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← Sean Faircloth on The Secular Buddhist podcast

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Schrodinger's Cat

Comment 7 by Ignorant Amos

Buddhism is way too much more complicated than that I'm afraid. This is an 'Unweaving the Rainbow' moment. I've been studying the Dali Lama for an essay I have to hand in on Friday. I had to watch a DVD yesterday on the subject, how freaky is that? Anyway, in Tibetan Buddhism the Dalai Lama is held by the Tibetan's as a god-king, marking his divine religious role and his head of state political role.

On the DVD his monks took a little boy away from his parents as the child was deemed to be the reincarnation of a guru Rinpoche. The old monks are raising the boy as a person of reverence, they shaved his head, he was presented to the Dalai Lama for an inauguration ritual where the Dalai Lama ceremoniously cut of the last tuft of hair. This was after a trance induced freak in a ridiculous get-up they called the 'oracle' spoke in tongues, which was interpreted by another 'special one' as confirming the boy as the reincarnate guru. So there he is, a boy of about four or five, removed from his mother and father, his name changed and being raised by geriatric monks as a divine being. It all looked very religious to me.

And you can't find similar for Marx ? It's not just in North Korea that leaders have been elevated to 'supreme being' status in the name of politics......just look at the way Lenin was embalmed and given his own mausoleum as if he were some pharaoh. Come to think of it......turning the entire side of a mountain into a statue of 5 presidents ranks among similar sort of secular golden calfs.

My point is that there isn't politics and then religion as something seperate.........there's really a spectrum with a broad overlap. This is precisely why Islam, for example, is so great a danger as it is actually highly political yet masquerades as a 'religion'.

This overlap between religion and politics is precisely why secularism is so difficult to achieve in practice. The sheer diversity of religion makes it even harder.......as does the fact that there are also political ideologies that present their own 'utopia' and some of which even borrow political ideas from Jesus, Mohammed, or Buddha. Neither should one suppose there is any straight division that means religion = irrational and politics = rational.

The Dalai Lama could be looked at as some religious icon, and ideed he is......but he is also every bit as much just another 'Lenin' in the long list of cult figures acting out some ancient political philosophy.

Wed, 09 May 2012 15:47:09 UTC | #940734