The above photo is of the Dalai Lama being awarded a congressional gold medal from last October. Doesn't he look awfully miserable? Ron Paul seems to think so. Ron has a habit of screwing people while claiming to uphold the principles that they stand for, and doing it in their own self-interest. He does this because he assumes that he's a better expert on what those people stand for then they themselves. e.g., the exact sort of patronizing behavior that he hypocritically accuses the state of doing. Ron Paul voted against awarding the Dalai Lama a gold medal, citing the following reasons:
Mr. PAUL: Mr. Speaker, with great sadness I must rise to oppose this measure granting a congressional gold medal to the 14th Dalai Lama. While I greatly admire and respect His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and fully recognize his tremendous status both as a Buddhist leader and international advocate for peace, I must object to the manner in which this body chooses to honor him.You'll notice how Ron Paul always makes statements such as these before attempting to screw people over, which is his own version of "with all due respect." In the eyes of the Paultard, this makes Ron Paul exempt from criticism.
I wonder if my colleagues see the irony in honoring a devout Buddhist monk with a material gift of gold. The Buddhist tradition, of course, eschews worldly possessions in favor of purity of thought and action. Buddhism urges its practitioners to alleviate the suffering of others whenever possible. I’m sure His Holiness the Dalai Lama would rather see $30,000 spent to help those less fortunate, rather than for a feel-good congressional gesture.Now, I'm not expert on Buddhist faith, but then, neither is Ron Paul. But I'm pretty sure that Buddhism is about rejecting the desire for and attachment to material possessions, rather than the material possessions themselves. If someone offered you a gold medal, then fine, take it. The Buddhists monks who I've spoken to tell me that they aren't allowed to refuse anything. And if someone put a gun to your head and said "hand it over, or else," then you hand it over. But I don't think that their doctrine forces them to rely on purity of thought alone. That's pretty naive. I mean, what would they eat? Where would they live? What would they sleep on?
True, you could argue that the $30,000 could be spent on other things. But that's a slippery slope. For instance, you could say the same thing about their plane trip, and their living accommodations. And it's ironic for Ron Paul to on the one hand claim to uphold "purity of thought," while on the other hand claim to reject a "feel-good congressional gesture." Again, I'm not an expert, but if the congressional gold medal brings people together and gets them to overlook their differences (with one notable exception), then I think that it would be in line with the whole concept of Buddhist compassion.
Update: Commenter Yokomado Jin chimes in: "You are exactly correct. The physical possession has little meaning, it is the intention that is what important. In this case, this Mr. Paul guy insulted Buddhists two ways. First, by assuming for another things about the faith he doesn't understand- stereotyping us. Secondly, as the world works based on the laws of karma, a gift is a good deed that brings good into the world. By rejecting others desire to give a gift, he is removing their potential reward of good karma. I don't know who this Mr. Paul fellow is, but he strikes me as the typical ignorant westerner who doesn't understand Buddhism beyond what they see in a movie. I've looked at some of the other articles about him and I am not surprised, he seems to be a bitter man. Blessings to his heart that it turns less ignorant."