My thanks to Jacob Doyle for submitting the following piece.
"Buddhists who kill Muslims cease to be Buddhists
"The so-called religious conflicts experienced by the people of the Earth are far less conflicts of religion than they are conflicts of economic and tribal interests," I said to a colleague from Syria yesterday evening. I gave as an example the recent killings and burnings of homes in Burma/Myanmar perpetrated against people identifying themselves as Muslims by others identifying themselves as Buddhists. Reports in 'The Economist' state that Buddhist monks, the same monks whose "Saffron Revolution" protests pressured the military government to soften its long campaign of repression and introduce democratic reforms, were actually urging the attackers on.
'They call themselves Buddhists?' I asked rhetorically. I practice Buddhist meditation and have studied the Pali Canon of Buddha. Avoid killing, or harming any living thing, is the first of five precepts at the heart of the Buddha's teachings. 'The Economist' magazine's examination of the issues surrounding the attacks reveals that the Buddhists compose a majority of the population in Burma and live somewhat separately from the Muslims and maintain different cultural traditions. Many Buddhists purportedly feel threatened by the Muslim's "otherness" and what they perceive to be their higher birthrate. They also reportedly covet the Muslim's land holdings. They resent what they reckon to be the Islamification of Burma. But even if the Muslims were conspiring to take over Burma, violence against them goes directly against the teachings of Buddha. In this sense, it is the 'Buddhists' themselves that are robbing the country of Buddhism."
Again, my thanks to Jacob Doyle for this thought-provoking piece.