2 responses

  1. avatar
    Tenpa Gashi
    Monday, Apr 2, 2012

    Great analysis Topten. I agree wholeheartedly that we should refrain from making this into a religious oriented debate and focus on the true message of the martyrs. It is undeniable that there was a huge religious influence on politics back in the days, much like the middle age europe and to a lesser degree the American politics, and that it had played a huge role in our recent history too; but I still don’t think it is about religion at all. I know it sounds paradoxical to say that since most of the self-immolators wore the religious grab or used to, I believe the religious aspect is quite secondary to the national struggle. They just happen to be monks and nuns. As such, most of the discussion revolving around whether it was an unbuddhist act or not simply misses the point and further stymies the Tibetan struggle from fully progressing into the realm of human existence and instead it is once again relegated to the hollywood version of peaceful smiling monks; taxing in their haiku like incisive wisdom and insufferable squatting. It was unfortunate that we have not been able to turn this discussion into what it was really about: Chinese atrocities and illegal occupation of another country and instead been backed against the wall trying to defend the self-immolators from a relgious context. I believe we should refuse to entertain that question as simply irrelevant and then focus the discussion on the real reason why they are burning themselves.

  2. avatar
    Thursday, Apr 5, 2012

    Great article which sheds much needed light on the actual issues related to the self-immolations of Tibetans as opposed to the act as committed by others in both recent and distant history. Those devoted to the exile government’s “middle-way” approach as a political (and pseudo-religious) ideology rather than a means to concrete results for Tibet aught to take heed of Topden’s analysis.

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