Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

A discussion on all aspects of Theravāda Buddhism
User avatar
aletheia
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:07 am

Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

Post by aletheia »

I was very alarmed to see this new mini-documentary by Adam Ellick and Nicholas Kristof today on the NY Times website about how the Rohingya people (a Muslim minority in Burma) are being held in concentration camps, denied access to doctors, and being attacked not only by Buddhists, but in the name of Buddhism. You can view the video here: http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014 ... ml?hp&_r=0

The thing that disturbed me the most about this video was the clips of Buddhist monks and laypeople uttering repugnant, vicious anti-Muslim hate speech. I had read in other posts on DW on this subject (http://www.dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=13420 , http://dhammawheel.com/viewtopic.php?f= ... t=rohingya) and in news reports that this sort of thing went on. But something about actually seeing video footage of people wearing the robes of monks make racist remarks and marching under a banner calling for ethnic cleansing, and seeing Buddhist laypeople (including a young child) openly express the desire to murder Muslims in the name of Buddhism has left me deeply shaken.

As someone practicing Buddhism in the west, I'm not sure what exactly my responsibilities are here. I feel that the Buddhist community bears a collective responsibility to speak up when violent words and deeds are being propagated in the name of the Dhamma, and to some extent by the Sangha itself.
Metta,

Eric
LXNDR
Posts: 697
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 5:15 am

Re: Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

Post by LXNDR »

what bad may come out of this situation or the way it's being covered by the Western media is that buddhists in other parts of the world will become targets for islamic terrorists
User avatar
SDC
Posts: 6410
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm

Re: Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

Post by SDC »

I maintain the position I’ve held throughout the entire conflict in these threads we’ve had here that the people (on both sides) who are carrying out this hatred are unable to see that this fight is cultural – of which Buddhism and Islam are only a part and not the whole. Any preservation of the dhamma will be incidental at best; it is the preservation of the culture and normal life that is at stake here for the “Buddhist” side of the conflict. These people either fail to realize or just do not care that it is not possible to use the teachings of the Buddha to justify such action. I think it can be our part to acknowledge the incompatibility instead of accepting the connection that these certain people are attempting to justify, and any further ill speaking on our part here towards either side will only serve to validate any connection between the dhamma and violence. Of course this thread like the others is likely to go in that direction, but I no longer plan to speak ill of the Burmese Buddhists like I have in the past. I will however still point out these obvious flaws in their ideas.
User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 6544
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

Post by Mkoll »

There is also a long and unsavory history to this particular conflict going back to well before WWII. I condemn this heinous persecution, but these events make much more sense when viewed in light of the historical context.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rohingya
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
User avatar
Weakfocus
Posts: 77
Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 3:07 pm

Re: Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

Post by Weakfocus »

And where is the NY Times video on the relentless, barbaric persecution of every other religion by the muslims? I guess there is so much material on that these poor NYT chaps cannot find a way to edit it down to a cute little video.
LXNDR wrote:what bad may come out of this situation or the way it's being covered by the Western media is that buddhists in other parts of the world will become targets for islamic terrorists
They already have. Besides, Islamists do not need any videos or other outside propoganda to kill people of other religious beliefs. How far do you want to look back into history? Muslims have been slaughtering people of other religious beliefs most efficiently for some centuries now. You would think by now people would awake.
User avatar
waterchan
Posts: 699
Joined: Fri May 07, 2010 7:17 pm
Location: Kamaloka

Re: Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

Post by waterchan »

Do not fall into the trap of thinking this is a Buddhist vs Muslim thing. Like SDC said, the religious aspect of this conflict is just smoke and mirrors. It has always been first and foremost a cultural/ethnic divide.
quidquid Latine dictum sit altum videtur
(Anything in Latin sounds profound.)
User avatar
Kasina
Posts: 300
Joined: Wed Jan 22, 2014 6:35 pm
Location: Ontario, Canada

Re: Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

Post by Kasina »

Hasn't Buddhist-Muslim/Muslim-Buddhist persecution in SE Asia gone back for ages? I also seem to remember reading that it's gone both ways...

Either way, it's not justified and it's definitely unacceptable, regardless of who does it.
"This world completely lacks essence;
It trembles in all directions.
I longed to find myself a place
Unscathed — but I could not see it."


Sn 4.15 PTS: Sn 935-951 "Attadanda Sutta: Arming Oneself"

"You will be required to do wrong no matter where you go... This is the curse at work, the curse that feeds on all life..."

Wilbur Mercer in Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?
User avatar
aletheia
Posts: 14
Joined: Wed Oct 09, 2013 3:07 am

Re: Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

Post by aletheia »

I agree that this conflict involves many dimensions, not just the religious dimension. And of course the kind of bigotry and violence that arises in ethnic conflicts of these kinds has nothing to do with the true teachings of Buddhism.

Perhaps I should have been clearer in my initial post about why it is that what I have seen of this conflict so far troubles me. Let me say first of all that I am most emphatically not trying to champion one or another side to a long ethnic conflict of which I admittedly know little. Rather, what disturbs me as a Buddhist about the kinds of things being said and done by (some, not all) Burmese Buddhist laypeople and monks, is that they are perpetrating racist, xenophobic and apparently even genocidal discourses and actions in the name of preserving and defending Buddhism.

Needless to say (on this forum, at least) anyone who thinks that committing hateful, violent acts is in agreement with the Buddha's teaching has a seriously distorted view of the Dhamma. I will not belabor the obvious. But, when ordained Buddhist monks, who are regarded in a historically Buddhist country as spiritual leaders, hold marches demanding ethnic cleansing and perpetrate hate speech in furtherance of a raging ethnic conflict, I think that we, as a Buddhists, have a responsibility to make it clear that such people, though they may wear the robes of monks and live in monasteries, do not speak for us. In short, we have a duty to say "not in our name."

As ordained members of our religion's monastic order, monks who perpetrate hate and bigorty aren't just speaking as private individuals voicing their own particular opinions. They are speaking as members and representatives of the sangha; their words are vested with a certain stature in virtue of the institutional position they occupy. They are trying to use Sangha, and the prestige the Sangha in predominantly Buddhist countries, to further actions and policies that are clearly antithetical to the spirit of the Dhamma. I think that if we, as Buddhists, don't vocally oppose this attempt to harness the power and authority of the Sangha for purposes of race-hate, then we, as people who "go for refuge to the Sangha," are, by our silence, complicit in that subversion.
Metta,

Eric
User avatar
SDC
Posts: 6410
Joined: Mon Dec 14, 2009 11:08 pm

Re: Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

Post by SDC »

There are a some unfortunate and disturbing realities in the "Buddhist" world and while this Burmese situation seems to be the hot item of the last few years it is certainly not the first and will not be the last in a long line shortcomings within the lay and monastic communities. Truth is, "Buddhism" as a whole (an almost impossible thing to quantify in the first place) is far from a well-oiled machine with respect to putting the dhamma first. I'm of the opinion that this was the case even during the time of the Buddha, but of course to a far lesser extent. Now "Buddhism" is all over the world and along with it come the shortcomings, and in some cases, all out corruption and criminality. Fortunately there have been - and still are - a great many extraordinary people who have not only protected the scriptures, but have protected the practice and have gone through incredible lengths to make those words and meanings accessible. While the corrupt and unknowing are going to prevail in the end, and the dhamma will be lost, we do have access to it now and it's a wonderful thing. That's the good side of the coin.

I'm not telling you not to be outraged or not to do your part to let the world know that this isn't how all the followers of the Buddha's teachings feel. Do what you feel is right.
User avatar
Mkoll
Posts: 6544
Joined: Wed Dec 05, 2012 6:55 pm
Location: Texas

Re: Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

Post by Mkoll »

SDC wrote:I'm not telling you not to be outraged or not to do your part to let the world know that this isn't how all the followers of the Buddha's teachings feel. Do what you feel is right.
One thing you could do is start an online petition to President Obama urging him to take in interest. Another would be to contact Amnesty International and see if they can start one of their "appeals to action" petitions.
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
Namo tassa bhagavato arahato samma sambuddhassa
LXNDR
Posts: 697
Joined: Wed May 28, 2014 5:15 am

Re: Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

Post by LXNDR »

a sensible addressee could be The World Buddhist Sangha Council so it helps buddhists worldwide to officially distance themselves from the conflict and on behalf of the Sangha condemns involvement of burmese monks in it as one of the parties
User avatar
appicchato
Posts: 1602
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

Post by appicchato »

Been going on for time immemorial (different time, different context)...possibly pertinent (perhaps) to the OP is a comment I made in another thread (which one I can't recall) is, as a long time resident of Thailand, and an ordained monk, my observation (which may partially explain (somewhat) the situation) is that Thais (insert Burmese, or pick nationality of choice) are (in order) firstly, human, secondly, Thai (or?), and thirdly, Buddhist (ordained or otherwise)...each trait trumping the other in descending order...while not condoning any of it, it creates (from this angle) plausible understandability...it seems we (for the most part) are our own worst enemies...actually one could reasonably scratch the 'for the most part' bit...expanding a tad further, with the perspective of having arrived in the forties, we (humans) appear to be on the fast track (and seemingly more fast every day (a nano second on the cosmic clock)), in almost every aspect, and in every conceivable way, to really end this whole show (life) on a very ugly note...I feel for the young of today...(end of rant)...enjoy your day... :candle:
'
User avatar
Mr Man
Posts: 3810
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

Post by Mr Man »

appicchato wrote:Been going on for time immemorial (different time, different context)...possibly pertinent (perhaps) to the OP is a comment I made in another thread (which one I can't recall) is, as a long time resident of Thailand, and an ordained monk, my observation (which may partially explain (somewhat) the situation) is that Thais (insert Burmese, or pick nationality of choice) are (in order) firstly, human, secondly, Thai (or?), and thirdly, Buddhist (ordained or otherwise)...each trait trumping the other in descending order...while not condoning any of it, it creates (from this angle) plausible understandability...it seems we (for the most part) are our own worst enemies...actually one could reasonably scratch the 'for the most part' bit...expanding a tad further, with the perspective of having arrived in the forties, we (humans) appear to be on the fast track (and seemingly more fast every day (a nano second on the cosmic clock)), in almost every aspect, and in every conceivable way, to really end this whole show (life) on a very ugly note...I feel for the young of today...(end of rant)...enjoy your day... :candle:
'
Bhante, I don't think you could put those in descending order. Foes are dehumanized. There is not a sense of shared humanity. Identity is almost totally associated with the grouping which is inextricably intertwined with religious identity.
User avatar
appicchato
Posts: 1602
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2008 12:47 am
Location: Bridge on the River Kwae

Re: Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

Post by appicchato »

Foes are dehumanized. There is not a sense of shared humanity. Identity is almost totally associated with the grouping which is inextricably intertwined with religious identity.
That's basically the point...you get two, or more, people together and there are going to be problems...and #'s 2 and 3 are right there too...ethnicity and religion are neck and neck in the potential for conflict...my emphasis is/was in the order of weight ascribed to each trait...
User avatar
Mr Man
Posts: 3810
Joined: Tue Oct 04, 2011 8:42 am

Re: Video on NY Times on persecution of Burmese Muslims

Post by Mr Man »

There has also been news of anti-Muslim riots in Sri Lanka: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-27880922
Post Reply