Agga Maha Mingala Dhamma Jotikadhaja, the highest title of YMBA, conferred on YMBA Permanent Honorary Patron Senior General Min Aung Hlaing

NAY PYI TAW February 8

A ceremony to confer the title of Agga Maha Mingala Dhamma Jotikadhaja, the highest one of the Young Men’s Buddhist Association (YMBA), the earliest national association, which led independence struggle and national politics throughout Myanmar’s history, on YMBA Permanent Honorary Patron Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Senior General Min Aung Hlaing took place at the parlour of Zeyathiri Beikman in Yangon this morning. The ceremony was graced by Chairman of State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee Abhidhaja Maha Ratthaguru Abhidhaja Agga Maha Saddhamma Jotika Agga Maha Pandita Bhamo Sayadaw Dr Bhaddanta Kumara- bhivamsa, Sayadaws and members of the Sangha.

Also present were Senior General Min Aung Hlaing and wife Daw Kyu Kyu Hla, Commander-in-Chief (Navy) Admiral Tin Aung San and wife, Commander-in-Chief (Air) General Maung Maung Kyaw and wife, senior military officers from the Office of the Commander-in-Chief and their wives, the commander of Yangon Command and wife, commandants of regiments and units from respective stations in Yangon Command, YMBA Chairman U Ye Tun and members, members of ten pagoda boards of trustees including those from Shwedagon Pagoda, Lawka Chantha Abhaya Labha Muni Buddha Image, Botahtaung Pagoda, Kabaaye Pagoda, Melamu Pagoda, Kyaikkahsan Pagoda and Kyaikkhauk Pagoda, invited per-sons from Lisu Buddhist Group, Theravadha Buddhist Association and religious associations and leading Buddhist members of YMBA in Japan.

First, the Senior General and those present welcomed, paid homage to and offered alms to the Sayadaws and members of the Sangha led by the Bhamo Sayadaw in a special room. Then followed the ceremony and Mingalar Drum Troupe started playing as a gesture of welcoming the Senior General and party.

Afterwards, the Sayadaws and members of the Sangha led by the Bhamo Sayadaw came and were welcomed by the Senior General and congregation. The Agga MahaMingala Dhamma Jotikadhaja title was conveyed onto the stage. Under the programme, YMBA Vice Chairman Maha Mingala Dhamma Jotikadhaja Dr Aung Min Kyaw Thu formally opened the ceremony while Mingalar Drum Troupe was playing. YMBA Chairman Maha Mingala Dhamma Jotikadhaja U Ye Tun explained the presentation of the Agga Maha Mingala Dhamma Jotikadhaja title.

Giving advice, the Bhamo Sayadaw said he was glad to receive the invitation from YMBA at the ceremony to confer the Agga Maha Mingala Dhamma Jotikadhaja title on the Senior General and to give advice.

It is so heartening to see the conferring of such a title on the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services as he is the one striving his utmost for the promotion and propagation of race, language, religion and education.

Adipati of Sitagu world Buddhist academies and Sitagu hospitals Abhidhaja Maha Ratthaguru Agga Maha Pandita Maha Dhamma Kathika Bahu Jana Hitadhara Joint Shwegyin Sangha Raja Sitagu Sayadaw Dr Bhaddanta Nyanissara also gave advice saying that Mingalar means efforts for well-being of the world and staying away from all bad things. All Tatmadaw members including the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services are the ones who are doing good things at risk of their lives for the State and the people. They are thwarting anything bad. This is why it is worth conferring AggaMaha Mingala Dhamma Jotikadhaja, the highest title of YMBA,on the Commander-in-Chief

of Defence Services. The Senior General himself is urged to endeavour for making the YMBA a strong national organization.

State Ovada Cariya Agga Maha Pandita Ovada Cariya of the Shwedagon Pagoda Board of Trustees InseinYwama Sayadaw Bhaddanta Tilolabhivamsa gave advice. He said as all Myanmar citizens are offspring of the State, according to the motto “Safeguard five racial ethics, they need to protect their own race according to the children’s ethics. Likewise, Buddhists are children of Lord Buddha, so they need to safeguard their own religion. YMBA is doing such noble tasks, despite some criticism. Therefore, it is not necessary to confront the critics as the saying goes by “Sweet words are bitter for ignorant persons.” The Sayadaw said he took delight in presenting the title to the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services for his strong support for race, language and religion.

YMBA Chairman U Ye Tun offered the Agga Maha Mingala Dhamma Jotikadhaja title to the Bhamo Sayadaw. Then, he and the Sayadaw conferred the sash, medal, brooch and Agga Maha Mingala Dhamma Jotikadhaja title on the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services.

In his vote of thanks, Permanent Honorary Patron of the YMBA Agga Maha Mingala Dhamma Jotikadhaja Senior General Min Aung Hlaing said he was greatly impressed with the words of advice of the venerable Sayadaws and said “ May Sayadaws, patrons and executive committee members of the YMBA, religious organizations, senior military officers and guests attending the ceremony enjoy peace under the shadow of the compassion of the Buddha. The Senior General said I feel honoured to receive the Agga Maha Mingala Dhamma Jotikadhaja title, the highest order title of the YMBA and will carry out the responsibilities for the permanent honorary patron dutifully and implement the noble objectives of the YMBA such as “Race, Language, Religion and Education as much as I can.

It has been 114 years since the YMBA was founded in 1906 and it is the only oldest association that can stand steadfastly the test of time in successive eras and under successive political systems. Since its conception, the objectives of the YMBA have been to promote race, language, religion and education and the YMBA has taken correct path depending on circumstances of the times without losing sight of its original objectives. Race, first objective of the YMBA, has been defined as national prosperity and events relating to nationals for ages. It can be said that the word refers to “national spirit” to cover the definition of race and measures that should be taken. Countries always have to compete against one another for development and carry out nation building tasks continuously. Countries have to struggle for their independence and sovereignty and always have to be cautious about perpetuation of their independence and sovereignty. There goes a saying “Life is struggle.” As life of individuals is defined as such, it can be said that the life and survival of a country is a more comprehensive struggle without end. If one thinks about it, development of a country requires force for movement toward development or movement. Moreover, it also requires force for upholding the stance that lead to defending the independence and sovereignty steadfastly or stance. How countries muster strength for movements to make something that should be moved and stance to uphold something that should be upheld are the interesting pragmatic national politics.

A country makes a great movement through national spirit. Similarly, national spirit was applied as a stance for conservation of traditional cultural heritage, fine customs and national characteristics and prevention of corrupt behaviours and ideas that come together with globalization. Therefore, it can be concluded that national spirit is pivotal for a country. When it comes to national spirit, some people tend to see narrow racism. National spirits means all Myanmar nationals must nurture Myanmar spirit in themselves, cherish the race and the country and contribute to interest of all the nationals and the country. Despite the changes in the times and political systems across the world, national spirit is employed as a fundamental force and this is also proved in mottos like “Make America Great Again” and “Great Russia”. It can be seen that full-fledged democracies like EU countries are also moving towards nationalism.

Our Myanmar people are not those who lack national spirit and are deficient in national resistance. The country fell under colonial rule only after wars were waged three times. Even at the beginning of the colonial rule, all Myanmar nationals waged a great patriotic war for more than ten years. Twenty years after losing independence, the YMBA was founded. Later, the GCBA was founded based on the YMBA. The GCBA was also known as a patriotic organization at the time. Later, Doh Bamar Asiayone was founded based on the two organizations. Thirty comrades was among the Thakin youth members of Doh Bamar Asiayone. Modern Myanmar Tatmadaw, that restored independence together with the people, emerged from the Thirty comrades. I would like to say that independence could be regained through the force of the patriotism and national spirit of all Myanmar nationals. Therefore, measures must be taken for perpetuation of sovereignty, independence and development of the country through national spirit. It can be said that the origin of the

history of the Tatmadaw is the BIA and the origin of patriotism is the YMBA. It is necessary for the YMBA to carry out tasks for national unity and national prosperity, which is necessary for Myanmar nationals, through national spirit.

The second objective is language, which means Myanmar language under section 450 of the 2008 constitution which stipulates that the official language of the union shall be Myanmar language. It is necessary for all to to be able to use written and spoken Myanmar language and to be careful to avoid wrong spelling. One does not have to think highly of foreign languages and to be ashamed of speaking one’s own language. It is necessary for all to be able to speak Myanmar language fluently. It is necessary to encourage books and literature written and published in Myanmar language. As part of encouraging the language and literature, the Tatmadaw has been publishing Myawady and Ngwetaryi as well as other fiction and non-fiction literatures for many years. Although information and knowledge are standing the top position in the information age, aesthetic literature is noticeable for soul, mindfulness and culture of the people. The Senior General stressed the need to strengthen the standard of orthography. The Tatmadaw hosted a workshop for sustainable development of Myanmar classic poem which is a cultural heritage of Myanmar in 2017. Efforts were made to prevent disappearance of the classic poems as well as maintain them for long-term existence. Furthermore, the Tatmadaw could publish the books related to classic poems and broadcast such items on TV and radios on a wider scale. As a result, those adore Myanmar classic poems and literati and enthusiasts who are interested in traditional culture are taking pride of the endeavours of the Tatmadaw till today.

Regarding the third objective “to encourage the Sasana”, the Sasana is defined as “advice of the Lord Buddha” in the Myanmar dictionary. He stressed the need to focus on promotion and propagation of the Sasana and place emphasis on honouring the Buddhist monks in a correct way. He noted that it is necessary to practise the middle way called Majjima Patipada way which was mentioned in the Dhammacakka Sutta preached by the Lord Buddha for enabling human beings to avoid ways of edges and extremeness. In safeguarding the Sasana, people need to basically observe codes of conduct for individuals and for groups so as to have sound foundation. Everybody washes their faces and bodies and

cleans their teeth whenever they wake up in the morning. They do so again before going to bed at night. It means cleaning their physical structures. Likewise, Buddhists worship the Buddha image dedicating to the Lord

Buddha at least once each in the morning and at night. They offer flowers, water and lights to the Buddha images as much as they can. It means cleaning their souls under the advice of the Lord Buddha. As such, it needs to uplift

the basis of Sasana with mindfulness in accord with the “Appama-dena Sampadetha”.

Afterward, the YMBA needs to actively lead the tasks to keep pagodas, monasteries, lakes and religious heritages bringing prestige to the Sasana neat and tidy to have magnificence and respectfulness. Not only the Buddhism but also the pagodas, monasteries and lakes must be models of the world. There are many weaknesses in maintaining and safeguarding Buddhist monasteries, stupas and temples and religious edifices in comparison with those of the international. As such, it needs to carry on the tasks in conformity with the present era without discarding the traditions. He noted that efforts must be made for sharing advice of the Sasana with youths since their childhood in order to keep the advice of the Sasana in their souls so as to adore Patiyat and Patipat Sasana and to flourish good mindfulness and four cardinal virtues. Although the term of summer school holiday is short, it needs to continuously conduct Buddhist cultural courses and dissemination of religious knowledge without reasoning such a short term. The association should focus on its tasks all the year round.

With regard to the fourth objective of the association “to encourage education”, the Senior General urged them to encourage education for turning out the well-versed educated persons so as to improve their regions and the country. As it is necessary to encourage school education which is basic for the education sector, emphasis should be placed on a wider scale on creating chances for every school-age child to learn school education. Seventy percent of the total population of the country resides in rural area and remaining thirty percent in urban area. Urban population in Kachin State and Mandalay and Yangon regions among 14 states and regions reaches more than 30 percent. Especially, emphasis should be placed on encouraging education of rural people as well as those from ethnic regions in uplifting the education sector. Although basic education high schools cannot be scattered every village due to nature of the rural region, learning opportunities must be created for all the children to finish middle school education in order to narrow the gap between rural and urban education. By applying modern technologies for overcoming difficulties in distance of rural and urban areas, duration, human resources and infrastructures, efforts must be made for creating continuous learning opportunities for everybody to pursue knowledge and technologies. He urged them to collectively strive for providing assistance as much as possible to those wishing to learn high school education and higher education. Moreover, it needs to focus on “eradication of illiterates and then eradication of those who don’t read” while uplifting the education standard.

The Senior General continued to say that efforts must be made for development of library in all villages. “Mindfulness and knowledge based on education” is of great importance in improvement of human life, and knowledge starts from the learning along the life. Technologies must be learnt in a period of life, and if everybody does everything applying knowledge, they will enjoy prosperity. As such, encouraging education which is one of the visions of the association contributes to improvement of social life everybody longs for. Everybody needs to deeply keep the words “cleverness in literature” and “education in literature” in their minds and ideas. He expressed thanks to the YMBA for conferring “Agga Maha Mingala Dhamma Jotikadhaja title” on him. Upholding advice of the Sayadaws, he pledged to serve the interest of the State and the citizens in trying his best for carrying out tasks of “race, language, religion and education” with mindfulness in accord with the preaching of the Lord Buddha “Apppamadena Sampadetha”.

Afterwards, the title conferring ceremony successfully concluded with Doh Bamar song composed by YMB Saya Tin. Permanent Honorary Patron of the association Agga Maha Mingala Dhamma Jotikadhaja Senior General Min Aung Hlaing posed for documentary photos together with those present. The Senior General and party offered day meals to members of the Sangha led by Bhamo Sayadaw Dr Bhaddanta Kumarabhivamsa. Next, the Senior General and party had the lunch together with the guests.

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