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Burmese Home Ministry bans talks on peace by Abbot Shwe Nya Wah

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – Two talks on peace by a popular Buddhist abbot have been banned by the Burmese Home Ministry. The talks, by Abbot Ashin Pyinnay Thiha, had been approved by the Ministry of Religion.

Abbot Shwe Nya WahThe talks, or sermons, were to be held on Thursday and Friday at Zabuthiri Beikman, a building owned by the Religion Ministry in Mayangon Township in Rangoon.
Popularly known as Shwe Nya Wah, 46, the abbot heads the Kyimyidine Thadu Pariyatti Learning Institute where more than 900 student monks study religious education, and he is the chief executive of the Rangoon Buddha University.
“I had planned to preach on peace, on forgiving each other magnanimously and building peace through negotiations,” Ashin Pyinnay Thiha said. “On the second night, I planned to preach about people fighting each other. Fighting cannot give any benefit to anyone. Fighting can only create disasters. I planned to preach on these subjects by drawing from Buddhist scriptures. I think they cancelled the talks after learning I wanted to talk on these subjects.”
The abbot said the ministry gave no reason for its decision, but similar cancellations have occurred in the past involving people connected to opposition political forces.

The abbot’s monastery was the site of a gathering of 88-generation students, politicians and members of the literary community for a ceremony on August 23 in memory of the 8888 uprising anniversary. Aung San Suu Kyi attended the gathering.
“This was alms offered to all monks in a monastery by Buddhist devotees. This was not alms offered to an individual. They offered robes to the monks. They have no reason to object to such offerings,” the abbot said.
The abbot’s sermons enjoy widespread popularity among the people under titles such as  “Retribution of Evil Doers,” “The Power of a Devout Buddhist” and “Don’t Do Unjust Things.”

The government often bans talks by monks who it regards as critics.
The director of the exile-based Human Rights Education Institute of Burma, Aung Myo Min, said, “They will ban such ceremonies if they could create ill will or insult other religions. But this ceremony wouldn’t do that. He would have preached only on peace, harmony and good conduct of the people.”
Last Updated ( Friday, 02 September 2011 11:41 )  

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