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NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMASAMBUDDHASSA
NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMASAMBUDDHASSA
NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMASAMBUDDHASSA
Translation: May veneration be presented to the exalted one who is a Buddha and has achieved enlightenment by himself righteously. X3
The Riots In Burma And The Burmese Buddhist Monks
Now that you’re here, do yourself a favor and at least watch the video on this page.
This would seem to be the story that we’re all supposed to buy, that there is this “O Sama Bin Laden” styled Buddhist monk who has been whipping the Burmese people into a racist frenzy, so much so that they’re going out and rioting and killing the victimized and downtrodden “Rohingya” Muslims. The Venerable U Wirathu has never actually called himself the O Sama Bin Laden of Burma, although he doesn’t mind being called a “radical” because he knows that many consider him a “radical” for some of the things that he’s had to say. When the Time magazine article of July 13, 2013 (international edition) states that the O Sama Bin Laden of Burma is a title that he has taken you would perhaps be deceptively led to believe so.
The important question is, does the popular story line being fed to us really fit the known facts?
I will give just two examples that we will briefly revisit later :
When some Muslim pull a Buddhist monk off of his bike and dowse him with petrol and set him on fire in front of a Muslim Mosque, after an argument between a Muslim jewellery store owner and a woman and her husband who are both Buddhists, does this sound like something that was incited by whom when riots occur? The second major round of the riots recently occurred, as we shall soon discuss, after a Buddhist woman was later set on fire in Meikthila, some time after which a Muslim man was set on fire in the same town and filmed largely by the police. When this film is ever shown there is never any mention of course of the whole story. Mention at one typical site which has covered this discusses the argument in the jewellery shop but no mention of the Buddhist monk being set a blaze before any of this ever happened. The “969 squad” is talked of as if to imply that they are simply some sort of violent anti-Muslim gang handing out stickers, with no mention of the “786” Muslim movement (which we will touch upon shortly) that by far preceded it. (1) Other websites that I have seen report ” eye witness” accounts of things that would never add up to anything more than hearsay.
Again, when a Muslim man pours gasoline over a Buddhist woman and sets her on fire, and riots occur, just who is it that has “incited” what?(2)
Who should be admonished more, Buddhists who fail to realize the accomplishment of perfect patience and spiritual maturity when they riot and seek retribution after such an incident, or someone who commits such an act in the first place? When Muslim are taught by their Qur’an that non-Muslim are pretty much beneath anything that is to be considered human, is this not like the dehumanizing propaganda fed to solders regarding the enemy before they go off to war? If someone is perceived as less than human, are they not easier to kill?
There are those who will say something like “Well in spite of all of that, if they cause pain and suffering to another human being, then they’re not really Buddhist”.
My response? I’m sure that if they all had the very best of spiritual experience as Buddhists, with the best of spiritual maturity they would all get on their hands and knees and beg forgiveness for not being as humble and grovelling and submissive as ideal and perfect Buddhist would presumably be, while their Buddhist monk and anyone else of their congregation are set on fire!
The Qur’an teaches that the People of the book who are un believers (Christians and Jews) are the most vile of creatures (Qur’an 98:6), and polytheist and Idol worshipers whom the Muslim consider the Buddhist, are not even given that much as they are instructed that we will suffer a torment in hellish torture. From this sadistic teaching given by “Allah” to their prophet one may surmise; “Whats wrong with a little preview”? Whether or not this is the perspective of the nice Muslim couple who have invited you to a reading at the local book club is irrelevant to the point. If anyone is inclined to talk of how the Qur’an 5:32 teaches “that if an innocent is killed it is like killing the whole world”, and if you choose not to buy the assertion that this is a section lifted straight from the Jewish Talmud (a common claim), you might want to take a look at what Qur’an 5:33 the very next verse has for us as it tells us just who should be killed, and consider the many different ways that “making mischief in the land” can be construed such as advocating a religion other than Islam. This would be just one example of a violation that according to Qur’an 5:33 could get you killed and which is mentioned as an exception in Qurán 5:32. You see, what you or I consider an innocent person and what the Qur’an considers an innocent person are not necessarily the same thing. OOPS! You mean someone forgot to tell you that?
Remember that abrogation is taught in the Qur’an itself:
2:106 and16:101are the two verses usually sited for this. There are no peaceful portions of the Qur’an that have not been abrogated (set aside) by the intolerant and violent ones.
I have spoken to some who have the rather ill informed opinion that the violence against the Rohinga Muslim in Burma is comparable to the violence of Islam, or should be seen as a bad reflection on the Buddhist religion.
If any body would like to compare what is going on in Burma now with Islam, I would have to say that if there were a true comparison then there would probably be not many Muslim in Burma now to speak of to begin with. Most if not all would have been either killed or forcibly convinced to convert to Buddhism. I say this because for Islam there is the chance that you can keep your religion otherwise if you’re seen as a member of the “people of the book” (Jew, Christian or Muslim) by paying the ‘Jizya’, which is basically an extorted protection money type of tax. The Muslim as people of the book would of course be exempt from having to pay this as they are already Muslim. If there could be construed as a people of the book equivalent for Buddhism, it certainly would not include the religion of Islam, but would probably be something like Jainism, Tantric Hinduism, and Buddhism. Even in Malaysia, which can be seen as the most liberal Muslim country in the world (many Muslim don’t consider it a true Muslim country, because the political and financial sphere are not entirely in the hands of Muslim exclusively), in all but three jurisdictions I could be put in jail for a lengthy sentence and publicly whipped with many strokes of the cane for having what could be construed as the wrong kind of conversation with a Muslim, if it is thought that I was trying to convert him or her away from Islam.(3) According to article 160 of the Malaysian constitution if your born Malay or considered one of the indigenous tribes, you’re automatically considered a Muslim whether you like it or not! Try to willingly convert from Islam if you don’t think that it’s the religion for you, and you could quite easily find yourself thrown in jail for it. Negeri Sembilan is the only state which (officially) permits conversion. A convert must first apply to the Sharia Court for a declaration that he or she is no longer a Muslim; the convert will then be counseled for about a year by a Mufti. If, after this period, the convert still wants to convert, the judge may permit the application. This process is unique to the state; no other state allows Muslims to officially convert.(4) In most other Muslim countries though the crime of conversion away from Islam is punishable by death (Qur’an 4:89). Stoning someone to death is actually legal in Malaysia although currently not enforced.
Consider the fact that in the peaceful loving kindness, religious freedom department, this is the best that can be said that Islam has been able to offer the world (if you consider Malaysia for the reason already discussed to be a true Muslim country) in more than 1400 years!
In short, if Burma were an officially Buddhist country and if Buddhism were anything like Islam, the entire situation would not even exist as the whole matter would have been quite well resolved a la Islam style in a much different way, long before now.
Did you know that the Burmese “969” movement was in response to the Muslim “768” movement that has long been encouraging that the Muslim (primarily “Rohingya”) only do business with the Muslim and no one else? Why isn’t the mass media telling us about this fact?
In an interview with the Venerable U Wirathu:
Q: “In your sermons, you said that people must not support Muslim business marked with the sign “786” (a numeral used by Muslims on the Indian subcontinent representing a phrase in the Quran). Does it create discrimination, hatred and mistrust between communities”?
A: “Well, it is not the Burmese way, but a Muslim way and do they practice this [marking their shops with “786”]. So go around the town and see how many Muslims are visiting Burmese shops. If they support their own shops, why won’t we Buddhist [Burmese] do the same? If we support our Burmese shops, we will not have problems and it cannot be that bad. Look what happened in Meikhtila, if people support the Burmese gold shops then there would not have been an argument. [The unrest in Meikthila supposedly began as a fight between a Muslim gold shop owner and a Buddhist customer.] This kind of buying behavior doesn’t mean its discrimination. It can protect our people’s interests”.(5)
Not that the “969” initiative or he was telling people not to ever do any business with a Muslim, and while we’re at it, how is it that the Buddhist doing business with Buddhist is a bad thing, while Muslim doing business only with Muslim, “786” style is not ever mentioned in the mass media? Read the entire interview by clicking on the link in the reference and notes section number (5) and judge for yourself.
A Little history anyone?
The British retreated after the Japanese occupation of Burma after having armed these Bengali Muslims who used the gifted arms to wipe out entire Arakan villages. Historian Aye Chan gives details of how the Rohingyas destroyed Buddhist Arakanese villages (20,000 Arakanese including Deputy Commissioner U Oo Kyaw Khaing) instead of the Japanese. What is clear is that ever since 1940s the Rohingyas have been using arms and ammunition and are not necessarily the innocent victims that are being projected globally. If the Rohingyas claim that they were not armed by the British then they may wish to explain where they were if they were not in Rakhine areas as the British retreated when the British armed the Muslims against the Rakhine Buddhists in 1942. (6)
The Islamist arming and training of ‘Rohingya’ Muslim.
We know that as early as 2002 the Asia Times reported that Rohingyas were being trained by the militant and terriorist groups Jamaat-e-Islami in Bangladesh and Pakistan, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar’s Hizb-e-Islami in Afghanistan, Hizb-ul-Mujahideen (HM) in Jammu and Kashmir, and as well we have the Angkatan Belia Islam sa-Malaysia (ABIM) – the Islamic Youth Organization of Malaysia. Afghan instructors have been seen in some of the RSO camps along the Bangladesh-Burma border, while nearly 100 RSO rebels were reported to have undergone training in the Afghan province of Khost with Hizb-e-Islami Mujahideen. According to intelligence sources, Rohingya recruits were paid 30,000 Bangladeshi taka (US$525) on joining and then 10,000 taka per month. The families of recruits killed in action were offered 100,000 taka. The Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO), was founded by Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar’s Rakhine State and claims to be fighting for autonomy or independence for its people.The RSO was set up in the early 1980s when radical elements among the Rohingyas broke away from the more moderate main grouping, the Rohingya Patriotic Front (RPF). Led by a medical doctor from Arakan, Muhammad Yunus, it soon became the main and most militant faction among the Rohingyas in Bangladesh and on the border of Myanmar. Given its more rigid religious stand, the RSO soon secured the support of like-minded groups in the Muslim world. It is a fact also that the RSO have had their training camps right across the border in Bangladesh. (7)
Although perhaps little if any of this particular fighting has been known to have occurred in Myanmar, with so much of the interaction between the “Rohingya” back and forth between Bangladesh and Myanmar it is hard to see why there wouldn’t be a substantial influence as well for violent Islamic ideology and behavior. Setting unsuspecting “infidel” Buddhists on fire with gasoline would certainly suggest this.
In case anyone has any doubt about the history of Bengali Muslim killing Buddhists in Burma make sure you watch this short video, the history of such butchering as alluded to earlier is well established….
What? You mean the recent Time Magazine article showing the face of the Venerable U Wirathu as “The Face Of Buddhist Terror” didn’t mention any of this? But surely they’re the Plymouth Rock of objective news reporting …. aren’t they? I’ve heard some comment that this is Muslim self defence! Look guys, we are not talking about farmer Joe handing his rifle over to a concerned neighbor. Can someone show me a scrap of evidence that the “Rohingya” aside from after setting a Buddhist monk on fire or something of the sort, really ever have a need to be armed for common fear of roaming Buddhist aggressors, or for that matter armed and trained by militant and known terrorist groups? Should we believe that Time magazine was unable to acquire this sort of information as well as other information discussed in this article? The sad fact of the matter is that there are some very violent Islamists being trained in Bangladesh who have the goal of coming to Burma to carry out acts of violent provocation.(8) Burma is considered a country of idol worshiping infidel that is right on the border of Bangladesh, and to have a country of “idol worshiping infidel” right next door is something that is seen as an affront and challenge to the credibility of Islam by many. In response to this and given the fact that if they send them back to Bangladesh they will only be forcefully returned by Bangladesh, many are now living in refugee (displaced people) camps in Burma. Should the Burmese really be criticized for protecting their own citizenry? Should the conditions be made more attractive to encourage more? Burma is being blamed for Bangladesh not taking responsibility and indeed, encouraging the situation. It is indeed a very regrettable thing that many “Rohingya” Muslim have to suffer because of the actions of those in their own community who are intent on provoking violence. Thankfully, many are now leaving these camps for displaced people and are returning home to the communities that they once left.(9) The Burmese people in general, do not seem to be willing to allow Burma to become the new “Mecca” for Bangladesh immigration, and the Muslim aggressors are now posturing themselves as the victim cause celebre of Burma.
We should not forget that Islam’s religious standard of authority (the Qur’an) despite the denial of many and excuses that simply don’t work under the slightest of scrutiny, does teach that non Muslim should be either converted or killed (Qur’an 9:1-6 with 9:7), or if your deemed “people of the book” you might have a chance to pay the ”Jizya” (protection money) and live as a second class citizen (Qur’an 9:29). Many Muslim are either ignorant of their own Qur’an (something that many Muslim will even tell you), or thankfully choose not to take much of it too seriously while believing whatever story the ’moderate’ Muslim has been sold to believe as an excuse for all of this. Of course because it is the religious standard of authority of Islam (for most together with the Hadith and Sunnah) many do take it all very seriously.
Should any think that the Burmese are blind to the situation in Southern Thailand where although the Muslim in Thailand are also a minority over all, that there has been so much bloodshed of the Buddhists for the “crime” of being Buddhist (what the Muslim are taught to consider as “polytheist” and “infidel” ) that “Car bombs, home made grenades, assassinations and arson have become part of daily life in southern Thailand”…(10)
Volume 4, Book 53, Number 386: Narrated Jubair bin Haiya:
‘Umar sent the Muslims to the great countries to fight the pagans. When Al-Hurmuzan embraced Islam, ‘Umar said to him. “I would like to consult you regarding these countries which I intend to invade.” Al-Hurmuzan said, “Yes, the example of these countries and their inhabitants who are the enemies. of the Muslims, is like a bird with a head, two wings and two legs; If one of its wings got broken, it would get up over its two legs, with one wing and the head; and if the other wing got broken, it would get up with two legs and a head, but if its head got destroyed, then the two legs, two wings and the head would become useless. The head stands for Khosrau, and one wing stands for Caesar and the other wing stands for Faris. So, order the Muslims to go towards Khosrau.” So, ‘Umar sent us (to Khosrau) appointing An-Numan bin Muqrin as our commander. When we reached the land of the enemy, the representative of Khosrau came out with forty-thousand warriors, and an interpreter got up saying, “Let one of you talk to me!” Al-Mughira replied, “Ask whatever you wish.” The other asked, “Who are you?” Al-Mughira replied, “We are some people from the Arabs; we led a hard, miserable, disastrous life: we used to suck the hides and the date stones from hunger; we used to wear clothes made up of fur of camels and hair of goats, and to worship trees and stones. While we were in this state, the Lord of the Heavens and the Earths, Elevated is His Remembrance and Majestic is His Highness, sent to us from among ourselves a Prophet whose father and mother are known to us. Our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, has ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah Alone or give Jizya (i.e. tribute); and our Prophet has informed us that our Lord says:– “Whoever amongst us is killed (i.e. martyred), shall go to Paradise to lead such a luxurious life as he has never seen, and whoever amongst us remain alive, shall become your master.”(Al-Mughira, then blamed An-Numan for delaying the attack and) An-Nu’ man said to Al-Mughira, “If you had participated in a similar battle, in the company of Allah’s Apostle he would not have blamed you for waiting, nor would he have disgraced you. But I accompanied Allah’s Apostle in many battles and it was his custom that if he did not fight early by daytime, he would wait till the wind had started blowing and the time for the prayer was due (i.e. after midday).” (11) Why were the Pagans considered enemies? The Hadith itself tells you why. “Our Prophet, the Messenger of our Lord, has ordered us to fight you till you worship Allah Alone or give Jizya (i.e. tribute)”…
There are those who will tell us, “Well those are just scriptures that are being taken out of historical context”. Historical context would mean that was then and this is now. Are any of our Muslim friends willing to admit that there are parts of their Qur’an or Hadith that are “outdated”? Is it both the eternal word of their creator and sustainer God to be acted upon by Muhammad and his followers and something that can be taken into “historical context”? How would you differentiate between the two other than with one’s own subjective opinion? That would be the same subjective opinion that one uses when they drag a Buddhist monk from his bicycle and set him on fire. I’ve heard a story once that the older Meccan verses were for only the Muslim then but the later ones were for Muslim of all time. There isn’t the slightest scrap of scriptural teaching to substantiate this. Even if there were, the “ayah of the sword” discussed earlier was one of the very last ayah to be revealed to their Prophet prior to his death as many a Muslim site will show you when comparing the traditional order of the Qur’an to the chronological order. As it turns out many of the Muslim who are ready to kill the non believer unless they convert are actually aware of the difference between the two. As well, many also understand something called “abrogation” which is revealed in Qur’an 2:106, which instructs the Muslim to understand that a later verse voids and supersedes an earlier one. When one considers abrogation along with the fact that the Qur’an is written in traditional order not chronological order you find out easily that there is not a single verse that can be construed as peaceful that is left standing. Those who kill for the cause of “Allah” know that they don’t need a masters degree in Islamic studies to understand the simplicity of this. Why then are most Muslim not out killing for the cause of “Allah”? Fortunately many Muslim are not very knowledgeable about their own Qur’an, or many choose (thankfully) to follow their own good moral conscience instead.
Within the Buddhist teaching as a part of our scriptural standard of authority we have a sutta called the Kalama Sutta,where we are taught not to have this scriptural “fetishism”. Nor are we taught to convert or kill the un believer (neither as well if the circumstances are right, that we can keep some sort of “people of the book” second class citizens who pay the protection money called “jizya” in exchange for giving them the privilege of keeping their religious practice).
This is why you don’t hear of any accounts of Theravada Buddhists pulling Mahayana Buddhists from their vehicles and shooting them to death in the street, or Mahayana Buddhists blowing to bits a Theravada temple because one considers the other not a “true” believer. This is why you’re not reading any accounts of Buddhist suicide bombers, killing as many as they can along with themselves eager to be greeted by their 72 virgins in paradise.
I really don’t know know what more it would take for people to understand that even though you may have a next door neighbor or co worker who is a nice Muslim, and whom seem to have made a beautiful spiritual path of Islam, the orthodox driving force of Islam is not meant to be something that peacefully co exists with other religious beliefs. The simple truth is that it was founded on violence toward the un-believer, and not simply as “self defense” as is the popular claim. This is why in the world today we have what could be called a “split personality” disorder involving Islam where the fundamentalist and “moderate” both accuse each other of not being “true” Islam. As previously mentioned, it is to this worlds great benefit that many Muslim are either not knowledgeable of their own scriptural religious teaching, or choose with their own good conscience not to take much of it seriously. As a comparison, there are many Roman Catholics that I know who following their own good conscience don’t really believe that the pope speaks for them, and many have never read much of their own Bible. They still go to church and consider themselves good Catholics although the Roman Catholic church has policies and dogma based directly on that Bible that it could well be argued have a very detrimental effect on the wellness of humanity.
With the Qur’an and Islam though, the issues are far more serious up front than whether or not a Catholic in Nicaragua should use birth control or whether or not when they eat that little cracker and drink some wine at Sunday Mass it actually turns literally into the body and blood of Jesus. This is a general but worthy comparison as to why I believe many Muslim (even those well versed in the Qur’an) choose to believe that there is some sort of contextual error being made, doing so allows them to consider themselves Muslim in good standing without the troublesome and potentially dangerous practice of questioning the validity of Islamic scripture. For the un-believer (Infidel or Kufar) it is certainly easier to believe this type of “historical context” excuse of a story rather than confront the serious issues that are realized when one considers otherwise.
Much is made of the suggestion by the Venerable U Wirathu that Buddhists not marry Muslim, even though that is exactly something that is forbidden by the Muslim’s own Sharia law. Sharia law forbids the marriage of Muslim and non Muslim. It does not surprise me of course that there is no talk of that in this type of discussion. Would some suggest it would be better that someone engage in dishonesty and revert to some sort of Crypto-Buddhism instead? A limit on the amount of children? Yes, they are concerned about their culture being eventually threatened in a way that might be irreparable, and although draconian by Western standards the question here is whether or not they have the right to take such action whether or not some Western journalist or otherwise should like it or not. Although for other reasons, the Chinese government has such restrictions that are much harsher than anything being proposed, and I don’t see any outrage about it .
Some talk of the “role” that the Buddhist monks have had in these riots. What “role” would that be?
None that I can tell have been out chasing anyone down the street with a stick simply because they don’t like the Muslims so they must be talking about something that was said. Is it not proper Buddhist behavior to say something that others might find disagreeable?
Should Buddhists be silent about these relevant issues?
Not according to the example and teaching given by the Buddha in the Pali Canon that I know.
PTS: M i 392
Abhaya Sutta: To Prince Abhaya (excerpt)
 “In the case of words that the Tathagata (Buddha) knows to be factual, true, beneficial, but unendearing & disagreeable to others, he has a sense of the proper time for saying them”.
Of course, for some people, NEVER would be the proper time.
Another example of this is to point to the fact that during the Buddha’s ministry he was proactive in debating others who had a view that although was promoted in one way or another for the welfare of the many, was actually detrimental to the welfare of the many.
“Debating, the formal arguing or discussion of a thesis before an audience, has a long and distinguished history in Buddhism beginning with the Buddha himself. In text like the Sutta Nipata of the Pali Tipitaka, the Buddha says that the true monk argues with no one and keeps away from public debates. But in many other works in the Tipitaka he is portrayed as a vigorous and successful debater. It would seem therefore that at the beginning of his career the Buddha simply taught those who were interested in what he had to say, but later as his teachings came to be criticized or misinterpreted, he felt the need to explain, clarify and defend them. And this he did with remarkable virtuosity. So successful was he that he was accused of using magic to convert his opponents. In later centuries, Buddhist scholars success in debating played an important part in the winning of intellectuals to Buddhism. Sometimes the stakes were high. During certain periods those defeated in debate had to either become the victor’s disciple or commit suicide. Different Buddhist schools also debated with each other. The Chinese Mahayana monk Hsuan Tsang debated with the Savakayana monk Pragnadea in front of a huge audience and won. However it is specifically mentioned that after it was all over the two men remained good friends. The great Samye debate in Tibet in 792-4AD between the Chinese monk Hva-san and the Indian monk Kamalasida, which the latter finally won, meant that Tibet was to rely more on India than China for its Buddhism. Perhaps the most crucial modern debate took place in Panadura in Sri Lanka in 1873. Venerable M.Gunaranda took on the Reverend David de Silva in a two day debate and to everyone’s astonishment, thoroughly defeated his opponent. The victory marked the halt in Buddhism’s decline in the face of Christian evangelism and the beginning of a major revival”.(12)
To help round things out for us a bit now, I will offer you this……
It’s a link to a short story about how Buddhist monks have offered their monastery to shelter the displaced Muslim after the rioting in Lashio Burmia. The rioting began after a Muslim man splashed gasoline on a Buddhist woman and set her on fire.(13)
While we’re at it lets not forget how the Burma anti-Muslim riots of 2013 started in the first place shall we?
“Tensions between Buddhist and Muslim ethnic groups flared into violent clashes in Meiktela on March 20th and continued until the 22nd, killing at least 40 and wounding 61 people. The violence started on March 20th after a Muslim gold shop owner, his wife, and two Muslim employees allegedly assaulted a Buddhist customer and her husband in an argument over a golden hairpin. The situation further escalated when a local Buddhist monk was dragged from his bicycle, doused in petrol, and burnt alive by six Muslim youths at a nearby mosque”. (14)
While you’re at it take a look at this, it’s a list of Muslim genocide, harassment, rape, assault and torture of Buddhists in Bangladesh, India and Burma/Myanmar these past few years. Most are in Bangladesh, although if you don’t know what that has to do with Burma, we’ll soon discuss that.
I know that many people at this point decide to stop reading this article because the list here looks very long.
Not to worry, I gave a long list just to emphasize that there’s a real demonstratable history here and not just the cherry picking of a few instances.
If you want to skip past this, feel free to do so.
(these are a few of the cases that have made it to English translation):
Really folks, I could go on for DAYS, but for the sake of brevity let’s cut to the chase as they say, and I’ll now just list a FEW of the more recent…..
Get the idea yet?
Have the “Rohingya’s” suffered any tragedy because of this violence in Burma? Of course they have(15). Have some individual Buddhist monks wrongfully (from an ideal spiritual perspective) incited ill will toward the “Rohinga’? Perhaps so.
This article however is designed to show that the notion being given by the mass media, that there are some wild eyed “Terrorist” Burmese Buddhist monks inciting riots against the innocent and victimized Muslim”Rohingya” who have never done anything wrong against their Buddhist neighbors, and who have never had anything but loving kindness in their hearts for their Buddhist neighbors, and that these Buddhist monks in Burma are simply a bunch of real meanies who have an irrational fear and ill will of their people and religious community is simply something that could use a more complete telling of the story.
Whenever we learn of his “holiness” the Dali Lama pontificating on his “holy” throne somewhere, pretending to be the pope of international Buddhism and Buddhists everywhere, instead of simply a high lama (teacher) of the Gelug or “Yellow Hat” Tibetan school (15) which is only one of the several Mahayana Tibetan schools, as to what he thinks of the situation in Sri lanka or Burma, we should remember this.
The Dali Lama has neither the common sense nor the brass pair to defend the Buddhist monastic community with a more balanced approach. Why? It’s because he has become more of a feel good politician looking to kiss everyone’s ass to try to help save Tibet from the Chinese government, and less of a Buddhist monk, that’s why. Where is the world wide condemnation of the Muslim murder and persecution right next door in Bangladesh toward the Buddhists and other non Muslim? Don’t expect to hear about it from his “holiness” the Dali Lama or any of the other politically correct mass media any time too soon.
Are you mind numb enough to believe that for some Burmese Muslim, this sort of behavior toward the Buddhist and other non Muslim in Bangladesh is not an encouragement for violence, given the fact that their religious scripture teaches them the supremacy of Islam and the inferiority of all other religious beliefs? Or do you not think that grabbing a Buddhist monk off of his bike and pouring gasoline on him and setting him on fire in front of a mosque, after a disagreement between some Muslim and Buddhist would qualify for such an analysis ?
Are any of us so ignorant to believe that the Buddhist in Burma are not aware of any of this, or the understandably perceived threat that allowing the Muslim in Burma any political hegemony whatsoever can possibly entail?
To give a further example of some of what this article discusses here, if you were to go to southern California and suggest to the locals that the violence of the drug wars and the economy in Mexico had nothing to do with the immigration issues and much of the drug violence in southern California, they would laugh at you at best. Do we need a masters degree in political science to realize that what happens with similar issues in one country can directly effect those issues involving the same communities right next door, across the border in another?
Many people seem naive of the fact that a place like Burma is not like America or Germany or France or Great Britain or Sweden or Russia or any other such a place. As an example, in Burma if someone is trying to rape your 12 year old daughter it certainly won’t be as simple as picking up the phone and dialing 911 or some other emergency number, afterward expecting the police to come promptly to take the miscreant to jail while attending to the task of filling out a police report in duplicate and triplicate! The reality of that fact does breed a quite different social culture that all in Burma are aware of.
Another thing to consider is the independently established fact that the military have had a role to play in the on going violence as well. The military has enjoyed playing different parts of the Burmese society against each other for their own perceived political advantage (17). Should this be considered the fault of the Buddhist monks in Burma as well? Of course not.
Why the one sided and biased story that completely ignores the facts to be had, is now so popular in the mass media and with a magazine like Time Magazine can be theorized in different ways. For one thing, it fits a very P.C agenda in that if you can sell a religion that is understandably considered as inherently peaceful as actually violent, then the easier it is to convince many that something understood as inherently violent is actually peaceful! Don’t forget that we’re all supposed to remember that Islam is a peaceful religion! The fact is, as the story regarding the Buddhist monks in Burma is usually told….. it’s simply not true. Now either we can acknowledge that or we can simply choose to ignore what has been discussed in this article, as I am sure many will.
Have a great day!
Bhikkhu aggacitto a.k.a. Brother Mark:)
All websites in this article including those in the Reference/Notes section have been linked for your research convenience.
6.Who Are the Rohingyas? by Dr. Aye Chan
It is interesting to note that at the “Internet Archive” an opinion is currently given instead of a description in the
“description” section for this, where it is claimed that because no affinity of the language that the “Rohinga”
speak is given to the Arabic or other Semetic languages, that the assertion of the
language being similar to Bengali is unreliable!
Talk of how for a reference an author is given and title but no publisher etc. It is also claimed in the
“description” section that the way Dr.Chan references other historians he is “insincere”, with no
explanation of course as to why this should be so. This goes to show the bias involved, instead of simply
letting the reader read the work and make a decision for themselves. Our opinion giver who is so desperate
to find a critique should have put this in the review section where he might have had the chutzpah to leave a
8.https://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/DI21Df06.html or the archived link: http://www.webcitation.org/6h6FcUqtn
12. J.N. Jayatilleke, The Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, London, 1963.
15.http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/guest-voices/post/aung-san-suu-kyi-the-rohingya-of-burma-and-the-challenge-of-faith/2012/10/24/31901eda-1e11-11e2-9cd5-b55c38388962_blog.html or the archived link: http://www.webcitation.org/6h6LKNo5U
NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMASAMBUDDHASSA
NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMASAMBUDDHASSA
NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMASAMBUDDHASSA
Translation: May veneration be presented to the exalted one who is a Buddha and who has achieved enlightenment by himself righteously. x3
I on the contrary, believe that a presumption is not necessarily just simply one’s opinion and nothing more than that nor an illogical thing, and if one should wish to consider such a presumption “inflammatory” then they should be welcome to do so. If after reviewing the evidence below, if any of you still believe that such a presumption is not supported well enough, I will simply ask that you go back to your cartoon styled candy land of self delusional self denial, and kindly stop masquerading as an intelligent human being.
If you find the above statement “inflammatory”, I’m sure that when (to name here just but two brief examples) you find that your house of religious observance has been vandalized with red crosses and Christian slogans painted with red spray paint, or that a Christian Priest has urinated on your religious shrine and vandalized it with permanent marker, you might very well feel this to be “inflammatory” in a way that is substantially more meaningful than as a way of saying that you’ve gotten your feelings hurt because you don’t like what someone has said.
Can any Christian reading this inform me of any similar act of disrespect committed by a professed Buddhist or Buddhist monk? You will be a long time looking for that. Go ahead and research to your heart’s content….I’ll be waiting.
Another example? How about an entire stadium of South Korean Christians praying that their Christian God destroy all Buddhist temples in Korea? Find me a Buddhist prayer service where we pray that all the Christian churches or the houses of worship of any faith are demolished … look as hard as you may…you won’t.
Why do Christians do such things? It’s the same reason that a Muslim man can walk into a restaurant, scream that his God is great, and start murdering people.
Wait a minute you say! “Not all Christian or Muslim are like that! True. I have known many peace loving Christian and Muslim. The point is, when you worship a God that you believe can murder and torture people for whatever self-righteous reason, and that’s o.k. because he’s your God, and that is your epitome of all that is pure and good, that’s an invitation for bad things to happen ala Jewish or Christian or Muslim style.
But can’t Buddhists go astray and do wrong also? Yes, of course. But when your murdering God displays it as a virtue of his righteousness and certainly not a moral slip up, that can but only make it all so much easier.
Does the language sound strong? “Inflammatory” perhaps? Deal with the truth. As an example to be found in the New Testament, Acts Ch.5, a husband and wife are both murdered by the Christian “holy”spirit for selling some land and then lying about how much they sold it for, instead of coughing it all up for the apostle Peter.
The Apostle Peter in this section, even gloats about the fact that one was taken out feet first and that the other was soon to follow! This is an example of why the Abramic lineage of religion has a God that is worshiped out of fear while they pay lip service to love. The very little that we may know about the life of Jesus from the New Testament, if to be believed can in no way invalidate this. After all, if you believe in the Trinity, then Jesus is in the same car as his father and holy spirit, both of whom are known in the Christian Bible as guilty of murder, only well um… you know… they would rather not you know….call it murder. Perhaps they would rather use the wholesale discounter term and call it “liquidation”, or perhaps the C.I.A. type of reference to those who have been “neutralized” would be better for them to help sterilize the concept well enough.
When they speak of Jesus however, all of a sudden he should be seen as more separate than the same! Do they believe in their “Trinity” or not?
The reason why I discuss this is because comparatively, urinating on a religious shrine or decapitating a Buddha statue or vandalizing a Buddhist temple with some red spray paint is small potatoes! I’m sure that Christians who behave this way are well aware of that fact as it may even give some encouragement. After all, if your God can righteously murder (oops! I mean “neutralize”) untold masses of humanity throughout the course of history whether it’s by flood or raining fire or whatever the method for the perceived crime of disobedience or immortality, or if it should simply choose to kill a husband and wife for telling a lie, what’s some mere Buddhist temple burning or vandalizing?
Here’s a short list of some of the more recent examples with the sources given in the notes and reference section.(1) After this we will have a video presentation for your viewing pleasure. Watch as a stadium of Christians in South Korea pray to their Christian God that the Buddhist temples are all collapsed (destroyed).
1982 May.A man by the name of Myông Chinhong organizes religious gatherings in Seoul to publicly denounce Buddhism. He erects a banner “Jesus Heaven, Buddhism Hell!” He claims to have once been a Buddhist monk who has “repented,” though no records can be found to support the claim of his ordination. Using this claim, he puts up posters claiming: “A Dharma Hall is a hall of demons.”
1983 March 1. During a Christian revival meeting held on the occasion of Korean Independence Day observations, a woman falsely claims to have been the daughter of a famous Zen master and revered national independence hero, Paek Yongsông. She makes statements denouncing Buddhism.
1984 February. Red crucifixes are painted on priceless temple wall paintings at Muryangsa Temple and Ilsônsa on Samgaksan Mountain outside Seoul. Dirt is smeared on the paintings and on a statue of the Buddha located outside one of the temples. A large ancient carving of the Buddha chiselled into stone is damaged with axe-like instruments.
May. Ignoring the pleas of Buddhist leaders, the Roman Catholic Church invites Pope John Paul II to visit South Korea to celebrate the bicentennial of the church in Korea. This event happens to fall during the annual national Buddha’s Birthday holiday celebrations. Because it is the first ever visit of a Roman pontiff to South Korea, and because the Vatican announces that 93 Koreans and 10 French missionary martyrs will be beatified as saints during the visit, the visit becomes a major national event. It is the first time that a canonization ceremony is held outside of Rome and the largest number ever canonized at one time. This ceremony gives Korea the fourth largest number of Catholic saints in the world. When the Pope tours the country, in the days immediately preceding and during Buddha’s Birthday, there are immense traffic jams which diminish attendance at Buddhist events in several key cities. Buddhist leaders protest the timing of the event as “disrespectful” and “in bad taste” because the Korean and Roman Catholic Churches schedule the mass beatification ceremonies to take place during Buddha’s Birthday celebrations, a day sacred to Buddhists and a national holiday.
November. In an official Korean textbook, Buddhism is called ” a fading religion.”
1985 April. Four major daily newspapers accept and publish advertisements which assert that the content of the Buddhist scriptures are “selfish” in intent.
May. A Protestant minister named Kim Jingyu publicly claims to have once been an ordained monk in the Chogye Order. Though there is no record of his ever having been a Buddhist monk, he hangs up banners which read “Why I Became a Protestant Minister,” and organizes meetings to denounce the Buddhist faith.
September. An individual by the name of Kim Sônghwa organizes a series of mass gatherings to denounce Buddhism in the cities of Pusan, Taegu, Kwangju, and Taejon. (This individual and his wife Kim Mija regularly advertise their mission to convert the “25 million Buddhists of Korea” in the Christian Newspaper Kitokkyo Shinmun, July 1996).
October. An unidentified man disrupts a Dharma talk at the Nûngin Zen Center by driving nails into the tires of believers’ automobiles parked outside. The perpetrator also pours corrosive chemicals into various car engines. An accomplice meanwhile uses portable amplification equipment to sing Gospel songs up at the Buddhist gathering, located on the third and fourth floors.
1986 December 6. Several days before the annual Buddha’s Enlightenment celebrations, the Taejôkkwangjôn, the main Dharma Hall, a large building of ancient origin at Kûmsansa Temple is completely burned to the ground in an event which makes top news throughout the nation. The Hall is listed as National Treasure Number 476, and is the central hall in a temple which is a regional headquarters and major monastic training center for the Chogye Order. A man active in a local church is apprehended at the scene, but is released because the police claim that, since the fire consumed everything, there is “no evidence.” Although he admitted to the crime, he is released without being charged. Discounting widespread opinion and belief, local police claim that “religious heretics” are not suspected. However, in an unprecedented move, the Korean government pays to have the building quickly rebuilt. It is widely believed that this unusual action was undertaken to preempt the possibility of interreligious strife.
1987 December. A fundamentalist Christian by the name of Yang Shinha from the Tamna Church on Chejudo Island is apprehended after setting fire to two temples – Kwanûmjôngsa and Taegaksa – completely burning them to the ground.
1988 September 25. In the early morning hours, a fire is set at Pômôsa Temple in Pusan, a major monastic training center of the Chogye Order and regional headquarters. The fire completely destroys the Myôngbujôn (Chijang Bodhisattva Hall- a funeral hall), taking with it 16 priceless altar paintings of the Buddha. The paintings were considered treasures and the hall a registered Cultural Asset. The cause of the fire is unknown but deemed “highly suspicious” by Pusan city authorities.
December 8. Several days before the annual Buddha’s Enlightenment celebrations, the Chônggagwôn, the main Dharma Hall on the Kyôngju campus of Dongguk University is completely burned to the ground. Arson is suspected but no one is apprehended.
1989 January. A stone lantern and pagoda is destroyed and statements attacking Buddhism are painted on the temple’s gates Okch’ôn Am Hermitage located in the Sôdaemun (Hongûndong), Seoul.
March. Several individuals enter Kupok Am Hermitageon Samgaksan Mountain on the outskirts of Seoul and destroy a stone lantern and stone pagoda, seriously damage a Ch’ilsônggak (Big Dipper Hall), and paint red crucifixes on a large gilded Buddha statue.
April. Five to six individuals destroy a Buddha statue and paint red crucifixes on a large outdoor Ma-ae Buddha figure carved into the rock on Samgaksan Mountain on the outskirts of Seoul. In all, some 10 temples are severely damaged or desecrated in the days immediately before and after the national Buddha’s Birthday holidays.April. The Hyangmok Committee of the Seoul City Government gathers military reserve forces under its control for a (taesônghoe) church service. Some of the members are compelled to attend even though they are not Christian.
July 29. The huge main Dharma Hall and a temple dormitory at Potasa Temple, Oksudong, Sôngdonggu, Seoul are completely burned to the ground. A 23-year old follower of the Taesônjillihoe (Great Conversion Truth Church) is arrested at the scene. Damage is estimated at $1.1 million according to the Chogye Order report.
October 27. The huge Taeunjôn, the main Dharma Hall, and a temple dormitory at Pohyônsa Temple in Taegu are completely burned to the ground. Though the modern buildings were erected in 1985, the police determine that each building must have suffered an “electrical short circuit,” and no further investigations are conducted.
1990 May 2. Two men break into the Buddhist Broadcasting System (BBS, the first Buddhist radio station in Korea) in Seoul, two days before it is due to begin broadcasting a combination of popular music and Buddhist teaching and cultural programs. They tie up two guards, and proceed to destroy all of the radio station’s recording and transmission equipment. They smash expensive electronic gear and tear up several state-of-the-art recording booths. At one point, they use a statue of the Buddha as a battering ram to break through several plate-glass recording booth windows and use the Buddha’s head to damage computer equipment, sound boards, reel-to-reel decks, and screens. Damage is estimated in the millions of dollars, and delays the opening of the station by several months. No arrests are ever made.
November. A man by the name of Myông Chinhong falsely claims to have been a Buddhist monk some 20 years before, and organizes mass spiritual revivals under the heading, “Why I Became a Minister.” In the course of his “revivals,” this purported “ex-monk-turned minister” makes inflammatory and abusive statements about the Buddhist religion. There is no record of his ever having been ordained a monk, or living in any temple. (See May 1982)
Students and parishioners at a Christian theological school in Pusan misinterpret an ancient, traditional Buddhist death ceremony as being “slanderous” of Jesus Christ. The name of the ceremony, for many centuries called “Yesu-jae,” sounds similar to the Korean pronunciation and Korean spelling of “Jesus” (Yesu), though the Chinese characters are unrelated to Christian vocabulary or sacraments. (It is a traditional merit-making ceremony in anticipation of death). The students and parishioners mail a letter of “warning” to Buddhist leaders at several area temples, schools, and organizations. The letters slander Buddhist teachings, and are plastered on the walls of Buddhist temples and organizations throughout the city of Pusan.
1991 April. Yun Ch’anggyu and Shim Yôngch’o, teachers at the Taesông High School in Kôch’ang, direct their students (many of them Buddhist) to recite Biblical passages and sing Christian hymns in class. In the same month, the Buddha statue of the Buddhist student club at Ch’ôngju University is vandalized.
Sept. 23. Pudo Am Hermitage at Tonghwasa Temple is destroyed by fire.
Oct. 15. Haeundae Buddhist Mission Bldg in Pusan is destroyed by fire.
October. The huge main Dharma Hall (Taeunjôn) at Pongwônsa Temple in the Shinch’on district of Seoul is totally destroyed by fire. The hall was registered as Seoul city Cultural Asset Number 68. This temple was the headquarters of the T’aego Order, the second-largest Buddhist sect in Korea at the time of the incident. A guard at the temple testified to seeing two men flee into the mountains behind the temple as the building burst into flames. Local police conclude that there is no evidence, that there was probably an “electrical short circuit,” and the fire was quickly declared “an accident.” Three large Buddha statues and altar portraits considered treasures are destroyed.
November. Military reserves stationed in Kyôngnam Province (many of them Buddhist) are forced to attend a Protestant revival meeting, presumably by a superior officer.The Kwanûmjôn, the Kwanûm Bodhisattva Hall and a large Dharma Teaching Hall (Sôlpôpchôn) at Sôngjusa in Changwôn city are completely burned to the ground.
P’yo Ch’ajong, a member of the Pedel Church in Pusan, publicly declares that the world-famous Sôkkuram Buddha statue is a subject of “idol-worship” and the product of “a heretical religion”. He attempts to damage the priceless statue, but is stopped. The Sokkuram Buddha was declared a “World Cultural Treasure” by Unesco in 1995, and has twice been renovated and preserved with Unesco financial and technical involvement.
1992 April. The Main Dharma Hall on the Kyôngju campus of Dongguk University is completely burned to the ground a second time. The event makes national news. No arrests are made.
December. An unknown assailant cuts the two arms off a statue of Maitreya Buddha at Puljosa Temple in Wonju. Various temple artifacts are burned and over 100 threatening phone calls are made to the temple office.1993 February. Colonel (battalion commander) Cho Pyôngshik of the 17th Tank Battalion, claiming a lack of warehouse space, has the Dharma Hall on his base dismantled. The gilded statue of the Buddha is taken from the Hall, burned, and openly discarded behind the mountain. Taejon. The event makes national news.
April. Within two months of Cho’s actions, the Dharma Hall and stone lantern are damaged at Kimhae Air Base.
The Yôngdo Church in Pusan organizes to prevent a temple from being built beside them, claiming that they “cannot accept the construction of a place of idol worship” near them.
May. At Hyundai High School, all students are required to attend church services, and their attendance at these services is reflected in their school records.
Lee Yun-sun, a teacher at the Paegun Primary School in Uidong, Seoul, teaches the Christian Bible in his class and declares that any Buddhist children in the class are “followers of the Satan,” and excludes them from certain class activities.Professor Im In-hûi rejects the admission application of a Buddhist student. He claims he was only following the orders of the board chairman of Taejôn Junior College Lee Pyông-ik.Lotus lanterns prepared for Buddha’s Birthday celebrations are destroyed at Pongguksa Temple and Chonjôngsa Temple in the Chôngnûng district of Seoul.
July. An assailant severely damages the Buddha statue and other Buddhist artifacts in a Buddhist meeting room at Sônggyungwan University in Seoul. Valuable religious objects are not stolen but thrown into a garbage basket.
1994 May. Before and after Buddha’s Birthday, various acts of vandalism and desecration are inflicted upon the properties (especially the richly painted gates) of Daesôngsa Temple and Kwanûmsa Temple in the Saegômjông and Shinch’on districts of Seoul. Approximately 30 acts of vandalism against Buddhist temples in Seoul are recorded during this period.The Rev. Yu Sûng-hwan of Yuchongni Church declares that Buddhism is “idol worship.” He forcibly attempts to “convert” the abbot of Sudosa Temple to Christianity, even mentioning Korean President Kim Young-sam, a Presbyterian.
According to Dr. Pyôn Sôn-hwan, “the thoughtless speech and behavior of this minister who understood that the government was protecting Christianity simply because Kim Young-sam is an elder and the alleged remark by the President that he would make ‘hymn songs reverberate throughout the Blue House’ at the time of the presidential election damaged confidence in the government that was supposedly based on the principle of religion and state (politics).
June. A fundamentalist Christian enters Mirûk Chôngsa Temple in Kwangju and damages the Buddha statue and Dharma Hall.
1995 September. A fundamentalist Christian by the name of Pak Oh-Sun is apprehended after entering and causing serious damage to five temples on Chejudo. He burns Buddha statues at the temples, in addition to other damage.A Protestant minister is apprehended after painting a large red cross onto the altar painting behind the Buddha at Mu-ûi sa Temple in Kangjin, Chollanamdo. He is released without charges. Later an unknown person carves a crucifix below the same Buddha image.
1995-96. Students belonging to a fundamentalist Christian group begin an aggressive campaign of proselytizing on the campus of Dongguk University (Seoul), Korea’s main Buddhist university. The students proselytize directly in front of a large statue of the Buddha – the campus symbol and central meeting-point – making anti-Buddhist statements and handing out Christian literature to ordained sangha members.
1996. President Kim Young Sam attends services at a Protestant church located on the nation’s central military base at Kyeryôngsan Mountain. In an event which sends shock waves throughout Buddhist and Catholic circles in Korea, many troops based there are compelled to attend the service in order to create the appearance of a larger number of Protestant troops. (Many of the troops are not Protestant Christians, and many are not even Christian.) Moreover, people attending services at a nearby temple and Catholic church are placed under virtual “house arrest,” their religious sanctuaries being encircled with troops while the President makes what is deemed a “preferential” visit to the Protestant chapel. Those inside the Buddhist temple and Catholic church were made to remain inside for several hours while President Kim completed his visit. Buddhist and Catholic leaders lodge strong protests. Some Buddhist leaders perceive the President’s actions as a license, a virtual “green light” for abusive actions to be taken against them, citing the centuries-old tradition in Korea of leaders signalling, through thinly-veiled actions, the unstated “allowances” that the government will make for actions which coincide with “non-legislateable” policies.
1996. The long-awaited tentative plans related to the new Education Law are announced by the government’s Education Reform Committee. The plans are based on the educational system of the Renewal Church of Christ, and include plans to establish (with government money) a special graduate school for the education and training of Christian ministers. Buddhists lodge strong protests, which are initially ignored. Eventually the Committee agrees to restate their objectives at a later date.The Wônmi ward office of Puch’on city near Seoul sends official letters to several Buddhist kindergartens, primary schools, and other Buddhist organizations and temples. Language in the letters beseeches them to find “the peace of God and the comfort of Jesus Christ.The swastika – for centuries a symbol of good fortune throughout Asia, and also a Buddhist symbol of the same – is replaced on many flagpoles in Seoul with crucifixes. A large red crucifix is painted in a concrete shelter used by Buddhist monks for meditation, located one hundred meters above Hwagyesa Temple on Samgaksan Mountain on the outskirts of Seoul.A school teacher by the name of “Lee” at Songwu Primary School in P’och’ôn, Kyônggi Province, urges students to attend church services as part of their lessons. She forces them to sing certain Christian hymns in class to confirm their attendance, and does other “missionary work” in her capacity as schoolteacher.
April 6. Fires are set to the Abbot’s quarters, the lawn (dried from the recent spell) and nine other places (out-buildings) at Pulguksa Temple in Kyôngju, the most famous Buddhist temple in Korea, seen on travel posters everywhere.According to the report filed with the headquarters of the Chogye Order, a Mr. Kim Yông-shik was caught on the spot and reported to the police. The police transferred him to a Taegu city mental hospital. Although he admitted to the crime as “a follower of another religion,” he was released without being charged because there was no material evidence.
April 19. Two temples on Samgaksan Mountain on the outskirts of Seoul are severely damaged by fires which are set within an hour of each other. The two-year-old large bell platform at Samsông Am Hermitage is burned to its foundation. The assailant(s) also cause damage to the Main Dharma Hall, burning holes in the locked doors while trying to gain access to the sanctuary containing the temple’s main Buddha statue. Damage to the ruined bell platform is estimated at $250,000 according to police.
April 20. Two recently-constructed Dharma Halls at Pônwôn Chôngsa Temple are burnt to the ground, and another is severely damaged by flames, just after midnight. The Nahanjôn enshrined 519 wood statues of arhats and bodhisattvas, each of which was painstakingly hand-carved and hand-painted over a period of seven years. Damage at Pônwôn Chôngsa Temple is estimated at $5.6 million according to the local police. The unfinished buildings were not insured.
April 21. The next day, fire is set to the Taejôkkwangjôn, the main Dharma Hall at Hwagyesa Temple, also located on Samgaksan Mountain, within a short walk of Samsông Am Hermitage and Pônwôn Chôngsa Temple. Damage is minimal. Two police guarding the temple fail to catch the assailant, who is interrupted in his task when a monk spots him while walking to the outhouse. (1st attack on Hwagyesa, home of the Seoul International Zen Center and living quarters of more than twenty North American and European monks and disciples of most successful Korean Buddhist international teacher, Master Seung Sahn (Haengwôn Sûngsan sônsa).
May 12. Arsonists attack the main Buddha statue in the Taejôkkwangjôn at Hwagyesa Temple in Seoul for the second time. A lit candle is placed in a box of papers and wisk brooms under the main altar. The fire is quickly extinguished by a passing monk. At the time, more than 30 police and army are patrolling the temple in plainclothes in broad daylight, but fail to apprehend the assailant. (2rd attack on Hwagyesa)
May 14. Two days later, again with over 30 police and military patrolling the temple, a massive fire is set beneath the main Buddha statue in the Taejôkkwangjôn at Hwagyesa Temple in Seoul for the third time. Superb altar paintings, ornate woodcarvings and traditional wall paintings are lost. Damage estimated at about $775,000 according to the police.
(3rd attack, 1 building seriously damaged).
May. Rev. Pae Sông-ho, a Protestant minister, enters the main Buddha Hall at Ch’ôngryongsa Temple in Chinhae on the southern coast of the peninsula. He swings a microphone over his head like a bolo, smashing the main Buddha statue and damaging beyond repair the altar paintings hanging behind the main altar. Witnesses who apprehend him hear him shouting abusive statements about “idol worship” and that “now [he] will go to heaven for destroying these craven images.” Though taken into custody by police, the minister is released within hours with no charges filed by the local authorities. Damage to the Dharma Hall is extensive.
May 22. Two days before Buddha’s Birthday, the main Dharma Hall at Mangyông Am Hermitage in Sôngnam, a city bordering Seoul, is burned to the ground. Christian fundamentalists active in the area are suspected but not investigated.
In August 2008 an estimated 60,000 people, including about 7000 monks, rallied in front of the Seoul city hall to protest religious discrimination.(2)
Whenever I speak with my Christian friends about these activities they seem to have been living in a bubble of a secluded mind world, however, if you were to ask some of these same people about the Christian churches burned to the ground in the middle east, they of course will know exactly what you are talking about!
2010 In October 2010, students from Church Equipping Worship School posted a clip on YouTube professing a hope that God would destroy a Buddhist temple in Seoul. Later they claimed being taught such by God.”This place (Bongeunsa Temple) will be demolished and God will win it back….Useless idols (Buddha’s statue) here made me really sad,” the student said in the clip.(3)
Following public outrages sparked by the video, Reverend Choi Ji-ho and students from the school went to Bongeunsa Temple to apologize for the comments made by the student.
That was a nice gesture, but one must ask themselves just what would influence this sort of thing?
Try the fact that Christianity teaches that the Christian is the only one truly favored by their God deity and that the rest will be deserving of anilation or an eternity of being horrifically tortured.
This very well highlights the fact that by the sole virtue of pledging allegiance to their religious belief, they are taught a morally depraved form of moral superiority. While they may wish to deny this, ask them then just how is it that they believe that they will go to “heaven” and the unbeliever to “hell” if they as Christian’s are not morally superior?
November 2011, near the Haewundae in Busan, Korea. Four Buddhist temples reported vandalism and invasion by the Korean Christian community, as they spray painted red lacquer on the hands and faces of the Buddha statues.(4)
November 2011, the stele that accompanied the stupa of National Preceptor Jigwangguksa of Beopcheonsa temple, Korean National Treasure No. 59 was vandalized. A giant cross was drawn across the five meter stone statue and was opened to public on a christian man’s Facebook and twitter page.(5)
October 4th, 2012, an arson tried to burn down the Gakhwangjeon Hall of Hwaomsa Temple in Gurye County, Korea. Fortunately, the fire only made a small damage to the gate of the hall due to quick actions of the monks and the fire prevention restoration made in 2008.(6)
August 20th, 2012 a Protestant pastor, Seong, vandalized the dharma hall of Donghwasa Temple. This pastor self-proclaimed that he was from the Soon Bok Eum Church, was caught urinating in the dharma hall on a Buddhist shrine and vandalizing the Buddhist portraits with a permanent marker. His poor actions were captured on the CCTV of the dharma hall.(7)
Here now is the video of a stadium full of Christians praying that the Buddhist temples in Korea should be destroyed….
What will be the response from some so well steeped in self denial? I’m waiting for someone to tell me next that because they weren’t acting like real Christians, they were in fact not Christian at all, and therefore can’t really say that any Christians were actually involved in any of this! Remember that the next time a fundamentalist Muslim goes on a killing spree and others try to convince you that such actions aren’t really you know, the real Islam and somehow have nothing to do with Islam, and so you shouldn’t call them Islamic terrorists!
The new administration of the first woman ever elected to the Presidency of South Korea, Park Geun-hye, has aimed to help contribute to the suppression of Protestant attacks against Buddhists in South Korea, with increasing calls for religious cooperation in the country under her administration. This is a certainly a good thing. Park Heun-hye is an atheist, and it is very telling that it has taken the presidency of an atheist (8) not that of a Jesus loving Protestant Christian like Lee Myung-bak (who is seen giving the opening message in the above video where they all prayed for the destruction of the Buddhist temples in South Korea) to help calm things down a bit. A few years back the atheist President Park Heun-hye was the first South Korean President that I am aware of to give a message on the day observed by Buddhists as the Buddha’s birthday.(9) I’m sure that her efforts have been well appreciated by all peace loving people regardless of their religious affiliation. Something that I’m sure has helped is the understanding that if any of these fools should go and vandalise or burn down a Buddhist temple or shrine, they might have very well actually been prosecuted.
I do hope that now that she is no longer in office as President, that it all now will not return to business as usual.
It is my belief that because of their scripture and history it doesn’t take a lot of encouragement for either Christians or Muslim in particular to become violent, because as previously mentioned, the Abrahamic God that is worshipped by them has a long history of “righteous” violence that the Christian is taught never to question. As a last thought on this, I will say that if America were to elect someone like Pat Robertson, (the Christian evangelical preacher who ran for the Republican nomination a few years back) as President then there is no good reason why America would not experience the same unfortunate circumstance. As they would not of course be legal in South Korea the Buddhist temple burnings and vandalism would not be legal in America either.
We need to watch and be mindful of these Christians, and in case anyone should suggest otherwise, the fact that Buddhists or anyone for that matter can perhaps fall prey to the temptation of such unwarranted violence does not alleviate the matter.
I sincerely wish everyone reading this, a blessed and prosperous spiritual life.
Bhikkhu Aggacitto a.k.a. Brother Mark:)
Notes and references:
The following is an incomplete listing of defamations, acts of vandalism and arson attacks against Buddhist temples and facilities in South Korea which have occurred since 1982 and which have earned the attention of the news media and the dismay of the Buddhist population in the country.
Buddhism under Siege 1982-1996 : Fifteen Years of Incidents Against Buddhism in South Korea including at least twenty temples or Buddhist shrines seriously damaged or totally destroyed by arson since 1986.
Dong A Ilbo daily newspaper (Seoul), May 2, 1990, p. 1
Pulgyo Shinmun weekly newspaper (Seoul), May 28, 1996, p. 4
Pôp Po Shinmun weekly newspaper (Seoul), May 15, 1996
Hyôndae Pulgyo weekly newspaper (Seoul), May 22, 1996
Kitokkyo Shinmun weekly newspaper (Seoul), July, 1996 advertisement
(Other major dailies and such weeklies as the Haedong Pulgyo and regional papers have not been consulted at this time.)
We have also corroborated and compared reports of incidents with records maintained in the headquarters of the Chogye Order in Seoul and the official written police report on the incidents at Hwagyesa, Pônwôn Chôngsa and Samsông Am (Hermitage).
(The modified McCune-Reischauer system of transliteration as appears in the Korea Journal of the Korean National Commission for Unesco is utilized for Korean names)
3.”Pastor apologizes for anti-Buddhist slur”. Ucanews.com. 2010-10-27. Archived from the original on December 7, 2011. Retrieved2012-03-06.