State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee to decide sealed-monastery case

YANGON – The Yangon Region Religious Affairs Department will proceed with the case of the sealed- Maha Thandi Thukha monastery in accordance with the decisions of State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, said Regional Religious Officer Sein Maw yesterday.

“We are going to carry out the sealed monastery case according to the decision of the Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee. Currently, we don’t know how to do it. We have not received any information,” said Sein Maw.

The Maha Thandi Thukha monastery in Natchaung Ward, Tamwe Township was owned by the Penang Sayadaw until last June. While the abbot was visiting Japan to promote Buddhist Sasana on June 10, 2014, Sayadaws from the Yangon Sangha Nayaka Committee, as well as officials from the Ministry of Religious Affairs and the police, raided the monastery and placed it under the control of the Sangha Maha Nayakha Committee.

At a press conference, the Penang Sayadaw called the move unjust and called on the government to settle the issue of its ownership.
The Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee argued that regional courts should not interfere with religious affairs and that only the highest team organised by Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee would be qualified to adjudicate the case, said Htun Nyunt, Director of the Religious Affairs Department.

The Penang Sayadaw wanted the monastery to be a centre for religious education. However, Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee sought to rent the monastery to hold wedding ceremonies, market festivals and dance training courses.

Although the public sent letters to the Union parliament, the Rule of Law, Peace and Tranquillity Committee, the Government’s Guarantees, Pledges and Undertakings Vetting Committee, the Yangon Regional Government Committee as well as the Ministry of Religious Affairs, the Ministry of Home Affairs and Yangon Region’s Sangha Maha Nayakha Committee to resolve the dispute, no action has yet been taken.