‘So, historically, Buddhism has been no more a religion of peace than Christianity.’ [Not Islam?]
Outstanding piece of BBC hypocrisy which shows just how incomplete and favourable the BBC’s coverage of Islam and Islamically inspired violence is as it is prepared to publish an article linking violence and mainstream Buddhism.
Here the BBC are reporting ‘A problem of anti-Islamic feeling in Burma.’ A phrase used by Rachel Burden I believe a couple of weeks ago as she reported on the violence in Burma.
Of all the moral precepts instilled in Buddhist monks the promise not to kill comes first, and the principle of non-violence is arguably more central to Buddhism than any other major religion. So why have monks been using hate speech against Muslims and joining mobs that have left dozens dead?
Aren’t Buddhist monks meant to be the good guys of religion?
However any religion starts out, sooner or later it enters into a Faustian pact with state power. Buddhist monks looked to kings, the ultimate wielders of violence, for the support, patronage and order that only they could provide. Kings looked to monks to provide the popular legitimacy that only such a high moral vision can confer.
If you have a strong sense of the overriding moral superiority of your worldview, then the need to protect and advance it can seem the most important duty of all.
Christian crusaders, Islamist militants, or the leaders of “freedom-loving nations”, all justify what they see as necessary violence in the name of a higher good. Buddhist rulers and monks have been no exception.
So, historically, Buddhism has been no more a religion of peace than Christianity. [or Islam?]
Burmese rulers, known as “kings of righteousness”, justified wars in the name of what they called true Buddhist doctrine.
Sri Lanka’s powerful Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa was guest of honour at the opening of a Buddhist Brigade training school, and referred to the monks as those who “protect our country, religion and race”.
But the anti-Muslim message seems to have struck a chord with parts of the population.
Many Buddhists share a sense that their nations must be unified and that their religion is under threat…… they feel that if other religions are going to get tough, they had better follow suit.
From the BBC website:
The basic assumption of modern Christians is that war is rarely justified and should be avoided unless the Just War conditions are met.
For many centuries Christians believed that it was right and proper to use violence (and thus war) to spread the faith and deal with its opponents. They did not regard violence as an inherently bad thing: whether it was bad or not depended on what it was being used for.
From Constantine onwards Christian writers and preachers have used warlike and soldierly metaphors in their writing about the faith.
The idea that violence is not inherently bad can also be seen in some versions of the Just War doctrine – violence (war) can be a vital tool in restoring justice and peace.
Islam sets down clear guidelines as to when war is ethically right, and clear guidelines as to how such a war should be conducted.
In brief, war is permitted:
- in self defence
- when other nations have attacked an Islamic state
- if another state is oppressing its own Muslims
Islam is in favour of peace and against violence. Murdering the innocent leads to punishment in Hell.
Islam allows war in self-defence (Qur’an 22:39), to defend Islam (rather than to spread it).
The Qur’an emphasises that war should be fought only for noble motives without seeking any earthly reward.
Non-violence is at the heart of Buddhist thinking and behaviour. The first of the five precepts that all Buddhists should follow is “Avoid killing, or harming any living thing.”
Buddhism is essentially a peaceful tradition. Nothing in Buddhist scripture gives any support to the use of violence as a way to resolve conflict.
Many Buddhists have refused to take up arms under any circumstances, even knowing that they would be killed as a result. The Buddhist code that governs the life of monks permits them to defend themselves, but it forbids them to kill, even in self-defence.
That being so, it makes you wonder why the BBC isn’t claiming that these Buddhists attacking Muslims in Burma are not ‘perverting’ Buddhism as it does for Muslim bombers in the UK? Are they not the same mere criminals or madmen?
Is Buddhism not the religion of peace that the BBC website says it is?