Buddha was the first great reformer in the ancient society and Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar believed that Buddhism could be called as a revolution. A religious revolution that turned into social as well as a political revolution when Mauryan king Ashoka embraced Buddhism.
Dr Ambedkar also came to conclusion after going through the ancient religious books that pre-Buddhist Aryan community did not have developed any moral sense or social values. It was Buddha who started the moral and social revolution in the society.
Rohingya a minority community in Myanmar (Buddhist nation) is treated worse than animals and doesn’t have any rights and not considered as the citizen of Myanmar despite living there for hundreds of years. Their freedom of movement is restricted and have almost zero access to jobs and medical facilities. Their condition is worse than the condition of black South Africans under apartheid but still, Rohingya’s struggle doesn’t make into world news. Hundreds and thousands Rohingya have been displaced from their homes since the last couple of decades.
The latest Rohingya exodus began on 25 August after Rohingya Arsa militants attacked more than 30 police posts with sticks and machetes. Does this give any right to so-called Buddhist mobs and Myanmar military to kill thousands and force hundreds of thousands to leave their homes and rape thousands of innocent girls?
Since August 2017 more than half a million Rohingya have been displaced from homes and are forced to leave Myanmar. Myanmar military along with Buddhist mob has killed thousands of Rohingya, raped and abused Rohingya women and girls. Latest UNICEF report said that more than 300,000 Rohingya refugee children are outcast and desperately need help.
My heart breaks reading all these reports.
Myanmar’s treatment of its Muslim Rohingya minority appears to be a “textbook example” of ethnic cleansing said United Nations a few days ago. While the United Nations Security Council has the power to impose economic sanctions on Myanmar, that prospect is considered unlikely. Why? Is it because those being killed are Muslims?
What makes me sad is to see the response from the Buddhist community from all over the world. I searched and searched for the response from various Buddhist organisations on the Rohingya genocide in Myanmar but I failed to find many responses. [Please read update at the end.]
Why are all these Buddhist organisations silent on the Rohingya genocide? I will not question any other religion on the issue because Buddhism is one of the religions that attracts me so I would love to know why Buddhist community is silent.
What happened to moral teachings of Buddha and why they are failing to speak against the brutality against Rohingya community at the hands of fanatic Buddhists of Myanmar?
Not many Buddhist organisations have condemned the attacks on Muslim Rohingya community but the world expects that even a single attack by Muslim on any other community be condemned by the whole Muslim world, what a hypocrisy. Why and how it has been made a norm that Buddhists can kill innocent people and still they will not be questioned? Morality is the foundation of Buddhism and failing to speak against fanatic attacks by so-called Buddhists on innocent these Buddhist organisations are not doing any good to Buddhism.
I don’t want to a Buddhist who doesn’t speak against the brutality of fellow so-called Buddhists against others. Buddhism that at one time started the moral revolution has been let down by the present day Buddhist community. Maybe it is a tragic end to my fascination with Buddhist community around the world.
More than any other community, I believe it is moral responsibility of Buddhist community around the world to come forward and protest/speak against the crimes committed by the fanatic Buddhists of Myanmar.
I understand Aung San Suu Kyi doesn’t have much power despite being the head of the country and many of the major posts are held by military people, who are directly involved in Rohingya genocide but does that mean she can’t speak against the atrocities? There can be no justification of atrocities on Rohingya Muslims by so-called Buddhists of Myanmar. Aung San Suu Kyi was awarded Nobel Peace Prize for killing Rohingya Muslims or what? Why shouldn’t she be stripped of the Nobel Prize?
Life as Rohingya refugee is not easy either. Rohingya refugees have been attacked in Sri Lanka by the mob led by Buddhist monk a few weeks ago! What’s wrong with these so-called Buddhists or Buddha’s teachings have been misinterpreted by these fanatic so-called Buddhists? India’s response to Rohingya’s crisis is equally disgraceful with attempts to send those refugees back. No questions that Buddhists of Myanmar are a disgrace to the legacy of Buddha. India takes pride that Buddha was born in India but would Buddha have sent Rohingya Muslims back once they came to him as a refugee?
A UN spokeswoman in 2009 described the Rohingya as “probably the most friendless people in the world”. If Buddhists will not show compassion and love towards others then who will? Show the world what real Buddhism is. What is Buddhists’ moral responsibility at the time of Rohingya genocide led by fellow so-called Buddhists?
What would Buddha, the man who taught morality to the world, have done at the time of Rohingya genocide, I wonder.
Update – Buddhist friends from Hungary sent the following information after the article was published.
Statement from the European Buddhist Union on the situation of the Rohingya in Myanmar
From the annual meeting of the European Buddhist Union, Poland, 24th September 2017:
We are concerned about the situation in Myanmar regarding the lack of respect for human rights and the use of violence with the loss of lives. It is reported that in the towns and villages of Rakhine state, people have endured murder, beatings, starvation, disease, rape, and now exile, with their homes being systematically torched behind them.
The European Buddhist Union reaffirms the fundamental principles of Buddhism, as already declared by many of the world’s foremost Buddhist leaders in their statement addressed to Buddhists in Myanmar in December 2012:
“We wish to reaffirm to the world and to support you in practicing the most fundamental Buddhist principles of non-harming, mutual respect and compassion.
These fundamental principles taught by the Buddha are at the core of Buddhist practice:
- Buddhist teaching is based on the precepts of refraining from killing and causing harm.
- Buddhist teaching is based on compassion and mutual care.
- Buddhist teaching offers respect to all, regardless of class, caste, race or creed.”
As European Buddhists we stand up for these values and we reaffirm our solidarity with all the victims of violence, harm and persecution.
We express our aspiration for the restoration of peace, non-violence and respect for human rights as well as the creation of the conditions for all ethnic groups in Myanmar to live in peaceful coexistence and equality.
More information: www.europeanbuddhism.org