May Loving-Kindness Spread to the Arakan State of Mya

by Kelvin Khor, Penang, The Buddhist Channel, Aug 13, 2012

Many could still probably recall the image of the Saffron Revolution in Myanmar in 2007 when thousands of the Theravada monks flooded the streets in protest over the ruling junta’s decision to ridiculously raise the price of fuel.

That momentous event, although undoubtedly tends to depict the monastic as compassionate heroes who fought for the benefit of the poor peasants and citizens in Myanmar, also raises several issues that pertain to Buddhism. For example, one very prominent question was how could the monks, who have renounced the worldly affairs, interfere in the political arena? But then, when thrown with this question, many Buddhists prefer to justify it as an act of compassion for the suffering Burmese people.

Recently, the Burmese Theravada monastic was thrown into the spotlight again when several monks’ associations played on the nationalist sentiment and aggressively called for the “extermination of the Rohingya Muslim community” due to their “cruel nature.” While monks are not prohibited from having a sense of nationalism and love for their country, it may not appear right in the eyes of Buddhism if the monks start asking or encouraging others to kill, no matter how cruel or wrong others could turn out to be.

Lack of respect for one another is one very common reason how conflict begins. Recall that during the Buddha’s time, there were also many different sects and teachers. Throughout his 45 years of teaching, neither had he proclaimed that those others as evil or cruel, nor he called upon his disciples to exterminate them. He even drew up the “Charter of Free Inquiry” as manifested in the Kalama Sutta where he encouraged individual freedom and respect for others by telling that one should not blindly accept his teaching. Hence, if the Buddha himself had never condoned such act of violence and slander in propagating the Dhamma, his disciples, even from this contemporary generation, should never set the precedence for it.

Even if a conflict breaks out, violence is never the solution. Recall the Buddha’s intervention to stop an imminent war break-out following the quarrel between the Sakyas and the Koliyans over the Rohini river. Respectful compromise, patience and most importantly, non-hatred, should be one’s best armor in dealing with conflict, not anger or violence. Again and again, we are reminded of the Buddha’s timeless message as recorded in Dhammapada v.5: “Hatred is never appeased by hatred in this world. Only by non-hatred is hatred appeased. This is the eternal law.”

What happen to the famous Karaniya Metta Sutta that has often been chanted during the Saffron Revolution in 2007? The sutta says that one should not deceive, despise or wish any harm to another with insult or ill-will and that one should cultivate a boundless heart toward all beings just like how a mother would protect her only child at the risk of her life. Wouldn’t it be very contradictory if those monks were to chant this sutta but at the same time inflicting harm on the Rohingya community?

At this point, perhaps it is clarifying to emphasize that I do not intend to criticize the Sangha Order in Myanmar. I am not attempting to question the purity of the Sangha there. Rather, I am airing my opinions to only those certain quarters of the Burmese Sangha who subscribed to such violence against the Rohingya community. I personally believe that there are still many blameless bhikkhus who arduously practice the teachings of the Buddha in its true spirit and promote the Buddha-sasana through peaceful and respectful means in Myanmar.

In fact, to help alleviate the current predicament that tarnishes the reputation of Buddhism and the Sangha Order, we would need to rely upon this group of blameless monastic members. It is through their strict adherence to the Dhamma-Vinaya that the members of the Order could be inspired to practice likewise and be less inclined to engage in unskillful deeds. I definitely do not expect all the monks to be saints, but at least I hope they could see and live by the spirit of ahimsa as preached by the Buddha. 

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Operator for Responsible Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians and Singaporeans, please make your donation to the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB

The SWIFT/BIC code for RHB Bank Berhad is: RHBBMYKLXXX
Address: 11-15, Jalan SS 24/11, Taman Megah, 47301 Petaling Jaya, Selangor
Phone: 603-9206 8118

Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: