Buddhists Are Peaceful, Right?

Buddhist Monks Protest In BurmaHearing and reading about the attacks on Muslins, by Buddhists, in Burma is rather troubling. As a practising Buddhist I keep getting asked why this is happening. ‘Buddhists are peaceful people aren’t they?’ is a common question, and I find myself having to try to defend the entire faith. There is a misconception that Buddhists exist is some kind of parallel universe, unaffected by the goings on in the real world … wrong.

Buddhists are just people, they believe in a doctrine, that like many other religions, preaches peace, tolerance and understanding, but not at any price, and they are capable of all the normal human reactions to their environment.

I was going to try to put together a piece explaining what has happened in Burma and Sri Lanka to cause these much publicised violent incidents, but then in the course of my research, I happened upon a brilliant article on the BBC website, and decided to link to that, rather than try to rewrite such an excellent piece.

Here it is …

Of all the moral precepts instilled in Buddhist monks the promise not to kill comes first, and the principle of non-violence is arguably more central to Buddhism than any other major religion. So why have monks been using hate speech against Muslims and joining mobs that have left dozens dead?

read more …

I apologise to those of you who think this is a cheat, but I couldn’t have written it better, or more objectively, myself.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Burmese Anger

Myanmar Buddhist MonksWith more reports emanating from Myanmar, Burma, regarding the violence between Buddhist and Muslin groups, it is difficult to see how any good can come from actions fuelled by anger or hatred.

But Nichiren wrote that wrath can be both good and bad. Self-centred anger generates evil, but wrath at social injustice becomes the driving force for reform. Strong language that censures and combats a great evil often attracts adverse reactions from society, but this must not intimidate or deter those who believe they are right.

Remember, a lion is a lion because he roars. Having said that, the roar should be one of strength rather than anger.

Anger that is misdirected or caused by illusion or misconception is a wholly bad thing and can be very damaging. So before you vent such anger on an unsuspecting victim, take stock and let that anger fade. Compassion is far more positive and will achieve far more in the long run.

With the sanctions imposed on Burma by the United Nations being set to be lifted this week, let us hope and pray that wisdom, courage and compassion hold sway and that the violence between people of the same nation will stop before any more death and destruction are caused.

Don’t Tar Us All With The Same Brush

His Holiness, The Dalai LamaI was dismayed, earlier today, when I stumbled across the I Hate Buddhism page on Facebook. The page is a reaction to the violence against Muslims in Burma, with which I wholeheartedly disagree, but it paints a very bleak picture for any hope of peace.

What is really disturbing, is that, as a Buddhist myself, presumably I am also the subject of this torrent of hate. The Dalai Lama, surely one of the most revered and peace loving people on the planet, is also attacked and described as a devil.

Whilst I fully sympathise with the plight of the Muslims in Burma, I cannot, for the life of me, find any positive aspects of this or other similar sites on Facebook. I urge all people who are working so hard for world peace to report this page for inciting hatred, surely against the Facebook code of conduct.

The authors of the page have very valid grievances and deserve our prayers and help, but going about things this way cannot help their cause. Surely a more logical route to resolving the problem would be to call on the worldwide Buddhist community to put pressure on the Burmese to stop the atrocities.

P.S. Many thanks to Facebook for removing the page so promptly and also to all of you who reported the page.

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