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Ven. Dharmakara's personal right of expression

by Benectines for Peace, Los Angeles, California, The Buddhist Channel, June 22, 2007

I refer to Ven. Dharmakara's letter to the Buddhist Channel and the various responses which it had attracted. While we are not a Buddhist organization, we have known the Ven. Dharmakara for years because of his participation in several interfaith conferences.

To say that he is angry is not only unfair, but also incorrect. He is concerned about the welfare of others and the failure of institutionalized Buddhism to comes to terms with it's own history.

While Buddhism has a better track record than all other religions, we don't need to tell the readers of the Buddhist Channel how many times Buddhism is qouted as a religion without violence, presenting itself as if it's above approach and doing so at the cost of other faiths.

Buddhists are not the only ones who read the articles on the Buddhist Channel, so do not be naive enough to think that the Ven. Dharmakara's words have in some way harmed or tarnished the institution that you cherish.

As for Lee Yu Ban's statement, "When has dana become a bad action?" This is no different than when a politician receives money from a special interest group under false pretences. The Dalai Lama made quite a few angry statements when the United States governement ceased to give him his yearly retainer.

Even recently, the Dalai Lama's silence on the issue of management of the Mahabodhi Temple is an example of the kind of behavior that the Ven. Dharmakara speaks of, where if there is no personal incentive or personal gain many Buddhists don't get involved.

Again, Buddhists are not the only ones who visit the Buddhist Channel and most of us are wise enough to know the difference between dana and money handling.

Maybe it might do the readers of the Buddhist Channel to hear some of the Ven. Dharmakara's other statements from emails and newsletters:

"A spirit of denial is not only inconsistant with the Bodhisattva spirit, it also makes a confession of error beyond one's reach."

"There can be no practice of the Dharma without the practice of virtue and no ammount of empowerments, empty rituals or ceremonies, nor expedient means will ever change this Absolute Truth."

"The equanimity of the Bodhisattva spirit means that one does not forsake the Mahayana or the Theravada for one or the other, nor should one be considered to be greater than the other, for such distinctions do not exist with proper practice of Bodhisattva Dharma, which is an inclusive path complete in its expression."

And finally, a statement which might be of interest to those who believe that the Ven. Dharmakara is anti-Tibetan:

"There are still many noble brothers and sisters within the four schools, true heirs to Atisha Dipankar who understand that the tears of all sentient beings are the tears of all Bodhisttvas. The future of Tibetan Buddhism rests in their capable hands."

Does this sound like an angry person?

No, these are the words of a noble monk, who even in his failing health continues to walk the streets around Skid Row late at night, reaching out to those that everyone else has abandoned.

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