Lenin Was Not a Dictator (2017)

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In reality, the true dictators in this world are found in the bourgeois class, and are continuously ‘elected’ into office by the ill-informed (and apathetic) voting populations of the capitalist, liberal democracies. Simply changing the despots every four or fives years does not change the nature of their dictatorial terms in office. For true despotism, look no further than David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Theresa May – the so-called Tory and LibDebs Junta – that has ruled the UK since 2010, and killed over 120,000 people with benefit cuts no one voted for, and through the privatisation of the NHS that nobody wants – and that’s just the UK! In fact, so many people have been killed on this small island since 2010, that it seems like the UK has been involved in a major (and disastrous) war, but these casualties have been inflicted by the liberal democracy we all so admire. Only genuinely ‘Socialist’ leaders can change this situation, and this fact only scares those invested in the system of capitalist exploitation. The dictatorship of the proletariat is the well-being of an entire class – which is very different to the egotistical (individualistic) dictatorship of the capitalist and the fascist. The working class directed the USSR – Lenin was just a mouthpiece for humanity!

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Two Remarkable Aspects of the Buddha’s Teaching

Angulimala Confronts the Buddha

Angulimala Confronts the Buddha

In at least two respects, the teachings of the Buddha were quite remarkable.  In the first place, he insisted on the virtue of moderation.  He urged upon his hearers to avoid the two extremes of a life devoted to fasting and self-torture and a life of self-indulgence.  In the second place, he taught that a man must love his neighbour as himself, returning good for evil and love for hatred.  But this was not all.  He taught men not to injure or kill any living creature, whether a human being or an animal, even in self-defence.  All war, according to the teaching of the Buddha, is unholy.

(Buddhist Parables: Translated from Pali by Eugene Watson Burlingame – Page xxix of the Introductory Notes)

Ch’an Commentary: The Buddha was a follower of the Brahmanic religious by birth, and within that scheme, was a member of the warrior (and king) caste (Kshatriya).  Of the four main castes of that system, the Buddha’s caste was ranked the second highest- technically below that of the Brahmin caste – who were professional priests.  In reality, however, at least by the time of the Buddha’s lifetime, the caste of warriors and kings held all the temporal power in society.  They lived a life of luxury, opulence, and pampering from birth.  They were well educated in the Sanskrit sacred texts, and trained in mediation, yoga, martial arts, and political leadership skills.  They were waited on hand and foot by servants, and were permitted to indulge any and all sexual desire – in the Buddha’s case this was with the various young women who acted as maids.  When reaching adulthood, a Kshatriya was allowed to marry for the first time any number of wives – up to four in number.  In return for this refined upbringing, the warriors and kings not only administered society on behalf of the Brahmins, (the Buddha’s father was a local leader), but also led the royal armies into battle during times of war.  As they could die during times of war, the Kshatriyas were pre-emptively rewarded for their technical sacrifice during their lifetimes.  In this religiously organised society, the caste system was viewed as emanating from the god Brahma himself, and everything that happened was correct and pre-determined either by the will of god – or personal choices made by individuals in past lifetimes prior to the present incarnation.

This was the theory of determined Brahmanic karma that the Buddha rejected.  This karma taught that warfare was ‘holy’ because it was the will of god – the Buddha thoroughly rejected this type of karma, and the notion that warfare could be holy.  He had to do this because he rejected not only the caste system, but also the very theocracy it was premised upon.  The Buddha replaced the Brahmanic notion of caste and replaced it with that of the individual who could change his or her karma from moment to moment (through mental discipline and behavioural modification), rather than from lifetime to lifetime.  Warfare on religious grounds was abandoned as being the product of just more delusive thinking.  This total and complete rejection of the norms and standards of his society was nothing less than shockingly radical and revolutionary.  The Buddha did not compromise with his society – he literally walked out on it and did not look back.  By rejecting the norms of his society, he also rejected the greed, hatred, and delusion that his society encouraged, preserved, rewarded, and perpetuated.  In this regard the Buddha did not negotiate with the status quo, but made it obvious that things as they exist (or appear to exist), are not conducive to the realisation of enlightenment.  This being the case, it is an interesting question to ask as to who Buddhism in the West has become so conservative in its attitudes, and the actual inverse of the Buddha’s teaching?  When did Buddhist practitioners in the West abandon the Buddha’s truly revolutionary path?  This is important as the Buddha did not compromise with the ego in any way, shape, or form.

It is also interesting to note a certain ‘Christian’ gloss creeping into the Buddha’s teaching in the above fascinating paragraph written by Burlingame in the early 1920’s.  This is indicative of the usual difficulties surrounding the translation of one culture’s ideas, into the intellectual milieu of another.  The Buddha did not teach that hatred is over-come by love – but rather that hatred is over-come through uprooting it’s habit from the mind (see Dhammapada).  This is the technical position.  The generation of loving kindness (metta), and compassion (karuna), are always developed hand-in-hand with wisdom (panna), and are never artificially produced, or used to super-impose a positive state (love) over a negative state (hate), as this would be contradictory to Buddhist logic.  All this is premised upon the realisation of the emptiness of ‘self’, and the emptiness of substantiality involving the chain of dependent origination – unless, of course, one happens to follow the Hinayana teaching which suggests that the physical world is ‘real’.  Use these contradictions – do not reject them.  Instead, develop the strength of insight to ‘see’ through the contradictions.

 

 

‘Virgin Mary’ and the Ancient Chinese Art of the Missing Mother and Baby

MumBab-01

(Translated by Adrian Chan-Wyles PhD)

‘The young baby is held firmly, and nurturing, caring eyes gaze over the child. The well-behaved baby occasionally suckles milk, and looks cutely into the distance.’

This painting creates a harmonious and peaceful atmosphere. Not only does this painting of the Virgin Mary depict here loving nature, but it also demonstrates the love between a mother and child. This is obvious from the praise that this painting continuously receives. Indeed, this picture is so valued that even copies and fakes exchange hands for remarkable amounts.

In China, particularly ancient China, there are very few depictions of mothers and their children. By way of contrast, there thousands upon thousands of ancient Chinese landscapes, flowers and birds, as well as masterful portraits – all of which has been heralded as the highest form of art! There are many reasons for this, but the primary reason is probably due to the low status of women and in ancient China – a valid subject that cannot be discussed here.

Although Chinese women tend and care for babies, their status is not taken seriously. Chinese women have been blamed historically for not producing sons, and have suffered social condemnation and have been cast aside! In modern Chinese society things are different, particularly now that the academic fields of the Humanities, and of Social Science, the subject of Women Studies is now taken seriously and has developed a substantial body of cultural and educational knowledge. This is an ongoing project that is considered a subject of ‘significant learning’. As a subject, it Is has much improved the cultural appreciation and status of women in China. Women’s issues have received more and more attention, although this has been a gradual process. However, this seems to a move from one ‘extreme’ to another, as there are very few similar studies associated with men. Is this sad? Answer: this is China, and this is Chinese culture! Below is included a picture of a Chinese painting of the ‘Virgin Mary’, which can e compared with the European painting above.

China-Mary-01

Original Chinese Language Article

http://tc.chinawin.net/tech/history/article-a5e.html

《聖母瑪麗亞》與中國古代母子畫的缺失

“緊託嬰兒,慈祥的眼神細心凝視着成長中的寶寶,嬰兒則乖巧的吸吮着乳汁,不時地眼神向遠處張望”,畫面營造出一片安詳和睦的氣氛。一幅《聖母瑪麗亞》,不僅表現出時人對聖母的敬仰之情,也可看出時人對母子情的讚譽。從這幅名畫贗品之多、價格之昂,足見其價值所在!

中國,尤其是在中國古代,母子畫或者母嬰畫卻相對較少。相比之下,中國古代山水、花鳥、人物畫則傑作衆多,可謂登峰造極!此種情況,原因諸多,也可歸結於中國傳統文化所致,體現出中國古代婦女地位的低下,這裏不想多做探討。

地位不受重視,雖肩負撫育嬰兒、傳宗接代重任,卻遭受唾棄,甚至社會的譴責,實屬不該!到現今社會,人文社會科學領域,對婦女思想、文化、教育、生活等方面的研究甚多,婦女研究已成爲一門“顯學”,婦女地位也大加讚賞不斷提高,婦女問題亦受到了越來越多人的關注,這雖然是一個漸進過程,但已從一個“極端”走向另一個“極端”,而對男人研究少之又少,是悲否?答曰:這就是中國,這就是中國文化!下面是一幅中國人畫的“聖母瑪麗亞”,轉貼以作對比。

 

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