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.
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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.
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.
U Pyinya Zawta is scheduled to speak at the Engaged Buddhism Conference on October 18 in Toronto.
On August 29th The New York City Metta Parami Monastery opened its doors to the community. The English translation of Metta Parami is, “Lovingkindness Perfection.”
Close to 200 visitors and supporters attended the opening ceremony and the offering of food and alms to the monks. It was a glorious event, enjoyed by all who attended.
“We marched for freedom of speech, of writing, freedom of the press,” said one of the monks at the Symposium of Socially Engaged Buddhism, held August 9-14 in Massachusetts.