How wearing a Buddhist Monk's robe could be a death sentence

by Kobutsu Malone, Sedgwick, Maine (USA), The Buddhist Channel, Sept 29, 2007

As a Buddhist priest, social justice activist and death row chaplain I have had many opportunities over the years to examine the role I play in the abolition movement.

I have received much criticism from many quarters for the stands I have taken over the years. I am constantly facing the examination of what it is to be a Zen Buddhist Priest who's temple resides in the prison hell holes of America.

This week, as I put on my robe, I have the opportunity to consider how just the act of donning my religious clothing could easily be a death sentence. My heart breaks over the beatings, arrests, assaults, shootings and executions being perpetrated against my
brother monks in Burma as I write.

I had never before considered how wearing a Buddhist Monk's robe could be a death sentence... now I know.

I offer incense and chanting for the people of Burma that they be spared further pain and torture simply out of thirst for freedom and democracy.

In memory of those who have been executed on the streets and in the monasteries of Burma, I offer nine deep bows.