”

“After a week and ever so slowly, I just had to get up to go to the loo…”

“You didn’t go to the loo for a week?!”

“The last time was to throw up, Yaw. So when I realised I could get up, I crawled into a cab and made for the hospital. Okay, this discussion is getting gooky. So I unintentionally starved myself, and it was not from some eating disorder of any sort.”

“So what was it then?”

“It’s called benign positional vertigo syndrome and is caused by fine hairs in the inner ear getting disturbed. Now how they get messed up, I absolutely have no idea… maybe stress, like getting a nervous eye tic or something like it…

“But I still haven’t made my point, Yaw. Thirteen days… can you imagine, it took thirteen days?”

“What took thirteen days, Mog?”

“To starve to death… Terri Schiavo was intentionally starved to death and it took her thirteen days to die… They just stopped feeding the poor helpless woman. What’s worse is that her entire nation stood by and watched. Just what sort of people can allow that? They could have found a more humane and dignified way… an injection, sleeping pills, a knock on the head…”

“… or Pai Mei’s five-point palm exploding heart technique. So it’s a good thing you needed to go to the loo, Mog.”

“If you have to go, Yaw, you have to go.”

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