Dear Tiger Temple
NamoTassa, bhagavato, Arahato, Samma, Sambudhaa!
We have become aware in recent weeks of the negative press coverage concerned with the Tiger Temple and the care of the tigers that live in and around the temple grounds. As Buddhists living in the UK, we are aware that this offensive is a racially motivated tirade aimed at Thailand (and Buddhism) by the rightwing UK and US media. It is fuelled by the rightwing of the animal rights movement that uses the pretext of ‘animal rights’ as a means to attack other national groupings and ethnicities, in pursuit of its race-hate politics. Many of these people (who are writing racist and sexist comments on the Tiger Temple Facebook page) eat-meat, support capitalism (which fuels the meat industry and cruelty to animals), and never campaign or draw attention to the numerous 24 hour slaughter factories that are functioning nearby virtually every home in the West.
These kinds of hate filled people do not understand that Buddhist monks – as members of the Sangha – are forbidden by their vows to hurt any living creature, or to possess money or partake in waged-labour. In fact, the only relationship with the tigers that roam the temple, is that the monks must strive to relieve their suffering. The racists in the West do not know this and are not interested in learning this, as their only intention is to spread race-hate through their false assertions and distorted interpretations. We are aware that the Buddhist monks of Tiger Temple will only respond to these racist allegations with loving kindness and compassion, so as not to add any further delusion to the world. As the karma unfolds, those who spread hate and deception will receive hate and deception, as only effective meditation can break this cycle of lay-generated abuse.
This is of course, also an attack on China, as this is used by the racist Western press to imply that tigers are being sold by the temple to be used within Chinese traditional medicine, but China banned ‘tiger bone’ usage in 1980. However, as racists are not interested ‘facts’, it is better to point-out with logic the errors of their ways, and use wisdom to expose their lies. This will prevent good minded people from falling into the trap of following these hate-filled individuals in the dark holes of perception that they have made for themselves. In the meantime, the hatred will eventually dissipate, the truth will be revealed, and the tigers will once again roam happy and free.
Peace in the Dharma
Adrian Chan-Wyles (7.6.2016)
Sutton – London