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Junta bans popular Buddhist monk's sermon

by Myint Maung, Mizzima News, December 16, 2008

Rangoon, Burma -- The Burmese military junta authorities in Rangoon Division have banned a sermon by abbot U Thumingla, organizers and friends said.

The ban order becomes effective when the sermon is to be held on December 18. Abbot U Thumingla became popular among religiously conscious Buddhists recently. The abbot is from Migadarwon monastery, Mandalay. 

The abbot is 40 years old and has been into 20 years of monk hood. The organizers of the sermon preaching ceremonies and the monk community in Rangoon said that the authorities banned his sermons which were to be held soon in Minglataungnyunt, Mayangon and North Okkalapa Townships in Rangoon Division. 

The sermons of U Thumingla entitled 'Sasana will diminish when the sermon preaching ceremonies diminish', 'be swallowed by earth fissures shortly,' 'Khat Tine Khan' and 'Need to know how to choose a good leader' are popular among the people. 

U Thumingla is currently away from Mandalay and is now into sojourns in Hmawbi, Rangoon Division. His sermons are also banned in Mandalay, an abbot said when Mizzima contacted the Masoyane monastery in Mandalay over telephone. 

In his 'Need to know how to choose a good leader' preached in Hlaingtharyar Township in August 2008, he told the audience that they should choose a good and reliable leader like Lord Buddha. 

During this sermon the abbot said that now there were many Saturn like in ancient times. In the 'Khat Tine Khan' sermon, he said that some people wished the deadly cyclone hit them (the rulers) instead of the people. The abbot told his audience it was only because of their doing meritorious deeds which has protected them from suffering. When these good deeds are exhausted they will certainly face this sort of fate.

A local resident from Sanchaung Township also said that in 'Be swallowed by the earth fissure shortly', the abbot said that not only the higher authorities, even the lower level authorities like judges will be swallowed by earth fissures if they committed evil deeds by insulting the religion and monks. Insulting a single monk means insulting the entire order of the Sangha (monk). So I'd like to urge the 'State Sanghanaryaka Committee not to be passive in silence, the abbot preached in his sermon, the local resident said. 

An official from the  State Sanghamahanayaka Committee declined to say anything regarding the ban on the sermon preaching ceremonies of U Thumingla when Mizzima contacted his office over telephone. 

The organizers of the religious ceremonies have to submit their applications to different levels of religious authorities from Ward, Township, and District level Sanghamahanayaka Committees in advance for their permission. They also have to sign a pledge not to include political matters in the religious sermons.

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