Buddhist monks join the crowd listening to the monks' calls for the government to release political prisoners. Photo/Mandalay Breeze Facebook
Five Buddhist monks launched a protest at Maha Mya Muni Monastery in Mandalay on Tuesday, calling for the immediate and unconditional release of political activists who are being detained in prisons across the country, one of the protesters told The Irrawaddy.
The move came after Win Mra, the chairman of a government-appointed rights body, the National Human Rights Commission, called on President Thein Sein to grant another amnesty as a reflection of his magnanimity or to transfer political prisoners in remote prisons to facilities with easy access for their family members.
The Buddhist monks also urged the government to end armed hostilities in ethnic Kachin State in northern Burma and to hold peace talks with ethnic armed groups.
They held signs which read: “Peace Here Right Now!” “Free All Political Prisoners!” “We Want Freedom!” and “Stop the Civil War Now!” as they protested using loudspeakers. The monks began the vigil at 5 am and it was still continuing at 2pm.
The Buddhist monks have also demanded that the government allow monks to exercise their right of religion such as by being able to give religious speeches in public. The police did not intervene but instead questioned the monks, then stood by and monitored the demonstration, said the source.
One of the monks was identified as Ashin Sopoka who lived in exile in Germany until recently, and who runs Burmese book stores in Chiang Mai and Mae Sot in Thailand.
Another Buddhist monk, U Sawpaka, told The Irrawaddy on Tuesday that pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi is do hold a telephone conversation with the protesting monks in Mandalay. Electricity lines have been cut at the Maha Mya Muni Monastery where the protest is taking place.
Members of the public watch the protesting monks at Maha Mya Muni Monastery in Mandalay on Tuesday morning. Photo/Mandalay Breeze Facebook
Hundreds of residents have turned up to cheer the monks and have offered them food, drinking water and petrol to work a generator. Plain-clothed security was beefed up around the protest site, and both police and fire trucks were deployed nearby, said the monk.
* Later on Tuesday afternoon, the five monks moved from Maha Mya Muni monastery to Ma Soe Yein monastery in Mandalay and continued their protest. They said they will maintain their protest until the government accepts their demands.
They said they moved location after being persuaded to by senior monks at Ma Soe Yein monastery.
“Even though the government released some political prisoners, there remain many Buddhist monks and political activists in prison. We call for the government to immediately release them and end the civil war for the sake of peace in Burma,” one of the protesting monks told The Irrawaddy by telephone.
TAIPEI, Taiwan — A museum in Taiwan says two employees made and sold unauthorized copies of a 220-year-old Buddhist scripture written in the Tibetan language, one of the museum’s most treasured pieces.
In January, the National Palace Museum unveiled 500 copies of the 100,000-page book “Tripitaka in Manchu,” written in gold and painted with Buddha statues just like the original. Each sells for 1.88 million New Taiwan dollars ($62,000).
The museum said Monday that the two employees illegally provided the production technology to a printing firm and sold the fake copies to buyers in China.
The original scripture was produced by China’s imperial Qing dynasty court. The Taiwanese museum took up the reprinting because it was widely believed people having a glimpse of the book would be blessed.
China on Saturday warned the exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama not to interfere with the “reincarnation” process to select a successor after his death, saying the selection cannot be influenced by any group from outside the country.
“The top official of Tibet, Chen Quanguo, on Saturday warned the exiled Dalai Lama group not to interfere with living Buddhas’ reincarnation affairs, a tradition of Tibetan Buddhism that also concerns who will replace the current 14th Dalai Lama, 76, once he dies,” state-run Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.
The warning came as tensions prevailed in Tibetan populated areas like southern Sichuan province where nine Buddhist monks and two nuns have attempted to commit self immolations, demanding return of the Dalai Lama from his exile in India.
Another monk set himself on fire in Nepal two days ago against Chinese rule in Tibet.
The Xinhua report said China’s State Administration for Religious Affairs in 2007 issued regulations on reincarnation of Tibetan living Buddhas.
It stated that the selection must adhere to the principle of upholding the national unity and solidarity of all ethnic groups and that the selection process cannot be influenced by any group or individual from outside the country.
The reincarnation should respect the rituals and traditions of Tibetan Buddhism but reincarnated living Buddhas (Monks) are barred from retaining the old feudal theocratic powers, which have been abolished since Tibet’s democratic reforms half a century ago, according to the regulations, the report said.
The Dalai Lama, who fled Tibet following a failed uprising against Chinese rule in 1959, has been described by the Chinese leadership as “splititst” seeking to destroy the unity of the country.
Chen, the newly appointed secretary of the Communist Party of China Committee of the Tibet Autonomous Region, told a regional congressional meeting held in Lhasa that the authorities in Tibet will continue to protect religious activities, religious venues, and the legitimate rights of the followers in accordance with the country’s laws.
Chen also underlined the importance of building the Tibet Buddhist Theological Institute into an organisation that trains well-educated monks and nuns for Tibetan monasteries across the country and explains the doctrines of Tibetan Buddhism in ways that can keep the religion at pace with the times.
The institute, Tibet’s only regional-level Buddhist theological academy, opened in the county of Quxu near Lhasa in October.
One hundred-and-fifty people from various sects of Tibetan Buddhism were enrolled to study religion, culture, and law courses as the first batch of students.
Posted on: November 12, 2011 3:56 pm
BUDDHIST MEDITATION CENTER
Videos and Photos of Vipassana classes at our Peace Meditation Center - Wat Kiryvongsa Bopharam in Leverett, Massachusetts, USA
A Dhamma Talk on Vipassana and mindfulness meditation by Vipassana Gossalaya Jotannano Hong Keo, Vipassana Buddhist Master during a 10-Day Meditation & Vipassana Retreats at the Buddhist Meditation Center, Wat Kiryvongsa Bopharam on the 11th Waxing Moon – 7th Waning Moon of Jeṭṭha B.E.2560 equivalent to June 15 – 26, A.D.2016 in Leverett, Massachusetts, U.S.A. in 2016.
ក្រុងសាវត្ថី Sāvatthī or Śrāvastī
Vipassana chanting by Meditation Master Ketodhammo Som Bunthoeun. Footages from 2016 Vipassana classes at the Buddhist Meditation Center – Wat Kiryvongsa Bopharam in Leverett, Massachusetts, USA.
SAMDECH CHUON NATH
Khmer literature and Dhamma talk by His Holiness Jotannano Chuon Nath, the Supreme Patriarch of Cambodia Buddhism. His Holiness was born on March 11, 1883; passed away on September 25, 1969
MAHA GHOSANANDA SERVICES
Extraordinary Funeral and Memorial Services for His Holiness Samdech Dr. Maha Ghosananda