Absolute Divisiveness, From Politics To Religion

Absolute Divisiveness, From Politics To Religion

Absolute Divisiveness, From Politics To Religion

Increasingly, we are divided over everything from politics to religion with not a single unifier in sight and as we keep fighting, the world is moving forward and leaving us behind.

Politically, we have been divided for a long time, giving PM Prayuth Chan-o-cha and the military an opportunity to stage a coup in 2014 as the person to bring back stability and unity. In the 2017 elections that was the promise - “If you want stability, then Prayuth is the one”.

Seven years later, PM Prayuth is still the one, but the country is divided beyond recognition.

The second promise that everybody will be listened to, while pride, recognition and respect from the international community will be in our hands, did not materialize either.

In PM Prayuth’s term we have gone from being recognized as a democracy to being in no mans land. Neither here nor there.

How did we get here? 

Intolerance towards differing voices and opinions have been silenced one by one, from protestors, core leaders, threat of action against opposing parties and control of media.

It’s only normal that when people are not listened to, they raise their voice and then they scream louder and the dividing line in the sand becomes wider and more permanent.

The government’ “strongman”stance of being firmly against any change to the status quo has made “change” a divisive concept.

One group’s determination for change at all cost and the other group’s hold on the old ways for dear life resulted in borderline hatred for one another. 

The paranoia around change is palpable and one has just to look at the case of the two monks, Phra Maha Paiwan Warawanno and Phra Maha Sompong Talaputto, who shot to fame amongst youngsters with their unorthodox way of preaching, which resembles more of a comedy show peppered with Buddhist messages hidden in between.

The point here is not about the inappropriateness or not of such sermons but under normal circumstances would it have created such an uproar in Thai society? Even creating a political slant to it?

Recently, a known pro-government online channel decided to throw accusations at Phra Maha Paiwan Warawanno insinuating, without proof that he has accumulated over 300 million baht and will be more than OK when he leaves monk hood. The monk retaliated with filing a suit against the channel, which then resulted in the channel retracting and apologizing.

The monks reply is classic and shows he truly and deeply understands the teachings of the Buddha in its essence. He said, that with the apology he has one request and that is to hate him a little less so that there will be something left for some good feeling towards each other in the future.

It’s a pity that we are losing such a monk once he leaves monk hood, a monk that has such a deep understanding of Buddhism to be able to turn the younger generation and make them absorb the teachings without feeling that they are doing so.

It should be noted that Buddha taught over 8,000 different ways to reach enlightenment and it was recorded that he had a different method for each individual from sinners to the righteous and from the poor to the wealthy. 

Buddha’s core teaching is not about trappings and trimmings of a religion but more about the conquering of the “mind” and that no two minds are alike. Therefore, he always asked his disciples to find their own way and to test each teaching themselves. 

Under masters like Phra Maha Paiwan and Phra Maha Sompong , Buddhism in Thailand would change yes, but it would have have been more inclusive and continued to thrive into the next generation.

Written By - Patra Manas.