Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Pg 233-253 in Wild Grass

The author goes to find out more information about Falun Gong from a Buddhist practitioner, Mr. Chen at the Temple of Universal Succor (I wish our churches had cool names like that - First Baptist Church is so boring). A quote about Mr. Chen says, "He typified China's religious associations: a legitimate believer who realized he was making compromises but felt he had no choice." I thought it was interesting that the author pointed out that shamanism has a long history in China. I normally think of shamanism as something that the Native Americans practiced. Mr. Chen is a highly regarded Buddhist hermit and had determined that "Falun Gong was a heretical offshoot of Buddhism that tried to legitimize itself by misappropriating traditional religious terms such as Dharma Wheel." "Master Li's works call for a reevalutaion of Buddhism" and are based on the 3 principles of being truthful, benevolent and tolerant. I think those are valuable principles no matter what religion you practice. Although the being truthful part is sometimes unnecessary. (IMHO) Mr. Chen wrote a book about how he viewed Falun Gong but could not get any publishers to publish the book because the government had instructed everyone to operate under a policy not to piss off the Falun Gong adherents. Professor He is an atheist and is influential in the Communist Party and the government adopted him as their spokesperson against Falun Gong after a massive demonstration of Falun Gong adherents in Beijing. In my reading of both sides of this story, I think that they use single instances of unstable people to prove that their side is correct. I am more than willing to concede that meditation helps circulation and digestion, but so is every scientist that reads major scientific publications. I personally belive it to trace back to the stress relief that you find in meditation, but that's just me. In my mind, there was no need to crack down so heavily on Falun Gong, but I admit that I can see the government's point of view. Here was a massively organized movement (religion) that they had not sanctioned and did not have any control over and it was threatening the everyday persons view of the government in China. "And while China certainly did not have any wars going on and by many measures was stable, here was something that didn't fit: 10,000 people who had somehow been organized without the governments knowledge."

What do you think about censorship? I think that censorship of religious debate or political debate is wrong, but do you think that all censorship is wrong? What about pornography? Near schools?

Do you think that followers of all religions are inherently unstable or do you think that we just need a spiritual center to come back to?

I look forward to hearing your thoughts. Have a good night and be safe.

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