Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Saffron Confusion

Life can be surreal. As I sit all cozy in my nice little home preparing with no small degree of excitement for my weekend in Nashville to enjoy IBMA's World of Bluegrass Fan Fest, half a world away there is no small amount of suffering going on in a country called Burma.

When a few years back I was reeling from confusion, the writings and teachings of Buddhist thinkers and leaders like Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chodron, and the 14th Dalai Lama were among the tools I used to guide myself toward a sort of intellectual and spiritual rebirth. The lessons, coupled with other readings and self-guided rediscovery of a greater purpose, focused on strengthening the mind and opening the heart. This is an interesting combination indeed. Earlier this week I reminded myself of a teaching by the monk Thich Nhat Hanh, "If we love our enemies, we begin to understand them, and they are no longer our enemies."

How then does the Saffron Army bring this to bear? I am riveted by the circumstances in Myanmar, in which monks have risen in a Saffron Revolution against the Junta that controls its people with fear and violence.

Monks rising, it's a concept. So these teachers and spiritual leaders are not in fact doormats with superior intellect and mere open hearts. They have the capacity for righteous anger and will use it. They are standing up for democracy. But why? Isn't democracy just another construct of ours that we need to let go? And yet I so wish that the Junta will get a swift and serious kick in its ugly ass.
And so it is that I'm confused.

Casey Driessen who by know you've figured out is one of my favorite performers and human beings, spent a lot of time in China last year. I want to reach out to performers like Driessen to find ways to help the people of Myanmar. Maybe I'll take a few temperatures this weekend. Here we'll all be sitting around and enjoying the Grascals with a nice cold beer followed by picking until 3 a.m. while in places like Burma, monks, Buddhist monks, are being shot, scythed, decapitated in their monasteries.

This tune by Casey is one that's appeared before here. It's called The Confusion Before Dreams. It's a lovely break from the noise that can play in one's head. Music is that way, music has the power to get me to stop and reassess my priorities, my circumstances, my options, my relationship to these things, and allows me to gain the perspective and strength I need to move forward. I wonder whether, and hope that, the Monks and the people of Myanmar have a kind of music that gives them strength, too. I do think they would enjoy this tune and I hope you do, too.
Learn how you can help Burma by visiting these links:


At October 04, 2007 6:57 AM, Anonymous conscious freedom said...

Burma is currently in need of the international community’s support for the peaceful democratic movement. There are reports that the brutal military has actually killed and tortured several thousand people including many monks. The courage showed by the Burmese people is absolutely amazing and should be rewarded by support from those of us that don’t need to risk out lives to ask for peace and freedom.
The last uprising in 1988 resulted in thousands killed and hundreds of thousands eventually escaping as refuges. It has taken people almost 20 years to get back the courage to risk their lives for democracy again and we should be supporting them in any way we can. If we don’t use our voices to help those that have been silence then we will be just as responsible for the pain and suffering as those that inflict it.
Now is the time for the Burmese people to be free. Aung San Suu Kyi, the legally elected leader of the country has been patiently waiting (just as Nelson Mandela did) for her own freedom so that she can lead her country out of poverty, out of dictatorship and into a new ear of prosperity and peace.
Now is the time for all of us to show compassion and do whatever we can from writing letters, raising money, raising awareness and showing the power of united people we can help bring Burma to freedom and democracy.

At October 07, 2007 3:43 PM, Blogger DrDon said...

Humans are an ugly species. Always have been, always will be. I don't mean to sound defeatist. By all means, if people feel it in their heart, they should donate their time, money, etc., to helping this cause. Just know that it's only a finger in the dam. There will be 10 despotic regimes to take the place of this one. Evil is in the hearts of humans.


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