Both parents of a 3-year-old southwest Harris County boy beat him with bamboo sticks and poked his feet with chopsticks in a violent attempt to remove demons from his body, a prosecutor said Tuesday in a court hearing. Assistant Harris County District Attorney Darin Darby, citing a witness statement from the boy’s 6-year-old sister, on Tuesday presented new details of the attack on Saturday to state District Judge Debbie Mantooth Stricklin in the case against Phung Tran, 36.
She and her husband, Jacky Tran, 35, are charged with injury to a child with serious bodily injury, a first-degree felony. He was arrested on Saturday. His wife was charged on Monday. Both face up to life in prison if convicted. Prosecutors say the parents, Buddhists and vegetarians, believed demons entered the boy through meat he ate.HOUSTON – Houston’s Vietnamese and Buddhist communities are outraged over what they claim is a distortion of their religious beliefs. "We don't want to be looked upon as sharing the same kind of beliefs and actions as that man. Everybody condemns that action," Vu Thanh Thuy of Radio Saigon Houston said.
The Vietnam Buddhist Center in Sugar Land also condemns Tran’s actions. They wanted to make it clear that Buddhism does not teach anything about removing demons, especially at the painful expense of another human’s life. "I think he has a problem with his mind. I don't think it has got anything to do with religion," Lien Tu of the Vietnam Buddhist Center said. In fact, the major landmark at the Vietnam Buddhist Center is a 720-foot tall statue of the Bodhi Safa. In Buddhism, this is the goddess of peace and mercy, which is the opposite of the religious claims being made in the case of Jacky Tran.
James: It is my view that demons aren't real and that they are better understood as parts of our illusory self. In other words we all have Buddha nature but demon nature as well. Buddha taught us that we must take ownership of our ill fortunes and realize we are our own saviors and demons. We must take responsibility for our actions and problems--not conveniently shift the blame onto some invented bogeyman.
"By oneself, indeed, is evil done; by oneself is one defiled. By oneself is evil left undone; by oneself, indeed, is one purified. Purity and impurity depend on oneself. No one purifies another." (Dhammapada, chapter 12, verse 165).
I've said this before but personally I find belief in demons to be dangerous as people can justify just about anything in the name of fighting an amorphous, unverifiable "demon." Such beliefs can too easily lead to placing our focus and attention outside of ourselves and allow us to blame our weaknesses, mistakes and problems on this idea of demons, which in many ways has become a scapegoat for a rampant ego. Now, I'm not saying that believing in demons always leads to this kind of behavior and if you believe demons are real and beneficial to your practice and are otherwise a very peaceful, non-violent, reasonable being than I have no quarrel with you.
As for this particular case we can clearly see that they are not practicing Buddhism but rather a very perverted, twisted and deranged immitation. In the first place vegetarianism isn't mandatory in Buddhism but second I want to know where the 3 year old got meat from if the parents were vegetarian? The main thing that I wanted to underline with this post is that Buddhism does NOT teach violence and is often seen as the most peaceful religion on Earth today. Of course there will be wackos who do this kind of stuff and try to call themselves Buddhists but that does not take away from the underlying message of Buddhism, which is peace, non-violence, love, respect and kindness.