Burma junta to go ahead with ?World? Buddhist summit

Democratic Voice of Burma, December 4, 2004

Yangon, Myanmar -- Despite the withdrawal of supports from the main Japanese sponsor, Burma?s military junta, State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) is insisting that it is going to host the ?World? Buddhist Summit in Rangoon as planned.

The announcement was made in an article published in the junta sponsored New Light of Myanmar on 4 December by the pro-junta abbot of Sitagu, Reverend Nyan Nittara.

?Preparations have almost been completed for holding the World Buddhist Summit from 9 to 11 December 2004 at the Mahapasana Cave on Siri Mingala Hill, which was the historically significant venue of the Sixth Buddhist Synod, Yangon (Rangoon)?, he declared.

Top Buddhist leaders from thirty-seven countries of the four continents-Asia, Europe, America and Australia-have been invited but it is not clear how many of them would attend the summit as they are aware that many Burmese Buddhist monks have been forcibly defrocked and imprisoned by the junta.

The monk belittles and denounces the main sponsor, Nenbutsushu sect from the Japan for withdrawing its supports after recent changes within the junta. ?Out of about 150 Buddhist sects in Japan, the Nenbutsushu is only a third-class sect which, being rich, has been using its resources to organize Buddhist Summits and hold international conferences for their own fame,? it said. The angry monk continues that the Nenbutsushu's contribution to the Forth World Buddhist Summit was only to be about one-tenth of the total expenses. ?Therefore, the absence of assistance from Nenbutsushu cannot harm the summit in any way,? he insisted.

The leaders of the Nenbutsushu also announced that the Fourth World Buddhist Summit was cancelled and that it is illegal for the Burmese junta to hold the summit.

?Such a small organization like Nenbutsushu does not have the right to say what the government can or cannot do,? responds the article.