Religion and Violence in Southern Thailand
Michael K. Jerryson
Thanks to Annie for bringing this to my attention. This is a study of the religious and social context of the ongoing violence in Southern Thailand between Thai Buddhists and ethnically Malay Muslims. You can read the introduction on Google books. It looks like an excellent study, based on extensive personal interviews over several years.
The conflict in southern Thailand has been a dreadful one, with over 3000 dead and no signs of stopping. It provides an example of how the Buddhist philosophy of peace works in real-world contexts of violence.
Regular contributor to this blog, Dean, has started a new movement, ‘A Moment of Peace’. The goal is for a million people to spend 1 hour in mindful silence at 8:00pm, Saturday 18th June 2011. I’m on retreat at that time, so count me in! Check out the website and see how to contribute.
The following message is from our good friend Ramya Panagoda. She spoke to me of her recent visit to Sri lanka, and about the urgent need for support in the reconstruction. The war’s over: now we must win the peace.
While in Sri Lanka last December we travelled to the security areas in the northern province. The simplicity of the ordinary Tamil and Sinhalese people touched our hearts. But a lot of work needs to be done. I visited Nagadeepa, Anuradhapura and many other Buddhist areas. I am currently working with 64 Tamil orphans who their parents entrusted to the local Buddhist temple during the conflict years, in a remote boarder village. The youngest was 4 days old when he was left at the temple door by his fleeing parents. The Buddhist monk with the help of the army protected these children all these years and gave them an education. The children are unpolluted and is a breath of fresh air. They do not know anything about Television or radios. Their needs are simple, soap, washing powder and milk!! The children attend school and after school attend to agricultural work on temple grounds.
We managed to get a lot of publicity for the temple and Sri Lankan government declared Sethsevena Children’s Home as a charitable institution. Recently there was a news paper article about this monk and the article appears on their website.
I have been fund raising for the basic needs of these children. Our Tamil friends in Sydney have offered to provide beds for the children and this in a small way is uniting the two communities in Sydney.
If people want to donate I have the bank details for the Children’s Home. I can be contacted by email: ramyapanagoda[at]yahoo[dot]com[dot]au
One day I would like to take you and Ajahn Brahm to visit these children. Recently they discovered a big cave in the jungle near the temple. Apparently it was used by about 500 Arahaths during the time of King Dutugamunu when Anuradhapura was the capital of Sri Lanka some 1500 years ago. The Monk told me that the energy in the cave is so powerful that monks from all over the world now visits the Cave for meditation. Bhante that’s an inspiration for you to visit the cave!