In a link from RavingAtheist.com, I found an interesting artile on Tibet and the Dalai Lama.
Romantic notions about the “peaceful” and “harmonious” nature of Tibetan Buddhist monastic life should be tested against reality. The Lithang Monastery in eastern Tibet was where a major rebellion against Chinese rule erupted in 1956. Beijing tried to levy taxes on its trade and wealth. The monastery housed 5000 monks and operated 113 “satellite” monasteries, all supported by the labour of the peasants.
Chris Mullin, writing in the Far Eastern Economic Review in 1975, described Lithang’s monks as “not monks in the Western sense … many were involved in private trade; some carried guns and spent much of their time violently feuding with rival monasteries. One former citizen describes Lithang as `like the Wild West’.”
By the way, the source site is really quite over-the-top but there’s a part of me that thinks it’s really funny. This piece on the Pope, for example, was quite harsh but also expresses something of my own bewilderments at the strangeness of some kinds of beliefs. And this piece in which the Dalai Lama threatens not to reincarnate is downright hilarious. I’m sure my friend Adam would love this site. Again, harsher than anything I write, and a bit of an exercise in blanket-condemnation (I don’t think all theists are idiots, as he thinks), but I suppose he’s using harsh humor to make a point.
I found a link to this site on The Revealer, which is another interesting, more respectful blog about religion.
Sujatin Johnson over at Lotus in the Mud has a couple of interesting pieces: a link to an interview with Thich Nhat Hanh about the Iraq War (Hanh is a Buddhist monk who I really respect and who has said a lot of interesting things in the past, though this interview is a little less meaty than usual), and on this shocking bit of news:
Environmentalists are calling for an urgent investigation into the revelations, describing the build-up of the antidepressant as ‘hidden mass medication’. The Environment Agency has revealed that Prozac is building up both in river systems and groundwater used for drinking supplies.
(Note: The permalink doesn’t seem to be working, so you can search this page for the word Prozac if you want to see more.)
Finally, Killing the Buddha has a wonderful piece on the problems one camp counselor had with evangelical teachings at a camp, and, well, more. Just go read it all the way to the very well-written end.