Prominent Democracy Activist Urges Rethink on Interfaith Marriage Proposal

Ko Ko Gyi, a prominent member of the 88 Generation Students group, speaks with The Irrawaddy on Thursday. (Photo: Steve Tickner / The Irrawaddy)

A draft law proposed by Buddhist monks that would restrict interreligious marriage threatens to divide the Buddhist community in Burma, according to a prominent 88 Generation Students group member.

Ko Ko Gyi, a senior leader from the pro-democracy group, said a more inclusive dialogue should be held before any law is submitted to Parliament.

“The law is a sensitive one,” he said. “We need to think about it very carefully and thoroughly, such as what potential negative effects it might have politically and socially. This is why I told the monks to have one more workshop to let all people be included to discuss it.”

The workshop would potentially be held within the next two weeks in Rangoon, according to Ko Ko Gyi.

The Daily Eleven newspaper reported on Thursday that senior Buddhist monk U Aggha Nyana urged monks at an event in Bahan Township, Rangoon, to respect others’ faiths when discussing ethnic and religious issues.

“All of us need to act according to the laws of Dhamma. Whenever we talk, we should not hurt or disturb other religions,” U Aggha Nyana said.

Last month, a gathering of Buddhist monks approved draft legislation that would put restrictions on marriages between Buddhist women and Muslim men. The monks, who are working actively to promote the proposal, argue that the restrictions would help improve inter-communal relations in Burma.

However, Ko Ko Gyi said he was worried about perceptions of Buddhism among the international community if the plan goes forward.

“Our religion is a peaceful one. I told them [the monks] to have one more workshop in order to present a good image of the Buddhist religion,” he said.

The 88 Generation Students group has primarily advocated for human rights and democratic change in Burma over the last 20 years, and its leadership worries that religious violence in the country may bog down the ongoing political reform process.

“I respect Buddhist monks as I am a Buddhist man. But if someone is to hijack this religious law and politicize it, I will not accept this. It will sow disunity among the Burmese people and all people should avoid this,” Ko Ko Gyi said.

The proposed religious law comes at a time of growing tensions between Burma’s majority Buddhists and Muslims, who are estimated to make up some 5 percent of the country’s total population.

Violence between the two religious communities broke out in Arakan State, western Burma, in June last year. The unrest has since spread to dozens of towns in other parts of the country. Hundreds of people have been killed and more than 150,000 people—mostly Muslims—have been forced to flee their homes.

Nationalist Buddhist monks have been accused of openly supporting the violence by calling for the removal Muslims from towns and villages in order to establish Buddhist dominance. In some cases, monks were reportedly observed participating in and organizing the street violence, which has included the razing of mosques, and Muslim-owned homes and businesses.

“After destroying one building, another new building will rise again,” Ko Ko Gyi said. “So I wanted to say those who create violence: You are the losers, not the winners.”

35 Responses to Prominent Democracy Activist Urges Rethink on Interfaith Marriage Proposal

  1. As the Myanmar flag shows: one star, one language, one culture, one religion, one race: Bamar!

    • Do you even know the emaning of race? Race is grouping of people based on outwardly similar feature. In the past when transportation was snail pace, that kind of group made sense a bit becaus people could not move far and people who are closely related live near each other. Evere since “The human genome” prioject which proves how all humans are 99.95% teh same inside, that kind of grouping makes no sense and terms like “caucasian”, Mongoloid, negroid, Australonegroid, etc. are not longer used.
      Bamar is an ethnic identity. In the past an ethnic group means a people of similar culture inclduing food choices, clothing style, etc. In the past, like the tern race, an ethnic group alos encompasses people of similar appearance due to snail pace transportation options keeping people close to where theyr were born. Still, culture is never static. It is dynamic since people always absorbedd new culture through out history. Bamar culture is mainly from Bengali culture. (Look for traditional Bengali dances and you will see how similar to Burmese traditional dances.) Guess why Bengali culture is rich. It is because Bengali culture has absorbed many manay cultures throughout history.

      In today’s world, society are formed with multiple ethnic groups who overtime eat the same food (adopting each other’s way of cooking and many other things).

      Stop being a bigot. Stop living in the past and open your mind unless you want to be left behind like megalomaniac Ne Win already had done. Gees!

  2. Sai Htee Seng’s song “I do not care whoever try to separate us” must be aired around monasteries and Nay Pyi Daw.

  3. Introducing the restriction of interfaith marriage is the root cause of stirring up the religious and racial tension again and again instead of calming down the clashes between and Buddhist and Muslim. The reason given by Wirathu for need of restriction of interfaith marriage is out of the reality as well as logical sense. If i restrict Wirathu by putting him into the Insein prison forever in order to prevent his freedom of expression, we ( more educated than Wirathu ) can not teach him to reach the educated level. Wirathu has no chance to learn about the Burma and Buddhist teaching if he is in imprisonment for his hated of Muslim. Now, Wirathu is downgraded by Time Magazine around the world. Because of Wirathu, some might misunderstand that learning or teaching of Buddhism is the strategy of terrorist activity as well as copying Muslim religious to have 969 figure symbol. The cruel investment for killing local Muslim from the strategy of Wirathu means low class or abnormal psychology of wirathu. Wirathu worries about less donation from Burmese Buddhist to him for his own interest if Muslim are more dominated in Burma in future. However, Wirathu does not realise that obeying the Muslim religious rules is not easy task for Muslim believer as there are a lot of restrictions in their Muslim daily life, compared to Buddhism. Therefore, less restricted rules in Buddhism is more acceptable than Muslim in common sense. Muslim clergy is more worrying about losing their believers ( eg see powerful Muslim clergy in Pakistan and shooting girl Malala by Taliban in Pakistan), compared to Buddhism.
    Below is the wirathu reply to Time Magazine for his poor defense from his sin on Muslim religion how Wirathu is poor in logical and common sense although he has one good soft spoken to attract naive , low educated Burmese.
    Thank you Abid Bahar for his following web. Here, idiot Wirathu poorly replied to “Time Magazine”
    Dear Sister Ms. Hannah Beech, I nationalist Buddhist Monk U Wira Thu is writing this letter to you. When you came to us, we had treated you and your photographer with hospitability. You know we had done our best to help you and your photographer to get what you want. We had helped you only with the good volition that we want the media and correspondents get the true facts. We helped you because we respect western liberal media like Times and we expected you wouldn’t make lies to the people of the world. And we did not think you wouldn’t break ethic and responsibility of media. Now I know that you are the worst visitors we have ever had. I could not see the hatred behind your smiles. I could not see your ruthlessness under your tender actions. I could not see your deceit under your sweet words it is like blade covered by honey. I did not think that a gentle and beautiful girl like you have the ruthless heart of performing savages attack on us to be heard all over the world.
    My opinion: Up to this above paragraph from idiot Wirathu’s reply, there is no substance at all. Panglong agreement is not honored by all bama governments ( bama military thugs). Therefore , what is the meaning of rubbish nationalism or bamanization in Burma by wirathu?
    I could not think that because of my background may be as you said I was a vagabond. I had told you that those names such as Shaved Head Nazi, Neo Nazi, Burmese Bin Laden were given by Muslims on Facebook. And then liberal media like you dare use the word like “The Buddhist Monk, The Title “Burmese Binladen” I believe (think) you admit your dirty mind by deliberately using the word “The Buddhist Monk” then followed by the word “With the man in burgundy robes.”
    My opinion: If Wirathu makes and made slogan 969 to prevent from the local Muslim business and religious invasion as well as encourage to spread of killing local Muslim in Burma, Wirathu is reasonably named as Buddhist Bin Laden or Nazi-Hitler-born son( extreme nationalism) as well. Wirathu is notorious in his hatred for Muslim so he was jailed( strong evidence) for his dangerous, violent and aggressive acts. Wirathu has no basic Buddhist teachings so he has no salvation mind-set(helping others with problems) , no compassion on minority and no mind-set to live peacefully ( going here and there to peach his hatred for Muslim as a terrorist). Wirathu has enough( enjoy) free-lunch daily to eat from donation now but he is worried about his future to continue to have free-lunch if there is less and less of Buddhism in Burma.
    You are not a lady with high moral ground and you are same as dirty minded as extremists all over the world. Muslims are also like you want me to strip of the robe. They do not revere me as a Monk and call me “the man in the robe.” My preaching is not burning with hatred as you say. Only your writing is full of hate speech. We can forgive the misunderstanding. We can forgive wrong conclusion. But will you deny that your hatred words targeted me to tarnish my reputation. Please recheck your words and the words that I preached. “Now is not the time for calm.” “Now is the time to rise up to make your blood boil.” These are your words. Now I show my words.
    My opinion: Wirathu denied the above terrible and frightening statement he made but the authors might have strong evidence to prove her writing. However, Wirathu’s follower ( Wemala-constipation) preached more terrible statement , like above obviously.
    969 is for peace, We should preserve these noble reputations of Buddha, Dhamma and Sangha. For our National cause, our Culture and our Faith, We will avoid terror act. Upholding three gems (Buddha, Dhamma, Sangha) We will perform with honesty, diligence and determined attempts. For our national cause, We will carry out it warmly without ignorance.” These are my words. It is clear that you made savage attack against me by comparing my words and your words.
    My opinion: 969 is a copycat from using the number and figure symbol in Muslim-786 so how Wirathu is shameful as it is not creative. Wirathu copies other patent ( illegal and unethical).

    I preach people not to react with lawlessness, but you accused me of terrorist. You tried to draw a picture of me as a person who aggravate the situation by hate speech and fuelling to make offensive attack, where I am preaching people to perform with honesty, diligence and determined attempts to preserve our value. I preach people to carry out national cause warmly without ignorance, than you gave the world bad impression of me who is trying to boil the blood of people.
    My opinion: Wirathu is a liar. Wirathu does not give reason why mass killing Muslim is happening and happening again and again in Burma. Who is the responsible Buddhist thugs?

    You dare do that. With sustained loving-kindness, Ven. Wira Thu
    My opinion:
    Wirathu wrote “ You dare do that “ . It is the threatening command from unethical bama soldier than shwe’s usual wording to all poor Burmese. It is not permitted or appropriately used by Buddhist monks in the aspect of polite and gentle manner. Everybody has a right to have freedom of expression if there are evidences as well as logical and common sense. Therefore , “ With sustained loving-kindness, Venereal Wirathu” is inconsistent with the above “ You dare do that”
    In short, if Wirathu denies( shout ) more and more, his family background will be revealed more and more in the context of their poverty as well as Wirathu’s hatred of Muslim religion. Therefore, Wirathu was chosen to send to Monastery for feeding as well as survival from his family who has lack of birth control or family planning knowledge in the world poorest country, Burma. Wirathu’s reply to Sister , Ms H Beech is lack of substance and lack of reason to defense himself for his notorious Buddhist terror face. Sri Lanka government might also agrees that Wirathu is their destructive student so shameful Sri Lanka government prohibits the issue of Time Magazine, July issue, 2013.

    • Muslim religion do not use 786 bper se. Muslims in the middle east do nto use 786. Tern 786 menaing “In the name of God (Bismillah)”, a phrase typically used by Muslims before they eat or do something is a traditiona among the Muslims in Sotuh Asia and SE Asia.
      “969” has been created to use for the purpose of villifying a minority group. Regardless of what 969 represents, the motive behind the creation and the motive to use it to villify others makes it not suitable to be used to represent Buddha’s teaching. (I refrain to use the wqord Buddhism because what Burmese Buddhista re calling Buddhism is not what Buddha teaches.)

      You are right. Wirathu doesn’t talk like a Buddhist monk. He talks like a soldier of Than Shew type.

      Yes, Wirathu is from a family with 8 children. He was not an orphan but sent to the monastery due to poverty. In my opinion, the country’s poverty prevented peopel like him from being to learn a trade while growing up and he is anger about his life. So he ended up being violent, inciting attacks against the Muslims and people who was looking for someone just like him noticed him and now he is a toold use dby that group.

      I used to be annoyed with him but I feel sorry for him. I think what he really wanted was a normal life.

  4. Responsibility and authority of Buddhist monks is to study and teach Buddhist texts and doctrine, meditate, teach meditation, manage monasteries and Buddhist affairs, perform blessings and other ceremonies at weddings, funerals, donations etc if and when they are invited. They have no authority to write laws, especially laws regarding marriage. We should be clear about this and speak up, and not be “arr nar de”. MONKS, KEEP OUT OF POLITICS AND MARRIAGE LAWS!
    I am a Buddhist, my parents and grandparents, greatgrandparents, children, and grandchildren are Buddhists. But I believe we all have freedom of choice regarding what religion we want to follow. If my children or grandchildren decide they want to become Christian, or Jew, or Muslim, or atheist, that is their individual right. Also, they are free to choose who they want to marry. That is the meaning of human rights, which monks do not seem to understand. Myanmar people will continue to respect the Buddhist faith if the monks continue to follow the Buddha’s viniya (code of conduct for monks). If monks behave badly, young people especially will lose respect for Buddhist monks and for Buddhist religion.

    • Yup, these so called Buddhist monks misusing the name of Buddhism will being the downfall of Buddhism in Burma. I am not a Buddhist but I want to see the true teaching of Buddha spreads just as the true teaching of Islam, Christianity, judism, Hinduism spread. the bottom line all these religions teach is compassion. Karen Armstrong, in coalition with TED, has opened a program called “Charter fro compassion”. I wish Wirathu has better English skills to read and listen Karen Armnstrong’s speeches and books.

  5. We must all be free to choose our religion, free to choose our future wife or husband, without interference from any monk! This is so clear. Some Myanmar monks are so so narrow minded and poorly educated, it is incredible that they have been given positions of authority and leadership over people’s lives! Only in Myanmar !

  6. Ko Ko Gyi, Ko Ko Gyi, Why now doign damage control, after you rushed to demonize the Rohingyas by saying \Arakan was not their homeland, totally ignoring their massacre which in turned encouraged the Buddhist extremist to try doing the same to the Muslims in other parts of Burma.

    I urge you to do extensive research on t\he history of Arakan to learn that it was a part of Bengal regions in ancient time. As the Hindu Chandra king lost control of the region in 10th century. By that time, Islam had already made inroads to the subcontinent. With successive Muslim rule in the subcontinent, it was only natural that part of the population in Arakan became Muslims just as elsewhere in Bengal. Of course there is flow of people going between Arakan and other parts of Bengal but that is true for the Buddhist population of Arakan as well.

    I personally think that this indigenous ethnic identification in groups for privilege should be done away with since new data (from Human genome) shows just how much we all are closely related.

    • Yes, we are all related, closer than you think, out of Africa. We are all Africans. That raises again the issue of racism. We Myanmar are mostly racists, because of our ignorance, and most Myanmar people think of black Africans as closer to monkeys than other races!

      • Yup. This reminds of a surprise I got from a Burmese guy the I was helping immigration filing to get his family to US. When i told him how human migrated from Africa and that we are related, he was like “How can it be. The blacks are black?” I said, the blacks are black outside. Inside is the same. How else could we be able to do organ transplant?”. I remember him using the word “generation”, asking “What about generation?”. Later, I realized that he meant “gene” since he graduated with a degree in Botany.

        Even if the new hypothesis that human may have orignated from Asia, one thing for sure is that it still doesn’t invalidate that we all came from the same source.

  7. Give Myanmar Women the right to think, judge & talk with their own brain.
    NO Law on women made by men only……. and monks have nothing to do with layman issues at all.
    The 2008 Constitution of Myanmar stops Monks to do politics and now President Thein Sein let Monks write laws ??
    Some Myanmar Monks seems to be very caring about Myanmar women,- so they say, in reality they care for them self only ( to get the numbers high ),
    – How come that we see never women discussing this issue at Buddhist Monks meetings,
    – how come no Myanmar media let the Myanmar women speak out on these issues
    – How about doing a survey on all this with all not married Myanmar women.

    It looks like that these Wirathu Monks either think that Myanmar women have no idea and are stupid to decide well by them self. or the Wirathu Monks take off the democratic rights of Myanmar women to speak for the self.

    I was a Monk in Myanmar, and learned as such:
    The first chapter of the dhammapada, sometimes called the pairs.
    ( some monks in Myanmar seem to be unaware of it )

    For hate is never conquered by hate.
    Hate is conquered by love.
    This is an eternal law.
    Many do not realize that we must all come to an end here;
    but those who do realize this, end their quarrels at once.

    There are so many Buddhism Laws, which many Myanmar Monks do not follow why not to concentrate on such and have Wirathu do his rope by him self first – as the Lord Buddha did.
    This man needs to find peace – poor one Jail is not reported a heaven in Myanmar and 7 years seems to take the clear view and women rights away from this man in Monk robe.
    We should give Monk Wirathu a lot of love as it is the eternal law according to the Lord Buddha s experience – Monk Wirathu might find ways to realize this, and end his quarrels at once.
    May peace stay with Wirathu and his followers,- we can see the downturn of this media spectacular already. People are interested peace only.

    • Nice:

      For hate is never conquered by hate.
      Hate is conquered by love.
      This is an eternal law.
      Many do not realize that we must all come to an end here;
      but those who do realize this, end their quarrels at once.

      Islam also has similar teachings. If you are interestyed in learning how felxible the Quran as a whole is watch youtube speech videos of Jewish write Lesley Hazelton. I am learning a lot from her.

  8. In the Burmese (Myanmar) Sangha, or monastic order, the monks see themselves as Lords and leaders over the people. The theory is that they are learned in the buddhist texts, have actually practised meditation to high level, and are filled with concern and loving kindness for the common laypeople. Maybe once, a hundred years ago, when rural families (farmers) had more disposable income, and men became monks through conviction and actually practised the buddha’s teachings, this may have been true. Myanmar people are brought up to think of monks in this way, and treat monks with great respect. Nowadays, unfortunately, most monks come from very poor families, were forced into becoming novices, then monks, as their parents could not feed them. This has left many monks with a deep-seated envy off people with wealth and education, especially when such people seem to be enjoying themselves. Because of low levels of knowledge and learning, they do not realise this themselves. They will want to force restrictions of all kind on how people behave,not realising that such secular matters are none of their business.
    Lay people, men and women, speak up, send the monks back into their monasteries, or lose your freedom to live as you want, because monks will be regulating what you wear next – men in pasoes and women in tameins (traditional dresses) only, no makeup except “tanaka”‘, no karaoke, no “danbauk” (bariani), etc..

    • And if they keep going, they would end up with no Burmese traditional dance for it came from Bengali traditional dance. BTW, yup danbauk is Biryani.

  9. Ko Ko Gyi,

    Don’t worry too much about what other countries think. The whole world will judge us no matter what. We’ll just need to move-on.

    We are just basically following the same path as Malaysia and Singapore Marriages Laws.

    Win Oo (from myanmar)

    • At the end of WWII, Burma was ahead of all SE Asian countries in economy and education. Now, it is behind every other SE Asian country. Ko Ko Gyi and you seem to want to make sure that Burma stays that way. Ko Ko Gyi and people like you are public enemy no. 1. BTW, FYI, know this: Muslim men these days, unlike during the British time, have many choices for wives in their community. Back then, the parents back home in the British Raj would not send their daughters to Burma and so they had to marry women from Burma. These days, Muslim men do not need to do that though inter-faith marraiges still happen and in many cases, it is the Muslims who converted to Buddhism, albeit namely, just as those from Buddhist converting to Islam, and do so namely. People only convert to fit in with their relatives and community to participate in activies. What Burma needs is a secular culture where peopel can escape from religion-based community if they want to. Ko Ko Gyi and you are taking the country backward. Shame on ko ko gyi and you.

  10. Proposed marriage laws are for Buddhist women only. So if a woman wants to marry a Muslim, she can convert to being a Christian first, or a Jew, or even a Muslim. Will monk Wirathu propose another law that says that all Myanmar women must be Buddhists, or they will lose citizenship! Or a law that says Myanmar buddhist women must not change religion at all, no freedom of choice. No way to enforce such laws. One person may like pork, another person may like beef, yet another may like fish. You cannot make a law saying everyone must like and eat fish only. How silly can you get? Only an uneducated monk can think of such a thing. Only in Myanmar will he have followers, who do not have the ability to think.

    • 🙂 I said the sane thing to a friend of mine. The woman can convert to some other religion and then to Islam or directly to Islam long ahead time before marrying the Muslim guy.

  11. manda777, the Muslim men may not want to take non-Muslim brides anymore, but as a Burmese Buddhist I want to take a Muslim girl … so what kind of law should there be?

    • Why do you need any law to get a Muslim wife. What you need is to convince her to marry you. Of course, the Muslims would no longer consider her Muslims but she knows that that is up to her to believe it. In a more freer society, I see Muslim women marrying non Muslim men and continue practicing their faith. A famous one is Hilary Clinton’s long-time aide Huma Mahmood Abedin who is married a former congressman Anthony Weiner (D-NY) who is Jewish.

      My suggestion is to stop being obsessed with Islamic marraige law. Islam, Christianity, and Judaism and Hinduism has marraige laws that are far stricter than in other religions. if Burmese Buddhist wan to follow the same route, go ahead. Just remember that in doing so, you are heading a way form Buddha’s teaching.

  12. In Myanmar language there is no word to say “no” to a (Buddhist) monk.
    But the life of the monks is governed by the Vinaya rules. If they do not follow them their monkhood is meaningless.- Monks really go to far, if they propagate violence against the followers of other religions, or if they try to reduce the civil rights of women by (non-monastic) law.
    This is a SERIOUS DISSERVICE done to the Dhamma and to the country as a stronghold of Buddhism. Myanmar prides itself as a country where true Buddhism is strong.
    But what surfaces now is not the teaching of Lord Buddha.
    I am dissappointed that good Buddhists do not come out MORE strongly against this terrible civil strife with destruction of property, many people made homeless, and many innocent lives lost.

    • I too am dissappointed that good Buddhists do not come out MORE strongly against this terrible civil strife with destruction of property, many people made homeless, and many innocent lives lost.

  13. Ko Ko Gyi is an asshat. He couldn’t find the meaning of democracy if he were given a Del-Den range dictionary. Too little, too late. His equivocation has cost more lives than were lost in ’88. Pathetic.

  14. Britain had a questionable role in the murder of Gen. Aung San, according to a BBC report. And Western nations and USA based Christian evangelical organizations continue to supply funds and arms to various ethnic groups e.g. Karen tribes and Middle Eastern oil rich nations e.g. Saudi Arabia, support Rohingya Muslims in Arakan State in a variety of ways making Burma virtually ungovernable. Burma refused to be subservient and servile to its colonial master when it refused to become a member of the British Commonwealth in 1947. It was the longsightedness of those Burmese leaders who have so far steered it clear. Now Buddhism really needs a resurgence. In history we can see Bakhtiyar Khilji came to Nalanda and killed thousands of Buddhists priests and university teachers and peaceful Buddhists to plant Islam. Do you know how treacherously Bakhtiyar came and finished the country? It is by dirty tricks which anyone can read from the websites. Wirathu is a hero and also a conscious Buddhist monk who talks about how to keep Buddhism alive.

    • Bottom line: Modern Burma with power in the hands of Bamar is afialed stated because the power is in the hand of bamars who refused to honor Pinlone agreement. So stop pointing fingers at others for your dirty- mind to control the ethnic groups (including the indiginous Rohingyas). As for your yadu yada, ask yourself why Buddhism dissppeared in th eland that it began which it did (disappeared) LONG before the muslims rulers invaded the sub continent.

      As for your “Buddhisjm really need a rseuragence”, I am sure thet Gautama Diddharatha would disaggree with your approackh of pinting fingers at other. What a loser! As long as Burma is domimanted by dirty-minded Bamars not wiiling to share the inheritance with other groups, it wil remin a failed state. And you can only blame yourself for it.

  15. Mandy, where did you get this information that Buddhism disappeared LONG before the muslims rulers invaded the sub continent? I appreciated you for your nice writing, now I see you are illiterate and your knowledge of history never went beyond that of a fifth grader. Just google Bakhtiyar Khilji and you can find all about this slave Muslim king, what he did to Nalanda the greatest university on earth at that time. It is a shame the Irrawaddy again and again publishes such misinformation in the name of reader’s comments on its pages.

    • I said “Buddhism dissppeared in the land that it began”, not “Buddhism disappeared”. No true avid readers of history consider those invaders true Muslims. It is a shame that people like you act holier than thou, never pointing the same type fingers what your Bamar king Anawratha did (attacking the Buddhists Mon and robbing their Buddha statues) to spread Buddhism in Burma, making the Buddhism in Burma, since its inception, the militant Buddhism.

  16. I don’t know Mandy which land you are talking about. If it is Lumbini in Nepal where he was born, or if it were in Buddha Gaya, or Sarnath, or the entire Bihar province of India, there are hundreds of thousands of Buddhists living even today. How come you got this laughable information that Buddhism disappeared. If you visited Bihar in recent years, you’ll see signboards declaring “I am proud to be a Bihari, a person of Buddha’s land” in Hindi and Urdu. Your information on Anawratha is also flawed. Again who said Buddhism is nonmilitant? Look at the emperors who ruled the earth as Buddhists, across the globe … not all of them were Asoka the Humane Monarch – there were and are those who destroyed their enemies. Buddhism doesn’t preach to be negative in thoughts and surrender all earthly possessions to invaders. Again and again in the pages of the Tripitaka there are examples of war and tactics of winning even in the Jatakas. Don’t pretend to be an expert on Burmese Buddhism … just say something that you know truly. I pity you for your range of knowledge and education!

    • “Asoka the Humane Monarch”? Are you joking? He ONLY became so humane after expanding his empire killing civilians indiscriminately. You are right to say/imply that Buddhism isn’t non militant? If it were not for Emperor Asoka spreading it (not militarily but nevertheless, he made the people in his empire Buddhist only to slide back to other religions over time), Buddhism wouldn’t have spread in SE Asia. Buddhist emperors destroying their enemies or Buddhist emperors attacking others including other Buddhists? As for the ‘ Again and again in the pages of the Tripitaka there are examples of war and tactics of winning even in the Jatakas”, you need to google for “Holy Wars in Buddhism and Islam: The Myth of Shambhala”: Military Imagery in Buddhism

      Shakyamuni Buddha was born into the Indian warrior caste and often used military imagery to describe the spiritual journey. He was the Triumphant One, who defeated the demonic forces (mara) of unawareness, distorted views, disturbing emotions, and impulsive karmic behavior. The eighth-century CE Indian Buddhist master Shantideva employs the metaphor of war repeatedly throughout Engaging in Bodhisattva Behavior: the real enemies to defeat are the disturbing emotions and attitudes that lie hidden in the mind. The Tibetans translate the Sanskrit term arhat, a liberated being, as foe-destroyer, someone who has destroyed the inner foes. From these examples, it would appear that in Buddhism, the call for a “holy war” is purely an internal spiritual matter. The Kalachakra Tantra, however, reveals an additional external dimension.

      Last but not least, you are proud of “hundreds of thousands of Buddhists” in a land of over 1 billion people? Seriously?

  17. Asoka was not Buddhist when he killed hundreds of thousands, he was a follower of other faith. This article is about rethink of a certain problem and not a discourse on Buddhism. Yet you are talking about Sahntideva – the Bengali Mahayanist of Sahajiya Jan. Was he a Theravadi? Of course not. Yet you copied his name from the web and started a lecture on him and others.
    What this prominent democracy leader should understand is, the Burmese women who fall in love with guys from other religion, must know and use all their tactics to win their souls and convert them to Buddhism, since it is the greatest of all religions and only this religion preaches universal peace, and therefore Burma will only be peaceful because of Buddhism flourishing not waning in Burma.


  19. THANKS!
    CHE ZU

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