using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Spring 2012
SPRING 2 0 1 2 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY 7 Shambhala Sun Foundation An independent, nonprofit corporation. Publishers of the Shambhala Sun and Buddhadharma: The Practitioner’s Quarterly. Oh my heart! Oh, my life! How can this happen! What can I do? I’m over- whelmed as I watch a video of the brave and passionate Tibetan Buddhist nun Palden Choetso standing in the street, burning her- self as a human torch. I want to respond, to douse her flames. It’s impossible. So too is it to salute her for her bravery, for her faith in love, for her determination, and her belief that peace is possible. Did she cry out for freedom? For herself? Her people? Her land? Her nation? For her beloved lama, teacher, and savior? I watch as an elegant laywoman, a passerby startled and gripped with horror, manages to quickly take a white khata greeting scarf out of her bag, a traditional offering of goodwill and respect. She waves the scarf toward the stock-still flaming nun and then offers it into the fire as Palden Choetso passes out, dying in agony, her body crumpling to the ground. I also offer a khata from my heart. In a gathering we held at Roosevelt House in New York, in a hall adorned with the words of Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Four Free- doms and a picture of FDR, Churchill, and Stalin at Yalta (where once again they ignored the fate of Tibet), Kirti Rinpoche, exiled abbot of one of the monasteries where some of these brave monks and nuns who have self- immolated came from, declares: “This is an ultimate act of nonviolence!” I am not sure at first, and surprised, as all evening he had been deploring that this is happening, as we all do. If any young monk or nun were to ask their abbot or their lama, His Holiness the Dalai Lama, “Should I offer myself for freedom?”— the answer would be an emphatic “No! Abso- lutely not! Endure the oppression and turn your mind toward practice to attain the ultimate freedom of nirvana and buddhahood for the sake of all beings!” But once they do commit such sacrifice, one cannot help but respect their courage. When you destroy your body, you violate your own life, the lives of what Buddhists call “the 84,000 cells” that constitute it. This does seem violent. Yet in this case, the individual sacrifices herself to appeal to her enemy, to convey the perhaps all-too-subliminal mes- sage that they have nothing to fear from her, that she will resist their relationship of fear and harm by removing herself from being the target of their ultimately self-destructive, evil behavior. That is true non-harming—perfect resistance by complete surrender. If your victim prevents you from harm- ing her by harming herself and taking herself out of your reach, then why were you afraid of her and wanting to harm her in the first place? Since she won’t harm you, she must love you. She wants you to stop fearing and hating; she wants you to be happy! Indeed, she cries out to you with her very life to wake up and behold the power of love—how it does not fear death, how it gives itself away to reality, how it overwhelms hatred. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is being blamed by the Chinese Communist Party government for these dread-inspiring dem- onstrations of their illegitimacy in the eyes COMMENTARY A Cry for Freedom BY ROBERT THURMAN ROBERT THURMAN is the Jey Tsong Khapa professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist Studies at Columbia University, and cofounder and president of Tibet House U.S . STEPHENIEHOLLYMAN©2012 Buddhist nun Palden Choetso (above) was one of more than fifteen Tibetans to self- immolate in the past year, protesting Chinese rule in Tibet. (Top) An onlooker waves a khata scarf in offering as Palden Choetso burns.