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Prominent Mon Monks Sponsor Language and Literature Programs in Mon State
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Prominent Mon Monks Sponsor Language and Literature Programs in Mon State
By Azan
Wednesday, April 25, 2012

“Survival of our literature is very significant. Without literature, our Mon nation could not exist on this planet,” said a senior Mon Buddhist monk named Ven Sendalankara, during the graduation ceremony of a Mon summer school held in Kawpehtaw village, Mudon Township, Mon State on April 20.

About 1,000 Mon people including children attended the ceremony held at night. It was a crowded ceremony and many people wore traditional Mon dresses, white and red in color. After concluding the graduation section, the youth at the village performed Mon cultural dancing and sang modern Mon songs at the event.

The graduation ceremony of a Mon summer school held in Kawpehtaw village, Mudon Township, Mon State on April 20. (Photo:Azan)

Mon school teachers and Mon Buddhist monks from the four villages of Kalawthut, Kawpehtaw, Taungpau and Bawdow organized the event, which was held to graduate the students who joined the summer school. The Mon summer school ran curriculum for one month and taught Mon language after the government schools began their March holidays.

The school teachers and monks offered prizes for talented students who topped their classes at the ceremony, and later they gave prizes to about 200 students who passed the school exam. Many children seemed happy as they got prizes even when they were not amongst the top students. All students who received prizes had taken photos as they were accepting them on stage from the monks.

About seven senior Mon Buddhist monks gave speeches at the ceremony and they told the parent’s of the children to encourage their children to study Mon language and they even mentioned their concerns that Mon literature will disappear if Mon people do not study it.

The monks spoke to the people about the history of the Mon kingdom, specifically about how the Mon were one of the earliest peoples to reside in Southeast Asia and how the people spread Theravada Buddhism in Burma.

Each of the Mon monks speeches contained warnings to the people to maintain their literature and culture in order to continue their existence. For this, they told the parents to encourage their children speak and write in Mon.

The monks said that we born from Mon, we must love Mon, speak and write Mon.
The intention of the speech was in order to remind the Mon people about their history, and partly to encourage love and maintenance of their literature and culture so that more people would recognize that they are a people who have their own unique literature and culture and kingdom.

Maintaining the survival of literature has been a big challenge in Mon State. Whilst there are schools which teach Mon children, according to the monks there are not enough salaries to pay the requisite number of teachers.

The monks have played an essential role within the Mon community and the monks from four villages led the opening of the Mon summer school program and paid for the program costs, such as books and other materials and even for the graduation ceremony.

“We open summer schools because we want our Mon children to study Mon and to let them be able read Mon language. If there are more Mon children who can read Mon, our literature will be improved,” said Ven Sendalankara.


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