Chief priest: Genuine monks do not condone violence

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 08 Dec 2016

PETALING JAYA: Only bogus monks would support violence against Rohingya Muslims, said Malaysian Buddhist chief high priest Datuk K. Sri Dhammaratana.

Genuine monks would never condone such violence, because it is against the fundamental principle of non-violence propagated in Buddhism, he said.

“Sometimes people use bogus monks for political reasons.

“They let them wear the (Buddhist monk’s saffron-coloured) robe, and do things that genuine monks would never do. Violence is never encouraged in Buddhism. We are not supposed to kill living things, including animals,” he said.

He said this when asked to comment on the radical monks reportedly leading the Ma Ba Tha group to incite violence in the Rakhine region against Rohingya Muslims.

Dhammaratana’s view is in line with the stand taken by top monks in Myanmar who had denied endorsing the ultra nationalist Ma Ba Tha Group.

Myanmar’s Sangha Maha Nayaka committee, representing the top monks, issued a statement in July saying that the Ma Ba Tha organisation was not set up under the rules, procedures and instructions of the committee.

The violence that erupted in 2012 had escalated into perceived ethnic cleansing attempt to erase traces of the native Rohingya population in the Rakhine state.

The Rohingya population was rendered stateless following Myanmar authorities’ refusal to recognise them as its citizens.

Dhammaratana said he visited the conflict area three years ago.

“The problem in the area stem from human weakness. It was a personal matter that escalated into misconceived religious clash.

“It is being wrongly presented to the world as a religious issue.

“It has nothing to do with religion. It is caused by human weakness.

“Everywhere the girls and boys’ feelings are same,” he said, stopping short of saying affairs of the heart involving people of different faiths was at the centre of the violence.

Dhammaratana said he had requested for more information pertaining to the latest situation on the ground.

“We have yet to get more details,” he said.

Dhammaratana called on all stakeholders to sit together and find a peaceful and harmonious solution as soon as possible.

“Otherwise the image of Buddhism would be tarnished,” he said, reiterating that it was wrong to disturb, harm, torture and kill others.

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