Yesterday, we were part of a small though very lovely and effective vigil for Tibet outside Fremantle Town Hall. It was a very warm, beautiful day and we sat, meditated, handed out literature, got petitions signed and prayed for world peace. I have been to many moving peace vigils in my time, and this one was one of the most touching. We sat there facing all the shoppers and tourists while singing OM MANI PADME HUM, the mantra of Chenrezig, Bodhisattva of Compassion, led by two members of the Perth Sangha.
Other Sangha I know consciously did not attend out of concern of the reaction of the Chinese; many have families in Tibet or wish to travel there at some time in the future. The last peaceful all-night vigil in Perth was abandoned when some angry and abusive Chinese people turned up. Yesterday however was clear sailing, though we did spot the inevitable Chinese official posing as a tourist.
This guy needed some serious acting lessons or a refresher in whatever ‘discreet surveillance’ course the Chinese bigwigs have sent him in on. He kept circling our area, not directly looking at us, and then whipping out his camera for a few quick shots before getting absorbed in some window display or other. The poor chap must have been so bored by the end of it all – you can look at window displays only so many times without being driven to distraction.
The news from Tibet of course is not good. I really do not know why the Chinese and other governments are still set on the course of repression in this day and age. I mean, haven’t they heard of the likes of Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi? Don’t they know history enough to realize that lining up force against non-violence never ‘wins’ in the end? Being Star Wars Day (May the fourth) I was of course reminded of that famous line from Obi Wan Kenobi to Darth Vader:
‘You cannot win Darth; if you strike me down I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine”.
I still get goose bumps remembering this scene 🙂
And so it is with the Tibetan people and His Holiness the Dalai Lama. The more the Chinese strike at them, the more torture and killing, the more peaceful protesters are brutalized – the more the power of peace, love and compassion touches the heart of the world. This is why His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan struggle are so ‘popular’. Ultimately love and peace will prevail, simply because it is the sustaining fabric of the universe, the essential ‘force’ out of which this phenomenological world arises. This is one of the core truths of all religions, and anyone with even a modicum of religious experience knows this reality.
Star Wars itself helped to popularize a very simple understanding of some of these truths through the concept of the Force. As an eager 11 year old forbidden to attend Sunday school I seized on the Force with religious intensity. Today there are many people – and some even seriously – who describe their religion as Jedi or Jedi Knight on Census forms. I wonder what the Chinese government would make of that?
May the Force be with you 🙂