You give up your freedom so that others can be free.
Your charm and honesty oppose ugliness and lies.
Without power yourself you challenge brute power.
Deprived of the closeness of your beloved sons,
You are close to the millions who admire you.
You are resolve and courage, grace and kindness.
On this, your 65th birthday, may you be blessed,
Guided and protected by the Triple Gem.
Great words for a great lady!
I believe the Buddha has spoken out against unjust and cruel rulers, but I am not aware in Buddhist literature if he advocated any form of action or redress for the common folk. I'm just curious about your take, from a learned Buddhist perspective, how people should react to cruel and unjust rulers.
There is good government, tolerable government, bad government and atrocious government. This last type usually maintains itself with terror and oppression and will not give up power without a fight. Even recent history gives examples where atrocious governments have lost their nerve and finally relinquished their grip on power in the face of mass, and mostly peaceful, protest (e.g. Reza Shah in Iran in 1979). The Hitlers, Pol Pots, Papa Docs, Emperor Bokassa, Idi Amins, Kin Jong Ils (the list could be extended almost indefinitely) respond to peaceful protest with terror and will keep killing until the violence either peters out, kills them or forces them to flee. In such cases it seems to me that the violence needed to remove such tyrants is not as bad as the violence they perpetuate, and as such is understandable. Whether or not a Buddhist would be prepared to participate in violence for such a cause would be up to the individual. When people are up against disliked but reasonable government, peaceful protest and non-co-operation will work, as with Gandhi in India. But if Gandhi was up against Stalin, Hitler or Saddham Hussain they would have shot him in the back of the head and dumped him in a hole. Probably the only reason this has not happened to Aung San Suu Kyi is because of pressure from the international community. It has happened and apparently still happens to others less well-known people. Will the Burmese generals be shamed or cajoled into giving up power? Very unlikely. Will they give up without a violent struggle? Let’s hope so but that seems unlikely too. So the choice are stark. Continued oppression, corruption and misgovernment, perhaps for decades, or force.
Beautiful words and wishings of the Triple Gem to a dedicated female democracy icon.
Emerald cool we may be
As water in cupped hands
But oh that we might be
As splinters of glass
In cupped hands.
Aung San Suu Kyi..Freedom from Fear and Other Writings
Better later than never, I wholeheartedly wish all the best to this very rare and precious human being and to all those who share her vision of a just and free society.
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