Thursday, 21 November 2019

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Abbot ready to speak out

Chiang Mai (Mizzima) – The abbot in Rangoon who was evicted from his monastery in December says he is looking forward to Saturday when his ban on public speaking will end.

Abbot Shwe Nya WahShwe Nya Wah, the abbot of Sadu monastery, who is considered to have close ties with opposition groups, said the ban on his sermons by the state sangha authorities will soon be over this week, and he has scheduled sermons in several cities around the country.

The popular abbot was banned from preaching sermons for one year starting on February 11, 2011. He told Mizzima that the first words he would say from his seat are, “My mouth has got freedom at last.”

The abbot, who has been a thorn in the side of state religious authorities, said he would preach his first sermon in 2012 in Tachileik on February 11 and 12 and in Khin-U, Sagaing Region, on February 13 to 15. He will preach sermons in other cities including Rangoon.

The Sangha Maha Nayaka, the highest sangha monk body in Burma, said it banned him from preaching sermons because he spoke out on topics unrelated to religion. On December 12, he was ordered to leave the Sadu Pariyatti monastery and barred from conducting any training and classes in the monastery as penalty for preaching a sermon on International Democracy Day held in Mandalay at the National League for Democracy office in September 2011.

The abbot disagrees with the authority’s view of his sermons. “In my sermons, I preach the Pali texts of Buddhist scriptures and commentaries from Buddhist Pali text. I preach based on these Buddhist scriptures,” he told Mizzima.

Earlier, the religious authority also issued an order banning sermons by Abbot Thu Mingala (the Frying Pan abbot) of Mingala Monastery in Hmawbi, Rangoon Region, in December 2011.

On Thursday, it banned the Pauk Zedi Monastery in Mayangon Township, Rangoon Region, from holding a planned re-ordination and donation ceremony for 38 monks who were political prisoner and who were released in January, former political prisoner, Ko Ko Lay, told Mizzima.

The former political prisoners included Ashin Gambira, a monk leader in the “Saffron Revolution,” and abbots from Maggin, Ngwe Kyar Yan and Mingaladon monasteries in Rangoon.

Ko Ko Lay said the authorities actions are designed to restrict monks from playing any role in the reform and reconciliation process.

“The path they allow us to walk is just a dilapidated bamboo bridge made of a single bamboo,” he said. “We have to walk very slowly on it.”

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