Wed, Apr 01, 2009 - Page 8 News List

[LETTERS]

Thus, prejudice and conflicts of value — whether rational or irrational — are vital to the life of a democracy and that is a terrible corrosive acid to a civilized life of reason, trade and peaceful social cooperation.

MICHAEL FAGAN

Tainan

Politics defiles the spiritual

The refusal — as deplorable, outrageous and craven as it is — of the World Buddhist Forum to invite the Dalai Lama should not come as a surprise to anyone at all, given that the forum began in China on Friday and moved to Taipei on Monday.

A person need only take into account the people who control the political affairs of these two places to resolve this issue. Political affairs on both sides of the Taiwan Strait are currently in the hands of blackguards possessing megalomaniacal and despotic mindsets. As long as Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) is president, the Dalai Lama will never be allowed to enter Taiwan.

In the West, so-called “temporal” or secular power has been conflated with — and has defiled — “spiritual” power. This has been the case since the early medieval period and the crowning of Charlemagne in 800.

Chow Mei-li (周美里) is reported to have asked: “Since when is a personal political view a criterion for participating in a forum about Buddhism?”

Her question is heartfelt and reasonable. Implicit in her question is the assumption that “raisons d’etat” should have no influence on, or connection with, spiritual concerns.

Unfortunately, rogues dressed in clerics’ robes have colluded and conspired with jackals in politicians’ garb all throughout history. Powers temporal and powers spiritual have forever been as intimately associated as briars and roses.

MICHAEL SCANLON

East Hartford, Connecticut

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