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ABMA Monks travel to Canada to address activists, Foreign Ministry officers and Parliament Members

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During their trip to Canada, Burma’s Saffron monks explored the relevance of Burmese Buddhism in the struggle for democracy.

The Saffron monks from the 2007 uprising, U Pyinya Zawta and U Agga Nyana of the All Burma Monks’ Alliance left for six days journey to Canada on October 14th to participate in discussions on the non-violent political movement and Buddhism inside Burma. The trip was sponsored by members of Centre of Gravity Sangha, a community of Yoga & Buddhist practitioners, and Burmese students in Toronto, Canada.

The activities began on October 15th when U Pyinya Zawta, U Agga Nyana, and U Kovida, a cofounder of International Burmese Monks Organization (IBMO), visited the Canadian Parliament and Foreign ministry with the arrangements made by Canadian Friends of Burma (CFOB), to rally support for the Burmese democracy movement.

During the visit the monks were able to express their gratitude for Canada’s support– for investigation into crimes against humanity in Burma, for conferring honorary Canadian citizenship to Aung San Suu Kyi, and for highlighting Burma at the G8 summit. They also urged the Canadian government to continue to support the Burmese democracy movement as an international leader, first by rejecting the illegal 2010 election in Burma, and then to pressure the Burmese junta to abide by the UN’s call for a peaceful reconciliation with the opposition parties, and freeing of all political prisoners, including Aung San Suu Kyi.

While in Canada, they met with Burmese activists to assess the current political situation inside Burma and made plans for future activities. The Venerable monks were able to visit and chant Buddhist prayers for the gathering of Canadian Burmese families. In addition to prayer services, they also gave talks on Buddhist teaching to remind the supporters of their heritage, and of their shared responsibility for Burma’s cause.

Even though Buddhism strives toward attainment of spiritual enlightenment, it is concerned not only with escaping the suffering in future lives, but also with nurturing a peaceful world at present.  Monks in Burma have been following the teaching of Buddha and serving the welfare of the people for twenty five hundred years.  But, when the current military regime in Burma has accused the Burmese monks of striving for political power instead, the monks are compelled to speak up and educate those who are unaware of the true mission of Buddhism in Burma.

Democracy has been thriving in the US and Europe for over two hundred years. But Buddhism, a fundamentally democratic and tolerant philosophy, has existed for over twenty five hundred years. The tolerance for free and constructive criticism of Buddha and Buddhist teachings is an evidence of its democratic practices, including within Burma’s Sangha.

In speaking of the current situation in Burma, the monks believe that the military junta is trying to mislead everyone by calling the fraudulent 2010 election to prolong its power. As neighboring countries such as China, India, and Thailand are looking out for themselves only, and giving support to this military junta, Burma continues its path of decline. The United Nations has failed to live up to its promise to help Burma, but now the time has come for the UN to take decisive measures against the military regime in Burma. During the conclusion of the ceremony, the monks answered questions and encouraged the Canadian activist community to continue its support for the Burmese democracy movement and to denounce the false election and its outcome.

Post Title: ABMA Monks travel to Canada to address activists, Foreign Ministry officers and Parliament Members
Author: U Pyinya Zawta
Posted: 28th October 2010
Filed As: News
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