Friday, September 22, 2017

Banned sayadaw preaches in Sagaing, Ayeyarwady regions

A prominent monk has defied a ban by the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee and given sermons in Sagaing and Ayeyarwady regions.

Shwe Nya Wah Sayadaw speaks at a press conference in Yangon in 2011. (Kaung Htet/The Myanmar Times)Shwe Nya Wah Sayadaw speaks at a press conference in Yangon in 2011. (Kaung Htet/The Myanmar Times)

Shwe Nya Wah Sayadaw U Pinnyasiha gave the sermons in Ngazun on April 30 and Pantanaw on May 2. The sermons were given at the invitation of residents in the towns, he said.

Sangha committee officials made no attempt to stop him from preaching at either of the events.

“As I have previously said, their notification banning me is not legal because I have not yet received a copy,” he said.

“They should send it to me and explain clearly why they are doing it … I preach to my people only the truth.”

One of the sayadaw’s followers said the sermons had attracted large crowds.

“The township Sangha committee and other government officials did not interfere during the ceremony,” the follower said.

The sayadaw learned on March 25 that a plenary meeting of the 47-member State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee the previous month had decided to impose a nationwide ban on his preaching.

The order set no time limit, but the committee, which is better known as Ma Ha Na, said it had been imposed for allegedly speaking out of line with Buddhist doctrine and not following the instructions of his seniors.

Shwe Nya Wah Sayadaw told The Myanmar Times that the order violated the rights of citizens outlined in the constitution, and that he was considering filing a writ in the Union Supreme Court to have the order rescinded.

Shwe Nya Wah Sayadaw has courted controversy before and has been known for his criticism of the anti-Muslim 969 movement, which is backed by nationalist Buddhist monks. In 2013 he acted to calm communal violence between Buddhists and Muslims that exploded in the central city of Meiktila, and has also spoken out in defence of political prisoners.