Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
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Lazy_eye
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Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by Lazy_eye » Sat May 04, 2013 6:02 pm

A local monk takes a stand against the violence....
When a senior monk in Okkan, Shwe Nya War Sayadaw, spoke out against the violence on Tuesday, he implicated elements of the government in the attacks.

“We need to work together to stop this violence,” he told gathered monks at a monastery in the town. “This is not only good for Okkan, but good for Myanmar. If this conflict spreads to the whole country based on religious issues…there will be a coup. “So, if this continues to happen, Myanmar is headed in a dark direction.

“There are people playing with politics who are lighting the fires, opportunists. In this community, Buddhists and Muslims can live together in peace. We should not expel the Muslims.”

“If people burn down mosques,” he said, “the cycle of hate will never end.
Compare with Dhammapada, 3-6:
'He insulted me, hit me, beat me, robbed me' — for those who don't brood on this, hostility is stilled. Hostilities aren't stilled through hostility, regardless. Hostilities are stilled through non-hostility: this, an unending truth.
Indeed, this Sayadaw is telling it as at is. Already jihadist groups are trying to take advantage of the situation.
Last edited by Lazy_eye on Sat May 04, 2013 6:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Alex123
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Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by Alex123 » Sat May 04, 2013 6:04 pm

I am all for peace and all,

But... What would motivate Buddhist (monks or laity) to do all those alleged things? How do we know that Buddhists really did it? After all those peaceful teachings in Dhammapada and various retreats people go through - why this uncharacteristic violence?

What if those people who did atrocities aren't real Buddhist?

Reflecting on lay life - yes becoming a peaceful meditating monk who minds his own business is the best. But apparently even that is not safe.
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by Coyote » Sat May 04, 2013 6:14 pm

Alex123 wrote:I am all for peace and all,

But... What would motivate Buddhist (monks or laity) to do all those alleged things? How do we know that Buddhists really did it? After all those peaceful teachings in Dhammapada and various retreats people go through - why this uncharacteristic violence?

What if those people who did atrocities aren't real Buddhist?
It would be interesting to see into people's minds. Then we could know for sure how "buddhist" such monks, or even the laity, who encourage violence are, or whether they are just being opportunistic. But we don't have this power and can only judge based on outside appearances. That there are people in orange robes, calling themselves bhikkhus, who encourage violence is enough. In the end it doesn't matter, because either way Buddhism is linked the the spread of ethnic violence, and I don't feel it is right to turn a blind eye to it.
"If beings knew, as I know, the results of giving & sharing, they would not eat without having given, nor would the stain of miserliness overcome their minds. Even if it were their last bite, their last mouthful, they would not eat without having shared."
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Mr Man
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Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by Mr Man » Sat May 04, 2013 6:25 pm

Mr Man wrote:It really doesn't take any research. "They" are just people like you and me. Why do you want to spread hatred?
binocular wrote:If a stranger were to come to live in your house, without your invitation, would you just let him?
Would you let him have your house?
Would you consider it an act of hatred if you were to ask him to leave?
Mr Man wrote:binocular Your questions are not relevant.
binocular wrote:Explain. Why aren't they relevant?
I cannot see the relevance of your hypothetic questions to what I had written in reply to alex123 (or to the situation in Burma).
Last edited by Mr Man on Sat May 04, 2013 6:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by LonesomeYogurt » Sat May 04, 2013 6:28 pm

Alex123 wrote:But... What would motivate Buddhist (monks or laity) to do all those alleged things?
Greed, hatred, and delusion.
Reflecting on lay life - yes becoming a peaceful meditating monk who minds his own business is the best. But apparently even that is not safe.
I hate to sound like I'm speaking in platitudes, but the only true safety is a mind undisturbed by defilements. A materially or politically comfortable live earned with violence is a shaky refuge indeed.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.

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Alex123
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Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by Alex123 » Sat May 04, 2013 6:57 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
Alex123 wrote:But... What would motivate Buddhist (monks or laity) to do all those alleged things?
Greed, hatred, and delusion.
I understand that. But what specific cause in Burma was responsible? People who follow peaceful teaching, and perhaps even bliss out in meditation, don't simply lash out on the neighbor for no reason. What is the motif? To tarnish image of Buddhism?

Other than newspaper articles, how do we know that Buddhists did that? This demands investigation.

Of course monks should NOT be involved in politics, that is an ideal case. But what if they are being forcefully involved (if they are even involved)?
LonesomeYogurt wrote:A materially or politically comfortable live earned with violence is a shaky refuge indeed.
Correct. So why would those Buddhists risk it and risk loosing the status of "peaceful" religion?
"Life is a struggle. Life will throw curveballs at you, it will humble you, it will attempt to break you down. And just when you think things are starting to look up, life will smack you back down with ruthless indifference..."

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Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by binocular » Sun May 05, 2013 10:04 am

LonesomeYogurt wrote:I hate to sound dramatic here, but I am absolutely horrified that there are self-identified Buddhists on this board who actually support retaliatory aggression against an ethnic or religious minority.
Apparently, you are not enlightened enough to not make false assumptions about people, and not enlightened enough not to impose stances on people that they do not actually hold.

Where have I said that I was a Buddhist?

Where have I expressed "support [for the] retaliatory aggression against an ethnic or religious minority"?

You're simply assuming these things, taking them for granted. And then you expect me to defend things you merely imagine I said.

It is incredibly dangerous to entertain the thoughts of ill will you are expressing here. Please consider what you are doing before the negative kamma accrued by such an indulgence of aversion and ignorance comes to bear.
Yeah, you should heed that yourself, especially.

LonesomeYogurt wrote:
binocular wrote:The simple point that you don't seem to understand here is that I am merely wondering about what a realistic and skillful response would be to a situation like the one in Burma.
And we are saying that there is only one realistic and skillful response - nonviolence, compassion, gentleness, and equanimity. Apparently that's too hard for some people to accept, but the Blessed One's teachings aren't going to suggest anything else no matter how hard you search, I promise.
By "realistic", I am referring to a realitic assessment of one's faith in the Buddha's teachings.

One can only act in accordance with the faith that one actually has, not in accordance with the faith that one wishes one would have or falsely presumes to have or thinks one should have.

LonesomeYogurt wrote:Of course not, but I'm "enlightened" enough to know that killing is never wholesome.
Keep in mind that Buddhists from other traditions would disagree with you on that.

Paribbajaka wrote:I am honestly trying to remain calm and civil about this
And being calm and civil is very easy if one doesn't assume all sorts of things about the people one is talking to, and instead asks them to clarify any questions that may come up.
Last edited by binocular on Sun May 05, 2013 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by binocular » Sun May 05, 2013 10:07 am

Lazy_eye wrote:None of this looks to me like "justifiable self-defense against an attack". It looks a lot more like a pogrom set off by a minor squabble. SImilar situations occurred in the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, tearing apart communities that had co-existed for years.
No, it looks like people not taking their religion very seriously to begin with, and then, eventually, facing the consequences of that.

A tiny bit of heedlessness here, a tiny bit of heedlessness there, and over the years and decades, such tiny bits of heedlessness snowball into something huge.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by binocular » Sun May 05, 2013 10:14 am

Mr Man wrote:
Mr Man wrote:It really doesn't take any research. "They" are just people like you and me. Why do you want to spread hatred?
binocular wrote:If a stranger were to come to live in your house, without your invitation, would you just let him?
Would you let him have your house?
Would you consider it an act of hatred if you were to ask him to leave?
Mr Man wrote:binocular Your questions are not relevant.
binocular wrote:Explain. Why aren't they relevant?
I cannot see the relevance of your hypothetic questions to what I had written in reply to alex123 (or to the situation in Burma).
I want to see how much you really stand behind your idealism.

It's easy to say that some people on the other end of the world should be nicer.
But if one cannot set an example of that oneself, then it's lowly to expect that others should.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

binocular
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Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by binocular » Sun May 05, 2013 10:23 am

Alex123 wrote:I am all for peace and all,

But... What would motivate Buddhist (monks or laity) to do all those alleged things? How do we know that Buddhists really did it? After all those peaceful teachings in Dhammapada and various retreats people go through - why this uncharacteristic violence?

What if those people who did atrocities aren't real Buddhist?

Reflecting on lay life - yes becoming a peaceful meditating monk who minds his own business is the best. But apparently even that is not safe.
As things stand, we don't know what is really happening there.

But even if the newsreports are adequate, I find it easy enough to understand how things can escalate to such proportions.

Like I already noted earlier, I think this can happen as people are not taking their religion very seriously. When practice of one's religion becomes ritualistic, institutionalized, this can have very bad consequences over time. Sure, such people can still make a point of calling themselves members of their religion and demand being perceived as such, they can be avid proselytizers, they can know all the doctrines and have a tight schedule of practices. But still be out of touch with the reality they actually live in - their minds aren't where their feet are.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by pilgrim » Sun Jun 02, 2013 7:49 am

I believe much of our impression of the riots in Myanmar is moulded by the Press especially the western press. In every article they rioters are called Buddhist mobs. Why are these thugs identified by the religion of their birth? You don't see the violent rioters of the EDL called Christian mobs even though the EDL has a cross as its logo.

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Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by Mr Man » Sun Jun 02, 2013 8:42 am

pilgrim wrote:You don't see the violent rioters of the EDL called Christian mobs even though the EDL has a cross as its logo.
Talking of which I came across this rather odd article yesterday "Right-wing Buddhist leading the campaign to force Muslims out of Burma says he wants his group 'to be like the English Defence League'" http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... eague.html

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Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by chownah » Sun Jun 02, 2013 3:39 pm

pilgrim wrote:I believe much of our impression of the riots in Myanmar is moulded by the Press especially the western press. In every article they rioters are called Buddhist mobs. Why are these thugs identified by the religion of their birth? You don't see the violent rioters of the EDL called Christian mobs even though the EDL has a cross as its logo.
These thugs are identified as Buddhists because what is going on is cultural warfare/genocide.....these thugs identify themselves as being Buddhist and clearly the people they are killing/forcing out of their homes and/or out of the country are Rohingya Muslims. I'm pretty sure that the press coverage does do some moulding but to call these thugs Buddhists is fair and accurate reporting. There has been talk about reviving an old law that limits a Muslim family to two children and Suu Ki has publicly expressed her views on this being unacceptable....But of course she is but one member of parliament among hundreds.
chownah

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Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by householder » Fri Jun 07, 2013 1:11 am

pilgrim wrote:I believe much of our impression of the riots in Myanmar is moulded by the Press especially the western press. In every article they rioters are called Buddhist mobs. Why are these thugs identified by the religion of their birth?
They are self-identifying; proudly so. On several occasions in taxis (with and without 969 stickers) I've ended up enduring ridiculous anti-Muslim, pro-Buddhist nationalist diatribes from the drivers based on all the usual ignorance and lack of any critical analysis or thought whatsoever. It's at the stage where I read the Kindle and don't even try or want to talk to the drivers anymore.

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Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by cooran » Sun Jun 09, 2013 11:50 pm

Hello all,

Most Myanmar monks oppose anti-Muslim campaign
http://www.scmp.com/news/asia/article/1 ... m-campaign

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Chris
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---Worry is the Interest, paid in advance, on a debt you may never owe---
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