By Gianluca Mezzofiore, IB Times, March 26, 2013
Yangon, Myanmar -- Buddhist Monk Saydaw Wirathu, the self-styled "Burmese bin Laden", has called for a national boycott of Muslim businesses in Myanmar in a controversial video that emerged on YouTube. Your purchases spent in 'their' (Muslim) shops will benefit the Enemy," says Wirathu. "So, do business with only shops with 969 signs on their facets".James: Saydaw Wirathu goes on to call Muslims "savages." He calls himself the "Burmese bin Laden" which is ironic considering Osama bin Laden was Muslim. This man may call himself a disciple of Buddha but he is a charlatan, an impostor. All he does is inject the poison of hatred into the minds of impressionable followers. Buddha taught that hatred is a poison that only creates greater suffering for both the hated and hater. A wise saying states, "Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die." The Buddha himself said, "Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned."
Buddha did not teach antipathy between opposing groups. One day the Buddha was in discussion with King Pasenadi, the king of Kosala, which is in the modern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, about love. The Buddha advised the king to love even those not within his kingdom. "The prosperity and security of one nation should not depend upon the poverty and insecurity of other nations. Majesty, lasting peace and prosperity are only possible when nations join together in a common commitment to seek the welfare of all." Quote from the book "Old Path, White Clouds" by Thich Nhat Hanh.
Saydaw Wirathu should also head the example of Buddhist ruler, King Ashoka. Ashoka was a powerful ruler in ancient India who fought many wars against his enemies and imposed his rule upon them with force. After awhile, however, the king became vexed by war and realized that it only fueled further war and hatred. It was in this time of great contemplation that Ashoka embraced Buddhism--soon he was transformed from a warrior to a man of peace and reconciliation. In embracing a spirit of co-operation with his enemies, he found that his kingdom thrived as he realized war not only brought death and poverty to his enemies, but to his own people, as well.
Saydaw Wirathu is not a Buddhist--not in practice. He may wear the robes of a bhikku, but he is not spreading the Buddha's message of inclusion, compassion and tolerance. He knows that the Burmese people are desperate for leaders in a country where the government is more of an enemy than a friend, so he exploits that disillusionment. He is exploiting the Burmese reverence for monks to spread his dark campaign of terror. In his twisted mind, Saydaw Wirathu understands that it's easier to sow the seeds of hatred for immigrants and minorities groups in times of poverty. He understands that in times of extreme poverty, it's easy to get people to blame others for their predicament, which history shows is usually directed at minority populations.
It is my hope, that his power and influence will wane as people become aware of his true intentions. The best way to heal ignorance and fear is through awareness and education. Please, speak out and warn your fellow Buddhists of this charismatic yet dangerous man. Ask them to compare his teachings and pronouncements with those of the Buddha. They will quickly find that Saydaw Wirathu is the more like Mara than Buddha. I do not wish ill upon Saydaw Wirathu. My heart aches for him because he is clearly suffering, but I will not stand silent while he attempts to drag others down into his pit of pain.
PHOTO CREDIT: AK Rockefeller website...read more about this racist monk at AK Rockefeller (link).
~i bow to the buddha within all beings~