by James C.
Along with the blood drenched landscape of religious conflict there is the experience of inner peace that every religion promises, none more so than Buddhism.
For many of them Buddhism is less a theology and more a meditative and investigative discipline intended to promote an inner harmony and enlightenment while directing us to a path of right living. Throughout the ages there has prevailed a distressing symbiosis between religion and violence. The histories of Christianity, Judaism, Hinduism, and Islam are heavily laced with internecine vendettas, inquisitions, and wars.
Some people have argued that Buddhism is different, that it stands in marked contrast to the chronic violence of other religions. But a glance at history reveals that Buddhist organizations throughout the centuries have not been free of the violent pursuits so characteristic of other religious groups.
In Sri Lanka, huge battles in the name of Buddhism are part of Sinhalese history about the triumphant battles waged by Buddhist kings of yore. A reading of Tibet's history suggests a somewhat different picture. Religious conflict was commonplace in old Tibet, writes one western Buddhist practitioner.
In the thirteenth century, Emperor Kublai Khan created the first Grand Lama, who was to preside over all the other lamas as might a pope over his bishops. Several centuries later, the Emperor of China sent an army into Tibet to support the Grand Lama, an ambitious 25-year-old man, who then gave himself the title of Dalai (Ocean) Lama, ruler of all Tibet.
Finally, let it be said that if Tibet's future is to be positioned somewhere within China's emerging free-market paradise, then this does not bode well for the Tibetans. China boasts a dazzling 8 percent economic growth rate and is emerging as one of the worldís greatest industrial powers. If China is the great success story of speedy free market development, and is to be the model and inspiration for Tibetís future, then old feudal Tibet indeed may start looking a lot better than it actually was.