Burmese Authorities Ban Chanting of Metta Sutta
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Burma

Burmese Authorities Ban Chanting of Metta Sutta


By ARKAR MOE Thursday, August 6, 2009


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Buddhist monks at the Myat Saw Nyi Naung Pagoda in Yenangyaung, Magway Divison, were warned on Wednesday not to hold a ceremony to chant the Metta Sutta—the Buddha’s discourse on loving-kindness.
 
The monks originally planned a 12-hour-long recitation, scheduled to start at 6 p.m. Wednesday, to mark the full moon day of the fifth month of the Burmese calendar, traditionally celebrated as “Metta Sutta Day” by Burmese Buddhists.   

“We only intended to recite Buddhist sutras, including the Metta Sutta, to wish for all sentient beings to be peaceful and free from anxiety. But the authorities told us to call off our plans,” a monk from Yenangyaung told The Irrawaddy on Thursday.

Similar ceremonies are normally held throughout the country on this day. However, since a brutal crackdown on the monk-led protests of 2007, which featured marching monks reciting the Metta Sutta, most monasteries have been wary of publicly chanting the sutra.

“Banning chanting of the Buddhist sutras is a great insult to the Buddha, his teachings and his followers,” said Ashin Issariya, one of the leaders of the All Burma Monks Alliance (ABMA), the group that spearheaded the 2007 Saffron Revolution.

“There is no freedom of religion in Burma today,” he added, noting that banning large ceremonies also prevents people from making donations to monks—an important practice for Burmese Buddhists, who believe that providing monks with basic material requisites is the surest way to accumulate spiritual merit.
 
“The Buddha instructed monks to boycott any person who prevents donations to monks or obstructs the Dhamma,” he said. “I condemn this act by the authorities, and all other monks should also condemn it.”

According to Buddhist scripture, monks can boycott lay followers who violate religious principles by refusing to accept alms from them. This practice, known as “overturning the alms bowl,” is a powerful act of defiance, and one that has provoked a harsh response from Burmese authorities in the past.

Despite the ban on chanting the Metta Sutta at monasteries, on Wednesday the state-run New Light of Myanmar carried a commentary extolling its importance for practicing Buddhists.

“By chanting or reciting Metta Sutta, you send out to all sentient beings messages of your loving-kindness, compassion and goodwill. All who receive your good message reciprocate the same to you. You are immune from all dangers. You have no enemies, you have only friends,” wrote commentator Dr Khin Maung Nyunt.

Ashin Esika, a Burmese monk living in Sri Lanka, told The Irrawaddy: “I am greatly saddened to hear that the Burmese authorities prohibited monks from reciting the Buddha’s sutras. All monks and people need to unite and try their best to protect our religion. Moreover, all people under the sun must share kindness and compassion to uphold justice and peace in the world.”

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Free Man Wrote:
13/08/2009
I think what we are talking about here is whether or not the regime commits religious persecution. If we agree that they do, then it would be wise for us to take remedial measures conducive to reconciliation and harmony.

On the other hand, I think it is also essential that we should work towards a society that respect and encourage reason and critique of anything so that superstition and irrationality would not tear our society apart as we have witnessed some unpleasant incidents.

pLan B Wrote:
12/08/2009
As my limited Buddhist knowledge entail that
"defrocking a monk is an unpardonable transgression".

Not wanting to pour more fuel onto the fire, do you see any editorial on that or any comments by these so called devout Buddhists?
Spilt milk, moving on, what next.

SPDC already got away with more than murders and is still able to portray themselves clearly as champions of Buddhist.

Lesson learned:
1)The SPDC is not dumb as being said umpteen time.
2)SPDC is a master of the situation created by the past 20 years of failed policy by the West.

If one get these 2 facts alone good then you will know that one is way behind in engagement attempt.

Now that N Korea is called friend, which one must be blind not to associate with relentless sanctions, etc (SOS2). Wait a few more years and see SPDC learned more from N Korea. The master of playing off everyone in the world and control of citizenry. This is the country with the most sanctions in place for the past 50+ yrs.

planB Wrote:
11/08/2009
Ma Ma,

Please stop this unintelligible bantering without any proof. If nothing else your farout opinion will just be easy fodder for SPDC haters and DASSK lovers to distract from the real issue: "SPDC control of religion. Being able to portray themselves as 'guardian of Buddhist faith' even after murdering/beating/imprisoning monks."

Free Man Wrote:
10/08/2009
In my opinion, it's legitimate, understandable and desirable for monks to attend to the sufferings of their Dagar Gyi and Dagar Ma in a peaceful, sober and solemn way. However, violence is antithetical to monkhood.

Moe Aung Wrote:
09/08/2009
plan B,

"Here in Burma, do not mix politics with anything, period."

Not true. It's perfectly alright for the military to mix, nay more correctly, mess with politics . In fact it's de rigueur because according to the generals you simply can't trust anyone else to run the country. So any other mix is inappropriate and must be strongly discouraged.

Never mind our own history of the independence struggle that first took the shape of religious organizations - the YMBA (Young Men's Buddhist Associations) that evolved into the GCBA (General Council of Burmese Associations).

Time for the 'three sons' - the Sangha, students and soldiers - to join hands in toppling the military dictatorship. The writing is on the wall - TINA (there is no alternative).

Free Man Wrote:
08/08/2009
I am NOT a fan of religion because it often does not pass the test of reason. However, I would like to share some information that testifies that the BSPP/SLORC/SPDC regime does commit religious persecution although the scale of persecution committed by them may not be as large as the Chinese government does in China. For instance, the BSPP regime forcibly confiscated plots of land owned by Karen Christian churches in Shwe Gyin, Kyauk-kyi, and Taungu, Pago Division. In mid-1990s, a middle ranking SPDC commander forced a Christian pastor to lay the foundation of a Buddhist pagoda being built somewhere near Baw-ga-li-gyi, Karen State, not so long after the outbreak of the KNU-DKBA conflict. In fact, the KNU released a statement on this particular incident. Later, Bo Khin Nyut told a gathering of Christian Karens in Ygn to remove some specific religious texts from their Bible. Chin kids were forced into monkhood. Churches in Kachin state were destroyed.

Look after your countrymen.

Ma Ma Wrote:
08/08/2009
The monks saying Metta Sutta on the street was meaningless. They (the monks & ASSK) say peace where there is no peace. Burmese monks should not get involved in Suu Kyi's political game.

I saw MM Army beat on MM protesters but I did not see army beating on the monks. I think Suu Kyi's followers killed the monk and blamed it on MM army. Politics is mysterious.

plan B Wrote:
08/08/2009
Here you go:

Metta Sutta roughly = Words of kindness
http://dharma.ncf.ca/introduction/sutras/metta-sutra.html

Given the limited info yet quoting:
"Ashin Issariya, one of the leaders of the All Burma Monks Alliance (ABMA), the group that spearheaded the 2007 Saffron Revolution."

I will safely assume that the monks are not exactly wanting to present Metta Sutta without prejudice.

I was trying to stay out of this religious fray but being asked a legitimate question I can not resist.

There has never been religious freedom in Burma since since '62. Neither was there any known deliberate religious persecution such as with Falun Gong in China.

But any politically related religious activity is known to be brutality suppressed.
Words to the wise: Do not mixed religion with politics.

Here in Burma, do not mix politics with anything, period.

Happy, KKK?

Okkar Wrote:
07/08/2009
Is there any proof?

Any claims without supporting proof are pure accusations and fabrication. It is easy for a monk from Yenangyaung to fabricate a story to Irrawaddy. It is also easy for a monk from Taungtwingyi to fabricate a story in the New Light of Myanmar.

Religion and politics should not mix. Opposition groups are treading a dangerous path here by mixing politics with religions. This will have irreversible effects on peace and tranquility in our home land.

Free Man Wrote:
07/08/2009
I, for one, condemn the regime for banning monks from chanting Metta Sutta. However, I am not sure if it is reasonable to equate atheists with the generals. It is because whether a person is good or bad doesn't necessarily have to do with whether or not he or she believes in a religion. The evidence around us testifies whether or not the aforementioned statement is true. In fact, one can, to put it mildly, err by following one's own religion without questioning it. Likewise, atheists can also err when their actions are not governed by reason. Towards a harmonious and rational society.

KKK Wrote:
07/08/2009
Where are Okkar, plan B, Ma Ma, and Naing Mya? Why don't you guys say something about this? You guys don't want to make comments on what your generals did on Buddhist monks. You guys are atheists like your generals. Now you guys are speechless.

George Than Setkyar Heine Wrote:
07/08/2009
This is damned outrageous on the part of Than Shwe and his thugs.
However, it is no surprise given that the monk murderer does not need Metta. Love and compassion he gave up since he murdered the Buddhist monks in 2007. Be aware that Than Shwe believes in spirits only instead of Buddha or following Buddha's teachings as he has astrologers and listens only to their advice in running the country.
Another way to put it is that he does not need people's love or amity as long as he has Chinese, Russians and now North Koreans to protect him and serve his needs.
Unlike leaders like Daw Suu, Obama, Brown etc, who are close to their people and earn the respect and love of their followers, the military maniac does not need the people's company or compassion to rule or survive as evidenced today protected by Chinese and Russians and supplied by North Korea with nuclear arms and hardware.
Burmese say a devil never bears to hear anything from holy scriptures.

Andrew Bowe Wrote:
07/08/2009
The SPDC are really mean for not letting the people chant that. The SPDC goes to hell. Love live Metta Sutta.

KKK Wrote:
07/08/2009
Than Shwe is dying. I think all Buddhists, Christians, Hindus, Muslims should pray for Burma every day. Prayers absolutely can change the regime forever. Our prayers are more powerful than the nuke and more powerful than the 500,000 troops strong army. Don't wait for the UN to come and help you. The UN cannot help you with anything. You all know Mr Ban's result.

Moe Aung Wrote:
07/08/2009
The hypocrisy is glaring and blatant, utterly without a hint of irony. And this from the group that used religion to attack the communists from the start invoking what they called 'Dhammandaye' or threat to religion.

Having systematically desecrated the Sangha and their monasteries, the Dhamma itself is now threatening enough to their grip on power to be deemed practically high treason.

Kindreligion Wrote:
07/08/2009
Than Shwe does not care about religion.

thu ri ya burma Wrote:
07/08/2009
These authorities are Buddhist? According to the ousted ex-PM of Thai, they did meditation. What kind of Buddhism are they practicing? According to a Hong Kong Chinese Buddhist monk, mentioned in the South China Morning Post, they must definitely go to "A wa si hell", the deepest hell. Well, I'm sure, worldwide Buddhist society will denounce these authorities.

timothy Wrote:
07/08/2009
It seems Than Shwe and colleagues can not stand to hear the great Metta Sutta. The Buddhist tradition of such citation is enshrined in the minds and souls of people in Burma. It can give all the good things, peace and loving kindness to any who hear and listen. Than Shwe is ready to go to AWISI so he could not bear to hear the great Metta Sutta. He is not a religious believer anymore.

Yangontha Wrote:
06/08/2009
Obviously, Than Shwe and his boys do not want anybody to hear Metta Sutta by Buddhist monks in the country for they think they can take all Buddhists down with them to Hell. What a bunch of sickies!

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