Crafting Gentleness

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Statement from buddhist monks

This is a buddhist postscript to a previous statement which can be found at:

Since releasing our initial statement, several people have contacted BPFwithquestions and concern about acts of violence that occurred earlier inSeptember in Burma, when a group of monks from Pakokku's central Mahavithutarama monastery locked 20 government officials inside the compoundand set fire to four vehicles. The monks released the government officials later that same day, unharmed.

From all indications, this act was in response to an incident the daybefore,when two Burmese military platoons attempted to disperse the monks (who had been marching peacefully) by firing warning shots into the air and physically assaulting people. One bystander said, "They fired about 10 or 15 bulletsbefore they started to drag away the monks and beat up bystanders with bamboo sticks" (Source: The Democratic Voice of Burma)

The Buddhist Peace Fellowship does not support aggression or violence. Buddhist teachings guide us to an understanding that actions which aremotivated by hatred or confusion will only lead to more suffering. Yet we do understand how suffering can lead to such actions. Social change movements are vast and complex, especially when thousands of people are involved and emotions are high. They do not happen in a vacuum, in an atmosphere of pure nonviolence.

Another layer of complexity is added when the situation takesplace in another country and culture and those of us on the outside cannot possibly have full understanding of the context.

Whatever acts of violence have occurred on the part of a small group of monksmust be understood in the context of the past 20 years of repression, structural violence, and systemic human rights violations by the military junta of Myanmar.

The vast majority of the monks and nuns in Burma are responding courageouslyand holding strongly to the practice of nonviolence in this protest. We continue to stand with them and call for the Myanmar government to meet with the monks and together to find nonviolent solutions which will benefit all the people of Burma.


Post a Comment

<< Home