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Burma: In Praise of the Buddhist monks
 
Miến
Điện: Ca tụng chư Tăng đạo Pht.

by Sao Noan Oo, Shan Herald Agency, September 22, 2007
Thích Quảng Ba dịch


 

“This is a fight between Dhamma and A-dhamma (between justice and injustice)” -­ A member of the Alliance of All Burmese Buddhist Monks. “Đây là cuc tranh chp gia chánh pháp và tà thuyết (gia công lý và bt công)”. Li ca mt Thành viên trong Liên Đoàn Pht Tăng Toàn Miến.

Yangon, Myanmar (Burma) -- As is evident by the pagodas, temples, monasteries, shrines and Buddha Images everywhere in Burma, 80 per cent of the population embraces Buddhism. It is a religion that seeks enlightenment to transcend human sufferings and cruelties. Tin Ngưỡng Quan, Miến Điện – Qua sự hiện diện của các ngôi chùa, điện thờ, tu viện, Phật tự và Phật tượng khắp nơi, chúng ta biết 80% dân Miến gởi niềm tin nơi Phật pháp. Tôn giáo dẫn dắt tìm đến giác ngộ để hoán chuyển khổ đau và tàn ác cho nhân loại.

The path to enlightenment is through self-sacrifice, sharing, denouncement of worldly possession, acceptance of one’s place in the world, inner peace, harmony and meditation. Buddhism since the early centuries became a great Institution in Burma, and had become part of the Burmese culture and every day life of the individual. Hành trình đến giác ngộ phải xuyên qua sự hy sinh bàn thân, chia xẻ, lên án những sở đắc vật chất thế tục, chấp nhận vị trí của mình trên cõi đời nầy, an tịnh nội tâm, hài hòa (với mọi người thông qua) thiền định. Từ nhiều thế kỷ trước, Phật Pháp đã trở thành một định chế trọng yếu cho Miến Điện và là nền văn hóa chính trong đời sống thường nhật của mọi người dân Miến.

Buddhist Teachings and Ethics have been regarded as the moral force and conscience that every Buddhist hopes to follow. Behind the respect of the moral rules lies the awareness of the law of Karma, which awards good deeds and punishes evil doing in this life and in the next. Enlightened self-interest therefore, prompts us to lead a good life. Giáo lý và đạo đức Phật giáo từng được coi là nguồn luân lý và lương tri mà Phật tử ai nấy đều mong ước thực hành. Kèm theo niềm tôn kính các quy tắc đạo đức là sự nhận thức  về ‘nghiệp’ (hành động) của chính mình, vì nghiệp của mình sẽ mang lại phước báo tốt hay hậu quả xấu cho mình ngay đời này và đời sau. Chính những nhận thức về các lợi ích cá nhân ấy đã thúc đẩy người ta sống cuộc đời hiền thiện hơn.

 

Can the two military regimes that forcibly ruled Burma during the forty-six years call themselves Buddhists when between them they have done so many bad deeds and committed vast amounts of heinous crimes against their own people?  Because of them Burma is today a land of enslavement, forced labour, atrocity,  mass murder, ethnocide, genocide, greed, hatred, ignorance and poverty.  Hai thể chế quân phiệt từng cưỡng đọat quyền chính Miến Điện 46 năm qua có thể nào tự xưng mình là Phật tử khi họ thay phiên nhau tạo ra quá nhiều việc xấu và dấn sâu vào vô số tội ác khủng khiếp chống lại chính dân chúng của họ? Chính do các tướng lãnh nầy mà ngày nay Miến Điện là vùng đất của nô dịch, cưỡng bách lao động, bạo ác, giết người hàng loạt, tàn diệt dân thiểu số, diệt chủng, tham vọng, hận thù, ngu xuẫn và nghèo đói.

The Military Regimes have created a terrorist organisation that embraces an ideology and policy that are completely contradictory to the Buddhist doctrine. Through force, bribery and brainwashing the regime is engulfing more and more vulnerable people into their organisation of terrorism and crime. Các thể chế quân phiệt đã dựng nên cái cơ cấu mang tính khủng bố, ứng dụng chủ nghiã và đường hướng hoàn toàn đối nghịch lại giáo lý đạo Phật. Chế độ nầy đã sử dụng bạo hành, hối lộ và tẩy não để lôi cuốn thêm nhiều người dính líu vào guồng máy khủng bố và tội ác của họ.

It seems the Buddhist monks can no longer bear to watch the dire political, economical and human rights situation that has been brought upon the country and its people due to the misrule of the dictatorial regime. This has prompted the Monks to act and as the disciples of Lord Buddha, it is only right that they have come out in droves to demonstrate, and let the SPDC and their thugs know that their criminal acts which are contradictory to the teachings of Lord Buddha can no longer be tolerated. Dường như các Tăng sỹ Phật giáo không còn có thể thụ động chứng kiến tình hình chính trị, kinh tế và nhân quyền tồi tệ mà thể chế độc tài áp đặt cách vô luật lệ lên quê hương và dân tộc của họ nữa. (Sự đau lòng đó) thúc đẩy những nhà Sư hành động, thật là chính đáng khi các vị đệ tử của đức Phật xuống đường hàng loạt, để cảnh tỉnh “Hội Đồng Phát Triển Hòa Bình và Phát Triển” và các bộ hạ hung tợn của họ hiểu rằng những tội ác của họ là trái nghịch với lời dạy của đức Phật và không thể dung thứ lâu hơn được nữa.

These Buddhist monks have been very brave, and they have shown concern and compassion for the people. The people of Burma owe them a debt of gratitude and support. Let’s hope the Generals and their followers will come to realise that they cannot bribe the Monks by offering robes and food after their wrong doings, without showing remorse, and atone sincerely for their actions. Let’s hope that they will come to their senses and admit that they have failed the people of Burma, every single group of the population. It is time that they hand over power to a civilian government. Quý vị Tăng sỹ nầy thật là can đảm khi chứng tỏ sự quan tâm và tình thương cao cả đối với dân chúng của họ. Nhân dân Miến Điện mang nặng ơn đức các Ngài và sẽ ủng hộ chư Tăng. Hãy hy vọng là các Tướng Lãnh và đồ chúng sẽ hiểu ra rằng họ không thể mua chuộc chư Tăng bằng cách cúng dường y thực cho các Ngài sau khi làm nhiều điều quấy ác, mà không hề ân hận, rồi xoa tay hài lòng về những điều mình đã làm. Hy vọng rằng họ chịu hiểu ra vấn đề, và tự thú rằng họ đã phụ bạc mọi thành phần dân chúng Miến. Đã đến lúc họ phải giao trả quyền lực lại cho một chính phủ dân sự.

A Government is supposed to look after the welfare of its citizens, and as a member of the United Nations responsible for seeing that each and every citizen enjoys freedom and basic human rights.  But the Burmese Military Regime again takes advantage of its position, and contradictory to the United Nations Charters perpetrated all forms of human rights violations against the citizens. Chính phủ nào cũng phải chăm lo an sinh phúc lợi cho dân chúng, chưa kể nếu là thành viên Liên Hiệp Quốc, họ còn có trách nhiệm bảo đảm sao cho mỗi công dân đều có quyền hưởng nhận những giá trị tự do và nhân quyền căn bản. Chế độ quân phiệt Miến Điện ngược lại, bám chặt mọi quyền thế hiện có, còn làm ngược lại mọi điều khoản Hiến Chương Liên Hiệp Quốc, thể hiện qua việc chống phá mọi nhân quyền của dân chúng Miến.

The regime is a disgrace to the United Nations and does not deserve to be a member. Nearly all member Nation States have been patient and given the regime many chances, and urged them to hold a tripartite talk to bring about reconciliation and democracy,  but they remain unreasonable and continue to hold on to power. Chế độ nầy là một vết nhơ xấu xí đối với Liên Hiệp Quốc, nó không còn xứng đáng là một Thành viên LHQ nữa. Gần như tất cả quốc gia Thành viên LHQ đều đã phải kiên nhẫn chờ đợi, đã tạo nhiều cơ hội cho chế độ (tự sửa mình) và đã thúc hối thể chế nầy ngồi vào bàn hội nghị 3 bên nhằm đem lại hòa giải và dân chủ cho đất nước họ, nhưng thể chế cứ tiếp tục ôm giữ quyền hành một cách vô lý.

Some Nation States have shown no concern about the extent of human rights violations going on in Burma and have given the excuse that they do not want to interfere in other country’s internal affairs. These countries are not only helping the Military regime but are also destroying the credibility of the United Nations. At present the people of Burma need the United Nations more than ever to oversee that the Military do not harm the demonstrators like they did to the students in 1988. They are barbaric and capable of anything. Vài quốc gia tỏ ra không quan tâm gì đến quá nhiều các vi phạm nhân quyền trầm trọng tiếp diễn ở Miến Điện, còn biện minh rằng họ không muốn xen vô chuyện nội bộ của nước khác. Các quốc gia nầy không những tiếp tay cho đám quân phiệt Miến Điện mà còn góp phần hủy diệt uy tín của Liên Hiệp Quốc. Ngay lúc nầy, nhân dân Miến Điện cần sự hiện diện của LHQ hơn lúc nào hết, để quân đội không thể hành hung những người biểu tình, như họ đã từng bắn giết học sinh năm 1988. Họ rất hung bạo và sẵn sàng làm bất cứ điều gì.

-------------------
Sao Noan Oo, a scion of the princely House of Lawkzawk, in the former Federated Shan States, is known for her memoirs My Vanishing World

 

 

 

Burmese situation grim

The Buddhist Channel, September 23, 2007

 

Millitary regime, agents posing as monks expected to stir violence in the coming days

Yangon, Myanmar --  The State Peace and Development Council (SPDC), the official name of the military regime of Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) has been accused of formenting violence to break up the countrywide protests led by the country's Sangha.

 

<< Buddhist monks march in the rain along Waizayantar road in the western Yangon suburb of Ahlone.

It has been reported that an Emergency Committee, chaired a senior general has been established to "forment trouble" in protest marches led by monks in various parts of the country.

The plan includes ordering soldiers and policemen to take off their uniforms, shave their heads and dress like monks, infiltrate the peace marches and forment trouble to break them up. The move is to pre-empt condemnation by the international community, which would be the case if the army moves in to forcibly attack the monks.

 

The committee have also ordered food donating groups to stop giving alms food and water to the monks. Anyone found flouting this rule will be arrested.

 

In an apparent "confirmation" of the events taking place, the state-run newspaper New Light of Myanmar said on Friday (Sept 21) that one Sittwe official and nine policemen were injured when protesters - "including ordinary citizens dressed in monks' robes" - threw stones and beat them up.

The protesters became "violent" and authorities "had to use tear-gas and fired three shots in the air to disperse the crowd," the newspaper said.

But witnesses told Radio Free Asia's (RFA) Burmese service that protesters threw stones only after police aimed guns at the crowd and fired tear-gas to disperse them.

For the last two weeks, demonstrations have been reported in Rangoon, Pegu, Chauk, Kyaukpadaung, Pakokku, and Aung Lan. Authorities arrested at least 50 activists in those demonstrations.

The government acknowledged using tear gas and firing warning shots to break up a protest in Sittwe Tuesday. Authorities refrained from intervening in marches Wednesday.

Meanwhile, the All Burma Monks' Alliance issued a strong statement, thanking the Burmese people for their support and encouraging them to continue opposing the regime.

The statement, read aloud to RFA's Burmese service, urged monks and the public to maintain peace and order during the protests and to "join hand in hand and continue [this] struggle until freedom and justice exist" in Burma.

"The people are directly hit by the hardship," a monk belonging to the alliance said. "If the people want to escape from this suffering as soon as possible, they must take it upon themselves. If you have fear, future generations will continue suffering under this horrible system."

"Monks may be able to endure the suffering, but as we can't and do not want to see the suffering of our devotees. We are now leading the protest. It will be good if the devotees demand their rights by standing by the monks. This chance won't come again."

Burma has been rocked over the last month by a string of rare protests against the junta following a massive hike in fuel costs in mid-August, making transportation difficult for many of Burma's impoverished citizens. Protests across the country led by Burmese monks this week drew hundreds of people in the largest show of opposition to the ruling junta in a decade

  

http://www.guardian.co.uk/worldlatest/story/0,,-6942245,00.html

20,000 March Against Myanmar Government

Sunday September 23, 2007 11:16 AM

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - About 20,000 people led by Buddhist monks demonstrated against Myanmar's military junta Sunday, in what has quickly become the largest anti-government demonstrations since the failed democratic uprising in 1988.

The 10,000 monks marched from Yangon's famous Shwedagon Pagoda to the nearby Sule Pagoda before passing the U.S. Embassy, witnesses said. Monks shouted support for detained democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi, while the crowd of 10,000 protected them by forming a human chain along the route.

It was the sixth straight day monks have marched in Yangon, and came a day after they were allowed to walk past Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Suu Kyi's compound in a symbolic gesture of support. Their activities have given new life to a protest movement that began a month ago after the government raised fuel prices.

A monk gave a speech Sunday calling for Suu Kyi's release and national reconciliation before the monks set off from the Shwedagon Pagoda, the witness said.

The protest was the largest in the latest series to erupt in Yangon.

Earlier Sunday, the government had deployed about 20 pro-junta thugs and 20 riot police on the road leading to Suu Kyi's compound, witnesses said. A fire truck was parked nearby.

While authorities had not intervened in Sunday's march, plainclothes police trailed behind the marchers and some with shotguns were posted at street corners along the route.

By linking their cause to Suu Kyi's pro-democracy struggle, which has seen her detained for about 12 of the last 18 years, the monks increased the pressure on the junta to decide whether to crack down or compromise with the demonstrators.

``This was a very important gesture,'' said David Steinberg, a Myanmar expert at Georgetown University in Washington, who is monitoring events from Singapore. ``It's significant because the military allowed them to pass (Suu Kyi's house). That and other images indicate the military is not prepared, unless things get worse, to directly confront the monks in their uniforms.''

Steinberg said this was in contrast to 1990, when the military put down a protest by hundreds of monks in Mandalay, arresting and defrocking some and closing monasteries linked with the demonstration.

So far, the government has been handling the monks' disciplined but defiant protests gingerly, aware that forcibly breaking them up in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar would likely cause public outrage.

But Steinberg said the military's lack of force should not be seen as a sign of weakness, given that it remains the largest and most powerful institution in the country.

``Any change (in the government) will have to be approved by elements of the military if there is to be change,'' he said. ``They are far too powerful to be resisted if the military acts in unison.''

A U.N. official agreed, saying that while Myanmar dissident groups he had met in Bangkok this week were optimistic about the outcome, they had failed to take into account the military's history of brutally suppressing uprisings in 1988, 1990 and 1996.

``They were very optimistic and expectant and seemed to believe that there was one outcome possible - which was a popular uprising that brings Suu Kyi to the forefront,'' said the official, who requested anonymity, citing protocol. ``I'm not as confident that is the only outcome possible. I would think massive repression and violence on a significant scale is not to be discounted.''

The monks on Saturday stopped briefly in front of Suu Kyi's house and said prayers before leaving at the other end of the street, said witnesses, who asked not to be named for fear of being harassed by the authorities.

``Today is extraordinary. We walked past lay disciple Daw Aung San Suu Kyi's house today. We are pleased and glad to see her looking fit and well,'' a 45-year old monk told about 200 people at Sule Pagoda.

``Daw'' is an honorific used in referring to older women in Myanmar.

Suu Kyi, 62, is the leader of the National League for Democracy party, which won a 1990 general election but was not allowed to take power by the military. She has been under detention continuously since May 2003.

The latest protest movement began Aug. 19 after the government raised fuel prices, but has its basis in long pent-up dissatisfaction with the repressive military regime. Using arrests and intimidation, the government had managed to keep demonstrations limited in size and impact - but they gained new life when the monks joined.

10,000 Myanmar Monks Protest in Mandalay


Saturday September 22, 2007 8:46 AM

YANGON, Myanmar (AP) - About 10,000 Buddhist monks marched through Myanmar's central city of Mandalay on Saturday, witnesses said, in one of the largest demonstrations against the country's repressive military regime since a democratic uprising in 1988.

Monks from various monasteries started their march in Mandalay - a hotbed for activist monks - while about 1,000 Buddhist monks began marching from Yangon's Shwedagon Pagoda, the country's most revered shrine and a historic center for protest movements. From there, witnesses said, they planned to march to downtown Yangon, which is the nation's largest city.

It was the fifth straight day the monks have marched in Yangon and the numbers showed the anti-government protest were growing in size. The monk's activities have given new life to a protest movement that began a month ago after the government raised fuel prices, sparking demonstrations against policies that are causing economic hardship.

Meanwhile, Buddhist monks in the country urged the public for the first time to join in protesting the ``evil military despotism,'' stepping up their campaign against the junta after days of peaceful marches.

``In order to banish the common enemy evil regime from Burmese soil forever, united masses of people need to join hands with the united clergy forces,'' The All Burma Monks Alliance said the statement, received by The Associated Press Saturday.

``We pronounce the evil military despotism, which is impoverishing and pauperizing our people of all walks including the clergy, as the common enemy of all our citizens,'' the statement read, which was translated from Burmese by Burma Net, a news site that covers Myanmar.

A day earlier, some 1,500 barefoot Buddhist monks marched through the rain-flooded streets of Myanmar's biggest city, drawing even more public sympathy to ongoing anti-government protests that have put the ruling military on the defensive.

The protest movement began Aug. 19 after the government raised fuel prices, but has its basis in long pent-up dissatisfaction with the repressive military regime. Using arrests and intimidation, the government had managed to keep demonstrations limited in size and impact, but they gained new life when the monks joined.

The government has been handling the situation gingerly, aware that forcibly breaking up the monks' protest in predominantly Buddhist Myanmar would likely cause public outrage.

The protests at the Shwedagon pagoda resonate with many people, as it is best remembered as the site of a vast Aug. 26, 1988, rally where independence hero Gen. Aung San's daughter Aung San Suu Kyi, took up leadership of a pro-democracy movement.

The 1988 pro-democracy demonstrations were crushed by the military, and Suu Kyi has spent nearly 12 of the past 18 years in detention.

 

=== 
Ven. THICH QUANG BA, JP
- Founding Abbot, VAN HANH Monastery, SAKYAMUNI Buddhist Centre, Nguyen Thieu Monastery, Rahula Community Lodge
- Chair, Australian Sangha Association
- International Organising Committee, UN Day of Vesak Celebration & International Buddhist Conference
 
Van Hanh Monastery, 32 Archibald St, Lyneham ACT 2602  CANBERRA
PO BOX 1004 DICKSON ACT 2602 AUSTRALIA
Tel (+61) Fax 02-6257 7733; Eng. 02-6257 5280 & Mob (0412-224553)
 
Nguyen Thieu Monastery, 155 The Boulevarde, Fairfield Heights NSW 2165, SYDNEY
PO BOX 9A, FAIRFIELD HEIGHTS NSW 2165, AUSTRALIA
Tel +61) 02-9726 2661; Fax 02-9726 2668; Mob: 0401-011951; email:
vanphap0@yahoo.com.au
 

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