June 20, 2013

"The world has grown accustomed to a gentle image of Buddhism defined by the self-effacing words of the Dalai Lama..."

"... the global popularity of Buddhist-inspired meditation and postcard-perfect scenes from Southeast Asia and beyond of crimson-robed, barefoot monks receiving alms from villagers at dawn."
But over the past year, images of rampaging Burmese Buddhists carrying swords and the vituperative sermons of monks like Ashin Wirathu have underlined the rise of extreme Buddhism in Myanmar — and revealed a darker side of the country’s greater freedoms after decades of military rule. Buddhist lynch mobs have killed more than 200 Muslims and forced more than 150,000 people, mostly Muslims, from their homes.
Why was "the world" such a nitwit?

109 comments:

Paco Wové said...

"The world" = the NYT, its friends and acquaintances.

The Dalai Lama plays up the Man of Peace bit because influential Westerners lap it up, and the Tibetans need all the friends they can get as they cling to their homeland by their fingernails. In places were Buddhists are firmly in control, they don't feel the need to play that game.

ampersand said...

Islam can certainly try the patience of a saint.

tim maguire said...

Am I wrong to feel a touch of relief that somebody, somewhere, is standing up to Muslims? Yes, I am wrong. The Muslim victims of this violence are probably completely innocent. Nevertheless, I feel a touch of relief.

Ambrose said...

Every conflict in the world - and there is the Religion of Peace. Must just be some bad luck.

bagoh20 said...

The world doesn't go out that much - he's got the internet now.

Saint Croix said...

In any religious conflict involving Islam, my immediate sympathy is with the other religion. And of course that is a pre-judgment, and perhaps a prejudice. But when I hear...

Buddhist lynch mobs have killed more than 200 Muslims and forced more than 150,000 people, mostly Muslims, from their homes.

I think, "what did those frickin' Muslims do to piss off those nice Buddhists?"

And I freely admit I might be wrong. But damn if I trust NYT journalism on this issue. What does the Fox reporter say? Who was murdered? What are their names?

betamax3000 said...

"rampaging Burmese Buddhists carrying swords" sounds like it came from a Dylan song.

To be rhymed with "Siamese Nudists Marrying Hordes," possibly.


bagoh20 said...

It's time to give Putin that Lama job. Dalai is kind of a pussy.

ricpic said...

Buddhist lynch mobs boppin' down the street,
Swingin' their saffron robes to the cymbal's beat.
Lookout Mohammed, you innocent chile.
My advice? Take a hike back beyond the Nile.

Tim said...

"Why was "the world" such a nitwit?"

People will believe anything.

Examples abound.

Some otherwise bright people thought Obama would be a better president than McCain.

Shit happens.

Smart people do dumb things.

And Earth continues to spin on its axis as it orbits around the Sun.

betamax3000 said...

Dalai Lama Robot says:

Peace is the Reincarnation of Hate Through Love. This is Why I Always Keep a Notepad with Me: I Jot Down Things Like This All the Time.

YoungHegelian said...

Why was "the world" such a nitwit?

Maybe because the world knows nothing about history, and what little history they do know often involves awful white people doing awful things to sweet non-white people (aww, ghee wouldn't melt in their mouths...).

The unpleasant truth is that history is, as Hegel so quaintly put it, "the slaughter bench of peoples", and our non-white, non-Christian brethren have been workin' at that bench with the best of 'em.

Years ago, I was discussing with a friend of mine who had a PhD in ancient Chinese history what the early European explorers to the Orient wrote about the place. My friend said that a word that shows up over & over is "warlike". And he added "It's not like those guys (the Europeans) were exactly pacifists themselves."

betamax3000 said...

Dalai Lama Robot says:

Teach Your Children to Hate and They Will Hate You in the End. Just Came Up with That this Morning. Wrote it on the Back of a Starbucks Napkin.

betamax3000 said...

Dalai Lama Robot says:

All of Our Endings End in the Beginning. Not Even Sure What I was Thinking When I Wrote That One Down, But It Sounds Good.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Every viewing, more than I would like, I am wanting to say "Hey Helen Subway heard you" with the new ad Subway has out.

Subway supports men's rights and mens rea and whatnot.

Fuck I hate me for wanting to say this; much less write.

Saint Croix said...

Of course, there have been atrocities against Muslims. Kosovo is an obvious example.

So maybe this story is legit. But geez, I can't trust the NYT at all on this issue.

Lem said...

Buddhist lynch mobs...

Is not The Onion.

betamax3000 said...

Dalai Lama Robot says:

Walk Behind the Man Who Will Not Walk in Front. They Just Pour Out of Me, Really.

Tim said...

"Subway supports men's rights and mens rea and whatnot."

Until the organized backlash.

...3, 2, 1...

Kelly said...

I'm sure Muslims were just minding their own business, probably in the middle of praying, when suddenly a rampaging mob of Buddist burst through the doors of the mosque for absolutely no reason. Maybe the Buddist were drunk or had just won a soccer match?

It's very mysterious.

betamax3000 said...

Dalai Lama Robot says:

The Honorable Man Will Be Gracious in the Face of Complexity. I Think I was Trying to Program my DVR that Day.

ironrailsironweights said...

Am I wrong to feel a touch of relief that somebody, somewhere, is standing up to Muslims? Yes, I am wrong. The Muslim victims of this violence are probably completely innocent. Nevertheless, I feel a touch of relief.

Fear of Islam is not as universal as one might think. In fact, until 12 years ago most Americans regarded Muslims as militarily incompetent to the point of buffoonery. How times have changed.

Peter


Peter

betamax3000 said...

The Air We Breathe Allows Itself To Be Breathed Willingly. If I Recall Correctly, I Got a Free Dinner Out of That One at the Climate Control Conference.

edutcher said...

The purpose of Buddhism is to rise above the world's woes, so the world hasn't been such a nitwit.

But Buddhists are people and see a growing Moslem minority, according to the piece, and are growing “afraid of Muslims because their population is increasing so rapidly.”

Considering what Brother Jeb said a few days ago, the folly of AmnestyCare grows that much larger.

Tim said...

Strategically, the upticks in Buddhist-Muslim, Hindu-Muslim, Sino-Muslim and Muslim-Muslim violence may cause Muslims to rethink their antagonism toward Christians, Jews and the West, as the one constant in the X-Muslim violence is so obvious as to cause any normally observant person to wonder, "hey, just what the fuck is going on here?"

That is, outside of the Obama White House, Homeland Security and the NSA.

But then, I did use the qualifier, "any normally observant person," so carry on.

Saint Croix said...

I would like to see the NYT run about 10 stories involving Muslim atrocities and evil-doing. With an editorial worked into the journalism about how Muslims don't actually love peace that much, and they are awful to women.

Or you could print 10 cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. That might restore some street cred.

wyo sis said...

“If we are weak,” he said, “our land will become Muslim.”

Hard to argue with that.

NotquiteunBuckley said...

https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=avocado&spell=1&sa=X&ei=4rnDUbfTOaHUygH3j4GYCw&ved=0CC0QvwUoAA

betamax3000 said...

Dalai Lama Robot says:

The Snake That Eats Its Tail Will Never Feel Hunger. I Go Through a Lot of Pens.

Lem said...

Why was "the world" such a nitwit?

I don't know the definite answer to that, but, I do know, we aim to be well thought of.

If you are willing to look at it in terms of an exchange.

Its a pageant.

Tim said...

Saint Croix said...

"I would like to see the NYT run about 10 stories involving Muslim atrocities and evil-doing. With an editorial worked into the journalism about how Muslims don't actually love peace that much, and they are awful to women."

Oh, don't worry about that.

They'll do it, for sure.

I set the over/under at one story a decade.

How many more do you have left, lol?!

James Pawlak said...

A very delayed response to Islamic aggression. Next year in Tennessee.

Roux said...

Maybe they're tired of the Islamic bull shit. I don't blame them.

Tim said...

"Its a pageant."


I think the official Obama Administration policy is thus:

"I personally believe that U.S. Americans are unable to do so because, uh, some, uh, people out there in our nation don't have maps and, uh, I believe that our education like such as in South Africa and, uh, the Iraq, everywhere like such as, and, I believe that they should, our education over here in the U.S. should help the U.S., uh, or, uh, should help South Africa and should help the Iraq and the Asian countries, so we will be able to build up our future."

Smart Diplomacy™

chrisnavin.com said...

Was Richard Gere involved?

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Chip you live in CO.

I don't care whether you appreciate the racial harmony every Rockies' game brings, not through any attributable attribute, at this juncture, to the owners may we relate, yet I know you and I both appreciate the gentleness of CO, including the slow-ass-stupid-prettymuchwouldabeendeadnotlessthanagenerationago cohort we share our roads with.

So this:

This is a link to a great song.

The words "too low" could mean Tulo, as in our guy on injurious sidelines.

SO let's all get real creative with pictures and words and time and do something only Chip can do.

Mumpsimus said...

Buddhist Hell Theme Parks are apparently a thing in Southeast Asia.

jack said...

You should have seen what the Sikhs started out as.

But yeah, sight unseen, even being aware of historic Buddhist xenophobic religious violence, the first thought I had was "I wonder how the muslims managed to pull it off this time."

El Pollo Raylan said...

Buddhists resist Muslims in units of ohms.

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
chuck said...

Who is the "world"? I never thought that. Humans can always find an excuse to kill people. They might refuse to kill goats on religious principal but they could still find reason to kill people. Humans are special.

Lem said...

Buddhists resist Muslims in units of ohms.

Wait a minute...

I haven't read the story but why is it that the Muslims seem to be getting the benefit of the doubt here?

Why are the Buddhist the bad guys?

Maybe I should read the story ah?

Lem said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Astro said...

Blame the Beatles.
If it's not Bush getting blamed, it's the Boomer Generation and their icons.
Peace, love, meditation, Ravi Shankar, Hari Krishna, veganism.

creeley23 said...

I'm not one to argue for moral equivalence with Islam, but the peacefulness of Buddhism has been way oversold.

For instance, the Tibetan Buddhist hierarchy which ruled Tibet had dungeons stocked with torture equipment for uncooperative peasants that were in operation into the 20th century.

Here's a web page on the Lhasa Torture Museum.

Astro said...

Everything went down hill when they let the women vote.

No, not everything. The federal budget and the federal deficit both went sharply uphill.

Unknown said...

Perhaps the Islamists allahuakbared the head off one too many Buddhists. Folks outside the "West" may not be as PC whipped as we are and act in self defense against aggressors instead of trying to calm them down by letting them kill us, like we do.

creeley23 said...

Japanese Buddhism, which brought the world all those wonderful, wacky and wise Zen teachings, had no trouble accomodating Japanese militarism and in fact helped lead the charge with relish.

With his oft-pictured gentle and sagacious appearance of later years, [D.T.] Suzuki is revered among many in the West as a true man of Zen. Yet he wrote that "religion should, first of all, seek to preserve the existence of the state," followed by the assertion that the Chinese were "unruly heathens" whom Japan should punish "in the name of the religion."

Zen master Harada Sogaku, highly praised in the English writings of Philip Kapleau, Maezumi Taizan, and others, was also quoted by Hakugen [a Rinzai Zen priest and scholar teaching at Hanazono University in Kyoto]. In 1939 he wrote: "[If ordered to] march: tramp, tramp, or shoot: bang, bang. This is the manifestation of the highest Wisdom [of Enlightenment]. The unity of Zen and war of which I speak extends to the farthest reaches of the holy war [now under way]"

-- Daizen Victoria


This is quote of a quote from the excellent "Stripping the Gurus" by Geoffrey Falk which can be downloaded free on the web.

Eeyore Rifkin said...

It's bigger than the Dalai Lama. It's even bigger than the Beatles. "The world"'s encounter with Eastern religion has been mediated through bohemians, beatniks, hippies, etc, i.e., generally pacifist cosmopolitan intellectuals. For many decades Islam was filtered the same way, so that it was associated more with Sufi mystics than with any culture of violence. It still seems that way to many in "the world." It needn't be idiotic. One can be quite sophisticated about one's cosmopolitan pacifism. In practice, though, a lot of the thoughtfulness doesn't get transmitted into the wider public arena, and in place of dialogue we see various competing parochialisms which may be more or less widespread. This is the Times' bread and butter, so their description of "the world" should be seen in this light. If they were capable of a more nuanced portrayal of the West's encounter with Buddhism, their business interests would still compel them towards stark portrayals of dramatic conflict.

Illuninati said...

While we're at it, lets not forget the strong connection between Japanese militarism and Buddhism before and during WWII.

In Myanmar the Buddhists are trying to protect themselves from Muslims who have already succeeded in ethnically cleansing neighboring Bangladesh of most of the original Hindu population. This sentence explains it all, “If we are weak,” he said, “our land will become Muslim.”

NotquiteunBuckley said...

Hey ey I,

want to travel South this year.

I won't, won't prevent safe pass

Indigo Red said...

Not killing is the first precept of Buddhism, but killing is allowed to stop a killer from killing. The immediate violence in Burma was began May 2012 when 3 Muslim men raped and killed a Buddhist woman. Riots ensued and many Muslims were killed to prevent them from killing.

The rapists were arrested in June 2012 and violence ensued. Buddhist mobs tried to lynch the jailed Muslims and many Muslims were killed to prevent them from killing.

In Oct 2012, another Muslim man raped another Buddhist woman and round and round we go.

More recently, a Buddhist woman was rape and severely burned in the attack by a Muslim man. He was sentenced to 26 yrs in prison June 21, 2012.

The violence is generally limited to western Burma near the Bangladesh border. The Muslims came to Burma as conquerors in the 2nd Century and have been unwelcome by the majority Buddhists ever since. Many Burmese Muslims have crossed over to Bangladesh, but many more have been turned back by Bangladeshi border guards. At the same time, Jihadis are being sent to Burma from the Middle East.

Burmese Buddhists have been deconstructing the Muslim beach head for centuries. Muslim often begin efforts to take control by rape. Sweden is the best example as it has the highest rate of rape in the world with almost all of the rapes committed by Muslim men and boys. The struggle for Burma continues.

Unknown said...

Regarding gurus: They call them "gurus" because it's easier to spell than "charlatans".

Blue@9 said...

By "the world"' they mean starry-eyed spiritualists in Europe and the U.S.

My dad told me he that as a kid he once considered becoming a Buddhist monk (back in the old country). After spending some time around some of them, he realized they were just a bunch of money-grubbing fakes. He thought it was a racket. He said the same about the churches here. Over here they're seen as spiritually enlightened "others"; over there it's just another religion (i.e. "Hey, give us money!").

Carl said...

Oh I remember "Kung Fu." Buddhists are only non-violent up until the second commercial break, when the uncouth hairy occidental puts his face right up to theirs and calls them a stinkin' Chinamen, or holds a knife to the moppet's neck, for the last time.

Then it's ka-bam roundhouse kick to the head.

Chip Ahoy said...

betamax3000 said…
rampaging Burmese Buddhists monks carrying swords
leaving heads chopped off and bodies gored.


Followed by kids running with nails in their boards

Screaming their slogans through cracked vocal chords

Practiced the violence their religion abhors

Clearing off Muslims like ravenous lords.

With their rice-fueled fury and all that affords.

With bloodshed and violence most untoward

Tossed all their treaties and burned their accords.

Displacing muslims pinin'n for the fijords

Chip Ahoy said...

reading backwards is weird.

NotquiteunBuckley, they gave the words making it easy. Usually I have to get the words and see what's there. I would have a regular person such as I see here, a cowboy type, they always have pressed shirts, like a little lady at home presses them, anyway at the rodeos cowboys are actually kind of sharp. It is apparent they are conscious of their look. One of those guys sitting on a fence signing that song straightforwardly. I realize that is not a very satisfying visual, but that would be the best for me. I did sign that song since the YT video provides the lyrics and it is perfect for that, all the words are right there in the front of the chest, one thing slides into to the next lyrically and it makes excellent sense visually. Delivered sincerely straightforwardly sans gimmickry would good.

Dale Light said...

There are a number of issues here. The "Republic of the Union of Myanmar" includes several ethnic groups, the largest of which is Burmese. Some of the ethnic minorities have been violently resisting integration into the Union. This is particularly true in the northern areas of the country where ethnic fighting has been going on for a long time. The conflicts also spill out across national borders. I recently met a Buddhist woman who grew up in India not far from the Burmese border. She told me that on several occasions Muslim raiding parties crossed the border to pillage Indian communities. So the depredations go both ways. Add to this the fact that both India and China are messing Myanmar's internal politics and building ties to ethnic dissidents there. Add in the problems associated with the transition from military to civilian rule, with economic development, with international politics, etc., and it is not surprising that incidents such as these take place. Myanmar is a gorgeous country, but it has a multitude of problems.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Oh, Buddhists are famous for exacting brutal tortures on non-Buddhists. Ask
all those Asian Christian martyrs...

Moose said...

Still no raging mobs of Baptists I see...

rhhardin said...

There was a llama in Michigan named Dolly.

edutcher said...

Indigo Red said...

Not killing is the first precept of Buddhism, but killing is allowed to stop a killer from killing. The immediate violence in Burma was began May 2012 when 3 Muslim men raped and killed a Buddhist woman. Riots ensued and many Muslims were killed to prevent them from killing.

Unfortunately, gang rape seems to be a popular Moslem participant sport (maybe it takes several to subdue one woman), seemingly right up there with child rape.

rhhardin said...

There's probably some country-drawing method akin to sidewalk placement in colleges, where you plant grass and put sidewalks where the grass gets trodden down.

Multiculturalism doesn't work.

Immigration is fine, if it assimilates.

Multiculturalism is unstable. You can always get a little more by wiping out the other group's stuff.

rhhardin said...

Shmooism is the NYT policy.

Marshal said...

The Muslims came to Burma as conquerors in the 2nd Century

Something off on this timeline, this is before Rome Christianized and 4 centuries before Muhammad founded Islam.

Hagar said...

People are people; it does not matter that much what religion they profess to belong to.

Richard Nixon - "the mad bomber of Cambodia" - was a Quaker.

Hagar said...

and Nancy Pelosi claims to be a Roman Catholic.

Michael Haz said...

Buddhism as practiced by air-headed Westerners is a "philosophy" that doesn't tax its adherents with pesky notions like "God" or "morality". You just sit and meditate and it's all cool.

In the real world, Buddhists have to fight to survive. And that often means killing those who want to kill Buddhists.

But, hey, Ommmm.

n.n said...

Saint Croix:

Kosovo was not an obvious example. On one hand there was Muslim discrimination and persecution. On the other hand there were Muslims who engaged in murder and rape of Christians. They participated in abduction and organ harvesting schemes. The story in that conflict has two sides and the bias of each source is irreconcilable. This calls into question the motives for waging war against the Slavs.

Pettifogger said...

Any religion as resolutely pacifist as we have sometimes imagined Buddhism to be would have long ago been wiped out. Human nature is not pretty and not kind to the weak.

Peter said...


"In Eurasia the great historic fault lines between civilizations are once more aflame. This is particularly true along the boundaries of the crescent-shaped Islamic bloc of nations, from the bulge of Africa to central Asia. Violence also occurs between Muslims, on the one hand, and Orthodox Serbs in the Balkans, Jews in Israel, Hindus in India, Buddhists in Burma and Catholics in the Philippines. Islam has bloody borders"

-- Samuel Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order"

Hagar said...

Most "religious" wars in history in the end have turned out to be mostly about land and riches, power and sex.

Pettifogger said...

Moose said: "Still no raging mobs of Baptists I see..."

I was reared a Methodist. Perhaps partly as a result of that I saw a significant anomaly in the American commander in the San Creek Massacre being a Methodist minister.

No religion is immune from extremists and hypocrites. But Methodists and Baptists are not a big problem today. The problem presented by violent Buddhists is limited. The problem presented by jihadi Muslims is vast.

Pettifogger said...

Sand Creek Massacre.

lemondog said...

According to Wiki Muslims first came to pre-Burma in the 9th century, as sailors, traders, etc. Conflicts have been happening since the 1930’s.

Current conflict:

It has been suggested by Human Rights Watch and others that these facts may reflect the presence of agents provocateur among the monks.

Per usual, nothing is simple.

exhelodrvr1 said...

That's why Pres Obama doesn't want them to have those Buddhist religious schools.

Paul said...

What do you expect from Buddhist?

Muslims murder them by the hundreds all the time, blow up sacred Buddhist statues and desecrate their grounds.

I mean you can take only so much shit before you decide turning the other cheek just does not cut it.

Muslims will sooner or later have to fight the whole world, just as Hitler had to fight the whole world, and lost.

LarsPorsena said...


Blogger Peter said...


"In Eurasia the great historic fault lines between civilizations are once more aflame. This is particularly true along the boundaries of the crescent-shaped Islamic bloc of nations, from the bulge of Africa to central Asia. Violence also occurs between Muslims, on the one hand, and Orthodox Serbs in the Balkans, Jews in Israel, Hindus in India, Buddhists in Burma and Catholics in the Philippines. Islam has bloody borders"

-- Samuel Huntington, "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order"

..and Copts in Egypt, Anglicans in Nigeria, Bahia in Iran, Chaldeans in Iraq, animists in the Sudan,.....

beducated said...

Human Rights Watch has a paper that describes the situation, for those that are interested: http://www.hrw.org/sites/default/files/reports/burma0812webwcover_0.pdf

For the rest of you that want to rail without doing any real research, carry on.

Epiphyte - said...

"what did those frickin' Muslims do to piss off those nice Buddhists?"

Violent predatory behavior toward very young buddhist women, mostly.

n.n said...

Hagar:

Exactly. The root of all evil, and good, in this world is the human ego.

Epiphyte:

Similar to what happened in Europe (e.g. Norway) when the rate of immigration exceeded the rate of assimilation. The immigrants in an effort to reestablish their order revealed that they were not escaping oppression but desired to redistribute it under their direction.

Unknown said...

"It has been suggested by Human Rights Watch and others that these facts may reflect the presence of agents provocateur among the monks."

Outside agitators stirrin' up our normally peaceful Buddhist folk! Prolly funded with New York (nudge, wink) money!

Indigo Red said...

Marshal said...
The Muslims came to Burma as conquerors in the 2nd Century

Something off on this timeline, this is before Rome Christianized and 4 centuries before Muhammad founded Islam.


You are absolutely right, Marshal. What I meant and should have added was that the non-Burmese tribe that came as conquerors in the 2nd Century later converted to Islam while the native Burmese tribes continued in their Buddhist beliefs.

Thanks, Marshal.

Fernandinande said...

"Why was "the world" such a nitwit?"

Because the world didn't watch Kung Fu, grasshopper.

Dale Light said...

Myanmar/Burma is a resource-rich country with powerful and aggressive neighbors [formerly Britain and France, and briefly Japan; today India and China]. It is by no means implausible that outside agents would be instigating turmoil among the various ethnic and religious groups there. It would not be the first time.

ken in sc said...

When I was in South Korea, I saw on TV two groups of Buddhist monks fighting each other with iron spikes they had torn from a fence. They had a dispute over who controlled a temple. Buddhists are about as peaceful as every body else.

BTW, General Stonewall Jackson was a Presbyterian minister.

Methadras said...

HAHAHA!!! I always laugh at these characterization of Buddhists because they are such a fictitious lie perpetrated by moronic leftist from Shit White People Like. Oh and the Dalai Douchebag is nothing more than a nose-picking 11 year old and a phony. He's about as spiritual as decades old gum on a new york sidewalk.

Alex said...

Or just maybe the Buddhists have decided laying down like lambs to the slaughter is not a good policy and are fighting back?

DiploMad said...

As somebody who lived in Sri Lanka for several years, I never understood the idealization of Buddhism as some exceptionally gentle creed. Have a conversation with a Sri Lankan Buddhist monk and get his views on Hindus and you will get a very different picture of yet another "religion of peace."

Rob Crawford said...

If more people read Rantburg, fewer people would be surprised by news like this.

Sigivald said...

Saint Croix said: I think, "what did those frickin' Muslims do to piss off those nice Buddhists?"

Buddhists aren't magically nicer than other people.

The pop-culture image of Buddhism in the United States is ... shall we say, somewhat lacking in historical and world nuance?

The idea of Buddhists as inherently peaceful is hilarious.

mrbill said...

Britain is in dire need of importing more Buddhist to help clean up the Islamic pestilence the the Left has allowed to immigrate into the isle.

grichens said...

DiploMad: Agreed.
However Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka endured years of targeting by the LTTE, the Tamil terrorist group which was predominately Hindu. So their recent militantism is understandable in that respect.

On the other hand, they have lately been harassing the minority Muslims in Sri Lanka and it is a mystery as to why.

My guess is that: after decades of violence in Sri Lanka which has recently ended to a large extent, certain elements of the Buddhist society feel more secure if they impose strict control on those who might be perceived a threat in the future.

HenryB said...

The article does not seem to note how many Muslims may have killed Buddhists en route to this mentality. The reality is that it seems quite rare for Muslims to coexist with any other religion without violence flaring up.

Kirk Hawley said...

From my research, turning the other cheek is not a Buddhist concept. Doing the appropriate thing with a good understanding of the real world is a Buddhist concept. Attacking some Buddhists with the expectation that they are all pacifists may be unwise.

HenryB said...

I love this excerpt from the linked article "Many in Myanmar speculate, without offering proof, that Ashin Wirathu is allied with hard-line Buddhist elements..."

If they had "proof", of course, the statement would not be described as speculation. Don't these NY Times writers actually know any English?

Richard said...

Like paper cuts, poetic justice can be nasty.

Richard said...

Like paper cuts, poetic justice can be nasty.

Seriously? said...

Perhaps if American Liberals and other Western Liberals bothered to learn anything about Buddhism instead of projecting their own ideas and prejudices onto it they would not be so surprised. And when did the leader of the smallest sect of Buddhism suddenly become what all Buddhists are?

azmountaintroll said...

I suspect that any religion that is going to survive will have to become militant and extreme, or be destroyed by the ones that do. Tactics are tactics, they work for anyone who cares to learn and apply them. Islam's violent tactics work, and in this world that's all that matters.

RebeccaH said...

Buddhism as a "pacifist religion" is largely a Western wish/myth. It was never pacifist, because Buddhism never forbade the concept of common sense self-defense. What Buddhism has never done (unlike Islam, for example) is attempt to force its religious message on anyone. I see this as a movement to eliminate a religious threat posed by militant Islamists.

RebeccaH said...

Buddhism as a "pacifist religion" is largely a Western wish/myth. It was never pacifist, because Buddhism never forbade the concept of common sense self-defense. What Buddhism has never done (unlike Islam, for example) is attempt to force its religious message on anyone. I see this as a movement to eliminate a religious threat posed by militant Islamists.

Lou Gots said...

Many, many Japanese Buddhists were were perfectly cool with genocide, rape, murder of prisoners and non-combatants, gassing P.O.W.'s and even cannibalism, during WWII.

Those things really were not happening, you see. The distinction between crime and not-crime was an illusion.

Dale Light said...

While traveling in Burma I was repeatedly told that Buddhism is a "philosophy" not a "religion". That seems to be the official line these days.

Unknown said...

Anyone who thinks Buddhism has always been a peaceful religion knows nothing about its history.

otoh, I don't think of Muslims as innocent victims, either.

(Kinda like that whole thing in Bosnia a few years back. The Christians returned kind with kind and the West thought it was a one way genocide by the Christians. It wasn't.)

EB said...

This conflict is more about ethnicity and much less about religion. The Rohingyas are supposedly from Bengali but have been in Myanmar for centuries and have been declared non citizens by the government but have no homeland to return to. Nobody else wants them. It would be as if the US decided to kick out all the Koreans in America and Korea wouldn't let them return.

I don't know about the intimate details of the conflicts but I do know that there is a rampant racism against them that is publicly accepted in Myanmar by even the most liberal of activists.

So while it is true that Islam is often the aggressor in all of these conflicts around the world, I think this one deserves a little more thoughtful analysis. There is no good end for this unless somehow the Burmese understand that they need to find a solution that allows their fellow citizens to remain in the country of their birth (as well of their ancestors of several generations).

Sometimes the kneejerk reaction isn't the right one.

TheManagement said...

Saint Croix said...
I would like to see the NYT run about 10 stories involving Muslim atrocities and evil-doing.
6/20/13, 9:27 PM


Just 10? If they were to list them all, they'd be like, a newspaper of record or something. And bankrupt. Without all the political angst!

SteveG said...

I've been to the country and did not get to/ was not allowed into Arakan. I do know Muslims are not viewed as cool by the Burmese and it seemed to me that the Burmese were in part responding to the intolerance of other faiths that Islam promotes... the rest of it is competition over scarce resources.
The Burmese also are not about evicting 9th century era muslims that have been there forever. They are upset about newer illegal immigrants from Bangladesh.
Sainted Aun San Suu Kyi is said in a Human Rights Watch article linked here to have "incorrectly called [the violence] the result of the failure to enforce immigration laws". Of course no direct explanation is given as to why that is indeed an "incorrect" observation.
All that said, I found some Buddhist monks within the country to be loud, pushy and rude. They yelled at people over loudspeakers to contribute, took advantage of their ability to move to the front of any line, get the best seats on the bus, plane, train, ferry etc.
There were Buddhists who were distinctly warlike and intolerant towards hill tribes of different sects and discriminated against Christian tribes in the north, using the Army to force Christian villages to pay for; and build a temple... then pay for and feed the monk/missionaries.
In my experience, the Buddhists way, way up in the snowy mountains towards Tibet tended to be more peaceful than the ones down in the lower reaches. Probably came from years of patience learned from moving the yaks inside the hut with the family during the winter

SCOTTtheBADGER said...

Let us not forget Buddhist dominated orginizatios known for thier belief in peacefully coexisting with all people, organizations like the Imperial Japanese Navy.