Narinjara News

Burmese SPDC junta award religious title to a Buddhist monk in Bangladesh

Cox’sbazaar, 11
th March 03:  The Burmese Ministry of Religious Affairs has declared an award of a Buddhist religious title to a monk at Ramu, under Cox’s Bazaar district in the south-eastern part of Bangladesh, our correspondent quoted a monk in the Buddhist monastery.

The monk, Satyapriyo Mahathero, will be awarded the Aggamaha Saddhammajotikadhaja title (translated, ‘forerunner of the holder of the flag of the religious light') in a formal function to be held in Rangoon on March 17th, on the occasion of the Tabaung Month (Falgun) Full Moon day celebration. 

The monk also said that it is usual for the Burmese junta to confer such titles to the prominent monks of Bangladesh every year.  Another monk in the area told our correspondent that, the Burmese junta only selects those Buddhist monks for the award who have never gone against the junta.  Prominent monks like Abbot U Pandita Mahathero of Chowdhurypara, who is an eminent monk in the international arena hailing   from Cox’s Bazaar district, has never been in the good book of the successive Burmese juntas because of his support for democracy and antagonistic stand against the Burmese juntas.  The abbot is the Chairman of the Rakhine Marma Sangha Council of Bangladesh, an organization of Buddhist monks.

The monk, Styapriyo studied in Burma and is an author of a number of books on Buddhism.  Ramu is called as Pan-wa in Rakhine and Burmese languages and the small town is famous for the old Buddhist monasteries with elaborate woodcarvings built by Rakhine people who lived there in large numbers previously.

The award has been made to the prominent monks of the Theravada School, the important orthodox sect practised in South and South-east Asia including Burma, since the time of dictator Ne Win’s socialist regime took up ‘clean-up campaign’ of the Buddhist Order around 1980.  A distinguished Buddhist monk from the opposition demanded that the title award ceremony itself is a political affair rather than religious and the junta conducts it every year to drum up support from the Buddhist population in the region.  #