The Thailand Buddhist Monks have both a beautiful and ugly tradition of collecting gifts, maybe called alms in each morning from followers.
I am in Ranong, Thailand and was lucky enough today to make a video of Thailand Buddhist Monks collecting alms in the morning. Each day the Thai Monks walk around in villages and cities of Thailand collecting gifts from people. In a way, this is the about same as if the USA Christian ministers would walk town passing around the collection plate daily to their followers.
I watch this with a sense of holiness, it feels like I am on the way to Sunday school in my small midwestern town of Orland. If feels like something good, a reverance for something greater than ourselves.
I also look at the powerful manipulative powers of world religions to keep people in check, to control their lives.
Each day, the Thailand people are forced to witness they believe, and to pay, it is about the same as if a Christian Minister cames to your house daily and put a collection plate in front of you. What would you do, would you feel grateful, or would you feel sort of guilty? Each day the Buddhist Monks get to take tally, who is good, and who is bad, who is a good Buddhist?
The Dali Lama in Tibet
I was in Llassa, Tibet, and they worshippers prostate themselves for miles, slowly standing, then lying down, working their way to the Potala Palace.
I want to tell you a story about meeting two French girls in Thailand, it went like this. I was flagging down one of the small trucks in Thailand, I jumped int he back of the truck. There was a French girl in the back, I asked her what she was doing, and she said she was traveling with her friend, she was sitting in the front seat of the truck. Then in a curious way she said,
"My friend is just like a Monk."
I thought to myself,
"She does not appear very holy to me?"
I asked the French girl,
"I do not understand, what do you mean?"
"A Monk always believes he should sit in the front of the truck, while the rest of us sit in the back."
I do not feel anything good for the Dali Lama of Tibet, I have been to Tibet, and the Chinese made it better for the small people.
Wake up in Thailand and watch the Monks walking around in the morning, it is a good feeling, and a long muse...
I am 100 percent in favor of Religions, the alternatives to having religions is a rather ghastly life, more or less, there are no athesists in foxholes.
Andy Graham in Ranong, Thailand November 2012
I do not totally agree with you on China and Tibet. Yes they have done better for the lower class Chinese, they have seen they have jobs and a home much better than they would have in mainland China.
They have done so at the expense of a once free people. They have murdered many Tibetans over many years and still do so if they get out of line.
I lived in China and have a Chinese wife and have discussed Tibet with family and students, etc. I was always very careful not to say the wrong things knowing that I as an expat could easily disappear.
The Dali Lama is like many displaced people he only wants the freedom his people once enjoyed to be given back he does not go around asking for them to create violence or to upset the status quo by rebelling. He knows that they cannot win with war.
As for the religious aspect that is always up to those who want it to accept it's terms or not.
At least Buddhist are not bombing and killing any of their own or of their oppressors, other than themselves as they see fit. They are at least a peaceful religion compared to all the rest.
I don't agree with suicide as a means to an end but again that is up to them. Many Asians have done so when they feel it will help the many or as an act of honor.
I think you may have a personal reason for your way of looking at this problem and you are welcome to it but maybe you haven't researched what Tibet and China is all about. They like another religious group would like to control the world if they can in their "image" regardless who suffers.
Oh, we are fortunate as we do still have the freedom of speech and neither the Tibetans or Chinese have this freedom or that of travel.