Moral Low Ground


Dalai Lama Says Assassination of Osama bin Laden was Justified

WTF? Seems like the world’s most preeminent man of peace has been drinking the Kool Aid death punch lately.

Appearing at the University of Southern California Tuesday to deliver a speech on “secular ethics, human values and society,” the Dalai Lama suggested that the American assassination of al-Qaeda chief Osama bin Laden was justified. The exiled Tibetan Buddhist leader, a man who says he won’t even kill a mosquito (“when my mood is good and there is no danger of malaria”), was asked about the bin Laden assassination. He replied that while the terror leader may have deserved compassion and even forgiveness as a human being, “forgiveness doesn’t mean forget what happened… If something is serious and it is necessary to take countermeasures, you have to take countermeasures.”

Now, the Dalai Lama hasn’t exactly been himself lately. According to the Los Angeles Times, he informed the USC audience that he was suffering from a sore throat and the side effects of medication that made him “very faint.” He was also exhausted from a trip to tsunami-ravaged Japan immediately prior to his arrival in California. He fell ill there, and his doctors advised him not to make the long haul from Tokyo to Los Angeles until he was better. Perhaps his brilliant mind wasn’t 100% on Tuesday.

How else to explain the world’s most prominent Buddhist justifying the assassination of a fellow human being? Buddhists abhor all killing. There is no “us” vs. “them” in Buddhism, only us, all of us.

Across the web, American Buddhists had differing reactions to bin Laden’s death. Zen Buddhist Barbara O’Brien wrote that “This is a time for equanimity and for compassion for all beings. This is not a time to divide the world up into ‘our side’ and ‘their side.'”

Best-selling author Susan Piver quotes Buddhist meditation master Chogyam Trungpa (1939-1987), who said that “in the Shambala warrior tradition, we say you should only have to kill an enemy once every thousand years.” While writing that “there really was no choice” but to off bin Laden since “we were clearly in an ‘us or them’ situation,” Piver’s seeming endorsement of the assassination is really anything but if you read carefully. “Perhaps the way to kill your enemy… is to shift our view of “enemy” altogether. Our enemy is not one person or country or belief system. It is our unwillingness to feel the sorrow of others– who are none other than us.

But Kyle Lovett of The Reformed Buddhist wrote: “Bin Laden dead… I don’t feel bad one bit. He had it coming for a long time, and it’s about damn time.”

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  1. Robson Francisco via FacebookMay 4, 2011 at 12:27 pmReply

    He is a tool of the elite. Truth will come

  2. Moral Low Ground via FacebookMay 4, 2011 at 4:41 pmReply

    A friend of mine told me how he helped the CIA against China.

  3. Robson Francisco via FacebookMay 4, 2011 at 4:42 pmReply

    there’s always more in a story…

  4. ron ritterMay 8, 2011 at 9:22 pmReply

    for killing another human being is never justified, as killing a mosquito is never justified, defending yourself is justified, this might appear a complete contradiction, but it is not!
    if a man attempts to hurt or kill you with an iron bar and you raise your hand in self defence to avoid the blow and he falls down on the pavement and dies, have you killed that person.
    the answer is no, death by self defence is unavoidable.
    but we should have compassion for any human being in the understanding that they died by their attempts to bring pain and suffering to others. For the law of the universe fails to recognize and accept the right of any human being to have dominance over another.

  5. Vince P.June 10, 2011 at 1:09 pmReply

    So… silly question here: where did the Dalai Lama say that the assassination of Bin Laden (a known mass murderer by the way) was justified? In fact, he said that countermeasures were justified. The US attempted to detain him, Bin Laden et al responded with force, and the US soldiers defended themselves; nothing more. That’s far from an “assassination”.

    If police were forced to kill a known serial killer while attempting to apprehend him, you wouldn’t call that an “assassination” would you?

    I doubt you have a better grasp on ethics than the Dalai Lama, especially in light of Buddhist tradition and what the tradition supposedly does and does not permit. I think you should seek to understand before judging, and I don’t see any element of that here so far.

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