September 20, 2007
The Victory of Our Solemn Promise
There was a shower in the morning; it became a heavy rain in the afternoon. On the previous day, monks walked around streets with soaking wet robes in the rain but they looked fresh, cheerful and active. I was delightful to see them and I thought that it was because of Mitta, loving-kindness between monks and men.
I heard a young monk said to an old one in the hall of the Bronze Image,
‘I think you’ve got a fever last night because you’ve a long walk in the rain yesterday. I leave you at the monastery and come alone so. How do you come here with your fever?’
‘It’s just a slight fever. It’s a trifling for me!’ said the old one, putting his thumb upwards.
I was very proud of his manner and said ‘Well done!’ in my mind. If the old monk looked sick, I would request him not to march for that day with us. He seemed okay and I left him. We made our plan for the day, waiting other monks and had lunch. At twelve o’ clock sharp in the afternoon. The column of demonstrators, which I took part in was to march to the Kyikekasan Pagoda in Thingangun township, the Eastern part of Yangon.
At the Kyikekasan Pagoda, the Yangon military commander General Myint Swe and his men were waiting to offer monks rice and provisions. That was the military government’s plan to destroy our solemn promise not to accept any donation from the military men until they comply with the monks’ demands.
Their donation was aimed at making a strategic attack to our monks’ keeping Pattaneikkuzzana Vinaya; they had no wish to make good deeds nor pay respect to monks. If monks had accepted the donations of those whom they all agreed to oppose, the promise may naturally be broken down. At that moment, the military men prepared to offer monks some rice with other provisions.
I was afraid that if some of the monks accepted the donation, our whole keeping of the promise would break down. My anger arose at first, but I made it cease and with my hand speaker, I tried to explain the monks,
‘Oh, respectable monks, we, all monks of Myanmar have been keeping the promise of Pattaneikkuzzana Vinaya. We, thus, should avoid accepting their donation.’
All the monks there did not accept the donation; in such manner was turning monks’ bowls upside down. Monks’ bowls is called thabeik and turning upside down is hmauk in Myanmar _ thabeik-hmauk or opposing to the oppressing government in essence can be shown in public with the unity of all monks there. That tendency never swayed among monks in all towns, regions and cities of Myanmar.
The tactical approach of the military group to destroy our promise or to part the monks’ unity failed there. I felt the spirit of union in monks. This was a peaceful success over the government. This was the pleasure of union spirit for me.
Also, this was monks’ first proof to our life-long daily donors who were living under the great dictatorship for about half a century, and the proven event of monks’ unity in opposing the government _ following the peaceful way of our Lord Buddha. Also, this was our response of gratitude to our dayakar and dayikama, our men and women donors who lived with the fear.
Forming a Group of Sundry Tasks
Several invitations on the platforms and stairways of pagodas to accept their donations to the monks occurred later; for the monks, they went back to their respective monasteries without any acceptance of offerings as to support our demonstration according to our Buddhist ethics. Everybody in the demonstration appreciated them, saying ‘Well done!’ several times.
More monks from far places came to our target place, the Bronze Image day by day to join the demonstration. Some monks had to go to us secretly from their chief monks of the monasteries. They were new comers to our demonstration, and because they were monks, preparation of them to accommodate was necessary. We discussed to form a group of sundry tasks_ a group of 15 men and women formed with the approval of everyone there, about ten hundred students and people.
We, monks, participated in the demonstration had a sense of being escorted spies throughout. We could enter our monasteries around nine o’ clock at night for our security.
My chief monk called me to meet him. At that time, I was about to exchange my dripping robe. I had to meet him.
The chief monk said to me,
‘I’ve seen your face, Htavara, in DVB (Democratic Voice of Burma) channel.’ I dared not response him anything.
I had no words to reply to my chief monk. I was existing; my respect towards to my chief monk was extraordinary. I was sweating up to my toes! My chief monk later said,
‘Be careful, Htavara, why do you see them as humans? They are good-for-nothing! Don’t deal with them. They are not deserved with you, or our Mitta.’
My chief monk said to me such words. He turned around and entered into his room. I was very glad to know that, I entered into my room. I had to discuss our operation with my guests until two o’clock in the morning. I had a time to take a rest, then. I laid down myself on bed, reminding the Mitta Sutta. Then I fell into deep sleep.