- Published: September 30, 2022
- Updated: September 30, 2022
- University / College: University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB)
- Level: College Admission
- Language: English
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Practicing Buddhism, practicing an engaged Buddhism and countering the political cooption of Buddhism in Myanmar. Introduction
Aung San Suu Kyi is a 68-year-old Burmese Nobel Prize laureate that is a famous political prisoner. She now the leader of the Burma’s democratic opposition and a member of parliament. Millions of Burmese have her in their hearts and adore her image of leadership and tolerance. Her father, Aung San, was the Burmese Army founder got assassinated in Yangon by his political rivals in 1947 when she was 12 years (Hammer 1).
In 1946, before Aung San got assassinated he delivered a historic speech on the Shwedagon Pagoda steps, that embraced the nonviolent protest of the Buddhist principle. According to Hammer, on the same steps Aung San Suu Kyi she delivered the same passionate speech on Buddhist principle during the pro-democracy movement breakdown (Hammer 2).
Suu Kyi was aware of the economic problems in Burma by listening to the radio and felt intense impatience and irritation, but when she turned to Vipassana, the feelings subsided after a while (Beech 1). Vipassana is a meditation that involves body concentration or the sensation or insight it gives.
According to Beech, NLD (National League for Democracy) is a Suu Kyi’s party. After overwhelmingly winning the elections that got held in 1990, it could not take power because the junta ignored the verdict of the people. In addition, the new constitution had clauses that specifically got designed to maintain her from ever serving as the leader of Burma (Hammer 2).
Than Shwe is an erratic, superstitious leader according to Hammer. He had a deep antipathy towards Suu Kyi and even he reportedly used the rituals of black magic towards her. Than Shwe was resistance in reforming and had a harsh pro-democracy movement suppression that often tested Suu Kyi’s Buddist equanimity. During his rule, he visited the Buddhist temples, and he lavished money on them to build up his Buddhist credibility and merits. In addition, he also fused his Buddhism through nats beliefs to ward off his misfortunes (Hammer 2).
In May 2009, Kyiang Kyiang, Than Shwe’s wife, placed a jewelry-encrusted outside Yangon that resulted in the collapse of the temple killing over 20 workers. It was a sign that Than Shwe had committed many evils, and he no longer had the capability to create merits. They were both implicated that they got so shaken; hence, he stepped down and immediately released Suu Kyi (Beech 1).
During the era of colonial, monks, who got inspired by the good governance call of Buddha, led the resistance in ruling the British. According to Hammer, Burma has 18 monks, whereas Beech says that there were dozen soldiers. The Than Shwe’s military regime cracked down during the Saffron Revolution in 2007. The protesting monks got shot dead by the troops and others got imprisoned and defrocked, and dozen monasteries were shut down (Hammer 1). The Saffron Revolution is the series of political and economic demonstration and protest that took place in 2007. Ashin Gambira, the revolution young leader, had his monastery shut down after the crash down, and he got arrested and got sentenced 63 years imprisonment though he reportedly had a nervous breakdown. After the Revolution, the monks were seen on the streets begging with their bowls upside down symbolizing refuse alms from the soldiers (Hammer 1).
Suu Kyi has had a stand in this and decided she will still fight for the Buddhism. She has also included representatives of the minority people in the central government to ensure that she is aware of their problems.
In the future, Buddhism will be important to the people of Burmese, and it will bring light upon them in the darkest corners of the Gulag of regimes. Hence, according to Suu Kyi, it will help them surviving.
Hammer Joshua. “ How She Overcame”. Smithsonian Magazine for September 12, 2012.
Beech Hannah. “ The First Lady of Freedom”. Time magazine for January 10, 2011.
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