The Burmese military took power in 1988, when a democratic uprising was suppressed. At that time, the army shot and killed thousands of unarmed demonstrators, including many monks. Since then, the regime has misruled the country with increasing harshness, carrying out ethnic cleansing on the borders and genocide against numerous minorities.
Once before, in 1990, the sangha declared patam nikkujjana kamma. This peaceful protest was met with unfeeling cruelty by the authorities. More than 130 monasteries were raided, and at least 300 monks were forcibly disrobed, arrested, imprisoned, and tortured. The world must not let this happen again.
Already, in Arakan State, the military has responded to this peaceful boycott with teargas, beatings, and gunfire, and we fear that protesting monks all over Burma are in great danger.
We call on the international Buddhist community to support the courageous and compassionate monks in Burma who, as they chant the Metta Sutta and other Paritta, are asking for justice and an end to the unspeakable oppression of the military rule in their impoverished and desperate country.