BUDDHIST-INSPIRED TERRORISM:THE NEW COLOR OF GLOBAL VIOLENCE

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RADICAL BUDDHISM, EXTREMISM AND TERRORISM-TRIANGLE OF HELL 

THE CASE OF MYANMAR

KILLER MONK

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“Whether one is rich or poor, educated or illiterate, religious or non believing, man or woman, black, white, or brown, we are all the same. Physically, emotionally, and mentally, we are all equal. We all share basic needs for food, shelter, safety, and love. We all aspire to happiness and we all shun suffering. Each of us has hopes, worries, fears, and dreams. Each of us wants the best for our family and loved ones. We all experience pain when we suffer loss and joy when we achieve what we seek. On this fundamental level, religion, ethnicity, culture, and language make no difference.”

 –  Dalai Lama XIV, 

Toward a True Kinship of Faiths: How the World’s Religions Can Come Together

In 21st century, it seems that Politics is shaping Religion more than any other public sphere. We could also state that Religion is modifying Politics with no mercy.After all,  our  Gods are in some kind of arguments and  people are killing each others for even pointing finger on wrong God in right time or vice versa.

If we open the historical books, we will see that the common  heritage of our dying civilization is full of conflicts created for or against God. Religion. One term which determines many others. One force which rules many others. The symbol of deep spirituality and the sign of total destruction. It depends on the  hands what  will  use it  and abuse it.

When we talk about Buddhism,we  will all  think of peaceful messages and the balanced core of this beautiful religion, which is more a philosophical approach than classic type  of Abraham faith(Judaism, Christianity, Islam).The Buddhism as itself was formed 2,500 years ago when Siddhartha Gotama, known as the Buddha found himself enlightened – awakened  at the  age of 35 by divine, by new wisdom. The main point of this philosophical religion is to lead moral life, to keep in balance thoughts and actions and to accept the higher wisdom and understanding.These should help people to reach final happiness which comes from within and to develop senses for the First, Second, Third  and Fourth Noble Truth. The First Noble Truth is about accepting that suffering is a part of our life but there are also ways it could be overcome. The Second Noble Truth is about craving and aversion, high expectations from other people which make us constantly frustrated if the expectations are broken. The Third Noble Truth is regarding achieving of Nirvana, enjoying in present time, not being ruined by past or future.The last one is about accepting  the Noble 8-fold Path, the end of suffering.The substitute of Buddhism is believing in karma and that we are influencing on it through our synchronized actions and the highest goal is pure wisdom what comes with compassion and emphatic hearts.

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The peaceful side of Buddhism is tolerance for other religions since Buddha was not a God by himself but person who achieved high light via deepest wisdom:“Buddhism is also a belief system which is tolerant of all other beliefs or religions. Buddhism agrees with the moral teachings of other religions but Buddhism goes further by providing a long term purpose within our existence, through wisdom and true understanding. Real Buddhism is very tolerant and not concerned with labels like ‘Christian’, ‘Moslem’, ‘Hindu’ or ‘Buddhist’; that is why there have never been any wars fought in the name of Buddhism. That is why Buddhists do not preach and try to convert, only explain if an explanation is sought.”

 That is true. The Buddhist religion despises violence so how it is possible that is being abused in the ideology and to be coverage for violence in the name of religion?Unfortunately, the religious history is bloody when it comes to Buddhism too.

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The Ahimsa rule – not to injury-  is followed by  rules as abstaining from taking life, stealing and sex misconduct. These rules contain the right action. Their absence is the wrong way. When someone’s mind is full of lobha, dosa and moha (lust, hatred and delusion) and when someone’s heart is empty from compassion, that person can be “accompanied by violence” or sarambha, which leads to akusala, negative actions. The Buddha said: “All are afraid of the stick, all hold their lives dear. Putting oneself in another’s place, one should not beat or kill others”. According to Buddhist faith, participation in any kind of violence is also a self-harming and disease which stop the spiritual growth of the society.

The Buddhism today has many colors and its implementation is based on local tradition and culture and the negative connotations of this religion is mixed with unsolved political disputes. Thailand was dealing with prominent Buddhist calls for violence. Since 2004, the sharp differences between militant  Thai Buddhism and Islamic Malay  south are getting stronger and The Thai goverment turned Buddhist monasteries and temples into military outposts.

The politicized Buddhism was a problem for Sri Lanka too because it was making the Sinhalese nationalist identity and empowering the conflicts on the grounds with the  Tamils. The Buddhism in Sri Lanka is specific therefor it is a type of produced militant Buddhism, which gives us the reality of Sinhalese Buddhist national chronicle “Mahavamsa” – or so called “Great Chronicle”. It is a political manifest and based on it, Lord Buddha visited three times Sri Lanka and offered ways for protection of the ancestors of the Sinhalese( Prince Vijava and all his supporters from North India) and for turning this island into the promised Buddhist land with the Buddha’s chosen people. This explains a lot why the ethnic and religious conflicts are the daily life of Sri Lanka and Buddhist extremists attack Christians and Muslims constantly, destroying their place of worships. One of many recently made Buddhist extremist groups is  Bodu Bala Sena (BBS)-Buddhist Power Force, which is some kind of Buddhist Taliban terror group, “ethno-religious fascist movement”. They are doubted they for anti-Muslim riot in 2014, when 4 Muslims were killed and 80 of them were killed. They are spreading terror and justifying it by protecting Buddhist paradise and fighting anyone who challenge Buddhism as itself on Sri Lanka ground.

Japanese militant Buddhism is also well known. Extremism in the name of Buddhist religion was occurred long time ago since the history of this country is full of warrior monks or sohei, especially in Heian period and in the last century: “During World War II Japanese Buddhist literature from that time, as part of its support of the Japanese war effort, stated ‘In order to establish eternal peace in East Asia, arousing the great benevolence and compassion of Buddhism, we are sometimes accepting and sometimes forceful. We now have no choice but to exercise the benevolent forcefulness of ‘killing one in order that many may live’ (issatsu tashō). This is something which  Mahayana  Buddhism approves of only with the greatest of seriousness…” In other words, they supported massive Japan militarization and the whole aggression of Japanese Buddhism is staying silently active till our modern days and the army of apocalyptic terrorist groups and militant movements are bothering this high-tech country more than anything else.

The Myanmar’s painful story is something we arent able to follow so passionately on social media and to be informed by main stream media.Why? Because  the world is occupied with Islamic terrorism and the ISIS as its main presenter so it seems there  is no place for new phenomena – Buddhist-inspired terrorism which will be, according to many counter terrorism experts, the new wave of global terrorism.

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The Myanmar conflict is very old because there were no offered  solutions for animosity between Burmese and Rohingya ( local Muslim community ) and the problem is that Burmese consider Rohingya people as illegal immigrants, despite their presence in Myanmar for generations. Timothy McLaughlin of the Myanmar Times, notes that “the entire conflict has really put a spotlight on hatred and distrust that people have of Muslims in Myanmar.”  This is not only about hatred and distrust, it is about the years of dis balance between Buddhists and Muslims in this Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state. The Rohingya people are one of the most persecuted groups in the world but none is talking about it for political purpose. The Myanmar’s horror is not scenario for global powers blockbuster movie so the global media only follow that trend in silence about genocide against those who dont share the same  religious and social    values.The members of this Myanmar’s Muslim community are stripped of citizenship back in 1980s and since then, active propaganda against them is the daily credo of Burmese people and especially of their “inspirational” leader, weird monk named as Ashin Wirathu, famous as “Burmese bin Laden” and definitely the cover face of TIMES under the title ” The face of Buddhist terror”. This man is a leader of an ultra nationalist group ” 969″ which is against the progress of Islam in Buddhist land of Myanmar. He was jailed in 2003 and released 7 years later but his propaganda is still the same, with more success. The fire started in 2012 when one Buddhist woman was raped in northern Rakhine and that opened the door to uncontrolled violence and displace of 125.000 Rohihgya and as Human Rights Watch stated “typical ethnic cleaning “.Now, how we can even imagine peaceful Buddhist are killing anyone? That is our failure as a world to face up with reality and with the abuse of peaceful religion by violent people:“As Thomas Tweed explains in ‘Why are Buddhists so nice?’, this misrepresentation began in the late 1950s, with national print and television news depicting Buddhists as ‘the solitary meditator, eyes half closed, sitting in the lotus position.’ Literary staples such as The Dharma Bumsand Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance helped perpetuate its reputation as an individual, peaceful practice. However, only a few elite in the monastic community regularly engage in meditative practices, and apparently Buddhists are as prone to prejudice and violence as any of us.”

In this May 13, 2013 photo, an internally displaced Rohingya woman holds her newborn baby surrounded by children in the foreground of makeshift tents at a camp for Rohingya people in Sittwe, northwestern Rakhine State, Myanmar. Authorities in Myanmar's western Rakhine state have imposed a two-child limit for Muslim Rohingya families, a policy that does not apply to Buddhists in the area and comes amid accusations of ethnic cleansing in the aftermath of sectarian violence. (AP Photo/Gemunu Amarasinghe) ** Usable by LA and DC Only **

Ashin Wirathu has a charisma for his followers. He leads about 60 monks in New Maesoeyin Monastery and has deep influence over more than 2.500 residents there. His mission is sui generis because he started economical pressure on Muslims through campaign against their business, calling Buddhists to boycott Muslim shops and make them being shut. After it, there is a hard part – organizing the legions for coordinated attacks on Muslim locations.This Buddhist extremist is justifying this  violence by possibility that Muslims make Islamic State in Rakhine. However, this is a political problem more than just religious.  The Muslim community is consider, according to Citizenship Law from 1982 as foreign residents and that is an  obstacle for future managing of the clash.

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The killer monks, as they are refereed, are not only embarrassment for Buddhism as itself but also for everyone who believes that only certain religions are evil. The fact is that religions are pure but people are dirty in hearts and they are inspired by interests and power instead of peace and love.

Myanmar’s opposition leader and democracy icon Aung San Suu Kyi is still silent but very aware of the injustice it is happening there and causing massive fleeing and displace of Muslims who arent considered as the parts of Myanmar, according to radical monk. So many of them are injured, raped, tortured and finally forced to move somewhere else if they arent killed. Legendary Dalai Lama called for peace and stepped in to express his condemn towards radical monks like Wirathu but the supporters of this Burmese bin Laden dont give up o follow his orders and political ideas. The monk who should have taught them to find inner purpose and the highest wisdom is teaching them to hate and to embrace the war.

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The conflict which is getting the colors of Buddhist terrorism wont be solved as along as the global community denies the atrocities made by one group and against the another one. Buddhists will accuse Muslims for threatening them with Jihad but Muslims will witness with army of displaced and injured people whose only fault was God different than one in who Wirathu belives in.

This is not about Buddhism or Islam, this is about the injustice of political power and abuse by people who dont feel by heart but think by hatred, for their own agenda. As always.

Religious fundamentalism and extremism is something we didnt expect from Buddhism at least. But, this is a big prove that religion lead by wrong leaders will burn the bridges instead to build them. It will destroy the future for the past it didnt exist.

Its time for us to stand up for all who are victims of wrong Gods. Religions teach us to love, everything else is not religion but abused extremist ideology.

Myanmar must find his compassion again, his right way to end suffering.

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