Last night, I watched the first half of the rebroadcast of Dan Rather Reports: One Man vs. China, which included Rather’s interview with His Holiness the Dalai Lama. While there wasn’t necessarily anything new in the report, I appreciated having the opportunity to see and hear first-hand accounts from Tibetan refugees, many of them children, arriving from over the Himalayas in Tibet to Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan Government-in-Exile in India.
As I watched, the familiar feelings of sadness, dismay and disgust for the way the institution of modern Chinese government has treated all things Tibetan began to bubble up in my mind and heart, even as His Holiness said he continues to have hope that the situation in Tibet and across China will improve and is, in fact, improving now.
I didn’t give this too much thought until this morning, when an e-mail popped up on my screen that read, “News Alert: Bhutto Reportedly Killed In Suicide Attack.” I flipped my TV to CNN, where they had just confirmed that Benazir Bhutto had indeed been assassinated.
What must collectively be many billions of prayers, dedications and hopes for peace in a troubled part of the world seem to have once again failed us. We watch as man is pit against man one more time, playing out conflicts buried deep in religion, ideology and nationalism. At what point did we, as the human race, forget that we are each other’s brother and sister?
This bewildering sense of cyclical frustration is what led me on my own spiritual journey nearly five years ago. In my search for the answer to how a world full of so much potential could be so broken, I found the teachings of a man whose message was surprisingly simple: suffering is a fact of life. It always has been, and it always will be.
The great Indian philosopher Nagarjuna said it best:
After happiness comes suffering.
After suffering arises happiness.
For beings happiness and suffering
Revolve like a wheel.
I continue to look inside for the way to make all of this easier to accept, for I know there are many people who have developed and strengthened their own Bodhicitta in this environment. Still, it sometimes feel like we, as a species, are simply banging our heads against the wall.