Mandalay, Burma: Religious leaders, monks and priests have a duty to spread goodwill and not hate, says a Buddhist monk in Burma (Myanmar), even as another ‘ firebrand’ monk named U Wirathu is known for his open encouragement of anti-Muslim sentiment in the country.
Ashin Ariya Wun Tha Bhiwun Sa, a Buddhist monk from Mandalay better known as Myawaddy Sayadaw, is regularly seen with leaders of Christians, Muslims and Hindus in interfaith gatherings at home and overseas, fighting the persecution of minority groups.
Burma, known as Myanmar is a Buddhist-majority country which has always advocated harmony, peaceful coexistence and mutual respect among its religions. But of late persecution and the pushing out of Rohingya Muslims from the country has hit international headlines.
Now, however, Ariya Wun Tha acknowledges the greater role of religious leaders in a strife-torn country ruled by the military for more than five decades.
“We, the religious leaders, need to play a greater role in promoting harmony among the various religions instead of sowing hatred against minorities,” said the monk.
He says monks need to guide the people on what is right and wrong and to regard it as their duty to publicly criticize unruly monks and those who spread anti-Muslim sentiment.