Violence doesn't spare even peace-loving Buddhist monks

by WASSAYOS NGAMKHAM, Bangkok Post, Jan 4, 2005

Pattani, Thailand  -- Violence in the deep South intensified over the past year, with even the clergy not being spared.

<< Phra Khru Pariyatkijsophon

Southern militants slaughtered three monks and a novice, resulting in a sharp decrease of visitors to Pattani's most famous temple, Wat Chang Hai in Khok Pho district where the highly revered monk, the late Luang Phor Thuad had resided.

The subdued atmosphere at Wat Chang Hai - which was once crowded with Buddhists and tourists from all regions of Thailand and even neighbouring Malaysia and Singapore - reflected similar problems at other Buddhist temples in Muslim-majority Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat provinces.

Phra Khru Pariyatkijsophon, the abbot of Wat Chang Hai, said there has always been violence in this southern province over the past several decades, but last year's was more serious than ever because state officers were killed daily and even Buddhist monks fell victim to southern instigators.

Fear of violence was the main factor in the sharp decline in visitors to Wat Chang Hai for merit-making; many were worried about their safety after the stairsway of a chedi in the temple compound was bombed last year, the monk said.

"Before the daily killings, many tourists came to the temple to pay respects. But since ordinary people and monks became the target of attacks, the number of visitors dropped by nearly 80%.

"There used to be many visitors on Saturdays and Sundays, but there is none now, not even on His Majesty the King's birthday [Dec 5], when the temple's parking lot usually overflowed with vehicles bringing tourists from Singapore and Malaysia. Fewer than 300 people visited the temple on Dec 5 last year.

"I admit even local monks are scared. This is a pity, because monks like us are never involved with politics. We have a duty to teach people to be good persons and not have ill intentions against other religions.

"But some temples in Narathiwat now have no monks while some have to bring monks from the Northeast and the Central Region. A number even left the monkhood and much fewer men have entered the monkhood,'' Phra Khru Pariyatkijsophon said.

He said cash donations to the temple had declined 70-80%, while expenses were mounting, since the temple houses the main Dhamma and Pali language school in the deep South, which is attended by 50 student monks, while the weekend Dhamma classes are attended by some 400 laymen.

The situation in Khok Pho district has worsened because many more Buddhists have migrated elsewhere, and this could create a lack of Buddhist communities to support the temples here.

The people here were still in the dark as to who the southern instigators were.

"The monks can only tell the villagers that we must be careful and remain united, and not leave our homes after dark. Still, it's hard for us because even the state has failed to ensure the people's safety. The monks even have to walk in groups while on alms-receiving rounds,'' the abbot said.

He said the media sometimes presented exaggerated news about the situation, which only served to keep people away. He urged all parties concerned to cooperate in problem-solving and pay more attention to the safety of Buddhist monks.

The abbot admitted the monks and locals felt a little safer after soldiers were stationed at the temple to provide security, although the sight of men carrying guns in a temple seemed at odds with the Buddhist message of peace and goodwill.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: