Islam’s War Against Buddhism

Islam’s War Against Buddhism
By Dhammajarat | Wednesday, April 04, 2007

“Allahu Akbar”! The tinny P.A. system tore asunder the pre-dawn peace and quiet.

I was jolted in my mind, almost like experiencing a car wreck, suddenly and without any warning. This totally incongruous sound intruded upon and encompassed everything, causing even the birds to rustle in the darkness.

It was just after 4 a.m. I was seated underneath the holy Maha Bodhi Tree in Bodh Gaya, in the state of Bihar in India. It was a few days past the full moon of May 2004, a few days past Veesak. This was my second visit to this unparalleled location, the site of the Lord Buddha’s attainment of full Enlightenment over 2,500 years ago. Now, towards the end of my 10 day stay, I had applied for and been granted the great honor of permission to spend the night within the Maha Bodhi compound.

My plan was to spend the entire night practicing seated meditation, walking meditation, and circumambulation of the great Maha Bodhi Stupa. The air was warm and my practice was going very well as I alternated between the three practices, as the hours passed.

The beautiful waning full moon light filtering through the glistening leaves of the Maha Bodhi Tree, the soft fluttering of the leaves, the serene quiet, took me back to that time long ago when the Buddha himself had sat very near this same exact spot.

Or so I thought…….

The mussein’s call to prayer for the faithful of Islam, here in this most sacred location to all of Buddhism, ripped me back to modern reality. I was stunned! How could this be? Here in one of the most significant spots of Buddhism, loud speakers come on at four in the morning every day, to shock and intrude upon meditators and Buddhist practitioners using this spot for that which it has to offer in its most special way?

How could this be allowed? It is…

The Muslim call to prayer seemed to go on and on…..20 minutes to a half-hour later, the scratchy recording thankfully ended and quiet returned.

My concentration was thoroughly blown. Instead of following my breath, I found myself looking at the great distraction and paradox I had just experienced.

I thought about Mecca!

Could any other religion intrude itself there in the holiest of places to Islam, as the tenets of Islam had so intruded itself here in the holiest place of Buddhism?

No way! I could imagine immediate death being visited upon anyone that would even try – that is, if they would be admitted anywhere close to the Muslims’ holy Kabah – let alone be allowed to set up a loud public address system that would broadcast the message of another religion across the courtyards of the Grand Mosque, or any other Moslem religious site. The hypocrisy was astounding.

After awhile, I ceased to be so shocked and began to calm down. I began to see that this was merely a continuation of a long and sad trespass against Buddhism perpetrated by the faith of Islam.

In my previous visits to India, I had visited every site that was specific to the actual life of the Lord Buddha. At every location the pattern was the same: Just the partial foundations remaining of what had once been great Stupas or elaborate religious universities of Buddhist learning and practice. Even the place of the Buddha’s birth had been destroyed and buried, with modern day excavations only now giving some restoration.

I had learned from guides on location, and then from further studies once I returned home, that these locations had all been laid to waste in the early Moslem invasions of India, starting in the 900’s by Turkic hordes issuing forth from what is now Afghanistan, and continuing for over a thousand years until the Mughal era. A prolonged and calculated assault, an assault designed to wipe an entire belief, an entire religion, off the face of the Earth. The long history of Islam, being spread by the sword and by fire, had left its indelible mark on these wonderful peaceful, harmless, legacy sites of Buddhism.

I learned how the monks and nuns and religious students were slaughtered without mercy and piled up and burned, and all terrified survivors were driven like dry leaves before a strong wind, out of the region of India entirely, wherever this Islamic wind blew.

I was told this is how Buddhism actually came to Tibet and Southeast Asia, by Buddhists fleeing for their lives! My faith had been rendered a refugee faith via the tender mercies of Islam.

I learned how Islam was particularly unkind and brutal to Buddhists, because to Moslems the Buddhist represented the most reprehensible type of human personality: the “atheist” holding no monotheistic God image as their object of worship and veneration. We were worse even than the far more numerous Hindus, with their vast pantheon of multiple gods. The Buddhists, to the Muslims, only worshipped the image of a man, and no God higher.

Apparently they did not bother to look into the philosophies of Buddhism any more deeply. That was enough for the sword to come down and the fire to be applied. And so they have over the centuries until today.

I remember, some years back, before the gripping situations that we face today had quite come in to focus for many of us, I followed the story of the great Buddhas of Bamiyan, in sad and war torn Afghanistan. The Russian war was over, and the rein of the Taliban was in full force, but they were not content to merely rule the people with an iron hand by the strictest applications of Sharia law. They had to physically erase the “infidel” past, as well.

I remember shedding tears as I saw the footage of those magnificent Buddhas, the tallest ancient statues in the world, being reduced to rubble by explosive charges and artillery shells. I remembered hearing on the news footage, that same cry of “Allahu Akbar!” – as the dust of Bamiyan settled to reveal the emptiness of the destruction. The same cry that destroyed my meditative absorption under the Bodhi Tree.

Now, I pray we never hear this call in this our home, America. Not until and unless Islam totally and completely reforms itself after over a thousand years of ravaging and sweeping all others before it.

I feel, through my direct experiences of it, that Islam has not changed its ways in the least. In fact it has become more aggressive now than at any time since its period of greatest expansion in the 900s to the 1200s. “Modern” Islam seeks to return humanity to those very same times – a revival of the dark ages of Islamic slaughter, mayhem, and pillage – all in the name of Allah.

We Buddhists must realize that we, and our cherished practices, would be swept away entirely and crushed utterly, should Islam ever gain ascendancy in this world in which we live. Islam is the only belief that propagates itself thus – by the sword.

And it is very patient.




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29 responses to “Islam’s War Against Buddhism

  1. S

    Note to the author – the islamic invasion on India started in the 7th Century, not the 10th, as you have written. The Hindu Shahi Kingdoms were ruling the area called as Afghanistan at present, and there were a large number of Buddhists among the population when the invasion occured. Needless to say, the Hindus and the Buddhists were not at each other’s throats, though the Hindus did have spats with the Zoroastrians of Persia, most of them wiped out by muslim invaders before they reached the border of India.

    And islam is not the only cult that spread by the sword –

  2. @S
    Budhists were also persecuted by Hindus at different periods but at a smaller scale, but may be with no less intensity. The period when Adi Shankarya was on the ascend is of some interest.

    • Indian Realist

      “Budhists were also persecuted by Hindus at different periods but at a smaller scale, but may be with no less intensity.”

      This is unadulterated bull crap. Can you back this up with facts from Indian history? Hindu kings were the biggest patrons of Buddhist monasteries.

      • Its a mixed bag. While its true that some hindu kings were patrons of Buddhists monasteries, some were not, just like some Muslim rulers patronised hindu places of worship. All I am saying is that at some point of time Buddhists were also persecuted by Hindu rulers of the time. For example Pusyamitra Sunga (reigned 185 to 151 BCE) assassinated the last Mauryan emperor Brhadrata in 185 BCE, and subsequently founded the Sunga dynasty. Buddhist texts such as the Ashokavadana and Divyavadana, written about four centuries after his reign, they contain accounts of the persecution of Buddhists during his reign. They ascribe to him the razing of stupas and viharas built by Ashoka, the placement of a bounty of 100 dinaras on the heads of Buddhist monks and describe him as one who wanted to undo the work of Ashoka.
        Historian S. R. Goyal has attributed the decline and disappearance of Buddhism from India to the hostility of the Brahmanas. An incident oft cited is the destruction of the Bo Tree and Buddhist images by Saivite King, Shashanka, persecution by Pusyamitra Sunga (185 BC to 151 BC) who detested the Law of the Buddha had set fire to the Sutras, destroyed Stupas, razed Samgharamas and massacred Bhikkus and even killed the deity of the Bodhi tree.
        Incidentally, though Moghuls are accused of destroying Hindu temples, most of these temples were actually built on Buddhist shrine sites. The Bengal Puranas depict the Buddhists as being mocked and subject to verbal chiding.

  3. S

    Buddhists persecuted by Hindus is a bunch of horse crap peddled by the Romila Thapar alternative historians. Adi Shankaracharya used Shastrarth (debate) with Buddhists, does debate sound like persecution to you ?

    • Did I say that Shankaracharya personally persecuted or incited hindus to persecute Buddhists? No. It is not the preacher who does the killing. That is always done by the so called flag bearers, the so called defenders of the religion. Jesus did not lead the crusade, nor Muhammad lead the jihad.

      • S

        Back what you’re saying with evidence. It’s zero. Jesus did not exist, as he is a made up figure, and Muhammad did lead the Jihad, do read up on the many Jihad campaigns.

      • niraj

        All “Dharmayudha”, “Crusade”,and “Jihad” words exist in dictionary.But Liberation Theology( If Jesus were on earth,we would be Marxist revoutionary) ,Christian communism etc, were invented after that ,it is
        neo-christianity (non -christianity) destroying the entire world.

    • Here is little surprise for you. But I’ll come to it later.
      Your pathological hatred to towards internationally celebrated historians, whose narratives do not tell you what you want to hear is well known.
      But in this particular instance you have support from the same Romila Thapar whom you accuse of peddling horse crap. She (Romila Thapar) points to archaeological evidence that “suggests the contrary” to the claim that “Pusyamitra was a fanatical anti-Buddhist” and that he “never actually destroyed 840,000 stupas as claimed by Buddhist works, if any”. Thapar stresses that Buddhist accounts are probably hyperbolic renditions of Pusyamitra’s attack of the Mauryas, and merely reflect the desperate frustration of the Buddhist religious figures in the face of the possibly irreversible decline in the importance of their religion under the Sungas. Do you still think its horse crap?
      Though she has said something contrary to which I know as true, I still rate her as one of the very best in her area of work. May be I have to read further.

  4. Rama

    Hi Cynical
    Can you provide PRIMARY EVIDENCE on your statement about Hindus destroying Buddhist temples, etc? Please do not quote various authors. I want evidence( letters written at that time about such destruction, archaeology evidence, etc)

    • @Rama
      I do not and never have worked in an archaeological museum or library. So I can’t produce the kind of evidence you have asked for. But I am fairly confident that collectively these historians have read, researched, deliberated and investigated enough, which is million times over the time people like you and me spend on the keyboard.
      By the way do you have a letter, a birth certificate or any other evidence that Rama was born in Ayodhya or Ramsetu is not a limestone deposit under the sea and not built by the army of monkeys?

  5. Sarfaraz.m

    Now Buddhists in Burma have enacted a two-child policy for Muslims also! Muslims in Burma pleaze come to India or Bangladesh or Pakistan and live safely.

    • Dear Sarfaraz.m,
      Bangladesh has consistently refused to accept them. Till now Pakistan has not taken back 300,000 Pakistani Biharis stranded in Bangladesh since 1971. Besides these Burmese Muslims might be targeted in sectarian killing between shias and sunnis in Pakistan. Only safe place for them is India. But then India is already over populated. The situation in Burma needs UN intervention.

      • niraj

        Rama’s Birth Date 4th December 7323 B.C

        Rama-Seeta Married 7th April 7307 B.C

        Rama Exiled 29th November 7306 B.C.

        Hanuman enters Lanka 1st September 7292 B.C

        Hanuman meets Seeta 2nd September 7292 B.C.

        Seetu (Bridge) built 26-30th Oct. 7292 B.C on the ocean

        The War begins 3rd November 7292 B.C

        Kumbhakarna is killed 7th November 7292 B.C.

        Ravana is killed by Rama 15th November 7292 B.C.

        Rama returns to Ayodhya 6th December 7272 B.C.

      • Sarfaraz.m

        You are wrong! Muslims are all brothers wherever they are. We are not like you Buddhists killing innocent people (and embryos) and calling themselves saint. Muslims in Burma should move westwards anywhere because no other country makes abortion a law that everyone must follow!

        • What if India does not accept them. Is India their father’s property. Why don’t they go to Mecca? They are brothers after all. India is not a hostel to provide free food and lodging to Muslims from other countries. Muslims are being punished because God wanted to punish them for the sins they committed in the past. You know nothing happens in this world what God does not want.

          • Sarfaraz.m

            Was India Akbar’s father’s property? Yes!!!

            • Indian Realist

              What was the area that Humayun ruled?

            • This attitude of yours is the reasons Muslims suffer like they are suffering in Burma. O jis thalipe khate hai us thalipe thukte hai. Always ungrateful, always betrayer.

              • Sarfaraz.m

                Muslim ke thali me tum logon ko khane diya ga that kain centuries tak! Burma ke bhaiyon ko help ki zaroorat he aaj. Anyways milions of Bangladeshi muslims are in India!

                • Muslim ke thali pe??? Muslims invaded a Hindu land India for food and shelter. So who was eating on whose thali. India is older than Islam. Read history in libraries not in maadrasa.
                  Muslims came to India like dacoits and thieves. In today’s world they would have been tried in International court of justice and served in prison. The whole history of Muslim is one of murder, loot and rape. Three of the first four caliphs were murdered by Muslims themselves. Hindus didn’t go to any Muslim land begging for food. Muslims go to other western countries like US, UK, Australia like refugee, but once they get shelter they start creating nuisance. Agar Burma ki bhaiyon ko help ki zaroorat hai to kyun Bangladesh and Pakistan or Saudis are not giving them shelter. Agar woh to apna qaum hai na.
                  You are right. Millions of Bangladeshis are in India. But you see they don’t come with passports through airports or border posts. Just like thieves they sneak into in the dark of night.
                  If you people are any good then why, why there is no respect for you anywhere in the world. Think about it.

                • Indian Realist

                  Musalman ki thali went to Pakistan in 1947, and you should have followed. Why are Pakistan and Bangladesh refusing to shelter Burma’s Muslims? What happened to Muslim thali there?

  6. ravi

    Good example:
    Indonesian Embassy erects Saraswati Vigraha near White House in US
    A statue of Hindu goddess Saraswati has reportedly been erected about a mile away from White House in Washington DC (USA).

    This 10-foot high statue raised by Embassy of Indonesia on public space on Massachusetts Avenue NW was unanimously approved by Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 2B Dupont Circle. It is said to be even taller than Mahatma Gandhi’s statue, which is also on Massachusetts Avenue, about less than one fifth of a mile.

    Indonesian government officially recognizes only six religions: Islam, Protestantism, Roman Catholicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Confucianism.Indonesia is the world’s most populous Muslim-majority nation, with 87.2% only 3% Hindu

    Bad examples:
    Hindu temple vandalised in Kishoreganj (The Daily Star, 30 May 2013): Fanatics vandalized nine idols at 150-year-old Kuleswari temple at Hossainpur upazila of Kishoreganj early yesterday. Ranjit, a caretaker of the temple, said “I found the idols broken when I went to the temple around 5:00 am, and saw the fragmented idols strewn all over the place.” Locals said the Hindus have been offering prayers at the temple for around 150 years, but no incident of vandalism had occurred inside the temple in the past.
    7 Deities destroyed at Jokigonj Kali Temple: 15 April 2013: On Sunday night miscreants destroyed 7 deities at Jokiganj Kali temple. Hindus protested the incident, police visited the area. A case has been filed.>.
    Hindu temple vandalised in Bhola (The Daily Star, 1 June 2013): Criminals vandalised eight idols of Hindu gods and goddesses at a temple in Annada Prasad village at Lalmohan upazila of Bhola

    • karan

      The happening of Indonesia is very inspiring,many many thanks to citizens and federal Government of Indonesia with a great respect to Islam.
      The happening of Bangladesh is the deeds of Anarchist,Spiritually bankrupt and Intolerant demons.

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