Thursday, July 16, 2009

Love Is Understanding

While flipping through the pages of this classic religious literature"Old Path White Cloud" by Thich Nhat Hanh, I landed my eyes upon an interesting chapter, that relates to the concept of "love". Love is a mystery to many of us. and Love is also the most misunderstood word. Expression such as: love is blind, love knows no boundary, love at first sight, in love there is suffering, further complicate the true meaning of love. No doubt the effect of love is endearing, and it is a most cherished human emotion.

After skimming over the chapter on 'love', it has unravelled the mystery of love. Like a surgeon dissecting a body to investigate the cause of the illness, 2500 years ago, this young wise prince learnt the truth about love, and laid out to the eyes of layman the intricacies of love and its different types.
Here I take the privilege of quoting from the chapter on love. So the story goes :

"One afternoon, the Buddha received a young man whose face was lined with grief and misery. The Buddha learned that the man had recently lost his only son and for several days had stood in the cemetery crying out loud, "my son, my son, where have you gone?" The man was unable to eat, drink, or sleep".
The Buddha told him, "In love there is suffering".

As a reader, now I can perceive your bewilderment on this statement by the Buddha. So it is no surprising as the man responded by objecting what Buddha just said, " You are wrong. Love doesn't cause suffering, Love brings only happiness and joy". The bereaved man abruptly left before the Buddha could explain what he had meant.

Did Buddha mean then that the more you love the more you suffer? let find out, because whatever the Buddha says is always well thought , and meditated upon. After some people inquired Buddha about the validity of his pronouncement on love, then Buddha responded unflinchingly:
" Recently I heard that a woman in Savatthi lost her mother. She was so grief-stricken that she lost her mind and has been wandering the streets asking everyone, 'Have you seen my mother?Have you seen my mother?' I have also heard about two young lovers who committed suicide together because the girl's parents were forcing her to marry someone else. These two stories also demonstrate that love can cause suffering".

So in a way the Buddha ask us all, " if some misfortune befell to one of you dear ones, would you suffer?"
but don't be mistaken, Buddha does not say we should not love, what he says is this
" There are many kinds of love. We should examine closely the nature of each kinds of love. Life has a great need of presence of love, but not the sort of love that is based on lust, passion, attachment, discrimination and prejudice. There is another kind of love, sorely needed,which consists of loving kindness and compassion".

So Buddha concludes his sermon on love with the following guidance:
"The love for which all beings truly hunger is loving kindness and compassion. Loving kindness or Maitri is the love that has the capacity to bring happiness to another. Karuna or compassion is the love which has the capacity to remove another's suffering. Both do not demand anything in return. Loving kindness and compassion are not limited to one's parents, spouse, children, relatives, caste members, and countrymen. They extend to all people and all beings" He continues
"with loving kindness and compassion , life is filled with peace, joy, and contentment".

To my readers, I have to confess here, that i dont know if I can love someone including my dear wife and baby without attachment. But Buddha's explanation of love helped me a lot in understanding love, that love is indeed understanding.

Tibetan language

Bejing based Tibetan writer and poet Woeser's most recent entry on her blog drives home a point that the standard of Tibetan language in China's so called Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) is to the point of dismal. Which she thinks is very disgraceful to say the least. She urges the TAR officials to make Tibetan language the medium of instruction and standardized test for job and training recruitment.

Woeser and her friend recently investigated /researched the standard of Tibetan language in all the Tibetan regions under PRC. To her surprise, the findings concludes the standard of Tibetan language in Tibetan Autonomous region is very poor. Woeser whines many Tibetans in Lhasa frequently go to Nangma and induldge in drinking and dance, which according to her view is a sheer wasting of their time. Thus Tibetan who cares for the preservation and promotion of their culture and language have dwindled . Tibetan regions that scored high points in the standard of Tibetan language are Tibetan autonomous regions of Gansu, Ganan and Amdo Ngapo. The regions that shows poor standard of Tibetan languages are, some of the Kham areas, such as Yushu, Decheng, and Tibetan Autonomous regions.

The reasons for this deteriorating standard of Tibetan languages is attributed to lack of good professional institutions and proper education guidance and facilities in these areas. Except in some Amdo regions, all other Tibetan autonomous regions conduct test for profesisonal and employment purpose all in Chinese. Woeser raised the question, why Tibetan are not given the test in their own mother tongue?

Even though Woeser did not mention what means of criteria applied for the evaluation, yet her assessment by and larges reflects the true level of Tibetan education as censurable from new Tibetan arrivals in Nepal and India. Tibetan from Amdo tend to be more educated whereas Tibetan from Kham, many of them are illiterate. The most celebrated Tibetan poet, Woeser implores that her fellow Tibetans compatriots took to heart the importance of promoting and preserving Tibetan language and culture. She said why the so called Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) failed to implement at least 20% of test in Tibetan language itself shows the government priorities in education policies .

I am curious that if exile government and institutions take a similar assessment of Tibetan language standard in exile, particularly in all the schools and institutions , then we will know the truth, whether Tibetans in exile are better off in preservation of Tibetan language than the Chinese occupied Tibet. Recently in a response to a reporter's questions on the standard of Tibetan language in Nepal's Songtsang high school, the Principal without reservation replied " As far as Tibetan language are concerned, I think comparing to other Tibetan schools, our school neither ranks high nor too low. Our student's Tibetan language standard is mediocre " .
The Department of education in exile government after introducing Tibetan proficiency test as a requirement for Fulbright scholarship, only then there was surge of interest in learning Tibetan by graduate students, who aspire for the coveted scholarship. Crash course in Tibetan language were also offered to meet these demands.
Tibetan language will be taken seriously by the majority of Tibetan only when it become necessary for employment and advancement in career. In today's consumeristic society ,people may not learn the language just because it is holy language and it is our mother tongue. There need to be a high demand for it. For example in most recent time arabic language is extremely popular in schools and university in U.S. Since U.S is on a global war on terror, knowledge on arabic languages is essential for intelligence gathering, and oversea post in most of Arab and Muslim countries. Hence, U.S government agency and top organizations prefer their new recruitments with knowledge in arabic language.