Lower House MP Min Thu (Ottarathiri, Nay Pyi Taw) has clarified his Facebook posts critical of some Buddhist monks and begged for their forgiveness.
Min Thu, a National League for Democracy (NLD) MP, made the apology two days after posting a story entitled, “Nay Pyi Taw, where some monks are meddling in the situation,” on his Facebook wall on February 23.
The story said that administrators from Yamethin, Ottara and Dekkhina Districts had arranged for monks representing the “969” movement from Yamethin and Lewe to be taken by car to Nay Pyi Taw for a ceremony to support the anti-interracial marriage law at Oakpattasanti Pagoda, the replica of Shwedagon Pagoda, at 1 p.m. on Sunday (February 23).
“The Sayadaw secretary from Yamethin Township, the Sangha Maha Nayaka committee, and the Sayadaw chairperson from Lewe Township were being led by the nose,” Min Thu wrote. “Under the pretext of anti-Islamism, some monks did not understand that the movements are intended to oppose the NLD and opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi. And it seemed that they became like the Ayatollah, the late Iranian religious leader that they don’t like. This [celebration] was timed to coincide with a plan to remove monasteries by using forest laws……”
In his letter of apology yesterday (February 25), Min Thu said that his words undermined the dignity of all those mentioned above as well as members of the Sangha and Sayadaw chairman Ashin Sandabartha of the township nationality, religion and Sasana safeguarding committee.
References to monks being “led by the nose” and to the Ayatollah implied that religion was interfering in an administrative role, he said.
The Daily Eleven raised the question of disrespectful writing with Min Thu on February 25. Min Thu replied that he had apologized for his Facebook post.
In his letter, Min Thu begged the aforementioned clerics to forgive his “stupid usage” and individual emotions, which had allowed him to make comments on Facebook that undermined the dignity of Sangha members and were an affront to parents, elders and teachers, and even his own belief in Buddhism.
He added that he obeyed members of Sangha by upholding the nine precepts of Buddha, six precepts of Buddhist doctrine and nine precepts of the Sangha.
“I made such an apology because of my belief in Buddhism. It came from my own religious conviction,” he said.
Min Thu said that he must follow religious codes of conduct despite his writing on Facebook. He must have responsibility and accountability.
“Despite the NLD being criticised for its stance on religious affairs, the attitude of the party is to stay away from religion,” Win Tin, the party’s patron, told The Daily Eleven on February 25. The patron attended the “1300” Revolution ceremony held in Mandalay on February 21, visited the Masoeyein, Maha Withokdhayone and Maha Gandaryone monasteries in Mandalay and paid respects to the Sayadaws, from whom he received advice. He met with Sayadaw Wirathu at Masoeyein Monastery.
“We discussed political affairs that can serve the interests of the people and Sayadaw Wirathu supported the presidency of Aung San Suu Kyi. The Sayadaw did not object to the amendment of section 59 (f),” said Win Tin.
While Win Tin was at Masoeyein Monastery, he told members of Sangha that they should neither be followers of a political party nor stand behind the guidance of a political party.
“Members of the Sangha have worked for the welfare of the people in successive eras. I accept if they do politics. It is a tradition. I suppose that if they should do politics, that can bring about benefits for the people. But they should only give us [political parties] advice and guide us when and if necessary,” Win Tin said.
Despite there being no significant difference between the NLD party and members of the Sangha on most issues, some democratic forces and other religions have been using artificial Facebook accounts to launch religious attacks on Buddhist monks and Buddhism in general.