Thursday, November 8, 2007

Burma's Amazing Grace (Commentary)

By, May Ng
Justice for Human Rights in Burma

November 7, 2007 - In 1779, former slave trader John Newton wrote a hymn called Amazing Grace. It became a symbol of religious influence in overcoming slavery, a most cruel episode in modern history. While the world's first liberal democracy was being founded in America, the end to the African slave trade was brought on by the religious movement of the time.

The Burmese monks chant the 'Metta Sutta,' the sutra of loving kindness to radiate the spirit of love to all beings. By trying to counter the worldly conflict from a spiritual basis the monks in Burma bring awareness to the suffering of their people and the injustice done by the rulers. After giving up the worldly possessions for a path to enlightenment, the holy monks come to share the lives of ordinary people through alms collection, and from coming in contact with people at the monasteries, a traditional form of civil society in Burma. Their unusual protest on behalf of the people demonstrates the gravity of the suffering in Burma today.

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