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?
User avatar
Paribbajaka
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:13 am

Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by Paribbajaka »

Coyote wrote:Just because we/they are unenlightened does not make us/them mindless robots or somehow unable to keep sila or act in the proper manner for a Bhikkhu. Plenty manage it, I'm sure.
This. I'm sorry, but it is pretty clear that in a Buddhist worldview, violence is never the answer. Those who kill in the name of Buddhism, a thought system based on goodwill and non-harm, are hypocrites, plain and simple. This is ignoring the fact that much of the violence seems to be initiated by the sangha instead of them simply defending themselves.

I understand that real life can be messy, and that every Buddhist country throughout history has had standing armies, but it is especially reprehensible for monastics to engage in violence, as they have dedicated their lives to Buddhism and should certainly not be
a)killing
b)spreading racial or theological hatred
c)getting involved with worldly politics

They have all taken vows as such.

As far as defending home and family, Bhikkhu literally translates as beggar, monks have "left home", and are living the "homeless life" , and even get new names to signify the end of their lay life. If this is the case, what home and family are they defending (this may sound harsh, but once again all of the, have willingly taken this path.)
May all beings be happy!
User avatar
Bhikkhu Cintita
Posts: 11
Joined: Wed Jan 06, 2010 12:48 pm
Location: Austin, TX USA
Contact:

Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by Bhikkhu Cintita »

A number of people involved in this thread have suggested that while some monastics in Burma have advocated violence few have condemned it. I want to point out the following recent statement by Ashin Nyanissara (Sitagu Sayadaw's):

https://www.facebook.com/notes/%E1%80%9 ... 1772747167
User avatar
Paribbajaka
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:13 am

Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by Paribbajaka »

Bhikkhu Cintita wrote:A number of people involved in this thread have suggested that while some monastics in Burma have advocated violence few have condemned it. I want to point out the following recent statement by Ashin Nyanissara (Sitagu Sayadaw's):

https://www.facebook.com/notes/%E1%80%9 ... 1772747167
It is very heartening to see this. It takes a lot of courageousness to stand up like this, and I am glad to see some Burmese bhikkhus doing so. Sadhu sadhu sadhu! :bow:
May all beings be happy!
binocular
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by binocular »

Lazy_eye wrote:
binocular wrote: If someone were to come to cause you and your loved ones harm, what would you do?
Would you just stand there and let them do it?
I don't quite see how your line of questioning applies to the situation in Burma. The violence there, for the most part, is being carried out by a majority population against minorities.

Are you trying to build up an argument in favor of ethnic cleansing? Please clarify.
Oh please.


When discussing such issues, there's the danger to take things out of context. My suspicion is that the situation slowly progressed to a boiling point. Perhaps at first, the Buddhists tried to be "good Buddhists," and have tolerated the abuse from the minority, thus enabling it and letting it grow. Until they couldn't be "good Buddhists" anymore.

It is said that three small things must not be neglected: a small fire, a small snake, and a small prince. It seems that the situation in Burma may have been a case of neglecting a small fire.

Coyote wrote:That doesn't mean it is permissible or that we should not call those who have ordained in the Buddha Sasana out on behavior that is immoral and that the Buddha strictly prohibited.
Noone said it is permissible. But them not being enlightened could explain why they act the way they do.

Compassion and understanding for those who perpetrate violence, yes. But IMO we should not be silent and it is quite right to ask why the senior monks in Burma seem to be.
There is the issue of instructing someone who is not one's student.

Just because we/they are unenlightened does not make us/them mindless robots or somehow unable to keep sila or act in the proper manner for a Bhikkhu. Plenty manage it, I'm sure.
The question is, for how long, under what circumstances.
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
binocular
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by binocular »

Paribbajaka wrote:
Lord Buddha wrote:"Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. By non-hatred alone is hatred appeased. This is a law eternal."
The Buddha very clearly discusses in the Pali Canon that a Buddhist SHOULD NOT kill in retaliation to killing. Even if this were a case of Muslim aggression Buddhists and especially monastics should not be involved in genocide like this. It is important to remember that in the Buddha's own lifetime his clan was eradicated by a rival clan, and he did not react with the slightest bit of ill will or violence. If these are followers of the Buddha, why are they acting in this way?
Perhaps those Buddhists there are not retaliating, perhaps they are not acting with anger and hatred.
One cannot just assume what the intention for another person's action is.
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
User avatar
Lazy_eye
Posts: 996
Joined: Fri Jan 23, 2009 3:23 pm
Location: Laurel, MD
Contact:

Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by Lazy_eye »

Bhikkhu Cintita wrote:A number of people involved in this thread have suggested that while some monastics in Burma have advocated violence few have condemned it. I want to point out the following recent statement by Ashin Nyanissara (Sitagu Sayadaw's):

https://www.facebook.com/notes/%E1%80%9 ... 1772747167
Sadhu! Thank you for posting this.
User avatar
Paribbajaka
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:13 am

Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by Paribbajaka »

binocular wrote: Oh please.


When discussing such issues, there's the danger to take things out of context. My suspicion is that the situation slowly progressed to a boiling point. Perhaps at first, the Buddhists tried to be "good Buddhists," and have tolerated the abuse from the minority, thus enabling it and letting it grow. Until they couldn't be "good Buddhists" anymore.
binocular wrote: Perhaps those Buddhists there are not retaliating, perhaps they are not acting with anger and hatred.
One cannot just assume what the intention for another person's action is.
I appreciate the irony here, don't get me wrong. You make the point that we cannot assume intentions, when a few posts previously you concoct a scenario that has no supporting evidence in order to try to generate some sympathy for ethnic pogroms.

All evidence seems to indicate that Buddhism and Buddhists were not threatened by the Muslims in Burma. This could be a case of bias in english reports, but let's be honest Buddhism holds a "model religion" reputation in the West and Islam is often associated with extremism, so if any bias would occur it would be this underlying bias (and no, this doesn't mean that the media shook up the sterotypes for publicity, as if that were the case these issues would be much more prominent than they are.)

You can't seem to decide why this issue should be dismissed: you have offered that the monks are unenlightened and therefore racism and violence are a-ok, that they are acting in self defense when it is relatively clear they are not, and that we cannot guess their intention or emotional state as if there is a positive, loving state of mind that one may commit racial hatred in. I do not feel that any of these hold up in the slightest. You now offer that Islam was some pernicious force that slowly grew to threaten the innocent Burmese monks, which has no foundation in any of what has been reported by any news source. As I said earlier in this thread, sometimes supporting the sangha includes being aware of when members of it are unskillful. Making excuses like this only muddies the waters and allows bad behavior like this to flourish.
May all beings be happy!
User avatar
manas
Posts: 2678
Joined: Thu Jul 22, 2010 3:04 am
Location: Melbourne, Australia

Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by manas »

a.question.might.be,
what.can.we.do.about.it?
should.we.write.letters.to.senior.monks
in.Burma,asking.them.where.they.really.stand?
if.we.did.we.might.be.surprised
because.i.would.expect.that.truly.advanced.monks
would.advise.against.violent.retaliation
after.all,harmlessness.is.one.of.the.cornerstones
of.the.DhammaVinaya.they.have.practiced
for.virtually.their.entire.lives!

can.anyone.understand.and.write
in.Burmese?.maybe.we.should.really
do.this

metta
:anjali:
To the Buddha-refuge i go; to the Dhamma-refuge i go; to the Sangha-refuge i go.
binocular
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by binocular »

Paribbajaka wrote:You can't seem to decide why this issue should be dismissed: you have offered that the monks are unenlightened and therefore racism and violence are a-ok,
Making excuses like this only muddies the waters and allows bad behavior like this to flourish.
Don't twist around what I said.

that they are acting in self defense when it is relatively clear they are not, and that we cannot guess their intention or emotional state as if there is a positive, loving state of mind that one may commit racial hatred in. I do not feel that any of these hold up in the slightest. You now offer that Islam was some pernicious force that slowly grew to threaten the innocent Burmese monks, which has no foundation in any of what has been reported by any news source. As I said earlier in this thread, sometimes supporting the sangha includes being aware of when members of it are unskillful. Making excuses like this only muddies the waters and allows bad behavior like this to flourish.
You've just demonstrated what is potentially a beginning for a bloody fight.

You twist around what I said. If I were to just let it pass, you'd continue believing that you are right, that you represent me correctly, and then you'd twist around some more. Until the situation progressed to a point where only force can stop you.



You now offer that Islam was some pernicious force that slowly grew to threaten the innocent Burmese monks, which has no foundation in any of what has been reported by any news source.
The small fire I'm referring to could be the Muslims claiming, for example, that Buddhism is wrong or of the devil. Which they do, and which "good Buddhists" probably usually just let pass. And then come the consequences of letting it pass.
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
User avatar
Alex123
Posts: 3477
Joined: Wed Mar 10, 2010 11:32 pm

Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by Alex123 »

How do we know that the difficulty in Burma is due to Buddhists?
Last edited by Alex123 on Sat May 04, 2013 5:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"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..."
binocular
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by binocular »

Alex123 wrote:Is it me, or does the trouble start whenever muslims move to a certain country and start demanding their rights?

How do we know that the difficulty in Burma is due to Buddhists and not muslims themselves? Maybe Buddhists are framed.
It is not possible to peacefully coexist with someone who believes you are wrong.

Arguably, Muslims do believe that the Buddhists are wrong - they consider them to be the faithless, the kafirs. That doesn't sound like a foundation for peaceful coexistence.
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
User avatar
robertk
Posts: 3952
Joined: Sat Jan 03, 2009 2:08 am

Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by robertk »

Muslims have lived for decades if not hundreds of yearrs in Myanmar so it seems most of the time they can love quite amicably with their Buddhist brethren.
User avatar
Paribbajaka
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:13 am

Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by Paribbajaka »

binocular wrote:[You've just demonstrated what is potentially a beginning for a bloody fight.

You twist around what I said. If I were to just let it pass, you'd continue believing that you are right, that you represent me correctly, and then you'd twist around some more. Until the situation progressed to a point where only force can stop you.
I am truly, deeply sorry for you if words on a computer screen can even begin to give rise to thoughts of violence in your head.

binocular wrote:The small fire I'm referring to could be the Muslims claiming, for example, that Buddhism is wrong or of the devil. Which they do, and which "good Buddhists" probably usually just let pass. And then come the consequences of letting it pass.
When the sangha was split by Devadatta, why was there no violent retaliation?

How about when the Buddha's Dhamma was deemed "nastika" (literally heretical or "not true") by the Brahmanic establishment?

In the west today, fundamentalist Christians feel the same way about Buddhism. Should we attack them?

In South Korea there is a long standing feud between the Buddhist establishment and Chirstians. It has led to bloodshed on both sides and has weakened the populace's faith in both supposedly peaceful paths.

Violence is not the answer. Hatred is not the answer. Love and understanding are the answers. The Buddha preached loving kindness and compassion, not bigotry and ethnic violence. I would reccomend you reaccquaint yourself with the Tipitaka and with the Brahma-Viharas.
May all beings be happy!
User avatar
Paribbajaka
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri Jun 01, 2012 1:13 am

Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by Paribbajaka »

Alex123 wrote:Is it me, or does the trouble start whenever muslims move to a certain country and start demanding their rights?
Those damn Muslims demanding to be treated like people! How dare they!
Alex123 wrote: How do we know that the difficulty in Burma is due to Buddhists and not muslims themselves? Maybe Buddhists are framed
I would say that the evidence all posts to the contrary, and that at least one monk is calling himself the "Buddhist Bin Laden" fairly loudly. But beyond that, the fact that Buddhists (and once again especially Buddhist monastics) should hold themselves to a standard of pacifism and inclusiveness.

Who would be framing the Buddhists? The Burmese government? The western media? Perhaps the hateful bhikkhus are deep cover anti-Buddhists?
May all beings be happy!
binocular
Posts: 8292
Joined: Sat Jan 17, 2009 11:13 pm

Re: Genocide in Burma: Monks and Perpetuation of Violence

Post by binocular »

Paribbajaka wrote:Love and understanding are the answers.
If only you would demonstrate some.

:shock:

Anyway, you've just proven my point.

:shrug:
Hic Rhodus, hic salta!
Locked