Buddhism and conflict in south Asia

Yesterday we had the incredibly sad and disturbing news that a series of bombs had been set off in Bodhgaya. The heart of Buddhism, where the Buddha was enlightened, and the destination for millions of Buddhist pilgrims, had been subjected to a terrorist attack.

It seems that there were around 11 bombs planted, of which 4 went off in the temple complex itself, five elsewhere, and two were defused. Two monks were injured, and I don’t know how many others.

Bizarrely, this episdoe has been almost ignored by the international press. I can’t find a reference to it on the ABC, the SMH, or the Guardian; and only one minor article in the New York Times. The only major media oitlet with good coverage seems to be the Times of India. Why is this being ignored by the Western media? What would happen if Mecca, or the Vatican was subjected to multiple bomb blasts? Buddhists, get out there and make a noise! Don’t let this happen again!

BUT, and here’s the important part: make the right kind of noise.

The blasts were, it seems, planted by a group called the Indian Mujahadeen, an Islamist group that is responding to the persecution of the Mulsim Rohingya people in Myanmar. This is part of an extremely disturbing pattern of Muslim/Buddhist violence throughout virtually every major country in the region: Bangladesh, Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and now India.

Recently I was in Canberra and I raised this issue repeatedly, both directly to the Foreign Minister, Bob Carr, and to the Attorney General’s Human Rights Forum. I emphasized that the Australian religious community, both Buddhist and Muslim, want peace, and we want our government to do everything it can to settle this dangerous situation before it spirals out of control. The Foreign Minister told me that they strongly supported granting citizenship for the Rohingya and that he was planning a trip to Rakhine province next month to emphasize the issue. I just hope the Government doesn’t get so embroiled in its own problems that they forget about the rest of the world.

In any case, this is one practical step that that we should all support: grant citizenship to the Rohingya. This is absolutely necessary, and an essential starting point. If this does not happen, the persecution in Myanmar will get worse, and the repercussions through the region will continue to escalate.

Of course, there is much more to be done. There is, and has been for some time, an insidious paranoia in the Buddhist community. There is always a tendency to look to conspiracies and blame the other. “It’s the Tamils!” “It’s the Christians!” “It’s the women!” “It’s the West!” “It’s…” and you can fill in the blanks here. Now, the cry is, “It’s the Muslims!”

All this comes from a sense of weakness, from a lack of confidence in the Buddhist world. Look at how the Buddha responded in the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, when asked about Ajatasattu’s chances of invading the Vajjians. As long as the Vajjians kept strong and unified, and lived well, they would not be overcome. Only by treachery and division would Ajatasatu succeed. And this is the message that the Buddha stated, quite explicitly and repeatedly: Buddhism is not threatened by forces from outside, but by weakness from within. When the Buddhist community stops paying attention to the Dhamma, stops living in the way taught by the Buddha, it will be easily overcome.

We need to begin our response, not by blaming others, but by asking ourselves, “How can we be stronger in the Dhamma?” The Buddhist world needs to begin some serious and long-overdue reforms. Here are a few urgent priorities:

  • Provide a good education in actual Dhamma (not traditional fairy stories) to all Buddhists
  • Sever the terrifying and toxic links between Buddhism and nationalism
  • Retire the sectarian, nationalist, and ossified leadership of the Sangha, and let the Sangha operate by consensus, according to the Vinaya
  • Toss out the ridiculous rituals and superstitions that serve only to perpetuate wrong view and obscure the Dhamma
  • Provide living examples of how Dhamma creates and nourishes compassionate, wise, and peaceful people.

It’s a crazy, scary world out there. As the saying goes, just because you’re paranoid, it doesn’t mean they’re not out to get you. Sometimes people actually do bad things, and sometimes they do bad things to Buddhists. The Tamil Tigers were evil, murderous thugs. But that doesn’t mean that “Tamils” are like that. Likewise, some Muslims are stupid, violent, dogmatically-crazed jerks, and we need to protect people from them. But that doesn’t mean that “Muslims” are like that.

Look at America. After 9/11, reason and compassion went out the window. I remember reading a little article, just after 9/11, where one of the al-Qaeda leaders was interviewed. He said that they will just keep lighting fires. It’s easy for them to light them, and hard for the US to put them out. They don’t care how much they lose, or how long it takes. They will just keep lighting the fires until the US exhausts itself. A decade later, and it’s plain as day, this is exactly what is happening. And its working. The very purpose for which the US is fighting, the beloved freedoms and democratic rights, have been systematically eroded and jettisoned in an ever more deranged crusade, which has caused orders of magnitude more harm than even the 9/11 attacks themselves.

Don’t, as Buddhists, make the same mistake! Remember the Buddha’s words: hatred is never overcome by hatred, it is only ever overcome by love. The more you think about and go over the harms and damages to Buddhism, the worse it will get.

The thing to do, the only thing to do, is to love. To forgive. To move forward. To overcome all hatred, whether it is in the heart of a Buddhist, a Muslim, a Tamil, or an American. It is hatred that is the enemy, not Muslims.

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95 thoughts on “Buddhism and conflict in south Asia

  1. I agree with your points. Buddhism in Asia must reform; I used to feel hopeless about Dhamma because it seemed so irrational filled with fantasies — I didnt understand how those beliefs and fantasies have anything to do with ending suffering. Now that more and more good monks and good nuns are teaching backbone Dhamma, Dhamma is apparently so beautiful and rational. Thank you, Bhante, and all other good Sangha members and great Kalyanamittas for sharing great knowledge and wisdom.

    Surely this post was written with serenity and peaceful heart, Bhante, but few strong word choices stopped my heart for few milliseconds, haha :D It is so easy for people to quote out of context these days.

  2. I first read about this at BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/go/em/fr/-/news/world-asia-india-23216592

    I’m not so sure that it’s a problem that it’s not getting wider coverage. One side gaining or claiming victim status – “us” against “them” thinking generally – often gives rise to more conflict and feelings of revenge. Perhaps spotlighting these bombs at Bodhgaya would take the focus away from a bigger problem.

    This might be the bigger or more important point (quoting Bhante above):

    In any case, this is one practical step that that we should all support: grant citizenship to the Rohingya. This is absolutely necessary, and an essential starting point. If this does not happen, the persecution in Myanmar will get worse, and the repercussions through the region will continue to escalate.

  3. “not two” ” Knowledge and wisdom are mere amusement of the mind; until and unless one can use them to arrive at once chosen destination” WD :-) ” we humans are problem solvers; we reached the door of wisdom when we learn to solve the right problem at the right time” WD … May all communities find all of their doors and ”go beyond”

  4. Dear Bhante,

    I’ve quoted some sentences here onto Ajahn Brahm disciples’ Facebook pages (I’ve made sure that the sentences out of the context would not get misinterpreted), and many people have ‘liked’ the article and, most important of all, the heated arguments about the role of Buddhists have been miraculously halted!

    Thank you for a beautiful article and sound advice.

    I’m grateful we have monks like you.

    With respect,

    Dheerayupa

  5. I am not sure what you mean by ridiculous superstitions and fairy tales. Are hungry ghosts in that basket? Daka’s and Dakini’s? Miracle powers and deities? I think Buddhism is Buddhism, and trying to reduce it’s essence by bleaching out its colour and history, to force it to fit a Western ideological stance, is not going to prove helpful.

  6. Thank you bhante, for outlining the real problems Buddhism has to face. Knowing the nature of humans, I fear that things will go worse, not better in Asia, where religious conflicts seem to be a major issue. I think all Buddhists, wherever they are in this wide world, must put the real teachings of the Buddha into practice and plant as many Dhamma-seeds as they can, so we make sure that Buddha-Dhamma doesn’t disappear. Speaking of which, this has been on my mind a lot lately: is there any international Theravada lay Buddhist organization? There are Buddhists that live isolated from the Buddhist world and they could use some support in making the Teachings available to others and thus making sure they will endure for a long time. I can’t imagine Buddhist monks surviving in my country, because people are yet to understand what they do, so they will not get enough support. But with lay Buddhists it’s a different story. At least they won’t starve if nobody will feed them.
    Thank you again, bhante for your Dhamma-work
    Ciprian

  7. Yes the “Bodhisattva” influence is fast in destroying the last anchors, but if people think that they walk proper ways, they teach even such. Look good at your effects.

    The fools teach love, and will suffer with it… or make a livelihood out of news from Samsara…

    Do you remember the group of 30 monks? I guess, but still favour attachment, hmm… That’s why I said: “Look good and exactly on all this effects!” Maybe you understand that it is a dependent wheel.

    Or was it just a crowd entertaining post, to keep them warm and devoted? Poor consumer and dealer.

  8. As it can be that some are some not so aware of how effluence come into “being” the Buddha was so kind to protect the heedless by giving them simple roles. I know, they are not popular. Just for the case that somebody has some faith that the Buddha was a little wiser as his own thought:

    “Whereas some brahmans and contemplatives, living off food given in faith, are addicted to talking about lowly topics such as these — talking about kings, robbers, ministers of state; armies, alarms, and battles; food and drink; clothing, furniture, garlands, and scents; relatives; vehicles; villages, towns, cities, the countryside; women and heroes; the gossip of the street and the well; tales of the dead; tales of diversity [philosophical discussions of the past and future], the creation of the world and of the sea, and talk of whether things exist or not — he abstains from talking about lowly topics such as these. This, too, is part of his virtue.

    DN2

    If you like to have the Vinaya parts quoted, just let me know. I thought you might stick more to the Suttas.

    The main condition for lowly topics are that people have to less work and to much time for getting attached with what comes along.

  9. Thank you for sharing this here, Bhante. I think it is important for more Buddhists to speak out against all forms of politically-motivated violence and racism, internationally and locally.

    Am very grateful for your voice, in helping inform a growing canon of Buddhist leaders being more visible in work around social and global justice.

    Thank you for keeping us connected to the important political implications of learning and practising Dhamma and holding Right View.

  10. Dear Rinchen,

    I’m not interested to fit Buddhism into the West’s ideology: if you have been watching, I have consistently argued against, for example, removing rebirth from the Dhamma. I am interested to return Buddhism to the Buddha’s teaching, by which standard, yes, most of the things you are talking about are exactly what I meant by “ridiculous superstitions and fairy tales”. And while we’re at it, lets’ put in most of the Buddha’s legend, amulets, relics, magic, horoscopes, tattoos, lineages, initiations…

    It’s long past time that we should waste our time even talking about these meaningless, primitive, anti-Buddhist superstitions. While Buddhists obsess over the next magic phooey whooey that will give them money or some imagined power, the Dhamma falls into disrepute and disrepair.

    And when problems happen, like I said, it’s “Blame them! They did it!” But the Buddha said that the cause of the decline of the Dhamma will not be any external force, but the appearance of the counterfeit Dhamma.

    Buddhists in every traditional Buddhist country are haunted by the fear of the decline of the Dhamma; but there are only a few who are willing to talk about the changes that are necessary to do something about it. But what we need to do is very obvious: the first thing is to recognize the counterfeit Dhamma, and the second is to abandon it.

  11. Hi Ciprian,

    Thanks for your support. I’m not aware of any organization as you describe. Perhaps someone else can help us.

  12. Thanks, Shinenigan!

    It’s crucial that, as Buddhists, or at least as people interested in the Dhamma, that we don’t let the narrative get out of control. Start talking about this, at work, at your local Dhamma group, with your family, your friends. Remember the blessings you have received from the Dhamma, and ask, what can I give back? How can we help?

  13. Dear Ciprian,

    I live in a country where counterfeit dhamma abounds and bad men in robes are common. For me to visit good monks who adhere to the Buddha’s teachings could be a bit easier than you do, but my circumstance is not very accommodating, anyway.

    However, we have a good online community with great teachings, including guided meditation and sutta studies. It is the Dhammaloka website with its Livestream service. The website also offers a forum for dhamma discussions with almost all members trying to refrain from wrong speech.

    My fellow dhamma practitioners call this our ‘laptop temple’. We bow to the computer screen when Ajahn Brahm, Bhante Sujato or Ajahn Brahmali finishes his talk!

    May you grow beautifully in the dhamma,

    With much metta,

    Dheerayupa

  14. Thank you Bhante, thank you Dheerayupa!
    I think it would be even more disheartening for me to see bad men in robes then not to see man in robes at all. I do make use a lot of the internet resources (Dhammaloka also), but meeting and practicing within a real community and under the supervision of a real teacher can’t be replaced by the internet (although it helps a lot).
    May all beings be well and Happy and never be troubled by resentment and conceit!

  15. Social and nationalism is a old know pair. Both of this are no more matters for those who having gone forth. When ever the (not so) “wise” take up social activism or national activism it runs out to social-nationalism. But they don’t understand, they are affected, they are in love with their kin and identifications.

    And they do not teach one of this, nor do they take side. As they know the Love-Sutta

    And only the fools motivate the untrained to get active rather then to start simply keeping precepts themselves.

    Shame, shame, shame and the wheel burns…

  16. The problem presenting is that individuals and groups are attacking with destructive explosives. A time where calm and unity are needed. Lets not get distracted into a minor case of criticizing cultural practices among the less-aware and under-educated. Lets show unity and place any blame where it is due, that is those who choose to place explosive devices at shrines and not flowers and food and incense and medicines.
    Roar the lions roar as Buddhism is the greatest faith on Earth. Roar the roar as a young lion on a table top mountain. As if breaking the ice vault to reveal the full moon in a clear sky. Fearless. Unified. Timeless. Incomparable.
    Let jackals and dogs bark and bite and breed. They cannot stand among lions. Cowards and enemies of the Sasana, enemies of the good people. Of no True Faith.

  17. This is well said. But I am surprised that you believe this atrocity was ignored by the Western media. I think this was actually well covered, especially considering Buddhism is still a very minor religion in the West. What I think really has been unfortunately ignored is the plight of the Buddhists in Bangladesh. The Chittagong Hill Tracts has seen State sponsored murder, rape, and ethnic cleansing for decades. Most people are aware of similar atrocities in Tibet, and now those inflicted on the Rohingya in Burma, but are completely unaware of atrocities against Buddhists in Bangladesh. None of this is justified. My point is that in reaction to the ignorant anti-Muslim bashing sentiment in the West, some liberals take the PC position that we shouldn’t criticize non-Jihadi Muslims at all, and ignore their transgressions. I disagree with that. (And I’m not saying that is your position, Sujato.)

  18. Just out of curiosity, how many of the 31 planes of existence, including visits from beings of higher planes and visits to those planes, would you suggest tossing out as “ridiculous superstitions and fairy tales”?

  19. Hi Kip,

    The position with the Western media is variable, perhaps I spoke too soon: but it is still not on guardian.co.uk, abc.com.au, or smh.com.au.

    You are quite right about the plight of Bangladeshi Buddhists. We had a Chakma Bangladeshi monk at Santi, so I am well aware of the situation. I have spoken out about this on a number of occasions, including at the Commonwealth Day observance in Canberra, in front of the Governor General and members of various faiths, in 2012.

    In fact, I believe that the violence in Myanmar is deeply linked with the long-term suffering of Buddhists in Bangladesh: Rakhine is just over the border from where most of the Buddhist/Muslim violence in Bangladesh has been focused.

  20. Your response to Rinchen Tsering regarding pretas (hungry ghosts) and devas (deities) in the comment immediately above seemed like you were making a strong assertion in favor of removing the vast majority of the planes.

    Rinchen Tsering asked you about hungry ghosts and deities, to which you responded:

    I am interested to return Buddhism to the Buddha’s teaching, by which standard, yes, most of the things you are talking about are exactly what I meant by “ridiculous superstitions and fairy tales”.

    Thank you for clarifying your response.

  21. You sound like the “969” leader, I hope you are aware. “Enemies of Sasana” was always the call for war in SEAsian. I guess you better practice a little and abstain from talking. Good people, bad people… no comment, that’s for the show case.
    Maybe you try to take a shower and after it, search for some work.

  22. Lets show unity and place any blame where it is due

    Yes, because nothing unifies a group like placing blame on another group…

    Thankfully, it’s just not the Buddhist way.

  23. Hello Sujato,

    Thanks for your reply…. I just would like to say that I really appreciate the contribution you are making to Buddhism in general and Buddhism in the West in particular. I’ve been following your blog and have read two of your books. Many Buddhist scholars are not dealing with the nitty gritty issues as you are, but instead are writing irrelevant jargon filled tomes to impress their academic peers. I also appreciate your courage in dealing with controversial subjects. So, thanks. (Hopefully, you don’t remember our first interaction. I’d totally misinterpreted your position on a topic and “got my knickers in a twist” as the Brits say.)

  24. Great ! That will make the world more peaceful… Socialism is great, mix it a little with national interests… and you will have a new face.

    If you like that we help a little comment on your blog, just tell it. :-)

    Since I meet the “Buddhists” and their leaders I mostly have this faces in my mind: group identification

  25. Dear Sujato.

    I was saddened by the bombings at Bodhgaya. I was however more horrified by the immediate flood of Islamophobia that followed in its wake. It is amazing how quickly the mind and heart can leap from a place of peace and mindfulness, to blame and hatred.

    This was the post I put up on Facebook when I heard about the bombings.

    — — — —
    “Islam = Terrorism”, “How would they like it if Mecca was bombed?”, such statements only further the divisions between people and cultures. Such statements are counter-productive and go against the teachings of the dharma.

    It breaks my heart to see that so many people turn to anger and thoughts of revenge. The three poisons are “greed”, “hatred” and “delusion”. How many do we step into when we make such statements?

    It is okay to be angry, to feel shocked. But we must watch ourselves and be mindful of how we react to such circumstances. Be thankful that no one died, wish for the speedy recovery of the monks that were injured. Pray (if you do) that such an attack will not be repeated.

    Hope that the troubled souls who inflicted this suffering are arrested swiftly to avoid them causing anymore pain and destruction. But please, please do not blame all Muslims. Please, please do not add to that division.

    Because that is what the terrorists want. They want the division and the bickering. It justifies their actions and allows them to convert others to their negative cause. By labelling all Muslims as terrorists, you are continuing the very chain reaction that allows for the tragic mental conditioning of such souls (Terrorists) in the first place.

    Be mindful, be compassionate, be forgiving… and remember “This too shall pass”

    — — — —

    I also wished to state that I agree with you on looking deeper into the Dhamma than simply at the superstitions and such. I was attracted to the Dhamma, to Buddhism, because of its experiential and practical qualities.

    I have always been one to state, quite clearly, that though I believe in reincarnation I do not focus on it. Likewise I am not interested in knowing what my past lives are, unless they are in some way able to help me assist others and encourage me to act in a more skilful manner.

    I agree that there needs to be greater unity, within the worldwide Sangha, and all of humanity. We cannot stop terrorism through anger and retaliation, but through unity and education.

    Namaste.

  26. Thanks, William. We know that the voices of hate will speak loudly and often: it is up to us to speak, not loudly, but clearly and consistently.

  27. William Rattley

    I agree that there needs to be greater unity, within the worldwide Sangha, and all of humanity. We cannot stop terrorism through anger and retaliation, but through unity and education.

    Buddha taught the disbandment, only warlords and Brahma and confused Buddhisatvas teach unity. By education the “problem” is not solved. The only solution (!) is to leave the problem ;-)

    So if you like to preach in unity, start to preach what Buddha had taught. There is no obligation and even no possibility to save the fools. Just stay away and live a good live, so you need to be attached. Since one is ensnared with his own not so wise deed, it of course not easy to let go. But as the Buddha taught (meaning): “If it would not be possible to let go of the unwholesome, and take on the wholesome, I would not have taught.”

    And what is the consistently resolve to get ride of the unity, being (5 khandas)?

    SELF-DISILLUSION (effacement)

    (1) Others will be harmful; we shall not be harmful here — thus self-disillusion can be done.

    (2) Others will kill living beings; we shall abstain from killing living beings here — thus self-disillusion can be done.

    (3) Others will take what is not given; we shall abstain from taking what is not given here — thus self-disillusion can be done.

    (4) Others will be unchaste; we shall be chaste here — thus self-disillusion can be done.

    (5) Others will speak falsehood; we shall abstain from false speech here — thus self-disillusion can be done.

    (6) Others win speak maliciously; we shall abstain from malicious speech here — thus self-disillusion can be done.

    (7) Others will speak harshly; we shall abstain from harsh speech here — thus self-disillusion can be done.

    (8) Others will gossip; we shall abstain from gossip here — thus self-disillusion can be done.

    (42) Others will be lacking in mindfulness; we shall be established in mindfulness here — thus self-disillusion can be done.

    (43) Others will be without wisdom; we shall be endowed with wisdom — thus self-disillusion can be done.

    (44) Others will misapprehend according to their individual views, hold on to them tenaciously and not easily discard them; we shall not misapprehend according to individual views nor hold on to them tenaciously, but shall discard them with ease — thus self-disillusion can be done.

    And don’t worry about the Sangha (8 Persons) they will not meet any troubles, maybe you like to call it in your mind and seek refuge in it.

  28. To do not lie for example means, not to say: ” hatred is never overcome by hatred, it is only ever overcome by love. ” as such was never taught and slanders the Buddha.

    Where ever is love, hatred will follow automatically. There is no hate, without love.

    dhp 3-6

    ‘He insulted me, hit me, beat me, robbed me’ — for those who brood on this, hostility isn’t stilled. ‘He insulted me, hit me, beat me, robbed me’ — for those who don’t brood on this, hostility is stilled. Hostilities aren’t stilled through hostility, regardless.

    Hostilities are stilled through non-hostility: this, an unending truth. Unlike those who don’t realize that we’re here on the verge of perishing, those who do: their quarrels are stilled.

    If you doubt the translation, look out in Suttacentral.

    There was only one case, the Buddha was a little “touched” all the time, and that was in the case, if somebody misused the Dhamma and misinterpreted him.

  29. Dear Johann,
    You said: “Where ever is love, hatred will follow automatically. There is no hate, without love.” Well… that is not real love. Do you understand the difference between love and attachment? True love only gives, without expecting anything in return, not even positive feedback, or appreciation. It is like perfected generosity, like an overturned glass of water, that doesn’t hold back any drop. How could that cause any hatred? Attachment says: I love you, but you must appreciate it and love me back. And if it doesn’t meet with the anticipated response, it turns itself into hatred. This works the same with other things, not only with “loving” other people. For example religion: I can love religion if it makes me fell special, happy and optimistic and if after a while it turns out that I am still the same depressed individual with low self-esteem, I begin to hate it.
    True love is a rare thing, not easy to come across, but that doesn’t mean we may equate it with attachment. Most of us have our share of attachments, and consequently our share of ill will, or even plain hatred. As followers of Lord Buddha, we must look inside and find means to understand and abandon it, not to project it outside of us.
    I see you quote a lot from the Dhammapada. How about dhp. 50, isn’t that a worthwhile verse?
    May peace and friendliness fill your hearth.
    Ciprian Salagean

  30. Well… when we get to the crux of the matter:

    “Therefore, Sariputra, in emptiness there is no form, nor feeling, nor perception, nor impulse, nor consciousness; No eye, ear, nose, tongue, body, mind; No forms, sounds, smells, tastes, touchables or objects of mind; No sight-organ element, and so forth, until we come to: No mind-consciousness element; There is no ignorance, no extinction of ignorance, and so forth, until we come to: there is no decay and death, no extinction of decay and death. There is no suffering, no origination, no stopping, no path. There is no cognition, no attainment and non-attainment.” – The Heart Sutra

    Ultimately all our differing opinions are inherently empty, because they are formulated through the lens of dualism. In the profound moment when all labels fall away, there is no path… there is no “us” and “them”… there is no “me” or “you”.

    I have seen so many people on forums, on facebook, on youtube almost declaring outright revenge against the terrorists, and Islam as a whole. What Buddhists have to remember, I feel, is that there is… in the end… no outward expression of “Dhamma” to defend. The Dhamma, the Buddha (nature), the Sangha, is not out there, it is within us.

    So yes, I agree… we do need to remember to disillusion ourselves. To “kill the Buddha on the road” so to speak. In my understanding, the Buddha taught the “disbandment” not to separate people, but to push us beyond the human concepts of what we perceive as real. Perhaps to demonstrate how fragile and fickle our dualistic nature is?

    Speaking from my own experience. Once the dualism falls away, all simply “is” anyway. Some will call it “wholeness” or “oneness”… I define it as “isness”. Or I used to call it “the emptiness that contains all”. Anyway, I do apologise, I am rambling. My tiredness has caught up with me.

    Metta :)

  31. Leider, ich sehe nicht meine Antwort hier. I dont see my answer. But i only can say, that history of Afghanistan and other places show you, what they do wrong.

  32. Dear Friend, I would disagree with some of you suggestions but certainly welcome more constructive ones that do not rob the old tradition of its non-harming cultural practices, like rituals and stories. I would also disagree that “after 9/11, reason and compassion went out the window” in the United States (it is a sad generalized judgment to speak of “America”). I know that more and more people are learning how to love and forgive here, and move forward. It takes one to walk in one’s shoes to know the society, and I have lived here as an immigrant for years before becoming a citizen. Yes, “hatred is never overcome by hatred, it is only ever overcome by love.” I think we all need to overcome hatred of what we are against within ourselves to shine light of the Buddha nature. It is much stronger than bombs or media that separate us as diverse members of one human family.

  33. Ciprian Salagean

    Well that fit’s well to feelings of hope, put actually even the Slave-girl find peace only after hope (will to be and become) was gone:

    The fruit of hope fulfilled is bliss;
    How differs loss of hope from this?
    Though dull despair her hope destroys,
    Lo! Piṅgalā calm sleep enjoys

    “As followers of Lord Buddha, we must look inside and find means to understand and abandon it, not to project it outside of us.” Even through you don’t must follow nonsens and call in “Buddhism”. The second part is good. Meanwhile, regard all talks as soliloquy, then you will not feel touched. :-)

    Neither you will find “love” in the teachings, nor such “you should hope”. But most hope for the big Atman and do some linga worshiping. “May I be.”

  34. So you like to speak about the ultimately? Just later developers like to kill the Buddha. They try it even ultimately and of course they are doing well. People love to kill what rebukes their defilement.

    Thanks for your Hindu teachings anyway. Beware of the Muslims, if they hear such. You know, this Atman inseminated teachings course lot of enemies. People fear if others grow and unite. That is natural as it is a battle in being.

  35. The first on destruction.

    Bhikkhus, endowed with four things the foolish ordinary man destroys himself and becomes blamable, blamed by the wise accrues much demerit. What four? Without a thorough consideration and scrutiny praises that which should not be praised Without a thorough consideration and scrutiny depreciates that which should be appreciated. Without a thorough consideration and scrutiny, becomes pleased in which confidence should not be established. Without a thorough consideration and scrutiny becomes displeased in which confidence should be established. Bhikkhus, endowed with these four things the foolish ordinary man destroys himself and becomes blamable, blamed by the wise accrues much demerit.

    Bhikkhus, endowed with four things the wise Great Man does not destroy himself and does not become blamable, not blamed by the wise accrues much merit. What four? With a thorough consideration and scrutiny does not praise that which should not be praised With a thorough consideration and scrutiny appreciates that which should be appreciated. With a thorough consideration and scrutiny, does not become pleased in which confidence should not be established. With a thorough consideration and scrutiny becomes pleased in which confidence should be established. Bhikkhus, endowed with these four things the wise Great Man does not destroy himself and does not become blamable, not blamed by the wise accrues much merit.

    AN4.3

  36. How could I even see your answer, was it important?

    So you fear that a country even loses its inhabitant? Well then, no fear. The foolishness will not become extinct. After the wise are gone, the unwise will flourish even better. They love to be and they love all levels of sex:

    (1) enjoying physical contact;
    (2) socializing;
    (3) lusting after the physical form;
    (4) distracted by pleasurable sounds;
    (5) delighting in frivolities with others;
    (6) approving of others indulging in physical pleasures; and
    (7) living the holy life for the sake of going to heaven.

    Methuna Sutta – The Discourse on Coupling [The seven bonds of sexuality]( in deutsch und im English original after the german text)

  37. Thank you, Bhante, for reminding us of what we should do – how to become socially engaged in a skillful way.

    Many Buddhists in Thailand seem to misunderstand ‘being at peace’ and ‘forgiving’ as ‘inactive’ to the point of being ‘indifferent’.

    Thank you so much, Bhante.

  38. Did you know that the most fools are found in robes in Asia? Maybe not only in Asia. When ever a person does not find followers, he/she leaves home and tries it with the popular “metta” and “unite” trick. ;-) A would full of heroes, so we have nothing to fear.

  39. The lovers love your blog :-)

    Gandhi said to be the change you wish to see in the world

    I wonder if the Gandhi conflict has already found an end. I know only that there have been millions of death, a lot of wars and two nuclear nations after his “movement”. But of course, it would have been good and great if it just would fit to a world where every being nourishes on other beings. Not to speak that monks prefer to fly rather that to walk today. :-)

    Even you might feel good for now, it’s really better to get detached and not involved. You know, it’s all about drugs and colors.

  40. Johann, you have shared many gems of wisdom here with us. Your main themes seem to be that one should not indulge in lowly topics, should practice Buddhism and not talk about it, should not interact with fools, and should be detached and not involved. Has it not occurred to you that by barraging this site with posts you are yourself violating these very points? Perhaps it is time for you to take your own advice.

  41. Totally agreed with the points. “Worms with the lion’s body” is the real threat to the Buddha Sasana.

  42. Kip,

    I also thought that it would be not pleasant. :-) But if I would not help you out who would? It’s a heroes page, isn’t it.
    If anything is wrong – so an old traditional voice for the compassion of the fellows – please tell me.

    Hmm… mostly people prefer to pay even a lot of money to get ride of such critic and feelings of remorse or do you think that they most “Buddhist” sponsors donate and give money to be even criticized?

    Not what is wise is praised by the mass, but what feels pleasant, supports the self and gives identification.

    Do you feel that we now speak about low topics, that I now speak with a fool, that I try to interact with you? Do you have the feeling that I get involved and be attached? If so, tell me. That would be not good even it is just an assuming. People could even say, he just seeks for supporters and followers. How disgusting.

    So please feel free to praise or blame, but be sure that it is not just based on assuming. Not for my welfare, just for your own.

    should not indulge in lowly topics, , should not interact with fools, and should be detached and not involved

    But back to the good observation, do you think that is what the Buddha taught or is it the opposite of what the Buddha taught?

    “should practice Buddhism and not talk about it” I did nowhere say such, btw. as that would be nonsense, especial if the stream would be not reached. After that you could walk a good way alone but also here the admirable friend is needed for a best support.

    Jivaka Sutta: To Jivaka
    (On Being a Lay Follower)

    I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying in Rajagaha, at Jivaka’s Mango Grove. Then Jivaka Komarabhacca went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One: “Lord, to what extent is one a lay follower?”

    “Jivaka, when one has gone to the Buddha for refuge, has gone to the Dhamma for refuge, and has gone to the Sangha for refuge, then to that extent is one a lay follower.”

    “And to what extent, lord, is one a virtuous lay follower?”

    “Jivaka, when one abstains from taking life, from stealing, from sexual misconduct, from lying, and from fermented & distilled drinks that lead to heedlessness, then to that extent is one a virtuous lay follower.”

    “And to what extent, lord, is one a lay follower who practices for his own benefit but not that of others?”

    “Jivaka, when a lay follower himself is consummate in conviction but does not encourage others in the consummation of conviction; when he himself is consummate in virtue but does not encourage others in the consummation of virtue; when he himself is consummate in generosity but does not encourage others in the consummation of generosity; when he himself desires to see the monks but does not encourage others to see the monks; when he himself wants to hear the true Dhamma but does not encourage others to hear the true Dhamma; when he himself habitually remembers the Dhamma he has heard but does not encourage others to remember the Dhamma they have heard; when he himself explores the meaning of the Dhamma he has heard but does not encourage others to explore the meaning of the Dhamma they have heard; when he himself, knowing both the Dhamma & its meaning, practices the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma, but does not encourage others to practice the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma: then to that extent he is a lay follower who practices for his own benefit but not for the benefit of others.”

    “And to what extent, lord, is one a lay follower who practices both for his own benefit & the benefit of others?”

    “Jivaka, when a lay follower himself is consummate in conviction and encourages others in the consummation of conviction; when he himself is consummate in virtue and encourages others in the consummation of virtue; when he himself is consummate in generosity and encourages others in the consummation of generosity; when he himself desires to see the monks and encourages others to see the monks; when he himself wants to hear the true Dhamma and encourages others to hear the true Dhamma; when he himself habitually remembers the Dhamma he has heard and encourages others to remember the Dhamma they have heard; when he himself explores the meaning of the Dhamma he has heard and encourages others to explore the meaning of the Dhamma they have heard; when he himself, knowing both the Dhamma & its meaning, practices the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma and encourages others to practice the Dhamma in line with the Dhamma: then to that extent he is a lay follower who practices both for his own benefit and for the benefit of others.”

    And here are the good topics (not always beloved) collected:

    “There are these ten topics of [proper] conversation. Which ten? Talk on modesty, on contentment, on seclusion, on non-entanglement, on arousing persistence, on virtue, on concentration, on discernment, on release, and on the knowledge & vision of release. These are the ten topics of conversation. If you were to engage repeatedly in these ten topics of conversation, you would outshine even the sun & moon, so mighty, so powerful — to say nothing of the wanderers of other sects.”

    AN 10.69

    We should really talk about them. I would vote for it and even make it to a “should I really make a new blog entire in regard of this” consideration. But anybodies own decision and of course depended on the underlying general intention, not to say politic.

  43. Well Johann, to answer my own question: obviously it has not, and I suspect never will occur to you. So I will just treat you with noble silence, as I see the wise on this site are already doing.

  44. Mr., Ms. Kip,

    Cheating falls also under right speech (be careful), but to avoid that what one is not able to bear is good for the beginning. That is why serious practitioner do not read or listen to “news”. It’s to much diffusing concentration.

    Do you like Ajahn Chah? There is a real good read, and you could even do it silently if you wish so:

    “… Usually when people encounter something disagreeable to them they don’t open up to it. Such as when people are criticized: ”Don’t bother me! Why blame me?” This is someone who’s closed himself off. Right there is the place to practice. When people criticize us we should listen. Are they speaking the truth? We should be open and consider what they say. Maybe there is a point to what they say, perhaps there is something blameworthy within us. They may be right and yet we immediately take offense. If people point out our faults we should strive to be rid of them and improve ourselves. This is how intelligent people will practice.
    Where there is confusion is where peace can arise….Living in the World with Dhamma (incl. a poor translation into german)

    If you like, we could talk about it afterward.

  45. Maybe you meant the jackal and it’s mange?

    Mange

    The Buddha said, “Monks, did you see the jackal running around here in the evening? Did you see him? Standing still it suffered. Running around it suffered. Sitting down it suffered. Lying down it suffered. Going into the hollow of a tree, it suffered. Going into a cave, it felt ill at ease. It suffered because it thought, ‘Standing here isn’t good. Sitting isn’t good. Lying down isn’t good. This bush isn’t good. This tree hollow isn’t good. This cave isn’t good.’ So it kept running all the time. Actually, that jackal has mange. Its discomfort doesn’t come from the bush or the tree hollow or the cave, from sitting, standing, or lying down. It comes from the mange.”

    You monks are the same. Your discomfort comes from your wrong views. You hold onto ideas that are poisonous and so you’re tormented. You don’t exert restraint over your senses, so you blame other things. You don’t know what’s going on inside you. When you stay here at Wat Nong Pah Pong, you suffer. You go to America and suffer. You go to London and suffer. You go to Wat Bung Wai and suffer. You go to every branch monastery and suffer. Wherever you go, you suffer. This comes from the wrong views that still lie within you. Your views are wrong and you hold onto ideas that are poisonous in your hearts. Wherever you go you suffer. You’re like that jackal.

    Once you recover from your mange, though, you can be at ease wherever you go: at ease out in the open, at ease in the wild. I think about this often and keep teaching it to you because this point of Dhamma is very useful.

    :-)

  46. Allow me to share with you, if I may, my own experience. When I was younger, and only just learning to understand the Dharma, I had an insight. For me this insight was proof that the Dharma was beneficial.

    My experience, though brief, occurred in meditation. During the meditation, my image of self, of other, of separateness, of all such dualism, fell away. In that “isness” there was no Buddha, no Dharma, no Sangha… there was no “me” and no object.

    At the same time everything was still there. It felt as though everything was part of everything, and at the same time, everything was nothing. It is very difficult to place into words, because it is outside of human conception, whilst simultaneously a part of all human conceptions.

    Now because I had not seen many images of the Buddha, or the Bodhisattvas, or any shrines, temples or ritual tools, I had very few images for my ego to cling to. Which I feel made it easier for me to reach such a state. The experience lasted only a minute… but it was “timeless” in what it imparted to me.

    I didn’t understand the Four Noble Truths clearly, I didn’t understand subjects like the “Three Poisons” or the “Six Paramitas”. All I knew back then was how to sit. How to be. That was all I needed. Even today, I struggle to reach such a point because I get so caught up on the methods and the practices.

    In many respects they are a hindrance because my ego clings to them for dear life. In my own experience I have always derived the most benefit from returning to the absolute basics. Everything else, the mantras, the scriptures, the prostrations, they are all focal points and in the end, if one is attached to them, one becomes ensnared by them.

    For me, Buddhism is a mindful realisation of the underlying impermanence of existence. Compassion then, comes from that realisation by default… because we realise that even as we are empty, so too are all other beings. Therefore, putting this back into human terms, we are equal due to our inherent emptiness.

    In regards to “killing the Buddha” then, in emptiness, in the “isness” of existence… there is nothing to kill in the first place. There is no Buddha to kill. In realising this, we kill the concept of Buddha.

    It is difficult for me to articulate. Because it is such a difficult subject to conceptualize in human terms.

    Metta

  47. William Rattley,

    The Buddha just told, get not stuck in the formless realm. And, its actually very dangerous to have such a “inherent emptiness” idea as they are just ideas and fatal excuses. Its also fits very good to the modern materialistic views of today.

    And there is no such as “isness” that is the same object to fight like all other objectifications. There is cause an effect in the realm of beings and if you really had left it, you will not brother but I guess just laugh about the “isness” worshiping. Of course great compassion with being caught in “isness” could accrue.

    There is a good work, where might find you own position as well:
    Faith In Awakening

    A man searching for heartwood goes into a forest and comes to a tree containing heartwood, but instead of taking the heartwood, he takes home some sapwood, branches, or bark.

    Many in the Buddha’s time were willing to take the leap, while many others were not, preferring to content themselves with the branches and sapwood, wanting simply to learn how to live happily with their families in this life and go to heaven in the next. Nirvana, they said, could wait. Faced with this honest and gentle resistance to his teaching on nirvana, the Buddha was happy to comply.

    But he was less tolerant of the stronger resistance he received from brahmas, heavenly deities who complacently felt that their experience of limitless oneness and compassion in the midst of samsara — their sapwood — was superior to the heartwood of nirvana. In cases like this he used all the psychic and intellectual powers at his disposal to humble their pride, because he realized that their views totally closed the door to Awakening. If you think that your sapwood is actually heartwood, you won’t look for anything better. When your sapwood breaks, you’ll decide that heartwood is a lie. But if you realize that you’re using bark and sapwood, you leave open the possibility that someday you’ll go back and give the heartwood a try.

    Of course, it’s even better if you can take the Buddha’s teachings on nirvana as a direct challenge in this lifetime — as if he were saying, “Here’s your chance. Can you prove me wrong?”

    The fifth simile:

    An experienced elephant hunter, searching for a big bull elephant, comes across a large elephant footprint in the forest. However, he doesn’t jump to the conclusion that it’s the footprint of a big bull elephant. Why? Because there are dwarf female elephants with big feet. It might be one of theirs. He follows along and sees some scratch marks and tusk marks high up on the trees, but still doesn’t jump to the conclusion that he’s on the trail of a big bull elephant. Why? Because there are tall female elephants with tusks. The marks might be theirs. He follows along and finally sees a big bull elephant under a tree or in a clearing. That’s when he concludes that he’s found his bull elephant.

    Beware of the adhamma dealer, it will easy fit to common ideas. Walk!

  48. Johann,

    This is not accurate:

    The Buddha just told, get not stuck in the formless realm.

    There are many. many, many examples in the Canon of the Buddha’s supporters being reborn happily in the kama-loka realms. The easiest example from the Canon is Anathapindika, who only received the higher teachings at the very end of his life and was reborn beneficially in the Tusita heaven (a kama-loka realm). If you accept the account in the commentaries of the monkey who gave the Buddha honey in the Parileyyaka forest, the monkey was reborn in the Tavatimsa heaven (another kama-loka realm). Clearly, the Buddha thought it was worthwhile to teach people morality and generosity and to lead them only to stream-entry.

    Buddhism is not an all-in-one-lifetime or no-point-in-bothering proposition, as you seem to think.

    Nor is the Dhamma a club with which you should beat people over the head because their spiritual development isn’t satisfactory enough for you.

  49. Looking at this whole string of comment, response and reply, allow me to put forth (as original as possible) a Vesak celebration experience in Singapore told by my friend: During the typical Vesak ceremony in most of the temples in Singapore, many devotees will queue for getting blessings from the Sangha. My friend, being a simple Buddhist, thought of getting a simple blessing from the monk on his little Buddha statue he brought along. To his amaze, the monk suddenly appeared to be surprised and happy with what he just saw: “Buddha…Oh! Oh! Very good, very good!” My friend then realised why the monk reacted such a way – behind him, it was a long queue of people carrying branded handbags, car keys, wallets, and all sorts of personal belongings, to be turned into good luck charm… My friend commented to me that, THAT is what leads to the degeneration of Buddha Dharma in this country.

    And I believe this is what Bhante really meat by “ridiculous superstitions and fairy tales”.It is not about removing the 31 planes of existence or the deities and all the dakinis that colour the rich history of development in Buddhism. It is our very own ignorance of being so called “Buddhists” but in reality still believing in those ignorant practice, is really the Dhamma counterfeit.

    My 2 cents worth of thought :-)

  50. Bhikkhu Sujato,

    Is Buddhism incompatible with nationalism? I am asking this partly because Burma’s father of independence is a Buddhist monk, U Ottama.

    Regards,
    Rahula

  51. I really did not speak about the Tusita heaven, that would not that bad for the fist. :-) Heaving leaded a faulty king just till the Tusita heaven on his death bed, Buddha rebuked one of his disciple very strong.

    Ohh, and the Buddha even warned that the head might got split as a “storyteller” thought that he might escape another time by not answering his question honestly by demons.

    So you like to come to Tavatimsa heaven, you just need to take care that you always have honey on side and meet a Buddha one day. Good solution, and you would even not brother all the time with all this burdening stuff. :-)

    I full accept the commentaries, as long as one knows where to put them. So you wanna change to the OP, or better speak about real war and peace? Do you know the story about Don Quixote? He had a lot assuming and was fighting terrible.

    Ayya Khema once gave a really good talk about conflicts:

    War and peace
    War and peace are the epic saga of humanity. They are all that our history books contain because they are what our hearts contain.

    If you have ever read Don Quixote, you’ll remember that he was fighting windmills. Everybody is doing just that, fighting windmills. Don Quixote was the figment of a writer’s imagination, a man who believed himself to be a great warrior. He thought that every windmill he met was an enemy and started battling with it. That’s exactly what we are doing within our own hearts and that’s why this story has such an everlasting appeal. It tells us about ourselves. Writers and poets who have survived their own lifetimes have always told human beings about themselves. Mostly people don’t listen, because it doesn’t help when somebody else tells us what’s wrong with us and few care to hear it. One has to find out for oneself and most people don’t want to do that either.

    What does it really mean to fight windmills? … read more (english after the german translation)

  52. Yes 100% incompatible. But 100% misused as well. There is no SEAsian Nation which is not built up as simply religious nationalistic nation. The fathers of independence are found in every nation and are actually the founder of nationalism and the start of birth causing suffering and death. There would not have been a nationalistic movement “ending up” in holocaust in Cambodia as well, if there would not have been a racist and nationalistic Monk have lead it to “independency”. Here was it Cho Nat, the beloved hero, who gave the “religions” acceptance (actually forced it) of nationalism, caused at some 50.000 following Bhikkhus to die. People love heroes, and unity and because they follow such degenerated fools the suffer with them.

    There are no nations more racist and nationalist as the Asian “buddhist” countries but if you understand, that people with lot of defilement are not able to orientate on something else like extremes and just possible to controlled with power and fear, then you would even find some deeper compassion behind all of this.

    95% of all monks in SEA are young foolish nationalists, social workers, slavers of the religion and state or the foreign opposition leaders. Actually the whole mentality of people is nothing but just what we only might know as Islamic fundamentalism and they are also not able to be leaded different. They just call it Buddhism and struggle with the western influence of even losing this last strong system that keeps them in peace.

    And here the wester fools and “Bodhisattva” come into play and will how ever, all over the world destroy the last tradition to get at least a share of the national resources after the break up-

    A western fool behind his TV will never understand the ways of Asia, but believe that an Asian would even listen to a “longnose”. You are piggybank, and as long as you do good as piggybank, you will be greeted and respected. And you are a pig, and as long as you can nourish on them, you will respect them and greet them. Don’t forget that as well.

    Simply stay away and look that you liberate your self when the hungry monster will enter your feeding fields.

    How fool must people be that they practice Dhamma and how to get ride of self-believes and believe in Nations. Just to get an impression of how foolish those “Buddhists” and “heroes” are. You should not repeat the words, they would kill you or let you be killed. Just get detached, disillusioned and start to believe Buddha that it really does not make sense to make something else as to simply walk the 8fold Path and escape.

    (Could I lead out of papanca, with a answer on this question, or are we now in the middle of the battlefield?) :-)

  53. Thanks, Tiger, that’s exactly right. It’s difficult for most Buddhists from non-traditional backgrounds to really appreciate the extent to which this kind of thing is Buddhism, to most people who call themselves Buddhists. If your introduction to Buddhism is Ajahn Chah, or Ajahn Brahm, or the Dalai Lama, or Thich Nhat Hahn, or Jack Kornfield, you are hearing something radically different from the standard content of traditional Buddhism. Luckily, I’m a monk, not a supposedly disinterested observer, so I’m allowed to say that meditation, mindfulness, and real Dhamma are not just different, but better that what the traditional practices usually offer. Sadly, the benefits of genuine Dhamma practice are largely overlooked in traditional Buddhism, and these days, meditation and mindfulness is growing in Asia because it is popular in the West!

  54. Dear Lisa,

    Beautiful story indeed.

    I once fasted during the Ramadan to keep my Muslim roommate company. I did not want her to feel alone and isolated among Buddhist students. It was all for our friendship. She was happy and I was happy, and that was what mattered most.

    With mega metta,

  55. Hi Rahula,

    This is a complex question, which plays out in different ways across history: but on the whole, I would say, yes, Buddhism is incompatible with any form of nationalism. In the forms that Buddhist nationalism currently takes, it diminishes the Dhamma and is, in my view the single greatest force that is preventing the Dhamma from becoming truly a spiritual path for all humanity.

    There are cases, such as the throwing off of the colonial yoke that you mention, when nationalism and Buddhism has had some positive effects, and we can understand and appreciate the motivation. Another case is Thailand, where the 19th century saw the development of a nationalized form of Buddhism that was essential to the integrity of the Thai nation-state in the colonial era. So from a worldly point of view, there are cases when it is understandable, and certainly not all bad.

    The problem is, however, that even in those cases, there is a shifting and a distortion of the Dhamma. Rather than serving people, the Dhamma comes to serve a political entity. And what seems to happen is that, long after the historical forces that justified the initial forging of nation/religion links have ended, the links remain, and slowly get more corrupted, losing sight of any ethical compass along the way. Buddhism becomes something to be defended and yelled about loudly, as a justification for pretty much anything the state wants to do. The Dhamma is used to justify the actions of the state, rather than being an independent critical voice.

    If we look at the suttas, we see that the Buddha and the Sangha were absolutely independent and international. They crossed borders constantly, and there is not even a whiff of identification of Dhamma and nation. The Buddha and the Sangha were sensitive to not offend the rulers, but in his subtle way, could be quite critical of kings and their ambitions; see for example the Ratthapala Sutta.

  56. Dear Bhante,

    I don’t know why meditation started to become popular in Thailand (though I live in Thailand). :) However, from what I’ve observed, the trend started with disciples of forest monks. ;-)

    With tens of thousands of disciples, Ajahn Mitsuo, one of the famous forest monks in Thailand, was also instrumental in promoting meditation, compassion and forgiveness.

    Ajahn Chah’s western disciples are, of course, a strong force in emphasising on meditation and sutta studies.

    Thank you. _/\_

    Dear Tiger, in Thailand, those nonsensical beliefs have been exploited by bad men wearing yellow robes like the jet-setter who is being investigated for money laundry.

    Thanks to the more widespread of the real dhamma by good-hearted monks, we have hope for better practices in our society.

    With much metta.

  57. National Hymen Burma:

    Where prevail justice and independence,
    It’s our country … our land.
    Where prevail equal rights and correct policies,
    For people to lead a peaceful life,
    It’s our country … our land.
    We solemnly pledge to preserve,
    The Union, and the heritage, for perpetuity.

    Until the world ends up shattering, long live Burma!
    We love our land because this is our real inheritance.
    Until the world ends up shattering, long live Burma!
    We love our land because this is our real inheritance.
    We will sacrifice our lives to protect our country,
    This is our nation, this is our land and it belongs to us.
    Being our nation and our land, let us do good causes to our nation in unity!
    And this is our very duty to our invaluable land.

    We shall love, forevermore
    Burma (Myanmar) the land of our fathers of yore!
    We shall love, forevermore
    Burma (Myanmar) the land of our fathers of yore!
    Giving our lives for our union we fight,
    This is our country, our land, ours by right.
    We, for her the tasks responsibly shoulder,
    As we’ll stand in duty to this, our precious land.

    Written by Saya Tin (founded his own private school: “Young Men’s Buddhist School”)

    National Hymen Cambodia:

    Verse I
    Heaven save the king
    Give him happiness and glory
    Us, servants of the king
    Want to stay under your shade of glory
    Of those who have the bloodline (race) of who built temples of rock
    May rule the Khmer land high and renowned.

    Verse II
    Temples are hidden in the forest
    Reminds of the glory of Moha Nokor
    The Khmer nation is like an eternal rock
    We hope and bless, fate of Cambodia
    The Great state which lives very old.

    Verse III
    Every pagodas heard with songs
    Reciting it to remember Buddhism
    Let us be faithful to our ancestors’ belief
    Then, heaven will lavish its bounty
    to the Khmer country, a Great Kingdom

    witten by Chuon Nath (the former Buddhist patriarch before Holocaust)

    National Hymen Thailand

    Thailand unites flesh and blood of Thais,
    Nation of the people; belonging to the Thais in every respect.
    Long maintained [has been] the independence,
    Because the Thais seek, and love, unity.
    Thais are peace-loving, But at war we’re no cowards.
    Sovereignty will not be threatened.
    They will sacrifice every drop of their blood to contribute to the nation,
    Hail the nation of Thailand, long last the victory, Hurrah.

    So really nobody needs to worry that those people are to less in love and seek to less unity…

    That’s the fist in school, the first in the morning and the last on TV:

    Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
    And this be our motto: “In God is our trust.”
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave

    :-) Heroes everywhere

    Schütze, Herr, mit starker Hand
    unser Volk und Vaterland!

    I pledge to loyally serve the Federal Republic of Germany and to bravely defend the law and freedom of the German people.

    They are even Buddhist unite songs and the fools have also developed flags (!) and I really wonder why there is no Wester Buddhist Unite Song :-) May we can call it International Maha Metta hymn. “We will struggle and fight till the last being will be liberated… Join us in out passion and unite… we can rule universe” They will sing it everywhere.

    So like Dhamma-Vinaya has nothing lost in “Buddhism” and other racism, it has also nothing lost in unity, unite and giving birth to decay.

  58. The only reason why “meditation” becomes popular in Asia as well is, because they can not fit to Dana and Sila like the westerns. It’s really a good compensation to wrong livelihood and even wester monks practice it with success to be able to keep up wrong livelihood. :-)

    Don’t worry the loving monks will be always there, there are somehow bound to you.

    Ever tried Sila as practice? I mean real, not just talented thoughts of excuse.

    Ajahn Sujato, you should really don’t put Ajahn Chah in the same line with the “heroes” and “Brahmas”. He would even kick you terrible, seeing such.

  59. Bhikkhu Sujato,

    Thank you for your wise reply. Two more questions.

    1. The Rohingya issue is a regional problem. What about the persecution of Buddhist in Bangladesh? Yes, sure we can forgive. But how about justice? Should we just forget about it? Perhaps. If so, shall we do the same for other forms of crimes? Or shall we raise awareness about it? Yes, I know it’s a complex issue, but I would appreciate your thoughts.

    2. I know Gandhi is not a Buddhist, but do you agree that Gandhi’s protest & boycott are actually unBuddhistic?

    Thanks,
    Rahula

  60. Bhante,
    in my view the single greatest force that is preventing the Dhamma from becoming truly a spiritual path for all humanity.” That is an nationalistic view, as the path is not just to support humanity. But of cause the currently common sense with no respect for other beings (except they look nice, are beloved and are not called plant or demons).

    Buddhism becomes something” Buddhism has no will, so it can not become anything. Of cause it’s a mind object and seems to be very active, but it’s the own mind. The same counts for Dhamma. There are singe actors and reactors and some wise. And the main “forcing” voices are creating a field of prosper for such envelopment are expats (national and religious expats, if you know what I mean) having not given up what they left, but like to influence it, direct it and own it. People living between cultures and have not gained any deeper insight are the most “dangerous” nutrition for not so wise actions. Foolish involvement, inter-being nonsense, metta-desire-teachings for the refrigerator feeding, air-condition addicted and car moving depending poor as well as the common “common domain” and “rights” occupy nonsense of “responsible” religious expats, investors and imperialists of “we, the human family” discrimination are very active voices to lead not even the old Islamic world but also the old Buddhist world into the field of distinction, thinking some book knowledge and wikipedia-insight is more that respect, tradition and wisdom.

    If we look at the suttas, we see that the Buddha and the Sangha were absolutely independent and international. They could so, as they had faith in Vinaya and no desire to live in close relationship to ordinary people and have been therefor free form the need of corruption. They have not been international, but where every they have been invited and lived where they have been tolerated and accept. No rights! Gifts.

    not offend the rulers, but in his subtle way, could be quite critical of kings and their ambitions Yes, and eager that it is not politic, they did not even inform the people around of their teachings and opinions. They just walked to those who give rights and not headed the fire to claim what is not given, like it is very popular under Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis today, not understanding that there are no inherent rights, but what is given and scarified.
    Since they are therefor righteous disrespected form leaders pulling among their food and business, they have no more voice and trust of them and would for sure not easy invited to give a talk.

    Rahula,

    “I know Gandhi is not a Buddhist, but do you agree that Gandhi’s protest & boycott are actually unBuddhistic?”
    Don’t let it be part of a monk to answer such polarizing questions. Such ways to ask you can use if you interview a politician for a newspaper if you like some fuel for the opposition.

    Yes, organized protest and boycott as well as extortion are not acceptable. We don’t need to request, when we just look at the effects. To use the crowd (actually Ghandi was as well a nationalist, trained in the west as all “heroes”) for ones wired ideas, had leaded every Asian country into cultural and traditional disaster. But that all of this will not meet you, as you are not part and hopeful don’t like to grow to. If you like to know the “Buddhist” ways of “protest” which is actually action, look here: Sallekha Sutta: The Discourse on Effacement

    I guess I had already quoted it, but to understand how politic works and that one is even good able to act very unwholesome using “love” is best documented in Buddhas “Love Sutta. It’s really easy as soon as you understand mind, to lead people in the direction you like time for a while. There is never a leader if he is not beloved by the mass. That is the reason why Buddha rejected the voice of Mara, inviting him to lead the world and it’s affairs. Knowing birth, aging, decay and suffering. One can not change the other previous deeds and deleted their shadows following them.

  61. ” 佛法的信徒“ (disciples of the Buddha Dhamma), a phrase I read in Venerable Master Yin Shun’s writing “佛法概论“, and reflected on it the entire morning. Shouldn’t we be disciples of the Buddha Dhamma, and not just being Buddhists of an ‘ISM’, or a tradition, a School or a lineage or a particular teacher or a Grandmaster. Profound !

    Then I read Bhante Sujato’s Blog:

    We need to begin our response, not by blaming others, but by asking ourselves, “How can we be stronger in the Dhamma?” The Buddhist world needs to begin some serious and long-overdue reforms. Here are a few urgent priorities:

    1) Provide a good education in actual Dhamma (not traditional fairy stories) to all Buddhists
    2) Sever the terrifying and toxic links between Buddhism and nationalism
    3) Retire the sectarian, nationalist, and ossified leadership of the Sangha, and let the Sangha operate by consensus, according to the Vinaya
    4)Toss out the ridiculous rituals and superstitions that serve only to perpetuate wrong view and obscure the Dhamma
    5) Provide living examples of how Dhamma creates and nourishes compassionate, wise, and peaceful people.

  62. Well, here goes:

    1. The issue needs first, to be made conscious. The situation of Buddhists in Bangladesh has, apart from isolated incidents, escaped the international media. As long as it languishes unaware, I doubt if there will be any progress. Western governments, bless ‘em, follow the votes or the money, and in the hills of Bangladesh there appears to be neither. You know what, though? Global warming will hit Bangladesh harder than just about any other major country. With a 1 metre sea level rise, which is looking likely by mid-century, 17% of Bangladesh—the populated 17%—will be under water. There’s going to be millions, or tens of millions of IDPs heading for higher ground within a few decades. That’s when it will get really serious. The only realistic way I can see this issue getting any traction with the Australian government is if it is linked with the refugee issue.

    As for finding justice, I’m not sure how that’s possible with these kinds of issues. It just keeps going on, and when you get doen beneath the surface… well, it just keeps going. Sure, in specific cases individuals can and should be brought to justice; but when it comes to entire peoples, it’s not clear to me that the concept applies at all. Perhaps the best we can do is to find a workable solution and move ahead.

    2. I’m not sure what you mean by this: why would Gandhi’s acts be un-Buddhistic?

  63. Interesting program… every “terror regime” had the same ideas I guess:

    …1) Propaganda and teaching camps
    …2) Make an enemy or target to fight against
    …3) liquidate the conspirators
    …4) Religion is a drug
    …5) Make parades and glorification of the ideals

    Did you know that Pol Pot had nearly the same ideas? He even ordered the whole country to keep 8 and more precept. Actually wonderful ideas, but you know, people who don’t understand the meaning of virtue, lastly just act as executes.

    But thanks for sharing the typical program who to keep the wild crowd under control.

    People have always nice ideas :-) and at the end it’s another massacre. Just do you own duties, there is plenty of work. We have enough “heroes” to keep the wheel turning fast.

    Pol Pot learned a lot and he died in peace, he did not lean his lesson easy as well as many others had hard lessons to learn, some even did not learn and will do it again and again.

    Hated and beloved by many:
    Pol Pol the interview and confession

    He was a monks as well, but only in old age and after many mistakes he understood.

    I guess its not easy to have even an idea of the corruption of beings and the “nature” of mind. They are always driven by love, affection, desire and identification… give it up.

    The “Buddhists” are even not interested in the world, understanding this and such as a “Buddhist” world is really a funny joke, maybe a Pureland joke. Nationality… heedlessness roles the worlds and their leader. Its would be really funny to read. :-) wouldn’t it be not so serious… “We the Buddhist world! Hail! Hail! Hail! are against Nationality! Hail! Hail! Hail!…We need you to be reformed! Hail! Hail! Hail!”

    I guess we make sticker. That is the only way we can keep it a live. What do you this of “I love Buddhists” stickers in rose or orange? Or maybe “Buddhists love you!” Or “Free Buddhistworld!” We could give them for free so everybody could stick it on his car.

  64. Bhikkhu Sujato,

    Gandhi is unBuddhistic because he is a nationalist and he uses protest & boycott against the British government.

    “Nationalism is an infantile disease. It is the measles of mankind.”

    – Albert Einstein, as quoted in Viereck, George Sylvester (26 October 1929), “What Life Means to Einstein: An Interview by George Sylvester Viereck”, The Saturday Evening Post, p.117.

    Regards,
    Rahula

  65. Don’t ever — regardless —
    be conjoined with what’s dear
    or undear.
    It’s painful
    not to see what’s dear
    or to see what’s not.

    So don’t make anything dear,
    for it’s dreadful
    to be far from what’s dear.
    No bonds are found
    for those for whom
    there’s neither dear nor undear.

    A man long absent
    comes home safe from afar.
    His kin, his friends, his companions,
    delight in his return.

    In just the same way,
    when you’ve done good &
    gone from this world
    to the world beyond,
    your good deeds receive you —
    as kin, someone dear come home.

    Dhp – Piyavagga: Dear Ones

  66. Well, I wouldn’t say protest and boycott is un-Buddhist, as long as it is done peacefully. But sure, nationalism is un-Buddhist.

    However, as I said in an earlier comment, my own take on that is that in the circumstances it was understandable, and it’s mainly the later repercussions that have been problematic.

    In India, we have seen an extremist Hindutva movement emerge, partly inspired by the nationalism that was energized by Gandhi, although abandoning his peaceful and wise approach to political change. Compare the situation in Sri Lanka, where the nationalist movement of Dharmapala has ultimately descended into the infantile, brutish nationalism of the Bodu Bala Sena. But you can’t blame Gandhi or Dharmapala for how others pervert their ideas, any more than you can blame the Buddha for the persecution of the Rohingyas.

    And thanks for the Einstein, it’s brilliant!

  67. Bhikkhu Sujato,

    Thank you. Your reply is as brilliant as Einstein’s quip. I have learn a lot from your blog and comments.

    Well, the Rohingya issue is a regional issue (border of Myanmar & Bangladesh). I have read that that Ashin Wirathu did not advocate physical violence, but peaceful means like boycott. In fact, he has been compared with Gandhi. (the British declared Gandhi as a terrorist).

    By the way, do you equate nationalism and patriotism? If not, what are your thoughts on it?

    Thanks,
    Rahula

  68. Please don’t compare Wirathu, that purveyor of hate speech, with Gandhi. Here is what Gandhi said about Islam:

    Mahatma Gandhi, statement published in “Young India”, 1924:

    “I wanted to know the best of the life of one who holds today an undisputed sway over the hearts of millions of mankind… I became more than ever convinced that it was not the sword that won a place for Islam in those days in the scheme of life. It was the rigid simplicity, the utter self-effacement of the Prophet the scrupulous regard for pledges, his intense devotion to his friends and followers, his intrepidity, his fearlessness, his absolute trust in God and in his own mission. These and not the sword carried everything before them and surmounted every obstacle. When I closed the second volume (of the Prophet’s biography), I was sorry there was not more for me to read of that great life.”

    As for nationalism and patriotism, they are just words, let’s not get hung up on them. It’s a natural part of the human psyche to identify with one’s group, and often enough this is harmless. Support your cricket team, appreciate your culture, celebrate your successes. No problem. I guess we could call this patriotism. But when you start to identify with a particular political/ethnic/religious/racial entity, attacking others as a way of clinging to your own identity, it all goes wrong. At the end of the day, as Einstein said, it’s just infantile, an expression of sad, chaotic insecurity.

  69. Bhikkhu Sujato,

    Where do we draw the line between understandable and otherwise?
    Dharmapala was critical on Islam. How about Walpola Rahula, then? Weren’t they who started the political movement of monks in Sri Lanka ?

    You mentioned Bolu Bala Sena? It’s President, Kirama Wimalajothi, is also the founder of Buddhist Cultural Centre. BCC was opened in 1992 under the patronange of the late Ven Dhammananda. Ven Kirama Wimalajothi had served in Malaysia and Singapore as well, together with the late Ven Dhammananda. Being a Malaysian, it’s a troubling thought that the late Venerable may be linked to extremist / terrorist activities.

    Well, we could choose to just ignore this issue and called it irrelevant, but these are genuine concerns of Buudhsts encountering these facts.

    Your wise advice is much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Rahula

  70. “Well, I wouldn’t say protest and boycott is un-Buddhist, as long as it is done peacefully.”

    Bhante, so you can protest and boycott peaceful hmm…? :-) You mean, just thoughts of aversion and stay silent and do not physical act. Of course that fits well to the common sense.

    “But you can’t blame Gandhi or Dharmapala for how others pervert their ideas” actually right (if they would not have certain more freedom and therefore more responsibility. Sure you have a good excuse, why it would not fit to Hitler and Pol Pot as well. Or did “others pervert their ideas” not in this cases.

    What do you think if Bhante is not acting very wise and try to lead people and people actually follow his unwise ways. Would you praise Bhante and say, “he meant it well”?

    Maybe you can call it then “No problem. I guess we could call this patriotism.”

    Funny ideas.

  71. Rahula, don’t ask politicians and opinion maker. You will not get a releasing answer.

    Our Duty to the Peoples of the West
    by Anagarika Dharmapala (1927)

    THE British people have by their energy, enterprise, and learning won the first place on this earth. Their empire is the greatest of all historic empires in the past. Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, India, Burma, Malay Peninsula, Hong Kong, Ceylon, Iraq are under the British Flag. A hundred years ago under the aegis of the British Flag missionaries of the Protestant Church began their evangelical work in India, Ceylon and later on in China, Japan, Burma and other places. Today the missionary movement has reached its zenith. Last year eleven million copies of the Christian scriptures were circulated among the Chinese, Indians, etc., The Foreign Bible Society has printed the Bible in 600 different languages. The sum of £ 400,000 was expended in printing the Christian scriptures by the Christian denominations of the Protestant Church. Over 23,000 missionaries are engaged in Asia and Africa in disseminating the Christian doctrine among the so called Heathens. The Moslems are extending their empire in Africa, and they have a splendid mosque in Paris, and the Ahmadiya movement has erected a mosque in Southfields, a suburb in London.

    The Brahmanical religion makes no proselytes, and only the born Hindu can become a follower of Brahmanism. The other non proselytising religions are Zoroastrianism, Judaisrn and Jainism. The Catholic Church is extending its sway in Germany, the United States and in England. Before the birth of Christianity, Buddhist missionaries went all over Asia preaching the Dharma of the Lord Buddha. Nine hundred years ago the Buddhist empire extended from the Caspian Sea to Japan. All Asia was Buddhist. Since the establishment of Islam Buddhism in Central Turkestan, Bamian, Craeco, Bactriana, Turfan, Sogdiana, Afghanistan, Kashmir, Gandahar, Panjab, Sindh, and India was destroyed by the conquering Arabs. Wherever the Moselms went they found the temples of the Buddha and without any compunction they were all destroyed. Where there was not one Moslem in India, in the year 1000 A.C., today there are 70 millions, all descendants of Buddhist and Hindu converts during the successive invasions of Moslem dynasties.

    In 1400 Java was converted to Islam, and later on the people of Malay Peninsula. Today the Islamic empire is the most aggressive of missionary religions. Christian missionaries in India do not make vigorous attempts to convert the Moslems. The Moulvis are active, and they know the weak points of Christianity. The Buddhist empire today has a population of over 500 millions, and the Hindus who number 250 millions accept the Lord Buddha as the ninth incarnation of the God Vishnu.

    The time is come to give the sublime Dhamma to the people of the West. Christianity is confronted with modem Science, and Science is against all dogmatic theology. Science is modern, while the dogmas of Christianity belong to an antiquated age. China is waking up and also India. The missionaries are now meeting with opposition in China. Some oriental scholars are now in league with the missionaries. Both are paid for their services, and they know that if Buddhism enters the field the missionaries will have to recede. In England there is an increasing number of Freethinkers and Rationalists and their activities have to be taken into account.

    Higher Buddhism is pure science. It has no place for theology, and it has got nothing to do with creator gods and fighting lords. It rejects the phantom of a separate soul entity residing somewhere in the body. It rejects a saviour by whose favour one can go to heaven, it rejects the superstitions of an eternal hell and an eternal heaven, it rejects the idea of prayer to bribe the god, and it repudiates the interference of Priests. It is the religion of absolute freedom, which is to be gained avoiding all evil, doing all good and purifying the heart. It is against alcoholism, and killing animals for food and sport. It is a brotherhood, embracing all humanity, and the world of animals as well as gods. It preaches the inter-relationship between man and man. Whole humanity is one brotherhood. It is the friend of enlightened progress, and preaches the sublimest Truths of meritorious activity and shows the Path strewn with the flowers of good thoughts, good words and good deeds, right insight, right aspirations, right speech, right profession, right effort, right fixity of thought and right illumination of mind. Only by self sacrificing activity happiness can be found. It preaches against asceticism and Sensualism. It preaches against unscientific monotheism, polytheism, pantheism, nihilism. Its teaching is that ultimate Truths are to be realized, not simply believed as dogmas.

    This religion was founded by the Prince of Kapilavastu, who renounced to discover Truth all things that the world hold dear. He underwent the severest form of bodily mortification in order to find the path of happiness in perfect consciousness. He rejected asceticism as it was an obstacle to gain a clear consciousness. He rejected sensual pleasures as they too interfered with the realization of wisdom. He proclaimed the Middle Path as it brings man to the goal of happiness here on earth before death. Young Buddhists of Asia! The time is come for you to prepare yourself to enter the battlefield of Truth, Love and Service and carry the message of Equality, Brotherhood, Compassion, Selflessness, Renunciation to the energetic people of England, Germany, United States, France and other countries. The Soviet government perhaps may not allow Buddhist missionaries to enter the great country of Russia, and Duce Mussolini perhaps would not allow them to enter Italy. Spain is also closed to you. There is Persia and Turkey. There are the Republics of South America. These countries should know of the supreme Truths promulgated by the Lord Buddha, who taught them 2500 years ago to the most enlightened people of Aryan India. Was not born Jesus, Mohammad and other prophets. Let the People of these countries know the Four Noble Truths, the Noble Eightfold Path, the seven Principles of Enlightenment, and the 12 bases of the Law of Causality.

    Arise, awake, unite and join the Army of Holiness and Peace and defeat the hosts of Evil.

    (Maha Bodhi Journal, Vol.35, Sept. 1927)

    Patriotism hmm… well then, really useless to talk about Dhamma and cause of suffering.

  72. And do you think that Ven Dhammananda was not a patriotic and nationalist… a state and kin slave? The beloved Chief. Do you think that he was a free person, independent and released for social corruption?

  73. Hi Rahula,

    Sorry, but I don’t know that much about the development of the political aspect of the Sri Lankan Sangha.

    I do know, however, that K Dri Dhammananda spoke often and eloquently about harmony between Buddhists and Muslims, and was one of the stalwarts of the interfaith movement in Malaysia. We cannot blame a teacher for the acts of one of their students.

  74. Hi Johann,

    I am not sure if I understand you correctly. Perhaps it’s my poor comprehension skill. Let me try to summarize if I understand you correctly.

    1. Nationalism is unBuddhist.
    For Bhikkhu Sujato, it’s understandable in certain cases, eg. Gandhi or Dharmapala.

    2. Protest and boycott is also unBuddhist.
    For Bhikhu Sujato, it’s not unBuddhist. May I add that the Buddha allow monks to turn the bowl down in eight situations (Vinaya, Cullavagga, V, 20, 3).

    3. Buddhists should not seek justice.
    The perpetrator of Bodh Gaya should not be persecuted. The same goes to some Rohingya people who initiate the attacks againsts the Buddhists.

    May I also highlight to Bhikkhu Sujato that the Rohingya-issue is not a Myanmar-issue, but regional – between Myanmar & Bangladesh.

    Regards,
    Rahula

  75. Rahula,

    it is good to request if there is doubt or the danger of assuming.

    to 1. Nationalism has no place in the teachings of the Buddha, yes.
    I can not speak for the man call him self Sujato, but I share you assuming as well that he thinks like that, if you read the posts. Neverthenless its assumed.

    to 2. Yes, also not compatible to the teachings. Again, I can not speak for Sujato, but similar to 1) it seems like that. Better no further comment. He needs to know what he is doing and in the argumentation “the teacher is not responsible of what the disciples do, he might feel secure of the effects…”

    You should study the Vinaya, Cullavagga, V, 20, 3 very good. And also count the effects of its misuse in the world. But those “monks” feel free feeding on common resources and take what they like, they don’t know what means to take what is given. If they really had the “nuts”…and courage believe me, they have not and they are much to addicted that such a right is useable by them. Just politic.
    If you really live like a monk and just take what is given and you would face such as an shameful abusing of a giver, it is nothing else as letting go. Its not a monks business to fight and struggle with fools. Of course it is different when you have a “name” and a worldly aim. Poor and lost. You can be sure that the todays fools and heroes know such passages of the text best, as they simply spend there times to try to put their ideas into the teachings an just search for excuses for their simply incapacity.

    to 3. Yes, its clear that one who seeks for liberation, does not seek for revenge. Retribution justice (past is never just! ice) has no place in the teachings of the Buddha.

    If you don’t identify with all those lost freaks, patriots and nationalists, socialists…in short budpatrinatzis , its not an issue at all. You lift it up, so its your issue. Nobody else issue.

    So whom do you vote for :-) hail! hail! hail!

    If you gain a mature companion —
    a fellow traveler,
    right-living, enlightened —
    overcoming all dangers
    go with him, gratified, mindful.

    If you don’t gain a mature companion —
    a fellow traveler, right-living, enlightened
    — go alone like a king renouncing his kingdom,
    like the elephant in the Matanga wilds, his herd.

    Going alone is better,
    there’s no companionship with a fool.
    Go alone, doing no evil,
    at peace,
    like the elephant in the Matanga wilds.

    dhp 328-330

    As for the laypeople:

    Paṭisalla Sutta: Seclusion

    I have heard that on one occasion the Blessed One was staying near Sāvatthī at the Eastern Monastery, the palace of Migāra’s mother. And on that occasion the Blessed One, having emerged from his seclusion in the late afternoon, was sitting outside the doorway of the porch. Then King Pasenadi Kosala went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side.
    Now on that occasion seven coiled-hair ascetics, seven Jain ascetics, seven cloth-less ascetics, seven one-cloth ascetics, & seven wanderers — their nails, armpit-hair, & body-hair grown long, carrying containers on poles [over their shoulders] — walked past, not far from the Blessed One. King Pasenadi Kosala saw the seven coiled-hair ascetics, seven Jain ascetics, seven cloth-less ascetics, seven one-cloth ascetics, & seven wanderers — their nails, armpit-hair, & body-hair grown long, carrying containers on poles [over their shoulders] — walking past, not far from the Blessed One. On seeing them, he got up from his seat, arranged his upper robe over one shoulder, knelt down with his right knee on the ground, paid homage to the seven coiled-hair ascetics, seven Jain ascetics, seven cloth-less ascetics, seven one-cloth ascetics, & seven wanderers with his hands palm-to-palm in front his heart, and announced his name three times: “I am the king, venerable sirs, Pasenadi Kosala. I am the king, venerable sirs, Pasenadi Kosala. I am the king, venerable sirs, Pasenadi Kosala.”

    Then not long after the seven coiled-hair ascetics, seven Jain ascetics, seven cloth-less ascetics, seven one-cloth ascetics, & seven wanderers had passed, King Pasenadi Kosala went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there he said to the Blessed One, “Of those in the world who are arahants or on the path to arahantship, are these among them?”[1]

    “Great king, as a layman enjoying sensual pleasures; living confined with children; using Kāsī fabrics & sandalwood; wearing garlands, scents, & creams; handling gold & silver, it’s hard for you to know whether these are arahants or on the path to arahantship.

    “It’s through living together that a person’s virtue may be known, and then only after a long period, not a short period; by one who is attentive, not by one who is inattentive; by one who is discerning, not by one who is not discerning.

    “It’s through trading with a person that his purity may be known, and then only after a long period, not a short period; by one who is attentive, not by one who is inattentive; by one who is discerning, not by one who is not discerning.

    “It’s through adversity that a person’s endurance may be known, and then only after a long period, not a short period; by one who is attentive, not by one who is inattentive; by one who is discerning, not by one who is not discerning.

    “It’s through discussion that a person’s discernment may be known, and then only after a long period, not a short period; by one who is attentive, not by one who is inattentive; by one who is discerning, not by one who is not discerning.”

    “Amazing, lord! Astounding! — how well that was put by the Blessed One! ‘Great king, as a layman enjoying sensual pleasures; living confined with children; using Kāsī fabrics & sandalwood; wearing garlands, scents, & creams; handling gold & silver, it’s hard for you to know whether these are arahants or on the path to arahantship.

    “‘It’s through living together that a person’s virtue may be known, and then only after a long period, not a short period; by one who is attentive, not by one who is inattentive; by one who is discerning, not by one who is not discerning.

    “‘It’s through trading with a person that his purity may be known, and then only after a long period, not a short period; by one who is attentive, not by one who is inattentive; by one who is discerning, not by one who is not discerning.

    “‘It’s through adversity that a person’s endurance may be known, and then only after a long period, not a short period; by one who is attentive, not by one who is inattentive; by one who is discerning, not by one who is not discerning.

    “‘It’s through discussion that a person’s discernment may be known, and then only after a long period, not a short period; by one who is attentive, not by one who is inattentive; by one who is discerning, not by one who is not discerning.’

    “These men, lord, are my spies, my scouts, returning after going out through the countryside. They go out first, and then I go. Now, when they have scrubbed off the dirt & mud, are well-bathed & well-perfumed, have trimmed their hair and beards, and have put on white clothes, they will go about endowed and provided with the five strings of sensuality.”

    Then, on realizing the significance of that, the Blessed One on that occasion exclaimed:

    One should not make an effort everywhere,
    should not be another’s hireling,
    should not live dependent on another,
    should not go about as a trader in the Dhamma.

    Paṭisalla Sutta: Seclusion” (Ud 6.2)

  76. Rahula wrote:

    May I also highlight to Bhikkhu Sujato that the Rohingya-issue is not a Myanmar-issue, but regional – between Myanmar & Bangladesh.

    Is this correct? From what I have read, it’s not clear to me whether the Rohingya are indigenous to Myanmar/Burma or are migrants from Bangladesh. From what I understand, those who are persecuting them in Myanmar are using the latter argument (that they are migrants from Bangladesh) as an excuse to persecute them. Neither argument regarding their origins should be used as an excuse to persecute them.

  77. The regional context is not easy to unravel, and I am far from knowledgeable on these things. But I was very struck when I first checked the distance between Sittwe, in Rakhine province and Cox’s Bazar, in Bangladesh, which were the two main epicenters of violence last year. They are only about 150km apart as the crow flies. Perhaps just as significantly, Google maps describes the road distance between them as 2109km; so close, and yet so far.

    Given the anti-Buddhist violence that has occurred on and off in Bangladesh for years, culminating in the atrocities at Cox’s Bazar, it seems to me inconceivable that these events have no connection with the devastation wreaked on the Muslim community of Sittwe, although of course the immediate causes and influences are local.

    Since then there have been a number of incidents and atrocities internationally, such as the rape of Rohingya women by Burmese men in Indonesia, and the murder of the rapists and others in the subsequent brawl. We are faced with escalating tensions and violence between Buddhists and Muslims through the entire region, and our response must bear this regional context in mind.

  78. Dear Ajahn Sujato,I am interested more in the story of plane and creatures, please bear with my uneducated self with the way of Buddha and his teaching. I am just an outsider observer. I am searching the truth long enough in my life. Now i am in misery. I am able to see creatures, or seeing them, for tiny little creature, to dragon, to deities but mostly came from sea. I was race seeing ghost, dead people spirit, and snake with human body and i am confused. I always using metta chant, some spirit sometime come to ask one. and now i am in despair, I am Balinese.

    Now i am searching for the truth, enlightenment. To free myself from confusion in finding the true light. Dear Ajahn Sujato, what is the point of human take rebirth in the world? is it for the world or for search of his own enlightenment? The last seem so ignorant. and to whom do we pray to release us from samsara?

  79. Hi Sagayu,

    No-one can release us from samsara: even the Buddha said he could not do this. It is only through one’s own efforts that freedom comes.

    As for the self or the world, actually the Buddha taught that what is for ones’ own benefit is ultimately for the world’s benefit, and vica versa. So don’t worry about that. We just take whatever opportunity we can to help others, and whatever opportunity we can to help ourselves.

    If you are just starting out on the spiritual path, I would strongly recommend that you get in touch with a stable Dhamma community and go for weekly meetings or whatever they have. Whatever happens, don’t despair: the seeds of truth are already inside you. Give them some time and space and they will grow.

  80. Dear Bhante, I can’t help noticing that you’ve missed out mentioning Ajahn Sumedho. For the sake of history, from what I gathered, Ajahn Sumedho from England was the first monk who brought Theravada Buddhism to the West. It is also very disturbing to hear people here dividing Buddhism into Western & Asia and making claims. Peace to all.

  81. We’re in BuddhaGaya now for an intensive ESL class — all quiet, except for the demolition of shops in the vicinity of the great temple.

    Sounds like an inside job after all. Frankly we thought all along that those jumping to concussions about foreign “terrorism” were overlooking all the mess of the Temple Management Committee and Bihar and national politics of a Hindu persuasion.

    This from the Tamil Nadu News …. reads like real journalism to us — quite noteworthy just for that!

    Bodh Gaya blasts: NIA quizzes temple management committee members
    Abdul Qadir, TNN, Jul 23, 2013, 02.49AM IST

    Article
    Comments (NaN)

    Tags:Nitish Kumar

    GAYA: NIA, the investigating agency specializing in terror-related cases, currently engaged in the multi- dimensional investigation of the serial blasts that rocked the Mahabodhi shrine more than two weeks after the blasts, struggles to zero in on the local connections of those who engineered the blasts. Conducting the blast probe from three different angles that of ‘international infiltration, Maoists and local communal issues’, the agency remains open to other dimensions as well.

    According to sources, the investigating agency is of the firm belief that whoever engineered the blasts must have done it with the help of locals who may or may not be on the Bodh Gaya Temple Management Committee (BTMC) pay rolls, as planting of more than a dozen cylinder bombs at five different locations in three different directions, needs strong local back-up. Once it got the local service providers right, it would be much easier to unmask the real engineers of the blast, feels the agency.

    Trying to zero in on the local connections, the agency has already quizzed several BTMC employees including the driver of the ambulance which was mysteriously and illegally parked near the blast site. Going by the misuse of ambulances in the past and the smuggling of no less than four unwieldly 2.5 kg cylinders into the shrine unnoticed, the ambulance mystery, first reported by TOI, becomes all the more important.

    Continuing with the local angle, the NIA, separately quizzed all members of the temple management committee separately on Sunday. The quizzing took place in the formal format that included issuance of summons and proper recording of their statements at a Bodh Gaya hotel.

    The members, who were quizzed separately, were put to searching questions including their background, political affiliations, source of income, current economic status, patrons who got them nominated to the all- important body, contribution to the shrine management, functioning of the body and its decision-making mechanism. According to sources, some of the members fumbled during prolonged quizzing.

    One important question, according to sources, pertained to the local political equation following the split in the NDA. The question assumes importance as senior JD (U) leaders have been whispering conspiracy theories of the blasts that caused more political damage to CM Nitish Kumar and very little physical damage to the shrine. One member is learnt to have told the NIA officer quizzing him that the BJP-JD (U) relationship at the local level was not as bitter as it was at the state level.

    Virtually washing their hands off, all the three members quizzed by the agency on Sunday are learnt to have told the NIA that the members did not have any role in the day-to-day management of the shrine which were looked after by the committee chairman and secretary only.

  82. This is all very well, but ultimately the initiative will have to come from the local population. Unfortunately the historical precedence has Western countries trying to impose their views on the locals (the ‘civilizing mission’ behind the British empire), with disastrous consequences. So any attempt by a foreign entity, specially a non-Asian person, will be met with knee-jerk rejection.

  83. A Buddhist temple cannot fulfill its obligations to its lay supporters if all its monks are scholars and meditators. At least one monk must be skilled in exorcism and magic, otherwise its like a hospital with no doctors.

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