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Jun 11
Tuesday

Right Speech for Burma

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By Larry Steele

“The Buddha guided us with many discourses concerning Right Speech. If we want to make good use of our speech, then we need to carefully consider whether our ways of speaking follow the Buddha as he directed.”

The Venerable Ashin Issariya repeats this basic Dharma teaching again and again.

A senior Burmese Buddhist monk, Issariya is the clearest voice opposing racist “hate speech” and military violence against civilians in his country.

This spring the Boulder Shambhala Center invited Issariya to America as a key speaker at the “Voices of Courage” conference in Colorado. Participants representing both Buddhist and Muslim communities gathered to discuss extremism in Burma (renamed Myanmar by the military-controlled government), “and anywhere it arises.”

“I remember the heartsick feeling that arose after hearing that a faction of monks, Buddhist monks supported violence against a minority population in Myanmar,” said Boulder Shambhala Executive Director Melanie Klein. “This faction takes the position that the Rohingya — a largely Muslim population living in the western state of Rakhine — must be eradicated from Myanmar to protect the nation’s Buddhist religious culture” (Shambhala Times, April 2019).

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