Thursday, May 05, 2011

On Dalai Lama's Approval on Killing Osama

After the death of Osama there was an article on LA Times suggesting that Dalai Lama found that the killing of Osama is justified. Talk about sensational reportage.

This is the man who tries to avoid harming other being, how on earth could he find a killing of a human being is justified. So very uncharacteristic of Dalai Lama.

In the article itself and also in His Holiness website we could see that when asked about Osama's death and the celebration of it by some, Dalai Lama was quoted saying "Forgiveness doesn't mean forget what happened. … If something is serious and it is necessary to take counter-measures, you have to take counter-measures." According to His Holiness website, Dalai Lama then emphasized the need to find a distinction between the action and the actor. He said in the case of Bin Laden, his action was of course destructive and the September 11 events killed thousands of people. … So his action must be brought to justice... But with the actor we must have compassion and a sense of concern... His Holiness said therefore the counter measure, no matter what form it takes, has to be compassionate action.

I wasnt there, so I had no idea what really happened since to the best of my knowledge there is no recording of the event. However, from what I understand of Buddhism, it is true that Buddhism doesnt mean that you are passively accepting being push around. Unlike Jesus who gave the other cheek upon being slapped, Buddhist is told to stop the action of slapping with compassion. Because letting someone slap you means you dont have compassion for that person by letting his/her creates new bad karma. With that in mind, I dont think Dalai Lama meant that the killing is justified because it was without any compassion at all, but there should be a counter measure to all the wrong doing by Osama. Then again, it's just my take on this with limited information available.

update: According to USC (the university who invited him) website this is what Dalai Lama said:

Earlier at the Galen Center, he was asked about people celebrating the recent killing of Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

“Where does compassion and ethics fit into that?” asked moderator James Doty, clinical professor of neurosurgery at Stanford University, chairman of the Dalai Lama Foundation and a board member of the USC Brain and Creativity Institute.

“There must be a distinction between actor and action,” the Dalai Lama said. “Bin Laden was a force of destruction so his action needed justice. But as a human being, we must have compassion. He committed a destructive action so actions had to be taken to stop it.”

Forgiveness doesn’t mean to forget what happened, he said.

“Remember what they have done,” he said. “Look at what they have done and determine what the appropriate action will have to be. But always have compassion.”

1 comment:

colson said...

Stimulating article :).

For what it's worth, my take:

The Dalai Lama combines spiritual and political leadership. An awkward combination by the way. In this case his political ratio prevailed. But being a talented man he used adequate diplomatic wordings.