Buddhist Monks and Democratic Politics in Contemporary Myanmar



At the beginning of the twentieth century, monks were key actors in propelling Buddhist activism and setting the stage for Burmese nationalism, drawing from Buddhist sources to criticize colonialism and provide religious justification for the independence struggle. After independence in 1948, monks continued to take part in politics, supporting candidates, and pressuring the government to enact policies that benefited the Buddhist community. From 1962 to 2010, successive military governments imposed restrictions that limited the ways in which monks and laypeople could engage in the political realm, although that did not prevent monks from participating in the 1988 demonstrations and leading the 2007 protests that came to be known as the ‘Saffron Revolution.’


Liberal Democracy Public Morality Democratic Politics Moral Practice Military Government 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 3.
    Frechette, A. (2007) ‘Democracy and Democratization among Tibetans in Exile,’ Journal of Asian Studies 66, 1, 97–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 4.
    Browers, M. (2006) Democracy and Civil Society in Arab Political Thought (Syracuse: Syracuse University Press).Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    Schaffer, F. C. (1998) Democracy in Translation (Ithaca: Cornell University Press).Google Scholar
  4. 6.
    An extended account of the interconnected components of this moral universe can be found in Walton, M. (2012). Politics in the Moral Universe: Burmese Buddhist Political Thought (University of Washington: Unpublished PhD dissertation), Chapter 1.Google Scholar
  5. 9.
    See Tannenbaum, N. B. (1995) Who Can Compete Against the World? (Ann Arbor: Association for Asian Studies).Google Scholar
  6. 11.
    Thittila, U. (1987). Essential Themes of Buddhist Lectures (Rangoon: Dept. of Religious Affairs).Google Scholar
  7. 14.
    Braun, E. C. (2013) Ledi Sayadaw, Abhidhamma, and the Development of the Modern Insight Meditation Movement in Burma (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press).Google Scholar
  8. 18.
    Aung San Suu Kyi and M. Aris (1991) Freedom from Fear (New York: Penguin Books), pp. 170–73.Google Scholar
  9. 19.
    Zaw Naung Lin and Thant Zin Oo (2011) ‘At Opening of Buddhist University, Sitagu Sayadaw Exhorts Political, Religious, and Social Organizations to Be United,’ The Messenger, 30 June.Google Scholar
  10. 20.
    Sitagu Sayadaw. (2011) ‘On the Day of the Exalted Buddha’s Enlightenment, Buddha’s Ten Perfect Messages,’ 7 Day News, 30 June.Google Scholar
  11. 30.
    Hti La Aung (2007) ‘Bama Pyi Hnint Democracy,’ Ottama Journal 2, 38.Google Scholar
  12. 32.
    [Ashin] Laba (2008) ‘Shwe Wa Yaung Democratization,’ Ottama Journal 4, 30.Google Scholar
  13. 33.
    Sanda Shin. (2009) ‘Kyunouk Hpyit Say Gyin Deh Sanda,’ Ottama Journal 5, 16.Google Scholar
  14. 36.
    [Shin] Daza (2007) ‘Myanma Pyi Hnint Lu Akwint Aye,’ Ottama Journal 2, 10.Google Scholar
  15. 39.
    [Shin] Nan Gaung (2007) Nyi Nyut Gyazo,’ Ottama Journal 2, 16.Google Scholar
  16. 41.
    Walton, M. J. (2015) ‘The Disciplining DiscourseofUnity in Burmese Politics,’ Journal of Burma Studies 19, 1–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 44.
    see Walton, M. J. and Hayward, S. (2014) Contesting Buddhist Narratives (Honolulu: East-West Center).Google Scholar
  18. 45.
    Hindstrom, H. (2013) ‘Political Party to Present Interfaith Marriage Law to Parliament,’ Democratic Voice of Burma, 4 July, date accessed 7 August, 2013.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Matthew J. Walton 2016

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations