Saturday, July 13, 2013

Bodhgaya bombing : Buddhist Leaders in Myanmar Must Act More Wisely

Recently the holiest of Buddhist holy sites got bombed. Yes, the Mahabodhi temple at Bodhgaya, Bihar, India was bombed and 2 monks were injured. According to the Indian police, the Indian Mujahideen group claimed responsibility. Apparently they were unhappy about the muslim Rohingyas in Myanmar who were said to be mistreated by the ethnic Rakhinese, who are Buddhists. Soon after the incident, very quickly we see Buddhist teachers and holinesses issuing public statements urging patience and compassion for the perpetrators. I feel what is missing is their public messages condemning the violent acts by Buddhist Rakhinese towards the Rohingyas. Of course, the Rohingyas have their violent actions too. But being Buddhists, we must chide our own people. Failure to chide our own people is indirectly supporting them. I am happy that His Holiness the Dalai Lama were among the first major Buddhist leader to condemn any Buddhist leaders in Myanmar who are responsible for the attacks on any Muslims in Myanmar. It showed that he is a fair person. The actions by those few aggressive Buddhists in Myanmar do not realise that their actions have a vast implication on other Buddhists outside of Myanmar. For the first time, the Times magazine had recently published detailed account of a Buddhist terrorist in its cover article entitled  "The Face of Buddhist Terror". For the first time in the history of Buddhism, a Buddhist with robes of a Theravada Sangha, had been branded as a terrorist. This is such a big shame! These people has tarnished the peaceful and tolerant impression people of other religion had, until now, towards Buddhism. I hope they will know that the majority of Budhdist people are peaceful and will not seek aggressiveness as a solution. I believe it is only these small group of irresponsible monks and laypersons in Myanmar that keep on inciting hatred towards the Rohingyas. I believe the same goes to a small group of irresponsible people who incite hatred towards the Buddhist Rakhinese. No matter what they do, the Buddhists must not be emotional and re-act wrongly towards them.

With the bombing of the Mahabodhi temple, I fear for the safety of Buddhist holy sites. The police in India particularly must be more vigilant. Buddhist leaders in Myanmar must act more wisely and be more accommodating towards the Muslims. The same goes for the Rohingyas. If they are not accommodating and terrorise Buddhists, they will create their own hellish karma that they will suffer sooner or later. That is for sure. But Buddhists must find a way to uphold the peace in society in a smarter way than being aggressive or violent. I know it is easier said than done, but they should try peaceful means to resolve their crisis. At least I don't think it has come to a situation when non-peaceful means need to be considered. Not yet. They have not even come together in a roundtable conference to seek peace. That is all I can say. 

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