Buddhist response to Terrorism

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by ancientbuddhism » Fri Jan 02, 2015 3:45 pm

Ahura Mazda wrote:Hi. :anjali:

As a former Muslim who has devoted quite a lot of time studying Islam and Christianity, I feel that I have enough understanding of Jihadi mindset to contribute to this discussion. You are free to ask questions.

In short, I feel there's a huge difference between Christianity and Islam. In Christianity the problem was the Church, not Jesus. There is no violence in the teaching of Jesus, he did not wage any wars, did not kill anyone and neither did his apostles. In Islam the violence comes from Muhammad, from his words (the Quran) and from his deeds (recorded in Sira and in hadiths collections). Jihadists kill because they prophet killed and ordered others to kill and when he died, his immediate successors (so called "Rightly Guided Caliphs") conquered Persia, Egypt, Iraq and Syria. Islam is esentially an ideology of conquest.
Thank you for contributing to the discussion. The distinction you made between Christianity and Islam is obvious and needed. And with reference to Buddhism a similar problem as been mentioned where some of our fellow religionists have advocated or done violence to Muslims, yet these actions in no way are justified by the founder's teachings.

As you mentioned, the problem with Islam finds its basis in the teachings and actions of its founder, a problem I cannot foresee a solution.
I say, beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes.” – Henry David Thoreau, Walden, 1854

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by Ahura Mazda » Fri Jan 02, 2015 5:17 pm

There actually is a minor group of people who essentially solved the problem of Islamic violence, something that no one else managed to do. I would elaborate about it but I don't know whether the framework of this topic allows that.
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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by DhammaOS » Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:11 pm

Ahura Mazda wrote:There actually is a minor group of people who essentially solved the problem of Islamic violence, something that no one else managed to do. I would elaborate about it but I don't know whether the framework of this topic allows that.
I don't think it would hurt at this point, this thread already wandered away from where it started from what I can read. I am curious to know at any rate, and I think it will help the discussion.
"There are, O monks, these four lights. What four? The light of the moon, the light of the sun, the light of fire, and the light of wisdom. Of these four lights, the light of wisdom is supreme."-AN 4:143

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by Ahura Mazda » Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:31 pm

I am talking about Baha'i faith. It was born in the latter part of 19th century but it's roots go back to 18th century.

The protoplasts of the Baha'i Faith were two Iranian scholars - Ahmed Al Ahsai and his disciple, Kazim Rashti, the founders of the Sheikhi sect of Twelver Shiism. In their opinion, the Quran contains an "expiration date" for Islam. They said Islam does no longer fit the needs of the time, and since by it's own admission it does not allow reform, it must be abolished by an emissary of God, called Imam Mahdi (the 12th Shia imam.) This reasoning was based on the verse 32:5 of the Qur'an which says that Amr (commandment, order) of Allah was sent to Earth and will return him, i.e. be revoked, 1000 years later. They believed that Amrullah (commandment of Allah) was completed by the time when the 11th imam, Hassan Askari, died, and hence, they estimated that the 12th imam will manifest himself in 1844 AD.

Sheikh Rashti was so sure of his claim that he did not appoint a successor. He told his followers to dissolve the Sheikhi sect and scatter through Iran to find the promised imam.

On the night of May 22 1844 a young man from Shiraz, Ali Muhammad Shirazi (1819-1850), declared himself the Imam Mahdi and took the title of Bab, the gate to divine understanding. His kind, compassionate personality earned him a large number of followers. In 1848 he abolished Sharia law. Neverthless, mainstream clerics did not like his teachings so they made the Shah of Persia crack down on Bab's followers and Bab himself. On July 9, 1850, Bab was executed by a firing squad.

After Bab's death, the leadership of the movement went into the hands of Baha'ullah (1817-1892) who was one of Bab's followers. He managed to attract the majority of his master's followers and reformed his teachings further. He started teaching equality of all races, equality of genders and equal standing of all religions - things that are now associated with Baha'i faith in general. For that hew as imprisoned and died in jail on 29th May 1892. After his death, the leadership went to his son, Abdul Baha' (1844-1921)

In my opinion, Baha'i faith's teachings are so much better than those of orthodox Islam, that there is simply no comparison between these two. It saddens me that it did not manage to take the entire Muslim world.

You can learn more about it on various Baha'i websites.
“Though you might conquer in battle
A thousand times a thousand men,
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If you conquer just one - yourself.”

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by DhammaOS » Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:54 pm

Ahura Mazda wrote:...
Interesting, I was aware of the Baha'i, but I confess I didn't know too much about them only that they were indeed oppressed by the Iranian regime of the time, and are definitely not popular in the region in general. So what would you say about Sufism and the Sufi mystics? They seem to have some kernels of wisdom, and were and are not always popular either. While I could research them a bit more myself I figure there is no harm in asking someone who might have a bit more knowledge and potentially direct experience.

Though I am also of a mind that this thread has lost its topical integrity, and has drifted into a whole other subject entirely, and perhaps further discussion of this should be moved to a different place/thread.
"There are, O monks, these four lights. What four? The light of the moon, the light of the sun, the light of fire, and the light of wisdom. Of these four lights, the light of wisdom is supreme."-AN 4:143

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by Ahura Mazda » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:18 pm

It depends on what you mean by Sufism. There are ultra heterodox branches of Sufism that are not a danger to anyone - Alawites for example, and there are kinds of Sufism as brutal and intolerant as Wahhabism.

See for example this except from the book called "Endless Bliss" by Hussein Hilmi Effendi, the founder of sufi Al Ikhlas Foundation (an Islamic "charity" accused of funding terrorism)

(Taken from: http://www.islam786.org/articles3.htm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;)
"Attaining happiness in both worlds depends only, and only upon following Hadrat Muhammad ('alaihi's-salam), who is the master of this and the next world. In order to follow him, it is necessary to have iman and to learn and to carry out the rules of Islam. The symbol of true iman's existence in the heart is to bear hostility against disbelievers and to annihilate the things that are peculiar to them and that are the symptoms of disbelief. For Islam and kufr are opposites, antonyms of each other. Where one of them exists, the other cannot stay and goes away. These two opposite things cannot stay in the same place together. To esteem one of them means to insult, to blame the other. Allahu ta'ala commands Hadrat Muhammad, His beloved Prophet (sall-Allahu 'alaihi wa sallam), who has the attribute khulk-i azim and who is very merciful, to perform jihad, to wage war against disbelievers and to treat them severely. This means to say that it is khulk-i azim to behave severely towards disbelievers. The dignity and honor of Islam is in insulting disbelief and disbelievers. He who glorifies and respects disbelievers insults and dishonors the Muslims. [Declaring in the Qur'an, in the one hundred and forty-ninth ayat of Surat-u Al-i 'Imran that those who esteem and follow disbelievers are wrong and will repent, Allahu ta'ala says, "O those who believe my beloved Prophet! If you, believing the words of disbelievers, deviate from the way of my Messenger, and if you, taken in by the lurid and mendacious statements of those who pretend to be Muslims, let your faith and iman be stolen, you will be at a loss in this and the next world
(...)
It is a must to abhor and believe as wrong and harmful the disbelievers and disbelief and everything outside of Islam, no matter what theory or ideology it is. Allahu ta'ala has commanded us to take jizya from disbelievers; that is, they must pay taxes. The purpose of this is to insult them. This type of insulting is so effective that they cannot wear valuable suits, nor can they adorn themselves out of the fear of having to pay more jizya. They lead a despicable and miserable life. The purpose of jizya is to offend and disgrace disbelievers. The jizya shows the glory and honor of Islam. If the zimmi converted to Islam, he would no longer have to pay jizya"
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If you conquer just one - yourself.”

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by DhammaOS » Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:02 am

Ahura Mazda wrote:...
Yeah the ultra heterodox/harmless ones are the ones I am referring to, but just from what I am gathering the reason they seem so different is they are not afraid to critically interpret things in an attempt to banish ignorance and pursue spiritual growth. It seems you can only superficially link that brand of Sufism with Islam in some ways and could almost be a belief system unto itself.

As to the excerpt, a very frightening read, and forgive my bluntness and any ignorance but why is there such a fear of unbelievers in sections large and small of the Islamic community both now and historically? What does that arise from? It just has a feeling that they think their religion will just evaporate and no longer exist if they don't constantly convert and punish someone who isn't of their frame of mind. Christians have also had this problem, so I don't believe for a second it is limited to Islam, and as a former Christian I found plenty at fault with it. I can list numerous examples of Christian based terrorism and social degradation that media often in their narrative conveniently ignore.

I guess really I might have answered my own question, fear, ignorance, xenophobia, and probably a large hidden element of doubt seems to fuel this problem.

Ultimately, through a Buddhist lens we should not respond with fear, violence, and hatred since it will reinforce what drives these individuals in the first place. I don't remember where but the Buddha stated that hostility will only beget more hostility, but for many that is hard to understand, even for myself at times I must admit.

Also, thank you for humoring me with your responses, you appear very knowledgeable on the subject so I hope I am not bothering you when I pick your brain as it were.
"There are, O monks, these four lights. What four? The light of the moon, the light of the sun, the light of fire, and the light of wisdom. Of these four lights, the light of wisdom is supreme."-AN 4:143

Buddham saranam gacchami, Dhammam saranam gacchami, Sangham saranam gacchami

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by Mkoll » Sat Jan 03, 2015 12:59 am

DhammaOS wrote:I don't remember where but the Buddha stated that hostility will only beget more hostility, but for many that is hard to understand, even for myself at times I must admit.
Perhaps you heard it from here:
Dhp 5 wrote:5. Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal.
One of the many beautiful teachings in the Dhammapada.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by ding_dong_ding » Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:04 pm

Ahura Mazda wrote:I am talking about Baha'i faith. It was born in the latter part of 19th century but it's roots go back to 18th century.

The protoplasts of the Baha'i Faith were two Iranian scholars - Ahmed Al Ahsai and his disciple, Kazim Rashti, the founders of the Sheikhi sect of Twelver Shiism. In their opinion, the Quran contains an "expiration date" for Islam. They said Islam does no longer fit the needs of the time, and since by it's own admission it does not allow reform, it must be abolished by an emissary of God, called Imam Mahdi (the 12th Shia imam.) This reasoning was based on the verse 32:5 of the Qur'an which says that Amr (commandment, order) of Allah was sent to Earth and will return him, i.e. be revoked, 1000 years later. They believed that Amrullah (commandment of Allah) was completed by the time when the 11th imam, Hassan Askari, died, and hence, they estimated that the 12th imam will manifest himself in 1844 AD.

Sheikh Rashti was so sure of his claim that he did not appoint a successor. He told his followers to dissolve the Sheikhi sect and scatter through Iran to find the promised imam.

On the night of May 22 1844 a young man from Shiraz, Ali Muhammad Shirazi (1819-1850), declared himself the Imam Mahdi and took the title of Bab, the gate to divine understanding. His kind, compassionate personality earned him a large number of followers. In 1848 he abolished Sharia law. Neverthless, mainstream clerics did not like his teachings so they made the Shah of Persia crack down on Bab's followers and Bab himself. On July 9, 1850, Bab was executed by a firing squad.

After Bab's death, the leadership of the movement went into the hands of Baha'ullah (1817-1892) who was one of Bab's followers. He managed to attract the majority of his master's followers and reformed his teachings further. He started teaching equality of all races, equality of genders and equal standing of all religions - things that are now associated with Baha'i faith in general. For that hew as imprisoned and died in jail on 29th May 1892. After his death, the leadership went to his son, Abdul Baha' (1844-1921)

In my opinion, Baha'i faith's teachings are so much better than those of orthodox Islam, that there is simply no comparison between these two. It saddens me that it did not manage to take the entire Muslim world.

You can learn more about it on various Baha'i websites.
First of all the aforementioned text is entirely one-sided and is the narrative put forward by Baha'is. It is highly disputed by many historians and religions and does not conform with the scripture of Shii Islam which the aforementioned sects splintered from.
second, I just want to point out that Ahmad al Ahsai was regarded a heretic by Shii scholars because he had some outrageous and unfounded beliefs that were based on his own imagination. For instance, he believed in the existence of a city filled with women that would impregnate themselves using a Penis tree. :jawdrop: Then using very offending words,he relates that tree to the immaculate birth of Jesus. You can read the story in detail here:
Shaykh Ahmad Ahsa'i and the Penis Tree

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by Ahura Mazda » Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:43 pm

My friend, It does not matter whether Baha'i interpretation of Islam is accepted by the majority of Shias or not (majority of Sunnis reject the Shia interpretation as well) What matters is that they managed to do the impossible - reform Islam from a totalitarian conquest-bent ideology into a humanistic religion of 21th century. That was a feat no nne else achieved before them and probably no one will in the future. So Baha'i Faith may be contradictory and at times stupid, but at least it does not advocate waging holy wars or beheading people who criticize it - my beef with Islam is because of such teachings and that's why I will always have more respect for Baha'ullah than for Al Ghazali, Ibn Taymiyya, Maududi, Khomeini and other scholars of mainstream Islam, no matter how educated they may be.
Last edited by Ahura Mazda on Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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If you conquer just one - yourself.”

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by ding_dong_ding » Sat Jan 03, 2015 3:57 pm

Ahura Mazda wrote:My friend, It does not matter whether Baha'i interpretation of Islam is accepted by the majority of Shias or not (majority of Sunnis reject the Shia interpretation as well) What matters is that they managed to do the impossible - reform Islam from a totalitarian conquest-bent ideology into a humanistic religion of 21th century. That was a feat no nne else achieved before them and probably no one will in the future. I don't accept the idea of God sending prophets and I hold Muhammad in disdain but nevertheless, I have great respect for Bab, Baha'ullah as well as their successors and it saddens me that the Baha'i Faith did not manage to take root in the Muslim world. If it did, the Middle East would be a totally different place now.
According to Baha'i leader Abdu'l-Baha, these are the laws of the Bab that you have great respect for:
“The utterance of the [book or religion] of Bayān in the day of the appearance of his Highness A`lā (meaning the Bāb) was to behead, burn the books, destroy the monuments, and massacre [everyone] but those who believed [in the Bāb’s religion] and verified it,” `Abdu’l-Bahā, Makātīb (Egypt: 1330 AH), vol. 2, p. 266

There was a reason the Bab was opposed by both the Government and people. Furthermore Baha'u'llah himself was a violent person and gave orders to bash a Kebob seller for announcing his arrival:
“When his holiness returned from Sulaymaniyah, he was strolling in the street one day with the late Āqā Mīrzā Muḥammad Qulī. A Kabob seller quietly said, ‘These Bābīs have appeared again!’ His holiness said to Mīrzā Muḥammad Qulī, ‘Hit him in the mouth!’ Mīrzā Muḥammad Qulī grabbed his beard and started hitting him in the head,” Ḥabīb Mu’ayyad, Khāṭirāti Ḥabīb, vol. 1, p.266.

Abdu'l-Baha the successor of Baha'u'llah was a violent man too and there are multiple documented accounts of him slapping people in the face. See here:
Abdu'l-Baha the face slapper

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by Ahura Mazda » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:14 pm

Slapping people is not the same as raiding villages, killing fighting men and taking women as slaves or giving them choice to either convert, pay protection money or die - which is what Muhammad did and what his Jihadi followers do even today... Or maybe you believe that there's no difference between slapping and killing?

By the way, who you are? You provided no introduction about yourself and how you became interested in Buddhism. It looks that you've just registered on the forum just to bash my positive remarks about Baha'i Faith.
“Though you might conquer in battle
A thousand times a thousand men,
You're the greatest battle-winner
If you conquer just one - yourself.”

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by ding_dong_ding » Sat Jan 03, 2015 4:33 pm

Ahura Mazda wrote:Slapping people is not the same as raiding villages, killing fighting men and taking women as slaves or giving them choice to either convert, pay protection money or die - which is what Muhammad did and what his Jihadi followers do even today... Or maybe you believe that there's no difference between slapping and killing?

By the way, who you are? You provided no introduction about yourself and how you became interested in Buddhism. It looks that you've just registered on the forum just to bash my positive remarks about Baha'i Faith.
Yes, I registered to correct your wrong remarks about the Baha'i faith. Is there a problem in that?

I too oppose raiding villages, killing innocents, and forced conversions like what the ISIS does today. Those are the attitudes of the Wahhabi brand of Islam which most Muslims oppose. In fact many don't even consider them Muslims and believe they are inconsistent with Muhammads teachings and actions.

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by Ahura Mazda » Sat Jan 03, 2015 5:06 pm

That's a common mistake - people tend to think that Wahhabism is some kind of extremist sect with no connection to it's mother religion at all, something like the cult of Shoko Asahara in Buddhism. In reality the difference between Wahhabi and non-Wahhabi kinds of Islam is overestimated. Wahhabism is a bit more strict than other brands of Islam but not to the degree to call it an extremist offshot or a heresy. It's more like the difference between Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism with Wahhabism being the equivalent of Theravada.

For example the hateful except quoted by me above has nothing to do with Wahhabism and it comes from a Turkish Sufi scholar.
“Though you might conquer in battle
A thousand times a thousand men,
You're the greatest battle-winner
If you conquer just one - yourself.”

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by Mr Man » Sat Jan 03, 2015 6:04 pm

ding_dong_ding wrote:
Ahura Mazda wrote:Slapping people is not the same as raiding villages, killing fighting men and taking women as slaves or giving them choice to either convert, pay protection money or die - which is what Muhammad did and what his Jihadi followers do even today... Or maybe you believe that there's no difference between slapping and killing?

By the way, who you are? You provided no introduction about yourself and how you became interested in Buddhism. It looks that you've just registered on the forum just to bash my positive remarks about Baha'i Faith.
Yes, I registered to correct your wrong remarks about the Baha'i faith. Is there a problem in that?

I too oppose raiding villages, killing innocents, and forced conversions like what the ISIS does today. Those are the attitudes of the Wahhabi brand of Islam which most Muslims oppose. In fact many don't even consider them Muslims and believe they are inconsistent with Muhammads teachings and actions.
Hi ding_dong_ding
Are you a Muslim? What are your views on sharia?

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by alan » Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:05 am

By any measure, wahhabism is brutal and intolerant. Comparing the differences as if it were the same as as Mahayana vs. Theravada is not only ridiculous in and of itself, but also shows a complete lack of awareness of the subject.
Anyone want to prove me wrong, and show examples of wahhabi teachings being anything less than hateful towards non believers? Good luck with that project. I'll be waiting.

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by Modus.Ponens » Sun Jan 04, 2015 1:33 am

alan wrote:By any measure, wahhabism is brutal and intolerant. Comparing the differences as if it were the same as as Mahayana vs. Theravada is not only ridiculous in and of itself, but also shows a complete lack of awareness of the subject.
Anyone want to prove me wrong, and show examples of wahhabi teachings being anything less than hateful towards non believers? Good luck with that project. I'll be waiting.
I don't think it had anything to do with the content of the doctrines involved in the comparisson between the schools of islam and schools of buddhism. The point was only about how one is more "purist" and strictest than the other.
He turns his mind away from those phenomena, and having done so, inclines his mind to the property of deathlessness: 'This is peace, this is exquisite — the resolution of all fabrications; the relinquishment of all acquisitions; the ending of craving; dispassion; cessation; Unbinding.'
(Jhana Sutta - Thanissaro Bhikkhu translation)

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by DhammaOS » Sun Jan 04, 2015 7:20 am

Modus.Ponens wrote:
alan wrote:...
I don't think it had anything to do with the content of the doctrines involved in the comparisson between the schools of islam and schools of buddhism. The point was only about how one is more "purist" and strictest than the other.
This is how I saw it as well. Just trying to form an analogy we would be somewhat more familiar with.
"There are, O monks, these four lights. What four? The light of the moon, the light of the sun, the light of fire, and the light of wisdom. Of these four lights, the light of wisdom is supreme."-AN 4:143

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by Ahura Mazda » Sun Jan 04, 2015 2:58 pm

You hit the nail. That's exactly what I meant.
“Though you might conquer in battle
A thousand times a thousand men,
You're the greatest battle-winner
If you conquer just one - yourself.”

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Re: Buddhist response to Terrorism

Post by SamBodhi » Mon Jan 05, 2015 7:26 am

I remember a quote by Ajahn Bram where he said that he was very proud of response he heard from the Buddhist community after some large carvings were destroyed in Afghanistan.

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buddhas_of_Bamiyan

I remember him saying that the response he heard was essentially, "Everything is bound to destruction." In other words, it was a great tragedy, but they may as well have dynamited the bare rocks next to it since it was all subject to change equally.

I may not be an act of terrorism in one sense that it didn't target the public to induce fear. Atill, seeing as how it was carried out by the Taliban, Ajahn Brahm's statements could be considered a Buddhist response to terrorism.
My apologies if my paraphrasing may turn out to mis lead anybody. I heard it in a Dhamma talk by Ajahn Brahm over two years ago.

with Metta,
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All outward-going knowing
cast aside."
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