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Monk calls for unity among religious leaders

June 3, 2009 (DVB), A prominent Burmese monk who organised relief efforts following cyclone Nargis last year has called for religious leaders in Burma to join hands in solving the country's problems.

Speaking from Norway, midway through a European trip which included the Buddhist Union's Buddha's Day celebration in France last month, Abbot U Nyanissara called for unity amongst monks.

"We, all religious leaders, should walk together on a path that we see from the same point of view," he said.

"If you look at all the rivers with different names in Burma and also look at the rivers in Europe, you can see they all come from the same origin."

Buddhist religious discipline instructs monks to keep out of politics.

This has been broken in the past, however, most notably in September 2007 when monks took to the streets in Burma to protest the hike in fuel prices, triggering what has become known as the Saffron Revolution due to the colour of monks robes.

Refraining from direct political rhetoric, U Nyanissara called for calm in the face of upheaval.

"We all should take the example of water and work together with everyone to keep the minds of human beings clear and to cool down their angers," he said, adding that he gave the same message during his speech at the Buddha's Day celebration in Paris.

His visit to Norway, he said, was due to his wish to visit the country of Alfred Nobel, founder of the Nobel prizes.

Reporting by Moe Aye


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