High-ranking Buddhist abbots move to suspend activities, echoing Civil Disobedience Movement

The 47-member State Saṅgha Maha Nayaka Committee, a government-appointed body of high-ranking Buddhist abbots, have announced a decision to suspend their activities amid the junta’s violent crackdown on anti-coup protesters. 

The committee, locally known as Ma Ha Na, met on March 16 and called for an immediate end to attacks on protesters, a committee member told Myanmar Now on Tuesday night. 

The abbot said that an official statement would be issued only after the decision had been submitted to the Union Minister for Religious Affairs and Culture on March 18. 

“It is similar to the CDM,” the committee member said of Ma Ha Na’s move, referring to the ongoing Civil Disobedience Movement 

“After the decision is submitted to the religious affairs minister, the statement may change. I want you to know what the original says, because it may be changed. This is the decision of the 47 abbots.”

Among the Sangha Maha Nayaka’s five demands were calls for the violent crackdown on and arrests of unarmed civilians to be halted, and as well as for the looting and destruction of people’s property to be prevented. 

The committee said that the future and pride of all Myanmar citizens– especially the younger generation– must be taken into account. It called on the responsible authorities to refrain from acts that could tarnish the image of the nation, its races, religions and cultures. 

The abbots also urged all stakeholders to find solutions to the crisis by holding on to the principle of loving kindness and engaging in dialogue. 

The committee said that it would completely halt its activities until the political situation had eased, stability was achieved and the citizens could move freely. 

There was no argument among the Ma Ha Na abbots about whether to ask the junta to end its violent crackdown on civilians, the committee member said. The point that did raise debate in the meeting was whether examinations for Buddhist monks could still go ahead. 

The statement described it as “an undeniable truth” that the people of the country were suffering because of the current political situation. 

If the people are unhappy, Buddhist monks would also be unhappy and miserable, the letter said. If rulers and politicians remain divided, all Myanmar citizens would suffer, and that was why the abbots had made the request, the statement read. 


Related Articles

Back to top button