Saturday, August 7, 2010

600 monks to bless Sumatran replica of Shwedagon Pagoda

Saturday, 07 August 2010 02:26 Khaing Suu

New Delhi (Mizzima) – More than 600 monks from Burma will visit the Indonesian island of Sumatra in October to attend a ceremony to consecrate a scaled-down replica of the Shwedagon Pagoda, an invited abbot said.

The monks, including senior staff of the Religious Affairs Department and the Department for the Promotion and Propagation of Religion – both under the junta’s Ministry of Religious Affairs – and social welfare organizations, were invited to the ceremony in Medan, capital of North Sumatra province.

“Township leaders of the Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, who have a close relationship with the Religious Affairs Department, have been invited to attend the ceremony,” a Tharketa Township abbot said. “We have served in a social welfare organisation for a long time but we’ve not been invited. I don’t know why.”

The Dhamma Brothers Organisation led by Win Pe will sponsor the monks who will attend the ceremony. The group works to cultivate Buddhism in Southeast Asian countries such as Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia.

The invited monks have already been given passports. “The authorities invited the 600 monks to Rangoon to receive their passports on July,” an abbot from Mandalay told Mizzima. “I’ve heard that we’re going to be boarding … private planes on October 29. Each 10-monk group will be accompanied by a lay attendant.”

Thirty employees from the Department for the Promotion and Propagation of Religion and the Religious Affairs Department will also attend.

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