Friday, January 23, 2009

Dalai Lama: Non-violence cannot answer terror

A stunning admission

This week, the Dalai Lama frankly admitted that the principle of ahimsa [or non-violence] cannot be properly applied to terrorism. Prevention is the only way to handle terror, he said.

NEW DELHI: The Dalai Lama, a lifelong champion of non-violence on Saturday candidly stated that terrorism cannot be tackled by applying the principle of ahimsa because the minds of terrorists are closed.

"It is difficult to deal with terrorism through non-violence," the Tibetan spiritual leader said delivering the Madhavrao Scindia Memorial Lecture here.

He also termed terrorism as the worst kind of violence which is not carried by a few mad people but by those who are very brilliant and educated.

"They (terrorists) are very brilliant and educated... but a strong ill feeling is bred in them. Their minds are closed," the Dalai Lama said.

He said that the only way to tackle terrorism is through prevention. The head of the Tibetan government-in-exile left the audience stunned when he said "I love President George W Bush." He went on to add how he and the US President instantly struck a chord in their first meeting unlike politicians who take a while to develop close ties.

This surprised a lot of people, but it is very wise counsel that recognizes the nature of terrorism as well as the true nature of peace. It also begs the question: if the Dalai Lama, whose entire life is predicated on peace, fully recognizes the limits of peace in reference to terror and strongly appreciates the attempts of President Bush to deal with world terror, then why has Bush been so despised by those who use peace as their pretext of dislike?

The answer lies in metaphysics, of course. And, to lesser degree, politics.

Interesting, no?

The pretext of peace

Several powerful lessons in this presentation of the Dalai Lama:

  1. Education is not the answer to terrorism. It's only the well educated who are allowing terror to continue in our world, not the unwashed masses of popular thought.
  2. Non-violence is not the answer to terrorism [i.e. the limits of peace and the destructive nature of pseudo-peace].
  3. President Bush was right in his general approach to terror.

These are ground-shaking claims for some people. But the logic is intense and accurate. Leaving aside claim three [which follows from claims one and two], it's easy to see that the Lama well understands the limits of education. The lesson also speaks to the limits of non-violence, the potentially counterproductive nature of peace claims. Here the Dalai Lama is very consistent with the teaching of the Hebrew prophets: they showed that peace claim can [and will] be used to destroy God's people. The Apostles later followed this out, revealing that the Antichrist comes as a man of peace -- and the spirit of Antichrist gains its power on peace claim.

Mere education does not change the heart. And it is the heart that decides the issues of life. It is the heart that causes many who currently use the word peace to make common cause with modern terror.


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