Author Topic: Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism  (Read 8521 times)

Ensapa

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How do we, as Buddhists feel when this happens? is it even a Buddhist act to do such a thing? To be honest I find it very sad and shocking that anyone is subjected to such indignity. The Buddha has told us never to convert others or do missionary work, so what are they doing...why do they want to do this?

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Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism

By Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter
September 6, 2012|12:51 pm
A Christian aid group has revealed that students from Myanmar's Chin ethic minority are being forced to shave their heads and convert to Buddhism, despite the president's insistence that religious freedom is protected in the South Asian nation.

"President Thein Sein's government claims that religious freedom is protected by law but in reality Buddhism is treated as the de facto state religion," said Salai Ling, Program Director of the Chin Human Rights Organization (CHRO).

Myanmar's population of 55 million is heavily Buddhist at 89 percent, the CIA Factbook reveals, with Baptist Christians accounting for three percent and Roman Catholics numbering one percent.

The Chin nonprofit group, which was established on the India-Burma border by a group of Chin activists, stated, however, that an ultra-nationalistic viewpoint has gripped the country, pushed by a military regime that dictates that "to be Burmese, you should be Buddhist."

The organization highlighted the plight of Christian students who enroll at schools run by Myanmar's military, explaining that often times the students are beaten for failing to recite Buddhist scriptures, forced to shave their heads as per Buddhist tradition and convert to the Eastern religion.

The Chin population, which numbers about 500,000 people, struggle with poverty and their only real source of income is fishing, the human rights group reported. This situation leads them to seek out military schools, which provide free food, education and government jobs once they graduate.

"These schools are designed to facilitate a forced assimilation policy under the guise of development. The schools appear to offer a way out of poverty but there is a high price to pay for Chin students. They are given a stark choice between abandoning their identity and converting to Buddhism, or joining the military to comply with the authorities' vision of a 'patriotic citizen'," CHRO Advocacy Director Rachel Fleming said.

A detailed report by CHRO explores the hardships the Chin population have faced for over a decade, and documents human rights abuses they have suffered such as forced labor and torture, which has forced thousands of them to flee their homeland.

In its report, the organization urges the government to abolish the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the military-controlled Education and Training Department under the Ministry for Border Affairs, and instead use the resources to further education and minority languages in the national curriculum.


Read more at http://global.christianpost.com/news/christian-students-in-myanmar-forced-to-shave-heads-convert-to-buddhism-81211/#Dr7BiyE1TOESzmBv.99

Manjushri

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Re: Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2012, 08:18:50 PM »
In general I find it sad that many people mis-use or abuse religion. Something so pure and holy as religion is being tainted by mankind. Rules are bent, laws are broken, people are abused and faith is lost when people in the name of religion do, force, act or say things to others which causes conflict, and a deception of what religion really is in the eyes of others. Out of selfishness, mankind can be so very destructive sometimes.

In this case, forcing others to convert to Buddhism will have them have wrong view in the first place. Great if the study the Dharma and from there learn, but in an opposite effect, their negative feelings towards Buddhism can build up, becuase the initial interest wasn't there, and both parties may end up collecting negative karma.

Religion, inter-faith, is about having and making peace with each other, not go to war with one another.

sonamdhargey

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Re: Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2012, 12:44:44 PM »
it's happening everywhere around us. Religion are used as a political tool time and time again to divide and rule. These are the people so called government or organisation give religion a bad name by imposing their so called deviated religious beliefs on others and forcing it upon them through force. These people have little clue of the religion they are championing and just do as they wished as long it benefits them.

Benny

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Re: Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2012, 05:58:27 PM »
I believe this situation in Myanmar is a ticking time bomb , sad to say it is an unfortunate fact that most of that country's separatist terrorists namely the Karen hill tribesmen are christians for a reason. That is to establish the fact that they are ' anti government" and "anti establishment" in other words their embracing of another religioin was done for political reasons or propoganda.

As such i do not find this unbuddhist acts of forcing christians to shave their heads shocking , given the socio and political climate of Myanmar. So very naturally the counter measures taken by the army or government has to be to break the "backbone" or driving force of the rebels who target the school going children of Myanmar to recruit as future child soldiers or rebels.

 

brian

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Re: Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2012, 12:10:24 AM »
If the sources are true as it is, I am totally bafffled by this. Buddhist has never used force to convert others from another religion especially. I myself have never seen such things to happen so far except here and I must say this is very un-Buddhist and should not be let to happen again (although it might still be happening as I am writing now).

One would wonder will the victims here will be asked to do daily prayers in the temples or not (!) And would it benefit them as they are clearly being forced to do it.

Dorje Pakmo

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Re: Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2012, 04:57:29 AM »
Quote
The Chin nonprofit group, which was established on the India-Burma border by a group of Chin activists, stated, however, that an ultra-nationalistic viewpoint has gripped the country, pushed by a military regime that dictates that "to be Burmese, you should be Buddhist."

The organization highlighted the plight of Christian students who enroll at schools run by Myanmar's military, explaining that often times the students are beaten for failing to recite Buddhist scriptures, forced to shave their heads as per Buddhist tradition and convert to the Eastern religion.

The Chin population, which numbers about 500,000 people, struggle with poverty and their only real source of income is fishing, the human rights group reported. This situation leads them to seek out military schools, which provide free food, education and government jobs once they graduate.

"To be Burmese, you should be Buddhist."

Wow... even though Buddhism may be the main religion practised by majority in the country, but it doesn't give anybody any right to dictate and force people to go against their will to accept a religion that they do not agree or feel a connection with.

I think it actually do more bad than good in the long run. If the people are robbed off their right to practice whatever religion they feel comfortable with and are force upon them something they do not agree with. It will only cause them to resent the religion and the people that forced them to do things against their will. On the surface they may have accepted the religion that is forced upon them, but deep inside they are unhappy and secretly harbour a feeling of injustice. The main reason they are subjected to this kind of treatment is for SURVIVAL.

Is this what the Myanmar Government want? People who are forced against their will to practice a religion they do not agree with? Well, it's good to be Buddhist and to practice Buddhism.... But you just can't go around forcing and converting people to accept Buddhism! For the country to move forward as a nation, I think the peoples's right, and freedom of speech must be practised and protected to a certain extent. Suppression definitely will not do the country any good. It's high time to shift the gear and start moving forward!
DORJE PAKMO

bambi

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Re: Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2012, 05:15:54 AM »
These stories I have been reading about the Burmese 'Buddhists' are rather disturbing. There are even people saying nasty remarks about the Burmese Buddhists and now this story. What is happening? It is suppose to be about love and compassion. Not forcing people to be what they are not. How could they? I remember when I used to be of another religion and I went to a Buddhist temple, they never say that I must practice what the Buddha taught. But in time, through logic and understanding, I must say, nobody need to convert me.  ;D

I truly pray that the violence in Burma and Thailand come to an end soon before more people are hurt and people stop tarnishing the good name of Buddhism. Myanmar government, please do something to stop it. Stop forcing people to do something you like.

kris

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Re: Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism
« Reply #7 on: September 15, 2012, 08:54:49 AM »
Lately, there are quite a few issues related to Buddhism in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) that are rather sad and disturbing.

Firstly is the Rohingya issue where it is claimed that many Muslims are killed by Buddhist monks. I have followed the case quite closely, and although there is no photos being shown, there is no defend from the monks and all fingers are now pointing to Buddhist monks in Myanmar. Now Christian students are forced to convert to Buddhism...

I think this is not Buddhism is all about, and no one seem to understand what is going on in Myanmar. Has the people there become fanatical? Have they misinterpreted the Buddhist teachings? Can something be done, especially if the Myanmar government can't do anything?

Jessie Fong

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Re: Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism
« Reply #8 on: September 15, 2012, 10:37:04 AM »
It is shocking that in this modern day you find that people are being forced to convert to a religion that they do not have faith in.  Yes the country maybe almost 90% Buddhist that does not give anyone the right to use force to convert people from other faiths to become Buddhists.

Buddhism is not about using force, nor waging wars against each other.  Buddhism is about ending of suffering, not creating suffering.

As to Brian's question : .... will the victims be asked to do daily prayers .... and would it benefit them??? 
If they did prayers out of force, there will be no benefit.

DS Star

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Re: Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism
« Reply #9 on: September 16, 2012, 03:36:44 PM »
Buddhists forcefully convert students of other faith? Why all the seriously negative 'practice' by Buddhists mostly happened in Myanmar? Political plots by the Military Junta? Considering Aung San Suu Kyi is a devout Buddhist and the Buddhist monks have been her strong supporters.

I believed this could be just another scheme by the Myanmar Military Junta to paint negative picture on Buddhist monks, similar to what happened in Tibet where China Liberation Army wear monk robes to cause riots there.

This link show the picture very clearly:
http://viewonbuddhism.org/chinese-orchestrating-riots-tibet.htm

Myanmar government itself is not really practising Buddhism as they are more of socialists. Then again, if this kind of forced converts are really done by Buddhist monks then I would say that their conducts are no longer in accordance with the practice of Buddhism.

What qualifies a person to be known as a Buddhist monk?

My answers in the following post if you care to check. Thank you.
http://www.dorjeshugden.com/forum/index.php?action=post;topic=2584.0;last_msg=34925

buddhalovely

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Re: Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism
« Reply #10 on: September 16, 2012, 04:42:22 PM »
According to the CHRO, the Chin minority relies on farming, making it vulnerable to recruitment to military schools which offer free food, education, and government jobs. However, the military schools force Christians to convert to Buddhism.

On Sunday, hundreds of Buddhist monks rallied in support of President Thein Sein’s suggestion to send Rohingyas to a third country willing to take them in, as a solution to the deadly ethnic clashes backed by security forces.

Reports say some 650 Rohingya Muslims, also an ethnic minority group in Myanmar, have been killed in the Rakhine state in the west of the country in recent months. This is while 1,200 others are missing and 80,000 more have been displaced.

The Buddhist-majority government of Myanmar refuses to recognize Rohingyas and classifies them as illegal migrants, although the Rohingyas are said to be Muslim descendants of Persian, Turkish, Bengali, and Pathan origin, who migrated to Myanmar as early as the 8th century.

The UN human rights authorities blame Myanmar’s security forces for the violence, who are believed to have been targeting the Muslims rather than bringing the ethnic violence to an end in the country.

ratanasutra

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Re: Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism
« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2012, 04:42:42 PM »
It so sad to know that now pure religion are lessen and lessen in this world as some people used religions for other proposes or benefit something or pull it to mix with political..

All religions are promote peace and harmony, but now a days people used it for other purposes which contradict with the essence of the religions ie we not convert people to become buddhist.

Well.. may be this is a signs of degenerate time.. 


DS Star

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Re: Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism
« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2012, 05:00:09 PM »
It so sad to know that now pure religion are lessen and lessen in this world as some people used religions for other proposes or benefit something or pull it to mix with political..

All religions are promote peace and harmony, but now a days people used it for other purposes which contradict with the essence of the religions ie we not convert people to become buddhist.

Well.. may be this is a signs of degenerate time..

Yes you are right, religions are being used by politically motivated people for their personal gains and to spread their hatred against a particular ethnic.

Buddhism as well as other main stream religions are promoting peace but the people in power and their so-called leaders are using the ignorance of their followers to commit negative actions.

Nowadays, religion is not equal to spirituality anymore... it is now a reflection of 'political tool' and 'selfish gain tool' and also a 'disaster toll'.

 :(

rossoneri

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Re: Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism
« Reply #13 on: September 16, 2012, 07:01:47 PM »
Degenerate....this is precisely what Buddha had mentioned. Buddhism practices love, compassion and care, basically about us transforming our mind to be a better person in order to useful to your family and friends at least. What is happening to the "Buddhist" in Myanmar? We can claimed that we are a Buddhist country, we practice compassion and all but at back do there the Myanmar people really understand what is Buddhism about? I feel it is like they are treating a religion as a custom and have been passing it down for generations by their elders,

Amitabha

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Re: Christian Students in Myanmar Forced to Shave Heads, Convert to Buddhism
« Reply #14 on: September 17, 2012, 01:07:09 AM »
"Don't blindly believe what I say. Don't believe me because others convince you of my words. Don't believe anything you see, read, or hear from others, whether of authority, religious teachers or texts. Don't rely on logic alone, nor speculation. Don't infer or be deceived by appearances."

"Do not give up your authority and follow blindly the will of others. This way will lead to only delusion."

"Find out for yourself what is truth, what is real. Discover that there are virtuous things and there are non-virtuous things. Once you have discovered for yourself give up the bad and embrace the good."

- The Buddha

A Brahman saw the Buddha meditating by the River. He engaged the Buddha in conversation.

"What caste are you? Asked the Brahman.

"Caste is irrelevant." Said the Buddha.

"How so," said the Brahman, "surely you would agree that Brahman and royalty are of considerable worth whereas peasants and commoners are not?"

"Caste and riches matter not," replied the Buddha, "it is one's conduct that matters."

"How so," said the Brahman.

"In that fire comes from any type of wood so can a wise person come from any caste. It is through the knowing of truth that one becomes noble not through caste. The noble one is the one that doesn't cling to unworthy attachments. The noble one realizes the true way that things are, he no longer thinks of himself as a self and thus has gained clarity."

"You are truly wise," said the Brahman.