Cái Chết Của Một Tôn Giáo - Duyên Sinh
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CÁI CHẾT CỦA MỘT TÔN GIÁO LỚN
(Tùy Nghi Phổ Biến Rộng Rãi)
Đức Phật Thích Ca khi còn tại thế, ngài thường khuyên dạy các môn đệ của ngài hãy thực tập bình thản trước sự sinh tồn và hoại diệt. Ngài từng dạy rằng các pháp hữu vi nào cũng vậy, nếu đã có sinh thì phải có diệt. Đạo Phật là một pháp hữu vi, nên đạo Phật cũng được sinh ra và cũng sẽ bị hoại diệt. Ngài từng nói nếu người Phật tử biết gìn giữa và hành trì giới luật của đạo Phật một cách tinh nghiêm, thì sự tồn tại của đạo Phật có thể kéo dài cho tới vài trăm năm, hoặc vài ngàn năm sau. Nhưng tới một lúc nào đó, đạo Phật cũng sẽ bị hoại diệt.
Đức Phật cũng từng dạy các môn đệ của ngài về con sư tử. Ngài nói : “Con sư tử là chúa sơn lâm. Không có một con thú rừng nào có đủ khả năng giết được con sư tử. Chỉ có những con trùng độc rất nhỏ, mắt trần không thể trông thấy, đang sống trong cơ thể của con sư tử, mới có thể giết được con sư tử. Chỉ có những con trùng rất nhỏ này, một ngày nào đó, nó sẽ đục thủng xuyên thấu tim, gan của con sư tử, và con sư tử sẽ ngã ra chết vì những con trùng độc ở ngay trong thân thể của nó.”
Đức Phật cũng từng dạy các môn đệ của ngài về ba cái rất nhỏ nhưng người ta không nên khinh thường. Đó là một con rắn con, một đóm lữa hồng, và một hoàng tử bé. Một con rắn con có thể cắn chết người chỉ trong chốc lát ; một đóm lửa hồng có thể thiêu ruội cả một khu rừng ; và một nhà hoàng tử bé thể trở thành một ông vua quyền thế. Là một người khôn ngoan, người ấy không nên khinh thường một con rắn con, một đóm lửa hồng, và một hoàng tử bé.
Lý luận cho rằng một tôn giáo, mà tôn giáo đó đã trở thành cực lớn trên thế giới, sẽ sống mãi với nhân loại. Lý luận này không còn đứng vững. Như một con sư tử chúa sơn lâm, tôn giáo cực lớn đó, trước sau gì cũng sẽ bị hoại diệt do chính những người ở bên trong của tôn giáo đó, những người đang sống chui rút trong cơ thể của tôn giáo lớn đó, sẽ đụt thủng thấu tận tim gan của chính tôn giáo đó, và tôn giáo đó sẽ ngã ra chết, giống như những con trùng độc đã đục thủng tim gan của con sư tử.
Hơn nữa, tôn giáo lớn cũng sẽ tự giết bằng cách dung dưỡng những người đang đục đẻo bên trong cơ thể của tôn giáo đó. Họ đang dung dưỡng một con rắn con có khả năng cắn chết người; họ đang dung dưỡng một đóm lửa hồng có khả năng thiêu ruội cả một khu rung ; và họ cũng đang dung dưỡng một hoàng tử bé có khả năng trở thành một Thành Cát Tư Hãn, cày nát tôn giáo của chính họ.
Thế kỷ 21, con người đã có thể mở to đôi mắt để thấy rõ thế nào là giã dối, là chân thật. Những hành động vu khống, chụp mũ, mạ lỵ Phật giáo bằng cách bẻ cong lịch sử, của tàn dư “Cần Lao Ca-Tô Rô-Ma Giáo” của Ngô Đình Diệm và tàn dư “Cần Lao Ca-Tô Rô-Ma Giáo Cuối Mùa” của Nguyễn Văn Thiệu có che lấp được sự ô nhục của họ hay không ? Hay họ chính là những con trùng độc đang làm băng hoại giáo hội Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo ? Đang làm băng hoại tòa thánh La Mã ? Giáo hội Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo và tòa thánh La Mã có thấy được đây là những con trùng độc ở bên trong cơ thể của giáo hội Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo ? Và bên trong cơ thể của tòa thánh La Mã ? Nếu những con trùng độc này không được trừ khử, nó có thể đục thủng tim gan của giáo hội và tim gan của tòa thánh La Mã.
Nếu tàn dư “Cần Lao Ca-Tô Rô-Ma Giáo” của Ngô Đình Diệm, và tàn dư “Cần Lao Ca-Tô Rô-Ma Giáo Cuối Mùa” của Nguyễn Văn Thiệu không đánh phá Phật giáo, thì có lẽ người Phật tử Việt Nam sẽ không bao giờ nói động tới giáo hội Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo, không bao giờ nói động tới tòa thánh La Mã. Tuy nhiên với sự tiếp tục gây hấn của những kẻ đã từng làm tay sai cho giặc, đã gần một trăm năm bán đứng Việt Nam cho thực dân Pháp, giờ đây lại còn tham vọng tạo ra chút danh dự xảo trá bằng cách vu khống, mạ lỵ, và bẻ cong lịch sử, thì họ chỉ là những con người tán tận lương tâm, họ không xứng đáng làm một con người bình thường. Họ chỉ xứng đáng làm tay sai cho thực dân Pháp để nhận lảnh nguyền rủa đời đời kiếp kiếp của người Việt mà thôi.
Những tội ác mà người Ca-Tô Rô-Ma Giáo đã làm tại châu Mỹ vẫn còn đầy dẫy trên sách vở. Nhiều bộ tộc Da Đỏ gần như bị diệt chủng. Người Da Đỏ Nam Mỹ, nếu muốn được nhìn nhận là “loài người,” thì phải cải đạo thành người đạo “Thiên Chúa” (Indians had to be Christian before they could even be considered human…). Tại trung và nam Mỹ, Requerimiento, một quan chức Tây Ban Nha, ban hành một tuyên bố chính thức buộc thổ dân Nam Mỹ địa phương phải chọn một trong ba ép buộc: Thứ nhất là cải đạo thành người Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo; thứ hai là bị bắt làm nô lệ; thứ ba là bị hành quyết. Requerimiento đưa ra một biện minh tôn giáo viện lý do thổ dân Da Đỏ từ chối quyền lực của Tây Ban Nha và Bồ Đào Nha, do Giáo Hoàng La Mã ban ra. Chống cãi đạo là “Kẻ thù của Chúa Kitô.”
Bishop Zumarraga, một giám mục đầu tiên tại Mexico, đốt phá và huỹ diệt toàn bộ thư viện “Mayans’ Texaco Library,” và gọi đó là thư viện ma quỷ (the Devil’s work). Năm 1531, vị linh mục này diễn tả chính ông đã chỉ huy các con chiên phá huỹ hoàn toàn khoảng 500 ngôi đền và 20000 pho tượng của người Mayan. Năm 1562, Giám mục Bishop Diego de Landa đốt một thư viện khổng lồ khác của người Mayan là thư viện “Yucatan’s Grand Libray.” Đây chỉ là nền văn minh Mayan. Khắp nơi khác tại Châu Mỹ, nhiều vụ đập phá luôn xảy ra. Năm 1570, toà án dị giáo được thành lập tại Peru và thành phố Mexico. Người bản địa không chịu cãi đạo ra Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo, sẽ bị thiêu sống như người dị giáo. Thiêu sống còn lan tràn tới các nước khác như Goa và Ấn Độ. Đầu thế kỷ 17th, có hơn 3800 người bị thiêu sống. Các nhà truyền giáo đạo Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo luôn bám chặt niềm tin duy nhất Thiên Chúa là đấng tối cao. Nếu nơi nào không có hình ảnh Thiên Chúa, người ở nơi đó đã thờ ma thờ quỷ. Sở dĩ các nhà truyền giáo Bồ Đào Nha và Tây Ban Nha đập phá chùa Phật giáo tại Viễn Đông, là do ý niệm này.
Năm 1492, người Châu Âu mới tới Châu Mỹ, nói người thổ dân Da Đỏ Châu Mỹ không có hồn. Họ là con vật giống con người. Vì vậy, họ có thể bị săn bắn giống như con thú. Năm 1530, Giáo Hoàng tuyên bố người Da Đỏ có hồn, nhưng muốn được chấp nhận làm con người, họ phải vô đạo Thiên Chúa. Khi người Da Đỏ từ chối, họ bị ép bằng vũ lực. Mặc dù có sự thay đổi tình trạng từ súc vật ra con người, trên thực tế, hoàn cảnh của họ thay đổi rất ít. Đạo Thiên Chúa cũng không dung nạp cách sinh sống của người dân bản địa : “Chief Hatuey dẫn một số người đi trốn nhưng bị bắt và bị thiêu sống. Khi họ trói Hatuey vào một cái cọc, một họ đạo dòng Franciscan kêu gọi Hatuey hãy mang chúa Jesus vào trong trái tim, để sau khi chết, có thể lên thiên đàng, thay vì đi xuống địa ngục.” Hatuey trả lời : “Nếu thiên đàng là nơi mà người đạo Thiên Chúa chọn để tới sau khi chết, thì tôi phải chọn xuống địa ngục !..”
Sự tàn phá của người Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo tại châu Mỹ là một con số khủng khiếp. Trước khi người châu Âu tới châu Mỹ : Dân Western Abenaki tại Hampshire và Vermont được khoảng 12000 người ; 50 năm sau, còn lại 250 người (giảm 98%). Dân Pocumtuck được khoảng 18000 người ; 50 năm sau, còn lại 920 người (giảm 95%). Dân Massachusetts được khoảng 44000 người ; 50 năm sau, còn lại 6000 người (giảm 81%). Tổng cộng có hơn 150 triệu người thổ dân da đỏ bị người Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo giết trong thời gian từ năm 1500 đến năm 1900. Có khoảng hai phần ba bị nhiễm bệnh trái, và các loại truyền nhiễm khác. Khoảng 50 triệu bị đánh đập và hành hạ, hoặc bị bắt làm nô lệ tại Brazil hoặc Guatemala, v.v…
Tại châu Phi, Phần đông người Da Đen châu Phi bị người đạo Thiên Chúa giết trong khi săn bắt (Câu trên trang web : Large numbers of Africans were killed by the Christians trying to capture and enslave them). Từ 20 cho tới 60 triệu người châu Phi bị bắt, bị xiềng xích, và bị chở tới châu Mỹ. Hàng triệu người bị giết trong khi bị săn bắt. Từ thế kỷ thứ 16th cho tới thế kỷ thứ 19th, đa số nô lệ chết bị quăng xác xuống biển, chưa kể tới đàn bà và trẻ nít, là những người không bán được giá cao, hoặc bị chết vì đói khát và bệnh tật, chỉ có vào khoảng từ 10 tới 11 triệu người tới được châu Mỹ, và được đem ra chợ để bán. Rất nhiều người người nô lệ bị chết vì làm việc quá nặng nhọc. Một số phải chịu những hình phạt rất khắc nghiệt như bị treo lên cây và bị thiêu sống. Trong số từ 10-11 triệu nô lệ, Bắc Mỹ chỉ nhập cảng từ 600000 tới 650000 người (khoảng 6%), số còn lại được chở đi bán tại Brazil và Caribbean. Năm 1808, Hoa Kỳ chấm dứt chế độ buôn bán nô lệ. Ở hai nơi hoàn toàn Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo tiếp tục lâu nhất là Brazil và Caribbean. Những người da đen bị bắt nô lệ tới được Bắc Mỹ may mắn hơn những người tới được Brazil và Caribbean ! Brazil và Caribbean là nơi của những bãi tha ma lô nhô những nấm mồ hoang của những người nô lệ châu Phi.
Từ đầu thế kỷ thứ 19th trở về sau, người Da Đen châu Phi dần dà phục hồi quyền làm người của họ. Tuy nhiên việc cải đạo tổ tiên của họ thành người Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo, là một phiền phức của họ cho tới ngày nay :
“- Sở dĩ có hàng triệu người Mỹ gốc châu Phi là người đạo Thiên Chúa ngày hôm nay là bởi vì tổ tiên của họ bị bắt buộc phải cải đạo, ngược lại nguyện vọng của họ, để chấp nhận cái đạo của ông chủ nô lệ !”
“- Người Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo không nên tự hào cho bất cứ số lượng lớn người theo đạo nào. Hầu như tất cả tổ tiên của người Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo, người Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo và người Tin Lành, thực sự không có lựa chọn. Họ bị bắc buộc phải chấp nhận Chúa Jesus, một Thiên Chúa vô hình trên trời, là thượng đế. Kitô là một tôn giáo bắt buộc. Ngày nay nó còn bắt buộc người ta phải theo nó bằng một cách khác, bằng một đội quân truyền giáo tới đập lên cửa của bạn, tẩy não con cái của bạn trong lớp học, trong các hoạt động ngoài trường học, hoặc trong các lớp thể thao !”
“- Bây giờ tôi tin chắc rằng trẻ em không nên sợ hãi đạo Thiên Chúa... Nếu hình ảnh của một người cha, mà người cha đó bị đem ra giết bởi chính con của ông ta, trước mặt đám con cái của ông ta, là một hình ảnh tốt đẹp, xứng đáng được ngưỡng mộ của xã hội, thì hình ảnh gì của con người, để có thể nói với đám trẻ, là một hình ảnh không xứng đáng được ngưỡng mộ của xã hội ?”
Tại châu Úc, các nhà nhân chủng học cho biết thổ dân Aborigines tại châu Úc là những người theo đạo “Animist Spirituality of The Dreaming”, là một đạo cổ nhất của loài người, mà thổ dân Úc cắt nghĩa là: Vạn vật đều có linh hồn ; “tâm thức” sáng tạo ra vạn vật; vạn vật nương vào nhau mà sinh tồn và hoại diệt ; thế giới được tạo ra từ thời đại “Dreaming Time” ; thời gian là con số không (timeless time), v.v… Năm 1788, đạo Thiên Chúa được mang tới Úc. Đạo Animist Spirituality of The Dreaming sau đó bị xoá sạch, và hoàn toàn biến mất, chỉ còn lưu lại một ít hình thức thờ cúng. Hầu hết người Aborigines được cải đạo thành người Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo. Người đạo Thiên Chúa, năm 1788 tại Úc, chiếm con số cao nhất và độc tôn là 96.1%.
Tại châu Á, hàng ngàn ngôi chùa Phật giáo bị đập phá tại các quốc gia Nhật Bản, Trung Quốc, Triều Tiên, Thái Lan, Lào, Campuchia, Miến Điện, Mã Lai, Nam Dương, Việt Nam, v.v… Tại Campuchia, các sư sãi bị đem ra chặt đầu. Tại Philippines, trước khi trở thành một quốc gia Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo, thổ dân Philippines đã phải chịu những cực hình không khác gì những thổ dân Da Đỏ Mỹ châu hoặc các thổ dân Da Đen Phi châu, như bị thiêu sống vì có tội thờ cúng ông bà (người Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo gọi là thờ ma thờ quỷ). Tại Việt Nam, vì tham vọng biến Việt Nam thành một quốc gia Ca-Tô Rô-Ma Giáo “Croatia of Asia” (theo Avro Manhatten), người Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo đã tiếp tay với thực dân Pháp, phản bội lại quê hương, phản bội lại dân tộc, đưa tới hoàn cảnh hàng triệu người dân Việt Nam phải chết trong các phong trào giãi phóng dân tộc bắt đầu từ vua Hàm Nghi; đưa tới nô lệ hóa cả một dân tộc Việt Nam trên 80 năm; và đưa tới một cuộc chiến 30 năm âm mưu chia cắt vĩnh viễn Miền Nam ra khỏi Việt Nam để thành lập một quốc gia Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo, mà quốc gia đó có hơn 90% là Phật giáo.
Vấn đề hàng ngàn các linh mục Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo hiếp dâm trẻ em, ngay cả trẻ em 3 tuổi, là một vấn đề nóng bỏng trên thế giới ngày nay. Với những tội lỗi tài trời bằng núi bằng biển đối với nhân loại như vậy, thì thử hỏi nghiệp chướng sẽ xảy ra thế nào đối với giáo hội Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo và tòa thánh La Mã. Các trẻ em bị hiếp dâm đa số, tuổi từ 11 cho tới 14. Các linh mục Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo còn làm tình với trẻ em qua lổ hậu môn hoặc bằng miệng của trẻ em. Từ năm 2001 cho tới năm 2010, linh mục Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo hiếp dâm trẻ em xãy ra trên toàn cầu, nhiều nhất theo thứ tự là Hoa Kỳ, Canada, Ái Nhĩ Lan, Anh, Mễ Tây Cơ, Bỉ, Pháp, Đức, và Úc. Có khoảng 3000 linh mục Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo vi phạm tình dục với trẻ em. Chỉ riêng tại Mỹ có hơn 3000 đơn đang được xét xữ. Từ năm 1950 cho tới năm 2007, Vatican phải bồi thường thiệt hại cho các nạn nhân bị các linh mục Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo hiếp dâm lên tới trên 2 tỹ Mỹ kim. Số tiền bồi thường bổng nhiên tăng vọt lên tới trên 3 tỷ Mỹ kim tính đến năm 2012. Tại Hoa Kỳ có 5 giáo khu Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo đã khai thủ tục bảo vệ phá sản, gồm: Tucson, Arizona ; Spokane, Washington; Portland, Oregon ; Davenport, Iowa ; và San Diego, California. Từ năm 2004 cho tới năm 2011, có tất là 8 giáo khu Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo khai hoàn toàn bị phá sản.
Hãy nhìn lại những bài đánh phá Phật gióa dưới đây để thấy những người này có thể làm được gì để che lấp được những tội lỗi động trời của hàng ngàn linh mục hiếp dâm trẻ em ? Họ có mang lại ích lợi gì cho giáo hội Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo và tòa thánh La Mã hay không ? Tàn dư “Cần Lao Ca-Tô Rô-Ma Giáo” của Ngô Đình Diệm, và tàn dư “Cần Lao Ca-Tô Rô-Ma Giáo Cuối Mùa” của Nguyễn Văn Thiệu, nấp dưới giáo đường Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo để đánh phá Phật giáo, sẽ không gây tổn thương cho Phật giáo, nhưng ngược lại, chỉ gây tổn thương cho giáo hội Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo và tòa thánh La Mã. Những đánh phá Phật giáo của họ chẳng những không mang đến tác hại cho Phật giáo, ngưng ngược lại, mang tới những hệ lụy không thể lường cho giáo hội Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo và tòa thánh La Mã. Những tin tức dồn dập về hàng ngàn linh mục Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo hiếp dâm trẻ em, ngay cả trẻ em 3 tuổi, chẳng những chỉ luân chuyển trên các mạng truyền thông ngoại quốc, mà giờ đây còn luân chuyển trên các diễn đàn internet tiếng Việt trên khắp thế giới. Biết đâu tàn dư “Cần Lao Ca-Tô Rô-Ma Giáo” của Ngô Đình Diệm, và tàn dư “Cần Lao Ca-Tô Rô-Ma Giáo Cuối Mùa” của Nguyễn Văn Thiệu là những con trùng độc đang đục phá trong cơ thể của giáo hội Ca-Tô Rô-Ma giáo và trong cơ thể của tòa thánh La Mã ! Là những kẻ sẽ gây ra “Cái Chết Của Một Tôn Giáo Lớn” mà ít ai có thể đoán trước được !..
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History of Cambodia Buddhism (III)
Copy From a Notebook of Preah Thera Bhikkhu Santi (Tom Flint), Seatle USA
Prepared by Preah Bhikkhu Vodano Sophan
The Khmer rebelled again in 1837-1839 ; and in yet another major uprising in September-October 1840. The Vietnamese were shocked by the repeated rebellions of these “barbarians” whom they regarded as ignorant beasts incapable of coordinated action. The Vietnamese called them “rats and mice” and said, “The Cambodians are so stupid, we must frighten them. Ordinary moral suasion has no effect.” The Thai, ensconced with 35,000 soldiers in Batambang, used the insurrection of 1840 as an opportunity to intervene, and establish suzerainty over Udong, the Khmer court. According to Thai histories, they viewed this intervention as a defense of Theravada Buddhism. In 1847, the Thai helped reestablish a Theravada king, Duang, in Phnom Penh, and reestablish Theravada Buddhism as the state religion. One record states that King Duang: “leveled the [Vietnamese] fortifications at Phnom Penh and hauled away the bricks to build and restore… [seven] Buddhist monasteries near Udong. Broken Buddha images were recast, and new ones carved. Monks were encouraged to live in monasteries again, and people were encouraged to respect them.” [A History of Cambodia, Chandler, quoting an original source]. The return of the king with regalia and the reestablishment of Theravada Buddhism provided legitimacy to the king.
Throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, Theravada Buddhism in a weakened Kampuchea and Laos received sustenance from the Thai court and Sangha. Thailand was attempting to socialize and assimilate Kampuchea and Laos into their sphere of influence, and to undermine Vietnamese or the new European influence.
In 1855, King Duang invited the Dhammayuttika sect into Cambodia, in order to help spread the reformed, standardized, centralized Thai version of Buddhism throughout Kampuchea. The Dhammayuttika were founded by King Mongkut (Rama IV) in order to strengthen and raise the standard of education of Theravada monks, to withstand the effects western influence at Christian missionary activities. “The coronation of Ang Duang in 1847 also marked the beginning of a rebirth and change for Khmer Buddhism that was only arrested by the impact of western-type modernization after WWII. Paradoxically, the French colonial rule and its secular industrial development goals served as a foil through which the sangha and the symbolic aspects of the Khmer court were revitalized from below. The monks led the people’s passive resistance to Frances ‘civilizing mission’ and succeeded in retaining control over their temple-based school system. Although the process of creating a new governing elite began with the French based secondary school system in the early 20th century, many well intentioned French reformers to ‘modernize’ the country were quickly ignored by the people, monks, and pre-World War II indigenous elites. It was not until after WWII that Cambodian elites in Phnom Penh became westernized and transformed the country form a Buddhist polity into a secular, western-type nation state.” [“Notes on Rebirth of Khmer Buddhism,” Radical Conservativism]
King Duong next turned at this time to the French as a counterpoint to Thai influence, in an effort to secure autonomy and independence from the Thai and Vietnamese powers. King Duong was open to the French influence, because of his friendship with a French Catholic missionary, Monseigneur Jean Claude Miche, whose mission headquarters was located in Udon and who encouraged the king to resist the Thai and establish connections with the French. King Duong thought that by making overtures to the French he might be able to regain control of the Mekong Delta and other land that the French were controlling in Vietnam.
It was at this time that King Duong sought help from the French to keep the Thai and Vietnamese in check, leading to the French protectorate, and ultimately to the colonization of Cambodia by the French. The Khmer people were largely unaffected by the French protectorate in the early years. The common folk were happy as long as they could have the land, Buddhism, and the king. These were the elements that provided stability in their lives. The problem arose later with the French Protectorate, in their attempt to impose Roman Catholic faith through aggressive missionary activity, repeating the assault on Theravada Buddhism that the Vietnamese had imposed.
With the growing imposition of French control, the Khmer people again rose up in insurrections and rebellions in the late 1800s. In 1867, an ex-monk, Pou Kombo, led a rebellion claiming that he had better right than King Norodom to be king.
Another huge nationwide rebellion, lasting about 18 months broke out in 1885.
“Some monks had opposed the French from the start. Before the uprising of 1885, two monks had preached against the French in the countryside, calling upon Cambodians to defy colonialism in favor of what the French said was a wrong memory of Cambodia’s ancient past. A contemporary French report said: “These two adventurers belong to this category of prophets who, adorned with supernatural influence, dreamed of restoring the Kingdom of Cambodia to its ancient splendor.” Other anti-French monks followed. At one point the monks fielded an army of 5,000 peasants, but they were defeated as much by the royal family as by the French. In 1867, the last Buddhist rebel leader was captured by the French, who cut his head off, mounted it on a slate, and brought it to Phnom Penh for public display.”
“The monks quieted down but they never gave their full support to the French….” [When the War was Over, Elizabeth Becker, p 42]
KHMER LANGUAGE RENAISANCE
Nevertheless, the French did contribute to the sense of Khmer nationalism in a variety of unintended ways. The French “discoveries” and exploration of Angkor helped to begin the reawakening of Khmer nationalism, and ethnic pride and identity. From 1906 onward for the next 50 years, the French began restoring, studying, and recovering Angkorean ruins and history. Under French power the Khmer province of Batamgang which Siam had seized earlier in the century, was resotred to Cambodia. Angkor Wat, in the Batambang Province, was restored to Cambodia in 1906. This was an important milestone in Cambodian Buddhist history, and in the ascendancy of Khmer nationalism. Angkor Wat was the cradle of Khmer civilization and identity. In 1907, great ceremonies of rejoicing were held all across Cambodia, marking restoration of the Batambong Province. The people “thanked the angels” (thevoda) for the return of the district, and local officials assigned to the region came to Phnom Penh to pay homage to the king.
“In 1909 a copy of the Cambodian translation of sacred Buddhist writing, the Tripitaka, was deposited in a monastery on the grounds of Angkor Wat; and for another sixty years Cambodian monarchs frequently visited the site and sponsored religious ceremonies there.” [A History of Cambodia, Chandler, p 150]
Modernization in Cambodia moved very slowly, because the monks, the royalty, and Khmer officials, the people held in most respect, resisted institutional change. In 1909 automobiles and typewriters were introduced into Cambodia, speeding up communication and transportation.
“While the Khmer Sangha in western eyes served as a conservative force, it was by no means a dormant or unimaginative institutional opposition to colonialism. The sangha also embarked on its own program of modernization in the first half of the 20th century that developed more rational ways of understanding the teaching of Buddhism. The Dhammayuttika reform movement spurred a renewed orthodoxy and higher academic standards and was in part responsible for a new emphasis on scripture and the study of Pali. The first schools of Pali were opened in Angkor in 1909 and at the Royal Palace Wat in Phnom Penh in 1915, both of which emerged into the Higher School of Pali in 1922. Its goal was to “favor and develop the study of Buddhist theology through a rational teaching of the ancient sacred languages Pali and Sanskrit, and the knowledge indispensable to the understanding and explication of the religious texts.” [Notes on Rebirth of Khmer Buddhism,” Radical Conservatism]
These initiatives led to the opening, beginning in 1933, of Pali elementary schools through the kingdom. By the 1960s, nearly one half of the wat schools taught at least the first three levels of Pali. “These developments coincided with the reform of the wat elementary schools that began in 1924 with a monk teacher-training program in Kampot province. While the French succeeded in supplanting the indigenous Confucian-based school system with secular schools in Vietnam, they were able only to strike a partial compromise with the Buddhist school system in Kampuchea. The Khmer monks retained control over primary education and saw it in their interest to incorporate some western teaching methods and curricula into what became known as “renovated” temple schools. In conjunction with this, the Kampot teacher training program developed into several “Applied Schools for Monks,’” whose purpose was to ‘place at the disposal of the monkhood practical methods of pedagogy oriented to the reform (renovation) of its mode of teaching.” [“Notes on Rebirth of Khmer Buddhism,” Radical Conservatism]
The wat schools were not replaced by secular state schools until the 1950s and 1960s.
The Buddhist Institute also served as a vehicle for a budding Khmer nationalism in the 1930s.
“The development of Khmer Buddhism in the 20th century was also reflected in the increased number of wats and monks in Kampuchea. Although the increase in population was slightly larger, the number of wats increased from approximately 1,000 in 1870 to 2,600 in 1940 to 3,326 in 1969. Of the later figure, only 124 wats and less that 1500 monks belonged to the elite Dhammayuttika sect; which in spite of its small numbers enjoyed the advantage of the royal patronage. Before the 1970-75 civil war, there were slightly more than 65,000 monks and novices in a country of 7 million inhabitants. During the rainy season or period of Kathin, the number of monks in robes approached 100,000. While no statistics are available to us, the number of nuns, or female lay devotees (yay or mae chii) who take the eight precepts shave their heads and wear white robes, was also considerable.”
“The quantative growth and academic orientation of the Khmer Sangha in the 20th century accompanied, critics would say paid for, by a decline in the quality of Buddhist practices in the decades following WWII. Rituals, ceremonies and festivals became increasingly anachronistic and bereft of meaning in the context of westernized cultural and governing elite in the capital. Meditation (vipassana), which had never been a signature of Khmer Buddhism, was not promoted in the Khmer sangha with the same intensity as the Pali language and scripture, now transmitted through the relatively new medium of print. (The Khmer sangha did not begin to use movable type until after WWII). Finally, the Sangha was not entirely immune form the ideological rifts that plagued Khmer society in the 1960s, as some modernist monks took part in the political tumults that led to the society’s rupture in the 1970s.” [“Notes on Rebirth of Khmer Buddhism,” Radical Conservatism]
“In the areas of scripture, King Monivong (d 1941) launched the Tipitaka Commission in 1927 for the purpose of translating the entire Pali canon into Khmer. Supplementing its own manuscripts holding s with original texts form Sri Lanka, Burma, Thailand and the Pali text society in London, the project commenced in 1929 and continued under the auspices of the Buddhist Institute, which was founded the following year in Wat Unnalom. Completed in 1969 under the guidance of Ven Chuon Nath, the translation comprised 110 volumes between 400 and 800 pages each in length. Some outside commentators claim it is the first complete translation of the Singhalese recession of the Tipitaka into another language.”
“Soon after its founding the Buddhist Institute became a pivotal institute in Cambodian cultural and intellectual life. In addition to the Tipitaka project, it published Venerable Chuon Nath’s two-volume Khmer dictionary in 1935 and used the print media to publish and widely disseminate thousands of Buddhist and cultural texts for the people. A sister institute was founded in the Kingdom of Laos.” [“Notes on Rebirth of Khmer Buddhism,” Radical Conservatism]
The Buddhist Institute was the brainchild of the Suzanne Karpeles (d 1969) who encouraged and fostered a quiet renaissance of Khmer, Theravada Buddhism that led and fed the Cambodian independence movement. Karpales was an extraordinary woman whose efforts to develop Buddhism spanned continents.
She was a gifted scholar with three degrees from the University of Paris in Pali, Sanskrit, and Tibetan, when she went to Southeast Asia for further studies.
In 1930, she persuaded the French government to establish the Buddhist Institute in Vientiane, Laos and Phnom Penh, Cambodia. For twenty years she acted as General Secretary for both institutes. She will always be remembered in Theravada countries for having initiated and supervised and brought to completion the printing of the Theravada Tripitika in both Pali and in Khmer translation. In France, Karpales was very active in the first French Buddhist Association Les Amis du Boddhisme (Friends of Buddhism) founded by G.C. Lounsberry (an American women) in 1929. This association had strong Theravada leanings, and in 1930s, she organized a series of lectures in Buddhism at Sarbonne University in Paris, as well as publishing books in French, including meditation books.
“She was attached to the Ecole Francaise d’ Extreme Orient in Hanoi, then the worlds finest center of Oreintalism. Karpales came to Phnom Penh to build the royal library into a repository of irreplaceable Buddhist texts and relics and she collected both for safekeeping and to instruct the Cambodian bonzes, or monks, in texts that had long been ignored.” “Her mandate was to reeducate the Buddhist monks in what the French considered their traditional faith and erase much of the ‘superstitious practices’ that had ‘corrupted’ Theravada Buddhism in Indochina. The library established the Buddhist Institute in 1930. The Institute was the only center based in Cambodia that brought in students form other Indochinese colonies, largely the Cambodian minority living in Cochin China [the Mekong Delta, or Kampuchea Krom].”
“These Cambodians form southern Vietnam, the Khmer Krom, became part of Karpele’s larger project to revitalize Cambodian culture, pride, and aspirations. She surveyed the Cambodian minority community in southern Vietnam and led a crusade encouraging Cambodians to remember that the entire Mekong Delta was once their homeland….These Kampuchea Krom immigrants became the most ardent of nationalists in subsequent years, the favorite recruits of both the American CIA and the Khmer Republic.”
“The Buddhist Institute quickly became the focus of a new intellectual life in this new crucial period between world wars. The French built only a minimal, elite system of secular schools in Cambodia. Otherwise, they merely altered the curriculum taught by the monks in the country’s native pagoda schools. The youth in Cambodia were largely taught by monks, who were responsible for the high literacy rate in the country, far higher than in Vietnam, and the Institute easily gained a position as the fullest expression of Buddhist education in Cambodia. It also discouraged Cambodians form traveling to Thailand for further Buddhist education; in Bangkok it was easy for Cambodians to pick up dangerous anti-French, independent ideas from Thai Buddhists.” [When the War was Over : Cambodia and the Khmer Rough Revolution, Elizabeth Becker]
The Buddhist Institute became the first home of anti-colonialism in Phnom Penh.
“The Buddhists were eminently qualified for their part in brining Cambodians into the modern political era. Under the tutelage of the French, like Karpales they had become some of the few Cambodians introduced to the ideas of the modern world. Importantly, this was said to be accomplished without sacrificing their identity as Khmers. Most of Cambodia’s small aristocracy was conversant in the ways of the French, but they were compromised by their acquiescence to colonial rule….”
“By the twentieth century the monks had extraordinary power, despite their modest appearance. At dawn, the monks appeared with their heads bowed and begged for food outside the village doorways; they helped broker marriages and otherwise dictated behavior in the profound and mundane affairs of village life. The bonzes taught the children, raised the orphans, and set the moral and social standards of the country. N return, the people built their pagodas and monasteries and followed their strictures. The bonzes, who pledged their lives to poverty, filled the pagoda coffers and became the most important source of charity in the country, dispensing food or funds to the poorest of peasants.
“Finally, the Buddhist monks were the only influential Cambodians in a position to question both the French and the King. The monks had attained an independent moral standing in the community not subject to the whims of royal beneficence. Unlike Vietnam and other countries of the Chinese tradition, Cambodia had no powerful mandarin class, only an aristocratic oligarchy that administered the government and whose fortunes were largely controlled by the king. The monks were recognized as a separate group protecting the country’s values and culture. When these holy men began questioning French rule, their doubts struck a deep chord in the country.” “Some monks had opposed the French form the start…” [When the War was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rough Revolution, Elizabeth Becker]
[The monks] “felt French colonialism undermined rather than preserved the Cambodian state, as the French claimed. Buddhist agitators led protests against sending Cambodians to fight for the French in World War I, tearing down recruitment posters in Phnom Penh. When Suzaanne Karpales established her Buddhist Institute it was these dissidents to whom she gave a base of operation. The Institute became home of the first modern anti-colonial agitator in Phnom Penh.” [When the War was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rough Revolution, Elizabeth Becker]
Cambodian literature in Khmer-language consisted of Buddhist texts and 19th century epics. There were no histories, or newspapers as Cambodian emerged into the 20th century. Literacy in Cambodia was related to study of Buddhist texts in the temples. Cambodian literary tradition was identical to Theravada Khmer Buddhist studies.
“Before 1936, in fact, the only Khmer-language periodical, Kambuja Surya (Cambodian Sun) had been published on a monthly basis under the auspices of the French-funded Institute Bouddhique. With rare exceptions, the journal limited itself to printing folk-lore, Buddhist texts, and material concerned with the royal family. Even Cambodian chronicle histories in Khmer were not yet available in print.” [A History of Cambodia, Chandler, p160]
[French anti-Thai support Khmer…]
In Phnom Penh, a small French-educated intellectual elite emerged in the 1930s – 1950s, having been educated in Saigon.
The French were suspicious of Thai influence and therefore encouraged Khmer identity in an effort to inspire Khmer nationalism and inoculate them from the subversive anti-French elements of Siam. This enhanced and intensified Buddhist studies and Khmer Buddhist identity.
The Buddhist Institute was the center of this activity.
“The three key channels for Cambodian self-awareness in the 1930s, in fact, were the Lycee Sisowath, the Institute Boddhique, and the newspaper Nagara Vatta, founded in 1936 by Pac Chhoeun and Sim Vac; both men, in their 30s, were soon joined by a young Cambodian judge, born in Vietnam and educated in France, named Son Ngoc Thanh. The three, in turn, were closely associated with the Institute Boddhique, to which Son Ngoc Thanh was later assigned as librarian. This brought them into contact with the leaders of the Cambodian Sangha, with Cambodian intellectuals, and with a small group of French scholars and officials, led by the secretary of the Institute, Suzanne Karpales, who were eager to help with the Cambodian intellectual renaissance.” [A History of Cambodia, Chandler]
Son Ngoc Thanh was Khmer Krom, born and raised in the Mekong Delta. His earliest education was in a Khmer-language pagoda. “He transferred to the French system for his secondary education and went to France for his university studies, which included one year of reading law. As a citizen of a French colony, Cochin China, rather than the Cambodian protectorate, Thanh received and education rare for a Cambodian of that era. He returned to Cochin China and finally settled in Phnom Penh, where he joined the Buddhist Institute shortly after it was founded. Thanks to his education, Thanh became the Institute secretary.” [When the War was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rough Revolution, Elizabeth Becker]
The Nagara Vatta newspaper, established in 1936, published under the auspices of the Buddhist Institute, was the voice of the new Khmer intellectual renaissance. The word “nagara vatta” means “temple realm” in Sanskrit, and is a play on the word “Angkor Wat” which means the same tin Khmer.
The paper saw its mission as to “awaken” the Cambodian people. Son Ngoc Thanh, the Buddhist Institute secretary, was agitating for independence in the Khmer language through the newspaper, reclaiming the culture and preserving the national integrity. It was a “pro-Khmer” paper and promoted Khmer identity and ethnic pride.
In 1937, the paper published 5,000 copies per issue and its readership was undoubtedly even higher. It was certainly read avidly by Buddhist monks throughout the kingdom.
“The newspaper called for seditious behavior but disguised it in religious language. Together Tanh and the Buddhists initiated the first serious discussion against colonialism in Phnom Penh. They were met with censorship and surveillance. Aware that in Burma political Buddhism had become a problem, the French moved quickly to curtail these activities of Phnom Penh’s budding Buddhist nationalists.” [When the War was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rough Revolution, Elizabeth Becker]
As it grew more anti-French and anti-colonial, the paper was suppressed in 1942, in circumstances leading to a huge monk-led uprising. More than 30 Cambodians were imprisoned for long sentences following the “Monks Demonstration.” How did it occur? The French had put down Khmer insurrections before. The French and Vietnamese exploited the Khmer, who paid the highest taxes in Indochina. In 1916, perhaps as many as 100,000 Khmer protested the high taxes and marched on Phnom Penh, stunning the French who had imagined that the Khmer were passive, lazy and ignorant, incapable of mass, coordinated action. Again in 1925 a spontaneous uprising in which Khmer villagers killed a French government agent. But the 1942 “Monks DemonstratIon” was unprecedented for the French protectorate.
The Japanese had entered Phnom Penh in 1941 and announced the end of the European hegemony in Asia. The Thai reacted quickly and attacked and seized Batambang province in 1941. Angkor Wat remained in French control. The Japanese became the new colonial power in Cambodian during this time, and left the French to administer the country.
“French military weakness and Japanese sympathy for certain anti-colonial movements – evident throughout southeast Asia by 1942 – had not passed unnoticed among the [Khmer} intellectuals – many of the members of the Sangha – who were associated with the Nagara Vatta and the Institute Boddhique. Between 1940-1942, the paper took on increasingly pro-Japanese and anti-colonial line. During these years, at least 32 issues of the paper were censored. In ten issues the lead editorial was suppressed….” [A History of Cambodia, Chandler]
For the Cambodians, the Thai invasion and seizure of their sovereign land marked the end of their allegiance to the French; it was the breaking point of endurance with the supposed “protection” by the French, who had failed them.
“The French had failed in their basic responsibility to protect Cambodia from its neighbors – the raison d’etre for French colonial rule. The elite woke up from its delusions and saw the French in a severe light. They were receptive when Son Ngoc Thanh of the Buddhist Institute engineered a partnership, bridging the lower-class Buddhists with the elite. He was a rare figure, trusted by the Buddhists who otherwise had few connections with the French-speaking elite of Phnom Penh. The Buddhists were far too traditional. If they spoke a foreign language it was Thai. Their supporters and members were from the lower classes. The students they recruited form the capital for their drive against the French generally came from the polytechnic schools.”
“Thanh had an entrée into the upper strata through the Friendship Association of Sisowath School Alumni [Because of his elite French education]….”
Than helped coax the Friendship Association of the Sisowath School Alumni toward Khmer nationalism.
“The alumni groups began sponsoring the monks to travel around the countryside preaching against French colonialism. The alumni association gave the Buddhists badly needed funds as well as new legitimacy. Joined together, they represented a potent threat to the French, and indirectly, the monarchy, as long as the king supported France. The traditional Buddhists and the modern elite comfortable in European language and politics began to have immediate results. But the elite were very small in numbers, and it fell on the monks to become the visible emblem of revolt and their saffron robes the symbol against French colonialism.” [When the War was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rough Revolution, Elizabeth Becker]
This set the stage for the explosion of 1942, known as the “Monks Demonstration.”
The climax of the confrontation between this movement of Buddhist monks and Khmer aristocracy of Phnom Penh against the French occurred in July 1942. The French closed the Nagara Vatta and arrested the leading monk, Hem Cheav. Venerable Hem Cheav (1898-1943) was an important monk, revered by the peasants and honored by the elite classes of Khmer society. He was a professor at the Ecole Superieure des Pali in Phnom Penh, and had audaciously appealed for Cambodian soldiers to desert from the French colonial army. “He preached nonviolence, but not exclusively, recognizing the formidable impediment of the French army and police in his fight for independence. One of the charges against him, and other monks, was translating seditious materials form Thai.” [When the War was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rough Revolution, Elizabeth Becker]. The French arrested him and another monk Nuon Duong. The French committed sacrilege and desecration by manhandling a monk, refusing to allow him to ceremonially disrobe before incarcerating him, a grotesque violation of Buddhist and Khmer sensibilities.
When Venerable Cheav was arrested, he reportedly said, “Sirs, you can do everything you like here. You are the masters. You can take my life, but my spirit will continue.” On July 20, a crowd of nearly 2,000 people, more than half monks, marched from Phnom Penh’s principal boulevard from behind the royal palace to the French colonial office of the resident superieur, Jean deLeus, near Wat Phnom, and demanded the release of Venerable Hem Cheav. When the French police refused them admittance to the official, the crowd rebelled. The French police attacked the unarmed crowd when they became unruly. Police photographed the demonstrators, and later arrested 200 of them, including Pach Chhoeun, the editor of the recently suppressed Nagara Vatta newspaper, who had led the protest and presented the petition to the French official. Buddhist leader Son Ngoc Thanh went underground and hid in Phnom Penh for several days during the clampdown, the escaped to Batambang, then on to Thailand, eventually making his way to Tokyo. Meanwhile Cheav was defrocked and imprisoned in the infamous, prison island in Vietnam, Poulo Condore, where he died in 1943.
The French continued to inflame the Cambodians Buddhists. In 1943 the French tried to replace the Khmer alphabet with the Roman one, as part of a “modernization” campaign. The Sangha and Khmer intellectuals saw this is an attack on traditional Buddhist and Khmer culture.
On March 9, 1945, the Japanese displaced the French and four days later King Norodom Sihanouk dissolved the treaties of 1863 and 1884 signed by his grandfather King Norodom, and declared the end of the French protectorate. When in 1945 the French were weakened at the end of the war, the Khmer alphabet was restored. The Buddhist lunar calendar was also restored at this time, replacing the Gregorian calendar that had been imposed by the French. On July 20, 1945 King Shinok presided over a rally celebrating the Monks Demonstration, aligning himself with the nationalist and independence movement of the Buddhist Institute. He was joined by the Buddhist nationalist leaders Pach Chhoeun who was released from prison; and Son Ngoc Thanh who had returned to Cambodia form Japan in April, to serve the new government as Foreign Minister. The Monks Demonstration was established as a national holiday. Son Ngoc Thanh immediately fell into disfavor when he challenged King Norodom Shinaok, who therefore became suspicious of him. At the end of the war in August 1945, Son Ngoc Than became Prime Minister. When the French returned to control of Cambodia , Thanh was imprisoned as a traitor (at the request of King Norodom Sihanok). The national holiday of the Monks Demonstration was immediately abolished.
The Cambodians were determined to have a degree of autonomy and self government. The French agreed to national elections in the following year of 1946.
The Sangha played a role in turning out votes for the Democrat party in the nation’s first election of 1946. The occupying forces in Cambodia were always caught off guard and surprised by the unexpected, sudden popular “eruptions” of mass movement s in Cambodia, failing to recognize the integral role of the Buddhist Sangha that provided cohesion and vitality to the Khmer people.
SAMDECH SANGH CHUON NATH
Samdech Sangh Chon Nath (1883-1969), the Sangharaja or Patriarch of Cambodian Buddhism, was a leading figure throughout the years of intensifying nationalism, independence, and Khmer pride. He was apparently a Khmer Krom. He assisted the nationalist Khmer movement centered in the Buddhist Institute. He is most famous for writing the Khmer dictionary, printed under the auspices of the Buddhist Institute. The dictionary is considered one of the cornerstones of Khmer culture.
In 1940 he was instrumental in establishing the first Vietnamese Theravada Temple, Bau Quang Temple (Ratana Ramsyarama) in Saigon. The Abbot Venerable Ho Tong (Vansarakkhita) was ordained in Cambodia by Chuon Nath. Samdech Sangh Chuon Nath was a traditionalist. He was Khmer Krom, involved in anti-colonial activities in the 1950s, and against the Vietnamese communists who already occupied Kampuchea Krom. He concealed his Khmer Krom origins, and claimed to be from Preah Trapeang. In 1956 he attended the 6th Sangha Council of Buddhism in Kaba Aya Pagoda in Rangoon as the leader of the Cambodian delegation. MahaGosananda accompanied him. (I believe he was Venerable Gosananda’s upachaya). One testimony says: “Samdech Sangh Chuon Nath always taught us that we have to think from the following basis: Suppose the Cambodian central power was destroyed by our enemies, they did not exist anymore. Hence you had to rebuild to reconstitute our nation from scratch. Take initiative was their motto. Take initiative to solve the village problems through consensus. Take initiative to develop the economy, education and health care. That was the tradition rooted in the collective memory of Preah Trapaing, the sweet home of Khmer freedom fighters.”
“Sanmdech Chon Nath always reminded us to take care by ourselves our village, in every ways of life, especially build and develop our civil society, by organizing ourselves the security, defense, education, economy, public works, health, distribution of land. Act like you are the parallel government. It will be obliged to agree with you if you are well organized. That was the philosophy that Ven Chuon Nath taught.”
His remains are enshrined at Wat Uunalom.
Although suppressed, and underground, the Buddhist-led independence movement continued throughout the 1950s and 1960s, as the French returned and attempted to seize control of power in the wake of WWII. Many of the Buddhists of the Nagara Vatta and Monks Demonstration fled to the provinces s and many eventually cooperated with the Vietnamese communists, becoming party members and fighting from bases in South Vietnam. Other Buddhists fled to the northwest of Cambodia and fought the French with support form the Thais. The Khmer Rough would eventually emerge out of these movements. As the Vietnam War heated up in the 1950s, the French eventually realized the colonial era was over, and withdrew from Southeast Asia. The Americans, fearing the ascendancy of Communisms stepped in and tried to control the region.
The Pentagon conducted a 471 page study of Cambodian in 1959, entitled Psychological Operations: Cambodia, which noted with dismay or disgust that the Cambodians were not susceptible to being panicked or stampeded into mass movement, their horizons being limited to their village, Buddhist temple, and forest.
The Pentagon noted “the prototype of the successful American might be objectionable because of the connotation of disproportionate wealth. The economic gap is so great that Cambodians have no understanding of the typical American version of “play’.”
“The Cambodians are polite and gentle, and regard angers as ‘madness’.” The military report complained.
“The Buddhist Monks were another target. They could not, unfortunately, be aroused to violence – ‘this would be asking the clergy to be non-Buddhist’ – but ‘psy-warriors’ could play on the fact that ‘the monks are also human’ and try to persuade them that they were hated by the intelligentsia.” [Houk, John [et.al] Psychological Operations: Cambodia: Project PROSYMS (Operating under contract with Department of Army) Washington D.C. USA: Special Operations Research Office, American University (AD-310.384) 1959; ix+471p. maps, biblog, indexs, 26x36cm.]
The convulsions of the 1970s in Cambodia are incomprehensible, inexplicable, defying description.
The actual physical destruction of the Sangha began during the 1970-75 and was conducted not by the Khmer Rough, but by the American saturation bombing, and the monks were increasingly caught in the cross fire between factions in the growing civil war within Cambodia. These factions were not deliberately targeting Buddhism, but the effect was the same: the killing of monks, destruction of temples, libraries, Buddhist heritage. By 1975 when the Khmer Rough came to power, the number of wats had been reduced to 2,800 and while many monks’ lives were lost, many men and boys joined the monkhood in an effort to take refuge and protection from the intensifying and expanding war.
The Khmer Rough had been gathering strength throughout the 1960s and early 70s. When they seized control of Cambodia in 1975, they purged “feudalists” which included aristocracy, mandarins, landlords and Buddhist monks. The Khmer Rough utterly devastated and annihilated Buddhism from the land of Cambodia, for a five year period of genocidal orgy. “Much of the Buddhist clergy had expected to be part of the revolution, not its victims. Encouraged by Prince Sihanouk and his appeals from Beijing, many of the Buddhists of the countryside joined the Khmer Rough. In a repeat of what had happened during the First Indochina War, the Khmer Rough actively recruited monks during the first years of the war and treated them with respect. Monks were named to ceremonial positions in the United Front government and allowed to continue administering to the faithful in many areas under Khmer Rough rule. Even when religions was suspended in the late war period, the Khmer Rough promised it was a temporary emergency measure to allow full mobilization of the people.”
“With victory, the Khmer Rough immediately attacked the Buddhist clergy, Buddhist pagodas, statuary, relics, libraries, and schools. The destruction was nearly complete, with more devastating consequences for Cambodia than the Chinese attack on Buddhism had been for Tibet.”
“The Khmer Rough murdered the top clergy immediately, enticing the monks to hand themselves over to their executioners with ruses similar to those used to kill off the former military officers of the Lon Nol regime.”
“Those who were not executed were ordered to forfeit their robes and join the people to work in the cooperatives as common filed hands, an order that violate their religious tenets. Those who refused were killed. Many monks were ordered to marry, which prevented them from returning to the clergy. In some areas the Khmer Rough cadre allowed older monks to keep their saffron robes only to be countermanded by the Center.” “Without monks the people could no longer practice their faith, but the Khmer Rough was intent on erasing the faith form the country’s memory. The pagodas, too, became targets of the regime. The nearly 3,000 pagodas in the country were desecrated or destroyed. They were used as stables, granaries, prisons, and execution sites. Statuary were defaced. The sacred literature was burned or shredded.” [When the War was Over: Cambodia and the Khmer Rough Revolution, Elizabeth Becker, p254.] Older more venerated and educated monks were executed, while younger monks and novices were forced to disrobe and work in the fields.
The Buddhist Patriarch, Samdech Huot Tat, was killed by the Khmer Rough. A statue of the patriarch which was smashed and thrown into the Mekong River by the KR, was reassembled and is today on display at Wat Ounalom.The highest and most recent estimate (1990) indicated that about 60,000 monks were killed and about 5,000 survived by escaping into Vietnam or Thailand, and becoming refugees.
The Khmer Rough are thought to have completely leveled at least 1,900 wats, mostly in the countryside. Town temples survived because they were used for other purposes.Hang Ngor, author of A Cambodian Odyssey, on which the movie The Killing Fields was based, wrote of his work assignment to destroy the temple of Phum Phnom. The monks were denounced as “parasites” he reported :
“Buddhism was the old religion we were supposed to discard, and Angka was the new ‘religion’ we were supposed to accept. As the rainy season began – normally the time when the youth from the surrounding villages would shave their heads and join the monkhood – soldiers entered the empty wat [at Tonle Bati] and began removing the Buddha statues [in 1975]. Rolling the larger statues end over end, they threw them over the side, dumped them on the ground with heads and hands severed form the bodies, or threw them into the reflecting pools. But they could destroy only the outward signs of our religion, not the beliefs within. And even the, as I noticed with bitter satisfaction, there was one statue they did not destroy. It was the bronze Buddha, still gleaming inside the small Angkorean outbuilding….”
In addition killing monks and destroying the temples and monasteries, part of the Khmer Buddhist literary patrimony was permanently destroyed. Libraries were burned. Irreplaceable Buddhist sutras were used as cigarette paper. The entire library of the Buddhist Institute was destroyed by burning it, and throwing it into the nearby Mekong River. Among the valuable holdings stored in the library was ethnographic and literary research of the Commission des Moeurset Coutumes, documenting classic Khmer cultural customs, manners, traditions and customs. All across Cambodia, palm-leaf texts which had been preserved in village temples, were destroyed.
“Through oversight or error, some collections were not damaged or destroyed. In the national library, 343 palm and mulberry leaf manuscripts remained undamaged as well as 185 palm leaf manuscripts stored in the royal palace together with a complete set of the tipitaka. More than 100 palm leaf manuscripts were left undamaged in the museum library along with some 700 volumes of the Tipitaka.” [When the War was Over :
Cambodia and the Khmer Rough Revolution, Elizabeth Becker.]
In 1979, after the overthrow of the Khmer Rough, Buddhism was reintroduced into Cambodia by a delegation of Buddhist monks from Kampuchea Krom in South Vietnam. The Sangha grew in numbers and strength quickly. By 1981 there were 3,000 monks in Cambodia ; in 1987, 6,700 monks and by 1990, 10,000 monks.
After 1979 there were still some restrictions on the freedom of Buddhism in Cambodia. For example, only men over age 50 could be ordained. Only four monks were allowed to live in a wat. Since 1988 Buddhism was fully restored. In July 1988, Radio Phnom Penh began broadcasting Buddhist prayers and ceremonies after an absence of 13 years.Then in 1989, Prime Minister Hun Sen officially apologized for his governments past “mistakes” during a ceremony in Kampot Province, where he prostrated before the head monk and asked forgiveness. In April 1990, the National Assembly officially amended the constitution to reestablish Theravada Buddhism as the state religion and the government decreed that “devout Buddhist followers can be ordained as Buddhist monks as they wish.”
* * * * * * * *
Ever wondered what happened to ancient Greece ? Its culture, beliefs, books ? Ever thought about why so many Greek temples and buildings lie in ruins ? The pages here will inform you about these and other
Things They Don't Tell You about Christianity
History Ancient Greece and Rome
The early fathers of the Church hated Greek civilisation and sought its destruction:
The philobarbarian attitude of Saint John Chrysostom [3rd-4th century] :
"The more a nation looks barbaric and is estranged from Greek culture, the more our teachings shine - this (faithful) barbarian has conquered the entire world and while all Greek culture is extinguished and destroyed, his (the barbarian's) shines brighter every day". [Link]
All over the empire, mobs of Christian monks went about destroying the many Greco-Roman works of art, libraries of antiquity, and pre-Christian temples:
The Greek called them "swinish black-cloths", because "they looked like men but lived like pigs".
A contemporary writer tells us "armed with clubs or stones and swords they ran to the temples, some without these weapons only with their bare hands and feet"
-- (Libanios "Pro temples" 389 AD)
As soon as they had destroyed one temple, they dashed away to the next. They toppled over walls, smashed idols, statues and art-objects and altars, and stole the temples wealth for themselves. [Link]
From the time of Constantine, Rome's first Christian emperor :
from 314 CE all the way to 988 CE, the Hellenes (ancient Greeks) were persecuted and their civilisation destroyed. The Greeks were exterminated if they would not convert - 359 CE - In Skythopolis, Syria, Christians organise the first death camps for the torture and execution of arrested Gentiles [adherents of pre-Christian religions] from all around the Empire.
. . . . . . .
385 to 388 - Maternus Cynegius, encouraged by his fanatic wife, and bishop, "Saint" Marcellus with his gangs scour the countryside, sack and destroy hundreds of Hellenic Temples, shrines and altars. Amongst others they destroy the Temple of Edessa, the Cabeireion of Imbros, the Temple of Zeus in Apamea, the Temple of Apollo in Dydima and all the Temples of Palmyra. Thousands of innocent Gentiles from all sides of the Empire suffer martyrdom in the notorious death camps of Skythopolis.
. . . . . . .
950 to 988 - Violent conversion of the last Gentile Hellenes of Laconia by the Armenian "Saint" Nikon. [Link]
The oldest and most renowned Churches are actually built on sites which previously had pre-Christian temples on them - which Christians had demolished. This happened all over the Roman Empire, to Syria in the East and North Africa and Palestine in the South.
The cave of the Vatican belonged to Mithra until 376 A.D., when a city prefect suppressed the cult of the rival Savior and seized the shrine in the name of Christ, on the very birthday of the pagan god, December 25.
-- Barbara G. Walker
Until Constantine's time, the most favourable estimate (which many scholars consider too optimistic) of the Christian population in the entire empire was no more than 5%. About 2/3 of these were in Armenia, and much of the remainder in Syria and Asia minor.
According to Roman sources, the Christians ...in Rome ...were considered a small, uneducated group of religious troublemakers from the lowest social classes, operating in the shadowy sides of society. [Link]
The educated Romans disliked the religion. Some of them wrote books refuting Christianity, like the Epicurean Kelsos in his Alethes Logos, the last pagan emperor Julian in his Kata Christianon, and Porphyry's Against the Christians. The Church, unable to sufficiently counter their well-reasoned arguments (which it occasionally attempted), "won" the debate by destroying these works when it finally got into power. Even so, some scanty ancient literature against Christianity remains, pieced together from the unsuccessful attempts at responding by Christian Church fathers.
The ancient Romans : persecutors or persecuted ?
*.- No Christian was put to death in the Coliseum
*.- All stories of Christians being exposed to lions in the Roman Amphitheater are bogus.
-- Joseph McCabe, historian and former Franciscan monk
*.- No claim that Christians had been "thrown to wild beasts in the Colosseum" was made until the 17th century – until the amphitheatre was being pillaged for building material to rebuild St Peters. [Link]
How many persecutions ? And why ?
Not 10, as Christians claim, but no more than 2 or at most 3 :
Decius (249-251), Valerian (257), and Diocletian (303) were the only general and systematic persecutors.
There is no doubt in the mind of any historian that in trying to suppress or check Christianity -- at first in each case by the lighter penalties -- they were consulting the welfare of the state, which was then sinking.
Professor Gwatkin himself remarks that many of the Christians, so far from being willing to defend the Empire, were "half inclined to welcome the Goths and Persians as avengers." The Pope insolently and openly defied Valerian at Rome : and Diocletian's decrees were torn down by Christians in his own palace who relied on the protection of his womenfolk.
Before Diocletian the Church had had forty years of peace, and it had grown sufficiently to make its anti-patriotic teaching a matter of concern. Yet in not one of the three decrees of Diocletian is the death sentence imposed.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by historian Joseph McCabe
Facts : Historical truths vs Christian fictions
*.- McCabe then states that scholars only recognise 2 general persecutions :
*.- Decian Persecution: no more than 5 or 6 were martyred in Rome and between 2 and 3 dozen (itself considered dubious) in the entire empire.
*.- Diocletian persecution: The Church claims 40,000 martyrs, many in Rome. Scholars have shown that there were only 20 genuine martyrs in the whole Roman Empire, and none in Rome. A few hundred were executed, where many perished in jail - and most of them were zealous Christians who demanded death in order to become martyrs.
*.- The Acta of the martyrs (records of trials and execution) are entirely from fictitious lives or are forgeries. Pagan deities were sometimes used as martyrs and were turned into Saints.
The fraud led to the birth of the profitable relic industry.
*.- Instead of a vast number martyring themselves for Christianity upon persecution, and inspiring pagans to convert, there was a vast apostasy as Christians left the faith in droves. One of these apostates was Pope Marcellinus, wrongly revered as a Saint and Martyr.
Find out the details
Did Christian virtue inspire the pagans to convert ?
3rd century St. Cyprian's letters to the pope describe how a large part of his clergy and bishops were unmitigated scoundrels: fornication, murder, embezzlement, and all the rest of it.
-- How Christianity Grew Out of Paganism, by Joseph McCabe
St. Jerome was convinced that Christian men and women, including priests and nuns, could not be trusted. According to him the only women of virtue to be seen on the streets of Rome were not Christians but pagans.
All the early bishops from all over the empire - St Augustine, Bishop Optatus, St. John Chrysostom, St. Gregory of Nyssa, Saint Hippolytus and others - insisted that their congregation of Christians were highly immoral and corrupt.
Why and how did the pagans of the empire convert ?
The . . . undisputed fact is that there was no "attraction" of the pagans at all. In the extant Theodosian Code we have ten decrees which the bishops got from the emperors suppressing all rival religions and sects under pain of fine, imprisonment, or death.
-- How Christianity Grew Out of Paganism, by Joseph McCabe
Beginning with Constantine, and under succeeding "Christian" emperors, there is a series of scores of laws which the Christians procured to be enacted for the suppression and persecution to death of Pagans, heretics and Jews. These laws and edicts are to be found in the Codes of Theodosius and of Justinian, the two famous codifleations of Roman Law.
-- Forgery in Christianity, by Joseph Wheless
The conversion of the ancient Greeks and Romans was achieved through violence and systematic destruction of the Greco-Roman civilisations
Christianity improved Rome ? Slavery
Professor Dill comes close to the facts when he says that "the slave class of antiquity really corresponded to our free labouring class." It will not do, therefore, to identify Pagan with Christian slavery.
-- Christianity, Slavery and Labour, by Chapman Cohen
By the first century the Stoics openly condemned slavery. Other Greek moralists besides the Stoics condemned it.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by historian Joseph McCabe Such was their influence that in still-pagan Rome : the "manumission" of slaves -- the grant or sale of freedom to them -- was a daily occurrence.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, Joseph McCabe
It is an historical fact, supported by the most positive of evidence that slavery in the Roman Empire was mitigated by the noble philosophy of the Stoics and not by the teachings of the church fathers, who never thought of recommending the abolition of slavery.
-- History of Civilization, by historian Emil Reich
Emperor Constantine wasn't the only one who undid the humane laws enacted by the Stoic emperors.
in 541 C.E. the Council of Orleans required that the descendants of slaves should be re-enslaved.
-- Faiths of Man Encyclopedia of Religions, by J.G.R. Forlong
This was but one of many laws on slavery enacted during various Church councils.
Pope Gregory was the greatest slave-owner in the world in the sixth century. ... He would not allow any slave to become a cleric, and he expressly reaffirmed (Epp. vii, 1) that no slave could marry a free Christian.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe
The early Church fathers, Saints, Popes, Protestant Reformers all condoned slavery - it was Biblical, after all.
The Abbey of St Germain des Prés owned 80,000 slaves, and that of St. Martin de Tours 20,000.
-- Faiths of Man Encyclopedia of Religions, by J.G.R. Forlong
Find out more facts about slavery before the trade in Africans
The Roman municipalities supplied free elementary instruction for the children of all workers. Practically every Roman worker could read and write by the year 380 A.D., when Christianity began to have real power. By 480 nearly every school in the Empire was destroyed. By 580, and until 1780 at least, from ninety to ninety-five percent of the people of Europe were illiterate and densely ignorant. That is the undisputed historical record of Christianity as regards education.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe
Since Christianity regarded learning, mathematics and science as paganism, its followers went about the empire destroying all the schools as they had done the libraries, temples, hospitals and works of art.
Latin, taken over by the Roman Church, was ruined; even monks at the Vatican wrote in barbarous Latin, whilst most priests were illiterate. McCabe writes :
Rome under the Popes had sunk to an illiteracy that has no parallel elsewhere in the history of civilization.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by historian Joseph McCabe
So much so that by the 11th century :
The illiteracy of Europe had increased to more than ninety-nine percent.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe
Facts about "monks preserving knowledge"
Where the monks did spend any part of their time in "the writing room," they were, naturally, copying the Fathers of the Church and later Christian literature.
-- The Story Of Religious Controversy, by Joseph McCabe
Most of the ancient writings had been burnt on purpose, either along with the ancient libraries or in the Medieval auto-da-fes. A few were preserved wholly by accident when monks, desperate for papyrus which was expensive, collected old manuscripts and overwrote them. Among them :
Parts of the Iliad and the 'Elements' of Euclid were covered by monkish treatises.
-- Forgery in Christianity, by Joseph Wheless Ancient works were never willingly preserved :
As for "monks constantly occupied in copying the classic texts," for the preservation and diffusion of Pagan culture, it is a joke! They couldn't read Greek nor good Latin, and nobody else could read at all, -- also, Holy Church and Churchmen loathed Pagan culture and literature.
-- Forgery in Christianity, by Joseph Wheless
Read more about the ignorant Dark Ages brought on by Christianity
More Christian fictions about Rome
*.- Blaming the northeners for the fall of Rome
*.- Medical Science and Unions
*.- Gladiatorial Games
*.- Roman versus Christian morality
Converting the rest of Europe to the True Faith
It is estimated that Europe was Christianised at a cost of about 8 to 10 million lives. [Link]
804 CE. The last heathen resistance in Saxony is put down. In thirty years of genocide, from 774 to 804, two thirds of the Saxons have been killed. [Link]
Sami people [the indigenous people of Scandinavia] were converted to Christianity by force and shamanic practices were forbidden. [Link]
And like in Greece and Rome, Christians demolished heathen shrines to build a Church over them. For instance, in 1083 CE The temple at Uppsala (Sweden) was destroyed, and construction of a church on the site is initiated. [Link]
16th and 17th century Ireland. English troops "pacified and civilized" Ireland, where only Gaelic "wild Irish", "unreasonable beasts lived without any knowledge of God or good manners, in common of their goods, cattle, women, children and every other thing."
One of the more successful soldiers, a certain Humphrey Gilbert, half-brother of Sir Walter Raleigh, ordered that "the heddes of all those (of what sort soever thei were) which were killed in the daie, should be cutte off from their bodies... and should bee laied on the ground by eche side of the waie", which effort to civilize the Irish indeed caused "greate terrour to the people when thei sawe the heddes of their dedde fathers, brothers, children, kinsfolke, and freinds on the grounde".
Tens of thousands of Gaelic Irish fell victim to the carnage.
[Link, citing American Holocaust, by D. Stannard, 1992]
More Eastern-Europe remained unconverted until the Crusades when pious Christian knights committed mass-murder and even complete genocide in the north-east.
"Unbelievers deserve not only to be separated from the Church, but also... to be exterminated from the World by death."
-- Saint Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, 1271
The early Church Councils
These volatile and often violent meetings were held during the 4th and 5th centuries, when bishops voted on which doctrines would be Christian orthodoxy ("divinely inspired") and which were to be considered heresy and persecuted.
Disagreements were rife and gave rise to numerous Christian sects which were inimical to each other.
Among a countless host of disputants may be mentioned Arians, Basilidians, Carpocratians, Collyridians, Eutychians, Gnostics, Jacobites, Marcionites, Marionites, Nestorians, Sabellians, Valentinians.
Of these, the Marionites regarded the Trinity as consisting of God the Father, God the Son, and God the Virgin Mary; the Collyridians worshiped the Virgin as a divinity, offering her sacrifices of cakes; the Nestorians, as we have seen, denied that God had "a mother."
. . . . But, though they were irreconcilable in matters of faith, there was one point in which all these sects agreed - ferocious hatred and persecution of each other.
-- History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science, by John William Draper
The Arians had been persecuted to extinction, so too the Donatists, and the Nestorians killed or driven out of the empire. In the 5th century, the Pelagianists, the Priscillianists in Spain, and the Manichaeans in the whole Roman empire, were persecuted - mostly to extinction.
Read more about the early Christian sects victimised for heresy, and how murder and threats ("divine inspiration") during the early Church Councils determined the orthodox Christian doctrines of today.
Besides the infamous Children's Crusade, and those against the Jews and Moslems and Eastern Orthodox Church, there were also:
• Crusades to convert-or-kill the pagans of Eastern-Europe and the Balkans :
among such pagans were the Obotrites, Pomeranians, Wiltzi, Serbs, Letts, Livonians, Finns, and Prussians.
-- Forgery in Christianity, by Joseph Wheless
The Baltic (original) Prussians were completely exterminated in a mass genocide, as were the Stedingers of Germany. Heathen Lithuania also faced routine genocides of its population by Christians, and in the end lost out :
Crusades were undertaken against Livonia, Courland, Esthonia, and Prussia. In Lithuania Christianity did not win until 1368.
. . . .
In Hungary, during the tenth and eleventh centuries, "the new religion was spread by the sword. ..."
-- Forgery in Christianity, by Joseph Wheless
• Crusades to exterminate heretical Christian sects :
*.- The Catharan, Albigensian heretics: in the Albigensian Crusade half of France was exterminated. By the end of the 13th century one million of the French heretics had been massacred. [Link]
*.- In 1487, Pope Innocent VIII called for a Crusade against the French Waldensians, who had already been declared heretics in the 1184 Council of Verona. They were hounded and killed until the 17th century. [Link]
See more on the Crusades
Inquisitions and witch hunts
Then there were the three Inquisitions: the first was against heretics and witches mainly; 95% of the victims of the Second (Spanish) Inquisition were Jews; and the Third Inquisition went after Protestants and other heretics as well as witches again.
At the start of the First Inquistion, the victims were only burnt to death. But :
Torture of suspects was authorized by Pope Innocent IV in 1252, and thus inquisition chambers were turned into places of abject horror.
. . . Torture was not finally removed as a legal option for church officials until 1917 when the Codex Juris Canonici was put into effect. [Link]
Inquisitors were placed entirely above the law by Pope Innocent IV's bull Ad extirpanda. Most of the torturing was performed by members of the Dominican order, whilst many other inquisitors and torturers were monks of the Franciscan order. The inquisitors and the Holy Church became filthy rich from the assets of their victims.
The edicts that established the Inquisition have never been repealed. They are "officially still part of the Catholic faith, and were used as justification for certain practices as recently as 1969." [Link, see also here for more on this]
Historian Will Durant, in his History of Civilisation puts the number of fatalities of the witch hunts between 7 and 9 millions.
Entire villages and towns were depopulated of their women-folk.
For 5 centuries throughout Europe, both the Protestant and Catholic Churches went after "witches", especially those referred to as "good witches" :
Even relatively permissive England killed 30,000 witches between 1542 and 1736. [Link]
More on the inquisitions and witch hunts
*.- The Thirty Year War (1618-48) between the Protestants and Catholics, led to the deaths of more than a quarter of Europe's population. -- Ed Babinsky
*.- In Germany alone, the war resulted in an estimated drop of its population from 18 million to 4 million. [Link]
*.- In Bohemia, its 30,000 villages were reduced to 6,000 and its 3 million citizens slaughtered down to 780,000. -- Joseph McCabe
*.- In the Netherlands, Catholic Spain murdered more than a 100,000 men and women. -- Joseph McCabe
During the many Huguenot wars ravaging France, Huguenot soldiers hunted [Catholic] priests like animals and one captain is reported to have worn a necklace of priests' ears. [Link]
The Catholics butchered 30,000 Huguenots in one day: the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre.
There was also utter intolerance and mutual persecution between the numerous Protestant sects that had sprung up all over the continent.
More on the Reformation, its intolerance and the Reformers
Woman was merely man's helpmate, a function which pertains to her alone. She is not the image of God but as far as man is concerned, he is by himself the image of God.
-- Saint Augustine (354-430)
"Wife : Be content to be insignificant. What loss would it be to God or man had you never been born."
-- John Wesley (1703-91), Reformer, founder of the Methodist movement
More of what respected Christians have said about women, firmly basing their views on the Bible.
The Biblical Curse of Eve was used by clergy to prevent physicians from administering anaesthetics to relieve pain during child birth.
584 CE Council Of Macon: bishops gathered to vote on "Are women human ?" By a narrow vote (of 1), women obtained human status in Christianity.
Apparently, the decision was not final, as the question had to be reconsidered by the Protestants too :
Lutherans at Wittenberg debated whether women were really human beings at all.
-- The Dark Side of Christianity, by Helen Ellerbe
Equality in Christianity today :
"A wife should submit herself to the leadership of her husband. Leadership in the church should always be male."
-- Southern Baptist Convention (2000) [Link]
Since the birth-control policy of Christianity resulted in couples having many unwanted children, many of them were mistreated in the Middle Ages. In later times (like during the Industrial Revolution) they were still seen as just another mouth to feed and sent off to do gruelling work, even in mines, and were often kept illiterate. Besides hard labour, children of Christian families have also been subjected to severe mental abuse and have also suffered from physical abuse, as sanctioned by the Bible.
Several Christian denominations have brought back child-beating to chastise their erring children. There are Christian sites selling rods for this purpose, as specified by the Bible.
Christianity in the Americas, Africa, Asia and the Pacific
Convert and kill in the Americas
When in 1530 CE the Pope finally declared that the Indians were human, the pious Christians began converting the heathens :
"The [Catholic] Spaniards in Mexico and Peru used to baptize Indian infants and then immediately dash their brains out; by this means they secured that these infants went to heaven."
-- Bertrand Russell
The Indian chief Hatuey fled with his people but was captured and burned alive. As
"they were tying him to the stake a Franciscan friar urged him to take Jesus to his heart so that his soul might go to heaven, rather than descend into hell. Hatuey replied that if heaven was where the Christians went, he would rather go to hell."
-- American Holocaust, by D. Stannard [Link]
The Inquisition remained active until 1834, especially in Central and South America, where "heathen" natives were tortured and burned for crimes against the true faith, such as, "not believing in it". [Link]
Massacre of Sand Creek, Colorado 1864. Colonel John Chivington, a former Methodist minister and still elder in the church had a Cheyenne village of about 600, mostly women and children, gunned down despite the chiefs' waving with a white flag: 400-500 killed.
-- American Holocaust, by D. Stannard [Link]
*.- Christianity in the Americas: 60 million Native Americans had been exterminated by the end of the 16th century itself. [Link]
For instance, good Christians from Spain
"hanged thirteen [natives] at a time in honor of Christ Our Saviour and the twelve Apostles . . . . then, straw was wrapped around their torn bodies and they were burned alive."
-- American Holocaust, by D.Stannard [Link]
*.- Christians went around burning down libraries of the Indians of Central America, demolishing shrines and burning books
*.- Convert or die: 19th century Christian missionaries exterminated the Californian Indians in the most gruesome manner.
More on the horrendous history of Christianity in the Americas
Africa : Christian slavery and colonialism
Estimates vary, but somewhere between 20 million and 60 million people were captured, enslaved and brought to the Americas. Millions more died in the slave raids, in the dungeons and in the Middle Passage.
-- Through slavery's darkest passages - Ghana's slave dungeons - Essence, Special Travel Section, October 1992
*.- Slave castles, with central Churches, were often built over the ancient shrines of the pagan Africans [Same Link]
*.- Slave ships often bore appropriate names, like those of the devout slave trader John Hawkins: Jesus, Solomon and John the Baptist. (-- Joseph McCabe)
*.- The Africans who survived the journey, were often worked to death :
"The policy of the slaveholder," says Dr. W.E.B. DuBois, "was to kill off the negroes by overwork and buy more."
-- Christianity Slavery and Labour, by Chapman Cohen
This was even more so in South America :
Brazil and the Caribbean were graveyards for Africans and their descendants.
-- American Slavery, 1619-1877, Peter Kolchin
*.- The Bible was used to justify slavery and led to racism: the Curse of Ham, supposedly applicable to Africans, was the reason they "deserved to be slaves".
Chuches also went so far as arguing that slavery was all for the best of the pagan Africans :
. . . . the most widespread and effective religious argument was the simple suggestion that slavery was part of God's plan to expose a hitherto heathen people to the blessings of Christianity.
-- American Slavery, 1619-1877, by Peter Kolchin
As Presbyterian minister (and Georgia slave owner) Charles C. Jones argued in The Religious Instruction of the Negroes (1842), blacks "were placed under our control...not exclusively for our benefit but theirs also," so they could receive moral and religious uplift; "we cannot disregard this obligation thus divinely imposed, without forfeiting our humanity, our gratitude, our consistency, and our claim to the spirit of christianity itself."
-- American Slavery, 1619-1877, by Peter Kolchin
In 18th century France, Voltaire estimated that the [Catholic] Church held between 50,000 and 60,000 slaves.
-- Christianity, Slavery and Labour, by Chapman Cohen
The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel employed slaves on its estates in the West Indies, and there were 80,000 black slaves in London as late as 1760 (Independent Review, October 1905). The American Churches, Anglican, Methodist, and Baptist, owned 600,000 slaves, and "the authority of nearly all the leading denominations was against the abolitionists," says J. Macy in the chief and impartial recent American work (The Anti-Slavery Crusade, 1920, p. 74). The Methodist, Baptist, and Presbyterian authorities, he shows, expelled any minister who advocated abolition.
-- A Rationalist Encyclopaedia, Joseph McCabe
Find out who did and who (predictably) did not agitate for abolishing African slavery.
During the brutal Christian colonisation of the Congo, which was defended by the Catholic Church, As many as 10 million Congolese are estimated to have died as a result of executions, unfamiliar diseases and hunger.
-- Leopold reigns for a day in Kinshasa - The Guardian, February 4, 2005
This and much more on the history of Christianity in Africa
Christian colonisation of Asia
*.- In China, Japan, Thailand: Here Christians of the Catholic Church implemented forced conversions, persecuted the followers of Buddhism and other pre-Christian religions, and attempted political take-overs of these countries. Christian converts became traitors to their own government, like those of ancient Rome had been. Fortunately, the end result in each case was that these countries expelled the Christian missionaries and closed themselves off to foreign (Christian) relations entirely.
*.- In Vietnam the situation was much the same, except that it did not succeed in expelling the missionaries, for which it paid the price later.
*.- In India and Sri Lanka, Christians from Portugal destroyed hundreds of indigenous shrines and built Churches over them (as usual). Once again, they went about violently converting the local population and exterminating any of the Hindus and Buddhists who did not convert. In India, Saint Francis Xavier got the Inquisition started in Goa which terrorised, tortured and gruesomely murdered many of the pagans.
Read the details on the ruthless Christian colonisation of Asia
In thirty years of despicable missionary rule in Tahiti, only 6,000 of the indigenous people remained from an initial 200,000. [Link, which cites The Missionaries, by Norman Lewis]
The Protestant missionaries then carried out the same conversion/extermination campaign in the rest of the Pacific.
Christians in Hawaii, had massacred most of the population :
By the 1860s, "in Hawai'i the Reverend Rufus Anderson surveyed the carnage that by then had reduced those islands' native population by 90 percent or more, and he declined to see it as tragedy; the expected total die-off of the Hawaiian population was only natural, this missionary said, somewhat equivalent to 'the amputation of diseased members of the body'."
-- American Holocaust, by D. Stannard. [Link]
More on Christian genocide in the Pacific
Missions and colonialism
Teurer Segen - Christliche Mission und Kolonialismus by Gert von Paczensky ("Costly blessing - Christian mission and colonialism"), translation of the book summary and review at KirchenKritik :
Missions were in league with colonialism, often even gruesomely so.
They helped to destroy old cultures, to uproot people, to divide families and entire populations.
They supported and approved of a system that let countless of millions in three continents be reduced to poverty, bringing them hunger and sickness.
In the misdevelopment of Latin America, Africa and Asia - [which is] the major problem in the present - missionaries and Churches of all persuasions and confessions (denominations) were complicit.
Review from KirchenKritik :
This work lacks neither facts, nor references nor information handed down from the time of mission-work and colonialism.
It is established that the Church has to answer for the main share of the guilt of the impoverishment of the present 3rd world. Yes, one can even go so far and assert that without the Church everything would have turned out differently !
In light of this book, the numerous speeches of Pope John Paul II in impoverished countries appear hypocritical and cynical.
Moving historical literature at it's best. Parts of it are not for weak nerves.
More on this
Anti-Semitism before Nazism
The Jews are the most worthless of all men. They are perfidious murderers of Christ. The Jews are the odious assassins of Christ and for killing God there is no expiation possible, no indulgence or pardon. God always hated the Jews. It is incumbent upon all Christians to hate the Jews.
-- Saint John Chrysostom, Church Father, 4th-5th century C.E.
More of the highly anti-Semitic statements of the pious early fathers of the Church, Popes and Reformers.
*.- The centuries of Christian preaching against Jews was founded on the Bible - the New Testament in this case.
*.- Martin Luther's book On the Jews and their Lies inspired Nazis and Christian Churches in Nazi Germany.
*.- The Church invented most of the means of persecuting Jews which the Nazis later used
• All the early non-Jewish Christian sects, like the Marcionites, were anti-Semitic.
• As soon as the Greco-Roman empire was wrested from pagan hands, the Christians started persecuting the Jews. Christian Roman Emperor Justinian was the one
who legalized the burning and pillaging of Jewish synagogues by Christian bishops and monks (often canonized later). [Link]
• Then in the Middle Ages, a great many extermination campaigns were enacted by Christians.
• In the large scale pogroms of Orthodox Christian Russia and Ukraine, at least several hundreds of thousands of Jews were exterminated.
"But we must never forget that the Jews have crucified our Master [Jesus] and have shed His precious blood."
-- Czar Alexander III, affirming the eternal Christian doctrine
The Protocols of the (Learned) Elders of Zion, in which Jews supposedly conspired to bring down the western Christian nations, is a Russian forgery :
If The Protocols appeared outlandish, it may have been because they were a Russian forgery plagiarized from a 1869 German novel which, itself, was plagiarized from a 1864 French political satire. [Link]
The forger was Czarist agent Sergei Nilius whose work was designed to deflect the misery of Nicholas II's policies onto a scapegoat: the Jews of Russia. [Link]
This forgery is still used by many pious Christians as additional "proof" of why Jews are to be hated.
More on anti-Semitism before Nazism
When Gypsies first appeared, Christianity had shaped the doctrine of war between light and dark and personified the white angels against the black devils. To the church the Gypsy culture was non-acceptable and their dark skin exemplified evil and inferiority. Hence in western Christian Europe the dark-skinned Gypsies became victims of prejudice as a result of this Christian doctrine.
-- Gypsies : a persecuted race, by William A. Duna
The persona of the Romani as non-white, non-Christian outsider became incorporated into Christian European folklore, which served to justify and encourage the prejudice against him. Like Asahuerus, the Jew doomed to wander through eternity because he refused to allow Jesus to rest on his way to Calvary, Romanies were accused of forging the nails with which Christ was crucified. And while Jews were accused of drinking the blood of Christian babies in hidden rites to which no outsider was privy, Romanies were likewise charged with stealing and even eating those babies. Parallelling even more closely the Asahuerus myth is the belief that the original sin of the Romanies was their refusal to give Mary and the baby Jesus shelter during their flight from King Herod into Egypt (Scheier, 1925, vol. II, p. 77).
-- The roots of Anti-Gypsyism: To the Holocaust and After, by Ian Hancock
Of course, the Roma were nowhere near the Middle-East in the 1st century CE, and this libel was but another Christian fiction. Like Jews, the Roma were also attacked in sermons.
*.- Monasteries in Eastern-Europe kept large numbers of Roma as slaves until the the 19th century.
*.- Roma who converted to the Christian (and Islamic) faiths were not accepted or if they were, then they were still treated as outcasts.
*.- The anti-Roma prejudice which had been created and had long been fostered by Christianity would result in their persecutions and exterminations in Germany, Croatia, Hungary, Romania and other countries during the Nazi era. In fact, the same continues today.
More on Romany and anti-Gypsyism
Fascism including Nazism
Nazism in Germany
Nazi Germany was a very Christian country. Its anti-Semitism was rooted in Church teachings : according to historian Dagobert Runes, Hitler's methods were actually modelled on the Christian one :
Everything Hitler did to the Jews, all the horrible, unspeakable misdeeds, had already been done to the smitten people before by the Christian churches ... The isolation of the Jews into ghetto camps, the wearing of the yellow spot, the burning of Jewish books and finally, the burning of the people - Hitler learned it all from the church. However, the church burned Jewish women and children alive, while Hitler granted them a quicker death, choking them first with gas. [Link]
And the anti-Semite Luther had written On the Jews and their Lies which inspired the Nazis as well as the Christian clergy.
"If I had to baptise a Jew, I would take him to the bridge of the Elbe, hang a stone around his neck and push him over with the words 'I baptise thee in the name of Abraham'."
-- Martin Luther, "Hitler's Spiritual Ancestor" by Peter F. Weiner
Thus, it's not surprising that inspired by the the New Testament and centuries of Church tradition, Saints and Church fathers, Popes and Reformers, the clergy in Nazi Germany merely added to the existing Christian anti-Semitic literature :
Bishop Martin Sasse of Thuringia, a leading Protestant churchman . . . edited a brochure for his ministers at the end of November 1938 titled, "Martin Luther and the Jews : do Away with Them!" He quoted extensively from Luther's book "On the Jews and their lies." (Wollenberg, p.73) [Link]
The Jew was created by God to act the traitor everywhere.
-- Civilta Cattolica, a Jesuit monthly publication, cited in John Cornwell's "Hitler's Pope" [Link]
Fact : Church, clergy & Christian involvement in Nazi Germany's extermination policies
*.- All German Churches, except the Confessing Church, were in line with Nazi Germany and its policies. Many clergymen and pious Church-goers were prominent Nazis. Most Germans were members of the mainstream German Churches, whilst the Confessing Church had but small numbers of members.
*.- The Catholic and Protestant Churches and their congregations actively helped the Nazi state in hunting down Jews. Both furnished racial data about Christian members in their own congregations who had Jewish ancestry. Neither Church accepted such Christians :
After the Nazi party took over, Protestant Churches began to exclude Jews from jobs and schools and later to exclude baptized racial Jews from the Land churches and to force them to live completely by themselves. [Link]
Catholic priests across Germany became part of an anti-Semitic attestation bureaucracy, supplying details of blood purity through marriage and baptism registries in accordance with the Nazi Nuremberg laws which distinguished Jews from non-Jews [Link]
In fact, the German churches advocated composing an "Aryan Paragraph" in church synods that would prevent non-aryans from joining the Church, which of course included Jews. [Link]
*.- The small, dissenting Confessing Church did not oppose Hitler for his anti-Semitic policies. Many of the prominent Pastors in this Church were self-admitted anti-Semites. It turns out they opposed the "Aryan Paragraph" in order to retain Jewish converts, but For Jews who did not convert, they held strong anti-Semitic feelings. [Link]
*.- The Catholic and Protestant Churches helped in the murder of people with disabilities.
There is nothing new in this, as the Church had for centuries taught that people with physical disabilities were devils and those with mental disabilities were possessed by devils. Throughout the Middle-Ages, handicapped children would be brutally murdered, often by their own Christian parents.
*.- Protestant and Catholic Churches used forced labourers during the Third Reich Strangely, Christians today are surprised when faced with such facts, forgetting how, throughout Christianity's history, Churches, clergy and everyday Christians had been involved in extermination campaigns against Jews and others, murdered people with disabilities and had kept slaves for centuries.
Read more about Nazi Germany
Nazism in wartime Yugoslavia
It is a matter of historical record that the Croatian Catholic Church was closely entangled with the Ustashas. In the early years of World War II, Catholic priests oversaw forced conversions of Orthodox Serbs under the aegis of the Ustasha state; Franciscan friars distributed Ustasha propaganda. Several high Catholic officials in Yugoslavia were later indicted for war crimes.
-- A vow of silence - U.S. News and World Report, March 30, 1998
"Kill all Serbs. And when you finish come here, to the Church, and I will confess you and free you from sin."(54)
-- Father Srecko Peric of the Gorica Monastery, reassuring his fellow Ustashi prior to a massacre [Link]
*.- The Ustashe were the Catholic Nazis of Croatia
*.- They ruthlessly exterminated about 750,000 people : mostly Orthodox Christian Serbs and several tens of thousands of Roma and Jews.
*.- In the Catholic Independent state of Croatia that was formed during the Nazi era, clergy took part in great numbers in the massacres.
*.- The Italian fascists and even the German Nazis were horrified at how gruesomel11y they murdered their victims.
The Croatian clergy brought the Ustashe to power
While the Catholic Press in the country kept praising the rising Fascism in Europe:
Monasteries, parish houses, cathedrals, Franciscan high schools, seminaries, etc., throughout Croatia doubled as meeting places, recruiting centers, arms depots and staging areas for Croatian fascism and terror in the years prior to the war.
. . . Among the very first armed divisions of the Ustasha army were numerous Catholic priests. The military exploits of one priest, Ilija Tomas of Klepac, were hailed in the Croatian fascist publication "Hrvatski Narod" on July 25, 1941.(21) Another Catholic publication "Nedelja" praised the military exploits of dozens of priests, especially those in monastic orders such as the Franciscan Radovan Glavas, and the priest Ivan Miletic who led Croatian fascists in joint battle with Wehrmacht forces.
. . . The entire Catholic press in this period in Croatia was thoroughly pro-fascist, racist and supportive of the elimination of the "minorities." [the Serbs, Jews and Roma]
-- The Vatican's Holocaust, by former BBC commentator Avro Manhattan
Christian priests create racial theories again
Ustashi's leading racist theorists were Catholic clergy. ... priests were among the intellectual godfathers of Croatian fascism and racism.
. . . anti-Semitism in Yugoslavia was almost entirely the product of Catholic propaganda after World War I.
. . . The Catholic Press preached racial theories - e.g. the theory that the Croats were not of Slav descent, but were Gothic German. One of the founders of this race theory was a well-known Catholic priest, Kerubin Segvic, who as far back as 1931 wrote a book entitled, The Gothic Descendance of the Croats, with a view to creating racial odium against the Slavs, which was synonymous with "Orthodox."
-- The Vatican's Holocaust, by Avro Manhattan
The Vatican and communism united after WWII to whitewash history.
More on Nazism in Yugoslavia during WWII
* * * * * *
The Vatican and Fascism in the 20th century
What is the Vatican hiding ? The Vatican's Complicity in Genocide in Fascist Croatia, by Barry Lituchy describes how it is that the Vatican got away scott-free from its active involvement in genocide, especially in Croatia. How, through deflection and obfuscation, it has absolved itself of all crimes pertaining to genocide, restricting its "errors" merely to "not speaking out" against what was happening to the Jews. Though it is well-known that the Catholic Church was involved in tracking down Jews for Nazi Germany, and involved in Nazism in general (see photos), it has carefully kept silent about its even more devastating and direct role in wartime Croatia's genocide.
Read about the complicity of the Vatican in the Holocaust and the involvement of Popes Pius XI and Pius XII with Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.
John Cornwell, who wrote the book Hitler's Pope about Pius XII :
was allowed extensive access to Vatican files relevant to the Holocaust which apparently had not been studied previously by a non-Vatican researcher. He explains that he was planning to write a book defending Pope Pius XII (hence the access) but changed his mind when he saw the data.
Among other things, Pius XI and Pacelli (Pope XII) arranged the Lateran Treaty with dictator Mussolini and the Concordat with Germany. The Pope was directly responsible for the dissolution of Germany's parliamentary system which gave dictatorial powers to Hitler.
Pope John Paul II's intended beatification of Pius XII was to make the public believe Pius' conduct was above board, when in fact it was wholly the opposite.
More on these wartime Popes, including suggestions of German and other books that deal with the Papal involvement in Nazism and Fascism.
The Vatican harboured Nazis & helped them escape
"In deep gratitude I recall the help of Catholic priests in my escape out of Europe and decided to honour the Catholic faith in which I became an honorary member"
-- Adolf Eichmann, Nazi war criminal, in 1961 [translation from Eichmann's original German statement cited in Persilscheine und falsche Pässe, by Ernst Klee]
Croatia's Nazi (Ustashi) leader Pavelic is another example :
Other reports mention Ustashas meeting with Vatican officials or even living in the Vatican. The British Foreign Office reported in January 1947 that Pavelic himself, by that time a wanted war criminal, was living "within the Vatican City."
-- A vow of silence - U.S. News and World Report, March 30, 1998 the now famous "La Vista Report" of May 15, 1947, a top-secret U.S. Army Intelligence report documenting the Vatican's role in aiding the escape of numerous high-ranking Nazi war criminals, among them Ante Pavelic, fascist leader of wartime Croatia; Franz Stangel, Commander of Treblinka; Eduard Roschmann, "the Butcher of Riga" ; Klaus Barbie, "the Butcher of Lyon"; SS General Walter Rauff, inventor of the mobile gas truck; Adolf Eichmann, "architect of the Holocaust" ; and tens of thousands of others.
-- What is the Vatican Hiding, by Barry Lituchy
The Vatican's continuing secrecy means the evidence is incomplete, but already declassified documents from the archives of the United States and other nations suggest that--with the aid of Croatian Catholic priests--Ustasha plunder made its way from Croatia to Rome, and possibly to the Vatican itself.
-- A vow of silence - U.S. News and World Report, March 30, 1998 Much Nazi blood money made it into the Vatican, but not out.
Further details here
The Vatican attempting to rewrite its Fascist history
"His Holiness, Pius XII, the best anti-democrat in the world", as he was in 1950 (!) proudly titled by Ecclesia, official organ of the Spanish Catholic Action in an attempt to pay him the greatest tribute a Catholic paper could pay [Link]
• The Vatican supported fascist dictatorships throughout Europe: Hitler's Germany, Croatia under Pavelic, Mussolini's Italy, Slovakia under Catholic Nazi Tiso, Spain under the Christian dictatorship of Franco and a similar one in Portugal. And in more recent times it supported the dictatorship of Pinochet in Chile.
• Stepinac, the criminal archbishop of Zagreb (later Cardinal) and father confessor to the Ustashe, headed the committee for forcible conversions of the Orthodox Christian Serbs. He was tried and found guilty of war crimes after WWII. Now Pope John Paul II has beatified Stepinac. Once again the Catholic Church hopes that beatifying a war criminal might make the ignorant masses believe he was a saint.
• Consistent with its PR campaign to rewrite the wartime role of Pius XII as well those of pious criminals like Stepinac, the Vatican has embarked on a denial campaign for its own involvement in the Holocaust and its support of war criminals. And it does so in spite of all the evidence to the contrary and the many court cases against them, see Vatican Bank Claims.
The Vatican in its non-apology had denied that Christian anti-Semitism had anything to do with Nazism. It also claims it denounced a core Christian belief - the foundation of anti-Semitism - after WWII. Yet Father Peter Gumpel, an important Papal adviser, has openly articulated it recently on TV :
"It is a fact that the Jews have killed Christ. This is an undeniable historical fact," Gumpel told CBC.
-- Shadow of anti-Semitism hangs over Vatican - CBC News, 16 March 2000
The Vatican secretly issued instructions to the Catholic church in France not to return Jewish children to their families after the second world war, it emerged yesterday. The children were entrusted to the church's care to save them from the death camps. But if the parents survived the war and came forward to reclaim their sons or daughters, the children were only to be returned "provided [they] have not received baptism", the Vatican ordered.
... Catholic commentators have rallied around an "only carrying out orders" position, noting that under the canon law of the time, baptism was tantamount to permanent enrollment in the Church and prevailed over other considerations.
"We had no idea we were about to create a tsunami of information", said Alberto Melloni, a Catholic historian at the University of Bologna, who wrote the Dec. 28 article that initiated the polemic.
-- Vatican hit by new row over war role: Pope kept Jewish families apart - The Guardian, December 29, 2004
Two pages on these and other controversies related to the Holocaust and fascism that are plaguing the Holy Roman Church today.
Book suggestions: Further reading on the history of Christianity
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