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Appeal to the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee to instruct the State Peace and Development Council, Union of Myanmar (Burma) for the peaceful resolution of the current impass

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  • Ken and Visakha Kawasaki
    Appeal to the State Peace and Development Council, Union of Myanmar (Burma) The letters below, initiated and composed by senior Burmese monks deeply troubled
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 21, 2003
      Appeal to the State Peace and Development Council, Union of Myanmar (Burma)

      The letters below, initiated and composed by senior Burmese monks deeply
      troubled by recent events in their country, are addressed to the highest
      ecclesiastical body in the land, the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee of
      Myanmar, urging them to use their moral authority to correct and discipline
      the ruling military junta and thereby attempt to avert further violence and
      disaster in Burma.

      Because Burma is a traditionally Buddhist country, the Buddhists, monks,
      nuns, and lay devotees who have signed this letter, hope that the State
      Sangha Mahanayaka Committee will have the courage to speak out and that the
      country’s military rulers will be receptive to their compassionate teaching
      and exhortation.

      Britain colonized Burma and incorporated it into its Indian Empire until
      1937 when it became a separate colony. Independence was achieved in 1948,
      but without the leadership of General Aung San, who was assassinated the
      year before. Burmese democracy ended in 1962, when General Ne Win took
      control of the country and instituted military rule. In the summer of
      1988, disastrous economic decisions led to a nation-wide pro-democracy
      uprising, led primarily by students and monks, which the military
      suppressed with great bloodshed. Despite multiparty elections in 1990
      that resulted in the main opposition party, the National League for
      Democracy, winning a decisive victory, the ruling military junta refused to
      hand over power. Burma’s key opposition leader and Nobel Peace Prize
      laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi, under house arrest from 1989 to 1995, was
      placed once more under house detention from September 2000 to May 2002.
      Burma is a resource-rich country that suffers from abject poverty due to
      inept rule and widespread corruption. The military regime’s attempts to
      liberalize the economy in the 1990s have failed. The Burmese economy is
      widely seen as dependent upon narcotics trafficking; Burma is widely
      recognized as the world's second largest producer of illicit opium and a
      major source of methamphetamine and heroin.

      The Incident
      On May 30, 2003, in northern Burma several thousand men armed with sticks
      and clubs attacked a convoy of vehicles of National League for Democracy
      members led by opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. Reports have it that
      criminals disguised as monks were used to decoy the party. The military
      admits that four people were killed that Black Friday, while informed
      reports indicate as many as 70 people may have died in that attack
      instigated by the ruling military regime.

      Aung San Suu Kyi was immediately placed under detention along with several
      party colleagues. Many more NLD members have since been taken into custody,
      while the safety or whereabouts of still others is not known. Despite
      widspread international outcry Aung San Suu Kyi is being held virtually
      incommunicado by the SPDC and all hope of dialogue, and discussion with the
      democratic opposition to end the political deadlock appears to have been

      - - - - - - - -

      Buddhist Relief Mission
      Supporting the Buddha Sasana Worldwide
      1401 Woodlawn Park Drive, Flint, MI 48503-2768, U.S.A.
      Tel/Fax: 810-341-6960
      e-mail: buddhist@...
      Ken and Visakha Kawasaki, Directors

      18, 2003
      Bhaddanta Kumara
      State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee
      Kaba Aye, Yangon, Myanmar

      Most Respected Abhidhaja Maha Rattha Guru Abhidhaja Agga Maha
      Saddhammajotika Magwe Sayadaw:

      In view of the deplorable events of 30 and 31 May 2003, in Tabayin and
      Monywa, Sagaing Division, Burma, and out of concern for the future welfare
      and happiness of citizens of Burma, we strongly request the State Sangha
      Maha Nayaka Committee of Myanmar to adopt and promptly send the following
      letter of petition to the State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) as
      soon as possible. We respectfully implore the Rattha Guru Sayadaws and the
      State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee to issue suitable and effective
      exhortation (ovada) to the SPDC. We respectfully request State Sangha Maha
      Nayaka Sayadaws to undertake whatever action necessary to effect changes in
      the country on behalf of the Sasana and the people of Burma.

      The message below is written on behalf of, and in the words of Buddhist
      monks and devotees worldwide.

      “Out of great concern for the future peaceful development of the Union of
      Myanmar and out of concern for the welfare and happiness of all citizens of
      Myanmar, we, the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, strongly request the
      State Peace and Development Council to refrain from any further violations
      of basic Buddhist and fundamental human values, such as violent, cruel

      We strongly recommend
      1. that all political prisoners be released,
      2. that the country be governed in a spirit of loving-kindness
      (metta), compassion (karuna), and other Buddhist principles (Dhamma-Vinaya),
      3. that the present political impasse be resolved in a peaceful and
      fair manner through dialogue,

      Theravada Buddhism in Myanmar is internationally recognized for its
      profound articulation of the Buddha’s teachings in living practices,
      pariyatti, patipatti, and pativedha. In Myanmar, where the vast majority of
      people walk the peaceful path of Lord Buddha’s doctrine, the State Sangha
      Maha Nayaka Committee hereby resolves to withhold support from any
      government who commits violent behavior and continues with adhamma policies
      and practices that are totally contrary to the compassionate teachings of

      Yours in the Dhamma,

      Abidhaja Maha Rattha Guru Abhidhaja Agga Maha Saddhammajotika Maguay Sayadaw
      State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee of Myanmar

      Thank you for your careful attention to this matter.

      Buddhist Relief Mission
      Endorsed by Ven. U Khe Ma Sara, Chairman, All Burma Young Monks’ Union,
      Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi, Abbot, Bodhi Monastery,
      INEB-Japan (International Network of Engaged Buddhists–Japan)
      and other international Buddhist groups who support this message in concern
      for the welfare of the people of Burma
      Please visit our websites
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