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“"When the self develops self-pity, it eliminates any space that others have to feel compassionate. In this imperfect world so many have suffered and are still suffering. But some people's suffering has been categorised as more "special" suffering. Although actual statistics are not available, it seems safe to say that the number of Native Americans slaughtered as Europeans colonized North American is at least equal to that of other recognised genocides. And yet there is no widely-used term -- such as genocide or the Holocaust -- for this inconceivable slaughter.
"The mass-murders led by Stalin and Mao Tse-tung also don't have recognised labels, let alone sleek museums, lawsuits for retribution, and endless documentaries and feature films. ..."
There are, in fact, terms for each of those mass-murders, in the dominant languages of the people who suffered, just as in Hebrew the attempt at the systematic extermination of the "sub-human" Jewish people is termed The Shoah -- and not "the holocaust," which in fact means "burnt offerings" of a "whole" people, the negative tone of which might be thought to undermine the above argument. Why does the English language have a term for this murder and not the others mentioned? Because of the direct involvement of the English-speaking nations of Britain and America, perhaps. Yet that term is hardly exclusive to the subject of the Shoah - you have surely heard the phrase "nuclear holocaust," just as you have hopefully heard of the genocide of the Tutsi people.
Why are there no "sleek museums" or films from China and the former Soviet Union? If there are not, it is hardly the fault of the Jewish people, the Americans, the Germans, the British. Perhaps it is more a reflection of the nations involved
This is the sort of ill-considered political illustration that permeates this book, and rather detracts from the otherwise excellent, beautiful, often bold, and frequently provocative presentation of classical teachings:
"These infinite methods are the path itself. However, the path itself must eventually be abandoned, just as you abadon a boat when you reach the other shore. You must disembark when you arrive. At the point of total realisation, you must abandon Buddhism. The spiritual path is a temporary solution, a placebo to be used until emptiness is understood."
I look forward to the next book, hopefully more clearly-focused in its target audience.
leegee wrote this review Thursday, December 31, 2009.