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Evicted Buddhist Abbot to Leave Monastery Within One Month

By ZARNI MANN, The Irrawaddy, January 19, 2012

Yangon, Myanmar -- Prominent Buddhist monk Ashin Pyinna Thiha, the abbot of the Sardu Pariyatti Monastery, agreed to follow the order of the Maha Nayaka Sangha Council of Rangoon, the official Rangoon council of Buddhist monks, and leave the monastery within one month.

<< Shwe Nya Wah Sayadaw, a pro-democracy Buddhist monk. (Photo: The Irrawaddy)

“I just agreed to sign and leave and live peacefully as an obedient person to the Sangha, as I don’t want to be a reason for dispute. I would like to request all monks and everyone not to fight about my case as this may affect national reconciliation. However, all the social work we do will be continued by the other monks here,” said Ashin Pyinna Thiha, also known as Shwe Nya Wah Sayadaw.

The agreement regarding Ashin Pyinna Thiha’s departure was signed and acknowledged by Divisional Religion Officer Zaw Zaw Oo, the head of the divisional Sangha, and other authorities at the Rangoon Division Sangha office, while hundreds of supporters and monks waited outside under tight security.

Ashin Pyinna Thiha said that he has not yet decided where to live in the future, but will leave Sardu Pariyatti Monastery before February 19, which is the final date for his departure given by the Sangha.

The 47-member Maha Nayaka Sangha Council, Burma’s official state council of Buddhist monks, had previously banned Ashin Pyinna Thiha from giving Dhamma talks for one year.

In September, however, he spoke at the Mandalay office of Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy, where he vowed to keep working for peace in Burma and called for the release of political prisoners and the end of civil war. He said that there is no peace as long as political prisoners remain behind bars and there is war on the border.

A recorded video of the event spread among the Burmese public, and apparently citing this video, the Maha Nayaka Sangha Council issued a statement saying that the abbot was “disobedient” within the monk community and was to be evicted from his monastery.

He sent a letter of apology to the council asking that it reverse its decision, but the request was denied.

Ashin Pyinna Thiha is well known for social work and for allowing political events to be held in his monastery, as well as for sermons relating to the current situation in Burma. He was also among the social activists who met with US Secretary Hillary Clinton’s landmark visit to Burma.

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