Buddhists don't talk about blasphemy

by Paolo Scalpini, Jakarta, The Buddhist Channel, March 25, 2009

I would like to comments on the rejection of the Buddha Bar by a number of Buddhists in Jakarta.

Life is suffering. And suffering comes from desire; the desire, for example, of wanting to be "respected" by others. A true Buddhist does not talk about "blasphemy" as this is an irrelevant notion in Buddhism.

There was never any enlightened soul who instructed others to build holy temples, and if these temples and statues exist, they are anything but the essence of Buddhism.

A true Buddhist who wants to be enlightened does not force other people to think his or her way either - not even peacefully. He (or she) looks for inner strength to deal with the desire to feel respected and important, because he (or she) knows that this feeling of self-importance does not lead to enlightenment - quite the opposite.

Alcohol or anything else that is a vehicle of desire is not considered as a "good" thing by a Buddhist.

But a Buddhist knows the "middle way" and realizes that he or she should not be fanatically against alcohol either and it is up to each individual to decide to - hopefully - abstain from it or use it in a limited way, just like eating meat or driving a polluting vehicle.

Unfortunately, this incident shows us (again) that Indonesian religion is more about symbols, rituals and even intolerance, not its essence. No wonder indigenous (pribumi) Buddhism was replaced so easily.