Dharma The Cat and the roar of the lion

SOURCE: Philosophy with Fur - Dharma The Cat's Blog, The Buddhist Channel, March 24, 2008

Sydney, Australia -- Dharma The Cat is a philosophical and humorous, yet poignant collection of cartoons that address the basic philosophical questions of life and existence. The main idea behind Dharma The Cat is not in the comic itself, but the commentaries which accompany each cartoon.

David Lourie's commentary on this week's cartoon

This week's cartoon and topic for discussion features the artwork of Australian cartoonist Nik Scott, with the openning commentary provided by David Lourie, author of Dharma The Cat, who has added his own voice to the growing chorus of dismay over the subject of political agendas within the Sangha.

First Myanmar, now Beijing - when Buddhist monks participate in violent political protests, that is a very controversial event. This is especially true for Buddhist practitioners, and even more so for Buddhist monks, who have taken strict vows to honour and practice the dharma (the Buddha's teachings), and to obey official the rules of conduct laid down for all ordained monks, for them to remain members of the order.

At the core of the Buddha's teachings is the notion that in order to realise spiritual enlightenment, one must forsake all worldly attachments, including any attachment to personal and political issues.

In doing this, one has to let go of one's concern for all problems arising from this ever-changing and often cruel life we're born into, which is generally imbued with unsatisfactoriness ("dukkha").

Many people outside Buddhist circles have long queried, "Why don't Buddhist monks take a more pro-active role in championing human rights?"

The answer is that the official precepts for Buddhist monks, strictly interpreted, don't allow this sort of conduct.

A fundamental principle of Buddhist conduct is to "not be attached to any outcome" of one's worldly activities, regardless of what's at stake. The Buddhist principle of Right Conduct requires monks to never violate the highly valued spiritual states of equanimity and non-violence.

So in difficult times like these, the equanimity and tolerance of any Buddhist monk is severely tested.

Therefore, what would the protesting monks' ideal solution be, for these conflicting objectives - to improve worldly conditions vs. realizing one's own spiritual enlightenment?

My own view on this is that if the worldly issues are pulling on a monk so hard that he can't resist participating in worldly actions like violent protests, which go against the dharma for monks, then he should first remove his orange robe, and engage in those mundane activities as a non-Buddhist.

But that's just my opinion, and I know that opinions differ greatly on this subject.

To comment on this week's blog or view more cartoons from Dharma The Cat: http://www.dharmathecatcartoons.com/15blog/

About David Lourie

Living on Sydney's idyllic northern peninsula, David Lourie is a multi-award winning editor of TV documentaries, including an Emmy Award for "War Child" produced by National Geographic in 1999.  Since 1997, his comic strip "Dharma The Cat - Philosophy With Fur" has run in magazines in 28 countries and has been translated into 18 languages.

About this week's guest artist

Nik Scott's comic strips and illustrations have published in the Sydney Morning Herald, the Bulletin, The Canberra Times, The Green Left Weekly, The Jewish News, Rolling Stone, Prospect, National Lampoon, and the New York Times, as well as illustrations in more than 100 books for publishers, including Simon and Schuster, Allen and Unwin, and Macmillan Education.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv. Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/norbuchatbot. Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: editor@buddhistchannel.tv