So much for the myth of peaceful Buddhists. From the UK's Telegraph:
Burma 'orders Christians to be wiped out' By Peter Pattisson in Kayin State, southern Burma, Sunday TelegraphLast Updated: 12:02am GMT 21/01/2007
The military regime in Burma is intent on wiping out Christianity in the country, according to claims in a secret document believed to have been leaked from a government ministry. Entitled "Programme to destroy the Christian religion in Burma", the incendiary memo contains point by point instructions on how to drive Christians out of the state.The text, which opens with the line "There shall be no home where the Christian religion is practised", calls for anyone caught evangelising to be imprisoned. It advises: "The Christian religion is very gentle â€“ identify and utilise its weakness." Its discovery follows widespread reports of religious persecution, with churches burnt to the ground, Christians forced to convert to the state religion, Buddhism, and their children barred from school.Human rights groups claim that the treatment meted out to Christians, who make up six per cent of the population, is part of a wider campaign by the regime, also targeted at ethnic minority tribes, to create a uniform society in which the race and language is Burmese and the only accepted religion is Buddhism.In the past year, an estimated 27,000 members of the predominantly Christian Karen tribe were driven from their homes in eastern Burma.In Koh Kyi village, in Arakan State, a monk backed by the military burnt down the local church. In another state, 300 monks were allegedly sent by the regime to forcibly convert the populace, all of whom belonged to the Chin ethnic group, which is mostly Christian.The document, shown to The Sunday Telegraph by human rights groups, may have been produced by a state-sponsored Buddhist group, but with the tacit approval of the military junta. The regime has denied authorship of the document â€“ which also calls for teenagers to be prevented from wearing Western clothes â€“ but has made no public attempt to refute or repudiate its contents.The dictatorship has long been accused of large-scale human rights abuses. In power since 1988, the generals annulled the National League for Democracy's sweeping 1990 election victory and jailed its leader, the Nobel peace prize-winner Aung San Suu Kyi. She remains under house arrest. Last week she was accused of tax evasion for failing to hand over any of her Nobel prize winnings to the authorities.Eha Hsar Paw, a Karen Christian, who fled her village while heavily pregnant to a refugee camp near the border with Thailand, said: "The journey here was very difficult. It was hard to leave our village, but if we had stayed there we would all be dead."
"Its discovery follows widespread reports of religious persecution, with churches burnt to the ground, Christians forced to convert to the state religion, Buddhism, and their children barred from school"
As a Buddhist scholar as well as a Catholic, this is most distressing! It goes against every principle of Buddhism. However, such ancient Buddhist countries as China, Cambodia, and Sri Lanka gave the world Mao Tse-tung, Pol Pot, and the Tamil Tigers. I guess we might keep in mind that we are indeed in the "last days" before the return of Christ, as it states in the Creed. Pray that such things don't get a hold on our brothers and sisters in those areas where the "Compassionate Buddha" is becoming a name of shame and danger.
This really doesn't surprise me as I have already realized that Buddhism isn't as peaceful as many in the west claim it is.
The Buddhists in South Korea, where I live, are well known for acting like gangsters. On occasion they will brawl with monks from other monasteries to the point of fist fights etc. For all the detachment they preach it seems human nature isn't completely suppressed.
The base of Buddhism itself certainly teaches peace and non-violence. But people have developed it into different sects and such... added teachings. Come up with excuses where violence is fine etc.
There's a sign someone painted on the sidewalk near where I work. It reads "Tibet is a land where people once lived in peace and harmony". It makes me want to scream because it's so untrue. Tibet was plagued with warfare throughout it's history. Different Monastery-led feudal states were constantly fighting for power before the Chinese took it over. Only difference is they were still fighting with swords and sling-shots up into the mid-1900s.
The current Dalai Lama is the first one in a very long time to progress beyond the age of 14. For hundreds of years the Dalai Lama was murdered by his corrupt regents before being old enough to exert much power. Think about it, they find some kid out in the country, shower him with riches while they steal money from the state, and then murder him to start the whole process over again.
Too many people have been fooled into thinking Tibet was some perfect spiritual wonderland.
Edited for grammar.
The current Dalai Lama is the first one in a very long time to progress beyond the age of 14.
I wonder whether living in exile helped!