Archive for the Buddhism Category

Mummified Buddha shown in Hungary stolen from China: government [Xinhua]

Posted in Buddhism, China, Hungary, Netherlands on March 23, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

FUZHOU, March 22 (Xinhua) — Chinese relic experts have determined a 1,000-year-old Buddha statue containing a mummified monk, which is now in possession of a Dutch private collector, is a relic stolen from an east China village in 1995.

The Cultural Relic Bureau in east China’s Fujian Province said on Sunday that judging from research and media reports, experts have confirmed that the statue on show in Hungarian Natural History Museum was a relic stolen from Yangchun Village in Fujian in 1995.

The bureau will continue the relic investigation in the village and search for more information while reporting to the national cultural authorities in order to identify and trace the stolen relic in compliance with normal procedures, said a bureau spokesman.

The statue was on a “Mummy World” exhibition at the Hungarian Natural History Museum that opened in October last year and was originally scheduled to be on display until May 17, but was pulled from the exhibition on Friday as the museum said “the Dutch owner withdrew the statue without giving any reason.”

Villagers in Yangchun burst into tears while other [sic] lit fireworks after seeing the statue via Chinese TV news earlier this month.

The bureau immediately dispatched experts to the village to investigate the issue. Through the research, experts found a large amount of photos, relics and historical records including a pedigree suggesting the mummy was a…former ancestor (or Zushi in Chinese) of the local clan.

The statue, formerly housed in the village temple, was stolen in 1995. It wore a hat and clothes when sitting in the temple, and was worshiped as an ancestor…

Excerpted/edited by Zuo Shou

Full article link with photos: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2015-03/22/c_134087352.htm

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Xinhua Insight: “Mao fans, minority worship?” – Deification, sober appreciation of Chairman Mao [Xinhua / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Buddhism, China, Economy, Education, Employment, Labor, Mao Zedong, Mao Zedong, Myanmar, PLA, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives on January 24, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Xinhua writers Wang Jiaquan, Li Huaiyan

XISHUANGBANNA, Yunnan, Dec. 25 (Xinhua) — Chairman Mao is another God in the largely Buddhist hamlet of Man’en, where most ethnic Dai villagers enshrine the founding father of New China at home, though the “great helmsman” was de-deified after the end of the Cultural Revolution (1966-1976).

A large portrait of Mao Zedong hangs high in the living room of Ai Pa, with a smaller image of a senior Myanmar monk by its side. This arrangement was a suggestion from the Buddhist clergyman, who presided over a prayer service for Ai’s new house in 2000.

When Ai requested a portrait from the monk to be used as a “home guardian” after the ceremony, the monk insisted his image be placed in a subordinate position to that of Mao, saying that Mao was a real savior and guardian of the ethnic Dai people.

Loving almost all Mao things, from his quotations to the passionate red songs, Ai Pa remains a loyal Mao fan even though his family suffered during the Mao era.

Ai’s family was classified as a landlord during the land reform in the 1950s, and his father fled to neighboring Myanmar only a few days after Ai’s birth in 1957 in fear of penalties as denouncement campaigns against landlords swept Menghai County in Xishuangbanna, southwest China’s Yunnan Province.

As the descendant of a landlord, Ai Pa had to face discrimination when he grew up. He was rejected when he registered to join the People’s Liberation Army.

Indeed, Ai does think his family was wronged. “My ancestors were all poor peasants. It was not until my grandpa reclaimed some wasteland that our family began to own some paddy fields and hire a few laborers,” he says.

However, all the adversities have not resulted in a resentful Ai Pa. “A Buddhist should not return grudge for grievance,” says the 56-year-old man.

In addition, he says, he admires Chairman Mao because the late leader was a man who truly wanted to do good for the people, and he appreciates the value of equality that emerged in the Mao era.

Most villagers owned no land before the land reform in Xishuangbanna, where the feudal lord claimed ownership of all land and peasants had to shoulder the heavy and inescapable burden of taxation, according to He Ming, an ethnic studies professor at Yunnan University in Kunming.

Ai Pa recalls that when he was a child, old people in the village told him that Chairman Mao was like the Monkey King in the traditional Chinese fairy tale of the Pilgrimage to the West, who was invincible and was commissioned by the Heaven to bring fairness and equality to the world.

WHY NOT MAO?

Three decades into China’s reform and opening-up drive, Man’en, as well as many other remote villages, has witnessed drastic economic and social transformation.

Satellite television broadcasts, mobile phones, motorcycles, cars, highways and the Internet have shortened the distance between them and the outside world. And yet Mao has remained an icon in the hamlet that has more than 6,000 villagers.

A Mao portrait bought in Beijing is always regarded as a very precious souvenir for local villagers, while Mao’s mausoleum is usually a must-go for their maiden trips to the national capital, says Ai, who is also chief of Man’en village.

Like Ai Pa and his fellow villagers, the ethnic Blang people in Jiliang, another village with a population of over 2,000 in Menghai, are also Mao worshipers. They have his images printed on glazed bricks on the outside walls of their new homes.

However, these ethnic minority hamlets are not isolated cases. A survey by the Horizon Research Consultancy Group in 2008 in 40 Chinese cities and towns, including Beijing, Shanghai and Guangzhou, showed that 11.2 percent of respondents enshrine Mao Zedong at home, way ahead of those that worship the Buddha, God of Wealth, and other gods.

In the words of Huang Jisu, a sociologist, playwright and cultural critic, Mao worship is a quite complicated phenomenon and has a strong social background, and is also related to personal experiences.

However, Huang doesn’t believe there is a geographical, age or social class division in regard to people’s attitude toward Mao.

For example, Huang says, there are also Mao fans in big cities like Beijing and Shanghai, while some young people in universities also admire him. Huang also notes that it is not rare for entrepreneurs and millionaires to admire Mao.

However, Huang stresses that admiration for Mao does not necessarily mean the admirers want to go back to the Mao era.

“It’s quite natural for Mao, such a great man, to have admirers. Just as pop stars can have so many fans, why not Mao?” says 58-year-old Huang, a researcher with the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences in Beijing.

As for Mao fans, Huang says, ordinary people psychologically need a great person to hold in high esteem, and Mao has filled – and fills – that need.

In Huang’s view, the greatest good that Mao did for the nation was the Chinese revolution he led, which ended the nation’s survival crisis that had lasted a century.

PASSION IN LENS

Both Sun Yat-Sen and Chiang Kai-shek failed to lead the nation out of that crisis, and Mao was an unrivaled great man of his century, Huang says.

Sun Dahong, a photographer who has published an album featuring ethnic Mao fans, argues that the modern passion for Mao has nothing to do with a personality cult.

“It’s never a political fervor that creates blind followers like those during the Cultural Revolution, but a kind of spontaneous affection or emotion that has sprouted at the grassroots and passed from generation to generation,” says Sun, a former provincial deputy police chief of Yunnan…

…”There have always been concerns that today’s society is one without belief, but I have rediscovered it among the ordinary people. Mao worship is an instinctive expression of their emotion and perhaps even reflects a higher level of spiritual need,” Sun says.

“To his worshipers, Chairman Mao stands for auspice and victory, represents social justice and is a man that leads them to common wealth. So they believe in, respect and love Chairman Mao,” Sun says.

Also a Mao fan, Sun actually shares some similarities with Ai Pa. Sun’s mother, a provincial cadre in Yunnan, was persecuted to death during the Cultural Revolution when Sun and his younger brother were both in Shanxi Province receiving reeducation from local peasants.

His mother’s death has been a lingering anguish but Sun has never blamed or hated Chairman Mao. After all, he says, blames for personal grievances should not all go to a policy maker.

As for Mao’s errors, a controversial topic, Sun would like to quote a man he met in Dehong, an autonomous prefecture of ethnic Dai and Jingpo, when shooting his album:

“Chairman Mao’s contributions and merits are like a majestic mountain, but his faults can be measured in just a handful of earth.”

Huang Jisu agrees that Mao’s mistakes should be put under critical analysis, but he argues that criticism should be based on facts instead of rumors or even slanders.

“For such an epoch-making man, he is always a giant, no matter what the comments are, be it praise or censure,” Huang says.

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/indepth/2013-12/25/c_132994178.htm

“Shaolin” [新少林寺] (2011) – Exclusive Review [Sweet & Sour Cinema / Sweet & Sour Cinema Exclusive Review]

Posted in Andy Lau 刘德华, Buddhism, China, Fan Bingbing 范冰冰, Hong Kong, Jackie Chan 成龙, Kung Fu 功夫, Martial Arts, Nicholas Tse 谢霆锋, Shaolin Temple 少林寺, Sweet & Sour Cinema, Sweet & Sour Cinema exclusive flim review on September 9, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

“Shaolin” [新少林寺] (2011) – Review by Zuo Shou 左手

Directed by Benny Chan

Starring: Andy Lau, Nicholas Tse, Fan Bingbing, Jackie Chan

Review of Mandarin version, w/o English subs

[Qualifier: this reviewer is not fully fluent in Mandarin, which may affect the film appreciation]
***

Watching this film – the title literally meaning “New Shaolin Temple” – was a happy circumstance for this long-time martial arts film fan: a cinematic experience that surpassed expectations and reached epic significance.

The rich mythos of Shaolin Temple has been heavily mined in action films over the years, yielding several classics: “The 36th Chamber of Shaolin” and “Return to the 36th Chamber” (both starring the inimitable bald-pated Gordon Liu], and Jet Li’s sensational debut “Shaolin Temple” and the sequel “Kids from Shaolin”.

With these classics in the back of my mind, “Shaolin” was looking just ok in the previews, the simulated Shaolin Temple sets having a kind of blah dusty-brown production design. [Jet Li’s “Shaolin Temple” had the distinct advantage of being shot in the authentic environment.] The assignment of HK director Benny Chan had me feeling ambiguous, as he’d previously made some “OK” action movies. I find that while the martial arts in his films can be fine to outstanding, the direction and surrounding elements tend to be pedestrian. It also was weighted with leads getting on in years, Andy Lau and Jacky Chan (who is actually more of a guest star).

The film begins in a milieu of military internecine contesting. Set in a [pre-?] Republican warlord era, Andy Lau is the focus as an amoral officer who, along with his evilly-coiffed 2nd-in-command Cao Man [Nicholas Tse] conquers Chinese territory which includes the legendary Buddhist Shaolin Temple, home of Chinese kung fu. Lau desecrates the place in just the opening minutes.

The first thrilling action sequence is a rollicking battle atop horse-drawn carts jostling at high speeds, which coincides with Lau’s major reversal of fortune.

From this point, the film follows Lau’s redemption, which starts out in a rather lackluster manner. Comparing the scene where Lau cuts his own hair to surrender into monkhood is lackluster compared to the blazing masochistic passion of a similar scene with Gordon Liu in “Eight Diagram Pole Fighter”. Also the plot and ancilliary characters seem to be just kind of plodding along, and one wonders if it’s going to be a good film after all.

Before you know it, it’s turned into something like Jacky Chan’s “Drunken Master II”, with slaves, a foreign plot to rob China of its priceless treasures, and Chinese running dogs facilitating the plunder. All of which is very much to the good; I can’t remember the last time an anti-imperialist theme was used so effectively in a Chinese action film.

Some strong action set pieces explicating Buddhist philosophy bring things up to the next level, and Jacky Chan suddenly is in the middle of the best comic relief action sequence – aided by a bunch of kiddie kung fu monks — that I’ve seen in years. An army attacks Shaolin Temple, and the film is very successful in showing the overcoming of firearms with fists and wit – something that’s usually just a laugh-out-loud proposition on the cinematic screen.

By the end the Temple blows up real good – really, the pyrotechnics are top-notch; the monks have adjusted their ethics dogma and armed themselves with slashing blades to dispatch the wolvish foreigners and their minions to hell, and Andy Lau is redeemed in an amazing scene, I can’t really think of a better representation of Buddhist salvation on cinema. In fact, considering all the films which have been based on Shaolin Temple, mostly they are concerned with the conflict between worldliness/violence and seclusion/pacifism. This one seems to me to have the best portrayals of Buddhism as redemption, making it probably the best overall allegory of the essence of Buddhism. I suppose it’s a credit to Lau that he can credibly pull off his character’s ultimate transformation.

The action by Corey Yuen and Yuen Tak is uniformly excellent without overdoing the wirework or CGI.

Honorable mention should be given to Fan Bingbing, who plays Lau’s warlord wife. While she’s basically a guest-star damsel in distress, she actually shows improvement as an actress, doing some decent emoting that transcends her recent transformation into eye-candy fashionista and cosmetics spokes-model. There’s also a resonant cameo by the actor who played Jet Li’s mentor in the original “Shaolin Temple”, here as the Temple’s abbot who gets a memorable stage exit.

Overall a film which verges on classic-hood, flawed by a mainly mediocre production design and lack of stronger directorial hand to tighten up the first half of the film. By the standards of 21st Century martial films, it’s a classic…
***

Film Business Asia’s review (by Derek Elley) rates the film 7 out of 10. “Potentially epic tale ends up as okay popcorn entertainment.”

Film Business Asia “Shaolin” review link: http://www.filmbiz.asia/reviews/shaolin

Dalai Lama Group Says It Got Money From C.I.A. [New York Times / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Anti-communism, Black propaganda, Buddhism, Capitalist media double standard, China, China-bashing, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, Dalai Lama, Media smear campaign, New York Times lie, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, Tibet, USSR on July 17, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Published: October 02, 1998

The Dalai Lama’s administration acknowledged…that it received $1.7 million a year in the 1960’s from the Central Intelligence Agency, but denied reports that the Tibetan leader benefited personally from an annual subsidy of $180,000.

The money allocated for the resistance movement was spent on training volunteers and paying for guerrilla operations against the Chinese, the [so-called] Tibetan government-in-exile said in a statement. [Note the choice of words, whereby the New York Times perpetuates the Dalai Lama clique / foreign capitalist media propaganda that Chinese and Tibetans are currently separate nations. – Zuo Shou] It added that the subsidy earmarked for the Dalai Lama was spent on setting up offices in Geneva and New York and on international lobbying.

The Dalai Lama, 63, a revered [sic – he is despised and dismissed by many] spiritual leader both in his Himalayan homeland and in Western nations, fled Tibet in 1959 after a failed uprising…, which began in 1950.

The decade-long covert program to support the Tibetan independence movement was part of the C.I.A.’s worldwide effort to undermine Communist governments, particularly in the Soviet Union and China.

Edited by Zuo Shou

Article link: http://www.nytimes.com/1998/10/02/world/world-news-briefs-dalai-lama-group-says-it-got-money-from-cia.html

China publishes white paper to mark 60th anniversary of Tibet’s peaceful liberation [Xinhua]

Posted in Buddhism, China, CPC, Dalai Lama, Environmental protection, Tibet, Tourism on July 11, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

BEIJING, July 11 (Xinhua) — The Chinese government Monday published a white paper on the development of Tibet since 1951 to mark the 60th anniversary of the peaceful liberation of the region.

The document, released by the State Council’s Information Office, reviewed the history of Tibet, particularly the liberation in 1951, as well as profound political, social and economic changes that have taken place in Tibet over the past 60 years.

“Within six decades Tibet has achieved development that would normally call for a millennium. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China and the Chinese government, the people of Tibet have created a miracle,” it reads.

“Only by adhering to the leadership of the CPC, the path of socialism, the system of regional ethnic autonomy, and the development mode with Chinese characteristics and Tibet’s regional features, can Tibet enjoy lasting prosperity and a bright future,” it adds.

While stressing Tibet has been an inseparable part of China since ancient times, the white paper says the so-called “Tibetan independence” is in fact “cooked up by old and new imperialists,” and “was part of Western aggressors’ scheme to carve up the territory of China.”

On May 23, 1951, the Agreement of the Central People’s Government and the Local Government of Tibet on Measures for the Peaceful Liberation of Tibet was signed in Beijing, marking the peaceful liberation of Tibet.

In the 60 years since its peaceful liberation, Tibet has fulfilled two historic leaps “from a society of feudal serfdom to one of socialism, and from a state of isolation, poverty and backwardness to one of opening, prosperity and civilization,” the white paper says.

In the period from 1952 to 2010, the central government channelled 300 billion yuan (46.4 billion U.S. dollars) to Tibet as financial subsidies, with an annual growth rate of 22.4 percent, according to the white paper.

Over the past 60 years the central government has allocated more than 160 billion yuan in direct investment to Tibet, it says.

The document says significant progress has also been made in protecting ethnic culture and ecological environment.

It says ecological conservation has been progressing rapidly, and environmental protection is being strengthened in an all-round way.

Ethnic culture in Tibet is enjoying unprecedented prosperity, and freedom of religious belief is respected and protected, it notes.

All religions and all religious sects are equal in Tibet. The Living Buddha reincarnation system, unique to Tibetan Buddhism, is fully respected. People are free to learn and debate Buddhist doctrines, get ordained as monks and practice Buddhist rites, says the white paper.

Article link: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-07/11/c_13978232.htm

WHITE PAPER LINK TO “Full Text: Sixty Years Since Peaceful Liberation of Tibet” – http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-07/11/c_13978644.htm

Police: Tibetan Buddhist monk’s self-immolation carefully planned [China Daily / Xinhua]

Posted in Buddhism, China, Law enforcement on April 23, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

April 23, 2011

CHENGDU – Police in Aba County of southwest China’s Sichuan Province said Friday that the self-immolation of a monk in Kirti Monastery last month was carefully planned and aimed at triggering disturbances.

Rigzin Phuntsog, a 16-year-old monk at the Kirti Monastery in Aba County, died on March 17, after setting himself on fire on March 16.

Police said the self-immolation was a carefully planned and implemented criminal case, which aimed at triggering disturbances.

Investigations showed that in the evening of March 15, Rigzin Phuntsog, accompanied by Lhadan, a monk in the monastery, bought three bottles of gasoline at a parking lot of Laolongzang Road, police said.

At around 9:00 am on March 16, Rigzin Phuntsog told Lhadan and other monks that he was ready and would set fire on himself on the day.

In the afternoon, Rigzin Phuntsog set himself on fire after making sure that the monks had finished reciting scriptures and many of them would be on [the] street.

After police on patrol put out the fire, a group of monks from the Kirti Monastery forcibly took Rigzin Phuntsog away and held him for nearly 11 hours.

After hours of negotiation, the monks agreed to allow Rigzin Phuntsog to be taken to hospital at around 3 am on March 17, but he died in hospital due to cardiorespiratory failure, according to the county government.

Soinam, head of the People’s Hospital in Aba County, said Rigzin Phuntsog died from serious burns that caused heart and lung failures, and no gunshot wounds or injuries from blunt utensils or sharp tools were found on his body during treatment or post-mortem examination of body surface.

If Rigzin Phuntsog were sent to hospital [in a] timely [manner], he could have been saved, Soinam said.

Local law experts said that the monks, fully aware that Rigzin Phuntsog was seriously burned and might die without immediate medical treatment, refused to send him to hospital. As Rigzin Phuntsog died due to delayed treatment, those monks were on suspicion of intentional homicide.

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Tibetan legislators shrug off Dalai Lama’s "political show" [People’s Daily]

Posted in Anti-China propaganda exposure, Buddhism, China, Dalai Lama, India, PLA, Tibet on March 20, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手

March 11, 2011

Tibetan legislators shrugged off the Dalai Lama’s talk of "retirement" Thursday, saying it was merely his another lie, trick and "political show" that would not exert any impact on the stability of Tibet.

The 75-year-old Dalai Lama claimed Thursday in India that he would give up his political role in the Tibetan "government-in-exile" and shift that power to an "elected leader."

"Like past, that is merely another political show of Dalai Lama who attempts to arouse the attention of the international community and mould public opinion," said Qiangba Puncog, chairman of the Standing Committee of Tibet Autonomous Regional People’s Congress, while attending the annual parliamentary session in Beijing.

"But that will not exert any impact on the stability of Tibet," he said.

Qiangba Puncog said the so-called Tibetan "government-in-exile" is an illegal political organization that has not been recognized by any country in the world.

"Whatever moves they take — Dalai Lama’s ‘retirement’ or electing a successor, they will be all illegal and will not be recognized," he said.

He said the Dalai Lama has talked about his "retirement" or "semi-retirement" on many occasions over recent years.

"No matter whether he retires or not, his political attempt will not change.  His speech is to declare publicly that he will not give up his attempt to sabotage unity and split China using any methods," he said.

On March 10, 1959, the Dalai Lama and some of the serf owners instigated an armed rebellion to postpone a democratic reform which was aimed at abolishing the thousand-year-old serf system in Tibet.

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