Dr Who Manchu

John Bennett

John Bennett

The Dr Who episodes entitled ‘The Talons of Weng-Chiang’ (Starring Tom Baker as Dr Who), was originally aired during early 1977, and receives regular repeating throughout the world on satellite and cable TV. In 2008, the British rightwing (and notoriously racist) newspaper – The Daily Telegraph – voted this particular series as one of the best Dr Who stories ever made. This is not surprising as it manages to encapsulate fully the negative British attitudes towards the Chinese people, and serves as an exact record of Eurocentric racism. Whilst white Europeans attempt to downplay and negate the anti-Chinese racism, the racism itself can be easily codified:

1) A white English actor – John Bennett – plays the lead ‘Chinese’ role of the maniacal character ‘Li H’sen Chang’.

2) Throughout the six part serial, very few of the other Chinese characters are listed in the end credits of the show. In the first episode, for instance, out of the 5 apparently real Chinese characters that appear on screen, only two are listed in the end credits – the character ‘Lee’ played by John Then, and the ‘Coolie’ character played by John Wu.

3) The word ‘Chink’ is mentioned by a character named ‘Professor Litefoot’ who had apparently spent time living in China.

4) All the (male) Chinese characters are negative and the product of blatant racial stereotyping that portrays Chinese people (and Chinese culture) as inherently inferior, frighteningly heathen, innately duplicitous, and the product of an evil – Judeo-Christian – devil.

5) The massage that all migrants into the British Isles are ‘criminals’ waiting to pounce on innocent (white) Britons is clear and unambiguous.

6) The Chinese people (and Chinese culture) are depicted as childish and yet dangerous.

7) It is assumed that no Chinese people can speak English, and obvious that no (white) English character can speak the Chinese language – although the non-human Timelord is seen in one seen attempting to speak very basic Putonghua (referred to in the script as ‘Mandarin’).

8) The Chinese people are depicted as ‘unfeeling’ and lacking basic human characteristics. This stems from the British Christian missionaries in China who taught that Chinese culture was an agency for the devil’s work, and consequently possesses no value as a civilised society.

9) The Chinese people are either non-responsive (to Eurocentric sentiment) or excessively violent in reaction.

10) With regard to this Dr Who storyline – Chinese women do not exist.

John Bennett, of course, is playing an Englishman’s imagination of a vague, gargoyle-like entity conveniently termed a ‘Chinese’ person – or ‘Celestial’ as one character refers to the Chinese people. This continues the ‘yellow peril’ racism from the USA (personified by the hideous ‘Fu Manchu’ and ‘Ming the Merciless’ characters of stage and screen) which was aimed at the Japanese up to and including WWII, but which was later turned on China following the Communist Revolution of 1949. The British racism aimed at the Chinese people has always had a Judeo-Christian basis and seeks to deny and destroy the Chinese culture and build a Christian Church upon its ashes.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

The Still Mind


Original Chinese Language Text By: duitang.com

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

Buddha said:

‘Many experiences encountered in life happen without planning and cannot be predicted, and those experiences that individuals would prefer to encounter, cannot be achieved by simply demanding they manifest. Many experiences happen unexpectedly, when the mind is unprepared to receive them, this is why it is better to cultivate a ‘still’ mind that is free from wants and desires. A calm mind that is free from the destructive influences of greed, hatred, and delusion, simply adjusts itself to prevailing circumstance (which are karmically produced), and is not excessive, does not demand, is not pessimistic, is not rigid, is not panicked, is not uncontrolled, is not pleased by material gains, and is not saddened by personal losses.’

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

Original Chinese Language Source Text:


佛说,生命中的许多东西是可遇不可求,刻意强求的得不到,而不曾被期待的往往会不期而至。 因此,要拥有一颗安闲自在的心,一切随缘,顺其自然,不怨怒,不躁进,不过度,不强求,不悲观,不刻板,不慌乱,不忘形,不以物喜,不以己悲。

Buddhist Vegetarianism: Do Plants Possess Life?

Dharma Master Ming Zheng

Dharma Master Ming Zheng

Original Chinese Language Source Text: By Dharma Master Ming Zheng

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

Dharma Master Ming Zheng’s Dharma Words: All sentient beings are constantly experiencing the transmigration process of samsara, and as such, all beings have been one another’s loved ones and relatives throughout time and in various rebirths. This is why it is illogical from a Buddhist perspective to participation in eating the flesh of our relatives and loved just because they now occupy an animal body. This is a simple statement of Dharmic truth – it is the Buddha’s position – and there is an extensive discussion – regarding the benefits of not eating meat, and disadvantages of eating meat – contained within the various versions of the Lankavatara Sutra (which we can reference later). An interesting question concerns plants and whether they possess life? The is ‘yes’ – plants do possess life – but they do not possess conscious awareness like an animal or human, simply because they do not possess the same physical sense organs that the Buddha taught facilitates conscious awareness. For instance, there is no conscious awareness associated with the eye organ, the ear organ, and the nose organ, etc., and as such does not possess the eight consciousnesses.

A plant, although ‘alive’ does not feel emotion, cannot ‘love’ other beings, and does not possess the type of consciousness that defines ‘sentient’ life. Another important difference is that when plants and vegetables (that are growing naturally) are cut, they can recover and grow again. Even a tree can grow again if it is cut in a certain manner, but if a human is cut in half, there is no regrowing of the body, and only physical death is observed. The sentient life of a human is different to the non-sentient life of a plant. Plants do not experience pain, and do not generate hatred, even though some people think otherwise.

Others have stated that if a tree is cut, revenge is aimed (by the tree) at the individual doing the cutting. It is not the tree as such that is seeking revenge, but is rather a spirit living in the tree. If a spirit lives in the tree, then the spirit takes the tree as its body, and assumes that it is its body that has been attacked – hence the possibility of retaliation. In reality, however, a tree or plant does not feel emotion and cannot ‘think’ in the conventional sense, therefore it does not possess the ability to be angry or to retaliate. Negative reactions may result from overly aggressive or violent behaviour toward trees if a spirit lives in the tree and is disrupted through actions associated with human ignorance.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

Original Chinese Language Source Text:






Abbot Yong Xin of the Shaolin Temple Discusses Master Xu Yun

Wall Running

Wall Running

Translator’s Note: The following is a short extract from a much longer interview with Abbot Yong Xin (永信法师), carried-out by Global People Magazine in October, 2011, at the Shaolin Temple in Henan province, China. The interview explores the then recent media storm that had grown over the internet allegation that monks at the prestigious Shaolin Temple (founded in 450 CE) had been engaged in all types of worldly behaviour – including intimate relationships with women, etc. The government of China thoroughly investigated these claims and without exception, found everyone to be false. In this interview, Abbot Yong Xin explains his indifference to the media storm, and explains that the Chinese Buddhist Sangha follow the Vinaya Discipline by law, and are not able to pick and choose what they might follow and what they might not follow. One specific paragraph is of particular interest as in it, Yong Xin adds more information to the already known details surrounding Xu Yun’s involvement in the 1953 re-constitution of the China Buddhism Association. If is this paragraph that I have translated. ACW 19.2.15

Global People Magazine: From an ordained Buddhist perspective, how would you interpret the seven emotions and six sensory desires?

Abbot Yong Xin: It is simple; ordained Buddhist monastics in China are not permitted to enter into any amorous relationship whatsoever. Strict celibacy is part of the great (or ‘full’) ordination ceremony, and anyone who breaks this moral requirement will have to leave the ordained Sangha and return to lay-life. Such behaviour is part of the world of burning desire, and so we are protected from it by our precepts. After the founding of the New China (in 1949), there was a great gathering of Buddhists from every corner of the country, representing every type of school. At that time there were a group of so-called ‘Buddhist monks’ in China who had trained in Japan and had subsequently got married and had children. They could do this because this is considered normal behaviour in Japan. They attended this great meeting of Buddhists in China and requested that the government of China abolish the requirement of the Chinese Buddhist Sangha to follow the Vinaya Discipline, and bring China in-line with Japanese practice. The venerable Xu Yun (who lived to 120 years old) was in attendance of this meeting when these monks arrived and made their case. He listened quietly to these monks and then hit his palm on the table in an angry manner. He stated that a Buddhist monk and his robe cannot be separated, and that in China, a Buddhist robe signifies the practice of both strict celibacy and vegetarianism – without the Vinaya Discipline – Chinese Buddhism simply would not make sense. Li Ji Shen referred this dispute to Zhou Enlai (who discussed it with Mao Zedong), and it was agreed that Xu Yun was correct. This decision was taken because at the time certain members of the international community were attacking China with regards to human rights issues. From that day onwards, traditional Chinese religion has been protected under law.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

Extracted from the Original Chinese Language Source Article:




Tibetan New Year & the ‘Water Grab’


Original Chinese Language Source Text: By Tibetan Tourism Network

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

On Tibetan New Year’s Day – one of the first activities involves the ‘Water Grab’. At dawn, women head to the nearest well or river carrying buckets. The buckets are wrapped in white Tibetan prayer-scarves, which represent ‘good luck’. The well or riverbank is decorated with prayer scarves, burning incense sticks, cards, and various over gifts – all designed to ensure that the water gathered is full of good luck. People run to the water source because whoever can scoop-up the first container of water – gains the largest amount of good fortune. When the women return to their homes with the collected water, they change into their festive costumes, and the eldest woman in the house takes the water to the family shrine, (to be placed in special bowls) as an act of respectful worship to the Buddha and various other deities. According to custom, only women can perform this important task and men are not allowed to participate. If a man runs to the river or well, he will attract the ridicule of his neighbours, and the women consider this behaviour incorrect and unvirtuous. Today, however, many Tibetan homes possess running-water, and it is the domestic-tap that is decorated with prayer-scarves, incense sticks, and other holy gifts, and from which the water is collected.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

Original Chinese Language Source Article:






Definition of a Ch’an Monastic Community Leader

Fang Zhang

Fang Zhang

Original Chinese Language Article: Zhongguo Wikipedia

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

Translator’s Note: The four most common terms used to describe the head monk or nun of a Ch’an temple or monastery in China are as follows:


1) Zhu Chi (住持): Lit. ‘Residence Manager’

2) Wei Na (維那): Lit. ‘Maintainer of Affairs’

3) Si Zhu (寺主): Lit. ‘Temple Master’

4) Fang Zhang (方丈): Lit. ‘Ten Square Feet’


It has become common place to refer to these titles in English translation by the Judeo-Christian term of ‘Abbot’, which derives from the Aramaic term ‘abba’, meaning ‘father’. An abbot is a man in charge of an abbey of Christian monks, and its female equivalent is ‘Abbess’. As is obvious from the above translations of the Chinese terms used to describe the Sangha community leader of a Ch’an community, none match this transliteration. Indeed, the most common term used today to refer to a Sangha leader is ‘Fang Zhang’ which actually derives from a measurement of length and width found within the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra.  The post of ‘Wei Na’ today generally refers to the monk who assists the designated community leader – which is in practical terms a very powerful position to hold.  ACW 17/02/15

Zhu Chi (住持) [Residence Manager’]:

Zhu Chi is a short name for a monastic or temple Sangha leader. Over-time other words were used to describe the same post in Buddhist temples and monasteries. Zhu Chi is also used to refer to the head of a Chinese Daoist temple.


In China a ‘Zhu Chi’ refers to the man or woman who presides over a Buddhist temple. In ancient India, however, the same post was referred to as the ‘Wei Na’ (維那) [i.e. ‘Maintainer of Affairs’], whilst during the Sui and Tang Dynasties, this role was referred to as the ‘Si Zhu’ (寺主) [i.e. ‘Temple Master’].

Another name for the Sangha leader in China is ‘Fang Zhang’ (方丈). This designation derives from the Vimalakirti Nirdesa Sutra which teaches that the layman Bodhisattva Vimalakirti had a bedroom that measured only ten square feet in the material world of delusion – but that in the realm of enlightened reality, its capacity was limitless. This analogy is used to describe the community leader’s room, and explains why the post of ‘Zhu Chi’ is also known as ‘Fang Zhang’ (or ‘ten square feet’). These Buddhist terms are used differently to similar terms found in the Immortal Island stories of ancient China.

During the Song Dynasty, the preferred term for a community leader in a Ch’an temple or monastery was ‘Si Zhu’ [Temple Master]. The man or woman who held this post was commonly referred to as the ‘head monastic’, according to the ‘Ordination Rules of the Temple’, which stated the leader always stands at the front of the congregation and leads it into the Dharma Hall.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

Original Chinese Language Article:








小作品圖示  這是一篇關於佛教的小作品,你可以透過編輯或修訂擴充其內容。


Ancient Ling Yin Temple Exhibition Promotes the Respectful Art of Buddhist Monastic Painting & Calligraphy

Lin Yin Temple - Painting & Calligraphy Exhibition

Lin Yin Temple – Painting & Calligraphy Exhibition

Original Chinese Language Source Article: by Xie Pan Pan (谢盼盼)

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

Central News Network, Hangzhou, 27th of November (2014). (Trainee Reporter: Xie Pan Pan). The art of the hanging scroll and of flower arranging belong to a far distant past, and were elegant pastimes associated with the lifestyles of refined scholars. On the 27th of November, 2014, the ancient holy place known as the Ling Yin Temple (situated in the Hangzhou area of Zhejiang province), hosted a unique exhibition (open to the public) of 60 distinctive examples of painting and calligraphy, as well as flower arrangements. The abbot of the Ling Yin Temple – the great monk Guang Guan – said that through this exhibition, he hoped that the general public would develop an awareness and respect for the ancient arts.

This Buddhist art exhibition is named ‘Respectful Mind’, and is sponsored by the Hangzhou City Buddhist Association. All the works of art have been produced through the guidance of dharma masters residing in the great monasteries and temples of the Hangzhou area – and have been created by monks attending the Hangzhou City Buddhist Institute as students. The collection consists of 33 calligraphy works, 27 drawings and paintings, as well as seal characters, official script, short biography writing, normal script, and cursive script, etc., with all literary aspects fully represented. The work presents a diverse subject matter.

Lin Yin Temple - Painting & Calligraphy Exhibition

Lin Yin Temple – Painting & Calligraphy Exhibition

The venerable great monk – Abbot Guang Guan – said that this exhibition was centred around the arts of Hangzhou Buddhist calligraphy and painting. However, it was his hope that the general public would be impressed with the skills on show, and be inspired by the demonstration of skill, so that a deep respect for these old traditions can be taken into lay-life.

This civilised reverence of Buddhist inspired art – this reporter learned – had been on display since January the 30th, and was arranged by the Hangzhou Buddhist City Association which had gathered artwork from the eight great monasteries and temples in the area. Each temple concerned privately lit three bundles of incense (donated by the Hangzhou City Buddhist Association) as a blessing, prior to the start of the exhibition (at a time when all tourists were strictly forbidden from the temple grounds). After the blessing was completed by the ordained Sangha, devout pilgrims (and tourists) were allowed back into the temples, and brought incense and other objects as donations.

Before this, Abbot Guang Guan said that, ‘A hundred people presented gifts of incense, a thousand people received guidance, and ten thousand people signed in support.’ Ceremonial activity was held at the Ling Yin Temple, as the Abbot – Guang Guan – performed rituals of reverence and respect for Buddhist art, and personally led the collecting of supporting signatures of those willing to sponsor the intended exhibition. Abbot Guang Guan further stated that the event would be called, ‘leading a harmonious life, through the propagation of civilised arts in a new era of respect.’ This exhibition attracted a number of Buddhist inspired cultural exhibits, including pieces entitled ‘Worshipping with incense, a thousand Buddhas and Bodhisattvas’, and a ‘Devoted Mind’, all expressed using many different styles of calligraphy and distinct brushwork.   These exhibits proved very successful and attracted many interested tourists day after day.

Lin Yin Temple - Painting & Calligraphy Exhibition

Lin Yin Temple – Painting & Calligraphy Exhibition

A Buddhist monk from the Hangzhou Buddhist Institute told this reporter that Buddhist culture and civilisation is premised entirely upon respect generated from a ‘mind full of devotion’. Incense is burned as an act of Buddhist devotion in the environment, but this means nothing if the inner mind is not calm, clear, and full of wisdom and compassion – this is the basis of all Buddhist art and culture – he said.

Apart from the different painting and calligraphy styles on display, the floral arrangements were extremely pleasant and eye-catching. The Red Maple contrasted beautifully with the green leaves and the Chrysanthemum.

The Abbot Guang Guan stated that Buddhist art of this nature expresses the true essence of Buddhist understanding and culture, and as a righteous form of self-cultivation, purifies the energy of the temple, as well as preserves rare Buddhist arts and skills.

This exhibition expresses the pure mind of Buddhism and encourages the people to respect the Buddha, his teachings, and the broader cultural arts practiced by the ordained Buddhist Sangha. The painting, calligraphy, and flower-arranging are worthy of respect, and bring tranquillity, peace, and understanding to the world. This is why a bow of appreciation is a pleasure to perform.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

Original Chinese Language Source Article:


原标题:千年古刹灵隐寺展僧人佛教书画 提倡文明敬香

中新网杭州11月27日电 (见习记者 谢盼盼)挂画、插花列属于古时文人雅事。在27日浙江杭州千年古刹灵隐寺内,60幅各具特色的书画作品与插花艺术相结合,给民众带来独特体验。灵隐寺方丈光泉大和尚称,希望通过展览,增强民众文明敬香的意识。










2012 Hubei Medicine Buddha Cultural Festival – Welcomes Venerable Monks from Abroad

Master Jing Hui Leads the Entourage into the Temple

Master Jing Hui Leads the Entourage into the Temple

Original Chinese Language Article: By Wei Fang (卫风) Ch’an Culture Network

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

Ch’an Culture Network – news from Hubei province, where the Buddha’s joyous light of wisdom shines for thousands of people. On the morning of December the 18th, 2012, the Lingquan Temple was bathed in the warmth of bright sunlight, and the surrounding mountains were free of obscuring clouds. The main entrance of the temple had been washed and swept clean, and was lined with fresh flowers and thousands of devout Buddhists carrying flowers, sandalwood incense sticks, and sutra-banners. The eminent foreign Buddhist monks (who had been especially invited to the ceremony) awaited to enter the temple on foot, under umbrellas. At 9am, the venerable old monk Jing Hui began the ceremony by lighting incense in praise of the Buddha-Dharma. He was joined in the chanting by senior Buddhist monastics from all over the world, including the head monks of Cambodia (the Great Sangharaja Bugeli), Mongolia (the great Dorje Khenpo Lasang), and Thailand (the Venerable Sawai Chotiko, the Vice-President of Mahazhulalong University. Whilst chanting, the senior monks – led by the Venerable Jing Hui – entered the temple (after walking up the mountain) in a solemn and respectful procession, with sutra-banners streaming, preparing to take part in the Medicine Buddha Mandela Ceremony.

Master Jing Hui and Entourage Walk Up the Muntain

Master Jing Hui and Entourage Walk Up the Mountain

During winter time, the climate on Lingquan (Temple) Mountain is still agreeable, with luxuriant forests of tall bamboo that grows rapidly on the pinnacle of the mountain. The spectacle in early winter integrates with the sunshine, and is very peaceful experience. The six sensory roots are purified by the study of the Medicine Sutra – and the dignified pillar that stands in the temple grounds – which brings comfort to the thousands of adherents who lay eyes upon it.

Buddhist Ritual

Buddhist Ritual

Great Monk Da Yuan, and a Ugandan and Mexican Monk Bow

Great Monk Da Yuan, and a Ugandan and Mexican Monk Bow

Eminent Monks from Around the World

Eminent Monks from Around the World

Surrounded by thousands of devout followers of the Buddha, the eminent monks – led by the Venerable Dharma Master Jing Hui – each mounted the mandala-platform in turn. The Venerable Jing Hui was followed by Cambodia’s Great Sangharaja Bugeli, and then Thailand’s head of the Supreme Sangha Council – the Venerable Phraphrommethee – followed by the other eminent elders and dignitaries, all following the old monk Jing Hui’s directions.

Jing Hui and other Monks Purify the Area

Jing Hui and other Monks Purify the Area

The Area is Blessed

The Area is Blessed

Eminent Monks Purify the Area

Eminent Monks Purify the Area

Whilst the monks occupied the mandala-platform (performing the puja), those gathered in the temple chanted loudly and clearly. Smoke wafted-out from the burning sandalwood incense  All this was integrated with the glorious and bright sunshine, and created a vivid transformative vision.  After the Venerable Jing Hui had completed the foundational chanting and worship of the puja, the South Korean Elder Yue Shan, and the Mongolia – the great Dorje Khenpo Lasang – took it in turns to chant in their own languages. Their respectful behaviour was excellent and awe-inspiring.

Bright Buddha-light benefits Thousands

Bright Buddha-light benefits Thousands

The World is Purified

The World is Purified

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.

Original Chinese Language Source Article:



发表时间:2012-12-19 来源:本站原创 【打印】

禅文化网湖北讯 佛光普照,三千喜乐。2012年12月18日上午,灵泉寺洒满温暖和熙的阳光,远岫退去了雾霭,山门洒扫干净,夹道花团锦簇,百千信众手持鲜花、檀香、经幡、伞盖迎请各国高僧入寺。9:00正,由净慧老和尚拈香主法礼佛,柬埔寨布格里大僧王,蒙古国拉桑多吉大堪布,泰国马哈朱拉龙宫大学副校长大学Ven.Sawai Chotiko校长等各国高僧从旁参法,共同拈香唱诵礼佛。庄严的礼佛念诵完毕,净老移步迈向寺内,众高僧跟随,幡盖一列排开,高僧组成的队列缓缓向后山药师佛坛城移动。

冬日的灵泉寺后山依旧茂林修竹,群峰叠翠,融入初冬的阳光里,一派祥和,六根药师经幢站立得万千庄严。在百千善信的簇拥下,高僧们逐一登上坛城,净慧老和尚主法,布格里大僧王,泰国最高僧伽会Ven. Phraphrommethee长老等各国高僧分列净老左右参法。坛城上,两序大众虔诚的唱诵声清亮、绵长;檀香散发出的薄烟缭绕不散,在阳光照射下,幻化出七彩。

开光仪式首先由净慧长老主法,拈香礼佛完毕,接着泰国最高僧伽会Ven. Phraphrommethee长老,韩国月山长老,蒙古国拉桑多吉大堪布分别用各自的语言诵经礼佛,场面殊胜庄严。

高僧们一一诚敬诵念完毕,净慧长老手捧净瓶,拈杨柳枝将甘露洒向虚空,洒向主坛,洒向大众,祈求国土安宁,人民安乐。众高僧也纷纷跟随,将甘露洒向虚空与从旁四众,为大众祈福。久久的唱诵、虔诚的默念,感召着十方菩萨护持,坛城上花香氤氲,祥云飘舞,净慧长老手执圆镜,承接太阳光辉,遍照天地坛城,如同众生心中的大圆镜智,彻映万物;又似一轮慧日,破诸黑暗;尔后,净慧长老手持毛笔,右手一挥,毛笔在空中划下一道遒劲的圆弧,起笔落笔气贯长虹,笔势才落下,净慧长老声如洪钟的一声“开”,雷霆一声,震断无明,感通诸佛,直切云霄。在场信众,无不感动落泪,欢喜赞叹,药师七佛坛城开光法会,三千普被,吉祥圆满。(禅文化网记者 卫风,长空 现场报道)


Etymology of the Chinese Ideogram for ‘Virtue’ (德)

Virtuous Simplicity

Virtuous Simplicity

The earliest known examples of the Chinese ideogram ‘德’ appear on cast bronze artefacts produced during the Zhou Dynasty (1046–256 BCE) such as:

de1 de2 de3

This character evolved over many hundreds of years, and by the time of the development of Seal Characters (initiated during the Qin Dynasty 221-206 BCE), it had taken a recognisable form very similar to its familiar contemporary structure:

de4 de5

The modem Chinese character for ‘virtue’ is written as:

Within the pinyin system of mainland China, the character ‘德’ receives the phonetical designation of ‘de2’, to distinguish it from other characters.

The ideogram ‘德’ is comprised of the left-hand particle ‘彳’ (fu2) which specifically denotes the left side of a road (when written as ‘行 [xing2] the right-hand side of the road – ’ 亍’ [chu4] is also indicated). The two diagonal-lines represent feet travelling along a road or path (the vertical straight-line), and symbolise a journey in progress, as opposed to a ‘theoretical’ journey, not yet undertaken, or that remains only in the planning stage. The journey implied here has already begun and is both highly vigorous and pro-active.

The right-hand particle is comprised of a lower and upper aspect – ‘悳’ (de2) which stands for ‘moral excellence’, ‘kindness’, and ‘ethical behaviour’, etc. – and is the phonetic designator of the ideogram ‘德’. The lower aspect of the right-hand particle is ‘心’ (xin1), which stands for the concepts of ‘mind’ and ‘heart’. It can also mean ‘conscience’, ‘consciousness’, ‘directed will’, ‘correct thought’, ‘centrality’, ‘balance’, and ‘moral nature’. The upper aspect of the right-hand particle is ‘直 (zhi2), which refers to behaviour that is ‘continuous’, ‘uninterrupted’, ‘constant’, and ‘just’. This particle (zhi2) also means ‘straight behaviour’, as it is written as an ‘eye’ over a ‘nose’. When the nose points in the right direction, the eye sees clearly.

The Chinese character ‘德’ (de2) represents a moral and upright character (or ‘mind’) that is cultivated through following a correct physical path. The correct physical path is the direction the body takes, and is reflected in its patterns of behaviour within society. A ‘straight’ mind generates correct thoughts and applicable behaviour premised upon those thoughts, whilst applicable patterns of behaviour – that is behaviour that accords with perceived spiritual and societal norms – strengthens and reinforces the correct inner thoughts. Therefore correct thought leads to correct behaviour, which in turn creates the positive conditions for further refined thought, and so on. Virtue in this sense is achieved through a psychological and physical reliance upon that which is believed to be both ‘correct’ and ‘true’. It is indicated that those who possess virtue, do so because they perceive and see things more clearly than those who do not possess virtue. Indeed, another interpretation of the ideogram ‘德’ (de2) is a follows: The right-hand particle ‘悳’ (de2) is that of a ‘mind’ (‘心’ – xin1), or ‘person’ that climbs (‘彳’ – fu2) a ‘tower’ (‘直 – zhi2), and as a consequence, gains a clear and panoramic view of his or her environment. As many other people did not possess this ‘higher’ perspective, those who did were venerated and considered ‘virtuous’ beings in ancient China.


©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.


Freeing Tibet from the Western Imagination

Tibet in China

Tibet in Chin

‘On 25 April 1945, so story goes, a group of battle-weary Russian soldiers were making their cautious way through the shattered remnants of Berlin, mopping up the isolated pockets of German resistance that remained in the heart of the Third Reich. The soldiers moved carefully from one wrecked building to another, in a state of constant readiness against the threat of ambush.

In a ground-floor room of one blasted building, the soldiers made a surprise discovery. Lying in a circle on the floor were the bodies of six men, with a seventh corpse in the centre. All were dressed in German military uniforms, and the dead man in the centre of the group was wearing a pair of bright green gloves. The Russians’ assumption that the bodies were those of soldiers was quickly dispelled when they realised that the dead men were all Orientals. One of the Russians, who was from Mongolia, identified the men as Tibetans. It was also evident to the Russian soldiers that the men had not died in battle but seemed to have committed suicide. Over the following week, hundreds more Tibetans were discovered in Berlin: some of them had clearly died in battle, while others had committed ritual suicide, like the ones discovered by the Russian unit.’ Invisible Eagle – The History of Nazi Occultism: By Alan Baker, Virgin Publishing Ltd, (2000), Pages 88-89)

This article is designed to be provocative and break the boundaries of convenient and accepted ‘taboos’ with regards to the country of Tibet, the Buddhist culture of Tibet, and the ethnic groupings that comprise the people of Tibet. What this article is not – is an attack on Tibet, its Buddhism, or its culture. It is a presentation of the numerous and extensive misconceptions that surround the ‘concept of Tibet’ as it exists in the contemporary Western mind, and which in that respect has very little to do with the actual ‘Tibet’ that exists in the snow covered Himalayas. Much of this unreal and mystified Tibet has arisen from the pen of the British plumber who never once visited Tibet, but who nevertheless, imagined himself to be a born again Tibetan Lama. This was Cyril Henry Hoskin (1910-1981), also widely known as Tuesday Lobsang Rampa, although he had other names. The 14th Dalai Lama stated publically that Hoskin’s work had little to do with real Tibetan culture (or Buddhist practice), but admitted that it had served a positive purpose for publicising the Tibetan cause in the West. This type of situation (that involves contradictory statements and makes use of sentimentalist assessments that ignore historical fact as a means to establish a propaganda presence in the imagination of the West), is demonstrative of the logical ‘fault line’ that runs directly through the Tibetan issue as it exists in the West at the present time. The Tibetan freedom movement has painted itself into a political and conceptual corner in the West. Not only this, but the Western misconceptions about Tibet have also seeped through into the minds of impressionable young Tibetans living outside of Tibet, and are dependent upon material aid from governments and agencies that are a priori hostile to mainland China. The imaginations of the Western mind are being played-out on a geo-political battlefield that sees Tibet, her culture and her Buddhism fundamentally distorted, misrepresented, and sanitised to fit into a narrow Eurocentric bias that displays anti-Chinese racism as a legitimate form of protest. This anti-Chinese racism has been taken on by many Tibetans and deployed liberally through their advertising campaigns and interactions with others. Ironically, it was exactly the same Eurocentric racism that justified the British invasion of Tibet in 1903, only that time it was the Tibetans themselves who were on the receiving end. For Tibet to be ‘free’, it must first free itself of the multitudinous and systemic misrepresentations that it suffers at the hands of Western commentators, supporters, and supposed friends, who are using the Tibetan issue to continue a vicious anti-Chinese campaign of racism that is disguised behind a thin veneer of a political campaign that claims to be trying to ‘free’ Tibet. This article suggests that Tibet has to be freed from the physical and psychological traps of Western generated discourses that simultaneously ‘distort’ as they ‘represent’, and that only a Tibet free of ‘Orientalism’ can truly campaign for a legitimate political and cultural independence that asserts the genuine ‘Asian-ness’ of the Tibetan people and abandons the narrative of Western racism aimed at China supposedly on behalf of Tibet. For Tibet to be free, it must acknowledge that as an Asian country that has shared thousands of years of cultural interaction with China, it has more in common with its Asian neighbour than it does with the United States of America that is manipulating it for its own nefarious ends.

Since the success of the Communist Revolution of 1949 in China, and the ousting (to Taiwan) of the US financed Nationalist regime under Chiang Kai-shek, Tibet has become an ideological battleground. The United States of America, utilising the Central Intelligence Agency (and other US governmental departments), chose to focus on the Tibetan geographical area, and initiated a neo-colonial policy of the de-stabilisation of Tibetan culture in general, and the disruption and deformation of Tibetan Buddhist practice inparticular. This was done as a means to establish US influence in the Tibetan area, and use this influence as a means to initiate a Western-led counter-revolution in the country of China. In other words, by arming otherwise pacifist Tibetan Buddhist monks (and in so doing encouraging a system-wide abandonment of the Buddhist morality against killing amongst the ordained Sangha), as well as encouraging the peasantry of Tibet to ‘rise-up’ armed only with farming implements or outdated weapons (forged on the feudal battlefield), Tibet as a country was thoroughly de-stabilised and plunged into a disastrous modern conflict with the contemporary military forces of the People’s Republic of China. The ‘myth’ of Tibetan ‘nationalism’ was born not from the minds of indigenous Tibetans, but rather from the pens of faceless US government employees, operating out of offices in Washington. This is the instigation of Western-style ‘nationalism’ in the land of Tibet, a form of political agitation otherwise unknown to the Tibetan people. An important aspect of this US-led ‘nationalism’ was the importation of Eurocentric racism into the Tibetan cause. The Tibetans were given rudimentary support from the US (and India) in return for their rejection of Chinese rule, and the ‘racialization’ of the Chinese people. This is why much of the pro-Tibetan sentiment in the West (and the East) is racialist in nature, and premised not on the objective study and assessment of history and historical relations between Tibet and China, but rather upon the US (and Eurocentric) assumption that the Chinese skin-colour automatically equates with Chinese culture being inferior, redundant, corrupt, and dysfunctional. The US association with Tibet is nothing more than a neo-colonial project that perpetuates the attitudes associated with Eurocentric imperialism evident in the 18th and 19th centuries, and has nothing to do with the notion of Tibetan freedom. The notion of ‘Tibetan freedom’ serves as a smokescreen for the perpetuation and continuation of Western racism in Asia.

Tibetan history, of course, records that Tibet was once a mighty warrior nation that built itself an empire entirely through military victory and conquest. Part of this empire included large swathes of what is today geographically known as western China. Eventually, the military forces of various Chinese dynasties pushed the Tibetans out of China and spread Chinese imperial rule in Tibet. Like many countries in the world, Tibet has benefitted from its own colonial expansion, and suffered from the colonial expansion of China in return. However, it is important to note that under the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), Tibet was considered part of the Chinese empire and the West had nothing to say on the matter. During the (Western supported) Nationalist government of China (1912-1949), Tibet was part of the Chinese nation, and the West had nothing to say. With the victory of Mao Zedong and the Communist regime (in 1949 to present), Tibet remained part of the Chinese nation – and the US (and its Western allies) vehemently protested, whilst simultaneously forging ever closer trading and political links with China. This has led to the Hollywood film industry re-writing history with films such as ‘Seven Years in Tibet’ (1997), which portrays (with the usual and extensive artistic licence) the experiences of the German explorer (who was an ardent supporter of Adolf Hitler and a prominent member of the German Nazi Party) Heinrich Harrer (1912-2006). After escaping from a British Prisoner of War camp in India, he eventually makes his way on foot to Tibet, and this film offers his reminiscences. Instead of Harrer being treated as a former member of a murderous Nazi regime that exterminated 6 million Jews in extermination camps in Europe, as well as hundreds of thousands of Romany, disabled, and homosexual people (not to mention the 30 million men, women and children killed by German military forces in the USSR during WWII), he is presented to a contemporary Western audience as something of a liberal freedom fighter who only ever had Tibet’s best interests at heart. This is despite the fact that Adolf Hitler viewed the Tibetans as an inferior race of people, and sent numerous Nazi expeditions to Tibet to ‘scientifically’ prove this assertion, whilst searching for evidence of the presence so-called ‘German’ ancestry in the area. In his later life, as he began to make money with his memoirs through the pro-Tibetan movement in the West, he stated that his joining of the German Nazi SS (holding the rank of sergeant) as soon as Austria and Germany were united through military annexation in 1938 – was a ‘mistake’. To date, Harrer’s involvement with the German Nazi SS has not been subjected to the kind of scrutiny usually expected of an ex-member of a murderous regime that nearly succeeded in wiping Western liberal democracy off the map. This is the kind of man that the US-backed pro-Tibetan lobby in the West is prepared to eulogise and advise its young people and citizenry at large, to listen to and learn from. This apparent and intimate association between Tibet and the murderous far-right regime of Adolf Hitler appears to be the impetus behind the enduring myth of Tibetan men joining Nazi German military units and dying in the rubble of Berlin in 1945, whilst trying unsuccessfully to stem the tide of the Soviet onslaught with a mixture of bizarre magical rituals (which involved acts of suicide) and bullets.

Coupled with the US-led political disinformation and misinformation about Tibet, has been the tendency for the Western creation of imagined narratives and pseudo-history that ‘mystifies’ Tibetan history and culture, whilst also depicting Tibet as a ‘pure’ state that is continuously the victims of the aggression of others. This ‘ahistorical’ approach is in fact a form of Eurocentric racism that completely ignores the true ‘Tibetan’ history of Tibet, and instead replaces it with what is in essence a secular re-working of the Judeo-Christian view of the world. In all the sentimentalising, re-imagining, and re-inventing of a peculiarly ‘Western’ vision of Tibet – Tibet itself is completely missing. In reality, Tibet is no different to any other nation on earth with its cultural distinctiveness notwithstanding. Tibet is a country of people with diverse genetic origin, cultures, and distinct religious practices – not everyone in Tibet is anti-Chinese or ‘Buddhist’, and not every sect of Tibetan Buddhism has the Dalai Lama as its head, and many people still living in Tibet do not view the Dalai Lama as the spiritual or temporal leader of their country. It is only in the disinformation of the USA, and the imagination of the West, that the Dalai Lama is the ‘leader’ of Tibet. In fact the Dalai Lama is only the acknowledged leader of the ‘Gelug’ or ‘Yellow Hat’ sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Tibet has historically developed from disparate tribes into clans, communities, regions, and then a distinct ethnic group. It was not always Buddhist, but originally followed the Bon religion, and was renowned for being a vicious warrior-culture. The myth is, of course, is that Tibet became a paragon of peace-loving virtue after its embracing of Vajrayana Buddhism imported from India. An objective view of Tibetan history demonstrates that this is simply not true. In 1903 the British imperialists unleashed a military force of 10,000 Sikh and Ghurkha soldiers from Indian Territory into Tibet to enforce a trading treaty and a recognition of national boundaries. This action by the British Army was essentially intended as a ‘warning’ to Russia not to interfere with British expansionist policies in the area. This British force predictably swept away every military and physical barrier placed against it. The British troops were armed with modern rifles, artillery, and Maxim machine guns which inflicted horrendous casualties on the numerous Tibetan armies that confronted it. Throughout the entire campaign (the British withdrew from Tibet in September of 1904), the British lost around 200 men, whilst the Tibetans lost an estimated 2000 – 3000. The 13th Dalai Lama first fled to Mongolia and then to China for protection, whilst his people suffered under the imperialist yoke. The Tibetan soldiers used either traditional bladed or bludgeoning weapons, together with armour and shields, as well as antiquated flintlock muskets – all of which was completely ineffective against the British fire-power. British reports suggests that Tibetan soldiers were given amulets ‘blessed’ by Buddhist monks (lamas) that purportedly offered ‘protection’ in combat from enemy fire. Many of the surviving Tibetan troops were seen looking at their amulets with a sense of confusion and desperation. Part of the ‘unequal’ treaty enforced upon Tibet by the British was the stipulation that Tibet had no further relations with any other foreign power. This effectively reduced Tibet (then a part of Imperial China), to the status of a British ‘protectorate’. This is probably the ‘legal’ root of the modern Tibetan independence movement. Despite this imperialist flexing of muscle, however, the British quickly withdrew from Tibet as they feared a Chinese military counter-strike.

It was the British invasion of Tibet in 1903-04, and the subsequent destruction and defeat of the Tibetan armed forces, and the negating of its religious beliefs, that led to a sense of outrage and frustration throughout Tibet itself, and the Tibetan people living in the Sichuan and Yunnan areas of Western China. The Tibetan population of China was the product of the former Tibetan empire that had once expanded into, and then ‘annexed’ western China, but which was then allowed to remain in Chinese owned territory once Chinese sovereignty had been re-established in the area. Part of this Tibetan frustration involved a very strong sense of xenophobia (recorded as existing much earlier by other foreign explorers to Tibet), that emerged with extensive violence in the Yunnan province of China in 1905. The targets of this Tibetan ‘racism’ were all foreigners living in Yunnan, including Manchu’s, Han Chinese, Christian Westerners (i.e. French Missionaries), and their Tibetan Christian converts. Although administered by Chinese officials, the Yunnan area was known for its liberal attitudes toward its Tibetan population, and this allowed certain Tibetan Buddhist monks (i.e. lamas) to assume de facto political power, being allowed to do more or less what they wanted to do by the Chinese authorities. The Gelugpa Sect (led by the 13th Dalai Lama) initiated and guided the uprising that massacred the French Christian priests and 200 of their Tibetan converts. According to Western and Chinese records of the events, the 13th Dalai Lama ordered these Tibetan Christian converts to give-up their new faith and re-embrace Buddhism – when they refused – the 13th Dalai Lama ordered that they all be killed. This pattern was repeated all over Yunnan province, with Westerners, Tibetans, and Chinese victims being shot with poisonous arrows, beheaded with swords and even dismembered. The Qing Imperial Court sent armies under Generals Ma Weiqi, and Zhao Erleng to subdue the Tibetan threat in Sichuan, Yunnan, and parts of eastern Tibet. These military forces eventually prevailed and the Tibetan threats were defeated. All surviving lamas were executed by the Chinese authorities. After these events, the Tibetans lost all political privileges in the Chinese areas and Tibet proper.

What is interesting about the description of these events as perpetuated by Tibetans, is that they demonstrate distinctly ‘non-Buddhist’ behaviour by the Tibetan Buddhist lamas themselves, and the lay Tibetan Buddhists. The Tibetan behaviour in Yunnan (and elsewhere in the region) is far removed from the Western misrepresentations and mystification of Tibet. If Tibet is wrongly viewed as ‘pure’ and ‘beyond worldly entanglements’ by a Judeo-Christian falsification, then the reading of true Tibetan history will be treated as an expression of ‘heresy’ and the conveyor of fact attacked as a ‘non-believer’ in the Tibetan myth. This is the situation with many modern Tibetans brought up either in India or the West, who are indoctrinated into this Western mystification of Tibetan history, and find themselves unwitting spoke-persons of it. This is complicated by the fact that the a priori anti-communist stance of the USA (which only supports the notion of Tibetan independence because it confronts and contradicts Chinese communist policy) has been shaken by the fact that the current 14th Dalai Lama has publically declared that he is a ‘Marxist’. This situation creates the quandary of a Tibet being ‘freed’ from Chinese Communist rule, to be replaced by an independent Tibet ruled by a Dalai Lama who is a committed Communist.

©opyright: Adrian Chan-Wyles (ShiDaDao) 2015.


Invisible Eagle – The History of Nazi Occultism: By Alan Baker, Virgin Publishing Ltd, 2000

The Search for Shangri-La – A Journey into Tibetan History: By Charles Allen, Little, Brown and Company, 1999

Buddha’s Warriors: The Story of the CIA-Backed Tibetan Freedom Fighters, the Chinese Invasion, and the Ultimate Fall of Tibet: By Mikel Dunham, JP Tarcher – Penguin, 2004

British Invasion of Tibet 1903-1904 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_expedition_to_Tibet

Accessed 7.2.15

Tibetan Lama Rebellion – 1905 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1905_Tibetan_Rebellion Accessed 7.2.15

14th Dalai Lama – Confirms He is a Marxist http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2011/jun/20/dalai-lama-marxist-buddhism Accessed 7.2.15

Master Xu Yun (1840-1959) and Tibet 1911-12 https://thesanghakommune.wordpress.com/2015/01/24/master-xu-yun-and-tibet-1911-12/ Author.

How a Plumber’s Ego Shaped the Western View of Tibet

https://thesanghakommune.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/how-a-plumbers-ego-shaped-the-western-view-of-tibet/ Author.

The Last Barbarians: Discovery of the Source of the Mekong in Tibet: By Michel Peissel, Souvenir Press Ltd, 2000

US Trade with China https://www.census.gov/foreign-trade/balance/c5700.html Accessed 7.2.15



%d bloggers like this: