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Buddhist extremists act out in violence in Myanmar

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According to Reuters.com, in an article dated September 11, "A government-appointed body that oversees Myanmar's Buddhist "monkhood" has issued a directive intended to check the influence of a monk-led movement accused of stoking violence against minority Muslims." There is no secret that recent events in Myanmar and many other close proximity places on earth have seen violence that is seemingly Buddhist related. Now we also know there has never been a war started nor fought in the name of the Buddha. It is also true that Buddhism teaches no violence as a way of life.

Buddha himself is known as a peace dweller, he lived life as he taught it, with love and compassion for all, that includes ones own enemies. An anti-muslim movement/group, called 969, is named so because of its association with Buddha's teachings. As an avid Buddhist writer and teacher myself, I do not recall any directive of violence in the Buddha's teachings. More than 237 people have been killed in sectarian bloodshed since June 2012 and at least 150,000 have been made homeless, they were mostly Muslim victims.

Reuters says, "The numerals 969, which refer to the attributes of the Buddha, his teachings and the monkhood, have come to symbolize a movement aimed at isolating Muslims, who make up 5 percent of Myanmar's 60 million people." What is understandable here is that the violence taking place is with a Buddhist extremist group. It is not the practice of Buddhism to promote violence or for Buddhists to take part in violence. The true path of Buddhism is peace and love. As one ordained zen teacher puts it, "Nature is my religion, Earth of my temple and Love is my path." It is clear that there are those that practice as Buddha said it.

Reuters reports that, "Monks who lead the movement make speeches urging Buddhists to boycott Muslim-owned businesses, the message spread through CDs and DVDs sold widely in shops and on street stalls. Stickers bearing the movement's logo are plastered on businesses across the country, letting customers know they are Buddhist-owned." As Buddhists we understand that there are extremists worldwide in all religions. We also do not see extremists as part of the true order of any religion, usually operating out of some fanatical belief that is usually never inline with that religion's views. As Buddhists we are to accept all people, regardless of their religious belief. Buddhism teaches tolerance and acceptance, compassion and love for all, including those of hate.

Although Buddhists are permitted to defend oneself, others and their monastery, they are not permitted to form anti-anything groups and act out in violence to purge a nation of any belief system, as is evident in this article. One spiritual brother puts it like this,"religions divide people just like politics do, it is unfortunate because both should unite people, in peace and harmony". If we are to find peace and happiness in this world, we must first learn to live with each other in peace, namaste!

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