Buddha never told people to worship himgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Unk's Wild Wild West : One Thread
Buddha, Taliban and Afghans
The latest happening that concerns Muslims is that of the demolishing of Buddhist statues in Afghanistan by the Taliban. In addition to the uproar raised by non-Muslims, some Muslims have also criticized and denounced this action by the Taliban and have stated that this action is against the teachings of Islam.
We read about the Taliban destroying Buddhist statues: but read virtually nothing about the Taliban's decision to halt cultivation of opium poppies (while these poppies provided a significant source of income for Afghanistan and the country is starving because of the recent drought and pressure from international sanctions). Why? Because we're not supposed to hear anything good about the Taliban. They are supposed to be demonized and portrayed as the one threat left in this world to civilization as we know it. And so the question I'd like to pose is: if we don't know about the good, can we really be sure we know about the bad? If it is because of the interest-driven media that we are kept in the dark about the positive the Taliban has accomplished in Afghanistan, then can we really trust that the negative we are presented is anywhere near the truth?
We are getting numerous e-mails from outraged Muslims over the destruction of these Buddhist statues, yet we have not received any expressions of outrage over the fact that one million Afghans are about to die of starvation in the next 4 to 5 months.
And without hesitation, the international media dutifully reported the outpouring of grief and anger over the threatened Buddhas, Sri Lanka and India even offered to move and protect the statues if the Afghani government would agree. and as one of the headline read, "Worldwide horror as Afghan Taliban begin smashing ancient statues". But there was no "worldwide horror" or "international outrage" when UN officials announced Friday that more than 260 people have died in displacement camps in northern Afghanistan where an additional 117,000 people are living in miserable conditions. There was no outpouring of grief for those refugees who mostly died of hunger and exposure to cold weather. Sadly, no one seemed to care that most of the deceased were children under the age of five, elderly men, and women who did not survive childbirth. And there were no invitations to house these refugees as conditions in these camps are expected to deteriorate. Perhaps the only consolation in all of this, is that these refugees may never know how much the world cared for two statues and how little it cared for them.
For one must ask where were our guardians of cultural heritage when mosques, libraries, schools, historic buildings, and museums many of them great historic monuments were being destroyed in the Balkans. More than 1200 mosques were destroyed in Bosnia by the European fanatics known as Serbs. More than 200 were destroyed in Kosova. Of course, unlike the Taliban they also killed the Imaams and the rest of the population with the historic monuments they were destroying. Of course they committed other crimes so grisly that their cultural vandalism appeared to be a non-issue in comparison. And of course, the guardians of cultural heritage, of religious freedom, and of humanity were happily strolling through their art galleries when the butchery was going on. So if there is a principle behind their "principled stand," we are unable to find it. In a rare case the Washington Post tried to find an answer to the question as to why Afghans must keep and preserve the statues: "These old buildings are Afghanistan's identity. And when you lose your identity, you've lost your soul." The problem is these artifacts are NOT Afghanistan's identity. And the assertion is nothing but unvarnished cultural imperialism. Afghanistan's identity derives from the life and example of the Prophets. If you see you'll find evidence to suggest that these particular idols are currently worshiped, or feature in the religious practices of any Buddhist community. They are simply remnants of a people's polytheistic past. These people are now Muslim, and wish to erase those historical remnants which are contrary to their religious beliefs, It is ironic that the UN is showing so much concern for the relics of the past, whereas it has actively sought to deny Afghanistan a meaningful future through its 1999 & 2000 UN Security Council sanctions. These sanctions seek to punish the Afghan nation because someone in their midst (Bin Laden) is accused of terrorism. A whole nation is crippled academically, economically and technologically because of one man. Its people are enduring tremendous hardships. Yet, it is only the destruction of old stones that moves the world to such an emotional outpouring?
So how should you and I view this action of the Taliban? What are the various perspectives against which this issue needs to be studied? And what do the Qur'ân and the life of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) have to offer in terms of guidance in this context?
Please examine the following points and form your own conclusion:
1. The Taliban have not demolished Buddhist temples or monasteries. No place of worship has been harmed. Nor have they entered homes of non-Muslims and compelled them to accept or practice Islam. Only statues in public places are being demolished. Thus, the Taliban are following the injunctions of the Qur'ân (109: 126 as well as 2:256).
The Qur'ân says at 109:126 "Say: O you that reject Faith! I worship not that which you worship, nor will you worship that I worship. And I will not worship that which you have been wont to worship. To you be your way and to me mine."
The Qur'ân says at 2:256 "Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out Clear from Error".
2. Buddha never stated, "I am God. Worship me". Nor did he instruct or ask that his statues be built and worshipped.
3. None of the authentic Buddhist scriptures prescribe or encourage idol worship.
4. Destroying statues and idols is not a 'fard' (an obligatory act), but it is 'mustahib' (a recommended act). Therefore any Muslim who condemns this act and decision of the Taliban is wrong in his condemnation. The least such a Muslim can do is to keep his mouth shut and not denounce this action. Such Muslims should read the books of 'seerah' – the life of the Prophet. After the conquest of Makkah by the Prophet Muhammad and the Muslims, Makkah and the Ka'bah were completely purged of idolatry - all idols and statues were destroyed publicly. For humans should only obey and worship the Creator: the One True God and not His Creation. The Taliban are courageous in following this Sunnah.
'Alee ibn Abee Taalib reported that the Prophet Muhammad ordered him to demolish all idols he came across, deface all statues and pictures and to level all elevated graves – graves that were more than a palm's width high with the surrounding earth. [Sahih Muslim, English, Vol. 2, hadeeth no. 2115 at pg. No. 459; Sunan Abu Daawood, English,Vol.2, hadeeth no. 3212 at pg. 914 – 915. Also reported by an-Nasaa'ee and at-Tirmidhee]
5. The biggest sin in the sight of Allah is 'shirk' – associating partners with Allah and worshipping idols and statues. This is one sin that Allah says he will never forgive. The Qur'ân says at 4:116 "Allah forgives not (the sin of) joining other gods with him; but he forgives whom He pleases sins other than this: one who joins gods with Allah, has strayed far, far away (from the Right)."
6. Even Prophet Abraham (pbuh) had destroyed idols and statues worshipped by his own father and by his community. See the Qur'ân 21: 57 – 58
7. If any staunch Hindu would purchase a house previously owned by a Muslim and if that house had a carving or sculpture work depicting the Ka'bah or the prophet's mosque on the walls or pillars of this house, what would this Hindu do? Would he not demolish these carvings?
8. If you, a Muslim, were to purchase a house that has idols and statues, of various gods and goddesses of Hindu mythology, carved on its walls or pillars, would you not demolish these and keep your own house free from such abominations?
The Prophet Muhammad stated, "Certainly angels do not enter houses in which pictures and statues are present." [Sahih Al-Bukhari, English, Vol. 7, hadeeth no. 838 at pg. 542, and also hadeeth no. 844 at pg. 545-6; Also Sahih Muslim, English, Vol. 3, pg. 1158, hadeeth no. 5254.]
9. The Taliban are actually helping neighbouring India and nearby Nepal in following the Hindu and Buddhist religious scriptures. Why? Because many Hindu scriptures have ample number of verses that denounce idol worship. And because Buddha never described God nor did he ask his followers to worship God or to worship him (Buddha). Please see the footnotes for quotations and references.
10. Hindus, who worship Ganapati, keep the statue of this Hindu god in their house for about ten days during the 'Ganapati season or festival' and later – later they themselves with their own hands throw these idols into the dirty water of lakes, rivers, ocean-fronts and water tanks. On being submerged in water, these idols break and fall apart. By merely labeling this act as 'immersion' does not change the fact that these idols are disposed off by throwing them in water. The worshippers of the Hindu goddess Durga do a similar thing at the time of the Durga Puja in West Bengal.
11. When cocaine is seized from smugglers and drug peddlers, the entire quantity of cocaine is burnt and destroyed even if it is worth millions of dollars in the market. Because cocaine is harmful for humans. So are statues and idols. Hence they are to be destroyed irrespective of the so called 'cultural and heritage value'. Only when gold is seized, it is recycled because it has value.
12. When communism fell in the Soviet Union, huge and prominent statues of Lenin and Stalin were demolished. Why were they not a part of the 'great world heritage'?
13. When the government changes hands from one political party to another in any state of India, portraits and photo frames of political leaders are changed overnight on the basis of political affiliation.
14. Some Hindus may ask, "How would it feel if Hindus were to destroy mosques in India?" Firstly, India is a democratic and secular country. Even if it were a Hindu state, no Hindu scripture says that any place of worship or any object of worship should be demolished. Places of worship are distinct from objects of worship. Muslims do not have any objects of worship. Muslims worship Almighty God alone. When Muslims do not have any 'object of worship', where does the question of demolishing their 'object of worship' arise?
The Prophet Muhammad stated, "All the earth is a masjid except graveyards and toilets." Sunan Abu Daawood, English, Vol. 1, pg. 125, no. 492; also reported by at-Tirmidhee and Ibn Maajah.
15. Only the Creator is worthy of worship and obedience and not His Creation. So all objects of worship need to be demolished whenever the appropriate opportunity arises.
16. One of the Islamic countries that has for several years been boldly and publicly prohibiting the worship of idols and statues in its territory as well as entry of statues and idols into its country is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. We appreciate this country for its bold and uncompromising stand on this issue. We are happy that the Taliban are following suit.
17. Smoking is bad for the physical health of humans. Hence smoking is now banned in public places in several countries. Islam forbids smoking. Similarly, statues and idols are bad for the spiritual and mental health of humans. The Taliban are removing statues from public places.
Please note that the Ka'bah in Makkah is not an object of worship as misunderstood by many non-Muslims. Look at its shape. It is a cubical structure and not an idol or a statue. The Ka'bah is for providing a sense of direction to all Muslims in their worship of the One True God.
The Taliban are doing an act appreciated in Islam. An act recommended by Islam. Why are Muslims afraid of 'repercussions'? In Allaah let the believers put their trust. He is the best to Help and the best to Protect. Those afraid of repercussions need to get their priorities right and need to refresh their Eemaan by reflecting on what the Qur'ân says in 9:24
Muslims need to stand up for truth, speak the truth and be witnesses to the truth. Truth is what the Qur'ân states and what the Prophet has recommended – truth is not shaped by personal opinions of 'intellectuals' and politicians or by world opinion.
The big outcry is but a part of a continuous struggle between:
Revealed religion V/s Mythology, fairy tales, folklore and man-made religions Truth V/s Falsehood Worship of the Creator V/s Worship of the Created, of Creatures and of figments of imagination The Religion of Truth V/s Deviations from Truth Tawheed Shirk
(A) Consider the following verse from the Bhagwad Gita:
"Those whose intelligence has been stolen by material desires surrender unto demigods and follow the particular rules and regulations of worship according to their own natures." [Bhagavad Gita 7:20]
(B) The following verse from the Upanishad alludes to the inability of man to imagine God in a particular form:
"Na samdrse tisthati rupam asya, na caksusa pasyati kas canainam."
"His form is not to be seen; no one sees Him with the eye." [Svetasvatara Upanishad 4:20]
(C) The following verses from the Yajurveda echo a similar concept of God:
i) "na tasya pratima asti"
"There is no image of Him." [Yajurveda 32:3]
ii) "shudhama poapvidham"
"He is bodiless and pure." [Yajurveda 40:8]
iii) "Andhatama pravishanti ye asambhuti mupaste"
"They enter darkness, those who worship the natural elements" (Air, Water, Fire, etc.). "They sink deeper in darkness, those who worship sambhuti." [Yajurveda 40:9]
Sambhuti means created things, for example table, chair, idol, etc.
(D) The Brahma Sutra of Hinduism is:
"Ekam Brahm, dvitiya naste neh na naste kinchan"
"There is only one God, not the second; not at all, not at all, not in the least bit."
TEACHINGS OF BUDDHA:
The principal teachings of Gautama Buddha can be summarised in what the Buddhists call the 'Four Noble Truths':
First – There is suffering and misery in life.
Second– The cause of this suffering and misery is desire.
Third – Suffering and misery can be removed by removing desire.
Fourth – Desire can be removed by following the Eight Fold Path.
ABSENCE OF THE CONCEPT OF GOD IN BUDDHISM
Buddha was silent about the existence or non-existence of God. Buddhism provided Dhamma or the 'impersonal law' in place of God. Many scholars consider the evolution of the concept of Buddha as a god or as an object of worship within Buddhism as an effect of Hinduism.
BUDDHAS ARE ONLY PREACHERS:
According to the Dhammapada, Sacred Books of East volume 10 pg., 67:
"The Jathagatas (Buddhas) are only Preachers."
This confirms the age-old tendency amongst humans to deify and worship those human beings who have been preachers and reformers. Gautam Buddha never claimed to be God nor did he ask or instruct that he should be worshipped in any way or form.
-- copy (firstname.lastname@example.org), July 28, 2002