Case 01-2015: Ashin Wirathu & 969 Movement
Resolution on Phra Apichart Punnajanto
Monday 18 July, 2016
The International Buddhist Ethics Committee & Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights,
Recalling the principles of Buddhist Law, the human rights and fundamental freedoms established by international instruments such as the Buddhist legal code (Vinaya) adopted by the spiritual commune (sangha) and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the international community;
Whereas these rights and freedoms include political, economic, cultural and environmental rights, among which it is found religious freedom and the human right to peace;
Aware that the Buddhist people owns a spiritual distinction with regard to the rest of the international community, and that it is not due to racial issues, but rather due to the possession of a superior ethics and a mission of harmony and social Awakening that should never be violated;
Enormously concerned by the testimonies coming from Thailand that include evidences of corruption and advocacy of violence within the Buddhist spiritual commune (sangha), such as the public expressions of Phra Apichart Punnajanto (professor at Wat Benchamabophit in Bangkok) encouraging Islamophobia and mass murder against Muslims, while said person asked to burn a mosque at every opportunity a bhikkhu dies, which not only violates State Law and the Buddhist Law but it is also a crime as extreme as the crimes committed by terrorist movements;
Deploring the fact that the only consequence of such statements was that the Sangha Supreme Council (Maha Thera Samakom) has requested Phra Apichart Punnajanto the cancellation of his Facebook account, although he has shown no repentance besides the enormous similarity these expressions have with crimes carried out by Ashin Wirathu and his Organization for the Protection of Race and Religion (Ma Ba Tha), which have been complicit in international crimes of the government of Myanmar, such as genocide, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity;
Taking into consideration that hatred and Islamophobia have triggered millions of deaths, also resulting in refugee crises throughout the entire world, so that it is an act deeply sinister that this is incited by a bhikkhu, who should always be a bringer of peace, justice and Cure of the suffering of all beings;
Examining that the Phra Apichart Punnajanto’s attempt to replicate the way of Wirathu in Thailand is an ideological event of revenge and social hostility that violates the Buddhist Law and International Law, causing an unprecedented damage in the world history of Spirituality created by Siddharta Gautama, such as has happened in Myanmar;
Given that according to press sources Master Sulak Sivaraksa has publicly stated that Phra Apichart should cease to be a Buddhist, since the message of Gautama is the spiritual love, compassion and non-violence, rather than ethnic nationalism;
Reaffirming the Judgment of April 15, 2015 of the International Buddhist Ethics Committee against Ashin Wirathu for Discrimination, Social Segregation, Advocacy of violence and False Buddhism;
Being appalled by the fact that this False Buddhism is spreading over Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, while transmitting fascist and nationalist visions that contradict the spiritual principles taught by Gautama;
- States that Buddhist Spirituality is the first movement in history of humanity which has regulated in practice and theory the defense of human rights and the Mother Earth as the only way for the evolution of life.
- Calls for the immediate annulment of the status of Bhikkhu of Phra Apichart, also requesting the intervention of the temple Wat Benchamabophit where he teaches.
- Solemnly states that any violence or attack against any living being, whether in the realm of thought, word or act, is completely contrary to the Buddhist Spirituality.
- Expresses the hope that the Buddhist people regain its purity in all countries of Asia, where in the past was able to develop a system of Civilization Dharmic.
- Deplores as illegal to any governmental or military action that intervenes on the spiritual commune (sangha) in order to control it or pervert it.
- Declares that the Supreme Sangha Council of Thailand should immediately conduct a reform process that provides justice and purity to combat corruption and advocacy of violence which violate the legal code (Vinaya) of the Buddhist people.
- Appeals to all members of the great Buddhist nation to follow the Path of Righteousness, Detachment and compassionate wisdom (karuna-prajna) that Gautama developed two thousand six hundred years ago.
Sincerely, with a spirit of reconciliation (maitri),
Buddhist Master Maitreya
Spiritual Guide and President of the International Buddhist Ethics Committee (IBEC) and Buddhist Tribunal on Human Rights (BTHR)