Cultural Wars have No Winners

The article in Times magazine’s  Nov.30 issue “France’s Assimilation Challenge” well summarized France’s secularization and assimilation colonization. My heart feels for the three adolescent Muslim girls sent home for wearing head scarfs on their first day of middle school in a Parisian suburb back in 1989. The cause of Charlie Hebdo killing was attributed to Muslims robbed of their roots. Muslim is unsuccessful assimilation in French democracy where rights of the few do not trump the standards of the many.

An ironic divergence on Japan’s successful assimilation colonization of Taiwan.Ex President Lee Teng Hui of Taiwan claimed that the Senkaku Islands disputed among China, Taiwan and Japan for decades belong to Japan  in a visit with Shinzo Abe. He considers Japan as motherland and grew up during Japan’s occupation of Taiwan.Since his Presidency, Taiwan has been torn between the green party that refuses to be called Chinese and the blue party that holds on to Taiwan’s name as Republic of China.

Fareed Zakaria who was raised in a Muslim family recently conducted an interview on the Paris attack with U2 that started out in an Ireland filled with political violence, terrorism and sectarian religious struggle.

“It seemed like the target was culture, and every kind of expression of the best of humanity — great music, restaurants, French food, everything that we hold dear seemed to be the target,” explains the legendary guitarist Edge. “France is also the birth of the Enlightenment movement, which gave birth to America. It’s the place where the modern Western world was born ” He emphasized, “we are not wrong, we are right.”

“The wise engages not in being right but dwells in the common way. This is what is called being illumined.” (Chuang Tzu)


“Liberty, equality, fraternity” are core French values. In wikipedia, freedom is defined as the power or right to do as one wants, including freedom of choice and speech. It also alludes to freedom from bondage of sins in theology.

Christianity, Muslim or Chinese Buddhism as a religion emphasize sins or wrongdoings. Zen, Tao or original (Theravadan) Buddhism are mere ways of life rather than religions.Non-duality and non-discrimination of good and evil, right and wrong, likes and dislikes are key teachings. Freedom from bondage of desires, attachments, fixations, views or conventions is the ultimate goal to end all sufferings.

In the hot humid summer of Taiwan a devout Buddhist Chinese friend always lectures me for wearing sleeveless clothes at my age. She would leave with disgust for my talking over the meal too.(Eating in silence is a Buddhist practice). A Chinese Buddhists group forbids crossing the legs sitting on a chair listening to the teacher’s talk . (It is deemed disrespectful). Buddhists who take the ten precepts are supposed to abstain from sex,meat,alcohol and music.Yet Chinese monasteries or temples have exquisite cuisines of vegetarian duck,chicken, pork, beef.

“Mind leveled, why meditate?
actions upright , why keep precepts”
(Huineng, Sixth Patriarch of Zen)

May we be free and easy in peace doing no harm to all, living or nonliving!



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