Select Committee on Religious Offences in England and Wales Written Evidence

Submission from the London Buddhist Vihara

  We should like to make the following submission concerning the law of blasphemy.

  The Buddha clearly advised his followers not to be concerned about what other people might say about his teaching:

      "If anyone were to speak ill of me or my teaching, or of my disciples, do not be upset or perturbed, for this kind of reaction will only cause you harm. On the other hand, if anyone were to speak well of me, my teachings and my disciples, do not be overjoyed, thrilled or elated, for this kind of reaction will only be an obstacle in forming correct judgement. If you are elated, you cannot judge whether the qualities praised are real and actually found in me, my teachings and my disciples." (Brahmajala Sutta, Digha Nikaya, I. 6)

  He also said that denouncing other faiths is a profitless exercise:

      "It is as a man who looks up and spits at heaven—spittle does not soil the heaven, but it comes back and defiles his own person." (Anguttara Nikaya Vol I, p. 79)

  Truth remains Truth regardless of what people may say. We are, therefore, of the opinion that it does not need protection from a law of blasphemy.

12 June 2002

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