The 17th meeting of the 47-member leading committee of the 7th State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee began at the Wizaya Mingalar Dhammathabin Hall on Kaba Aye Hill in Yangon yesterday.
In his opening address at the meeting, which is held every four months, Abhidhaja Maharahta Guru Abhidhaja Agga Maha Saddhamma Jotika Bhamo Sayadaw Dr. Bhaddanta Kumara Bhivamsa, chairman of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, urged the regulatory bodies of the Sangha in regions and states to carry out their tasks effectively in attempts to prevent some monks and novices who have been acting against the religious rules of the Theravada Buddhism.
“The sub-committees of Sangha Nayaka in regions and states are to carry out their duties in accordance with the manual and directives of the central committee to solve the disputes among monks and between monks and laypersons, illegal construction of monasteries and issues caused by disunity of the local Sangha,” said Dr. Kumara Bhivamsa.
Following the opening address, Union Minister for Religious Affairs and Culture Thura U Aung Ko supplicated matters on religious affairs, underlining the weaknesses in solving issues by the sub-committees of the Sangha in regions and
“At present, it is found that there is a weak enforcement of rules for monks and novices, difficulties for solving issues related with members of the Sangha due to lack of skills, issues like protests due to wrong decisions by juries of monks, and these are undermining the purification of the Theravada Buddhism,” said Thura U Aung Ko.
According to the senior Sayadaws in regions and states, malpractice is also occurring in selecting members of the regional Sangha Nayaka Committees and in deciding how to solve issues in the religious education sector, said the Union
Thura U Aung Ko also asked the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee to implement the suggestions made by Chairman Sayadaw Kumara Bhivamsa at the 20 February meeting to hold gatherings between the senior and junior members of the Sanghas as part of efforts for strengthening friendships among the Sangha committees in regions and states.
The Union Minister for Religious Affairs and Culture also suggested the country’s highest Buddhist regulatory committee to take action against unruly monks and novices doing things such as not following the Codes of Conduct of a Buddhist monk in crowded places.
At yesterday’s meeting, the members of the 7th State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee heard a brief report on the accomplishment of work done by the committee and discussed religious and educational issues.
There are about 500,000 members of the Sangha in Myanmar. Nearly 90 per cent of Myanmar’s population practices Theravada Buddhism, the more conservative of the two major branches of the religion.