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Monks protest against banning of ceremony

Mar 27, 2009 (DVB), Buddhist monks in central Burma have launched a petition to protest against government restrictions that prevent them from freely conducting a traditional Burmese Buddhist ceremony.

Government authorities in Magwe division have imposed strict regulations on Dhamma Talks, where respectable monks pass on the teachings of Buddha and words of wisdom to lay followers, since the monk-led protests in September 2007.

A monk in Magwe said the current petition, which was to be sent to leaders of the Sanga Nayaka, the national monk administration, was triggered by the banning in Salay township of a Dhamma talk normally held for 13 days every year.

"Salay district's government chairman Than Htay Aung approved the banning of the Dhamma talk session and caused monks in the region to be very upset," said the monk, under condition of anonymity.

"We are making a point that conducting Dhamma talks and preaching words of wisdom is one of the six main duties of Buddhist monks.

"We wonder whether the leaders of the monk administration are aware of what is going on, or if they were simply ignoring it," he added.

The petition has so far received signatures from monks in nine different townships in the region as of yesterday.

Reporting by Ahunt Phone Myat


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