Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Buddhist Personality : Min Maw Kun

Min Maw Kun is a famous actor / singer in Myanmar. I have posted about him in the past but because i had omitted a hot issue related to him, i decided to highlight it now.

Someone commented on my blog that he "is not a Buddhist" because he has insulted Buddhism by posing in an offensive photo ( below )

This photo was taken in 2007 at the time when he was ordained as a novice monk in a temple in Myanmar but only surfaced after almost 2 years in 2009. After the photo was exposed to the public, many Myanmar people were outraged and the actor was heavily criticized for his act. People were angry that as novice monks clad in saffron robes, they ( the actor and his friends ) had no qualm to pose in such a way, displaying their tattoos. Many felt that this photo was a great insult to Buddhism which is the religion of most people in Myanmar.

Many commented on this in the internet and majority of the comments were harsh on him. Shortly after the exposure of this photo, Min Maw Kun came out to offer a public apology. Here's what he said

"I have no reason to offend Buddhism. I have no reason to offend the monks either. They are the jewels that we should be worshipping. Sure, we put tattoos on our bodies, but that's just us being youths. I became a monk along with my son, and we went though the ordination ceremony together. The photos were taken while we were cleaning at the monastery just as a memoir. It was taken about 2 years ago. Since people are talking about this, all I have to do is be cautious of my actions. I have no other intentions, and I was just being a youth. For that, I want to express my apologies to all the monks"

To me the photo was taken by the actor and his friends in the name of fun. I am sure they had no whatsoever intention to insult their religion. However i could understand how the Myanmar people whose culture and daily lives are very much influenced by Buddhism felt over this photo. There were outraged, angry, disappointed and offended by the act of the actor and his friends. I believe if Min Maw Kun was not a famous celebrity, the reaction over this photo would have been much different ( less severe ). Many novice monks have committed sins much worse than this ( stealing, raping and even killing ) but the public did not react like this because those "monks" were not public figures.The actor said that when the photo was taken, there were all young men but he should have acted in a more mature manner because eventhough young, he was already married and a father to his children. Moreover according to him, his son was ordained at the same time as him. He certainly had failed to show good example to his son. His should have understood that as a public figure his life and his actions would always be under public scrutiny.

This issue is already in the past but i believe his name has already been tarnished to a certain extent. People might view him differently from now on and he probably has lost some fans along the way.


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