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Malaysia's Chief Monk Brand US Attacks "Heartless and Mindless"
The Buddhist News Bureau, September 13, 2001

Kuala Lumpur -- The Buddhist Chief High Venerable of Malaysia and Singapore, Mahanayaka Thera Ven. Dr K Sri Dhammananda has branded the terrorist attacks in New York and Washington DC as acts of "heartless and mindless" individuals.

His comments come in the aftermath of the worst terrorist attacks in recent memory where commercial aircrafts - laden with passengers - hijacked simultaenously from three US airports were driven and plunged into heavily populated buildings during morning rush hour yesterday, American eastern board time. It is estimated that tens of thousands of lives, mainly working civilians, have perished in the attacks.

In his exclusive interview with the Buddhist News Network (BNN) - made via telephone just this morning - Ven. Dhammananda made it clear that he is not in a position to make any religious comments on the terrorist acts as it is more of a political issue. However, he has categorily stated that "no sane mind, religious or otherwise, would contemplate on such cruelty to kill so many innocent people."

He firmly maintained that the perpetrators"... have no compassion, no virtues and takes advantage the name of a religion to justify their barbaric acts." "You can question," he adds, "what sort of mind these people have developed. How far have they come to develop such cruelty where so many innocent people have died for nothing?

While the Venerable acknowledges the anger and suffering the American public is going through, he has cautioned on the use of force by the American authorities as revenge. "As we condemn the heartless and mindless actions of certain individuals, we must be mindful that any act of retribution and retaliation will in time invite more attacks. The American authorities must learn to overcome this problem by taking all precaution to sift out the perpetrators without hurting other innocent people."

"The Buddha says 'Hatred will not be overcome with hatred (Dhammapada V.5). If we were to fight hatred with anger, there will be no stop to this vicious cycle," he warns.

While the world continues to be in shock over the audacious attacks, Ven Dhammananda urges the Buddhist communities to offer puja and to radiate metta or loving kindness to all departed ones as well as those still in suffering (physical or otherwise).

"In the spirit of common humanity, Buddhists can give moral and spiritual support to all those who have suffered directly and indirectly by radiating their metta or living kindness. Regardless of traditions, we can all do this today. By doing so, we transfer our merits to those who have departed," says the Venerable.

In another apparent development, the Dalai Lama has sent a condolence message to US President George W Bush, extending sympathies from the world's Buddhist community to the American people of this unnecessary suffering.


Updated: 13-9-2001

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