On September 19 and 20, 2012 the All Burma Monks Alliance monks traveled to Washington, DC and joined many friends in welcoming Daw Aung San Suu Kyi to the United States. They watched as she received the Congressional Gold Medal, which is the highest honor given by the US Congress. They attended the event honoring her at American University and another event which honored recipients of the National Endowment for Democracy’s 2012 Democracy Awards. These included
Aung Din was a leader of the 1988 student movement and a former political prisoner who is co-founder and executive director of the U.S. Campaign for Burma.
Kyaw Thu is a famous film director and actor turned activist who heads one of the country’s most important civil society organizations, the Free Funeral Service Society.
Hkun Htun Oo, released from prison in January, is the chairman of the Shan Nationalities League for Democracy and is known for his struggle for democracy and national reconciliation among Burma’s many ethnic groups.
Dr. Cynthia Maung is an ethnic Karen medical doctor who has for more than 20 years operated a health clinic for displaced people on the Thai-Burmese Border.
Min Ko Naing, a key leader of both the 1988 student movement and the 2007 Saffron Revolution, has spent most of the past 20 years as a political prisoner in solitary confinement until his release this January. (Min Ko Naing was not in Washington but accepted his award via video message.)
Members of a New York City Amnesty International Group (9/280) first visited the Metta Parami Monastery in July.
Helen Thomas Williams, a group member wrote: “The purpose of the meeting was for the two groups to get to know each other better and to see ways of helping each other. The history of the development of AI Group 9/280 and the history of how the monks arrived in Brooklyn were shared.
In addition, over the course of approximately two hours, we discussed a range of topics including U.S. policy toward Burma, what life is like for the monks who received asylum in the U.S., the likelihood of a fundamental change to the government in Burma, the monks’ efforts to assist monks imprisoned in Burma, the monk’s hope to build a monastery in the U.S. that could house those who’ve been dispersed around the country, and Group 9/280′s efforts on behalf of AI-designated prisoner of conscience Myo Min Zaw (MMZ).”
The piece is posted on the Burma Relief blog, posted by member Andrea Wolper. Click here for a link to the post.
Some members of the group have continued to come regularly to permit the monks to practice their English conversation skills. These visits are most welcome, helpful and appreciated by the monks.
On July 3, 2011 the monks of the Metta Parami Monastery held its first Novitiation and Ordination Ceremony. Three men and seven young men and boys participated in the event, which began the day before with shaving of the heads and traditional ceremonies and prayers. The ceremony continued through the day on July 3, with prayers and meditations, and with families and friends joining in with donations of food. The novice monks remained at the monastery for several days as they continued their practice and study. The photos below are from the July 3 event, which included the ceremony of the new monks putting on their robes for the first time. This honor was appreciated by the monks and their families.
The ABMA monks were recently featured in an article that appeared in the New York Daily News.
The article written by Daily News Writer, Dino Grandoni, explained that: “Three orange-robed Burmese Buddhist monks have made their home in Bedford-Stuyvesant for nearly a year and are gradually adapting to life in Brooklyn.”
From April 2 – 4, 2011 U Pyinya Zawta and U Agga Nyana joined in the US Campaign for Burma’s National Organizing Meeting in Washington, DC. On Saturday April 2 they participated in the Plenary Session and in Workshops on Grassroots Campaigns, Advocacy and Online Community Organizing.
Speakers included officers and staff members of the USCB, Dr. Thaung Htun of the Burma Fund, Dr. Parveen Parmar of Physicians for Human Rights, Myo Myint, former Burmese soldier, NLD member and political prisoner, Joseph Yun, US State Department, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, and Dr. Mike Green of Georgetown University.
On Sunday April 3 they attended a workshop on Advocacy Training, and on Monday, April 4 they, along with other New York State residents, met at the Senate Office buildings with staff members of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Senator Charles Schumer.
They advocated for no cuts to humanitarian aid in the US budget, for ongoing support of the democracy movement, for the special protection of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, and for the unconditional release of all political prisoners in Burma.
From Saturday March 19 until Sunday March 20 The monks of the Metta Parami Monastery and other invited monks recited the Patthana Desana prayer to receive wisdom and protection. The monks took turns reading from the Pali Canon sacred books for 24 hours. They were assisted by a group of devout lay readers.
The supporters also participated in cooking and sharing the traditional Hta-Ma-Ne, a sticky sweet rice treat. Good food was shared by all on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
(Click on Photo for larger image)
The ABMA Monks to Appear at Amnesty International Event at Columbia University Law School – Monday April 18, 2011Thursday, March 10th, 2011
The Amnesty International New York City Group 9/280
Presents a Very Special Event
A Conversation with Three Monks: The Struggle for Democracy in Burma
Monday, April 18, 2011
7:00PM – 9:00PM
Columbia University Law School
435 West 116th Street
(corner of West 116th Street & Amsterdam Avenue)
Jerome Green Hall, Room #101 (Ground Floor)
New York City
Three Exiled Monks from the All Burma Monks’ Alliance
U Pyinya Zawta, U Gawsita, U Agga
Translator: Aung Moe Win
Organized by Cinda Lawrence
Description: The New York City Amnesty International Group 9/280 is privileged to present three monks representing the All Burma Monks’ Alliance who will speak about their experiences in the 2007 Saffron Revolution protests in Burma and about their current work to support refugee monks inside and outside of Burma and to build a free nation for all of Burma’s people.
On Saturday November 20 the Kathina Ceremony was held at the Metta Parami Monastery. This traditional Theravada Buddhist festival is celebrated by supporters bringing and donating gifts, especially new robes, to the monks. A wonderful meal of homemade Burmese food was served to the resident monks and their guests. About 75 supporters then shared the meal and enjoyed the festival together.