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Burmese Monks Alliance urges monks to boycott religious examinations

by Than Htike Oo, Mizzima News, March 19, 2008

Chiang Mai, Thailand -- The 'All Burma Monks Alliance' (ABMA) on Tuesday urged monks to boycott the religious examinations of Dhama Sariya and Pali. The religious examinations are to be held on March 24.

"During the saffron revolution, we announced the ex-communicative boycott of the regime. This boycott will remain in force as long as it is not withdrawn by another religious rite. So the boycott is still continuing. We urge our fellow monks to continue the boycott and obey the religious diktat," U Pyinyar Zawta, patron of ABMA told Mizzima.

"During the saffron revolution, the regime beat up monks, tied them to the lamppost, arrested them and imprisoned them. This is an insult to the Buddhist sasana (religion). So we issued this statement with the intention of urging our fellow monks to boycott the religious examinations held by the regime," he added.

The ABMA statement issued on Tuesday called for the boycott of the religious examinations and also said that the boycott will not terminate the Buddhist Sasana, only beating of monks and destroying religious buildings can terminate the Sasana.

The religious examinations are held simultaneously across the country every year.

In the wake of the saffron revolution, the regime allowed a limited number of monks to stay in their learning monasteries and many of the monks are sent back to their native places.

The local abbots in Mandalay and Pakokku said most of their student monks will not sit in for the examinations. Maso Yein (New monastery) is in Mandalay and four learning monasteries including Bodimannaing monastery are located in Pakokku.

"Most student monks from Pakokku did not enroll for the examinations. In the September unrest they went back to their native places and missed the lessons. So they won't sit for the tests this year," an abbot from Pakokku learning monastery told Mizzima.

Of a total of 1,000 student monks of the East, West, Central and Bodimanning learning monasteries, only 200 will sit in this year's examinations, the abbot added.

"During the September unrest, some missed the chance to submit examination forms and failed to enroll in time. They also missed the lessons," an abbot from Mandalay Maso Yein monastery said.

There are currently about 1,400 monks in Mandalay Phayagyi monastery, of which about 1,000 enrolled for the examination before the senior abbot, the local abbot said without revealing his name.

The ABMA was formed in Mandalay on September 9, 2007.



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