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Revered Shan monk prays for Burma’s generals

Shan Herald Agency for News (SHAN), Jan 8, 2008

Tachilek, Thailand -- “I pray for the well-being of the people of Shan State and Burma as well as the country’s rulers,” Krubar Boonchoom Nyanasangvaro told thousands of his devout worshipers coming from Burma, Yunnan, Laos and Thailand in Maesai on 4 January, a day before his 43rd birthday.

He nevertheless lamented the bloody crackdown on the monks protesting peacefully against the country’s military government in September. “I could have been among those prosecuted if I were still back in Burma,” he mused.

The Abbot of Mongphong, Tachilek, as he is known, left Burma after he was placed under ‘temple arrest’ by the military authorities in May 2004. He was reportedly grilled for 5 hours by the military intelligences officers on 22 May 2004 about his latest trip to Panghsang and Hsipaw where he was given rousing welcomes by ceasefire leaders Bao Youxiang of the United Wa State Army (UWSA) and Gaifah of the Shan State Army (SSA) North.

He was later officially expelled from Burma on three charges: Instigation of the people against the military government, support for drug smugglers and association with outlawed groups. His close aides have rejected all the accusations.

The abbot’s birthday was attended by an estimated 40,000 devotees from as far as Bhamo in Kachin State in the north, Xixuangbanna in the northeast and Bhutan in the west. “Last year, it was twice as many,” a resident of Maesai explained. “The downtown is due to the increasingly ailing economy as well as the tightening restrictions.”
Immigration officers had refused to issue border passes for Wa worshipers without national registration cards. The Military Affairs Security (MAS), the successor to the dissolved Military Intelligence Service (MIS), had also refused to honor letters of recommendations issued by the UWSA. “Had you been applying for other purposes, it would have been easy for us to vouch for you,” an MAS officer was quoted as saying. “But we’ll certainly get into trouble if we allow you to visit Krubar Boonchoom.”
“So we came across the Maesai (the river dividing the two countries) through unofficial checkpoints,” said a Wa disciple from Panghsang.
Krubar Boonchoom Nyanasangvaro was born on 5 January 1965 in Chiangrai. He became the youngest abbot in 1975 when he accepted the invitation by village elders of Monghpong to reside there. The monk who spends most of his time traveling, preaching and meditating is reputed to be endowed with powers to recall previous reincarnations.
His 43rd birthday was celebrated also at Buddha Gaya where a Shan temple has been dedicated since last year in his name.

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