The Burmese Buddhist-controlled government and military killed more than 1,000 Rohingya Muslims in the last year and has continued to forcibly promote Buddhism and discriminate against other minority religious groups, according to a report released Tuesday by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.
The report, which highlights the status of religious freedom globally and identifies those governments that are the most egregious violators, also includes recognition of severe atheist discrimination in a number of countries.
In Burma, Theraveda Buddhism is the dominant religious tradition and Muslims and Christians reportedly make up 8%-10% of the population. In contrast to common representations of Buddhists as inherently peaceful, minority religious groups are subject to pervasive surveillance, imprisonment, discrimination, societal violence, destruction or desecration of property and censorship of religious materials by Buddhists, according to the report. Continue reading
Buddhisms: Lived and Portrayed Traditions
By David G. McAfee
Within the United States of America, Buddhism is a commonly misunderstood or misinterpreted religious tradition. The American media’s portrayal of Buddhism is one way to account for incongruities between how the tradition is understood and how it is actually practiced, but there are many others. Scientists who practice Buddhism or support it have long been attempting to portray a seamless transition between modern scientific discoveries and Buddhist doctrine in which Buddhism not only confirms these discoveries but also allows for further investigation and research. The American misconceptions of Buddhism as a superiorly peaceful, exotic, and pure philosophical viewpoint are easily diminished upon further research of Buddhist doctrine and background as overwhelming evidence that contradicts these fantasized and romanticized views is commonly unveiled upon elaboration on historical and current events. Popular culture has morphed Buddhist principles to western ideals including, but not limited to, areas ranging from Buddhist practices involving race, science, and warfare. Continue reading