Author Topic: North Korean human rights abuses -- what would a Buddhist do?  (Read 2196 times)

Offline heybai

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North Korean human rights abuses -- what would a Buddhist do?
« on: January 06, 2010, 12:57:36 am »
On Christmas day, Robert Park, 28, a Korean-American missionary who has been active in helping some of the 300,000 North Korean refugees who have fled into China to seek food or escape political or religious persecution, walked from China across the Tumen River into North Korea.  He was, as he fully expected to be, arrested by North Korean Guards.  He carried only a Bible and a protest letter which detailed the North Korean governments human rights abuses and demanded the dismantling concentration camps

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/special/world/north-korean-prison-camps-2009/  

that hold between 200- and 300,000 political prisoners and their extended families. (source for figures, etc.: various human rights groups, such as Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International)

In interviews

http://blogs.reuters.com/global/2009/12/30/interview-with-north-korea-border-crosser-robert-park/
 
and written communications prior to his crossing into Korea Robert Park has stated that he does not wish to be rescued or ransomed, and that he had thought clearly about the consequences of his actions -- including the fact that it may complicate the work of his fellow human rights workers active on the Chinese-Korean border.

As a Buddhist, what would you have done?

Recent news updates:

http://english.chosun.com/site/data/html_dir/2009/12/30/2009123000283.html

http://blogs.abcnews.com/politicalpunch/2009/12/us-confirms-american-detained-in-north-korea.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/12/31/AR2009123100340.html
« Last Edit: January 06, 2010, 01:04:56 am by heybai »

Offline heybai

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Re: North Korean human rights abuses -- what would a Buddhist do?
« Reply #1 on: January 06, 2010, 01:37:24 am »
A technical question -- P.S. to the above.  I tried to hyperlink some of the URLs I list, but one of several things seems to have interfered: A) that feature of FreeSangha isn't working or switched on; B) I am incompetent at most computer-related things; C) I am a bit thick-headed.  Obviously B and C are interrelated, so I suspect the problem is in there somewhere.   Can someone help?

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: North Korean human rights abuses -- what would a Buddhist do?
« Reply #2 on: January 06, 2010, 08:19:05 am »
I am not certain whether to admire such a man or to summons great compassion for the great suffering he is about to experience given North Korean policy regarding political and religiostic activism being used as a front from The CIA, MI5, and other intelligence communities.  Definately I am feeling compassion at this moment for him.

Perhaps he will touch the minds of those with whom he comes in contact during his public mock trials, his sentencing, and perhaps his execution.  If he has no family members in N. Korea, as many in the slave camps of N. Korea do, he will fortunately not have to observe the consequences of his actions by watching his own family members arrested and placed into the camps as well.

As to your question:  This act of his was more than likely motivated by his love of Jesus Christ and his desire to serve those in the camps according to Christ's advisory (paraphrasing):  "As those of you who remembered, visited and supported me in prison, so will I do so for you during the end days."  According to the parable, Christ continued citing other circumstances of personal service such as tending to Him while he was ill and etc..  When the apostles stated that none of them had done these things for Christ, Jesus stated, "Those of you who have done these things for the least of us, do these things also for me."

Buddhism doesn't teach that a redeemer or savior will offer us any favors at the end of days.  Buddhism doesn’t even teach that there is any such thing as end days, only that all conditioned things are impermanent, including time-space, which includes The Multiverse as currently postulated by scientific understanding and theory.  Buddhism, at  least the Theravadin  understanding of Buddhism, teaches that there is really only the reality of suffering, stress, and dissatisfaction as described in The Four Noble Truths.

Buddha taught by example to be of assistance to others in need.  The sutta entitled The Stinking Monk tells of such an occasion.  Buddha provided assistance to millions upon millions including Devas, Gods, Humans, and sentient beings by teaching The Dhamma.  Therefore by this example were I further along my path than I am this morning at 10:04 and if ready to die, I would consider being of assistance to others in prison camps as hoped the Christian man in the news article.

 
But first I would have to examine my motives.  Am I truly hoping to be of service, or simply acting in hopes of inflating my already considerable delusional ego?

Secondly I would have to assess the likelihood of  ever being allowed to be of assistance to others?

Third, would I be physically capable of providing assistance to others, or would I just become another stinking monk burdening the already strained resources of people trying to survive in the starvation camps?
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline heybai

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Re: North Korean human rights abuses -- what would a Buddhist do?
« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2010, 11:17:48 pm »
I think examining one's motives for such an act is key, so I agree with you there Ron.  I wonder about having to wait to become free from self-delusion before one is to act in such cases though.  We all have narcissistic tendencies and until attaining enlightenment (if we are to adhere to this core tenet of Buddhism) we always will.  

The dilemma, to my mind, is that I am not blind to egregious cruelty  now in our own time.  And if I wait (this is speaking hypothetically) more harm may come from my lack of action.   From what I have read, Robert Park prayed (let's substitute "meditated" for argument's sake) for many days, and questioned his motives before he did what he did.  I have only read positive reports on his character -- all deny that he is publicity hound, etc. -- but these come from his kith and kin, fellow activists and committed Christians.  Nevertheless, I am willing to suppose that he has acted from a true desire to liberate others from suffering (or, more specifically, to open the eyes of the authorities in North Korea to the gargantuan suffering they are causing), rather than from egotistical desires.  

It is a complicated, real-life problem, so I raise it here.  Such ethical questions are never easily in the abstract, and the urgency of the present moment only adds to the dilemma.  I know for certain I am not ready to walk across the frozen Tumen River, but I hope Park's actions come to some good.  

Finally, I am not at all convinced, at least in this case, that evangelical Christianity is being used as a front by intelligence agencies.  Park was working with non-religious activists as well as committed Christians before he took his personal non-violent message to the North Korean state.  News reports suggest State Department official view his case as an irritant.  I seriously doubt that he has institutional/governmental backing from any organization, including his own Church.   This is a one-man mission, so to speak.
  
« Last Edit: January 07, 2010, 01:46:38 am by heybai, Reason: clarity »

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: North Korean human rights abuses -- what would a Buddhist do?
« Reply #4 on: January 07, 2010, 06:47:56 am »
I think examining one's motives for such an act is key, so I agree with you there Ron.  I wonder about having to wait to become free from self-delusion before one is to act in such cases though.  We all have narcissistic tendencies and until attaining enlightenment (if we are to adhere to this core tenet of Buddhism) we always will.

We are in agreement.  However, consideration of one's motives seems important, but less of a priority relative to Buddha's advisory to mentally reflect upon the consequences of our actions before acting.  The recommended process is "Think, Plan, Act", much like, "Ready, Aim, Shoot!"

The dilemma, to my mind, is that I am not blind to egregious cruelty  now in our own time.  And if I wait (this is speaking hypothetically) more harm may come from my lack of action.   From what I have read, Robert Park prayed (let's substitute "meditated" for argument's sake) for many days, and questioned his motives before he did what he did.  I have only read positive reports on his character -- all deny that he is publicity hound, etc. -- but these come from his kith and kin, fellow activists and committed Christians.  Nevertheless, I am willing to suppose that he has acted from a true desire to liberate others from suffering (or, more specifically, to open the eyes of the authorities in North Korea to the gargantuan suffering they are causing), rather than from egotistical desires.  
Our intentional actions always have karmic effects.  Given the historically vicious nature of The North Korean Regime, while I cannot predict the outcome of this “saint’s” intentional actions, I would be willing to lay down big money that The North Korean’s response to his actions will continue to be vicious.  Their record has been consistent to say the least.  Even when they act in a manner apparently magnanimous and worthy of praise, upon closer examination, it is revealed that they have ulterior motives, much like the pirates of old, only without the eye patches and The Jolly Roger.

It is a complicated, real-life problem, so I raise it here.  Such ethical questions are never easily in the abstract, and the urgency of the present moment only adds to the dilemma.  I know for certain I am not ready to walk across the frozen Tumen River, but I hope Park's actions come to some good.  
My hope is for a beneficial outcome as well.  I appreciate your concern with regard to real life problems.  Always messy.  Never having clean margines.

Finally, I am not at all convinced, at least in this case, that evangelical Christianity is being used as a front by intelligence agencies.  Park was working with non-religious activists as well as committed Christians before he took his personal non-violent message to the North Korean state.  News reports suggest State Department official view his case as an irritant.  I seriously doubt that he has institutional/governmental backing from any organization, including his own Church.   This is a one-man mission, so to speak.

That isn’t what I said.  
Quote
…. North Korean policy regarding political and religious activism being used as a front from The CIA, MI5, and other intelligence communities….
 In other words the North Korean Regime would “suspect” for good reason such folks as being agents for western intelligence agencies, or even South Korean agencies.  This is probably because they are doing the exact same thing.

Keep in mind that there is no peace treaty between North Korea, South Korea, and The United Nations.  What is keeping these folks from shooting and bombing each other is a cease fire agreement.
Quote
Cease-fire agreement marks the end of the Korean War on July 27, 1953.
HistoryLink.org Essay 3324 : Printer-Friendly Format
On July 27, 1953, a cease-fire agreement between the United Nations and North Korea marks the end of the Korean War. Military activity in Seattle continues at Pier 91, which funnels troops and equipment enroute to the Far East. Technically a United Nations sanctioned police action, the war killed more than 33,000 Americans along with approximately 3.5 million Asians beginning in June 1951. The state of Washington counted 558 among the dead.
The end to hostilities did not result in tumultuous celebrations as happened after World Wars I and II. The cease-fire line was approximately the same as the demarcation line between North and South Korea when the war began in 1950. A Seattle Post-Intelligencer headline summed up the feelings of the nation with, "The Bitter War Which Nobody Won." In 2001, 37,000 U.S. troops were still stationed in South Korea to maintain the cease fire.
The day the armistice was announced, the family of Marine Sergeant Stanley R. West, age 29, was notified that he had been killed in action on July 17. West was probably the last Seattle area man killed in that war. The West family paid dearly for service in the war. West's brother lost a leg to a land mine and another brother received a serious back injury during a storm at sea.
Two King County men received the Medal of Honor in Korea. Marine PFC Walter C. Monegan, Jr. of Seattle was killed on September 20, 1950 after destroying several North Korean tanks with a rocket launcher. Army Master Sergeant Benjamin F. Wilson (1922-1988) of Vashon Island led a bayonet attack against Chinese forces on June 5, 1951 and then was wounded as he protected his men during a withdrawal.
One of the notable events in Seattle during the war was a visit by General of the Army Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) on November 13, 1951. The popular hero of World War II was commander of U.S. Forces in Korea from the beginning of the conflict until he was dismissed by President Harry S. Truman (1884-1972). MacArthur gave a speech at the University of Washington and then continued on a tour of the United States.
Military activity in Seattle continued as the Port of Embarkation loaded and unloaded ships almost daily. After two servicemen wrote to Mayor Allen Pomeroy expressing appreciation for the way they were treated in Seattle on their way overseas, the city and Greater Seattle Inc. instituted a Welcome Lane program. Returning servicemen and their families were met on the pier by the Barclay Can-Can Girls, dancers from the George Barklay Dance Studio. City Councilman Alfred Rochester (1895-1989) became the official greeter. He handed out cards signed by the mayor "extending the city's courtesies" (Seattle P-I) to each serviceman.
The end of the war did not result in any changes for the Boeing Co. Its contracts were geared to the construction of nuclear bombers, which did not figure in the conflict. Since January 1, 1953, the company had added 3569 workers and expected to hire 700 more before the end of the year.
Sources:
Sharon Boswell and Lorraine McConaghy, "Centennials: Time to Crow a Bit," The Seattle Times, August 4, 1996, (seattletimes.nwsource.com/centennial); "The Korean War," Britannica CD 2000 Deluxe Edition, (Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 2000); "Rosters of Local War Dead," HistoryLink Metropedia Library, (www.Historylink.org); Sam Angeloff, "Telegram Brings Grief to Family," Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 26, 1953, p. 43; "The Bitter War Which Nobody Won," Ibid., p. B; "Gala Welcomes to Continue," Ibid., July 27, 1953, p. 5; Charles Russell, "2451 Korea Vets Land to Gala Welcome Here," Ibid., p. 15; "Truce No Halt to Program," Ibid., p. 3; "Korean Medal of Honor Recipients," U.S. Army Center for Military History Web Site, (www.army.mil/cmh-pg/mohkor2.htm).
By David Wilma, June 02, 2001
« Last Edit: January 07, 2010, 06:54:21 am by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline heybai

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Re: North Korean human rights abuses -- what would a Buddhist do?
« Reply #5 on: January 07, 2010, 07:37:49 am »
Thanks for the clarification on the intelligence issue; I see what you mean now and agree -- the North will almost certainly view Park's actions as MI5/CIA-inspired.   Park understood this well.

By the way, did you know that North Korea unilaterally withdrew from the 1953 armistice in May, 2009?  The two Koreas are in a state of de jure war.  This is probably correctly read as another of North Korea's saber-rattling strategies, but even though the bullets and bombs are not flying, the ceasefire it temporarily off. 

I find this whole situation as ugly as anything in our time on this earth.

Offline heybai

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Re: North Korean human rights abuses -- what would a Buddhist do?
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2010, 06:11:37 am »
Follow-up. (11 January 2010, but Moeller first expressed his opposition to Park on 7 January; links below)

I find this story bitterly ironic.  Robert Park is now being criticized by the leader of a major evangelical Christian group for endangering Christians (a very tiny portion of the NK population, even if this critic is correct).  Rev. Carl Moeller is calling Park's actions a "publicity stunt."   Since it is highly unlikely that more than a handful of North Koreans will ever hear of Robert Park, and since Park performed this act of non-violent civil disobedience in part to disturb the complacency (as he sees it) of Christians to the suffering of Koreans in the North, Moeller's words ring hollow to me. 

Notice the allusion to "breaking the law" of North Korea.  So, apparently, adhering to the legal system of an utterly corrupt and insane regime is more important to Moeller's organization, "Open Doors" (more irony) than the death of millions through willful starvation, and the incarceration and torture of 10s of thousands in North Korean concentration camps.

Sorry to inundate FS with such stories, but I have been a human rights activist for fifteen years, and the North Korean situation bothers me to no end, perhaps especially because I have lived nearly my entire adult life in East Asia. 

Moeller seems to think only Christians in North Korea matter.  Park believes in God's love, as a Christian, for all in North and South Korea, regardless of their religion.  Search for his Reuters interviews on Youtube to hear his full statements.  (In fact, I will add a link for the first part of four below.  Still don't know how to hyperlink texts here!)

Story follows.

>>>><<<<

U.S. missionary's North Korean incursion: Publicity stunt?
Associated Press - 1/8/2010 5:55:00 AMBookmark and Share

Associated Press, WASHINGTON - An advocate for persecuted Christians calls U.S. missionary Robert Park's incursion into North Korea on Christmas Eve a "publicity stunt" that's likely to do more harm than good. North Korea has said it detained and is investigating an unidentified American intruder.
 
Rev. Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA, says Park knew he was breaking the law when he crossed a frozen river from China into North Korea carrying a Bible and proclaiming God's love. "It is obviously primarily what you could call a publicity stunt. That doesn't necessarily mean it's a bad thing to draw attention to the fact that Christians, in particular, are suffering so greatly in North Korea."

But Moeller says Park's incursion with a letter urging North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to step down and close the nation's prison camps will probably provoke even harsher persecution. "The state of the Christians there is probably not going to benefit from Mr. Park's actions," he suggests. "In fact, it's quite likely the Christians who are currently in [North Korean] labor camps or in other ways known to the government will suffer a bit more as a result of this."

Moeller adds that U.S. officials are unlikely to make great efforts to win the missionary's release.

(Notice too the Global Warming denial banner)
http://www.onenewsnow.com/Persecution/Default.aspx?id=844692

This is from The Christian Post, the online paper for the umbrella group with which Carl Moeller's "Open Doors" is affiliated:
http://www.christianpost.com/article/20100107/persecution-expert-n-korea-likely-to-crackdown-on-christians-after-activist-s-entry/

Park's Reuter's Interview, days before in crossed into Korea in late December.  This is part 1 of 4.  Follow "related videos" for the other parts:

 

Offline heybai

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Re: North Korean human rights abuses -- what would a Buddhist do?
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2010, 06:21:29 am »
Rev. Carl Moeller, president of Open Doors USA, says Park knew he was breaking the law when he crossed a frozen river from China into North Korea carrying a Bible and proclaiming God's love.

From Henry David Thoreau's "Resistance to Civil Government" ("Civil Disobedience"), 1848-1849

(Note: Thoreau employs "the machine," "machinery," etc. as an extended metaphor for government/governing authorities.  Thoreau had famously refused to pay his poll tax to protest the Mexican-American War, and chattel slavery)

"If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance
it will wear smooth--certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a
rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be
worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another,
then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine...

...All machines have their friction; and possibly this does enough good to counter-balance the evil. At any rate, it is a great evil to make a stir about it. But when the friction comes to have its machine, and oppression and robbery are organized, I say, let us not have such a machine any longer."
« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 06:31:01 am by heybai »

Offline heybai

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Re: North Korean human rights abuses -- what would a Buddhist do?
« Reply #8 on: January 11, 2010, 06:34:40 am »
U.S. Envoy Says North Korea Rights Record "Appalling"
http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2010/01/10/world/international-uk-korea-north-rights.html

By REUTERS
Published: January 10, 2010

[snip]

"A relationship with the United States and North Korea will have to involve human rights," King said.

The United States says North Korea maintains a network of political prisons where anyone thought to be associated with anything critical of Kim Jong-il's rule can be jailed along with their families, who are deemed guilty by association.

The North uses arbitrary killings and stages public executions to intimidate the masses. It prevents free speech, controls all media and is thought to have ended nascent attempts at reform by executing or imprisoning those who oppose the state, according to the State Department.

King will meet North Korean defectors and government officials in Seoul this week. His visit coincides with a trip to the South Korean capital by the U.N. special rapporteur for human rights in North Korea.

King also said the United States had been trying to obtain information about Robert Park, a U.S. rights activist who was arrested for entering North Korea on Christmas Day.

Park said before crossing into the secretive, communist North it was his duty as a Christian to raise awareness of Pyonyang's abuses.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner and Paul Tait)

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: North Korean human rights abuses -- what would a Buddhist do?
« Reply #9 on: January 11, 2010, 07:36:29 am »
Yep!

And if you, like General MacArthur and his atomic bomb dropping buddy, Truman, attempt and/or are successful at removing Kim's machine from the face of The Earth, then you have to face China's machine, which is an exponentially more formidable foe.

I think the metaphor of machine is poorly suited to the case in consideration.  Countries and their politcal policies are more like living organisms, and it is a matter of perspective as to whether activists are beneficial immune bodies responsible for homeostatic biological mechanisms attempting repairs and metabolic balance, or are life-threatening cancers spreading through the body politic. The worthiness or unworthiness of the organism's demise is dependent soley upon attachment to view.......which as Buddha taught is, like all attachments, a root cause of suffering, stress, and dissatisfaction.  

In the case of North Korea, the suffering is beyond imaginings, and a mere glance at it from the eye's peripheral vision quickly reduces anyone posessing a compassionate heart to endless tears and unendurable, gut wrenching convulsive sadnesses.  

What has happened and is happening in North Korea is beyond Hitler's Auschwitz, beyond The Killing Fields of The Kmer Rouge, and, given that this regime's past and current horrendous actions against its own peoples were studied more closely and brought to light, exceeds the attrocities of Stalin.

Only China has seen more heartless attrocities, and China is both South Korea's protector and The United States' banker.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 10:07:21 am by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline heybai

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Re: North Korean human rights abuses -- what would a Buddhist do?
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2010, 09:28:32 am »
Knowledge of the North Korean prison camps quickly brings Nazism to mind.  I believe the conditions are probably similar, but Hitler set the genocide bar very very high, and I am not sure Kim Jong-Il has risen to those heights (yet).  The suffering is massive though, so comparisons are simultaneously appropriate and impossible to prove (as if that were the goal).

I selected the Thoreau quotation because of the inspiration it has lent to subsequent civil activists, most famously Ghandi and King (but  many many others as well), and because of its puny influence (it had zero effect) on events in Thoreau's own day.  The point being, we don't know if an individual's principled actions will lead nowhere or to an avalanche of positive change (negative effects are also possible, but I would argue that Park's actions would not be the root cause if events unfold in that direction).  

I really don't want to clutter up our threads with additional posts and information, but trust me, Park is being depicted as a loony evangelist, "mentally unstable," "deluded," and a publicity hound  -- and most of this is coming from the evangelical Christian community.  From what I can tell, he has acted in a clear-headed and principled manner, and even if his judgment is suspect, he surely doesn't deserve the castigation being heaped upon him.  What did he do?  He walked across a frozen river carrying nothing but a religious text, a letter of protest, and proclaiming love and forgiveness.  But I know you don't disagree on the general issue, and I am not really arguing with you, Ron.

Thoreau's metaphor works for me in several ways.  He suggests that extreme acts against authority be resorted to only when the "friction comes to have its machine" -- when governmental/institutional authorities are so grossly out of control that the suffering inflicted is utterly indefensible -- leaving the conscientious agent with little choice but to protest "and break the law."   The machine metaphor also resonates, for me at least, in its associations with the DPRK's obscene militarism.
« Last Edit: January 11, 2010, 09:43:03 am by heybai »

Offline Ron-the-Elder

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Re: North Korean human rights abuses -- what would a Buddhist do?
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2010, 10:32:06 am »
Hey, hebai! :teehee:  (That feels so good to say that in my head.) 

I very much agree with what you have to say and admire the way you are saying it.  :namaste:

A point of clarification: 
Quote
Ron wrote: What has happened and is happening in North Korea is beyond Hitler's Auschwitz, beyond The Killing Fields of The Kmer Rouge, and, given that this regime's past and current horrendous actions against its own peoples were studied more closely and brought to light, exceeds the attrocities of Stalin.

The difference between Kim's attrocities and Hitler's attrocities is that Kim is doing it to his own peoples, whose only crimes were to be disobedient or to speak against him or his regime in some way, whereas Hitler created a false enemy, The Jews, his scapegoat, to focus upon and eradicate whether they were cooperative or non-cooperative with his party's will.  It is much like a father killing his own disobedient children, and much like The Abrahemic Communities' praising God/Allah, who has commanded, "Thou shall not kill." out of one side of their mouths and waving flags and cheering as they send their children off to slaughter each other out of the other side of their mouths.  Then these same followers of The One True God act astonished, sad, and tearful when their children arrive home in body bags.

Seems like Robert would better spend his time addressing this issue as it is closer to home and involves his own community.

What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline heybai

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Re: North Korean human rights abuses -- what would a Buddhist do?
« Reply #12 on: December 23, 2011, 06:04:57 pm »
Two years later and not much has changed.  Yes, Kim Jong-Il is dead, but North Koreans remain among the most forlorn and forsaken people on earth today.  Son Kim Jong-Un, at 27 or  28, a four-star general with 16 months of military experience, now runs the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the world's only Communist monarchy.

Robert Park may have been a fool, but I cannot blame him for speaking out against these horrendous atrocities.  The 23 million people in North Korea deserve better.  They deserve, at minimum, to not be brutalized.

I am sorry to bring gloom and sad tidings to you on Christmas, but North Koreans remain forgotten.    In almost all the news surrounding "Six Party Talks," nuclear fears (quite scary), and the change in the Kim, the people of North Korea are treated as propagandized rhetoric. 

If you think I am exaggerating, listen to a man born in a North Korean prison camp --

BORN AND RAISED IN A CONCENTRATION CAMP


Or to the recent Amnesty International Report on the topic --

"Hell holes": North Korea's secret prison camps


What would a Buddhist do?  What should a Buddhist do?

Offline Hanzze

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Re: North Korean human rights abuses -- what would a Buddhist do?
« Reply #13 on: December 23, 2011, 08:56:19 pm »
First of all maintain the right view:

Quote
"And what is right view? Knowledge with regard to stress, knowledge with regard to the origination of stress, knowledge with regard to the cessation of stress, knowledge with regard to the way of practice leading to the cessation of stress: This is called right view."

— DN 22


being concentrated to do not fall into

Quote
A thicket of wrong views

"There is the case where an uninstructed, run-of-the-mill person... does not discern what ideas are fit for attention, or what ideas are unfit for attention. This being so, he does not attend to ideas fit for attention, and attends instead to ideas unfit for attention... This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

"As he attends inappropriately in this way, one of six kinds of view arises in him: The view I have a self arises in him as true & established, or the view I have no self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive self... or the view It is precisely by means of self that I perceive not-self... or the view It is precisely by means of not-self that I perceive self arises in him as true & established, or else he has a view like this: This very self of mine — the knower that is sensitive here & there to the ripening of good & bad actions — is the self of mine that is constant, everlasting, eternal, not subject to change, and will endure as long as eternity. This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

"The well-instructed disciple of the noble ones... discerns what ideas are fit for attention, and what ideas are unfit for attention. This being so, he does not attend to ideas unfit for attention, and attends [instead] to ideas fit for attention... He attends appropriately, This is stress... This is the origination of stress... This is the cessation of stress... This is the way leading to the cessation of stress. As he attends appropriately in this way, three fetters are abandoned in him: identity-view, doubt, and grasping at precepts & practices."

— MN 2


as

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The consequences of wrong view...

"In a person of wrong view, wrong resolve comes into being. In a person of wrong resolve, wrong speech. In a person of wrong speech, wrong action. In a person of wrong action, wrong livelihood. In a person of wrong livelihood, wrong effort. In a person of wrong effort, wrong mindfulness. In a person of wrong mindfulness, wrong concentration. In a person of wrong concentration, wrong knowledge. In a person of wrong knowledge, wrong release.

"This is how from wrongness comes failure, not success."

— AN 10.103


Right view established and maintained, being present, not in the past, the future and caught in any fiction mind state, the  right intention comes into run:

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"And what is right resolve? Being resolved on renunciation, on freedom from ill-will, on harmlessness: This is called right resolve."

— SN 45.8


This in mind, there is now no more danger for the wrong deed, as it goes regard all being equally and does not know any kind of discrimination. With metta established, right view, right intention, the daily speech will be different and there are

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Kinds of speech to be avoided by contemplatives

"Whereas some priests and contemplatives, living off food given in faith, are addicted to talking about lowly topics such as these — talking about kings, robbers, ministers of state; armies, alarms, and battles; food and drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, and scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women and heroes; the gossip of the street and the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity [philosophical discussions of the past and future], the creation of the world and of the sea, and talk of whether things exist or not — he abstains from talking about lowly topics such as these. This, too, is part of his virtue.

"Whereas some priests and contemplatives, living off food given in faith, are addicted to debates such as these — 'You understand this doctrine and discipline? I'm the one who understands this doctrine and discipline. How could you understand this doctrine and discipline? You're practicing wrongly. I'm practicing rightly. I'm being consistent. You're not. What should be said first you said last. What should be said last you said first. What you took so long to think out has been refuted. Your doctrine has been overthrown. You're defeated. Go and try to salvage your doctrine; extricate yourself if you can!' — he abstains from debates such as these. This, too, is part of his virtue."

— DN 2


Also his actions are different yet, no intention for any battle or any rule of opposite

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A life lived skillfully

"Having thus gone forth, following the training & way of life of the monks, abandoning the taking of life, he abstains from the taking of life. He dwells with his rod laid down, his knife laid down, scrupulous, kind, compassionate for the welfare of all living beings. Abandoning the taking of what is not given, he abstains from taking what is not given. He takes only what is given, accepts only what is given, lives not by stealth but by means of a self that has become pure. Abandoning uncelibacy, he lives a celibate life, aloof, refraining from the sexual act that is the villager's way."

— AN X 99


He changes his life to live what's already established in his heart and to be able to share an alternative live. The idea of being a soldier for the well far of many might arise one more time, now he keeps this in mind:

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Considering becoming a soldier? You may want to reconsider...

Then Yodhajiva the headman went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: "Lord, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of warriors that 'When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle.' What does the Blessed One have to say about that?"

"Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that."

A second time... A third time Yodhajiva the headman said: "Lord, I have heard that it has been passed down by the ancient teaching lineage of warriors that 'When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle.' What does the Blessed One have to say about that?"

"Apparently, headman, I haven't been able to get past you by saying, 'Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that.' So I will simply answer you. When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, his mind is already seized, debased, & misdirected by the thought: 'May these beings be struck down or slaughtered or annihilated or destroyed. May they not exist.' If others then strike him down & slay him while he is thus striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the hell called the realm of those slain in battle. But if he holds such a view as this: 'When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle,' that is his wrong view. Now, there are two destinations for a person with wrong view, I tell you: either hell or the animal womb."

When this was said, Yodhajiva the headman sobbed & burst into tears. [The Blessed One said:] "That is what I couldn't get past you by saying, 'Enough, headman, put that aside. Don't ask me that.'"

"I'm not crying, lord, because of what the Blessed One said to me, but simply because I have been deceived, cheated, & fooled for a long time by that ancient teaching lineage of warriors who said: 'When a warrior strives & exerts himself in battle, if others then strike him down & slay him while he is striving & exerting himself in battle, then with the breakup of the body, after death, he is reborn in the company of devas slain in battle.'

— SN 42.3


and relays fully on his heart and insight

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"And what is right livelihood? There is the case where a disciple of the noble ones, having abandoned dishonest livelihood, keeps his life going with right livelihood: This is called right livelihood."

— SN 45.8


With the right effort he keeps the important tools of security for him self and all others alive

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"And what, monks, is right effort?

"There is the case where a monk generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the non-arising of evil, unskillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

[ii] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the abandonment of evil, unskillful qualities that have arisen.

[iii] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the sake of the arising of skillful qualities that have not yet arisen.

[iv] "He generates desire, endeavors, activates persistence, upholds & exerts his intent for the maintenance, non-confusion, increase, plenitude, development, & culmination of skillful qualities that have arisen: This, monks, is called right effort."

— SN 45.8


and so his mindfulness gets firm and

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"One is mindful to abandon wrong view & to enter & remain in right view: This is one's right mindfulness...

"One is mindful to abandon wrong resolve & to enter & remain in right resolve: This is one's right mindfulness...

"One is mindful to abandon wrong speech & to enter & remain in right speech: This is one's right mindfulness...

"One is mindful to abandon wrong action & to enter & remain in right action: This is one's right mindfulness...

"One is mindful to abandon wrong livelihood & to enter & remain in right livelihood: This is one's right mindfulness..."

— MN 117


So right mindfulness carries one on

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"And what is right mindfulness? There is the case where a monk remains focused on the body in & of itself — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. He remains focused on feelings in & of themselves... the mind in & of itself... mental qualities in & of themselves — ardent, alert, & mindful — putting aside greed & distress with reference to the world. This is called right mindfulness...

"This is the direct path for the purification of beings, for the overcoming of sorrow & lamentation, for the disappearance of pain & distress, for the attainment of the right method, & for the realization of Unbinding — in other words, the four frames of reference."

— DN 22


with the path factors firmly established right concentration has now space

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"And what is right concentration? There is the case where a monk — quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful (mental) qualities — enters & remains in the first jhana: rapture & pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought & evaluation. With the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters & remains in the second jhana: rapture & pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought & evaluation — internal assurance. With the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding.' With the abandoning of pleasure & pain — as with the earlier disappearance of elation & distress — he enters & remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity & mindfulness, neither pleasure nor pain. This is called right concentration."

— SN 45.8


And the door to real insight is open if the path was walked correct, turned the wheel one time, there will be no more doubt what should be done, and no more possibility to wrong. *smile*

For one self and for all, for all and for one self

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Sedaka Sutta: At Sedaka

I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was living among the Sumbhas. Now there is a Sumbhan town named Sedaka. There the Blessed One addressed the monks, "Monks!"

"Yes, lord," the monks responded.

The Blessed One said, "Once upon a time, monks, a bamboo acrobat, having erected a bamboo pole, addressed his assistant, Frying Pan: 'Come, my dear Frying Pan. Climb up the bamboo pole and stand on my shoulders.'

"'As you say, Master,' Frying Pan answered the bamboo acrobat and, climbing the bamboo pole, stood on his shoulders.

"So then the bamboo acrobat said to his assistant, 'Now you watch after me, my dear Frying Pan, and I'll watch after you. Thus, protecting one another, watching after one another, we'll show off our skill, receive our reward, and come down safely from the bamboo pole.'

"When he had said this, Frying Pan said to him, 'But that won't do at all, Master. You watch after yourself, and I'll watch after myself, and thus with each of us protecting ourselves, watching after ourselves, we'll show off our skill, receive our reward, and come down safely from the bamboo pole.'

"What Frying Pan, the assistant, said to her Master was the right way in that case.

"Monks, a frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after myself.' A frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after others.' When watching after oneself, one watches after others. When watching after others, one watches after oneself.

"And how does one, when watching after oneself, watch after others? Through pursuing [the practice], through developing it, through devoting oneself to it. This is how one, when watching after oneself, watches after others.

"And how does one, when watching after others, watch after oneself? Through endurance, through harmlessness, and through a mind of kindness & sympathy. This is how one, when watching after others, watches after oneself.

"A frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after myself.' A frame of reference is to be practiced with the thought, 'I'll watch after others.' When watching after oneself, one watches after others. When watching after others, one watches after oneself."


Be mindful! *smile*




 


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