24 Sep 2007
Support Myanmar Monks!
Buddhists monks and their supporters in Yangon. Thousands of monks have marched in Myanmar's main city Yangon on Monday, piling the pressure on its military junta after a weekend that saw the biggest show of dissent in nearly two decades. AFP, 09/24/2007
Graphic fact file on the anti-government protests in Myanmar spearheaded by Buddhist monks. AFP, 09/24/2007
Buddhist monks rarely express their political views or join any political activities. If they march on the street and clearly express a certain political view, that means the leader of the country is really causing troubles that brings only misery to its people.
Monks in Myanmar must have had enough from the military regime. This is why they decided not to receive any offerings from anyone who has any connections with the regime. This is a very serious protest because receiving offerings, called alms, is an important tradition in Buddhism. The public offer their food or whatever to a monk, and the monk will pray for them that can help them to be closer to the Lord Buddha. Through this, the public receives peacefulness from the monk. For monks, they would not care who you are or what you have done; all they do is to pray for you, to bring peace to your heart.
Supposedly, you can be a very bad person, but the monk will still pray for you. Because they want to help you become a better person, and in the meantime, to help remove sins you have committed in this life. In other words, monks are generous, and they always do good to people without asking for rewards. This is the teaching of the Lord Buddha; it is what they have to do, and they will always do it.
It must be very difficult for the monks in Myanmar to make such a decision. Refusing alms is against the teaching of Buddha which could be considered as a crime for monks. The question here is why they would do such a thing that will affect their practice of Buddhism? I guess the answer is all about Myanmar's ruling junta. It has done no good the country, and it has led its people to poverty and hardship. It is this reason they marched to meet Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader who has been detained for almost 12 years. Though these monks did not say anything but only pray for Suu Kyi, this action can be interpreted as a request for the need of Suu Kyi and of course the need for democracy in Myanmar.
The protest still goes on, and there more and more monks, even the public, joining the protest. No one would ever know if the junta would take any violent and bloody actions. We can only hope that it will not happen. The international society, especially those so-called big countries, should support the action taken by these monks and protect them from any possible military assault.
Free Aung San Suu Kyi!
A Myanmar activist holds a potrait of Myanmar's opposition party leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a protest outside the Myanmar embassy in Bangkok. Thousands of monks have marched in Myanmar's main city Yangon on Monday, piling the pressure on its military junta after a weekend that saw the biggest show of dissent in nearly two decades. AFP, 09/24/2007