Bangkok, Thailand -- A group of Buddhist monks and supporters rallied in front of Parliament Tuesday to demand charter drafters to state that Buddhism is the national religion.
The group of 100 demonstrators is led by Phra Mahacho Thassaniyo of Maha Chulalongkorn Monks University.
The monk said so far over 300,000 Buddhists had signed their name to demand that the next charter would specify Buddhism as the national religion.
He said if the number of signatories would grow over 1 million and he would later submit the names to the Constitution Drafting Committee.
He said if the call was ignored, Buddhists would definitely reject the draft constitution in a public referendum.
This movement seems antithetical to the Buddha's teachings. First, in regards to attachment. Insisting that there be a national religion is attaching to the structure of "religion." It is placing yet another limb into the vast, sticky spider's web of duality.
Declaring a "national religion" is to put the concept of a "religion" higher then even the basic tenets of the religion itself?!! The frame work and labels of a religion are just a shell. Attaching to them is ignoring the meat that are the teachings.
The attitude seems to be, "The majority of people practice "Buddhism" here so it must be better then other religions and therefore lauded to the highest praise and exclusivity." It is not Right View to say that one religion is better then another one. Right View is see things as they are (not as "you" perceive them to be (or want them to be). As we know, all things are impermanent and saying that "Buddhism" be the national religion is trying to make permanent a belief system that teaches impermanence at it's very core!!
Then there is the Buddhist teaching of the middle way. Attaching too much importance too one religion over another is an imbalance that invites undo suffering upon people of other beliefs. It is creating yet another separation between people. Buddhism tries to break down those perceptions of separateness not create more. Separateness that can very easily lead to misunderstandings, anger, social upheaval and ultimately war. A large number of wars in the history of Earth have been fought for "religion."
The current Dalai Lama has often taught the importance of religious pluralism. That not only is it not "Right View" and "Right Action" to convert and shun other believers but that it is also harmful and not in keeping with the fundamental "Buddhist" teachings of compassion, loving-kindness and interconnectivity.
Perhaps some might be shocked that Buddhist monks would have such a warped understanding of the Dharma but it is no different then extremist Christians in America that seek the same exclusivity. Ignoring the teachings of their founder, Jesus, to love one another and not create enmity between people. The same is true of radical Islam. Yes, there IS extremism in Buddhism. People can fall into the trappings of fundamentalist ideology within Buddhism just as easily as any other religion. Extremist, ego-eccentric, dualistic attachment is no respecter of persons or religions.
Even if this move is for honorary reasons it seems silly, hollow and a waste of time, energy and resources.
~Peace to all beings~