Nevertheless, the violence against the Rohingya is certainly related to increasingly popular campaigns in recent years to revive Myanmar’s Buddhist tradition (understood by some to be the marker of “real” Burmese identity) and to protect it particularly against the threat that Islam is thought to represent.Popular campaigns to this effect involve the politics of monastic hierarchies, revivalist education campaigns, the advancement of laws for the “protection of race and religion” and attempts to influence the 2015 elections.
Nevertheless, the violence against the Rohingya is certainly related to increasingly popular campaigns in recent years to revive Myanmar’s Buddhist tradition (understood by some to be the marker of “real” Burmese identity) and to protect it particularly against the threat that Islam is thought to represent.Popular campaigns to this effect involve the politics of monastic hierarchies, revivalist education campaigns, the advancement of laws for the “protection of race and religion” and attempts to influence the 2015 elections.Tags: Essay On Virginia Tech ShootingDefinition Of A Research Paper200 Words Essay On Goals In My LifeHow Do U Write An EssayWalt Whitman Essay PromptsBuy Dissertation PapersExamples Of A Business Plan OutlineResearch Paper Topics For High School SeniorsMath Solving Problems ExamplesEssays On Rizal
In this period, Buddhist religious leaders, often living under colonial rule in the historically Buddhist countries of Asia, together with Western enthusiasts who eagerly sought their teachings, collectively produced a newly ecumenical form of Buddhism — one that often indifferently drew from the various Buddhist traditions of countries like China, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Japan and Thailand.
This modern form of Buddhism is distinguished by a novel emphasis on meditation and by a corresponding disregard for rituals, relics, rebirth and all the other peculiarly “religious” dimensions of history’s many Buddhist traditions.
While the movement is diverse, there is little doubt that it is shaped by (and that it further fuels) a strong anti-Muslim discourse.
This anti-Muslim discourse is, to be sure, exacerbated by all manner of sociopolitical considerations (in Myanmar as elsewhere there is widespread uncertainty at a time of rapid economic, social and political change), and these and other factors are used by a wide range of political actors to gain advantage in the new hybrid democracy.
These and other such examples have, to be sure, often involved eloquent Buddhist critics of violence — but the fact remains that the histories of Buddhist societies are as checkered as most human history.
It is important to emphasize that the current violence against the Rohingya is not a straightforwardly “religious” matter.While few sophisticated observers are shocked, then, by the occurrence of religious violence, there is one notable exception in this regard; there remains a persistent and widespread belief that Buddhist societies really peaceful and harmonious.This presumption is evident in the reactions of astonishment many people have to events like those taking place in Myanmar.This lay meditation movement was later promoted as a practice available to an international audience — a development that is part of the history of contemporary Western fascination with mindfulness.What is especially interesting is that Buddhist proponents of anti-Muslim discourse often assert that Myanmar is under threat from Muslims precisely Buddhism is, they say, a uniquely peaceful and tolerant religion.Such policies reflected the extent to which colonial administrators typically interpreted all of the various cultural interactions in colonial Burma through the lens of “world religions.” According to this way of seeing things, relatively distinct and static religious traditions were defined in opposition to one another, with each one thought to infuse its communities of believers with distinctive characteristics.One of the characteristics ascribed to “Buddhists,” according to this rubric, was that they are generally tolerant and pacifist.Nevertheless, religious identity under British rule came to be overwhelmingly significant — significant enough that it can now be mobilized to turn large numbers of Buddhists against the Muslim neighbors with whom they have lived peacefully for generations.The British colonial state required, for instance, that every person have a single religious identity for the purposes of personal law and administration.The widespread embrace of modern Buddhism is reflected in familiar statements insisting that Buddhism is not a religion at all but rather (take your pick) a “way of life,” a “philosophy” or (reflecting recent enthusiasm for all things cognitive-scientific) a “mind science.”Buddhism, in such a view, is not exemplified by practices like Japanese funerary rites, Thai amulet-worship or Tibetan oracular rituals but by the blandly nonreligious mindfulness meditation now becoming more ubiquitous even than yoga.To the extent that such deracinated expressions of Buddhist ideas are accepted as defining what Buddhism is, it can indeed be surprising to learn that the world’s Buddhists have, both in past and present, engaged in violence and destruction.