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Support Myanmar monks working towards peace and reconciliation

by Kelvin Liew Peng Chuan, The Buddhist Channel, May 27, 2015

I am called to write in to offer my take on the recent seemingly Buddhist-Muslim tension in Myanmar. It has taken a toll on the true image of Buddhism as a religion of liberation to that of sectarianism, which Buddhism was never at all from the very beginning.

Myanmar, a country riddled by clashes all over the state, plus anti-government demonstrations from time to time, has hijacked the common religion to minimize internal clashes by victimizing other religious minorities. The said government has smartly created unfounded fears of the country being overrun by non-Buddhists.

This hijacking of the religion of the majority to serve selfish political motives is nothing new but in fact a common move. An undeniable fact is that most commoners are easily stirred by religious and racial sentiments. By scheming a dividing and conquering move, the anti government conflicts, as can be seen from the recent anti Rohingya and anti Muslim sentiments created, have effectively drowned most anti government sentiments.

Buddhists, true to the Dhamma, should strive for Dhamma to prevail in our very own way to extoll the virtues of Buddhism amidst the created conflict. The Dhamma is full of methods to safeguard the happiness of laypeople. A common layperson knows the first precept to abstain from killing and injuring all beings. A monk knows the act of killing amounts to parajika offence. The knowledge of Metta Sutta is not uncommon in Myanmar. Kamma is not something unknown among Myanmar Buddhists. Hence, those involved in the conflict, while calling themselves Buddhists, have chosen to follow the kilesas instead of the liberating Dhamma.

Let us, non-Myanmar Buddhists lend support to monks in Myanmar who work for peace and reconciliation for the Sasana sake. Let us urge the Myanmar government to promote nationalism in a more Dhammic way - at the very least based on the 5 lay precepts and Metta Sutta. It is high time for us Buddhist to make the Sasana shine.

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