Award Revoked

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Not actually surprising.

This is not quite exactly the way the West is going to win the sympathy of the regular Myanmar people, by pointing fingers and showing the locals that the Americans know the Myanmar politics better than Mama Suu. Steps like this one only strengthen the position of the nationalists and military sympathizers in Myanmar.

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… does it help you to know that museum is not controlled by the government nor huge amounts of public input, but is a private philanthropic institution? And probably by a nonprofit organization conditioned to react strongly to anything touching on destruction of an identity (aside from the loss of life and suffering)?

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As a fairly regular American (albeit one who has a broader interest in social organizations and interactions than most regular Americans), I think very few care about Myanmar politics at all; we cannot control our own politicans, and i doubt anyone imagines controlling yours, or any other at this time 2018.

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Profoundly ironic, given the consistently escalating progress of the State of Israel to increase and consolidate its territory and purge the Palestinians and all other “foreign” influences.

Then there’s the recent speech by a holocaust survivor delivered at the German Bundestag (parliament) last week or so on Holocaust Remembrance Day, where she promoted the cause of open-border migration. Would that she try to deliver that speech to the Knesset in Israel, where immigrants from Africa are purged for threatening the Jewish character of Israel. Even jews from Africa are repressed there.

Then there’s the hypocrisy of a month or two ago several British institutions similarly revoking awards and honors from Aung an Suu – the British empire, back in the 19th century, having created the Rohingya settlement in Burma by importing Bangladesh people to supply workers (slaves?) for the British colonial plantations during their occupation of Burma. Not to mention further efforts of the British throughout their occupation to import other foreign populations and otherwise destroy Burmese culture.


Yes, many lives have done terrible things to many lives for a long time. And colonialism was/is a traveling horror show.

Some lives however, whatever circumstances in which they occurred, have fought as best they knew how slaughter, suffering, ruination of lives.

May all beings erradicate hate, greed and ignorance. May all beings enjoy all the good things until liberation is achieved.


Oh, and I’d also like all beings to stop raping all beings.

Edit: [redacted comment which could be hurtful, which is not what I want to do. Sorrow, if anyone bothered.

Metta to us all.

As it happens, i stumbled on this exercise just now. It’s possible one has seen it before but still could benefit by following to the end:

Metta, all around, dear beings.


Very clever presentation. I prefer the classroom-friendly version. Something about the regular version caused my amygdala to draw it’s swords. :wink:

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I don’t think i have seen that one, can you post or send me a link, if available? =D

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Sure! When you follow the original link you get to the “Regular” version. There are two links under the first panel where you can choose versions. If you click on “Classroom Friendly Version” it take you to this link:


A couple of points to add here – less to argue any particular viewpoint, more to fill-out a broader picture encompassing these issues, which could be called, in a word, samsara.

1: The Myanmar situation, IMO, really doesn’t have that much to do with Buddhism, per se, but rather cultural and political history and tendencies. As a national institution in Myanmar, and less as what we might think of as EBT “real” teachings, “Buddhism” has been implicated.

For instance, at one point in recent months, I ran across a news report with video showing that monk who’s been depicted as “rabble-rousing” against the “Rohingya”. In it, he cited a sutta-passage (can someone supply the citation?) where the Buddha mentions the dangers of small or young things: small snakes (tend to have stronger venom), small vines (can grow to suffocate, kill large trees), small “princes” (if offended can carry grudges dangerous as they mature), and small monks (as I recall Thanissaro B’s explanation, along the lines of the aphorism “a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing”). I think he was referring to the radical Islam associated with that terrorist group, associated with at least some Rohingyans, that has carried-out rather brutal attacks against the Myanmar government and specifically “Buddhist” communities.

I think one has to admit, or take into consideration, that that sort of radical Islam, which, together with ISIS, elements in Saudi-Arabia, the Talaban, etc., is also known to be influential in Bangladesh, and hence associated with Rohingya. I’ve read purported evidence that that radical element has directed itself explicitly against Buddhism in Myanmar, and that sort of behavior, don’t forget, goes along with things like the Talaban demolishing millennian-old giant Buddha stone statues in Afghanistan.

So that monk, conceivably, was expressing an understandable fear, reinforced by a long history of (then) Burma being subjected to colonial abuse against its culture, including its Buddhist tradition. And, to his mind, it could be justified from the Buddha’s teaching.

2: Not that there’s a lack of evidence that aspects of Myanmar culture can exhibit rather harsh tendencies. Brought to my attention in coming across out how followers of the Mahasi Sayadaw (my suspicion is perhaps not from the Sayadaw himself) launched a sort of fatwa (in the distorted, media sense) against the Pa Auk Sayadaw – calling for burning his books and issuing what amounted to life-threats against him for purportedly questioning aspects of teachings associated with Mahasi Sayadaw. If I recall this came to a head during the “war of succession” after Mahasi’s death (1980s), and associated with the Pandita Sayadawgyi. Ironically, the Pa Auk Sayadaw was initially trained by Pandita, but apparently followed a path of his own inclination, perhaps having to do with relative emphasis on samadhi / jhana or vipassana. (too long a story for here, and more human politics…)

3: Re: “You’re not going to believe…

Mention of neuro-scientific research and emotion vs intellect reminded me similar research conducted and reported by Antonio Damasio (in his book “Self Comes to Mind: Constructing the Conscious Brain”, 2010). A four-arm study, observing (fMRI) brain areas associated with 1:a: compassion for physical suffering; 1:b: compassion for mental/emotional suffering; and 2:a: empathy for physical excellence; and 2:b: empathy for mental/emotional excellence. The finding was that the responses to the physical phenomena shared the same brain areas, and different areas than those associated with the mental/emotional areas. (I.e. a s/w different finding than in the research cited in the video cited here; but this area of science, being in rather earlier stages, often comes up with paradoxical findings.)

Interesting was Damasio’s inference: that the responses to physical phenomena were more rapid and compelling, reflecting being embedded in more archaic and hence more efficient (think instinctual) brain structures and function, while the responses to mental/emotional phenomena were slower, reflecting newer growth in the history of brain development.

The relevance here, and as Damasio – being s/w a humanist as well as outstanding scientist – points out also in youtube talks, is that the human genome is still rapidly evolving, and developing newer “instincts”, so to speak, relating to compassion, social cooperation, etc. That is to say, moral virtues being added to more primitive and seemingly still dominant “survival of the fittest” deeper instincts. Damasio also shows that such development occurs in time-frames of decades and centuries – not just 10’s or 100’s of millions of years as often thought. I.e. grounds for cautious optimism as to the influence of phenomena like the Buddha’s teachings, and the fate of humanity.

Yes, samsara with no beginning or end, but “unbinding” becoming increasingly possible.


I do not know the politics of this problem.
The only thing I can see is the stupidity of people who gave her the award.
If the award is impermanent why are we bother to give it?
Did Buddha give award to anyone?

I guess awards have two functions: to promote the recipient and to promote the organisation giving the award.

So generally the giver don’t want any bad promotion and will revoke those awards when it’s becoming detrimental to there set goals / moral responsabilities whichever is most influential.

Making the people of Myanmar angrier is not helping the purpose of this philanthropic institution in any way, shape, or form. If this organization would really care about the Rogingya and not about its reputation in the West, they would have thought twice before doing this.

Another interesting interpretive angle – that behind both giving out those awards and revoking them lies Western liberal do-goodism, and its increasingly questionable assumption that its values are universally valid for mankind.

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Under this interpretation, the actions of awarding or revoking have no effect on grounded Buddhists. The only complaints could come from those not speaking from right view. Is this a point one intended to make?

Under this view, the intentions of the go gooder Westerners are presented as corrupt. Is this a point one intended to make?

Under this view, good view rejects Western values entirely, as useless or hazards or relevant to Buddhists. Is this a view one intended to make?

Seeing this line of thought, one looks to causes of this line of thought. Are they free of the defilements of hate, greed, and ignorance?

It is impossible to know the thought of another without spiritual attainments.

May all beings achieve liberation.s

edited for spelling.

Perhaps their stated concern is their actual concern: Aung San Suu Kwi. Perhaps they perceive themselves as having a personal relationship with her, and responsibility for the honor they awarded her which they only previously had awarded to their founding teacher. Perhaps they view her role as apologist as harmful to her ultimate wellbeing, and spoke publicly as a latter resort which they could not in conscience not make.

In fact…

"Monks, these eight worldly conditions spin after the world, and the world spins after these eight worldly conditions. Which eight? Gain, loss, status, disgrace, censure, praise [emphasis added], pleasure, & pain. These are the eight worldly conditions that spin after the world, and the world spins after these eight worldly conditions.

Gain/loss, status/disgrace, censure/praise, pleasure/pain: these conditions among human beings are inconstant, impermanent, subject to change. Knowing this, the wise person, mindful, ponders these changing conditions. Desirable things don’t charm the mind, undesirable ones bring no resistance. His welcoming & rebelling are scattered, gone to their end, do not exist. Knowing the dustless, sorrowless state, he discerns rightly, has gone, beyond becoming, to the Further Shore."

Then there’s the issue of assuming the authority to publicly advance judgement on the moral character of others, e.g. prominent figures – as assumed here by USHMM, and elsewhere – quite often, actually – by organizations such as Nobel Prizes, Academy Awards (Oscars), etc. Might well relate to the notion of māna / ātimāna – conceit, pride, and measuring, comparing self and others; aka the 9th “fetter” (samyojana), second only the 10th, the big one, avijjā, the primary root of all dukkha.

Or possilby they gave an award initially in line with a Western view of what would be best for Burma / Myanmar (and as PR in the West), and revoked it similarly, in both cases in lieu of an in-depth understanding and respect for the complexities of the situation in that country, and/or perhaps from some viewpoint of supposed moral superiority.