Rakhine Buddhists back in the news for the wrong reasons

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Rakhine Buddhists back in the news for the wrong reasons

Postby householder » Tue Oct 01, 2013 5:10 pm

News link here. http://www.aljazeera.com/news/asia-paci ... 1481237582

Ostensibly, it was started by a dispute over a Muslim man objecting to a Buddhist parking in front of a loading bay: http://world.time.com/2013/10/01/road-r ... hist-riot/

Costing the life of a 94-year old Muslim woman. Disgusting, both the intentions of the people concerned, the collective mob mentality that is triggered over just about anything and the consequent actions and suffering wrought. Seems that what the Buddha actually taught doesn't figure in anywhere other than something to be aggressively clung to as part of a badge without any practice of it.
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Re: Rakhine Buddhists back in the news for the wrong reasons

Postby chownah » Wed Oct 02, 2013 3:32 am

householder,
It is true that Asian householders in small villages have an entirely different grasp of Buddhism compared to western intellectually inclined householders.
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Re: Rakhine Buddhists back in the news for the wrong reasons

Postby householder » Wed Oct 02, 2013 1:46 pm

It's just a different understanding of Buddhism? That's all right then. Let the pogroms continue and we'll say no more about it. As someone purporting to follow the same religion I'm just drawing attention to some of the atrocities being committed in the world in its name. Something to reflect on and consider.
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Re: Rakhine Buddhists back in the news for the wrong reasons

Postby chownah » Wed Oct 02, 2013 2:52 pm

householder,
I don't think the Buddhists who commit these heinous acts do so on the name of Buddhism. I think the affiliation they are identifying with is a cultural or tribal one and not a religious one......although I do admit that they probably do mix some Buddhism into it because that is a big part of their cultural identity....they identify as being Buddhists but they do not (probably) think that all their actions proceed from Buddhism. I am basing my views on this from my having lived in a small village in Thailand for over ten years.......of course it may be an entirely different ball game in Rahkine but I imagine it is very similar.......maybe I'm wrong.
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Re: Rakhine Buddhists back in the news for the wrong reasons

Postby householder » Wed Oct 02, 2013 4:06 pm

Hi chownah,

Regrettably, Buddhism along with ethnicity is inextricably caught up in the ongoing problems in Myanmar and is a central and defining issue, from the 969 movement to promote Buddhist nationalism - now officially banned by the country's senior Sangha - and monks preaching discrimination against Muslims (one of whom was lauded by the Myanmar President as a "Son of Buddha") to incidents - including the one stoking current violence - involving perceived insults to the religion and people targeted specifically because of their religion/ethnicity (which in Myanmar isn't always distinguished between).

See this Al-Jazeera video for some evidence of the above: http://t.co/j7aZ7aofg4

Not to mention a law being promoted by certain monks to restrict interfaith marriage and restrict the rights of women.

Anecdotally I have been told by more than a few educated Burmese when living in Myanmar that Buddhism is the Burmese national religion, is under threat and must be 'defended' (and were vague and evasive when drawn on this as to means) and the exceptionalist argument that religion trumps human rights in Myanmar, along with the usual 'all Muslims are terrorists' and breeding-out conspiracy. After searching for some statistic evidence to support some of these arguments - and to be fair hard data is hard to come by in the country - I couldn't find anything to support these assertions (except for the state religion part, which is set by law).

From living in the country at the start of and during the sporadic violence, similar type sentiments are fairly widely held across the country and are not limited to geography or education - in cities as well as villages (where the attacks happen with limited contact and evidence-gathering capabilities of the incidents in progress.) As I lived in a Muslim-majority area where attempts to incite violence were fortunately unsuccessful, I was in the midst of a community with a sense of fear and uncertainty for quite some time earlier this year.

This is by no means true as regards all people in-country without exception, but is true in sufficient numbers to be troubling and has had overspill, particularly in Malaysia. People are speaking out in-country, but not enough. Theories and rumors abound as to causes, players behind the scenes and agendas. I can only report my own experiences and perceptions.

It's deep-rooted, complex and ongoing (as are the issues of religion and ethnicity in Myanmar generally), but the more awareness that is drawn to mob violence in the name of religion internationally then the more pressure that can be applied on the government to tackle the issue seriously beyond lots of lip service, and the realities of current matters in Myanmar can be broadcasted instead of overly optimistic and hyperbolic stuff often published by the press in the past 18 months or so.

Many Burmese have their own perspective on it, usually one-sided, and from my experience don't take well to outside perspective on the issue, particularly any criticism (the UN Human Rights Rapporteur is subject to particular vitriol during and after his visits to the country). Unfortunately, obtaining objective analysis is difficult indeed, but things aren't good right now and have a very real potential of getting significantly worse.

EDIT: Reading unverified reports of organised mobs advancing to further Muslim-majority villages as of writing, if true, I am struggling to see this as anything other than a pogrom, irrespective of whether this is now motivated by religious or ethnic agenda.
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Re: Rakhine Buddhists back in the news for the wrong reasons

Postby Sokehi » Wed Oct 02, 2013 7:28 pm

householder wrote:It's just a different understanding of Buddhism? That's all right then. Let the pogroms continue and we'll say no more about it. As someone purporting to follow the same religion I'm just drawing attention to some of the atrocities being committed in the world in its name. Something to reflect on and consider.


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Re: Rakhine Buddhists back in the news for the wrong reasons

Postby chownah » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:15 am

I think that in Eastern Europe they call it ethnic cleansing.
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Re: Rakhine Buddhists back in the news for the wrong reasons

Postby householder » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:42 am

Yes, but because of Western media pandering and economic interests in not upsetting the Myanmar government too much (want to get their hands on lots of natural resources and cheap labour) it is downplayed as 'sectarian violence'.
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Re: Rakhine Buddhists back in the news for the wrong reasons

Postby nibbuti » Thu Oct 03, 2013 3:42 am

householder wrote:Seems that what the Buddha actually taught doesn't figure in anywhere other than something to be aggressively clung to as part of a badge without any practice of it.

It may seem that way, dear householder, when one is immersed in the sensationalism of mainstream media, that habitually exeggerates any inborn affiliation like religion and feeds the same hatred it tries to condemn, rather than in what the Buddha actually taught.

:hug:
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Re: Rakhine Buddhists back in the news for the wrong reasons

Postby householder » Thu Oct 03, 2013 4:01 am

No unfortunately that is a conclusion also reached from living in the country... further, the people in these villages have limited if any access to mainstream media.
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Re: Rakhine Buddhists back in the news for the wrong reasons

Postby nibbuti » Thu Oct 03, 2013 10:27 am

householder wrote:No unfortunately that is a conclusion also reached from living in the country... further, the people in these villages have limited if any access to mainstream media.

Well, friend, obviously you do have access to mainstream media. Then you may have a glimpse of how much some Buddhists-by-birth actually know what the Buddha said, and how some parties exeggerrate a political issue to a religious one for personal gain. As is the case with any religion or tradition. We can keep our minds free or hatred.

:hello:
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Re: Rakhine Buddhists back in the news for the wrong reasons

Postby dagon » Thu Oct 03, 2013 2:13 pm

None of what I am going to say makes what is happening in Burma justifiable, less wrong or offensive. Killing is against the teachings, getting others to kill is against the teaching ….

There is ongoing violence, intimidation and being deprive of even the most basic human rights against Muslims, other faiths, homosexuals, ethnic groups …. Not surprisingly the majority of these actions are perpetrated by “Buddhists” as they constitute the overwhelming majority of the population.

The Burmese education system, press, police, military, judicial system ….; have been controlled by a military dictatorship government for the last 50 years. In spite of more recent changes they are still in control. There are press freedoms – as long as what is being said is not against the actions of the military. There are political freedoms as long as there is not criticism of the military (they have marched into parliament and stopped debates that are critical of them). 50 years of indoctrination is not (unfortunately) going to disappear overnight.

There are all sorts of people and groups who are trying to build/hold on to power basis as the country staggers to some kind of democracy. Every “ism” is a tool that they are prepared to use – unfortunately that includes “Buddhism”. That still does not make the events right, but it does make them more understandable.

Given all of the above there are Burmese who do understand what The Buddha taught, they do have ethics and they do try to speak out – even taking actions which put themselves in danger. While I totally understand the response of people to what is happening in Burma, I don’t believe that we are being just in a wholesale condemnation of the population or assumptions about the standard of Buddhist practice being applicable to the whole population.

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