Sunday, September 30, 2007

Burma & The Weeping Buddha

Known variously as The Humble Buddha, The Praying Buddha, The Sleeping Buddha, and The Weeping Buddha, this carving resides on the coffee table in my living room. He has been there for as long as I have lived in this house. Before that, he resided in the “meditation sanctuary” of the apartment in which I lived.

At times when I have mediated in his presence he has been humble and compassionate; at other times he has prayed with me; we have even slumbered in each other’s presence. But now when I sit with him, he weeps—and he has much for which to weep.

In the land of Myanmar, once known (and by many still known) as Burma, monks who are called by his name are being brutalized and killed. Their monasteries are surrounded by soldiers and armored war vehicles. The people of the land are being slain and crushed. And the Buddha weeps.

Blood soaked sandals are seen on a street following a shooting by soldiers during a protest in downtown Rangoon, Burma on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2007. (The Mandalay Gazette)

Perhaps you have heard the story; perhaps you have not. Either way, I invite you to read the words of Praying For Better Burma. She tells of the people's desire and hope for liberty, of the peaceful protests, of the arrests of leaders, of the oppression, as the military junta stomps out opposition and attempts to destroy the people's longing for freedom. And the Buddha weeps.

As I was searching for the latest developments of the current plight of the Burmese people, I came across these words, attributed to an anonymous Burmese:

He weeps for our country! Courage is waning. Fear prevails. Intolerance grows. Innocent children die in the womb. There is no shame. Our country dies.

And the Buddha weeps. And many of us around the world also weep, and pray, and act.

Amnesty International on Burma: Join the Protest


  1. I could never understand why such peaceful loving people could be so brutalized.

  2. Myanmar exports petroleum and natural gas, and that makes this regime bulletproof.

    Unless the big oil companies decide that it's immoral to prop up a murderous regime just to make money- and I'm not holding my breath here- I'm afraid nothing is going to change.

  3. Hi Nick ~~ A very sad situation in Burma, with not much chance of settling it, if oil and gas are behind the violence. It breaks your heart to hear about it and one feels so helpless. Take care Nick, Kind regards, Merle.

  4. Horror.

    Years ago, when I lived in Asheville, NC, I passed the window of a fancy import store that stocked artifacts from India, Tibet and Nepal that featured this buddha. The statue was HUGE and at the base was a simple sign: Grief. I remember the sense of being frozen in place and staring at that buddha for what must have been a very long time. I can still see it in my mind's eye. "Perfect," is what I thought and felt, "absolutely perfect."


    Letting go.
    What a bitch at times.

    There are no words for the pain I feel about the slaughter of monks carrying signs about peace. They are braver and stronger souls than I am. Their conviction and willingness to stand transcends inspiration. It is most humbling.

    Thank you for posting this piece.


  5. thank you

    May all beings everywhere plagued
    with sufferings of body and mind
    quickly be freed from their illnesses.
    May those frightened cease to be afraid,
    and may those bound be free.
    May the powerless find power,
    and may people think of befriending
    one another.
    May those who find themselves in trackless,
    fearful wilderness--
    the children, the aged, the unprotected--
    be guarded by beneficent celestials,
    and may they swiftly attain Buddhahood.

  6. I come away from this post enlightened concerning the weeping buddha, as my posts this morning focused on pain and and our response to it . . .

    I also come away saddened. The spiritual, non-violent approach to tyranny is a tough row to hoe . . .


    He has, also, translated into Portuguese the Wealth of Mations by Adam Smith.

    He has been awarded several prizes.

    Don't forget the name of this great author, you'll be hearing of him soon.

  8. Free Burma!
    International Bloggers' Day for Burma on the 4th of October

    International bloggers are preparing an action to support the peaceful revolution in Burma. We want to set a sign for freedom and show our sympathy for these people who are fighting their cruel regime without weapons. These Bloggers are planning to refrain from posting to their blogs on October 4 and just put up one Banner then, underlined with the words „Free Burma!“.

  9. A very dear friend of mine is from Burma although she lives in England now...thank goodness.

    I was appalled at the brutality and murderous rage vented on the Buddhist monks. Typical ungodly bully boy tactics...I hope peace and justice prevail.

  10. This is excellent. Bless you.

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