In this present work, the author humbly tries to offer the richer image of Socially Engaged Buddhism in Myanmar. It is almost impossible to deny that the samgha has been playing very important role in Myanmar. In this book, an attempt has been made to cover four dimensions of politics, health care, education and social service contributed by the samgha for the sake of the nation regardless of race, religion etc. And the Buddhist attitude towards each dimension of the study has also been discussed from the Theravada perspective. Survey method, questionnaire and in-depth interview and statistical data will enhance a clear picture of socio-political issues of both the samgha and lay Buddhists.
Born in Myanmar, Ashin Jagara lankara belongs to Theravada Buddhist tradition. He holds several titles of Sasanadhajadha mmacariya, Lbhatovibhangadhara and Sasanalankara Sarmanay Kyaw etc. in traditional study of Pali Tipitaka. He is also known to Burmese Buddhists for his public Dhammatalks, Meditation classes and active engagement in Youth Ethic Training, And occasionally, he has traveled to different countries for Dhamma teachings.
He completed M.A. (Buddhist Studies) in 2011 from University of Delhi, Delhi and M.Phil. (Gold Medalist 2014, Buddhist Studies) of Gautam Buddha University, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India.
At present, he is pursuing Ph. D. Programme at School of Buddhist Studies & Civilization, G.B.U., Greater Noida, U.P. India. His ongoing research theme for Ph.D. thesis is "Mahathera Ledi Sayadaw's Contribution to Myanmar Buddhist Literature: An Analytical Study".
Bhikkhusamgha is a noble way of being and uncondi tionally sought for peaceful co-existence and survival (Bahujanhitai, bahujansukhay). Buddhism has been engaged since its inception and the monks and nuns were told by the Buddha to espouse the welfare of the society. Buddhism in Myanmar is not aloof from it and the monks of Myanmar are engaging themselves with civil society. The Engaged Buddhism in Myanmar has been self-transformative through self-observation by adopting Vipassana and adherence of the teachings of the Buddha. The Myanmar samgha is taking a leading role in times of any emergency or problem of society viz. occurance or flood, drought etc. They are coordinating with the people and state and mobilizing the fellow monks in order to help the people of Myanmar. The visible and active supports of the samgha promoted peace and moral guidance for the predominantly Buddhist nations. The monks of Myanmar become an organized group to respond promptly for cause of civil society to improve their social, economic and psychological requirement. Ven. Ashin Jagaralankara's work Dynamics of Socially Engaged Buddhism in Myanmar' is a rigorous effort to analyze and acknowledge the contributions of the monks who think innovative and doing extraordinary work to uplift the society of Myanmar. He mainly introspected on engage tradition in area of public policies and political system. Monks' role in Public health care and Education and finally engagement of monks in social services are highly encouraging. Myanmar faced political turbulence and instability since foundation of colonial order. It eroded peace and equilibrium among the peace loving Burmese people and because of it Buddhism also suffered heavily. After independence, Myanmar faced frequent constitutional break-downs and collapse of her political foundation. The Burmese samgha put serious effort to engage themselves in political reform and comprehensive development. The samgha helped to strengthened democratic ideals in Myanmar. Ashin Jagaralankara's survey sought to discover various dimensions of this thread.
Public health care is another important area where the samgha played pivotal role. Various samgha organizations. have opened colleges, hospitals, and dispensaries in urban and rural areas to serve the people of Myanmar. Thus bhikkhus are playing major role in health services of Myanmar. Education is another important area where the samgha is in mainly contributing. The Buddhist engaged tradition of Myanmar is contributing in two ways. First the monasteries are reemerging as educational hubs and center of Vipassana. These institutions are providing major role to educate novices, the monks, and nuns. They are also opening schools, technical institution and universities for highly learning.
The monks are also doing a lot of contributions in the field of social reform, women literacy, and reforming the Buddhism. Though Buddhist engaged tradition in Myanmar is not far from controversy and there are some debates on methods, involvement, and ideologies adopted by the Buddhist samgha of Myanmar. The book also explores such ideas. One important dimension of the book is that exhaustive survey has been done by Ven. Jagaralankara to examine and explore the truth in different areas where monks are working. This statistical data shows that wide range of parameters has been adopted by him to examine and write about shifting paradigms of engaged Buddhism in Myanmar. Altogether it will be a good contribution in the field of Buddhist study in Myanmar. It will be helpful to enlighten the researchers and scholars who are interested to locate modern proposition of Buddhism in Myanmar.
Since the rich culture of India gave rise to Buddhism some 2,600 years ago, it is widespread in India and abroad. Today more than 350 million people (6% of humanity, approxi mately 376 million) believe in Buddhism and almost all Buddhists are concentrated in parts of Southeast Asia and East Asia. Myanmar is one of the Buddhist Countries. Here, Buddhism is followed by the overall majority of population throughout its long history since time immemorial. Myanmar is the mainland of Theravada Buddhism since millennium ago and 80% of Myanmar population is Buddhist.
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