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DKBO not Buddhist Army

Buddhist Relief Mission 
DATE:May 14, 1995
Subject:The DKBA as anti-Buddhist 

Why the DKBA is not a Buddhist Army

     Many must be wondering about the
incongruity of an aggressive and violent
"Buddhist" faction terrorizing Karen refugees
along the Thai Burma border.  They are right to be
perplexed.  The militant Democratic Kayin
Buddhist Organization (DKBO) also calls itself 
the Democratic Kayin Buddhist Army (DKBA),
which gives it the deplorable distinction of being
the first army in history that has dared call itself
Buddhist.  Buddhism, which preaches non-harming of living beings, has never sp
read by
means of the sword.  For Buddhism there is no
righteous anger, let alone a righteous war, so a
Buddhist army is a blatant contradiction.  
     The DKBO's SLORC masters are also
ostentatious in their claims to be Buddhist.  It must
not be forgotten, however, that hundreds of
Buddhist monks were killed along with thousands
of civilians in the suppression of the 1988
democracy movement in which the Sangha played
a leading part.  The courageous decision of
respected senior monks in 1990 to declare a
boycott of the SLORC should also be recalled.  In
that formal act of the Sangha, they agreed to
"overturn the bowl," by refusing to accept alms
from SLORC members or to solemnize their
funerals.  SLORC retaliated swiftly and brutally,
by raiding monasteries and arresting, imprisoning,
disrobing, and torturing hundreds of good monks.
     After playing a key role in the fall of KNU
headquarters last January, the so-called DKBA
began a terrorist campaign against Karen refugees. 
They have abducted both Buddhist and Christian
Karens from camps on Thai soil, burned thousands
of Karen refugee houses, and harassed and
threatened the 74,000 Karen refugees.  Thai border
police, ordinary Thai citizens, and Karen refugees--Christian, Buddhist and an
imist alike--have died at
the hands of the DKBA.
     Several monks are said to be "spiritual"
leaders of this group.  U Thuzana has played a
major role in attracting people to the DKBA and
actually gives orders to DKBA commanders.  One
of his deputies, a monk named U Yanika, has been
quoted as saying "Tons of the weapons belonging
to the KNU are hidden inside the refugee camps
inside Thailand. We want those weapons, and if
the Thai army cannot give them to us, we will go
and get them ourselves."  In an interview with the
Nation newspaper, U Yanika admitted that the
raids were intended to force the refugees to return
to Burma, and he threatened more violence unless
all the Karen refugees return to SLORC controlled
Burma before the onset of rainy season.
     How can these monks advocate violence and
still be monks?  According to the Buddhist
Monastic Code, they cannot.  The Patimokkha is
quite clear: "Should any bhikkhu purposely deprive
a human being of life or provide him with a life-taking weapon or recommend ad
vantages in death
or encourage him to kill himself, then he is
defeated and no more in communion also."
     To deprive a human being of life means to
cut off the continuity or to bring an end to its life in
various ways:  killing by direct contact, killing at a
distance, arranging something to kill, killing using
magical knowledge or supernatural power or by
commanding.  This last point would be the most
relevant to the DKBA.   Commanding means
telling another person to do something that will
result in death.  This is the broadest of the
categories and can include recommendations and
the use of one's rhetorical powers to inspire the
death of a person without giving any express
commands.  The commentaries explain that, if a 
bhikkhu were to tell people, "In such and such a
place a bandit is staying.  Whoever cuts off  his
head will receive great honor from the King," and
if any of the bhikkhu's listeners were to kill as a
result of his instigation, the bhikkhu would incur a
parajika, or defeat.  Parajika means that the monk
has defeated the very purpose of his having become
a bhikkhu in the first place.  The irrevocable nature
of this defeat is illustrated by a number of similes. 
A monk who is defeated is like a man with his
head cut off, a withered leaf freed from its stem, a
flat stone broken in half that cannot be put together
again, a palm tree cut off at the crown and thus
incapable of further growth.  A bhikkhu who
commits any of the four parajika offenses (sexual
intercourse, stealing, murder, and claiming to be
enlightened)  severs himself irrevocably from the
life of the community and is no longer considered a
bhikkhu.   The monk who has intentionally
deprived a human being of life is not a true recluse,
not a true son of the Sakyans, and is, therefore,
     The rules of conduct for Buddhist monks are
detailed, careful, and strict.  The Buddha laid down
the rules for good and compassionate reasons.  The
training rules were formulated with ten aims in
mind: the excellence of the Community, the peace
of the Community, the curbing of the shameless,
the comfort of well-behaved monks, the restraint of
defilements related to the present life, the
prevention of defilements related to the next life,
the arousing of faith in the faithless, the increase of
the faithful, the establishment of the true Dhamma,
and the fostering of discipline.  A raging pseudo-Buddhist army led by monks i
s an outrage and
violates every one of these principles.
     There is a straightforward code of morality
for Buddhist laypeople, the minimum being the
five precepts--not taking life, not taking what is not
given, not committing adultery, not telling lies, and
not taking intoxicating substances.  Lay people are
prohibited from engaging in five kinds of wrong
livelihood; viz., trading in weapons, dealing in
human beings, trading in animals to be killed for
food, dealing in liquor, and trading in poison.  The
conduct of monks surely cannot be less ethnical!  It
is unthinkable for Buddhist monks to be involved
in stealing weapons, kidnaping, and murder!
     No matter what the DKBA call themselves,
they are not a "Buddhist" army. Though the leaders
wear robes, they cannot be regarded as Buddhist
monks; they have forfeited that privilege.  The
basic principles common to the teaching of all the
Buddhas are the avoidance of all evil, the
performance of what is wholesome, and the
purification of one's mind.   The DKBO and their
SLORC masters are "Adhamma", the antithesis of
Dhamma, and, they are, in truth, the enemies of the
Buddha Sasana.