The Essence Of Spirituality!

Spirituality encompasses every aspect of righteousness in itself. That’s how I see it. It is the pursuit for the sacred; it is the comprehension of humankind and the sharing of love. When Lex* asked me to write a guest post for him, he asked me whether I was religious. My beliefs in humanity and not the distinction of human beings on the basis of their religion prompted me to answer: ‘No. I guess I am spiritual.’ The idea of spirituality led me towards the teachings of Buddhism; the most peaceable faith that subsists in this myriad of cultures and devotion.

Buddhist spirituality is concerned with the end of suffering through the enlightened understanding of reality. It emphasizes on the inspiration of bringing an end to hatred by love.

Verse 129 of the Dhammapada says:

All tremble at violence; all fear death.
Putting oneself in the place of another,
One should not kill nor cause another to kill.

However, the condition of the Muslims in Myanmar makes me speculate on the realism of people who assert on devout wisdom and walk towards the path of spirituality to attain Nirvana. When a common man first glances at a Buddhist monk, he relates him with an icon of peace. Peace comes from accepting every human, every flaw as willfully as one accepts bliss and compassion. Peace cannot be attained when religious convictions, terror, revulsion and bloodshed overshadow the verity of humanity. The Muslims of Myanmar, generally termed as the Rohingyas have been dealing with their ‘genocide’ brought about by the Buddhist majority of the country. The riots are a result of several small incidents but the chief basis for the dispute is the contempt of the Buddhists towards the Muslim minority.

A Muslim apparently rapes a Buddhist girl and the riots break out. There is a small barter between the shopkeeper and a Buddhist customer in a Muslim gold shop and their houses are burnt. A Rohingya girl bumps into a Buddhist monk on the street and the community has to endure severe brutality. There is a woman who fled Burma with her husband and grandchildren months ago and awaits her only son left behind in the turmoil. There is a little girl who gazes at her father’s burnt corpse and doesn’t quite understand what his fault was. There are hundreds of landless people who cannot call any country their own because the land where they were born and resided in for decades denies their existence. There are a large number of sufferers who have left their homes, their businesses, even parts of their families to getaway from the sadism that has already killed approximately 650 members of their community. The Rohingyas do not have the provision to education and healthcare. They are not entitled to the rights enjoyed by other Burmese citizens. What’s more is that they are made to pay heavy taxes in case they desire to get married so as to reduce the number of alliances and control their populace. The government has also passed a ‘Two Child Policy’ for them according to which they are permitted to bear a maximum of two children. The President of Burma, Thein Sein, has explicitly declared that he doesn’t consider the Rohingyas as a fraction of his nation. The United Nations and International Humanitarian groups are yet to stop this genocide which is on its path to malign the very essence of humanity.

The monk, U Wirathu, who is revolutionizing and influencing the wider Buddhist groups, is called ‘The Bin Laden of Burma’. The assaults, regulations, carnage and atrocities against the Muslim minority are termed as the process of ‘purifying’ and ‘cleansing’ the nation. He has been trying to implicate that this minority is a threat to their country because Islam is the faith of terrorism; even though the Rohingyas have not done a thing that portrays radical conduct. His idea of morality on the basis of the birth of a human being nudged me back to reading what Lord Buddha wished to preach.

“Purity or impurity depends on oneself,
No one can purify another.”

― Gautam Buddha

There is a Buddhist monk swathed in a saffron robe, exhibiting a shaven head and a benevolent smile. He symbolizes serenity but unswervingly spends hours contemplating his next move to kill more people who do not belong to his faith. There are children who live in the monasteries and are taught to love mankind but to detest the Rohingyas. They are unsure of the connotation that the world ‘mankind’ represents. There are hundreds of Burmese natives who hope to lend a hand to the agonizing minority but fear a backlash from their own community.

I do not associate holiness to the ruthlessness taking place in one realm of the world. They say it is ‘the end of suffering through the enlightened understanding of reality’. Are we there, yet?

For spirituality is evident in how you act, how you converse, how you treat human race and the path you take not the path you preach. Spirituality is not your dedication towards your religion or God but the commitment you have towards mankind which is the manifestation of the deity you worship. For spirituality is what inspires you to give life and not to snatch it away.


Picture By: Sajjad Ali, The Hindu

* I wrote this post originally for Lex Allen, the author of The Imagine trilogy. You can have a look at the same here

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