Author Topic: Thousands of Buddhist monks protest construction of mosque in Sri Lankan town  (Read 15233 times)

Namdrol

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I have read news of other religions protesting, but never Buddhists protesting about other religions, this is the first time and is quick shocking to me, what do you think?


http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=43,10852,0,0,1,0

Thousands of Buddhist monks protest construction of mosque in Sri Lankan town
PTI, April 21, 2012

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Thousands of Buddhist monks and their supporters stormed a mosque in Sri Lanka's north central town of Dambulla to protest its construction in an area designated as a Buddhist sacred zone.

About 2,000 protesters, including 300 monks, waiving Buddhist flags and shouting slogans on Friday marched from the Dambulla town to the mosque at Kandalama a few kilometers away.

The police intervened as protestors entered the mosque and asked the devotees to leave after Friday prayers ended.

Local administrative officials has said the construction of the mosque was illegal and its removal would be done starting next Monday.

However, the worshippers claim that the mosque has been there for decades and is legal.

The protest came as a powerful leading Buddhist monk blamed the authorities for allegedly selling lands within the sacred Buddhist zone of Dambulla to non-Buddhist elements.

The authorities denied the charge. A similar protest in the area in 1992 couldn't prevent the construction of a five star hotel at Kandalama.

The hotel remains a leading eco tourism location in the island. About 7 per cent of Sri Lanka's 20 million people are Muslims.

About 74 per cent are Sinhalese, who are mostly Buddhists, while about 18 per cent are Tamils, who are predominantly Hindus or Christians.

dondrup

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I think these protestors have done right to protest because the mosque was allegedly built on a Buddhist sacred zone.  In the first place why had the authorities sold the land within a Buddhist sacred zone? In the report it said a similar protest in the area in 1992 couldn't prevent the construction of a five star hotel at Kandalama. If the protest is not staged, a precedent will be set where Buddhist sacred land will be sold for commercial or other purposes by the irresponsible authorities! If that happens, more and more sacred lands will be lost.

Nowadays, Buddhists are more proactive and will not remain silent and would take the necessary actions to defend sacred Buddhist sites. Many ancient Buddhist sacred sites and relics have either been stolen, damaged or lost.  If Buddhists remained passive, these holy lands and objects will be gone forever and the future generations will not be able to benefit from them. Buddhists must protect the legacies left behind by Buddha Shakyamuni and the lineage masters thereafter.

Positive Change

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I think these protestors have done right to protest because the mosque was allegedly built on a Buddhist sacred zone.  In the first place why had the authorities sold the land within a Buddhist sacred zone? In the report it said a similar protest in the area in 1992 couldn't prevent the construction of a five star hotel at Kandalama. If the protest is not staged, a precedent will be set where Buddhist sacred land will be sold for commercial or other purposes by the irresponsible authorities! If that happens, more and more sacred lands will be lost.

Nowadays, Buddhists are more proactive and will not remain silent and would take the necessary actions to defend sacred Buddhist sites. Many ancient Buddhist sacred sites and relics have either been stolen, damaged or lost.  If Buddhists remained passive, these holy lands and objects will be gone forever and the future generations will not be able to benefit from them. Buddhists must protect the legacies left behind by Buddha Shakyamuni and the lineage masters thereafter.

I understand your point and I see that the protesters had every right, however, protesting and demolishing another place of worship is perhaps not the way to go! If everyone were to fight and protest on what is seemingly theirs to begin with, we would be fighting an unending battle on this planet.

I say, do not let yet another political stance using religious freedom and rights be used. It is not about the muslims nor the Buddhist... it is about corrupt and greedy political elements in society that has to be weeded out. Let's not use a religious stance on a country already torn with civil unrest and war for decades!

sonamdhargey

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This is how disharmony begins. We Buddhist are thought to respect other religion and it's practitioners. But what will happen when other religion disrespect Buddhism? Protest againts other religion and demolishing other places of worship does not help elevate tension instead it creates more unrest and religious disharmony. What is wrong with having other place of worship in a Buddhsit sacred land? Isn't it good that other places of worship are next to each other which can be a foundation of world peace? Why can't all religions be side by side and promote peace? Protesting, fighting demolishing and etc is the direct causes of war and more unrest. In this current degenerate era we are already experiencing religious extremism created by selfish and ignorant people which leads to more suffering.

jeremyg

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Some questions I have:

Is it okay for buddhist monks to protest something on the basis of this? The fact that the land is rightfully theirs? Or is it not buddhist of them to do so, seeing as it is just them succumbing to samsara, as they value the land higher than their practice.

In addition, is it negative karma for the monks to do so? Or do the corrupt practices by the people who have allowed this to happen receive negative karma?

Lastly, is protesting in this manner a practicing buddhism, or should they just learn to let go, and let others win, while respecting religions. I know it may have been the muslims fault, but should they be the "bigger man" and just let it slide?

vajraD

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It is sad to see this articles. Religion practice is something that help one to become a better person in the pass but these days people used religion as a method to gain their own popularity. In the pass temple, mosque and church can be next to each other but these days you want to find one whom is next to each other is so difficult. Hopefully no one gets hurts.

sonamdhargey

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Some questions I have:

Is it okay for buddhist monks to protest something on the basis of this? The fact that the land is rightfully theirs? Or is it not buddhist of them to do so, seeing as it is just them succumbing to samsara, as they value the land higher than their practice.

In addition, is it negative karma for the monks to do so? Or do the corrupt practices by the people who have allowed this to happen receive negative karma?

Lastly, is protesting in this manner a practicing buddhism, or should they just learn to let go, and let others win, while respecting religions. I know it may have been the muslims fault, but should they be the "bigger man" and just let it slide?

My opinion is as a Buddhist we learn the meaning of impermanence and the law of cause and effect. Fighting, protesting does not make anything better in fact the results are always not pleasant. I'm not sure if it is the Muslims fault but it seems that it was there before. I think making friends and letting them share the space will create inter religious harmony.

Benny

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This is really serious , first time I have heard of Buddhist monks and supporters closing down a mosque ! Can imagine what will happen if this gets out of hand.

I totally agree with sonam dhargey on why cant they co exist peacefully and promote religious harmony. After all they are Buddhist right ? Impermanence is top of the list in the teachings of Buddhists , practice of generosity as well ! Why cant they allow for those poor minority muslims to have their mosque ? After all it not like they built a slaughter house there.

Maybe this is what happens when buddhists take for granted that they are the majority in Sri Lanka and they have the authorities on their side. In my opinion , this is does not represent the Buddhist community well. I have always been taught from young to respect others religion and their rights to practice what they belief. What better opportunity is there to show to the world what Buddhism stands for by allowing a minority to practice their faith. Wouldn't it be wonderful if those Muslims dedicate their prayers in thanks to the kind Buddhist for allowing them some space . That would truly change the world , blessed are those who can provide for others.

negra orquida

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I think these protestors have done right to protest because the mosque was allegedly built on a Buddhist sacred zone.  In the first place why had the authorities sold the land within a Buddhist sacred zone? In the report it said a similar protest in the area in 1992 couldn't prevent the construction of a five star hotel at Kandalama. If the protest is not staged, a precedent will be set where Buddhist sacred land will be sold for commercial or other purposes by the irresponsible authorities! If that happens, more and more sacred lands will be lost.


This reminds me of another post, debating about whether holy sites should be developed or remain stet. http://www.dorjeshugden.com/forum/index.php?topic=1544.msg23347#msg23347

To me, I don't think the blessings embedded in a Buddhist sacred land can be lost merely because it is used for commercial or other purposes.  Wouldn't the blessings be like how Buddha imprints in our mind cannot be erased even after we have taken numerous rebirths?  I would have thought that the blessings of the sacred land would spill into whatever building that is constructed on it and benefit whoever that is using the land... So if a mosque was built on it, how wonderful that the Muslims who used the mosque can also get blessings from the Buddhas.  However, it is easier said than done to remain cool and can still rejoice for the Muslims if we imagine ourselves as these monks!

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If Buddhists remained passive, these holy lands and objects will be gone forever and the future generations will not be able to benefit from them. Buddhists must protect the legacies left behind by Buddha Shakyamuni and the lineage masters thereafter.


This sounds like what the "extremists" would say in relation to their religion / religious objects..  :P

kris

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To me, any religion who protest against other religion is not acceptable. Hearing Buddhist protests against other religion is even more sad because Buddhism has been known for its tolerance on other religions.

I once heard a Lama said, we as Dharma teacher should find the similarities between religions, not to compare the differences. He said, if we focus on the differences, it will definitely create a lot of frictions and tensions. However, if we focus on similarities, then we will work in harmony and people, government, country around us will be happy.

Let's stop the protest and set a good example!

Midakpa

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The Buddhist monks in Sri Lanka need not feel threatened by the construction of a mosque in Sri Lanka, even though it is situated on Buddhist land. After all, the Muslim population is only 7 %. It is possible that the mosque had been there for decades and nobody took notice until the leading Buddhist monk complained to the authorities. In fact, being Buddhists they should be kind and helpful to others and promote religious harmony. In the history of the world, Buddhists have never gone to war in the name of religion. Buddhists are supposed to defend non-violence and promote world peace. The protestors were not ordinary people. They were monks with dharma knowledge! To me this is incredible.

pgdharma

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Buddhist monks shouldn't behave this way. It is not acceptable for the monks to shout and protest. As Buddhists, we should lead by example to promote religious tolerance. A mosque is also a place of worship and if the mosque is built on Buddhist sacred land then whoever enters the mosque will also received blessings. Muslims are human beings too and we as Buddhists should have compassion for them too. In fact, to show respect and tolerance of each others faith, it is good if places of worship of different religions are build next to each other.

Jessie Fong

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1. When was the area designated as a Buddhist sacred zone?
2. The worshipers claim that the mosque had been there for decades - what this before or after the declaration as a Buddhist sacred zone?

If the mosque was built after the declaration, then legally it would mean that the mosque should not have been built?  But can they not share the land and be at peace?

But whichever is the case, the protesters were Buddhist monks and supporters - this should not be so as Buddhism does not teach nor condone such an act.


Q

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I have read news of other religions protesting, but never Buddhists protesting about other religions, this is the first time and is quick shocking to me, what do you think?


http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index.php?id=43,10852,0,0,1,0

Thousands of Buddhist monks protest construction of mosque in Sri Lankan town
PTI, April 21, 2012

Colombo, Sri Lanka -- Thousands of Buddhist monks and their supporters stormed a mosque in Sri Lanka's north central town of Dambulla to protest its construction in an area designated as a Buddhist sacred zone.

About 2,000 protesters, including 300 monks, waiving Buddhist flags and shouting slogans on Friday marched from the Dambulla town to the mosque at Kandalama a few kilometers away.

The police intervened as protestors entered the mosque and asked the devotees to leave after Friday prayers ended.

Local administrative officials has said the construction of the mosque was illegal and its removal would be done starting next Monday.

However, the worshippers claim that the mosque has been there for decades and is legal.

The protest came as a powerful leading Buddhist monk blamed the authorities for allegedly selling lands within the sacred Buddhist zone of Dambulla to non-Buddhist elements.

The authorities denied the charge. A similar protest in the area in 1992 couldn't prevent the construction of a five star hotel at Kandalama.

The hotel remains a leading eco tourism location in the island. About 7 per cent of Sri Lanka's 20 million people are Muslims.

About 74 per cent are Sinhalese, who are mostly Buddhists, while about 18 per cent are Tamils, who are predominantly Hindus or Christians.


Sigh... I suppose this happens everywhere. Regardless of religion, the minority always suffers and constantly in a difficult situation.

If the area truly was a holy site... why was it abandoned until a mosque was built on it and then forced to demolish after a few decades? The protesters should at least check the validity of such claims before storming in a place of worship, causing much disharmony... And if after checking it was found to be indeed true, then at least try to talk to the muslim devotees and come up with some agreeable terms where both ends with a win-win situation.

Personally, I think it was unfair of them to just storm in a person's religious place and demand them to leave... I would be pretty miffed if that happened to me...

Dolce Vita

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To me, I don't think the blessings embedded in a Buddhist sacred land can be lost merely because it is used for commercial or other purposes.  Wouldn't the blessings be like how Buddha imprints in our mind cannot be erased even after we have taken numerous rebirths?  I would have thought that the blessings of the sacred land would spill into whatever building that is constructed on it and benefit whoever that is using the land... So if a mosque was built on it, how wonderful that the Muslims who used the mosque can also get blessings from the Buddhas.  However, it is easier said than done to remain cool and can still rejoice for the Muslims if we imagine ourselves as these monks!

This sounds like what the "extremists" would say in relation to their religion / religious objects..  :P

negra orquida, I like your point. How wonderful it is for people of other religions to be blessed with Buddha's energy and power. This is not the first time we have heard about monk going on a protest, how many of this protest show success? Look at the situation from collective Karma point of view, perhaps these people do not have the collective karma to have Dharma staying in that place? Going on a protest will only create more tension among people. How can the issue be resolved when 2 parties become defensive?

Peace, harmony, compassion, respect are the key values in Buddhism, use these methods to resolve issues. If we want to solve a problem, start from ourselves, it is easier that way. When others see us change, they will change too.