Myanmar Ministry Orders Monastery to Remove Buddha Statues Designed Using Occult Practices

Myanmar’s Ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture has ordered the removal of sitting Buddha statues donated by members of the country’s former military regime, as the stone idols were sculpted according to occult practices that go against Theravada Buddhism, the country’s dominant religion.

The 66 statues with “unusual hand gestures” are located in the compound of the Seindamuni Monastery on Mt. Min Wun in Naypyitaw’s Pyinmana Township. The compound also hosts a number of small stupas with strange titles like “May power be long established” and “Let the throne be long established.” The donors of the stupas include the family of Myanmar’s former dictator Senior General Than Shwe, and U Thein Swe, a former major general who served as transport minister under the military regime and is the current minister of labor, immigration and population.