Category Archives: Burma

From the most recognizable Buddhist World Leaders Respond To Violence Against Muslims In Myanmar


From the most recognizable Buddhist World Leaders:

Myanmar Buddhists Muslim

To Our Brother and Sister Buddhists in Myanmar,

As world Buddhist leaders we send our loving kindess and concern for the difficulties the people of Myanmar are faced with at this time. While it is a time of great positive change in Myanmar we are concerned about the growing ethnic violence and the targeting of Muslims in Rakhine State and the violence against Muslims and others across the country. The Burmese are a noble people, and Burmese Buddhists carry a long and profound history of upholding the Dharma.

We wish to reaffirm to the world and to support you in practicing the most fundamental Buddhist principles of non-harming, mutual respect and compassion.

These fundamental principles taught by the Buddha are at the core of Buddhist practice:

Buddhist teaching is based on the precepts of refraining from killing and causing harm.
Buddhist teaching is based on compassion and mutual care.
Buddhist teaching offers respect to all, regardless of class, caste, race or creed.

We are with you for courageously standing up for these Buddhist principles even when others would demonize or harm Muslims or other ethnic groups. It is only through mutual respect, harmony and tolerance that Myanmar can become a modern great nation benefiting all her people and a shining example to the world.

Whether you are a Sayadaw or young monk or nun, or whether you are a lay Buddhist, please, speak out, stand up, reaffirm these Buddhist truths, and support all in Myanmar with the compassion, dignity and respect offered by the Buddha.

We stand with you in the Dharma,

Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh
Nobel Peace Prize Nominee
Vietnam

Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi
President Buddhist Global Relief
(world’s foremost translator of the Pali Canon)
Sri Lanka/USA

Dr. AT Ariyaratne
Founder Nationwide Sarvodaya Movement
Ghandi Peace Prize Laureate
Sri Lanka

Ven. Chao Khun Raja Sumedhajahn
Elder, Ajahn Chah Monasteries
Wat Ratanavan, Thailand

Ven. Phra Paisal Visalo
Chair Buddhika Network Buddhism and Society
Thailand

Ven. Arjia Rinpoche VIII
Abbot Tibetan Mongolian Cultural Center
Mongolia/USA

Ven. Shodo Harada Roshi
Abbot Sogenji Rinzai Zen Monastery
Japan

Achariya Professor J Simmer Brown
Chairperson Buddhist Studies
Naropa Buddhist University
USA

Ven. Ajahn Amaro Mahathera
Abbot Amaravati Vihara
England

Ven. Hozan A Senauke
International Network of Engaged Buddhists
Worldwide

Younge Khachab Rinpoche VIII
Abbot Younge Drodul Ling
Canada

Ven. Sr. Thich Nu Chan Kong
President Plum Village Zen temples
France/Vietnam

Dr. Jack Kornfield Vipassana Achariya
Convener Western Buddhist Teachers Council
USA

Lama Surya Das
Dzogchen Foundation International
Vajrayana Tibet/USA

Ven. Zoketsu N. Fischer Soto Roshi
Fmr. Abbot largest Zen community in the West
USA/Japan

Tulku Sherdor Rinpoche
Director BI. Wisdom Institute
Canada

Professor Robert Tenzin C. Thurman
Center for Buddhist Studies
Columbia University
USA

HH the XIV Dalai Lama
Nobel Laureate
Tibet/India
Though not able to be reached in time to sign this letter, HH the Dalai Lama has publicly and repeatedly stated his concern about the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. He urges everyone to continue to practice non-violence and retain the religious harmony that is central to our ancient and revered culture.

Source:Huffington Post : Buddhist Leaders Respond To Violence Against Muslims In Myanmar

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/10/buddhist-leaders-respond-to-violence-against-muslims-in-myanmar_n_2272336.html

Arab Protests Spark Internet Uprising in Burma


SOURCE

Arab Protests Spark Internet Uprising in Burma

By Anugrah Kumar|Christian Post Contributor

Inspired by protesters in the Arab world, Burma’s democracy activists have set off an online revolution to oppose their junta-led government braving its Internet censorship and security upgrade.

Burmese refugee 

(Photo: The Christian Post/Anugrah Kumar)

A Karen woman at a refugee camp on the Thai-Burma border. There are over 150,000 Burmese refugees in Thailand.
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Political activists inside and outside Burma are using the Internet to denounce the military dictatorship and call for true democracy, Ba Kaung, a journalist with a Thailand-based Burmese news agency, The Irrawaddy, told The Christian Post.

Kaung said two days after Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak resigned from office under pressure from protesters, activists in Burma’s former capital Rangoon created a page on Facebook, “Just Do It Against Military Dictatorship.” The page now has over 1,500 supporters, mostly Burmese.

Some activists were also training Burmese citizens, including students and laborers in rural parts, to use the Internet, hoping they would join the protests against the military rulers, Kaung added.

Following the Facebook campaign, many activists began to distribute anti-junta pamphlets and posters across Burma – some of them saying, “Get Out Than Shwe,” Kaung said.

Senior-General Than Shwe is the head of the Burmese army who continues to rule the country through a proxy political organization, the Union Solidarity and Development Party (USDP), which claimed victory in the allegedly rigged election held in December 2010 – first in two decades.

Of late, the government has beefed up security in Burma’s former capital Rangoon, Kaung said. “But we cannot confirm if it is linked to the Facebook campaign, but that’s what activists inside Burma assume,” Kaung added.

The State-owned media in Burma does not cover revolutions in other countries and the government restricts access to website that may incite protests. Burmese access “banned” websites with a software that bypasses government’s proxy servers.

However, of the Burma’s 60 million people, only an estimated 400,000 use the Internet, mostly with a low data download speed. But Burmese people can beat that challenge, thinks Benedict Rogers, East Asia Team Leader at London-based advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

“They are very conscious of the value of Facebook, Twitter, mobile phones and other technology, and although they are not as widely available in Burma as they are in Egypt, for example, their availability is growing,” Rogers told The Christian Post.

Even during the 2007 uprising in Burma, when Buddhist monks led demonstrations, technology played a crucial role, and “that is even more the case now,” Rogers added.

Debbie Stothard, Coordinator at Bangkok-based Altsean-Burma, agreed with Rogers. “Burmese have always followed anti-authoritarian struggles with excitement and hope ‘it’s our turn next time’,” she said.

“They have always been keen to learn from the strategies of other struggles. That’s why the regime has always suppressed news of political movements in the Burmese media,” she added, pointing out that the news of the 1998 Reformasi movement in Indonesia which pushed out President Suharto was suppressed for several days in Rangoon.

“Instead of world news, the Burmese public is fed a steady diet of pro-military propaganda, and stories of crime and sex scandals in foreign countries,” Stothard added.

Alana Golmei, in charge of advocacy group Burma Centre Delhi, said the Burmese pro-democracy activists were closely watching the protests in the Arab world despite media and Internet restrictions which is an inspiration for them.

An activist from Thai-Burma border, who identified himself as Tha U Wah A Pah, said, “Every act of freedom anywhere in the world is an encouragement to the people here and gives hope and courage.”

However, the impact of the Internet campaign is expected to be low in Burma’s frontier states where most ethnic minorities, including Christians, live and have been fighting for independence or greater autonomy. “People in ethnic minority states have limited access to the Internet,” Kaung said.

Tensions in ethnic states, particularly Karen, Kachin and Shan, rose when the 2010 election was announced. Many pockets in these states are under the control of armed ethnic resistance groups and it is feared that the Burmese army may launch a major military offensive to reclaim its hold on them.

Ethnic minorities – some with large Christian populations – have allegedly faced brutality, discrimination and neglect by the military rulers, who are predominantly ethnic Burman, for over five decades. Burmese media operating from across the country’s borders routinely report on Burmese army personnel launching violent indiscriminate attacks on minorities, raping their women and girls and forcing them to become laborers without pay.

Burma’s military, seen as one of the world’s worst violators of human rights, has forced a large number of the citizens to flee the country in the last few decades.

Last month, U.N.’s Special Rapporteur to Burma Tomas Ojeas Quintana said Burma had become a burden to the South-East Asia region due to increasing numbers of Burmese asylum-seekers.

It is estimated that Bangladesh has nearly 400,000 refugees from Burma, Thailand over 150,000, Indiaroughly 100,000, and Malaysia over 85,000.

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Burma joins the Facebook Revolutions


Burma joins the Facebook Revolutions.

The success of Internet-enabled revolutions are now reaching as far as Burma, where activists face an extremely brutal government.

Social media continues to alter the face of revolution after the successful uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. The revolutions both counties staged against their dictatorships and corrupt governments have taken hold of similar political regimes. Libya used Twitter (before losing access to the site) to bring attention to its own struggle, which has escalated in the last few weeks over the call for Moammar Gadhafi’s resignation. Even China, whose government has incredibly tight reigns over its citizens, has witnessed restrained and Internet-bred attempts to organize demonstrations against the ruling body.

Now, neighboring Burma will join the list of oppressed countries looking to challenge its leaders with the help of social media. Burmese activists have created their own active Facebook page, named “Just Do It Against Military Dictatorship.” It now has nearly 1,300 followers and boasts a bevy of videos, photos, and discussions. Unfortunately, Burma is subject to extremely limited Internet access, which could be cut altogether if the movement gains any more popularity. It’s listed as being located in the capital, Rangoon, where the Asia Sentinel reports security has already been increased.

At the same time as Burmese dissidents establish a Facebook presence, notorious opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi has been in talks with the US State Department regarding the state of her government. A democratic leader in Burma, Kyi spent years behind bars and under house arrest for her political ideals and aspirations. She also claims that the current regime is closely watching the Libyan revolution as well as the revolutions sweeping the Middle Easter and Northern Africa as well as attempting to censor citizens from any news of the events.

But those that have glimpsed the revolutions are inspired. “Everybody is waiting around to see with great interest what transpires because people were impressed with what happened, particular in Egypt,” she told Voice of America News recently. She also said she intends to create Facebook and Twitter accounts as soon as possible. However, she noted there is a large difference between the treatment of people in Egypt and in Burma, which is known for its exceptionally brutal authorities. “Well the people have stood in Burma before as you know and in those instances they were fired upon by the army,” she says.