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Back up arguments with facts

by Kelvin Wong, Singapore, The Buddhist Channel, Jan 23, 2006

I am writing in response to the replies to the article "Was Buddhism driven out of India?", "Do not insult Indian Buddhists" from Pravin Bhalesain and "Watch out for the Hindu Talibans" by Dr. Laxmi. N. Berwa.

Personally, I don't have enough knowledge about the history of the decline of Buddhism in India, so I do not know if the original article was total baseless or really does contain some truth. From the replies of the 2 readers, it would seem to imply that what the writer, M.S.N. Menon, wrote was totally baseless. Are we to be so certain that Buddhism, not as a philosphy, but as practiced around the period of the decline did not contribute to its own demise in India?

We don't have to look so far back, we just need to look around us now. For example, in Singapore, a majority of the population are "Buddhists", but if you stop any of them and ask them why they are Buddhists, there will be a high chance that they will tell you because they pray to Buddha or the Goddess of Mercy (Kwan Im). Should we still call this Buddhism for the sake of the numbers?

Even if what the writer wrote was completely nonsense, it would only be fair to reply by countering his points with facts on your own. Calling names without providing facts only seeks to discredits oneself and exposes our pride.

Just as if someone or some monk were to tell me that transvestites are born this way because of bad karma from the previous life, I don?t just dismiss their words and call them bigots. I would go out and look for information and test their statement or assumption against the spirit of Buddhism (but not the letter of Buddhism, because its only a finger point to the moon). I will seek to show otherwise, that that may not be true in all cases and the sufferings of the transvestites are also a result of the aversions in the society and its society views that should change, not them

Similarly, if someone or some monks were to tell me that homosexual relations violates the 3rd precept, I don't just dismiss their words and call them homophobes. I would go out and look for information and again test their assumptions against the spirit of Buddhism. I will seek to show to them that their assumption are culturally biased and that their assumptions of "naturalness" is inconsistent and incorrect and also that it?s a result of society's aversions and that such statements actually bring more harm to gay people than whatever good it was supposed to have.

So similarly, I would request that the two readers be able to provide more substantial evidence as to why they feel that the article is incorrect and let us judge for ourselves.

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