Archive for October, 2007

Solidarity with Burmese Buddhists

October 2, 2007

I’m prompted to write a post after nearly one year away from this blog to show solidarity with the heroic Burmese protesters, in particular the peaceful Buddhist monks and their lay supporters, who were recently beaten, slain or imprisoned by the Burmese government.  For a few days, I hoped that perhaps Burma would join Poland and the Philippines as a nation that has recently experienced a bloodless political revolution inspired by faith.  It is heart-breaking to see the pitctures appearing on the Internet now of the dead monks.  One account of the events in Burma that moved me very much was that of an eyewitness who saw the government’s goons beating monks and lay supporters as the latter chanted the metta sutta.  The metta sutta is an ancient scripture, recited especially in the Theravada school of Buddhism, expressing a desire for all beings to be happy and well.  The one who recites it radiates love and compassion to all. 

These are men and women who laid down their lives for their friends; Christ told us that there is no greater love than that.  Even more, though, than this, they preferred to be murdered than defend their bodies and livelihoods.  What a sublime example of living out to the full the consequences of the Gospel, in particular the Sermon on the Mount.  My admiration for Buddhism was strengthened by this example, and so was my Catholic faith.

Today I was reading an article that cited a very prominent Catholic cardinal as having called Buddhism a form of “spiritual auto-eroticism.”  The example of these heroically virtuous Burmese Buddhists shows the error of this negative judgment, and I will be sure to bring up their sacrifice whenever I hear this erroneous view.