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Myanmar: Buddhists Outraged by Actor's Photo

A controversial photo of a Burmese actor and his friends wearing saffron robes had been posted on a popular Burmese blog, creating a severe outrage within the Burmese blogger community.

Min Maw Kun & a Group of His Friends at Their Ordination Ceremony

Min Maw Kun & a Group of His Friends at Their Ordination Ceremony

The photo shows the actor Min Maw Kun, photographer Wunna Khwar Nee and his friends at their ordination ceremony at a Burmese monastery. Yet, the appearances of the “new monks” raised an eyebrow among the Burmese Buddhist community.

Irrawaddy wrote:

Although their heads are shaved and they are wearing religious robes, most of the young men are displaying fashionable tattoos with motifs such as dragons and scorpions, as well as Old School and tribal tattoo patterns. Some of the men smile cheekily at the camera while others hug or pose provocatively.

The photo was first posted on Niknayman's blog, who questioned the intention of the actor.

Saffron robes are revered, and they are only worn by monks, who are regarded as the sons of Lord Buddha. Those in the photo shouldn't be wearing saffron robes, and posing with those facial expression and fake tattoos. Such a thing like this shouldn't happen for any reason.

Afterward, the photo was copied and re-posted on several Burmese blogs. Many Burmese were outraged by this photo. This included Ashin CandoBhaSaCara, a revered monk who lives in US. He had written an article, with the title “Why Did Actor Min Maw Kun Insulted Our Religion Like This?”, appeared on many Burmese blogs. In the article, he explained about the duties and responsibilties of a Buddhist monk, and told the wrongdoings of the actor by breaking all those rules of a monk.

An actor has to respect the public. He has to do the right things while avoiding the wrong things. Min Maw Kun and his friends had lost his value by doing a disdainful act such as this. His father, (actor) Zin Wine is also responsible for this, for the acts of the children is directly held responsible to the parents. Also, the head monk and the monastery who had put robes on these people is also very foolish. The monk who held the ordination ceremony might not actually know about this foolish act. However, everyone with a sane mind would know that this act is not in anyway acceptable in Buddhist culture. This just show what kind of person the actor Min Maw Kun is, who is making videos that will educate the public.

However, on Radio Free Asia Burmese website, the actor Min Maw Kun said that he had no other reason for taking those photos, and that he had expressed his apology for his behaviour.

I have no reason to offend Buddhism. I have no reason to offend the monks either. They are the jewels that we should be worshipping. Sure, we put tattoos on our bodies, but that's just us being youths. I became a monk along with my son, and we went though the ordination ceremony together. The photos were taken while we were cleaning at the monastery just as a memoir. It was taken about 2 years ago. Since people are talking about this, all I have to do is be cautious of my actions. I have no other intentions, and I  was just being a youth. For that, I want to express my apologies to all the monks.

The above quotes were translation done by the author. The original articles were written in Burmese language.

10 comments

  • It sounds like a genuine apology and expression of regret. The offence is nothing in comparison to the offence caused the whole world by the suppression of free speech and democracy in Myanmar.

  • [...] Buddhists Outraged by Actor’s Photo | Global Voices Online Buddhism meets dragon tattoos, anger ensues. (tags: Myanmar burma buddhism tattoo) [...]

  • [...] Global Voices Online » Myanmar: Buddhists Outraged by Actor’s Photo (tags: religion freedom_of_speech) [...]

  • buddhistindian

    it should not ‘ve happened,but he appologised.

    • mani

      hi,how are you and what is happening there in myanmar

  • tin

    i felt surprise that persons preparing to become monk have no respect on their own religion. Then why you all are still announcing as Buddhist.

  • [...] of religious blasphemy. As such, we really can’t say we understood the recent, rather obscure to-do over the photo above, in which a Burmese film star named Min Maw Kun was accused of disrespecting [...]

  • Denys Goldthorpe

    Yes I can see how it would be offensive its defiantly a sacrilegious act, and shame on Min Maw Kun and his co conspirators.

  • tun aung

    There is nothing but happening.So there’s no religion too.The only universal truth is
    things ‘re happening and changing with nothing left to cling for .

  • A True Buddhist

    Min Maw Kun and these people are very foolish. This photo is not suitable for true Burmese monks. Min Maw Kun Insulted Buddhism. When other non-Buddhism see this photo, they will look down our Buddhist monks in Burma.

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