Letters to Pope John Paul II regarding the intrusion of the Roman Catholic Church onto Buddhism
The Parien Dhamma Association of Thailand
165, Phayap Road,
Tel: 282 3899
10th. May, 1984.
Pope John Paul II.
The Roman Catholic Church in Thailand has intruded onto Buddhism with many unjust actions as shown in the attached Memorandum of Protest.
It has been for almost two years that the different groups of Buddhists have made several complaints about this matter, with the authorities and the administrators of the Catholic Church in Thailand, from the Apostolic Ambassador and the Cardinal, and on down. But we find it most regrettable that those people have not done anything to improve the situation and have ignored all our protests.
On the occasion of your visit to Thailand, we Buddhists would like to make a request to you as Head of the world Catholics that you take these complaints into consideration and take actions with what your church has been doing, and to stop the Catholics here in Thailand from distorting and subverting Buddhism. We need sincere and honest relationships and mutual respect, so that the Thai people of all religions could live happily together as we have done all through the long history of Thailand.
(Translantion of Thai Names)
The Parien Dhamma Association of Thailand.
The Club of Volunteers to defend Thai.
The Group of Defenders of Thai Culture and Nationality
The Buddhist Protection Front.
The Young Buddhist Association of Nakon Pathom
The Young Buddhist Association of Surat Thani
The Young Buddhist Association of Trang.
Memorandum of Protest Concerning:
The Insulting and Insincere Actions of the Roman Catholic Church Towards Buddhism
Introduction to the Issues Arising:
Thailand has the reputation through the ages as a land with absolute freedom in the choice of religion. Although Buddhism is identified as the religion of the nation and of the majority of the population, all the constitutions of the Country allow free choice of religion. Any religious activity can be performed in Thailand provided it is not against the peaceful and moral living of the people. The Thai Government has given support to all religions of the country. The Thai people, regardless of religion, have lived and worked together in peace, helping one another on the basis of mutual sincerity and respect.
However, it is most regrettable to report that during recent years, the Roman Catholic Church in Thailand has been insulting Buddhism. Therefore, two years ago the Buddhist associations, foundations, clubs, groups as listed at the end of the preceding letter all worked together to study and analyse these insulting and unfair words and deeds meticulously, carefully and justly for all concerned.
Nothing was done emotionally, resentfully or with any prejudice or bias or any bad intention to the Catholics. Please note that it is of paramount importance that the Buddhists have to defend the purity of their religion and to keep up with all the events to the contrary.
In keeping with the foregoing, documents of the Vatican, as well as the Roman Catholic Church in Thailand were studied and analysed with consideration to all the actions of the Roman Catholic Church in Thailand.
Therefore, this study is not aiming at creating any dissent among different religions. It is not an of narrow-mindedness or without any respect for or cooperation with other religions. It is the duty and responsibility of the Buddhists to defend the purity of Buddhism and reveal the unjust actions of the Catholic Church as well as their ulterior motives towards Buddhism.
Conclusions Drawn from the Study:
From this study and analysis it could be concluded that the improper and wrong actions against Buddhists are:
- The insulting of the Triple Gem, which is of the highest reverence to all the Buddhists
2. Dubious actions in the relations between the two religions and the untrustworthy intention behind those actions. (The details are published elsewhere)
These above points can be briefly expanded upon as follows:
Firstly, the Roman Catholic Christianity in Thailand has intentionally and continually insulted the Triple Gem for a long time, and this not being due to their misunderstanding, nor out of their ignorance, nor because of their carelessness, and nor were these the private actions of a small number of Christians.
All these are clearly seen from the following evidences:
- Insulting and lowering the status of the Buddha by distorting that the Buddha’s enlightenment was inspired by GOD and that the Buddha, though a noble personage, was only a sage or one of GOD’s prophets at most. The Buddha is made inferior to Jesus Christ in the following examples:
“If history confirms that the Buddha had prophesied the arrival of Phra Sri Arya after 500 years of the Buddha’s Nirvana, the Buddha then, is one of GOD’s prophets to whom God has assigned the work to get the people of the East ready to welcome Jesus Christ . The era of Phra Arya, or Messiah, has started since the arrival of Jesus Christ. (Father Manas Chuabsmai, in Saeng Dharma Review, 3rd year, Vol1, January – April 2522, p132). (The Saeng Dharma Review is published by the Saeng Dharma College which trains novices to be Fathers, and is operated by the Roman Catholic Christianity. It is located in Amphur Sampran, District of Nakorn Prathom)
“God is the Truth. All the truth come from GOD. As the Buddha teaches the truth, the truth, naturally comes from GOD ..” (Former Father Kirati Boonchua, in `The Tripitaka for Christians’, 2524, p 56″
“We may admit (accept) the Buddha’s enlightenment as GOD’s involvement.” (Father Moling, Saeng Dharma Review, 5th year, Vol. 2, May-August 2524, p54).
“The view (held by) of Christian Philosophers, the Law of Causation is GOD’s plan for the world and human beings. God revealed this plan to the Buddha who consequently attained enlightenment and proclaimed it .” (Father Manas Chuabsmai, Saeng Dharma Review. 5th. year, Vol.2 p.104).
“. take care not to lower Jesus Christ to the same level as a sage or other great man of the world like the Buddha, Confucius etc., (Father Samran Vongsangiam, Saeng Dharma review, 5th. Year, Vel.2. p.37)
In public also:
All these fathers did not stop their aggression in public. Father John Ulliana in his address to the seminar for religious leaders on the Ratanakosin bicentennial anniversary on 10th April,2525 at Wat Benchamabopitr, said:
“At present Christian masters are studying the secret trick assigned by GOD to the Buddha to teach the world .. that is meditation, contemplation.”
Comment: Such an incident, if let go without remedy, will certainly loom large to the extent of causing a dissention between the Buddhists and the Christians.
- The distortion and transformation of various Buddhist moral principles to be used in the explanations of Christianity in order to show that Buddhist teachings and practices are only a means to an end which is to be found in Christianity. Such propaganda have brought about confusion in the Dhamma as well as fake and distorted moral principles. The said distortion was carried out both times in the Vatican City and by the Christians in Thailand.
(Evidence of the operating style of Vatican City can be seen from the “Bulletins” of the Secretariat for non-Christians. The Bulletins describe policies and devices to be used in dissemination of Christianity, through dialogue which purpose is to swallow up main principles of other religions as minor parts of Christianity. These documents are of vital importance since they are directly from the Vatican and are most confidential, reserved only for Bishops and above levels and chiefs of the dissemination and Missionary work.)
Some examples are given from the “Bulletin” and “Saeng Dharma Review”:
“But the most profitable collaboration will be the work which our experts will carry out with the texts and with the Buddhist books so as to absorb the good elements into the local Christian culture.” (S. Lokuang, Bulletin 10, March 1969, p.25)
“. a research will be made for the composition of a new treatise in which Buddhist moral principles like `not-self’, the law of Causation, meditation, Supernormal Powers etc., will be used to explain the teachings of Christianity. (Former Father Kirati Boonchua, Indian Philosophy, p.118)
“Brahman is a condition of a major Atta, covering all minor Atta. Heaven (of Christianity) should then be similar to Nirvana and Brahman, which is the Ultimate truth.” (Former Father Kirati Boonchua, Indian Philosophy , p.101)
“Human Beings must rely on Dhamma, which was born Jesus Christ . Every human being must follow the condition of impermanence, suffering and not-self. They cannot, by themselves, change into the conditions, of permanence, happiness and self. They must depend on Jesus Christ who will help change their conditions from impermanence, suffering and s not self to permanence, happiness and self.” (H.E. Bishop Ratana Bamrungtrakul, Sapdasarn, 16th year, Vol. 878, Oct.12, 1980, P.5)
“The prime cause of all things is GOD, the Creator. He is the Creator of the Universe and set up the Law of Causation to rule the world.” (Father Manas Chuabsmai, Saeng Dharma Review, 5th. Year,Vol.2, May-Aug 2524, p.102)
“Another change of mind is the admittance that Buddhism is initiated by GOD to pave the way for Jesus Christ.” (Father A. Moling, Saeng Dharma review, 5th. Year, Vol.2, May-August 2524)
“The practice of the Buddhist contemplative life has, through the centuries, fascinated many sages of China and Japan .. Why could not this exercise be inserted in our meditative and contemplative life with a fitting and prudent
change? (S. Lokuang, Bulletin 10, March 1969,p.26)
3) The imitation of the attires, religious vocabularies, ways of life and ceremonies of the Sangha which are based on the code of monastic life, is a means to usurp the cultural heritage of the noble institution of the Sangha of Buddhism. Theistic miracles of Christianity were inserted into the old and beautiful culture of Thailand to create confusion among the Buddhists. Kathin ceremony, forest dwelling monks’ robes presentation ceremony, etc. Even the ceremony of burying round stones in the ground to mark the sacred limits of the Buddhist temple, with the Catholic priests going around with the bowl to receive food are performed in Christian style. What is most evident is the imitation of terminology of Buddhism, such as Patriarch, Wat, Sangha, Samanera, etc.
The following documents are given in evidence of what supports the afore mentioned behaviour:
“Here, the adaptation of the ceremonies of the Roman Catholic now performed by the Thai Catholics to make them agreeable with all the customs and traditions of the Thai People as permissible by theology and the Roman
Catholics.” (Father Samran Wongsangiem, Saeng Dharma Review, 5th. Yea, Vol. 2 May-Aug 1981, p33)
“In Thailand .. there is a Sangha way of life.. .. to become a monk is a glory of the male .. and we Catholics shall have no part in it, we do not have a similar system to offer the Thai people. Would not an adaptation of this to the psychological need of the Buddhist people be good for us too? We must try to present Catholicism in local attire . as a preparation for a real discussion with the Thai Buddhists, we must first correct certain ideas we have on numerous customs and rites which we call religious and carry out a work of adaptation to the psychology of the people. For example, in the ceremony called the blessing of the crops, where the King presides, the bonzes are participating in the ceremonies. But why could not the Catholic be there too, to pray as we do on Rogation days uniting us to the whole nation on the same day.” (Father John Ulliana. Bulletin No.11, June 1969, p114,115)
“It is regrettable that the image of Catholicism in Thailand is not complete because of the lack of Bhikkhu – styled monks, which is an important composition of Christianity life. If we have such monks in Thailand, more Thai people will be interested in our religion.” (Father Robert Gotte, Saeng Dharma Review, 5th. Year, Vol.3, Sept-Dec 2524, p.54)
The actions mentioned above are insults to the Triple Gem which is of the highest reverence for all Buddhists.
In the second item, it can be seen that the Roman Catholic Church officials have had many religious contacts with Thai Buddhists, for the purpose of exchanging of ideas. They have also have been doing social development work, social welfare, etc., to give the outward appearance of look honest, candid and sincere, being equals, and giving mutual respect, all with the apparent purpose of bringing benefits to Thai society as a whole. But the analytical study has led to strong doubts and evidence that those actions were only a pretence to cover the real purpose which is to adapt, distort and absorb the Thai culture into Christianity. Their ultimate goal is to turn Thai Buddhism into a form of Christianity. This is in accordance with the policy and new strategy designed and directed by the centre of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican.
The local Catholic Church is responsible for implementing the plan until it reaches the goal, sooner or later, as the details may vary according to the local situation.
“Go, therefore, make disciples of all the nations”. These words were written on golden lettering on the frontal porch of Vatican II. It is the first and most important target. (Cardinal P. Marella, Bulletin 10, March 1969, p7)
” . The non-Christians are loved first of all, inasmuch as they are members of Christ, at least potentially, of that carnate truth which they do not know and which is denied them by the errors professed by them .. .. ” (P. Rossano, Bulletin 6, November 1967, p141)
“.. .. The other religions are a mixture of good and bad, of truth and error . This is to say that the truths and virtues of the other religions are a starting point, a help and invitation to the progressive journey whose clearly marked destination is the perfect wisdom of the Christian revelation. ….When they see in those religions the seeds or terms of the WORD. This necessarily calls for development, for growth to the stature of the fullness of Christ (Eph 4:13) a fullness which is not to be found except by a gradual advance towards Christianity.” (P. Humbertelande, Bulletin 11, June 1969, pp.84-85)
“Since then, the missions are developing a wider perspective. It is no longer one of converting the religious cultures themselves, so to speak” (A. Lunean, Bulletin 7, March 1969, p15)
“Outside of Christ, there is no salvation. Even in modern times we must proclaim this fact.” (A. H. Kishi, Bulletin 10, March 1969, p33)
“This means that the terms `peaceful co-existence’, `mutual understanding’, and `reciprocal respect’ among the other religions and the very dialogue to which they are called, do not constitute the ultimate form of the Christian conscience; for less do they lead to a theoretical or practical acceptance on the Church’s part of the equality of all the religions”. (P. Rossano, Bulletin 16, 1971, p39)
“A sincere contract with men on the part of the Church, `on equal terms’, on terms of friendship and collaboration, as a preliminary for the announcement of the Gospel.” (P. Rossano, Bulletin 5, June 1967, p113.)
“Missionaries never start from scratch. For dialogue they need to discover the authentic values present in the non-Christian religious, so as to purify them and elevate them, fitting the gospel of Christ into them. Thus, Christ will be shown to the non-Christians, not as a stranger, but as the one whom they constantly sought.” (Fides, Bulletin 11, June 1969, p122)
“Prudent directions are given in the constitution on the liturgy regarding the Christian integration of pre-existing religious rites and forms.” (P. Rossano, Bulletin 6, November 1967, p142)
“Non-Christians are to be found everywhere today. In many countries they constitute the vast majority, they are, therefore, in possession of the nations’ culture and power and have at their disposal the instruments for teaching and the means of forming public opinion to their liking. Now, if a danger exists for the Faith, it is precisely in this unconscious contact which eludes all control and all immunization.” (P. Humbertelande, Bulletin 11, June 1969. p92)
Our studies reveal that the Catholic Church in Thailand has carried out all the activities in accordance with the policy and strategies of the Vatican, step by step, and continuing for more than 10 years with systematic organization and coordination.
We Buddhists are willing to join with all other religions, especially in the activities which are beneficial for the common good such as social development work, social welfare, etc. But these have to be performed with sincerity aiming at the benefits, the happiness and the co-operation of all Thais. Each religion must be honored and respected and treated on an equal basis; not to put up work for the public as a covering in order to subvert Buddhism and convert all the Buddhists into Christians, absorbing Buddhist principles as a minor part of Christianity.
Therefore, we Buddhists would like to demand that these unjust and intruding actions of the Roman Catholic Church to Buddhism be stopped. They are insults to the Triple Gem and all these insincere actions denote bad intentions to Buddhism. If the Roman Catholic Church does not declare that they are aware of their mistakes (errors) they have made and stop them and make good and rectify past bad actions and results, good relations and goods understanding between the Buddhists and the Roman Catholic Church can no
longer be brought about.
These letters were ignored.