In a short but optimistic article ‘Solution to Myanmar Violence Lies in Local Community, Experts Say’ Rachel Vandenbrink reports that there are movemnts within the Burmese Buddhist Sangha opposing the 969 movement.
Quoting the opinions of Susan Hayward, a program officer at the U.S. Institute of Peace, Vandenbrink writes:
‘Monks in Yangon, Bago, and Mandalay have been using Buddhist doctrine to challenge pro-969 movement monks and question their anti-Islamic messages within the tradition of monastic debate[…]
Others have been working with interfaith groups to mediate tensions between local Buddhist and Muslim communities, and have joined in campaigns against hate speech.
During riots in central Myanmar last year, some Buddhist monks reportedly opened their monasteries to shelter Muslims and staved off mobs coming to attack them.’
It will be interesting to see how this opposing movement uses Buddhist doctrines to counter racist and Islamophobic opinions, and which other Buddhist ideas are brought into play. In fact, what shape will a Sangha led counter movement to the popular 969 movemnt take? Any such movement must be seen to be supporting the nation, or at least, not to run counter to it. It must overcome tensions and fears, and, as is quite clear, put the Buddha’s ethical and philosophical teachings at the centre of its message. It will need to place ‘loving-kindness’ (metta) at its centre as opposed to the ‘hatred’ (dosa) of the 969 movement.