Sharing the crime, Doing the time, Making it rhyme

Young Phuntsog Jarutsang

He who allows oppression shares the crime.
– Desiderius Erasmus

On March 16, 2011, the third anniversary of the demonstrations that shook up Tibet in 2008, a young Tibetan monk named Phuntsok Jarutsang set himself on fire to protest the Chinese government’s continued oppression of the Tibetan people. According to reports, police officers extinguished the flames and then proceeded to beat the young monk mercilessly. He died in a hospital from injuries sustained from the beating. He was 21.

Now, Chinese authorities had announced that they plan to prosecute three Tibetan monks for their involvement in the death of the young monk. According to Voice of America, “China’s state run news agency Xinhua said Friday the court in Aba in Sichuan province is charging two of his fellow monks for plotting and assisting in the self-immolation. A third monk is being charged with moving or hiding the injured Phuntsog, preventing him from getting medical care, which lead to his death.”

All four monks were members of Kirti Monastery, which for months has been under siege from Chinese security forces who allegedly beat monks and set attack dogs on them. U.N. human rights investigators are still calling for China to disclose the “fate and whereabouts” of more than 300 monks who disappeared after being rounded up by police at the monastery. China is still defending its treatment of the monks who have been forced to undergo “re-education.” The Chinese government insists it has a right to interfere with “religious affairs.”

And the U.S. news media is still pretty much ignoring the situation. Nor is there any great outcry from the U.S. Government.

Casey Anthony studying Buddhism? Her attorney Jose Baez says she currently receiving “spiritual counseling.” Apparently one of her other attorneys, Dorothy Clay Sims, owns a place called the Vision Farm Retreat and Meditation Center in McIntosh, Florida. According to, Vision Farm Retreat and Meditation Center is a Thich Nhat Hanh community in Florida. Don’t visit their website, though. It takes you to a spam site. Naturally there’s some speculation about this connection (the lawyer and Thich Nhat Hanh) but then spiritual counseling could mean almost anything . . .

I’m not a big fan of “The Dude.” First off, I hate that word. Always makes me think of Keanu Reeves for some reason. Or Wayne’s World. Dude was not part of the lexicon of the Sixties. It came along much later when things started going seriously downhill. Likewise, “The Big Lebowski,” is not my favorite Coen Brothers film. I don’t have anything against The Dude. I’ve known a few people in that mold. However, I actually prefer my existentialist heroes to have a bit more class and sophistication. That being the case, I don’t have much interest in whether The Dude abides or not.

I am, however, a fan of the guy who played The Dude, Jeff Bridges. He’s had a couple of very good years here. Recently, he has made it known that he has some interest in Buddhism. In his typically understated and modest way, he has not made a big noise about it.

Bridges has also just released his second musical album, entitled Jeff Bridges, which he describes as “blues and country hymns.” It’s in the same groove as the music from “Crazy Heart” and produced by the man who put the music together for that film, T-Bone Burnett. The album has the kind of sound I like. I don’t think it’s going to set the world on fire. But, you never know.

One of the songs, “Tumbling Vine” begins with these words,

Here is the freedom
I have been sent
I’m delighted
I’m buddhistly bent.

“Buddhistly bent” sounds a little Dudeistic to me, but it’s cool nonetheless. The song isn’t bad either. You can listen to it here on Yahoo Music.


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