Yadana Gone Yi Monastery in Thayet Taw village, Thandwe Township.

DMG Newsroom
20 July 2022, Thandwe

Myanmar’s military regime sealed off a Buddhist monastery in Arakan State’s Thandwe Township earlier this month, citing possible threats to community tranquillity.

The Yadana Gone Yi Monastery in Thayet Taw village was shuttered on July 6 due to a rivalry between two monks competing for the title of monastery abbot, said Thandwe Township administrator U Maung Tha Sein, who said the disagreement could jeopardise communal harmony.

“We were concerned that disputes would arise between their followers. So, we decided to seal it off,” the administrator told DMG.

Sayadaw U Einda of Yadana Gone Yi Monastery told DMG that he was the “original abbot” and that the other claimant was sent to his monastery by officials from the township General Administration Department and a group of other monks.

“I have been the abbot of this village monastery for 17 years. I was already the abbot before the village was moved to its current location,” he said. “Thayet Taw village was moved to its current location in 2018, with the permission of the government, due to flooding. I had my new monastery built by my laypeople at the new village, and I have been living at this new monastery for five years now.”

Villager U Maung Nge said U Einda is worshipped by more than 70 laypeople from Thayet Taw village, who are now having difficulties keeping Sabbath during Buddhist Lent due to the closure of the monastery.

“We have followed this monk for 17 years. He has had no problem with any layperson. This problem was created by the government,” he said.

The head of the Thandwe Township Sangha Nayaka Committee (the state-backed Buddhist clergy), said the monastery was donated by the late, former abbot of the village monastery to the Nyi Naung Bawana sect; and that the sect had dispatched a new abbot because residents do not like the existing abbot, U Einda.

“But the current abbot refuses to leave, and authorities have therefore sealed off the monastery for fear that disputes may arise,” said the head of the local Sangha Nayaka Committee, U Yewata.

Local villagers on July 10 complained to the chief minister of Arakan State’s military government, U Aung Kyaw, about the forced closure of the monastery.

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