Friday, 19 April 2019

FULL MOON - Perfect Balance

It is good to be restrained in body. 
It is good to be restrained in speech. 
It is good to be restrained in mind. 
It is good to be restrained in everything. 
The renunciate who is restrained in every way 
will realise freedom from suffering. 

Dhammapada v.361

In his very first teaching, The Turning of the Wheel of the Law, the Buddha spoke of the limitations involved in being caught up in liking and disliking. He went on to explain the profound benefits to be found in cultivating the middle way – the perspective of perfect balance. So long as we don’t see how becoming lost in likeable moods means we will inevitably become lost in dislikeable moods, we risk making life into an endless struggle. This apparently endless struggle is the direct result of not appreciating the power of wise restraint. Indulging in liking and disliking are not the only options. If we train attention to skilfully observe these movements of mind which we call liking and disliking, we might discover an altogether different perspective. And this perspective in no way diminishes the potential for experiencing the natural joys and sorrows of life; quite the opposite. Well trained attention has the power to free us from the fear of becoming lost and confused by the vicissitudes of life. Skilful restraint equips us with what we need to turn struggles into wisdom.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Dalai Lama Ill

Talking about Tibet it was announced that the Dalai Lama was admitted to hospital in New Delhi yesterday with a chest infection. Given his holinesses age, 83, this is a serious condition but he is described as being stable.

Many of the up to 100,000 Tibetans living in India are worried that their fight for a genuinely autonomous homeland would end with the Dalai Lama.

He told Reuters last month that it was possible that once he dies his incarnation could be found in India and warned that any other successor named by China would not be respected.

China brands the Nobel peace laureate as a dangerous "splittist" and says the ruling Chinese Communist Party has the right to select the Dalai Lama’s successor, as a legacy inherited from China’s emperors.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Tibetan Play in the West End

Abhishek Majumdar's play Pah-La is now showing at the Royal Court Theatre, London.

Last year, he faced censure when Pah-La, his drama about Tibetans caught up in the Lhasa riots of 2008, was put on ice by the Royal Court, with charges that the Beijing authorities had weighed in and the theatre’s writing programme in China could have been jeopardised if the play went ahead.

The theatre issued an apology to the Tibetan community, he explains, sitting in the venue’s cafe, and it is now about to stage Pah-La. “The leadership at the Royal Court was extraordinary in accepting problems that were larger than them and then doing something about it.”

The play will still, probably, ruffle some feathers. Set among a monastic circle of Tibetans, the drama shows their forced assimilation and interrogation at the hands of the Chinese army, but it also dramatises the controversial practice of self-immolation among Tibetan protestors (a woman sets herself alight in his play) and the faultlines between non-violent Buddhist ideals and the all-too-human descent into retaliatory violence that the 2008 riots encapsulated.

That led him to explore the themes at the heart of Pah-La. “In the last century, there were so many major examples of non-violent revolutions, from Gandhi’s to Martin Luther King’s to Nelson Mandela’s. But if these are models to go by, what happened to them? They vanished after the 1970s.”
Tibet, he says, is the last remaining model for such non-violence. “The Tibetans are at the forefront of a conscience that the world needs to have. When the last Tibetan turns violent, we should pack up.”

Pah-La is at the Royal Court, London, until 27 April.