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Burma Today

So I don't know about about the rest of the world, but Burma is high up in the news today here in SE Asia because of riots, Buddhist protestors VS Muslims. This link does have some disturbing content so be aware of that. I have even seen monks carrying out thrashings with sticks and rallying against Muslims.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22243438
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Comments

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Although I can't remember exactly where I saw it, just yesterday there was an article which said that what many Burmese Muslims are doing is tantamount to ethnic cleansing.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    Sad. All religions run into the same problems, neglecting the wisdom in the tradition for the details. The wisdom is all the same. From what I have read on the topic, they (the Buddhists) are scared their way of life, their traditions, will disappear as Muslims continue to move into their country.

    Nothing I can get has anything other than Boston news, as usual. I wish we could get BBC news here.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    But on a far different scale, don't we see a bit of that right here on this forum?
  • “We have just enough religion to make us hate, but not enough to make us love one another.”
    Jonathan Swift
    lamaramadingdong
  • TheEccentricTheEccentric South east, UK Veteran
    Those people will never be true Buddhists.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran

    Those people will never be true Buddhists.

    The judge has spoken.

    What do you mean by "those people"?

    You need to define your terms.

  • TheEccentricTheEccentric South east, UK Veteran
    vinlyn said:

    Those people will never be true Buddhists.

    The judge has spoken.

    What do you mean by "those people"?

    You need to define your terms.

    "Those people" being the monks and other Buddhists involved in violence, you may say I am being judgemental but it is true, there behaviour is hardly compassionate. Violence never ends violence, it extends it.
  • NMADDPNMADDP SUN Diego, California Veteran
    Why some Bruma monks behave badly?
    Maybe this gives us some insights

    http://buddhism.about.com/b/2013/04/17/understanding-buddhist-violence-in-burma.htm

    People are people, people are buddhists, buddhists are people...
    zombiegirlSimon
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    @TheEccentric None of us is a true Buddhist by your definition. We all mess up, and do things that go against Buddhist teachings on a daily basis. Are you a true Buddhist because you don't do the things they are doing, yet you judge them?
  • TheEccentricTheEccentric South east, UK Veteran
    karasti said:

    @TheEccentric None of us is a true Buddhist by your definition. We all mess up, and do things that go against Buddhist teachings on a daily basis. Are you a true Buddhist because you don't do the things they are doing, yet you judge them?

    There is a huge difference between doing a few things we're not proud of but persecuting, harming and murdering is incomparable, I don't think anyone here behaves like that, if they want to be true Buddhists they must renounce there violent ways and develop compassion like Angulimala.

    They are awful people let lone real Buddhists. Even the best of people "mess up" you're right but not on that level, I'm sorry scorning murderers is not being judgemental it is being fair.
    Jeffrey
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran



    "Those people" being the monks and other Buddhists involved in violence, you may say I am being judgemental but it is true, there behaviour is hardly compassionate. Violence never ends violence, it extends it.

    Well, at least you clarified your statement and narrowed down to whom you were referring.

    But, in terms of judging who is or is not Buddhist, who died and made you Dali Lama (so to speak)? And who will you be judging next and for what behavior? It becomes a very slippery slope. What if someone said to you, "You're not a real Buddhist because you sit around judging whether others are real Buddhists"?

    And just for the record, I have seen situations where violence has brought closure to the violence of others. Cliches are not always true.

    Simon
  • TheEccentricTheEccentric South east, UK Veteran
    edited April 2013
    vinlyn said:



    "Those people" being the monks and other Buddhists involved in violence, you may say I am being judgemental but it is true, there behaviour is hardly compassionate. Violence never ends violence, it extends it.

    Well, at least you clarified your statement and narrowed down to whom you were referring.

    But, in terms of judging who is or is not Buddhist, who died and made you Dali Lama (so to speak)? And who will you be judging next and for what behavior? It becomes a very slippery slope. What if someone said to you, "You're not a real Buddhist because you sit around judging whether others are real Buddhists"?

    And just for the record, I have seen situations where violence has brought closure to the violence of others. Cliches are not always true.

    Well I don't think the murder of innocent people just for being Muslim is necessary to close any situation. They are killing out of discrimination not to try and end a conflict, they are killing peoples sons, daughters, mothers, fathers and is just horrible, there is no way you can do half of this and be a Buddhist.

    You must be the first people I have spoken to this with and think it is possible to do all this and be a Buddhist, I told a bunch of people about what they are doing and they all agreed that they must be "shit Buddhists" and quite frankly there's no saying they aren't.
  • ZeroZero Veteran
    edited April 2013
    Do you mean what they are subjected to?
    karasti said:


    (the Buddhists) are scared their way of life, their traditions, will disappear as Muslims continue to move into their country.

    The estimate of the Burmese Muslim population is less than 5% and declining.
    The Muslims aren't spread evenly thoughout the population as (in part at least) Islam and Buddhism are distinct and the cultural roots of the ethnic groups are also relatively distinct.
    It is estimated that Muslims have been in Burma for over a 1000 years.
    Very broadly, though there are Muslims in all walks of life in Burma, historically there were many Muslims (undoubtedly a disproportionate number pro rata) in positions of 'power' and responsibility such as in education, government administration, port, trade and tax authorities, alchemists and / or healers and even the King's elite guard.
    During British occupation, Indian Muslims were encouraged to immigrate and were in turn provided with mid-management positions with significant social and economic advancement above the majority of the population.
    This resentment is now being manipulated by groups vying for power to mobilise the majority.
    The ugly face of nationalism.
    personJeffrey
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran


    Well I don't think the murder of innocent people just for being Muslim is necessary to close any situation. They are killing out of discrimination not to try and end a conflict, they are killing peoples sons, daughters, mothers, fathers and is just horrible, there is no way you can do half of this and be a Buddhist.

    You must be the first people I have spoken to this with and think it is possible to do all this and be a Buddhist, I told a bunch of people this and they all agreed that they must be "shit Buddhists" and quite frankly there's no saying they aren't

    I agree that "I don't think the murder of innocent people just for being Muslim is necessary to close any situation". And I never said it did.

    I agree that "They are killing out of discrimination" and that it "is just horrible".

    You "told a bunch of people this and they all agreed that they must be shit Buddhists". Okay, you told a "bunch of people" something and they agreed with you. That makes it true? Every word out of the mouth of The Eccentric is truth. Interesting.

    And finally, you missed my whole point (as you often do). You are not (as George Bush said) "the decider" of who is or is not a Buddhist. It's not your job. You don't the power.

    Buddhists can and do do a lot of things. This idea that Buddhism and Buddhists are all pure and walk around aglow with goodness is nonsense. As another person posted, Buddhists are still people. Just as often misguided as the people in any other religion.




  • TheEccentricTheEccentric South east, UK Veteran
    vinlyn said:


    Well I don't think the murder of innocent people just for being Muslim is necessary to close any situation. They are killing out of discrimination not to try and end a conflict, they are killing peoples sons, daughters, mothers, fathers and is just horrible, there is no way you can do half of this and be a Buddhist.

    You must be the first people I have spoken to this with and think it is possible to do all this and be a Buddhist, I told a bunch of people this and they all agreed that they must be "shit Buddhists" and quite frankly there's no saying they aren't

    I agree that "I don't think the murder of innocent people just for being Muslim is necessary to close any situation". And I never said it did.

    I agree that "They are killing out of discrimination" and that it "is just horrible".

    You "told a bunch of people this and they all agreed that they must be shit Buddhists". Okay, you told a "bunch of people" something and they agreed with you. That makes it true? Every word out of the mouth of The Eccentric is truth. Interesting.

    And finally, you missed my whole point (as you often do). You are not (as George Bush said) "the decider" of who is or is not a Buddhist. It's not your job. You don't the power.

    Buddhists can and do do a lot of things. This idea that Buddhism and Buddhists are all pure and walk around aglow with goodness is nonsense. As another person posted, Buddhists are still people. Just as often misguided as the people in any other religion.




    Buddhists are not "pure and walk around with aglow of goodness", you're right but another thing they're not are murderers or savages. As a Buddhist they should try or aim to have at least slightly more moral discipline than your average person, not less.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran



    ...As a Buddhist they should try or aim to have at least slightly more moral discipline than your average person, not less.

    This I agree with.

    What I have said repeatedly is -- you are not the decider of who is or is not a Buddhist.

    If you want to say they are breaking precepts, I will say okay.
    If you want to say they are not behaving as Buddhists should behave, I will say okay.

    When you say they are not Buddhists, I will say that decision is above your pay grade.

  • TheEccentricTheEccentric South east, UK Veteran
    vinlyn said:



    ...As a Buddhist they should try or aim to have at least slightly more moral discipline than your average person, not less.

    This I agree with.

    What I have said repeatedly is -- you are not the decider of who is or is not a Buddhist.

    If you want to say they are breaking precepts, I will say okay.
    If you want to say they are not behaving as Buddhists should behave, I will say okay.

    When you say they are not Buddhists, I will say that decision is above your pay grade.

    OK :(
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    It is fine to condemn acts. I don't think the average person thinks that what is going on in Burma is ok. But it is not your place to judge them as Buddhists.

    As I tell my kids all the time, sometimes what you say is overshadowed by how you say it. It is true, it is very hard to attempt to read the tone of text. Just be cautious about how your tone is coming across, because at least from my seat, your tone, @TheEccentric, is often difficult to swallow and comes across as very judgmental and very "all-knowing." You state your opinion as fact rather than opinion, and that has a big impact on how people receive what you are trying to say.

    vinlynTheEccentriclobster
  • TheEccentricTheEccentric South east, UK Veteran
    I guess I kind of have been a bitch lol
    lobster
  • There is a difference between what is going on in Burma today and other Buddhist protests against occupation and such in the past. The Buddhist temples in Burma are very close to declaring a "holy war" and leading what the UN now openly calls an ethnic cleansing campaign against innocent Muslims backed by the government and using the Buddhist monks as instigators.

    Even more troubling is this "969" slogan now used by the forces determined to force all Muslims out of that country. It's supposed to represent the "three jewels:" the nine attributes of the Buddha, the six attributes of his teachings, and the nine attributes of the Sangha, or monastic order. This number is painted on burned out Muslim homes and shops and that should make every Buddhist sick to their stomach.

    Yes, I know it's complicated by ethnic tensions and the Buddhists can point to some crimes by Muslims in the past as instigating some of the violence. But, let's compare the muted reaction of the world-wide Sangha to what we'd be saying if it was a 90% Muslim country burning the homes of a tiny Buddhist minority.

    We have to ask ourselves, if some tiny part of us isn't thinking, "About time the Muslims are on the receiving end of the intolerance and violence for a change."
    Jeffrey
  • EnigmaEnigma Explorer
    I don't perceive anyone being any more a "decider" or "judge" than anyone else who has posted on this thread. There's no need to point fingers or blame others in return for pointing fingers or blaming others. This is another variation of the cycle of conflict that spans the entire globe (including war-torn Burma) - bouncing back and forth without pause.

    In honor of all those who have lost their lives, their loved ones, their tempers, their humanity: may all beings be free from suffering.

    image
    personJeffrey
  • Lazy_eyeLazy_eye Veteran
    edited April 2013
    Hi peeps -- I haven't posted here in a long time, sorry to jump into this discussion out of the blue. But while reading through this thread, I started wondering if maybe we get a little off track by arguing about who is or isn't a "Buddhist". Would it be more to the point, maybe, to ask whether the people concerned are following the teachings of the Buddha?

    These monks and their lay supporters are conducting hate campaigns and pogroms. I am really curious to know what scriptures and teachings they refer to in order to justify their actions. I have yet to see a passage in the suttas or commentaries where the Buddha or any of his noble disciples are recorded as justifying violence against others.

    If a certain group of Burmese "Buddhists" aren't following and practicing the dhamma, then who cares what they call themselves? The label is meaningless.
    EnigmapegembaraJeffrey
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    @cinorjer oh not at all, I mean not from my end anyhow, i don't think that way. I know several Muslim people and they are just people like anyone else. I don't think it's some sense of justice that they are getting what is coming to them. I didn't say much about it because I just don't know much about the situation, and I didn't mean my comment to be sympathetic towards the Buddhist who are fearful of the Muslims or anything like that. I just meant that of the reading I have done, that is what I have hard as one of the reasonings. I don't think that kind of violence is ever necessary, and it's too close to ethnic cleansing as was mentioned.

    I think that most of us here, look at Buddhism and we think so much about the Dharma we can't imagine someone saying "I am Buddhist!" and then committing such acts. But if you look at all religions, it's present in many of them. In Christianity how many people say they are Christians yet don't follow the 10 Commandments? Don't love their neighbors? Don't treat people with respect and care and leave God to the judging? Just because someone calls themselves something doesn't make it true. I identified as a Christian for a long time, but I was really never a Christian. I imagine there are plenty of people in the more Buddhist countries who are the same. They are "Buddhist" because that is how they grew up and it is part of their identity but it doesn't mean they are really Buddhist. I'm not saying they are or aren't, just making the comparison that since we see it so much in Christianity that perhaps it carries over in Buddhist countries as well. Most of us here found our way to Buddhism. We chose it. Most of the people who are monks in these countries don't seem to choose it so much as it is chosen for them when they are still very young.
    Cinorjer
  • Lee82Lee82 Veteran
    This was one of the main headlines on the news earlier in the UK. I was shocked to see monks in their robes looking full of anger and hatred. Unbelievable.
  • Sounds like a horrible situation.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Lazy_eye said:

    Hi peeps -- I haven't posted here in a long time, sorry to jump into this discussion out of the blue. But while reading through this thread, I started wondering if maybe we get a little off track by arguing about who is or isn't a "Buddhist". Would it be more to the point, maybe, to ask whether the people concerned are following the teachings of the Buddha?

    These monks and their lay supporters are conducting hate campaigns and pogroms. I am really curious to know what scriptures and teachings they refer to in order to justify their actions. I have yet to see a passage in the suttas or commentaries where the Buddha or any of his noble disciples are recorded as justifying violence against others.

    ...

    Yes, exactly. We should, in my view, question in denounce such behaviors. And as you point out, how can they possibly justify their behaviors.

    The danger is saying someone is or is not a "true" Buddhist. Because, where does that stop. He's a Mahayana Buddhist, so he's not a real Buddhist. He doesn't meditate daily, so he's not a real Buddhist. He doesn't go the temple regularly, so he isn't a real Buddhist. He doesn't contribute to the upkeep of monks, so he's not a real Buddhist. And I've hear all of those comments in real life.

    In a broader scope, I just wanted to also comment that what's happening in Burma now exemplifies why I feel monks out to stay out of politics. There were monks involved in the Thai Redshit riots 3 years ago (yes, I know it's supposed to be Redshirt), and I thought it was a horrible precedent.



    riverflowJeffrey
  • What I have a problem with his how most of the world is going to view this and react. They are seeing Buddhist monks help kill innocent people, think about that for a moment, a guy in robes smashing somebody to death with a few other people. Now imagine a catholic priest doing the same to a Muslim, what would the reaction be then? Lay people for the most part see ALL Buddhist monks as holy and unable to do wrong, they do not understand the situation in Burma or that lay people often robe up for a couple of weeks or months in Asian cultures.
  • Some times it is necessary to make a clear stand that such behaviour rooted in greed, hatred and delusion is not Buddhist. Those whose behaviour are not in keeping with the Buddha's teachings are not Buddhist and claiming that they are does not change this.

    There is simply no room for extremism in the Middle Way.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    The problem I have with that, @pegembara is where do you draw the line? obviously beating people to death and not assisting a severely injured man is out of line with almost any set of morals, regardless of which religion you belong to. It certainly goes against Buddhist teachings. But so do a lot of things that people do on a regular basis as they are working through the path. Do we then claim that they are not Buddhist, too? Because they do things that go against the teachings? I realize we are talking extremes here, and I agree with what you are saying in regards to the situation in the video. I am just asking where we draw the line when saying "those whose behaviour are not in keeping with the Buddha's teachings are not Buddhist" and that is a statement I cannot agree with in broader terms.
    vinlyn
  • calling somebody a buddhist or not is just a concept in the mind. I think you call yourself a buddhist and not worry about what others call you.
  • @karasti

    The 5 precepts(pancasila) is a good place to start. Although they are training rules - harming others is clearly wrong. In any case the pancasila is not in any way unique to any religion. As Buddhist, it is important to clearly make a stand that such actions are not acceptable. Otherwise a Buddhist militant/fundamentalist/extremist/zealot becomes part of the lexicon and there is no place for extremism in the Middle Way. BTW only my practice is right and others are mistaken is also a form of extremism.
  • If Buddhists are beating Muslims. I am a Muslim. If Muslims attack Christians. I am a Christian. If Christians belittle atheists, I am an atheist. If atheists undermine theists, God is my refuge. If God abandons me . . . I could always be a Buddhist and get beaten up by the 'false' Buddhists . . .

    Bend and bow. Buddha Rulez. :)
    Cinorjerkarastiperson
  • lobster said:

    If Buddhists are beating Muslims. I am a Muslim. If Muslims attack Christians. I am a Christian. If Christians belittle atheists, I am an atheist. If atheists undermine theists, God is my refuge. If God abandons me . . . I could always be a Buddhist and get beaten up by the 'false' Buddhists . . .

    Bend and bow. Buddha Rulez. :)

    I like your logic. It is kind of like, "First they came for the lobster but I did not speak up because I wasn't a lobster...."
    person
  • I'm a me-ist. And I'm sick of being persecuted by the you-ists.
    lobster
  • zombiegirlzombiegirl beating the drum of the lifeless in a dry wasteland Veteran
    I just watched The Hunger Games... and now that video... I'm on like emotional crying overload here...

    I initially found this very shocking that people could misunderstand the teachings of the Buddha so greatly to behave like that... but then again... I've seen a lot of violent misunderstandings from Christians and Jesus certainly taught peace. Humans are the common denominator here... we have the potential to mess everything up, heh.
    rivercane
  • I think we can agree that something has gone terribly, tragically wrong with the temples over there if they are allowing their monks to do this and according to reports some of the leaders even encouraging it.

    I've already had one conversation at work where someone wanted to know why the Dali Lama didn't order these monks to stay in the temples and stop fighting. Most people in the US at least really do think that monk is like the Pope of all Buddhists.
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    It would be interesting to know what they actually think about how being a follower of the Buddhist teachings allows them to behave the way they do.

    @Cinorjer but as we've seen just here, people (and even their teachers) do not always agree on exactly what the 5 precepts cover, what they mean and how a person is to undertake them. I'm not saying that monks such as these in Burma can some how claim to take the precept against harming others and some how turn it around to make what they are doing and saying ok. But I bet in their minds and their leaders minds, it does. I'm just saying it's rarely a simple thing. We all find ways to justify the opinions we hold and behaviors we perform. How many people claim to be Christian and support so much military action? How many Christians support the death penalty? And so on. They shouldn't, because it says clearly that they shouldn't, yet they find ways to justify it. We all do. So I think the only thing we can do is all of us can look at the things we justify and why we do so. That's part of investigating ourselves and our beliefs.
    ThailandTom
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the void Veteran
    To Our Brother and Sister Buddhists in Myanmar,

    As world Buddhist leaders we send our lovingkindess and concern for the difficulties the people of Myanmar are faced with at this time. While it is a time of great positive change we are concerned
    about the growing ethnic violence and the targeting of Muslims in Rakhine State and across the country. The Burmese are a noble people, and Burmese Buddhists carry a long and profound history
    of upholding the Dharma.

    We wish to reaffirm to the world and to support you in practicing the most fundamental Buddhist principles of non-harming, mutual respect and compassion.

    These fundamental principles taught by the Buddha are at the core of Buddhist practice:

    ~ Buddhist teaching is based on the precepts of refraining from killing and causing harm.

    ~ Buddhist teaching is based on compassion and mutual care.

    ~ Buddhist teaching offers respect to all, regardless of class, caste, race or creed.

    We are with you for courageously standing up for these Buddhist principles even when others would demonize or harm Muslims or other ethnic groups. It is only through mutual respect, harmony and tolerance that Myanmar can become a modern great nation benefiting all her people and a shining example to the world.

    Whether you are a Sayadaw or young monk or nun, or whether you are a lay Buddhist, please, speak out, stand up, reaffirm these Buddhist truths, and support all in Myanmar with the compassion, dignity and respect offered by the Buddha.

    We stand with you in the Dharma,

    Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh
    Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.
    Vietnam

    Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
    President Buddhist Global Relief
    (worlds foremost translator of the Pali Canon)
    Sri Lanka/USA

    Dr. A T Ariyaratne
    Founder Nationwide Sarvodaya Movement
    Ghandi Peace Prize Laureate
    Sri Lanka

    Ven. Chao Khun Raja Sumedhajahn
    Elder, Ajahn Chah Monasteries
    Wat Ratanavan, Thailand

    Ven. Phra Paisal Visalo
    Chair Buddhika Network Buddhism and Society
    Thailand

    Ven. Arjia Rinpoche VIII
    Abbot Tibetan Mongolian Cultural Center
    Mongolia/USA

    Ven. Shodo Harada Roshi.
    Abbot Sogenji Rinzai Zen Monastery
    Japan

    Achariya Professor J Simmer Brown
    Chairperson Buddhist Studies
    Naropa Buddhist University
    USA

    Ven. Ajahn Amaro Mahathera
    Abbot Amaravati Vihara
    England

    Ven. Hozan A Senauke
    International Network of Engaged Buddhists
    Worldwide

    Younge Khachab Rinpoche VII.
    Abbot Younge Drodul Ling
    Canada

    Ven. Sr. Thich Nu Chan Kong
    President Plum Village Zen temples
    France/Vietnam

    Dr. Jack Kornfield Vipassana Achariya
    Convener Western Buddhist Teachers Council
    USA

    Lama Surya Das
    Dzogchen Foundation International
    Vajrayana Tibet/USA

    Ven. Zoketsu N. Fischer Soto Roshi
    Fmr. Abbot largest Zen community In the West
    USA/Japan

    Tulku Sherdor Rinpoche
    Director Bl. Wisdom Institute
    Canada

    HH the XIV Dalai Lama
    Nobel Laureate Tibet/India
    Though not able to be reached in time to sign this letter H H the Dalai Lama has publicly and repeatedly stated his concern about the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. He urges everyone to
    continue to practice non-violence and retain the religious harmony that is central to our ancient and revered culture.

    http://interfaithcenter.org/archives/5255
    zombiegirlCinorjerpegembara
  • What I have a problem with his how most of the world is going to view this and react. They are seeing Buddhist monks help kill innocent people, think about that for a moment, a guy in robes smashing somebody to death with a few other people. Now imagine a catholic priest doing the same to a Muslim, what would the reaction be then? Lay people for the most part see ALL Buddhist monks as holy and unable to do wrong, they do not understand the situation in Burma or that lay people often robe up for a couple of weeks or months in Asian cultures.

    It does kind of shatter the commonly held notion here in the West that all Buddhists are happy, serene people who would never commit an act of violence. I remember seeing a similar situation on the news where hardline Hindus were rioting and even murdering Muslims and I was shocked. I would have thought Hindus incapable of such an action.
  • MaryAnneMaryAnne Veteran
    edited April 2013
    As with every political fight or religious war, there are several stories and justifications told by each side willing to fight in their righteousness:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-22023830

    Are all the allegations (against the Muslim population) true?
    Maybe, maybe not.
    Are all Buddhist monks from every temple/sangha in Burma involved in this violence? Absolutely not. There appears to be ONE monk leader with only a relatively few followers involved, according to this report. Of course the media plays up the "Buddhist monks" angle... Isn't religion always played up- whether that's the point or not??

    I'm not condoning the Buddhist reactions and violence. I'm not condoning the Muslims either. IMO, I don't believe any Buddhist monk should be involved in politics and/or this kind of violence. But then again, they (the 'Buddhists') are reacting out of fear.
    Is their fear justified? Maybe, maybe not.
    And monk or not, they are citizens just the same, with the right to have a say in their society, no?

    Radical Muslims do not have to have the majority (numbers) to greatly influence or change the political or societal atmosphere of an area. We all know that.
    Are the Buddhists fighting against "radical" Muslims... or just plain ol' folks - who happen to be Muslims? Ahhh, this is where perceptions differ. What is the truth? I don't know. Do any of us (many thousands of miles away) really know?

    Maybe the Buddhists have reasons to be on the defensive, and to fear what has gone on. Maybe Buddhist citizens are being looked down upon, treated unfairly in business/commerce in which the Muslims are claimed to dominate. Maybe Buddhist women or children have been raped and terrorized. Is (this) violence the only reaction that will work in the long run? I don't know. Do any of us (many thousands of miles away) really know? :::shrugs:::

    The world is not black and white. Each side involved in any bloody battle feels justified in their offense - - or defense. Careful whose side you jump on, just because one side wears red robes or one wears black ones.

  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    rivercane said:



    It does kind of shatter the commonly held notion here in the West that all Buddhists are happy, serene people who would never commit an act of violence. I remember seeing a similar situation on the news where hardline Hindus were rioting and even murdering Muslims and I was shocked. I would have thought Hindus incapable of such an action.

    And as if that perception isn't bad enough, then we have this: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/mass-buddhist-monk-sues-sex-recording-19021653#.UXbEosrW5Gc


  • SimonSimon Explorer


    I initially found this very shocking that people could misunderstand the teachings of the Buddha so greatly to behave like that... but then again... I've seen a lot of violent misunderstandings from Christians and Jesus certainly taught peace. Humans are the common denominator here... we have the potential to mess everything up, heh.

    I'm totally with you on humans being the common denominator in situations like these, human nature really what's behind these things, but it can be amplified by ideology. This said, we should also be really careful making comparisons between faiths like that. Having recently re-read the gospels and New Testament, I don't think Jesus did exclusively promote peace. More than anything, he wanted people to accept his God and get ready for the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven, even if it came at the price of disunity and violence.

    Get a load of this quote, Matthew 10:34-36
    "Do not think that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I have not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law"

    In contrast, Buddhism centres on compassion above all else. But what about exercising right action in order to root out the enemies of compassion? Or must everything be done through compassionate means?
  • edited April 2013
    Christ was trying to tell his disciples that if they follow his way - the way of peace and love - the world will turn against them (since the world relishes conflict and hate). And because of this, there will be strife, friction between individuals, etc. The 'sword' must be understood in that context alone.
    personriverflow
  • zombiegirlzombiegirl beating the drum of the lifeless in a dry wasteland Veteran
    @Simon Thanks for the quote. I do find that darker side interesting... like Jesus swearing at the poor fig tree for not bearing fruit because it was out of season... Or when Jesus says that men cannot love their families and still follow him... Perhaps I am cherry picking, because I'm aware of these parts of the Bible as well, but at the same time... there is a lot of compassionate love in the teachings of Jesus. Maybe that's the inherent problem with Christianity, there are a lot of quotes that seem contradictory. Jesus may have said he brought a sword, but what happened to offering the other cheek? It's questions like this that make me feel relieved to not be a Christian. I don't have to worry about settling these sorts of issues and can just wash my hands of the whole mess.
  • Again, I must point out that the fig tree is only symbolic - he was actually referring to Israel for her reluctance to follow the truth.
    riverflow
  • zombiegirlzombiegirl beating the drum of the lifeless in a dry wasteland Veteran
    Say what? I have never heard that before. That seems pretty cryptic, even for the Bible. The account is told as though it's an actual story and the disciples actually saw the fig tree shrivel up... What is that supposed to signify?
  • 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
    But the Bible is completely made up of stories, parables and allegories...

    Just as it was predicted that when Christ was crucified the temple would fall and be rebuilt in 'three days'... Christ was symbolic of the temple.

    We often use similes and idioms such as 'heads will roll', 'like a duck to water', 'walking on eggshells'.... we use them to colour speech and illustrate something pictorially....
  • Every event in the Bible has a literal and a "symbolic" meaning. If the literal meaning is confusing or doesn't fit the Godhood angle (Jesus losing his temper over an innocent tree and it wasn't even the season for figs? How can the "perfect" son of God be so petty?) then there are a multitude of symbolic meanings.

    I have listened to hundreds of Preachers in my life, and it seems the Bible is whatever people want it to be. There's certainly as much violence and hatred expressed in the OT as anything the Christians like to quote out of the Quran to prove a Muslims "violent nature", something I try to point out when faced with someone who likes to throw those quotes around.
    zombiegirlMaryAnneSimon
  • zombiegirlzombiegirl beating the drum of the lifeless in a dry wasteland Veteran
    Good points. And on the Buddhist side, people could take that part out of the Lotus Sutra that talks about sacrificing parts of your body to the extreme like the self-immolations we have seen in Tibet.
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