For Your Entertainment (FYE)
Are we seeing the rise of intolerant and humorless “Fundamentalists Theravada Buddhists” in Burma/Myanmar, following their deadly confrontations with Bengladesh Muslims Immigrants into Burma/Myanmar, seemingly copying the border clashes at the Thailand/Malaysia border?
“A clash of cultures fueled by simmering sectarian tensions and social media has left a Western bar manager and two local colleagues imprisoned in once-cloistered Myanmar.
New Zealand native Philip Blackwood, 32, has been accused of “insulting religion” after he posted a psychedelic image of the Buddha wearing headphones on Facebook to advertise the V Gastro Bar.
Despite removing the image and replacing it with a statement apologizing for “embarrassing ignorance,” Blackwood was arrested on December 10 along with nightspot owner Tun Thurein, 40, and co-worker Htut Ko Ko Lwin, 26.
The V Gastro Bar was shut just two weeks after its launch in an upscale Yangon neighborhood.”
“The case comes amid a surge in Buddhist nationalism in Myanmar — which emerged in 2011 from half a century of military rule and global isolation. A powerful group of monks who fear Buddhist culture in Myanmar is under threat has emerged and is promoting restrictive and controversial laws aimed at “the protection of race and religion”.”
“So sensitive are religious issues in Myanmar just now that Blackwood was initially unable to find a lawyer willing to represent him. Riot police have been drafted in for the trio’s court appearances as supporters of the Buddhist nationalist 969 movement gathered outside.”
“David Mathieson, Human Rights Watch’s senior researcher on Myanmar, described the case as “very disturbing.” He cited it as part of an “escalation in a pattern of rising Burmese and Buddhist ultra-nationalism, anti-Muslim fervor, and creeping xenophobia.””
“You may have heard the phrase “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!”. “
“It actually comes from an old koan attributed to Zen Master Linji, (the founder of the Rinzai sect). It’s a simple one:
“If you meet the Buddha, kill him.”– Linji”
“You already realize that it’s not being literal. The road, the killing, and even the Buddha are symbolic.
The road is generally taken to mean the path to Enlightenment; that might be through meditation, study, prayer, or just some aspect of your way of life. Your life is your road. That’s fairly straightforward as far as metaphors go.
But how do you meet the Buddha on this “road?” Imagine meeting some symbolic Buddha. Would he be a great teacher that you might actually meet and follow in the real world? Could that Buddha be you yourself, having reached Enlightenment? Or maybe you have some idealized image of perfection that equates to your concept of the Buddha or Enlightenment.”
“Whatever your conception is of the Buddha, it’s WRONG! Now kill that image and keep practicing. This all has to do with the idea that reality is an impermanent illusion. If you believe that you have a correct image of what it means to be Enlightened, then you need to throw out (kill) that image and keep meditating.”
“Most people have heard the first chapter of the Tao, “The Tao that can be named is not the eternal Tao.” (So if you think you see the real Tao, kill it and move on).”