Monks in Thailand Urge Bolstered Security at Bodh Gaya Temple

By Nyein Nyein 10 July 2013

Monks in Thailand from Burma and neighboring countries have called for peace and increased security at India’s Mahabodhi Temple following bomb blasts at the sacred Buddhist site on Sunday.

More than 200 monks from Buddhism-practicing nations studying at Buddhist universities in Bangkok gathered on Wednesday in front of the United Nations office and later the Indian Embassy, where they condemned the violence at Bodh Gaya in eastern India.

“We call for tightened security at the Mahabodhi site—where the Lord Buddha gained enlightenment and practiced peace—to avoid further attacks like Sunday,” said Ashin Kuvera, a Burmese monk studying at the Buddhist Maha Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok.

“Lord Buddha is one of the world’s pacifists. Such violence to the Unesco world heritage site as well as a landmark of the peace-builder is like an assault to pacifists around the world,” Ashin Kuvera told The Irrawaddy on Wednesday. “We condemn such violence and we do not encourage such acts. Therefore, we urge authorities to take such preventive [measures] for peace and harmony.”

The Buddhist monks studying at Maha Chulalongkorn and Mahamakut Buddhist University, Thailand’s top Buddhism schools, and Siam University, are from Burma and several other neighboring countries.

Speaking to The Irrawaddy over the phone, Ashin Kuvera said that “as soon as we heard the news about the blast, we held the meeting. The student monks from other countries such as Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, Thailand, Cambodia and China joined the meeting and arranged a time when all the student monks could join, as we have different levels of study at the Buddhist universities.”

Two people, including a Burmese monk, were injured in at least eight blasts that went off in the early hours of Sunday morning at Bodh Gaya and two other locations in the state of Bihar. One man was detained by Indian police on Monday while other suspects are being sought.

Following the bomb blasts, Buddhist monks held protests on Monday in Bodh Gaya at the temple complex to condemn the attack. Separately, Magadh University students from Burma, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam staged a protest at their university campus, also in Bodh Gaya.

In the wake of the bombings, the Burmese government has bolstered security at Burma’s main Buddhists sites, including Rangoon’s Shwedagon Pagoda, Mandalay’s Maha Myat Muni Pagoda and the ancient temple complex of Bagan.