Burma: Tempest in a Begging Bowl

Tempest in a Begging Bowl

Rudyard Kipling notwithstanding, Mandalay has neither flying fishes nor even a bay; Burma's second city sits on an arid plain. For the clergy of the Phaya- gyi monastery, however, the dawn really did come up like thunder one morning last week as government troops raided the 206-year-old pagoda and arrested about 20 of its monks.

In protest against the violent quelling of an antigovernment demonstration, some holy men in Mandalay had launched a campaign of refusing alms from soldiers and denying them other Buddhist sacraments. At times, the monks would overturn their alms bowls when a soldier approached. Finally, after the...

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