A recent New York Times article titled “Extremism Rises Among Myanmar’s Buddhists” offers important lessons on common sense and nonsense. Witten by one Thomas Fuller, it begins by telling of how
After a ritual prayer atoning for past sins, Ashin Wirathu, a Buddhist monk with a rock-star following in Myanmar, sat before an overflowing crowd of thousands of devotees and launched into a rant against what he called “the enemy–”the country”s Muslim minority. “You can be full of kindness and love, but you cannot sleep next to a mad dog,” Ashin Wirathu said, referring to Muslims. “I call them troublemakers, because they are troublemakers.”
While the article is meant to highlight the supposed “intolerance” of Myanmar’s Buddhists, for those who can read between the lines””or who are familiar with Islamic teachings, history, and current events””it is clear that Buddhists are responding to existential threats posed by the Muslims living among and around them.
Here is the first lesson: unlike the West, Buddhist monks, despite their reputation as devotees of peace, are still able to accept and respond to reality; are still governed by common sense. Unlike the West, whose sense of reality has been so thoroughly warped by a nonstop media propaganda campaign emanating from ubiquitous TVs and computer screens, conditioning Americans how to think and what to believe, “third world” Buddhist monks are acquainted with reality on the ground. They know that, left unchecked, the Muslim minority living among them””which began hostilities””will grow more aggressive, a historically demonstrative fact… Continue reading