It takes a nation to protect the nation
1. Most of the destruction of buddhism throughout history has been at the hands of muslims.
2. Islam is fascism, and must be opposed.
3. If necessary, even buddhists must be prepared to kill fascists.
Almost all the harm inflicted upon Buddhism throughout history has been caused by Islam, says Ole Nydahl. He finds it embarrassing that Buddhists never defended themselves. Muslim extremists now threaten Buddhists with renewed violence
By Lars Hedegaard
It is hard to hide the fact that Ole Nydahl is a Buddhist lama, i.e. a person authorized to transmit the teachings carried on from teacher to pupil since the days of the Buddha. He holds a prominent position within the branch of Tibetan Buddhism known as the Kagyu tradition, and Sappho met him in one of the Kagyu Buddhists� beautiful buildings on Svanem�lle Road in the middle of Copenhagen�s embassy district. But when it comes to other religions, Nydahl will not speak in his capacity as a lama. The Buddha lived 2,450 years ago and therefore did not express any opinion on religions such as Christianity or Islam; consequently Ole Nydahl � in his role as a Buddhist teacher � will not do so either. However, as a �responsible, thinking human being� Ole Nydahl will happily speak out.
Hannah and Ole Nydahl During our conversation, Ole Nydahl's wife Hannah � his companion through good times and bad since they both converted to Buddhism during a visit to the Himalayas at the end of the 1960s � was under intensive care in another room. Hannah Nydahl � who, together with Ole, has founded 520 Buddhist centres all over the free world and travelled the globe for more than 30 years � was terminally ill with cancer and unable to walk anymore.
Hannah Nydahl died on April 1, 2007.
But Ole Nydahl did not see any reason to cancel the interview. The work � the battle � goes on in spite of all the grief of this world. That is also the impression one gets when reading his books. In the book Riding the Tiger with the subtitle Twenty Years on the Road: The Risks and Joys of Bringing Tibetan Buddhism to the West, soon to be published in Danish as Over alle gr�nser, he describes a 1974 visit to Denmark by a delegation of prominent Tibetan Buddhists led by the head of the Kagya tradition, the 16th Karmapa. Nydahl arranged for his guests to be introduced to the old Nordic gods and the Saga heroes, whose ideals of courage and �the stiff upper lip� he finds more relevant than ever in a time of �empty emotionality, lack of style and profound confusion�.
The Karmapa was also given the opportunity to visit Holger Danske ("Holger the Dane") at Kronborg � known to readers of Shakespeare as Elsinore Castle. Holger is � writes Ole Nydahl � �our national guardian and deserves only the best. He defeated the Muslim Arabs in the Pyrenees ... and saved the freedom of Europe.�
Sappho is certainly visiting a religious leader who packs a punch.
Potentials of the mind
The legendary hero Holger Danske (Holger the Dane) at rest in the casemate under Elsinore Castle from where he will spring into action when Denmark is in peril. Known as Ogier le Danois, Holger is mentioned as one of the companions of the French king Charlemagne in the 11th century La Chanson de Roland (The Song of Roland) � During a lecture you gave a few days ago here in Copenhagen, you expressed the idea that religious and cultural knowledge may be lost?
�Yes, several cultures with different views of the mind�s potential have disappeared in our time. The mind is unlimited and varying circumstances make it possible to create new links with some of its special characteristics. When the keepers of a culture disappear, the knowledge associated with that culture dies with them. Just look at our Greenlanders� [Danish Inuit citizens � translator�s note].
�We live in times characterized by an incredible vulgarization and forgetfulness regarding our values. Here in Scandinavia it is a bit better than in most parts of the world, but it is really a pity that generally people do not exploit the potential of the mind.�
� Many of us can remember a time when we had neither Islam nor Buddhism in this country. Now we have experienced an influx of ideas that are alien to Danish culture.
�The humanitarian and democratic aspects of Buddhism were never alien to us. They are in the Danish constitution. The teachings about the nature of the mind are another matter. The realisation that we can only see perfection outside ourselves because we already harbour that condition gives meaning to everything. The path and the purpose become clear, and we can work our way towards states of mind that are beneficial to everyone. That evolutionary option is open to everybody.�
� At the same time we are witnessing the opposite development with the spread of the Islamic law-religion founded on the idea that one should voluntarily submit to a set of strict rules dictating everything one must think, believe and do?
�To put it plainly, it is really embarrassing that people � after 2,000 years of development towards freedom here in Europe � cannot comprehend their potential, do not trust themselves, or are so ill brought up that they throw away their free will and submit to a totalitarian and fascist system. For it is sheer fascism to surrender oneself to other people in that way � no matter if it is to a deity dictating what to do, a prophet, Hitler or Stalin. It is always the same. Whenever you deny people their freedom of choice and self-determination, you reduce them to inferior beings.�
� But people do that to themselves?
�Yes, first they do it themselves. Then the system forces them to remain in a state of serfdom.�
� How can one explain the human desire for submission?
�Aldous Huxley, who I studied intensively at the university, called it �herd-poison�. If a lot of people do something, it will attract others who want to belong or be a part of something. And if an incipient movement is sufficiently extremist, it will always attract certain unstable individuals. That is the reason why something that is basically against most people's nature may become powerful and therefore very harmful.�
� What can we do to counter this?
�We must see to it that things are in the open. We must insist that people who wish to use less of their humanity � and who may therefore become a danger to those who want to be free � can be taunted, laughed at and shown for what they are. In other words, they should be treated like anybody else. If you grant such people a place to hide and say that they must not be teased because that might make the prophet or someone similar angry, then we are on the road to destroying the possibilities of future generations to be free. If we accept that people are not permitted to think for themselves nor to present things as they are, we may well describe it as a cancer. It is something that is against society's general line of development. This malignancy must be fought by telling the people who choose submission that there are other possibilities � if they develop an appetite for living."
A giant Buddha statue in Bamyan, Afghanistan, erected in the 6th century A.D., blown up by the Taliban in 2001 � How has Buddhism fared in relation to Islam?
�Almost all the destruction suffered by Buddhist culture has happened through Islam. In their persecution of polytheism Muslims have probably been unable to distinguish between the Brahmans and the Buddhists. They have seen a lot of idols and assumed that Buddhists worshipped them as exterior forces. However, our paintings and statues do not depict gods but forms of energy facilitating super-personal and liberating experiences."
�If we go southward in Afghanistan from Mazar-i-Sharif and down to Kandahar and then east, we will find the old Buddhist core area that was destroyed by three Muslim invasions over the period from 900 to 1100. That was Ashoka�s[A1] old core area and where Buddhism originated. Later Islam began to penetrate down through India. And, according to new Indian research, the Muslims killed some 80 million Indians from ca. A.D. 1200 up until the English stopped it in the 18th century. We are talking about Buddhists, Hindus, Jains and others. If you peruse Arabian sources, the term �budh� � the root word of Buddha and Buddhism � denotes someone worshipping many gods and whom Muhammed says must be killed under all circumstances. Who cannot even obtain dhimmi-status. Even the original Buddhist �little road� through Central Asia was destroyed by Muslims. So one might say that we have had much to thank Islam for throughout the years.�
� Why didn�t the Buddhists fight back?
�Having a waterproof, completely logical system is very dangerous. When you do, you will have a tendency to bring all your friends along with you into an ivory tower and forget all the ordinary people running around down below. What will people do whose religion resembles a Swiss cheese � full of holes and devoid of logic and thus standing on feet of clay? Well, the more porous one's religion is, the more one will try to convince others in order to convince oneself. All according to the well-known principle: billions of flies eat manure, billions of flies cannot be wrong.�
Ole Nydahl emphasizes that there is nothing wrong with Jesus encouraging his adherents to make all people his disciples. After all, Nydahl himself tries to convince people of the blessings of Buddhism. What he rejects is the practice of subjugating the infidels by means of the sword.
� Are there no examples of Buddhists having taken up arms? Have they all adhered to a radical pacifism?
�Yes, I�m afraid so. I am not aware of any adequate resistance to aggression. And that is really embarrassing when you see your wife, your children, your loved ones, your friends being butchered, and you have not armed yourself to protect them. It must be terrible.�
� Is it being discussed among Buddhists today � that you should have done something?
�There are two schools. To the south we find Therevada Buddhism opposing any sort of violence because they see suffering as a means to liberate people from their own bad karma. On the other hand, the northern school maintains that a bodhisattva ought to be able to protect others � even if it brings suffering to the attacker. For example, we have a story about the Buddha killing a man who tried to kill 500 others. That was the better option. So, if you really feel deep compassion � and are yourself without disturbing sentiments � then you must interfere. I know from personal experience that I react instinctively. I was a boxer for four years and I am pretty strong. If someone small, a woman especially, gets bullied by someone bigger, I immediately jump in."
� I suppose there is also a danger that you may lose your tradition if you do not act?
The 16th Karmapa Ranjung Rigpe Dorje (1924-1981), who became a teacher for Hannah and Ole Nydahl and who visited Denmark in 1974 �My tradition of Buddhism � the diamond way � may very well be lost. It can survive only as long as one can find people with a rich inner life, who have through meditation achieved a certain level of insight, and as long as there are lamas who can transmit knowledge on the nature of the mind. In 1959 � following the Chinese conquest of Tibet � some 85,000 people survived by escaping down the mountains into India. 5,000 were educated, had had inner experiences, and had preserved various of the Buddha�s teachings, and they died so rapidly from tuberculosis that it was said that the funeral pyres never had the time to cool. My wife and I arrived in 1968, just in time to get close to the great teachers from the Kagyu line of meditation. A few years later � from around 1970 to the mid-1980s � almost everyone was dead.�
Ole Nydahl emphasizes that as opposed to southern Buddhism � which he thinks will survive as long as its scriptures are preserved � northern Tibetan Buddhism � and especially the survival of the �diamond way� is dependant on the direct transmission of knowledge from teachers to pupils.
� When Westerners came to Tibet, they quickly realized that it was a rather nasty place with slavery, oppression, poverty, class differences, brutal punishments etc. How can that be reconciled with Buddhism?
�We take no refuge in anything Tibetan. It was a medieval society � like Europe around 1450. The only thing of interest to us is the transmission of the teachings which the Buddha gave to his brightest students. That wisdom was preserved in India for 1,500 years and then kept for 900 years in Tibet until 1959, and now it�s here. I really like the East Tibetans � the Kampas � proud, Viking-like warriors who kept the Chinese and other foes out all through that time.�
� We could use a bit of their fighting spirit in contemporary Denmark.
�We have it. Several of my students have joined the National Guard. That is a good place for young people if they feel that our country is in danger. If I were a bit more in Denmark � and if I were under 65 � I would join, too.�
Lars Hedegaard is a chief editor of sappho.dk
Will Durant (The Story of Civilization) called the fall of India to the Muslim invaders ‘probably the bloodiest story in history.’ ‘…a discouraging tale, for its evident moral is that civilization is a precious good, whose delicate complex order and freedom can at any moment be overthrown by barbarians invading from without and multiplying from within.’
The bitter lesson that may be drawn from this tragedy is that “eternal vigilance is the price of civilization. A nation must love peace, but keep its powder dry.”
Quoted in ‘The Sword of the Prophet’, by Serge Trifkovic
Maybe State power is a requirement from Buddhist perspective for the use of force, even lethal force.
Most Islamic clerics ordered out have left
January 23, 2012, 10:18 pm
By Ravi Ladduwahetty
The decision to order out 161 foreign Islamic clerics has been handled firmly by the government and Controller of Immigration and Emigration Chulananda Perera told The Island last night a majority of them had left by yesterday.
A majority of them were Pakistanis, Indians and those from the Gulf.
"This was indeed a catastrophe where these clerics who arrived in Sri Lanka were without proper visas and we have told religious leaders of the requirements needed to be present for religious programmes of that nature, Perera told The Island last night.
Perera who said that he had advised those religious dignitaries that they needed to announce what they were here for, the duration and the visas would be provided only on that basis.
Those clerics who arrived in the country on tourist visas had not followed proper visa procedures and they had not told the government the real reasons they were in Sri Lanka for and we sent our investigation teams to see where those people were and they were not there at the venue where they professed to be, he said.
There have been widespread allegation from sections of the Muslim community that these foreign preachers were mainly involved in preaching a radical Islam that was even hostile to Muslims following a more moderate line of the religion.
And this story about a purely Buddhist inspired resistance. Is this the 'fighting spirit' the article speaks of?
A Sri Lankan Buddhist Monk with Courage and Wisdom
Buddhist Monks Strike Back, Demolish Muslim Shrine
A group of Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka led a crowd that demolished a
Muslim shrine last week, the BBC has learned.
This incident took place on Saturday in Anuradhapura, an ancient
Buddhist city and Unesco world heritage site.
The monk who led the group told the BBC he did it because the shrine
was on land that was given to Sinhalese Buddhists 2,000 years ago.
But a prominent Muslim in the area said he was very sad and the
sentiment was shared by many Sinhalese too.
A Sri Lankan news website showed photographs of a crowd including
monks apparently reducing a small structure to a pile of rubble.
The mob waved Buddhist flags and – in one picture – burnt a green Muslim flag.
There have been no other reports of what happened.
But a BBC has spoken to the monk, Amatha Dhamma Thero, who admits
masterminding the demolition of the Muslim shrine.
He said he arranged a gathering of 100 or so monks, including some
from other Asian countries, to take action because – he alleged –
local Muslims were trying to convert the shrine into a mosque despite
new constructions being illegal on this site with its many Buddhist
He said local government officials arrived and said they would remove
the shrine within three days, but the crowd said “we cannot wait” and
proceeded to tear down the structure.
The demolition has been denounced by a local senior Muslim and a local
The Muslim, Abdul Razack, denied that a mosque was planned and said
the demolished shrine was about 300 years old and had attracted
visitors of other faiths too.
He said local Muslims and Buddhists alike were concerned at what
happened but Muslims had avoided the site on Saturday, fearing
The politician, Aruna Dissanayake, said the government should act
against those who had attacked the shrine.
A minority was trying to create sectarian problems in a place where
most Muslims and Sinhalese Buddhists co-existed well, he added.
Most of Sri Lanka’s majority Sinhalese is Buddhist, and Muslims are
regarded as a separate ethnic group.
In a recent newspaper column, a veteran Muslim journalist said there
was a growing fear among his community that some people were running a
campaign to incite the Sinhalese against them, including through
Sinhalese websites and print media.