In the post, also found at Digital Tibetan Buddhist (dated to last November), the author responds to his worry for Bhutan with a divination:
Click here for more on divination in the Tibetan tradition.As reported earlier... there have been devastating earthquakes, unusual weather anomalies, insidious acts by troublemakers, epidemic illness, and now, from Pemagatshel, comes word of a plague of grasshoppers.
Because I care very deeply for this place -- very deeply -- I decided to do a divination. In some ways, I wish that I had not, because what I saw is not going to make anybody happy.It came to me that the cause of the misfortunes is the Western fundamentalist Christian missionaries who have been allowed to visit Bhutan and set up shop. These missionaries have caused a number of people to break samaya, and to forsake the Dharma. This breakage and outrageous abandonment of all sentient beings has caused the oath-bound protectors to rise up in anger. Numerous other things came to me, but this is the essential point.
Blaming natural calamities on other people's religious beliefs? Sounds like... Pat... Haiti...
While I'm all for respecting other people's practices and not being a darned Buddhist fundamentalist, this just seems wrong. Declaring a state religion - even if it's Buddhism - and restricting the activities of others is a recipe for disaster. Brian Victoria, an ordained Soto Zen priest and scholar of Japanese Buddhist Militarism, has lectured and written widely about this. Those who have followed the war in Sri Lanka, too, know the price of nationalized religion and the demonization of "outsiders." Tibet, too, was hampered by excessive suspicion of outside forces; as H.H. the 13th Dalai Lama foresaw the rise of China and sought to modernize and reach out to other powers, he was blocked by conservative forces in his own government.
Bhutan stands as perhaps the only "Buddhist" country yet to fall completely to outside forces, military rule, or resort to internal violence. What, ideally, should they do? For the most part, they've done great. The king instituted democratic government and voluntarily abdicated his throne. At the same time he's carefully balanced maintaining sovereignty and cultural integrity with opening to the outside world for "progress."
On of my old professors, a philosopher of technology, Albert Borgmann, predicted that the country would fall the way so many indigenous populations have when exposed to the corrosive effects of technology. He gave the example of Inuits who had begun to use GPS and within years were completely dependent on them - no longer able to navigate by landscape and the stars as they had for generations. Will Nepal soon find itself dependent on outside forces and technologies, never to return to the "Shangri-la" ways of its past? Is this necessarily a bad thing?
While we can think about Nepal in this larger context, it is wise not to lose sight of the specific issue at hand: Christian missionaries want desperately to convert the nation. What should they do? And what can/should we do (if anything) to help?