Bodh Gaya bombing is a warning, says Buddhist leader

By Mohd Asim Khan, Kathmandu, Dec 15 : The foremost leader of a Buddhist sect says the Bodh Gaya bombing in India "is a kind of warning" and Buddhists around the world will have to be careful.

"Bodh Gaya bombing is a kind of warning, a lesson. It's an alarm," said Gyalwang Drukpa, who heads the Drukpa sect of Buddhism with wide following in Tibet, Bhutan and northern India among others.

"We as Buddhists have to be careful. We should not be naughty. Not to be violent," the India-born monk, who counts the Dalai Lama as one of his gurus, told IANS here.

A series of 10 bombs went off in quick succession July 7 at Bodh Gaya in Bihar (where Lord Buddha attained enlightenment), injuring two visitors but creating a major scare.

The Gyalwang, whose real name is Jigme Pema Wangchen, is the 12th in the list of lineage holders. He spoke on attacks on Buddhists and the clashes between Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar.

"This is for the first time I am hearing about Buddhist violence," he said of the Myanmar situation. "That's the last thing you want to hear as a Buddhist."

But he appeared to hint that Buddhists may be retaliating in Myanmar after coming under attack in various places including Afghanistan.

"If you have a naughty child, you'll have to hit him a little to make him behave. But you don't want to kill your son," he said. "Maybe it's a skilful method. What to do?"

At the same time, he added that Buddhism cannot accept violence.

The Druk Amitabha nunnery

"That's for sure. But we will have to make them understand," he said, referring to Muslims by name. "We'll have to knock on their door. 'Hey, I too am a human being'."

He said the Bodh Gaya blasts were not a surprise because Buddhists usually looked the other way in violent situations.

"In Afghanistan, Lord Buddha was bombed," the Gyalwang Drukpa said of the March 2001 Taliban bombing of the Bamiyan Buddha, a sacrilege which evoked global condemnation.

"It was so antique and so blessed and it was bombed. And what did we Buddhists do? Nothing. We Buddhists did nothing. I mean we could have done something in the UN... We are harmless."

The Gyalwang Drukpa said it was high time other communities respected Buddhists for what they are.

"You should also understand to respect Buddhist people. You can't say we don't respect you, we'll demolish your Buddha, we'll kill your people...

"You can't say that. You have to be fair... Non-violence is my principle. But you have to respect me. (There has to be) mutual respect. That is the law of nature."

The Drukpa chief said he was trying to turn his nunnery in the Nepal capital into a plastic-free zone. "We find people littering in the monastery."

(Asim Khan can be contacted at

--IANS (Posted on 15-12-2013)

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