September 19, 2007
Compassion under the Shower of Rain
I considered about the news on night radio while I went to the target place at the foot of the Shwedagon Pagoda, the Bronze Image. The news spread by mouth and foreign broadcasting. I had heard it.
In Mandalay, about one hundred monks from Thukhawadi, Khaymarthiwun and Seittapala Gu Kyaung monasteries took the solemn promise to oppose to the government. Those monks also demonstrated, reciting loving-kindness Sutta on streets and roads .Protests against the government spread across Myanmar: around 90 monks in Aung Lan township in the middle Myanmar, more than 1000 monks in Pakokku townships, about 2000 in Bago and more than 200 monks in Sittwe townships demonstrated reciting Mitta Sutta. The news made me encourage to be a participant in demonstration at Yangon.
Monks went around the towns, reciting Buddha’s Mitta Sutta. People heartedly and respectfully listened to the chant of Mitta Sutta:
‘….. In gladness and in safety,
May all being be at ease.
Whatever living beings there may be,
Whether they are weak or strong, omitting none,
The great or the mighty, medium, short, or small,
The seen and the unseen,
Those living near or far away,
Those born or to be born
May all being be at ease.
Let none deceive another
Or despise any being in any state.
Let none through anger or ill-will
Wish harm upon another.
Ever as a mother protects with her life
Her child, her only child
So with a boundless heart
Should one cherish all living beings.
Radiating kindness over the entire world,
Spreading upwards to the skies and downwards to the depths,
Outwards and unbounded,
Freed from hatred and ill-will …..’
They protected the monks on both sides of the streets and roads by holding hand in hand with each other. Monks walked around the streets without any footwear or umbrella under the intense Yangon’s sun. Sometimes it rained, but it was not very heavy. Under the shower of rain, we could show our compassion towards the oppressed citizens of Myanmar. Some men and women offered us fresh drinking water and cold drinks. The view of such unity between monks and people made me so delightful that I repeated ‘Well done!’ many times in my mind.
In front of the Bronze Image, famous activists, Kyaw Thu, Zarganar and Amyotharyay U Win Naing had waited for our monks’ march. They said to us,
‘We want to offer monks’ lunch alms!’
‘Your purpose is very convenient for monks’, I said, ‘because there had been many monks who couldn’t have their main meal, lunch, the previous day. I and other monks would like to say ‘Well done!’ for them.’ Then we took our lunch.
After lunch, we made our plan to go around the downtown area. We started at about twelve from the Shwedagon through the Alanpyaphaya Road towards the American Embassy, India Embassy, the Theingyi Market place, and went back to the Sule Pagoda, reciting Mitta Sutta.
There was a shower of rain all day long that day. Because monks did not use umbrella with bare feet for around five hour walk, some monks had cramps on their leg muscles and some had sore throats by reciting Mitta Sutta many time on that evening.
That demonstration was participated by about one hundred thousand monks and about seventy thousand students and citizens. We all parted in the evening from the Sule Pagoda.