Death does not discriminate. But in life, discrimination is rife and all-pervading. It permeates all walks of our lives: birth, education, work and all social aspects.
In most global, regional and local conflicts, religion is the most potent discriminatory tool being used by all involved to further their aims.
Be they the radical Islamists, belonging to various sects (Sunni/Shia) and organisations (Al-Qaeda) or the Christian fundamentalists (ultra-orthodox evangelical churches, especially in the U.S.) or the Hindu radical fringe groups (like the Ram Sena), they all have centred their ideology on the religion they claim to profess and protect.
While no religion preaches violence, Buddhism stands apart in one major aspect: non-violence is the foundation of its tenets. Non-violence, especially compassion and tolerance toward all living beings, is the cornerstone of Buddhism.
But then why are the peace-loving Buddhist monks leading violent mobs against Muslims in Sri Lanka and Myanmar? Aren’t Buddhist monks meant to be the good guys of religion, asks the BBC Magazine.
Aggressive thoughts are inimical to all Buddhist teachings. Buddhism even comes equipped with a practical way to eliminate them. Through meditation the distinction between your feelings and those of others should begin to dissolve, while your compassion for all living things grows.
Of course, there is a strong strain of pacifism in Christian teachings too: "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you," were the words of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount.
But however any religion starts out, sooner or later it enters into a Faustian pact with state power.
Christian crusaders, Islamist militants, or the leaders of "freedom-loving nations", all justify what they see as necessary violence in the name of a higher good. Buddhist rulers and monks have been no exception.
If you wish to know the story behind the violence between the Buddhists and Muslims in Myanmar, then click here (links to The Nation news site).