A Follow-up to “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys”

by Aranyakananda

Since I wrote my last post, I have come to a striking realization which, quite frankly I found difficult to rationalize at first, but I do stand by my original post. The issue in that post was a monk calling another devotee an animal and telling said devotee to “go to hell.” I strongly opposed such actions (words) from this monk. As I said, I found it lacking in empathy, and also unnecessary and very unhelpful. You can go back and read the other post so I don’t have to re-tell the story.

The issue I have now is that, though most of my readers will not remember, but last year I wrote a post about the “militant Buddhist monks” in Myanmar. In that post, I supported the actions of the monks to the extent that they were doing their dharma in protecting those who needed protecting. I did not know the whole story but assuming that is what they were doing, I supported their taking up arms.

So to review, I’ve supported armed warfare while deploring name-calling and verbal damnation. Why? It’s not as though a verbal damnation is holds any water. A monk is still a human being just like the other devotee. But I think that is precisely the point. Nobody, and I mean nobody has any right to advise someone to “go to hell” nor do they have the right to equate someone with an animal (the intent being, obviously, pejorative as it is in this case). That is a foul upon the object of the verbal attack as well as on animals, who are every bit as noble as we are.

The Buddhist monks in Myanmar on the other hand, while no man has a right to make a forceful, violent attack on another man, all have the right to protect themselves and certainly have the right to the selfless act of protecting others.

When it comes down to it, I supported anti-terrorism and denounced bullying.
Would I rather have name-calling in the world than gun-fire? Yes, all things considered.

Anyway just had to get that out.

Jai Hari Aum Mani Padme Hum

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3 Responses to A Follow-up to “Not My Circus, Not My Monkeys”

  1. Dhrishti says:

    I’ll admit that your last post left me with an up-raised eyebrow. Maybe two. It’s interesting that you bring up the Myanmar monks and their firearms. It’s exactly what came to mind when I read your last post, although for different reasons.

    You kind of mention a few parallels between the Myanmar monks and the monk who told the devotee to go to hell. What keeps reverberating in my mind is that back when the Myanmar monks went all militant, another monk from the Minnesota area was quick to denounce them – going so far as to declare them not real monks.

    I certainly think it’s wrong (on so many levels) for any monk to belittle a believer with name calling and directives like “go to hell where you belong,” even if that can be construed as simple defense. Same goes for the Myanmar militant monks – I’ll always be of the mind that violence should be a last resort. Lastly, the very same goes for any monk, who like the mean monk of your post, is willing to decry the behavior of his brothers or sisters engaging in acts he doesn’t approve.

    • treadmarkz says:

      Excellent insights as always. Writing both of those posts has also made me understand further what it means to have compassion for the person that I wrote about. I will keep the post because it illustrates something important I think, but will try to be more understanding of what I myself pointed out, the monk’s human frailties.

      • Dhrishti says:

        You should always keep your posts. I don’t believe in deleting things like this that require an investment of yourself – regardless of how well or how little it’s liked or appreciated.

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