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Buddhists pray for end to Rohingya conflict

by Bambang Muryanto, The Jakarta Post, May 26 2013

Magelang, Indonesia -- Thousands of Buddhists celebrating Waisak, or Buddha’s Day of Enlightenment, in the yard of Mendut Temple in Mungkid, Magelang, Central Java, on Saturday prayed for an end to the Rohingya ethnic conflict in Myanmar.

“Hopefully the Myanmar government will be able to end the conflict soon,” one of the Buddhist monks said as he led the prayers at an altar in the southern yard of the temple.

Buddhist nun Daya Kusala of the Buddha Mahayana Community Council expressed the same hope, expecting the Myanmar government to handle the Rohingya conflict with love , not violence.

“Are the killers in Rohingya really Buddhist monks? If they are, they shouldn’t have done so because Buddha taught love,” Daya Kusala said.

She also expressed hope the Rohingya conflict would not influence Indonesians and they should remain living in harmony.

The prayers at the Mendut Temple were led by the nine councils grouped under the Indonesian Buddhist Council (Walubi). In their prayers, the monks also asked God to free Indonesia from ethnic, religious, race and inter-group conflicts as well as from natural disasters.

Buddhists were seen following the prayers solemnly under tight security from the local police and the Yogyakarta Police’s Mobile Brigade (Brimob). The bomb squad was also deployed.

Monk Wongsin Labiko Mahatera led the meditation procession held ahead of the enlightenment moment at 11:24:39. When the moment came, director general of Buddhist community supervision of the Religious Affairs Ministry, Joko Wuryanto, hit a gong three times.

Chairman of the International Buddhist Sangha Mahayana, Monk Tadissa Paramitha Mahasthavira, called on Buddhists to implement the teaching of Sang Buddha Gautama.

“The teaching must be understood thoroughly and not partially. That way you will also be able to develop wisdom,” Tadissa said.

The ritual at Mendut Temple continued with a parade to accompany the journey of the holy water, holy flame and the Buddhist relic from Mendut to Borobudur Temple. .

The whole Waisak celebration was closed with the release of 1,000 decorative lamps to symbolize enlightenment in life and hope.


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