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Nationalism in Sri Lanka

In yesterday’s Guardian:

“Supporters of radical Buddhist nationalist groups [in Sri Lanka] have been blamed for days of arson attacks and vandalism against Muslim-owned properties in Kandy which have prompted the government to declare its first state of emergency since the end of the civil war era.

[...] Analysts said Buddhist nationalist groups had sharpened their anti-Muslim rhetoric since the end of the civil war in 2009. Two people were killed and many more injured in Buddhist attacks on Muslims in June 2014. Several of the Buddhist extremist leaders accused of instigating the violence and are facing legal proceedings for other offences.”

So I thought the Buddhist nationalists in Myanmar were a reasonably unique phenomenon. I guess many religions right now are having to come to terms with violence and abuse in their names.

It’s certainly revealing a wrong view of mine that Buddhists are better than that. It’s interesting to observe my reaction to this news. I’m appalled and confused in a way that I’m not when it’s “just another Islamic fundamentalist”. Yet terrorism is as foreign to Islamic principles as it is to Buddhist. I should know better :-|

lobster

Comments

  • KundoKundo Sydney, Australia Veteran

    It never ceases to amaze me that people, in general, tend to separate Buddhists from ever having extremists/fundamentalists or other unskillful adherents.

    On one hand, I guess it shows people actually believe Buddhists are genuinely trying to walk the talk but on the other hand, there could be unrealistic expectations being placed on Buddhists. We're people too, and just as fallible as everyone else.

    lobster
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    As an Islamic Buddhist and Dharma Jihadhi 🤪
    http://islam.uga.edu/sufismawaken.html
    I am well aware of this tendency to label Christians by the standards of idiot creationists (and worse cultists) Jews by Israel's state terrorism, politicians by Trump style inadequacy etc.

    Are these angry, selfish, unloving institutions and people deserving of compassion or should we judge them as they divide and judge?

    Wasn't it the convicted and executed criminal Jesus Christ, who said, 'The poor will always be with us ... ' Hopefully not.

    Kundo
  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    I have had the pleasure of spending quite a bit of time with Sri Lankan Buddhists over the last year or so.

    Most would admit they are simply Buddhists in name only and were just born in to the culture.

    Occasionally I'll meet one who'll say something along the lines of:

    "I was born a Buddhist but only discovered "Buddha" recently"

    Buddhism is just another label at the end of the day.......

    ShoshinKeromelobsterkarasti
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    @Bunks said:
    I have had the pleasure of spending quite a bit of time with Sri Lankan Buddhists over the last year or so.

    Most would admit they are simply Buddhists in name only and were just born in to the culture.

    Occasionally I'll meet one who'll say something along the lines of:

    "I was born a Buddhist but only discovered "Buddha" recently"

    Buddhism is just another label at the end of the day.......

    Isn't everything.......?
    We label the people who perpetrate these atrocities as extremists, terrorists, nationalists...but in essence what it boils down to is suffering generated by clinging.

    From the child who doesn't want to share his sandwich with his sibling, to the violent aggressive Molotov cocktail thrower in a riot; we're all suffering, because we're all clinging.

    lobsterkarastipersonBunks
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran
    edited March 9

    @Bunks said:
    I have had the pleasure of spending quite a bit of time with Sri Lankan Buddhists over the last year or so.

    Interesting to see that being born within the culture does not make you a believer there.

    The Christian Church has a certain approach to teaching its culture to young children if you are born in that area, and we subconsciously expect other religions to do the same... to teach the path as it is understood by its adherents. But Buddhism apparently does not do the same.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    "I was born a Buddhist but only discovered "Buddha" recently"

    That is the core.

    Most people do not go deeply into their stated/family religion. I chose Buddhism, like most people here. Therefore elements resonate strongly and I am quite prepared to explore and devote time.

    If I had been born a Buddhist, I would no doubt be aware of the shallowness, hypocrisy and social function of temple/monastic life. Maybe I would have turned for salvation to Hasidic masters, met a Tao Lady or been married in a Church ... who knows ...

    Long Live The Buddha.
    Kill the Heretic! 😱😉

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    @Kerome I'm sure that varies by area. The US overwhelmingly still identifies as mostly Christian (even though quite obviously many of them don't know the first thing about it) but in most areas there isn't a presence of "The Church" in any way because every town has dozens (or hundreds) of churches of varying types. The vast majority of Americans are "born Christian" and identify as such even if they don't practice at all. It's an interesting concept to consider oneself born as a religion. Indoctrinated, maybe. Born, not really.

    lobster
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I don't think anyone is any more born a religion than they are born a particular Political preference...

    karasti
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    It would seem that it's the old case of faulty labelling ....example "Buddhist by name but not necessarily by nature" :)

    I put this unrest down to...that damn monkey mind up to its old tricks again...

    Humans being human beings...Warts and all....No surprises there :)

    For the Buddhist practitioner, Dukkha waves occasionally rock the boat/raft.... at times causing it to capsize...and if the Dharma life jacket is not fastened properly...it slips off, leaving one struggling to stay afloat in the turbulent ocean of Samsara...

    lobster
  • KeromeKerome Love, love is mystery The Continent Veteran

    I do think that the same pressures that cause Muslim extremism to rise from certain segments of the population also exist to cause Buddhist extremism... you get certain frictions in areas where people live side by side and unless that society puts a real premium on tolerance and getting along (which for example the Dutch do) there are some populist emotions which can be stirred by preachers who take advantage.

    How it should be that supposedly certain Buddhist monks, people who have actually studied the lore of the Buddha and identify with the whole, should become preachers of that type is beyond me. Buddhism is usually held to be a religion of harmlessness, of finding peace within. So to go from that to teaching hate and uproar seems completely counter to the way of the Buddha, I just don’t understand how you get from one to the other.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Buddhist monks are human and all humans have faults & flaws...

    If the rudder's wonky, so float the raft and all who choose to ride on it

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