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Burmese junta targets revered Shan monk

SHAN, April 18, 2008

Rangoon, Burma -- Religious discourse CDs and leaflets of revered Shan monk Venerable Sukhaminda were recently confiscated by paranoid authorities in northern Shan State, according to sources coming from the north.

According to one of his devotees, junta officials were deeply disturbed by one of the leaflets titled “Samwega questions” (Red alert warnings), which asks elderly believers searching question like:

Your age has advanced, but is your mind still going backward?
Your head has been becoming hairless; isn’t it time to make yourself kilesa-less (purified)?
Your teeth are falling out, but your pride is still refusing to?

“These questions are for all those who are no longer getting young,” explained a female devotee. “I doubt he was thinking about generals Than Shwe and Maung Aye when he wrote them.”

Both generals are reportedly the only remaining septuagenarians in Burma’s armed forces: Than Shwe, 75, and Maung Aye, 71.

Venerable Sukhaminda, 46, better known as Sao Sukham, MA holder from both Burma’s State Pariyatti Sasana University and Sri Lanka’s University of Kelaniya, has been teaching mediation for 18 years, according to The Triple Lotus, a book published last year.

He has also been conferred Kammatthanacariya (Master of Meditation) title by the military government last year in recognition of his efforts in promoting vipassana meditation.

Abbot of Loi Teungkham monastery in Muse, on the Sino-Burma border,since 2000, he is known as one of three blooming lotus flowers in Shan Buddhism, the other two being Khruba Boonchoom Nyanasangvaro of Mongphong, Tachilek, and Venerable Dr Khammai Dhammasami of Oxford Buddha Vihara.

Other Burmese monks whose lectures are being closely scrutinized are U Kovida and U Nyanissara.

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