Yesterday, I watched the movie “Kundun“, the story of The Dalai Lama. Fascinating! I knew that he had fled from Tibet a long time ago, but didn’t know the full story. The movie begins with a monk’s spiritual search for him, his childhood in Tibet as a leader-in-training, his attempts at negotiation with Mao Tse-tung, and his eventual decision and action to flee to India from Tibet. I was so interested in the training that he received, as well as the insight into Tibetan culture at that time, which was between 1935, when he was born, and 1959, when he fled Tibet.
The reason I’m blogging about it is that I can’t stop thinking about some incredible moments in the movie. Chinese representatives were constantly telling The Dalai Lama and his prime ministers, and the world, that China was there to ‘liberate’ Tibet. That Tibet was so behind-the-times, they would be swallowed up by another country, so China was there to save them from eventual doom. But of course they only wanted to exploit and control the people and land of Tibet. Sadly, the Dalai Lama appealed to Britain and the United States, but received no aide. The Chinese continued to lie about the situation, while waging war on the peaceful, non-violent, devout Buddhist people of Tibet. The Dalai Lama went to Peking to meet with Mao Tse-tung to try to explain the Tibetan point of view. He tried to have intelligent conversations with Mao, and told Mao that he actually agreed with some of the socialist views. However, Mao’s parting words to the Dalai Lama were, “Religion is the opiate of the masses.” I understand that this was a movie, but the look on the face of the man playing The Dalai Lama was so tragic and poignant, as he realized that he would never be able to wage peace for Tibet.
I couldn’t help but cringe when Mao delivered this message. I have quoted that quote before. And sure, religion is the root of a lot of trouble in the world. But as far as Buddhism in Tibet goes, I now see that this quote is much too simply stated. Maybe Buddhism in Tibet at the time before the Chinese invasion of 1949 was as close as a culture would come to religion and state being one, and as close to a peaceful society as is possible. These are people who believe in compassion for all living beings, consequences for all actions, suffering being a state of mind, and meditation to realize that we are not our thoughts and feelings; we are not our egos. Another poignant moment in the film is when The Dalai Lama is having a discussion with a high-ranking Chinese officer about the Tibetan ‘liberation’ by the Chinese. He says to the officer, ‘You cannot liberate me. Only I can liberate myself”. That is what Tibetan Buddhism is, self-liberation. That might be under the worst possible human circumstances, and unfortunately it was and still is so much of the time on Earth.
The Dalai Lama did not want to flee Tibet, he resisted it for 10 years, despite recommendations by his advisors. The movie suggests that many of the people of Tibet realized the futility of the situation with the Chinese, and feared too much for him and his life, so they begged him to go and be safe. I only had known of the teachings of The Dalai Lama in the last 10 years or so. He fled Tibet in 1959. His continued traveling with messages of peace, compassion and non-violence inspire millions of people. The attention he has brought to Tibet is tremendous. If this man is the opiate of the masses, I’ll take it.
I am not a practicing Buddhist, and the intention of this blog was not to recruit or to push my beliefs. I just couldn’t stop thinking about this one man’s incredible journey on this earth. Buddha was just a man, and that is how The Dalai Lama sees himeslf too. If his words and actions inspire others to be more buddha-like, then his mission is accomplished.
And now, How does this apply to massage? Well, when I’m giving a massage, I’m of course trying to sooth sore muscles and to help the person to relax. A big part of truly relaxing is to get out of one’s head-which is like meditation. When someone ‘zones out’, they are not ‘thinking’. Their autonomic nervous system-which operates largely below the level of consciousness-dominates. My hope is, more relaxed and less sore people make for more peaceful people!
Are you ready to book your Ashiatsu Massage? Do you live in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, or are you visiting here? Call me at (970) 846-2346, or email email@example.com.
One of my favorite quotes:
“The planet does not need more successful people. The planet desperately needs more peacemakers, healers, restorers, storytellers and lovers of all kind.