Thursday, September 27, 2012

Protesting monks in Myanmar


Question : (Unedited)

I've been watching the news lately and I paid special attention to the broadcast that reported the situation of Myanmar. This was of interest because it had Buddhist monks protesting and getting involved in society. I had always thought that the monks and the Buddhists people in general were discouraged from taking action in society. Does the Buddha really encourage or discourage  taking action in society?

My comment:

Hi D,

Thank you for asking me.

In normal circumstances, your question will be answered based on the purpose of becoming a monk.  A monk's life is supposed to be detached from worldly affairs.  However, in critical situations like the one in Myanmar, I would reason that certain amount of common sense and wisdom have to take into consideration.  The sangha (community of monks) depends on the goodwill of the devotees for their sustenance.  I don't think that the monks should be so heartless not to do anything knowing that the hands that feed them are deliberately tied up.  The cruel regime controls the masses with an iron fist.  It plunders the nation's wealth without a care for their citizens.  Prices are sky rocketing and the masses are threatened with hunger.  If nothing else, I would say the monks have the moral duty to stand up and be counted.  Such is the real nature of this existence.  It is very difficult to live in peace because of the prevalence of evil.  This is the Buddha's warning.

Smile from justinchoo :-)

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