FIRST PRIZE

When Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest in Rangoon for the past two years, was named the latest recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize, the news triggered massive protests against the repressive regime in Burma. Universities were shut down when students demonstrated for Aung San Suu Kyi’s release and, in a plea for world attention, Buddhist monks took to the streets carrying big signs in English to, “Free the Winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.” (Read the review of Freedom from Fear, a collection of essays by Aung San Suu Kyi).

MASS GRAVE FOR MONGOLIAN MONKS

The discovery of a mass grave for 3,000 Buddhist monks in Mongolia is the most recent reminder of Stalin’s demented rule, in which an estimated 100,000 executions took place. In a gruesome attempt to suppress vajrayana Buddhism, the monks, found in a two-acre burial site in Moron, in northwestern Mongolia, each had a bullet wound to the back of the head, and were murdered while wearing the maroon robes of their Tibetan tradition. Reuters News Service interviewed a seventy-eight year old monk who recalled the systematic attempts to eliminate Buddhism from Mongolia during the 1930s and 1940s: “In the year of the Yellow Tiger (1938), troops came one night from the Ministry of the Interior. They came with high-ranking monks who had turned informers. They identified the important monks, and then the troops took them outside and shot them in front of the rest of us. We were then ordered to smash our monastery. They killed my three brothers before my eyes because they refused to cooperate.”

But as Buddhism teaches: all things change, nothing is permanent. More than half a century later, in the Year of the Iron Sheep (1991), His Holiness the Dalai Lama visited Mongolia to perform the KalachachraInitiation.

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