Found this statement from Sayadaw Ottamathara (I will post it at the end of this) about the current political situation in Myanmar. As I expected from him, he holds a position that peace should be worked towards, while on an individual level, we should take responsibility for their own past Kamma. Most of the people I've talked to about this have such a strong feeling of victimhood around the whole situation that I think any Buddhist understanding they have goes right out the window.
I don't think the people of Myanmar need saving, I think they are strong enough to think and preserve if it's meant to be. I really can't stand virtue signaling, and see what most people do as just leading to further polarization that is far from helpful. Every country has its own Kamma that works according to the laws of nature. Whether there is upheaval in Burma or the US, or Belarus (which I'm adding here because I met a number of refugees that had fled to Ukraine while I was there), it doesn't change that at the end of the day forgiveness, compassion and self-introspection are almost always the answer.
To a certain extent, I too talk about politics from time to time as it interferes with my own spiritual ambitions. I'm not criticizing those who want to improve the world, it's just that so much of what I see is reactive and mostly stems from a superiority complex in which others want to control and tell others how to live. Whenever I hear someone talking about how someone is a victim I just think they know nothing about Kamma and Buddhism.
Everything that happens to us is because of our past actions. This isn't an easy pill to swallow. When things happen to you, the ego always wants to find someone to hate and blame. While I do my best to recognize this when it comes up, it's not easy, so I get it.
I wish all the best to those in Myanmar and I send Metta every day to those who are struggling under what would be very difficult circumstances for anyone. With that said, this will be the last I'll say about this issue, not because I don't care, but because I have faith in the people of Myanmar and trust in Dhamma. May you all be happy, peaceful, and liberated.
"Date: 19/3/2021To: Chairman,State
Subject: Kind request for an immediate end to the gunfire, as both young and adult peaceful protesters are losing their lives
(1) "Disasters Caused by Anger"
In most major cities in Burma, among fellow Burmese Buddhists, the young protesters and members of the armed forces are not only blaming each other, but also escalating of arrest and murder, which, from the point of view of the truth, is destroying our own country, our own people and our own religion. If hostile resentment continues to spread to other countries, it could lead to dangerous world wars.
Among the young and old Burmese who are protesting peacefully every day includes our strong supporters of four requisites for the Theravada monks, nuns and future yogis. As a monk who has been preaching the truths of the present for more than 18 consecutive years, not only in Burma but also abroad, and who has been receiving alms almost daily, I am deeply saddened that Burmese youths are being arrested daily and some are being killed in connection with the 2021 political unrest in Burma.
(2) "The Endless Consequences of the Solution of Terrorizing”
The people of Burma are suffering from the unwholesome effects of their past and present unwholesome deeds of immoral acts such as murdering, robbery, speaking untruthfully, drinking and rioting. If we continue to rely on our own way or using weapons, we will be transformed into a war-torn Burma like the endless battles between the local ethnic armed groups and the Tatmadaw.
(3) "Learn From Past Mistakes"
Setting aside Sayargyi Thakin Kodaw Hmaing's non-violent path to independence from British and choosing the plan of an armed uprising path by General Aung San, the father of the military, to retake Burma from expansionist British, the general himself and political top leaders were assassinated, and the side effects of the weapons that our nation is still experiencing today are the reality. We should learn the truth and learn to forgive each other. Terrorist killings should be stopped immediately.
(4) "To Collaborate for the majority and the truth"
In fact, a country cannot stand alone with its military or civilians. Myanmar is a stronghold of Theravada Buddhism in the world. Only politics based on the power of dana, sila and bhavana can be the best and most complete new nation in both mind and body.
Sayadaw appealed to both sides, as well as the military, civilian, leaders and followers, to immediately end the conflict that has resorted to arms to solve the problems of religion, politics, society, economy, health and education. It is time for a series of talks and a peaceful settlement, with mutual trust and understanding of the truths and losses of both sides. Foreign issues should be addressed collectively with the help of neutral foreign experts. For the affairs of inconvenience of the current leaders in Myanmar, they should negotiate with each other and work together under the guidance of the Sayadaw Gyis.
(5) "Solving With Dhamma to Any Issue Is the Real Solution"
In the current situation, from the monks’ point of view, instead of arguing right and wrong of civil law among the civilians and soldiers who are the donors of our alms, robe, medicine and shelter, each should correct their mistakes by looking at their own guilt.
It is time to focus on Dhamma, Sila, Samadhi & Panna such as understanding, accepting and forgiving. In such a situation, if you do not rely on your religion, you will be irresponsibly betraying Buddhism.
According to society's tradition, the loss of life and property will be as great as the unwholesome deeds done if it is dealt with armed power and force. Only by using the power of good deeds, the good power of the motherland, Myanmar, will increase and it will become a new country full of worldly benefits.
(6) "Will Stand for the Truth and Try My Best to Help Solve for Peace"
From the 45th Street Thabarwa center which opened in 2007, more than 100 local and foreign Thabarwa centers have been opened in a row, helping to solve social, politics, economy & education problems of monks, nuns, old age, the sicks and foreign yogis from all walks of life for more than 13 consecutive years.
As an experienced Abbot, I will do my best to coordinate to find solution to the 2021 issue of Burmese politics for the education, economy, religion and the best and least side effects for all aspects of life by relying on Dhamma which will be most beneficial for each individual, each group, for country, for the world and for Sasana.
(7) “Best Wishes for Myanmar 2021"
May all be able to make the right use of the multifaceted benefits of the world by stopping the unwholesome misuse of their possessions, money, materials, intellect, and human life as weapons of mass destruction. Instead, may all be able to make the right use of all kinds of worldly benefits by protecting the lives of insecure and imperfect people and fulfilling their needs.
With much love
Wishing for the good of all-
Sayadaw Ashin Ottamathara
- (Loikaw on the visit) (Chief Prelate of Local and International Thabarwa Centers) South Okkalapa Township, Parami Road, Nature Center No. (1) Circle Temple"