“Say it Ain’t So, Buddha!”

Buddha must be turning over in his grave this morning. The New York Times has a story about “radical Buddhism” in Myanmar (Burma) which reports re an anti-Muslim movement in the country spearheaded by Ashin Wirathu. To illustrate his extremism, he recently described a massacre of Muslim children in one city as a “show of strength,” declaring, “If we are weak, our land will become Muslim.”

Of course, I know enough about religious history to know that extremism finds its way into all spiritual teachings, Buddhism included. But this is the most flagrant example I remember in my life time of Buddhist extremism. And this current “flavor” is merely another rendition of a favorite theme of all small-minded people of any persuasion, “us vs. them” with “them” always being a catch-all category for people who we disagree with or do not like. We must always remember that when we are captivated by an ego need to categorize our world, we will inevitably find ourselves comfortably ensconced in the luxurious confines of “us” while someone else is always banished into “them.”

This is binary thinking, the spawn of ego-mindedness run amok. Instead of using Reason to find common ground, to search for inclusiveness, this gift is used to carve the world up into pieces and always leaves the “carver” in isolation. Or to look at it slightly differently, this “carver” is horrified by his own isolation and misuses the God-given Reason to perpetuate that isolation. As Goethe noted, “They call it Reason, using light celestial, just to outdo the beasts in being bestial.”



2 thoughts on ““Say it Ain’t So, Buddha!”

  1. mtsweat

    This is very interesting, as I also don’t remember ever hearing of this form of religion rising up and forming an aggressive movement. As you say well, no one is immune to our addiction to self. Jesus identified the cure with words like “make the tree good first, then the fruit will be good also.” BLESSINGS good friend.


  2. Sandeep Bhalla

    ‘Me’ will create ‘you’. When we identify with a banner or flag or the like it is politics. Politics always divide. I am sure, Buddha would not bother to turn in his grave but would say something like ‘Maya has infinite shades to trap’.



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