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Lions Roar : September 2014
Photobytheauthor Buddhism’s Evil Face A religion known for nonviolence is being used to fuel a genocidal campaign against the Muslims of Burma. Buddhist teacher J a c k kornfield, who recently returned from Burma, urges us to join the call for peace. Neither in anger nor hatred Should anyone wish harm to another. — the buddha, in the Metta Sutta on the surface, upcountry Burma is not very dif- ferent than it was in 1971, when i first trained there as a monk in the monasteries of Mahasi and Sunlun Sayadaw. the green and dusty landscape is dotted with temples and golden pagodas. there are poor hardworking farmers and small towns with col- orful marketplaces. the burmese people remain extraordinarily gracious and goodhearted, the nation a revered center of bud- dhist teachings. but now there is also fear, an underlying tension spreading across the country. i recently returned from working in burma with peace activists and for Partners asia, supporting schools, shelters for orphans and battered women, hiV programs, rural clinics, and other amazing projects across the land. i found amid the positive changes and slow movement toward democracy a growing religious and ethnic intolerance and conflict. news reports show monks crisscrossing burma using bud- dhist teachings to encourage violence and the passage of inhu- mane laws. here in the West, people are shocked. isn’t buddhism the religion that preaches against violence and killing? are these stories true? how can we understand them? the stories are true. traveling across burma recently, i encountered some of these monks who are drumming up hate and jingoistic fervor. they don’t want to talk about peace and have succeeded in sowing mistrust across much of the country. under their influence, taxi drivers and shopkeepers from ran- goon to remote towns talk about their fear of a Muslim takeover PhotobyreuterS ethnic Rakhine men lurk outside homes burned in one of the many episodes of violent conflict between Buddhist Rakhine and Muslim Rohingya communities, June, 2012. SHAMBHALA SUN SepteMBer 2014 19