Saturday, February 25, 2006

Affirming Religious Freedom

This happens every year. I get something in the mail from the Dalai Lama via a letter from Richard Gere. Last year, I got a Tibetan flag decal and actually did a post on it because the symbolism is very appealing to me.

This year I received a tiny 2-1/2" x 2-1/2" bundle of prayer flags strung together into a garland. Before I opened it, I took these photos of the front and back in case I couldn't put it back together again.

After carefully opening the bundle, I spread out these 5 gorgeous flags made from very fine paper. Richard Gere says they're an expression of Tibetan culture and identity.

For 18 years now, The International Campaign for Tibet (of which Richard Gere is Chairman of the Board and a Buddhist) has worked on behalf of human rights and self-determination for the Tibetan people, who cannot speak out for themselves without risking imprisonment, torture and possible death.

This post is not about Buddhism per se. Or the Dalai Lama. Or Richard Gere. Or even of China's occupation of and tyranny over Tibet. This post is about the right for any culture/religion to exist, period!

The mailing I received asked me to affirm Religious Freedom for Tibet by signing and sending the following to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice:

WHEREAS... The people of Tibet, led by the Dalai Lama, are struggling to maintain a magnificent and spiritual culture on Earth; and,

WHEREAS... The tyranny that has driven more than one hundred thousand Tibetans from their homeland and threatened the existence of Tibetan culture is an affront to all humankind; and,

WHEREAS... Confronting the issue of Tibet is a basic issue of morality, a definining action for human community.

THEREFORE... I affirm my deep commitment to religious and spiritual liberty by calling on you to take immediate and dramatic action to save Tibet's religious and cultural heritage.

There are some things that absolutely outrage me and this is one of them. Why would anyone think it's okay for them to have cultural/religious freedom without allowing it for everyone else! And why in God's name would the existance of another's diminish our own?! This isn't the only place or time. And it's happening closer to home than we think. No wonder our world is so messed up!

God have mercy on us all! PLEASE.


  1. The prayer flags are beautiful.

    And when another religion seeks to restrict other religions, it diminishes itself.

  2. The flags are beautiful... and I concur with your outrage... (and include the right of people who DON'T subscribe to non-empirical or transcendent "beings" to prosper and "be left alone," too.
    I am interested in the "best" links to the Dalai Lama's organizations...
    Be blessed... you are a blessing.

  3. Beautiful prayer flags!

    I totally agree with you. Look at what has happened to the North American Indians culture and heritage!

  4. Tim: I enjoy finding religious relics and icons that are different from my own. I learn from them.

    SPW: Thanks for your added wisdom. I believe we ALL are on our own Path, regardless of what religion or ideology we do/don't subcribe to. In the end, we each will be responsible for ourselves only, whether you're talking about sin, karma, righteousness, heaven or whatever.

    Do YOU have the best Dalai Lama links or was that a question? If the former, could you send them to my Gmail address? Thanks.

    CS: UGH. Don't even go there! Those Native Americans are so much in my heart and psyche. I actually think our property here was once inhabited or traversed by them since we have been told there are arrowheads in the woods. That'll be the day when I find one!

  5. There is so much injustice like this in the world. It makes me so sad.

  6. Just realize those injustices. It's a beginning. Then have Hope! And pray... It will always help in some ways. Thanks for the post, my friend! From A Buddhist...

  7. Mr. Fab: Sad indeed!

    MP: I will never give up trying to do my own small part. Little by little....

  8. I love the flags also! I think the problem is that people are fighting for money and not freedom, which is what is driving this world right now. IT's a hard shift of focus but of course the Dalai Lama has devoted his life to freedom and no war.

  9. I love the flags, too.

    I've been feeling these sorrows heavily in the last few days. There are so many different ones. We watched "Grizzly Man" which I think is a great example of a person who finds (found) it easier to get along with animals than with people. What is wrong with us??

    We'll need a lot of love to keep going.

    Did you see the piece (aired during the Olympics coverage on NBC) about the black soldier, Vernon Baker, from WWII who FINALLY received the congressional medal of honor from Pres. Clinton in 1997 for his amazing courage and perseverance! That broke my heart. These sorrows and beauties together just make me weep.

  10. ET: The almighty dollar (or whatever currency)! UGH. But of course, you're right.

    Ruth: Yes, yes, yes. Maybe our tears will help cleanse the world!