Burmese Monks Remain Defiant
Posted on Nov 14, 2007
Taking a page from Mahatma Gandhi, many Buddhist monks took to the streets in Burma in September in a showing of civil disobedience against the country’s ruling regime. Now, their ranks are diminished as a result of the ensuing military crackdown, but, as one monk from Mandalay tells the BBC, their movement isn’t over yet.
The monks had been studying Mahatma Gandhi’s civil disobedience philosophy and the Buddhist scriptures.
One triumphantly points to a passage giving monks the obligation to intervene when Buddhism is under threat or when rulers breach moral laws and the people suffer too much.
In Burma’s case, as one young monk who fled to the border with Thailand argues, all of those conditions apply.
The Buddhist clergy in Burma have served as a counter-weight to oppressive government throughout history - a point conspicuously ignored by the Burmese state media, which labelled the protesting clergy “bogus monks”.