Buddha, In Your Name — A Poem

by Dr. Sajed Kamal

[ December 22, 2017, Boston, Sri Lanka Guardian]

“All lives be happy,” Gautama Buddha
“A textbook example of ethnic cleansing,” ZeidRa’ad Al Hussein,
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Buddha, in your name,
they commit genocide.
Buddha, in your name,
they unleash ethnic cleansing.

Rohingyas by name
children, women, men
young and elderly
able and disabled
healthy and sick—
in hundreds of thousands
defying numbers,
are massacred
are maimed
are beaten
are raped
are persecuted,
are terrorized in their homes.
Their homes burned to ashes,
they are driven out of their centuries-old homeland—
Buddha, in your name.

The venomous monks preaching “Buddhist Purity”
preach hatred
incite violence
reward cruelty
cause suffering
commit murders—
Buddha, in your name.
Their orange robes are drenched in blood:
the blood of the innocents
the blood of the helpless
the blood of the disenfranchised.
The cowards
the hypocrites
the ambitious
the puppets
the moral degenerates
wearing the mask of liberators
wearing the mask of peacemakers
resort to silence
facing the other way
closing their eyes
while the atrocities continue—and continue—
and continue,
Buddha, in your name.

O Buddha, are you a mere statue
sitting inert with your eyes closed?
Are you a mere statue
carved out of a heartless stone?
Are you a mere statue
aloof and soulless
meditating for enlightenment,
meditating for nirvana?
Then, how pathetic you look, O Buddha!
Where do you find enlightenment, Buddha?
Where do you seek nirvana, Buddha?
What path do you travel to see the Light, Buddha?
What path do you travel to attain nirvana, Buddha?
Nirvana is not there—not in the darkness of closed eyes
not in the darkness of denial
not in the darkness of indifference
not in the darkness of inaction
not in the heartless mass of stone.

Open your eyes, O Buddha:
Open the eyes of all “Buddhists”
in yoga pants and work clothes
and monk robes and corporate suits
seeking enlightenment, seeking nirvana,
open the eyes of all humanity across the world.
Let the light of compassion
the light of justice
the light of conscience
the light of courage
the light of protest
the light of action
the light of peace
spread across all humanity,
across the universe:
in that, and only in that, O Buddha,
only that way, O Buddha
you will be One with the Light,
only that way, you shall attain nirvana.

-The End –


Dr. Sajed Kamal is a poet, artist, translator, educator and author of dozen books on a wide range of subjects living in Boston.

Author: Sri Lanka Guardian

Sri Lanka Guardian has been providing breaking news & views for the progressive community since 2007. We are independent and non-profit.