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A Request by Japanese Buddhists Concerning the Situation in Burma
by Rev. Ko Yasuhara, Chairman of the Board of Directors, All Japan Buddhist Federation, Oct 1, 2007
As the sole federation of Japanese traditional Buddhist denominations, the All Japan Buddhist Federation, which is also acts as the Japanese center for the World Fellowship of Buddhists (WFB), would like to express the following about the situation in Burma.
Burma is approximately 90% Buddhist. These Buddhist followers are very devout, as witnessed by the important historical ruins found in the country. Concerning the demonstrations by Buddhist monks and general citizens, we have received news that the government has responded with violence, causing numerous casualties, including a Japanese, and imprisoning numerous people. As fellow Buddhist followers, we would like to express our indignation and deep regret at these acts.
The demonstrations in which the monks participated were based on the Buddha's teaching of "overturning the bowl" (patta-nukkujjana kamma). Everyday, the monks peacefully and in a disciplined manner, beg for alms. In this way, they have born witness to the suffering of the daily lives of the people and have sincerely prayed for tranquility in their daily lives.
We would like to call on the Government of Myanmar to immediately free those detained monks and citizens, and search for measures to resolve the situation by entering into peaceful dialogue. Furthermore, it is our heartfelt wish that the Japanese government, the United Nations, and various international bodies will accept the intent of our message and continue to make efforts to resolve the situation.
Sincerely In the Dharma,
Rev. Ko Yasuhara
Chairman of the Board of Directors
All Japan Buddhist Federation
Copies of this letter was also sent to:
The Japanese Government: Prime Minister Yasuhiro Fukuda
The Government of Myanmar: Tokyo Embassy
The United Nations: Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
The World Fellowship of Buddhists
Editor's note: This is an extraordinary step, the first time, as far as we know, for AJBF, which has always shied away from supporting Burmese dissident Buddhists, to issue a statement.