Tuesday, June 01, 2004

No one is immune

There is a story about a Zen master whose monastery was overrun by marauding soldiers. When the Zen master did not appear frightened, the soldier’s captain said, “Don’t you know who I am? I could run my sword through you and not think twice about it.” The Zen master replied, “Don’t you know who I am? You could run your sword through me and I wouldn’t think twice about it.”

Written on the inside flap of the cover of No Death, No Fear, Comforting Wisdom For Life, by Thich Nhat Hanh.

This is what immediately came to mind when I heard of the beheading of a Buddhist by Islamic separatists in Thailand on Saturday. Maybe not so appropriate. This was no Zen master. And he was killed because he wasn’t a Muslim.

Cheam, 63, a Buddhist who lived with his wife in a remote Muslim village, on Saturday became the latest victim in the litany of killings blamed on Islamic separatists in Thailand's deep south.

To drive home the message, the killers had flung Cheam's head in the village street while the body was left in the rubber plantation he managed several kilometers away.