The thief left it behind: the moon at my window - Ryokan

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

I can't believe I've just been hacked!

Surely there are bigger fish?
See this site where I was commenting on a blog titled: “How much did it cost to buy out the ANC’s soul?”. I commented under the name: HummingBird. Next moment there was another post by HummingBird – a real communist Chinese post saying something about Tibet being free and everyone is happy there. Where I commented next my name came up as Barry Benson! I reported the false HummingBird post and see its been deleted and there’s an investigation...
My post that put their back up:

It seems crazy to think we could be like Tibet soon. I guess the main difference is the majority of our population arent Buddhist - only a small minority is. People are only hearing the rumblings now - they dont realize what these mean yet.

May all beings practice love and compassion.


Wednesday, March 25, 2009

I dont even have a TV


I do not have a TV. I rarely listen to the news on the radio and when I do I feel I'm reminded why. I have always felt that the important news will reach me because people speak about it in the streets.

I'm not completely switched off, I have been assisting as editor on the Burmese News website and felt it was important to do this because I have friends from there and see the blood curdling stuff going on in Burma - much of which is so terrible it almost feels hurtful to be telling the world about it.

I come from a country where our recent history of Apartheid politicized me from an early age and I guess I have been happy recently to be able to take a 'relative break' with a picture of a 'Rainbow Nation' growing slowly but hopefully surely. Now for the past 3 days I'm behaving like a scavenger collecting and spreading information like wild fire... why?

We've been aware of the tragedy of Tibet since 1959 and the more recent tragedy of Burma and other countries. As with the outbreak of AIDS we had the sense, "terribly sad but it will never happen to me". Not so...

The South African government has banned the Dalai Lama from South Africa. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is my spiritual leader, so this hits me hard personally. But even when I look at the mysterious banning of this international icon of Peace and Compassion from a non personal perspective I see a chilling picture unfolding...

Remember back to April 2008, a Chinese ship full of weapons for Robert Mugabe found off the coast of South Africa? It hit the news for a few days - here in South Africa anyway...

Now I think about it - Mbeki, the South African president at the time, for some reason which baffled the minds of many South Africans never took a stand about the shocking way Mugabe was ruining his own country, Zimbabwe.

The puzzle is piecing together bit by bit...
Let's look further:

Here is a BBC report dated 2008:
China 'is fuelling war in Darfur'

Why didn't I see this earlier??? I've been hearing what sounded like jokes re China and Africa for some time - the latest was this very morning in a FaceBook post:
ANC: Another Nation for China
I guess it sounded like amusing conspiracy theory stuff.
So we just carried on...

Look at this, January 2008:
Special Report: China Storms Africa. With its resource-hungry push into the sub-Sahara, Beijing puts the planet to the test.

A FaceBooker, Donald Dean, in a Group, We Want The Dalai Lama to come to South Africa, writes:
"The Great Chinese Takeout
The sub-Sahara is now the scene of one of the most bare-knuckled resource grabs the world has ever seen:

Mozambique (a key source of timber for China)
Zambia (copper)
Congo (a wide range of minerals)
Equatorial Guinea (oil)

World Bank survey of 68 countries last year found that the sub-Sahara leads in the "percentage of firms expected to give gifts" to secure government contracts (43%).

"People are not worried about saving the environment; they are worried about getting some before it all runs out. That's the mentality: 'China is just going to consume everything -- let's get it now!' "

This morning I google news and find:
South Africa's Sad Descent and the Implications for Democracy Promotion

Demise of hard fought for liberation

I wrote this poem a few days ago in a blog:

When we turn away

(dedicated to Tibet, Burma and countries preyed upon by China... to all countries)

The enemy was a shadow
Now we see a mountain

The seed of our hearts
reaches places we do not even know

Do not turn from those in need
Their strife will be ours

Is it too late? How far has this disease spread? If aware South Africans put their shoulder to the grindstone can we still stop this wheel from turning? Will the world support us now - it is simply a matter of time before we are the New Tibet....
this disease spreads


Monday, March 23, 2009

When we turn away

(dedicated to Tibet, Burma and countries preyed upon by China... to all countries)

The enemy was a shadow
Now we see a mountain

The seed of our hearts
reaches places we do not even know

Do not turn from those in need
Their strife will be ours


Sunday, March 22, 2009

I thought one could start feeling good about being South African... now this

My heart is very sad. I cannot accept this.

Outrage has greeted the government's ban on a visit to South Africa by the Dalai Lama, the Tibetan spiritual leader, who was due to take part in a 2010 World Cup-organised peace conference in Johannesburg on Friday.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, who is in California, told the Sunday Tribune he was upset at the refusal of a visa to the Dalai Lama and had written to President Kgalema Motlanthe asking him for an explanation.

"If His Holiness's visa is refused, then I won't take part in the coming 2010 World Cup-related peace conference. I will condemn government's behaviour as disgraceful, in line with our country's abysmal record at the United Nations Security Council, a total betrayal of our struggle history," he said.

"We are shamelessly succumbing to Chinese pressure; I feel deeply distressed and ashamed," he said.

The Dalai Lama had been invited by his three fellow South African Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, former presidents Nelson Mandela and FW De Klerk, and Tutu.

Dave Steward, spokesman for the F W De Klerk Foundation, said, "There is no reason why the Dalai Lama, who is recognised as a champion of peace, and as a Nobel Laureate, should be denied entry into South Africa.

"South Africa should not allow any country to dictate who it should and should not allow to visit."

The Dalai Lama, who is honorary co-chairman of the Desmond Tutu Peace Centre, was denied travel documents on March 4 and asked to postpone the trip amid opposition from the Chinese government.

Over the past two years, South Africa has been China's key trade partner in Africa, accounting for 20.8 percent of China's trade with Africa, while Chinese foreign direct investment in South Africa was about $6 billion (R60bn), and South Africa's foreign direct investment in China came to $2bn (R20bn).

Dai Bing, ministerial counsellor at the Chinese embassy in Pretoria, confirmed that his government had appealed to the South African government not to allow the Dalai Lama into the country, warning that if it did so, this would harm bilateral relations.

Dai said this was a particularly inopportune time for the Dalai Lama to visit the country as it was the 60th anniversary of what Tibetans regard as China's military invasion of Tibet, but which the Chinese government describes as its liberation of Tibetans from feudal serfdom.

It was also the 50th anniversary of the Dalai Lama's flight from Tibet into exile in India and the first anniversary of the serious political unrest in Tibet last March.

The South African Friends of Tibet said yesterday that the barring of the Dalai Lama from the peace conference made a mockery of the intentions of this conference, and it appealled to the conference organisers, the 2010 World Cup Local Organising Committee, to postpone the proceedings until the Dalai Lama had been issued travel documents to South Africa.

The lobby group expressed dismay at the withholding of travel documents to the Dalai Lama, as South Africa bowed to pressure from one of the world's most oppressive nations, claiming that S F Moloi, the South African high commissioner in New Delhi, had effectively banned the Dalai Lama by not processing his travel documents,and requesting him to postpone the trip.

Ronnie Mamoepa, the foreign affairs spokesman, denied the government was blocking the invite to the Dalai Lama, insisting that, "no invitation had been extended to the Dalai Lama".

When it was put to him that the Tibetan office in Pretoria had applied for a visa for the Dalai Lama on March 4, Mamoepa said; "Visas are issued by Home Affairs and not us…"

Asked if South Africa had withheld an invitation to the Dalai Lama under pressure from China, Mamoepa said, "This place is called the Republic of South Africa and not China and thus makes its own sovereign, independent decisions based on what it deems to be in the best interests of the country."

The Dalai Lama was invited to speak at the conference, whose line-up includes the Nobel Peace Prize committee from Norway and Charlize Theron and Morgan Freeman, who plays Mandela in a movie about the Rugby World Cup in 1995.

However, in a letter sent last week to the three South African Nobel Laureates, the Dalai Lama apologised for not being able to attend, saying he had been asked to postpone the trip.

The Dalai Lama has visited South Africa twice before. In 1999 he took part in the World Parliament of Religions and met then President Thabo Mbeki.

However, a row broke out after Mbeki agreed to see the Dalai Lama again separately. The Chinese government protested and Mbeki cancelled the meeting.

In 2004 the Dalai Lama again visited South Africa as a guest of the African Cultural Heritage Trust.

* This article was originally published on page 13 of Tribune on March 22, 2009


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Fear as teacher

A Walking the Labyrinth post


1. My greatest fear is…
2. How fear effects my life
3. The worst thing that could happen if my fear is realised
4. What my fear teaches me

1. my greatest fear is... I see death as the ultimate loss
2. this effects my life by creating instinctual survival reactions and denial
3. the worst thing that can happen is ... I will fall into the unknown. I guess ongoing denial the worst - but as death is inevitable, eventually it must be confronted. Though I guess people sometimes use drugs and all sorts to avoid being aware... Thing is - I want to be conscious. My fear is all about not being conscious
4. my fear teaches me that I want to exist. I do not trust letting go of 'I'.

I am aware that the process of enlightenment requires this very letting go. This teaches me how profound the path is which this fear has opened up to me.
Therefore I realise how important it is to engage with this. I know that regardless of any intellectual or spiritual 'goals - this life as I know it will end. I realise this deeper awareness is helpful in that it leads me to take a more meaningful journey.

I cling to the known and fear the unknown. I look to the known for comfort. Assaji (True Eloquence) once gave me a thought to contemplate; the sun rises each day - not because I will it to - but because it is the nature of night to be followed by day. When I go to sleep at night, I do not fear, 'will day come tomorrow?'
This process also helps me work with other fears I have.

The fear of death probably became conscious when my father died when I was 7 years old. I found the religion of my environment expected me to have faith - but gave me no knowledge. There was a time I feared falling asleep at night because it reminded me of death. Slowly I grew accustomed to this fear and sleep came easily. The issue had simply become dormant. I was in denial to some extent, even while hurtling towards the inevitable.
My daughter, Gra-anna's death was part of an awareness process for me. I definitely experienced a sense of continuity of her being. This gave me some insight, although not at an intellectual level.

I practice this letting go process all the time as life presents opportunities and know it's crucial to have this practice. I am learning through the experiences life presents is that it's 'okay to let go'.

My instinct is to automatically grasp and try and catch myself if I sense I am falling. My spiritual awareness knows that it's okay to fall. My intellectual self brings useful aids like Assaji's tale of the sun rising every morning and working with the daily lessons Guru Life brings. Practice makes me clearer and stronger. This is my path, growing my awareness as much as I can. It's a process on the path to enlightenment.
I’m sure I've left things out! I'll expand later if more thoughts come to me


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Through His Eyes

I saw a stranger
sitting in the back of a van
beside another labourer
I gazed
through his eyes
into his timelessness