by Anura Guruge
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I have over the last year repeatedly spoken out against the misguided, extremely insecure extremist Buddhists in Sri Lanka. The extremist Buddhists in Burma, the inspiration for what is taking place in Sri Lanka, are even worse!
There is hardly any coverage of what is taking place in Myanmar (Burma) these days — with the extremist Buddhists, just like in Sri Lanka, trying to purge the minorities.
In the last 48 hours I have seen headlines talking about “SAVAGE Buddhists”! That a decade ago would have been an oxymoron.
How could that be. It is a religion of compassion. A religion of tolerance.
I am NOT a Buddhist. But I grew up in an extremely activist Buddhist household. My adopted father, to my shame, became an extremist Buddhist (albeit in his old age) — as are many of my cousins (though age alone cannot be used as an excuse by them).
Growing up Buddhist I thought that tolerance was a virtue. Despite ardency of the Buddhism in our household we had Christians in the family and our BEST friends were Christians and Muslims. This is why extreme Buddhism in Sri Lanka, to me, makes NO SENSE. My adopted father’s BEST FRIEND was Senator Abdul Aziz (who at the time was one of the richest men in Ceylon). Because of kidnapping fears (mainly from the Catholics) I was ONLY allowed to approach two cars, after school, at 1pm — IF my father couldn’t be there because he had been detained at work. One was Uncle Amarasinghe’s car (and he was somebody that my father had gone to school with) and the other was Senator Aziz’s black Peugeot (driven by his wonderful driver). So 40 years hence when I see my adopted father supporting extreme Buddhist monks who advocate violence against Muslims it confuses me.
I have NO patience for extremist Buddhists.
I have already put forth my solution to curb some of their vigor. At a MINIMUM Pakistan, Bangladesh and UAE should REFUSE to play cricket against Sri Lanka. Ideally the cricketing world should do to Sri Lanka what they did to South Africa for ’20’ years. Boycott them until they renounce Buddhist apartheid.
This persecution of non-Buddhists by Buddhists has to stop — Worldwide. It is Wrong. What would the Buddha Say? He was not perfect, BUT I am sure of one thing about him — he would NOT have condoned violence. The notion of ‘savage Buddhists’ would have appalled him. So IF you are a Buddhist cut out this nonsense, not for you, not for me — but for the sake of the Buddha.