Young Men’s Buddhist Association (YMBA) marks centennial National Victory Day, holds auspicious ceremony to offer titles


Nay Pyi Taw  December  9

The Young Men’s Buddhist Association (YMBA) marked the centennial celebration of National Victory Day in conjunction with the auspicious ceremony to offer titles through video conferencing this morning, attended by Chairman of the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee Presiding Nayaka of Bhamo Monastery in Mandalay Abhidhaja Maha Rattha Guru Ab-hidhaja  Agga Maha Saddhamma Jotika Dr. Bhaddanta Kumara-bhivamsa, Chancellor of Sitagu International Buddhist Academies and Sitagu Hospitals Abhidhaja Maha Rattha Guru Abhidhaja Agga Maha Saddhamma Jotika Agga Maha Pandita Maha Dhammakathika Bahujanahitadhara Upa Ukkatha of Shwegyin Nikaya Joint Shwegin Sangharaja Sitagu Sayadaw Dr. Bhaddanta Ñanissara, and Agga Maha Pandita State Ovadacariya Ovadacariya Sayadaw of Shwedagon Pagoda Board of  Trustees Bhaddanta Tilokabhivamsa (Ywama Sayadaw). The ceremony was also attended by Permanent Patron of YMBA Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Agga Maha Mingaladhamma Jotikadhaja Senior General Maha Thray Sithu Min Aung Hlaing, Deputy Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Commander-in-Chief (Army) Vice-Senior General Soe Win, Chief of the General Staff (Army, Navy and Air) General Mya Tun Oo, Commander-in-Chief (Navy) Admiral Tin Aung San, Commander-in-Chief (Air) General Maung Maung Kyaw, senior military officers from the Office of the Commander-in-Chief (Army), Chairman of YMBA U Ye Tun, Joint Chairman U Sein Than, Vice Chairman Dr. Aung Min Kyaw Thu, YMBA members and officials.

The ceremony was opened with beating of the victorious gong by Vice Chairman Dr. Aung Min Kyaw Thu for 27 times and three-time recitation of “Namo Tassa” led by the Sayadaws. Then, the song with the title of Doh Bamar was sung in honour of opening the ceremony.

The Permanent Patron of YMBA and congregation sought words of advice from venerable Bhamo Sayadaw, Sitagu Sayadaw and Ywama Sayadaw. Venerable Bhamo Sayadaw expressed his advice on delight and pleasure for supplication of YMBA to lead it as Ovadacariya and Adhipati Sayadaw with the farsightedness to flourish the Buddhism. The Sayadaw urged members of the association to strive for propagating and flourishing the Buddhism with might and main. The Sayadaw wished the YMBA to serve the interests of the Sasana with vigorous efforts and try hard to ensure existence of the association for thousands of years while further strengthening the existence of Buddhism. Venerable Sitagu Sayadaw gave an advice, saying that there are rare organizations of more than hundred years of lifespan in the world, and the YBMA turns 114 today. Although everybody keeps nationality, language and religion in their minds, the YMBA is also striving for improvement of education in its goal. This year is auspicious with centennial celebrations of Yangon University, the National Victory Day and the YMBA and other centennial occasions. The Sayadaw expressed his wish that may all citizens be faith in Theravada Buddhism, fully virtuous and knowledgeable to analyze rights and wrongs. The Sayadaw prayed for existence of the YMBA as long as Myanmar and the world exist. Venerable Ywama Sayadaw also gave an advice that thanks to efforts of the YMBA, Myanmar’s nationality, language and religion have been flourishing for over one hundred years till today since the pre-independence era in 1906. The Sayadaw urged everybody who loves country, nationality, language and religion to join hands with the YMBA in concert for shaping the Myanmar to be the best in the future.

On behalf of Permanent Patron of YMBA Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Agga Maha Mingaladhamma Jotikadhaja Senior General Maha Thray Sithu Min Aung Hlaing, member Commander of Central Command Brig-Gen Ko Ko Oo offered Abhidhaja Agga Maha Mingaladhamma Jotika title to venerable Bhamo Sayadaw, member Commander of North-West Command Maj-Gen Myo Moe Aung, Abhidhaja Agga Maha Mingaladhamma Jotika title to ven-erable Sitagu Sayadaw and member Commander of Yangon Command Brig-Gen Nyunt Win Swe, Abhidhaja Agga Maha Mingaladhamma Jotika title to venerable Ywama Sayadaw. Those venerable Sayadaws accepted the titles. On behalf of Sayadaws led by venerable Bhamo Sayadaw, Chairman of the YMBA U Ye Tun conferred Thatoe Thiri Agga Maha Mingaladhamma Jotikadhaja title on Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Agga Maha Mingaladhamma Jotikadhaja Senior General Maha Thray Sithu Min Aung Hlaing. On behalf of the Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services, Lt-Gen Thet Pon from the Office of the Commander-in-Chief (Army) accepted the title.

On behalf of Permanent Patron of YMBA Commander-in-Chief of Defence Services Thatoe Thiri Agga Maha Mingaladhamma Jotikadhaja Senior General Maha Thray Sithu Min Aung Hlaing, Commander of Naval Training Command Rear-Admiral Htay Naing conferred Agga Maha Mingaladhamma Jotikadhaja titles on Chairman of the YMBA U Ye Tun, Joint Chairman U Sein Than and Honorary Vice Chairman U Win Myint.

After conferring the titles, the Senior General supplicated his  pleasure to Abhidhaja Maha Min-galadhamma Jotika title recipient venerable Sayadaws, saying that he was delighted for attendance of the Sayadaws to the today’s centennial celebration of the National Victory Day of the YMBA and the ceremony to offer titles to Sayadaws with the aim of ensuring prosperity and development of “nationality, language, religion and education”. The Senior General expressed his immeasurable pleasure for venerable Sayadaws who are steadfastly making utmost efforts for purification, per-petuation and propagation of the Buddhism with genuine goodwill to improve nationality, language and education as part of serving the Sasana duties despite health conditions and mental and physical tiredness depending on their ages. The YMBA was born in 1906, and today, it turns 114. The YMBA is a single national organization firmly standing tall till today although eras and systems changed one after another. It is necessary to take pride of and set record for existence of the organizations till today due to their united strength, rather than individual outstanding efforts. Since its establishment, the association has set its aim to “develop nationality, language, religion and education”. From then on, the YMBA has been implementing its aims in accord with the fine history and traditions.

The development and prosperity of the citizens is most fundamental to nationality, language and religion while national development is essential to the development of other sectors. The association, sticking to its objective, has been encouraging its own nationality, literature and religion throughout history without undermining any-one. In the country, Myanmar is an  official language but nowadays, there are needs and weaknesses in the spoken and written language of Myanmar. Myanmar’s spirit reflects the Myanmar literature. Since the flourishing of Buddhism, Pitakat literatures have been permeating among the Myanmar people. As literature is a large pillar of depicting the Buddha Sasana, literature must be respected in parallel with religion. There is a saying that goes by “a word is like a Buddha”. Myanmar cultural heritages such as literature, customs, traditions and lifestyle have derived from the Buddhist culture and treatises. Therefore, Sayadaws are requested to work together with laypersons to ensure that young people do not distance themselves from language and religion. In any age, education is essential, and through wisdom and knowledge, one can distinguish between right and wrong, reaching the path to the propagation of nationality, language and religion. Education plays a key role in development of country and nationality. Only through education, will one’s own nationality, language and religion develop. The State is trying to promote the ethnic languages, literature, culture, art and traditions and historical values of the all the people while nurturing human resources for their all-round development including morality. When it comes to school education, a free compulsory education plan has been launched since 2014 for every school-age child.

Myanmar has a vast majority of Buddhists. Members of the Sangha have been teaching the people of Myanmar in various ways since the time of monarchical era to date so that they can respect their religion, behave well, improve knowledge and have basic technologies. While shouldering religious duties, they have also been opening monastic education schools for the good sake of laypeople and their children. During World War II, schools were closed but monastic education schools across the country continued teaching to serve the best interests of both secular and non-secular worlds for the whole Myanmar national.

After occupying Myanmar, the British neglected education for 15 years and launched colonial education in 1866. Their education system benefited their bureaucratically administrative machinery. As the entire people of Myanmar could not accept it, the first student movement emerged on 10th Waxing of Tazaungmone in 1282 ME paving the way for inculcating nationalistic spirit into the entire people. Under the leadership of the movement council, Myanmar literature was taught to students at primary to high school levels at the public rest houses in Bahan. Then, nationalism was largely awaken leading to the establishment of national schools. The objective of national schools that emerged a year after the University Act was boycotted in 1920 was to nurture Myanmar literature and culture by sticking to Myanmar language. So, the origin of national schools is monastic education schools. Though the State is trying for the development of national education sector, there are still weaknesses in some less developed regions. There are still a lot of illiterates though they should be literates. If monastic education can be launched in required places till the primary level, it will contribute towards the national education policy as well as the education of young people in faraway and under-developed regions. Thus, the venerable Sayadaws are hereby requested to encourage monastic education.

As the country has a majority of Buddhists, cultures, rules and ethics rely much upon the Buddha’s teachings. Therefore, it is a great honour to confer the “Abhidaja Agga Maha Mingaladhamma Jotikadhaja” title on the Sayadaws by the YMBA for their goodwill efforts for the promotion and propagation of the Buddha Sasana, the taproot of Myanmar’s culture, as a token of paying respects to their knowledge, morality and wisdom.

The Sayadaws are requested to continue giving support and guidelines to the YMBA which has been trying for the promotion and propagation of the “nationality, language, religion and education” of Myanmar till today. Meanwhile, the patrons will continue their efforts to successfully realize the objectives of the association. And, the supplication continued that may the Sayadaws be mental and physical wellbeing for serving the interests of the Sasana.

Expressing thanks for being awarded the current title, the Senior General said he was very grateful for having the chance to spoke words of thanks at the 100th anniversary of the National Victory Day of the YMBA that led Myanmar’s independence struggle and national politics in the history and the ceremony to confer the titles on the monks and laypersons.

In his speech, the Senior General expressed pleasure in accepting the Thatoe Thiri Agga Maha Mingalad-hamma Jotikadhaja title conferred on him by the YMBA. The Senior General said the title is conferred on him for his dutifulness and accomplishments in striving with the brilliant efforts for the promotion of the nationality, language, religion and education, the propagation of the Sasana, embracing the Mingala Dhamma taught by the Buddha, and helping others to follow the teachings, propagating  the teachings of the Buddha, promoting and supporting the Buddhism, regarding the nationalities as offspring in serving their interests, and protecting the nationality, language, religion and education. The Senior General promised utmost physical and intellectual  efforts to realize the noble mission of the YMBA “nationality, language, religion and education”, while seriously placing the force on the duties of a title-holder.

The YMBA was founded in 1906, and it is now 114 years old. Although the association’s  initial adopted slogan was for nationality, language, religion  and education, it played its part  in the political role with might and main. The association played the leading role to restore the rights and powers of the entire nationalities, unlawfully taken  away by the British during the  reign of King Thibaw, the Senior General said. The Senior General  said YMBA was again in the  vanguard of the services in the  interest of the nation, nationality and religion when nationality, language, religion, education and culture sectors began to wane under the British rule. So, it is the oldest existing organization that lived throughout the different periods and systems and changes. All must strive with the love for the nationality, the country and the religion for the continued existence of the over 100-year old YMBA for a long time in the future.

The missions of the YMBA call for endeavors for the progress of the nationality, which refers to “national development and national affairs”, the language, which means the “progress of own language and literature”, the knowledge, which represents the “educational activities for the nationalities”, and the religion, which defines “promotion and propagation of the faith”. The YMBA was never hesitant in making demands in connection with its missions to the British government during  the  period  of  independence  struggle. It applied various means to realize its missions. It also  played an indirect role in the  struggle. The core of its activities was for the country and the national causes. The YMBA with fine historical traditions is still playing the leading role in the certain sectors. The posterity should also join the association’s undertakings. The country and its nationality, language, religion and education had more than their share of  hardships caused by the colonialists in the past. Nowadays, every country is applying various means for the progress of nationality, language, religion and education. All the nationals must also strive for unity of the entire nation and serve the interests of the nationality, language, religion and education. The YMBA must play the leading role as a model and organizer to reach this end. All must aware of the attempts to sow seeds of discord among the nationalities to weaken the country.

The Senior General said he is so much honoured to become the holder of the “Thatoe Thiri Agga Maha Mingaladhamma Jotikadhaja title” conferred by YMBA, and pledged utmost efforts in serving the nationality, language, religion and education in the interests of the nation and the people.

Then, Chairman of YMBA U Ye Tun supplicated on centenary National Victory Day and Joint Chairman U Sein Than on future programmes in connection with the nationality, language, religion and education of the YMBA.

Venerable Sayadaws and the Senior General and those present closed the ceremony in accord with the religious traditions after switching on a patriotic song after reciting “Buddha Sasanam Ciram Thitthatu” three times.

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