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Directive orders monks to avoid political activity

Sep 5, 2008 (DVB), A directive has been sent by the state Sangha Maha Nayaka committee to monasteries and lecturing colleges in Chauk, Magwe division, ordering monks not to take part in political activities.

The directive was issued as new monks scholars arrived at the monasteries around the time of the one-year anniversary of the Saffron Revolution.

A Chauk monk said that the rules stated that monks could not get involved in party politics or join or participate in the activities of any organisations that are not sponsored by the Sangha Maha Nayaka.

The directive also urged monks to concentrate on their religious duties and not to act in a way that could tarnish the reputation of the Sangha.

The rules stated that swift action would be taken against any monks found to be breaking the law.

The monk said the directive had come from Magwe Division Sangha Maha Nayaka.

Security has been tightened around monasteries in Chauk and monks are being closely watched, the monk said.

"Last year the Sangha Maha Nayaka issued directives as instructed [by the authorities]. It is the same this year but security in both Pakokku and Chauk is quite tight," he said.

"These Swan Arr Shin and USDA are shaving their heads. I don't know whether they are going to beat up monks or not if we protest, but they are looking at us as if they are going swallow us alive when we go out to collect alms."

Monks in Chauk are continuing their boycott of government officials by refusing alms from them and they have told the abbots of the Sangha Maha Nayaka to speak out against the SPDC for forcibly disrobing, imprisoning and torturing monks.

"The abbots must know one way or another that the authorities are torturing, killing and imprisoning their own monks," the monk said.

"If they don't admonish wicked rulers, or if the other party doesn't accept it or take it seriously, the abbots themselves have a duty to carry out a religious boycott," he said.

"The Sangha Maha Nayaka must be held accountable."

Reporting by Aye Nai

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