The clerics’ demand is lofty: men in uniform, men who protest a bit too loudly that they are pious Buddhists, must exit politics. The military has dominated Myanmar for the better part of 60 years, most recently by staging a coup against an elected government and killing more than a thousand people for daring to oppose its power grab.
“In the future, there should be no dictatorship at all,” read one sign held aloft by a monk Monday.
In an overwhelmingly Buddhist nation where monks are seen as the supreme moral authority, the political chaos since the Feb 1 coup has laid bare deep divisions within Myanmar’s clergy. While a minority of monks have openly joined the protest movement, and hundreds have been imprisoned for it, clerics have not taken the leadership role that they were known for in past bouts of resistance to the military. Some prominent monks have even given the generals their blessing.
This split in the monastic community, Buddhist clerics say, is partly due to…