“If one hears it, one is
liberated simply by not disbelieving. . . .”

The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Each day we broadcast to Tibet. This past spring the Tibetan Information Network said, “A major political education campaign now being carried out in Tibet is reported by some sources to be an attempt to counteract the effectiveness” of our Voice of America Tibetan-language broadcasts. “ Scores of Chinese and Tibetan officials,” it was said, “have been sent to rural reigons to spend up to four months giving political education on the benefits of socialism.”

Reportedly, officials complained that the villagers didn’t listen to Chinese TV and radio news, but knew VOA’s broadcast time and frequencies and, not surprisingly, knew “all about the activities of the Dalai Lama.” Commenting on the villagers’ backwardness, one Chinese official said they “fold their hands while listening as if someone is going to give them something.”

There is irony in this. The official’s communist ideaology is an outdated scientism, a cargo cult awaiting unseen historical forces. Yet he ciriticised the Buddhist villagers’ reverence for the radio. Where in the views of Marx, Lenin or Mao is there anything like the cosmological flights of the ancient Buddhist scriptures? The Perfection of Wisdom contains wild seeds of imagination that resonate within modern scientific ideas-relativity, space travel, recursive structures, lasers, holograms, virtual reality, telecommunication, signal encryption. That is one reason why Tietan villagers fold their hands in front of their shortwave sets.

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