83 episodes

We stand by the Burmese people in their quest for democracy and freedom. Listen to our podcasts to hear from activists, artists, leaders, monastics, fighters, authors, and more to learn more about what's really happening in Myanmar.

Insight Myanmar Insight Myanmar Podcast

    • Religion & Spirituality
    • 4.6 • 24 Ratings

We stand by the Burmese people in their quest for democracy and freedom. Listen to our podcasts to hear from activists, artists, leaders, monastics, fighters, authors, and more to learn more about what's really happening in Myanmar.

    Sitagu Sayadaw, The Coup, and Burmese Buddhism

    Sitagu Sayadaw, The Coup, and Burmese Buddhism

    “My own feelings would be that it would be good for Sitagu Sayadaw to leave the country and then speak out [against the military]. If he speaks out now, he would probably be arrested immediately.”
    Thus says Bhikkhu Cintita to preface his take on the controversies now swirling around Myanmar’s most famous living Buddhist monk, whose words and deeds since the coup have caused so much angst among the Burmese people. A long-time American scholar monk, he comes across as honest, open, nuanced, empathetic and even-keeled, and to a degree that is quite remarkable.
    Bhikkhu Cintita describes Sitagu Sayadaw as a kind of “Renaissance Man,” known in Myanmar as the “monk who gets things done.” There is no denying the enormous number of good works Sitagu has accomplished over the years, and his dedication to continuing to support both Dhamma projects and humanitarian missions across the country. Still, this record is mixed with a series of confounding incidents over the past few years, and coupled with his more controversial actions since the coup, many Burmese have interpreted his behavior as tacit support of the military. This has given rise to the extremely unusual situation of the laity publicly calling out this senior monk who was once so revered.
    Bhikkhu Cintita picks his way through this minefield with honesty, openness, and skillful discernment. Having spent several years working on a biography of Sitagu Sayadaw, Bhikkhu Cintita provides context where he finds it lacking in the public discourse, and traces the arc of Sitagu’s political entanglement with the generals. In some cases, he frankly expresses astonishment at, and outright disappointment in, his preceptor. In other cases, he talks about how Sitagu’s actions might have been misconstrued by those who haven’t followed him as closely. In yet others, he describes a mix of the two. Even in those cases where he feels Sitagu’s actions or words might have been misunderstood, or their context not sufficiently taken into account, Bhikkhu Cintita empathetically acknowledges how and why the Burmese people have become so disappointed and angry, and how people might not be so interested in these nuances explain why this or that particular thing was said or done.

    • 2 hr 28 min
    The Fabric of Change: Feminism, Art, and Revolution

    The Fabric of Change: Feminism, Art, and Revolution

    When Chuu Wai Nyein was just eighteen years old, she was with her sister at a Mandalay teashop. As they were leaving, a man sexually assaulted her sister. The event deeply traumatized them, and Chuu was horrified to learn this was not an uncommon occurrence for women in Myanmar, and the typical response was equally troubling: basically, if something happens, just stay quiet about it. Chuu decided she would work to address the relative powerlessness of women in Burmese culture. She eventually found her voice through painting.
    When the coup first happened, it was still relatively safe for people to assemble in non-violent gatherings outside. Chuu’s artistic skills were put to good use at demonstrations making signs that became very popular, even catching the eye of foreign journalists and observers. Long lines would form as protestors waited for her to make their personal signs. She transformed her studio apartment into a kind of warehouse, and began selling artwork on her Facebook page, with all funds going to support the Civil Disobedience Movement.
    But one day, the military chose to respond to a peaceful protest with force, and their crackdown sent Chuu and all her friends literally running for their lives. Moreover, it was clear that she urgently needed to empty her apartment of all protest-related material. This was tense and very dangerous work, with soldiers camped out on nearly every corner. Fortunately, she and her friends managed to clear out all the artwork just in time, as only a few days later, a dozen soldiers appeared at her door.
    Following this close call, Chuu realized that she could do more for the democracy movement by relocating to a place of safety, where she could speak freely. So she decided to go to France.
    The transition there was not easy, but Chuu adapted. She connected with some galleries, and also developed her own kind of performance art to highlight the coup, giving performances in front of the Louvre and Montmatre. Her work has been featured both in Time and on BBC. But her heart remains with the Burmese people. From afar, she appreciates her home country as never before. She is already looking beyond what she regards as an eventual victory, towards the new Myanmar she hopes to see, one which will bring female empowerment into the Burmese cultural mainstream.

    • 1 hr 32 min
    Artists Against Tyranny, Part 2

    Artists Against Tyranny, Part 2

    The situation in Myanmar continues to be intolerable. Day by day innocent civilians are being killed, maimed, starved, and forced from their homes, and the military continues their campaign of terror. The need for financial support is a dire one, in so many ways.
    The Art Against Tyranny auction was held to support the Burmese people in this time of great need. Using art to combat tyranny might feel somewhat dissonant. But art in whatever form is essentially communication that expresses the human condition. It is through art that Burmese rappers, painters, poets, graffiti artists, video editors, and others have expressed their opposition to the junta, and inspired their compatriots to continue their march to ultimate victory. It is through art that the true horror and carnage of the military's reign of terror can be conveyed to people all over the world.
    A New York City art gallery graciously donated its space for free to showcase revolutionary art from Myanmar artists, in order to highlight the plight of the Myanmar people. And virtually, artists from around the world have united through their art to fight against dictatorship, oppression, terror, and tyranny. Some pieces on display today are biting, while others are hauntingly beautiful…but all of it is inspiring.
    Please take time to see what on display, listen to artists speak of their work, and maybe buy an exquisite piece for a good cause. The more money raised, the more lives saved, and the sooner the military's campaign of death and destruction will end.

    • 1 hr 49 min
    The Revolution's Roving Eye

    The Revolution's Roving Eye

    Moe, a photojournalist, has long chronicled the inhumane injustices that the Tatmadaw had committed in his country. From the jade mines of Kachin to the Rohingya camps in Rakhine, he had seen first-hand how ruthless and evil the regime could be.
    His first fame came in the form of pictures he took of Aung San Suu Kyi after she had been released from house arrest, and was starting to campaign in 2012. He later exposed the horrible conditions at the lucrative jade mines region of Kachin state. After that, Moe began reporting on the unfolding Rohyinga situation. In his reporting, Moe managed something that very few journalists had been able to do for the Bamar people, in that challenging and complex situation: humanize the Rohingya.
    When the February coup hit, Moe was faced with a somewhat unique decision: whether to document events as an objective reporter, or join in the resistance as an activist. He chose to be a journalist, and started taking pictures that very afternoon. He tried to trained himself to “just focus in my viewfinder and try to capture what's happening in the best way possible of the atrocities. But there were times where I couldn't make it. It was too intense and I couldn’t keep shooting.”
    Moe’s archive of work was recently recognized by the prestigious Bayeux War Correspondents in Paris, who awarded him first prize for his photojournalism. Ironically, he had to accept the award anonymously for security reasons, preventing him from receiving well-deserved, widespread recognition (at least for now) for his high achievements in the field he has devoted his life to.
    And while he could have decided to remain in the safety and security of France, he chose to return to Myanmar to continue his work to document the country’s continuing revolution so that the world may see. He believes that the Burmese people will soon be triumphant, and he wants to be there to take their pictures when they are!

    • 1 hr 40 min
    Artists Against Tyranny

    Artists Against Tyranny

    As many already know, the situation in Myanmar continues to be intolerable. Day by day innocent civilians are being killed, maimed, starved, and forced from their homes, and the military continues their campaign of terror. The need for financial support is a dire one, in so many ways.
    And towards this end, the https://www.facebook.com/ArtistsAgainstTyranny (Art Against Tyranny auction) is being held. This supportive and hopefully inspiring event will be held over two days: the 11th and 12th of this month (Eastern US time), or 12th and 13th for those in Asia. Using art to combat tyranny might feel somewhat dissonant. But art in whatever form is essentially communication that expresses the human condition.
    It is through art that Burmese rappers, painters, poets, graffiti artists, video editors, and others have expressed their opposition to the junta, and inspired their compatriots to continue their march to ultimate victory. It is through art that the true horror and carnage of the military's reign of terror can be conveyed to people all over the world.
    A New York City art gallery, the Jane Lombard, has graciously donated its space for free to showcase revolutionary art from Myanmar artists, in order to highlight the plight of the Myanmar people. And virtually, artists from around the world have united through their art to fight against dictatorship, oppression, terror, and tyranny. Some pieces on display today are biting, while others are hauntingly beautiful… but all of it is inspiring.
    https://www.betterburma.org/art-auction (Please take time to see what art is on display), listen to artists speak of their work, and maybe buy an exquisite piece for a good cause! The more money raised, the more lives saved, and the sooner the military's campaign of death and destruction will end.

    • 2 hr
    The Story of Magway

    The Story of Magway

    “It's really sad that our young people had dreams, but after the military coup, every dream of theirs has been destroyed.” So starts the interview with May, who tells us why she became a revolutionary, and updates us on how the Magway Division has fare since the coup.
    May had been studying in New Zealand, and had only just returned to Myanmar when the coup hit. Like many, she was unsure how to respond at first, but faced with a real-life struggle against evil, she committed herself to activism, delving into fundraising work. Because her father was so concerned for her safety, May had to keep her activities secret and stay in safe locations away from home in order to carry out her work.
    Her level of involvement has carried with it a serious mental and emotional burden, and May turned to a combination Buddhist meditation and a practice of “positive psychology.” She observes the mental content in her mind, and tries to give less food to those negative emotions and thoughts, which has the result of making her “relaxed and focused on the the right things.”
    May waxes poetic about her home region, the Magway Division, which is famous for its ancient pagodas, and a common pilgrimage destination for devout Buddhists. But sadly, the military has instigated repeated, targeted assaults in and around Magway, which have resulted in thousands of newly Internally Displaced Peoples (IDPs). May has added this issue to her mission portfolio, and is desperately trying to locate funds to support them. Compounding this even further is that the conflict has prevented farmers from tending to their crops, increasing dangers of a looming starvation. May clearly more than has her hands full!
    In closing, she has just one message for listeners. “To end the military regime, we have to stand together and fight back… If not, we will never, ever decrease their evil. So please become involved in this revolution.”

    • 1 hr 50 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
24 Ratings

24 Ratings

Digger.Diggs ,

Great podcast about Burmese Buddhism

A really nice podcast sharing stories about Dhamma practice in Myanmar.

Mike45321 ,

Wonderful Bhikkhu Bodhi interview

What a thought-provoking interview with Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi. No easy answers but i hope than in-country Burmese Buddhists both monks and lay-persons who have the opportunity to hear him or read a translation will benefit from his observations and carefully thought out responses. I also commend the host for keeping the questions based on Burmese citizens’ real need for answers and not simply an intellectual exercise. Thank you for bringing in the Rohingya persecution. I was encouraged to hear that maybe some Burmese Buddhists have repented for their attitudes and silence. They are facing the wrath of the same entity that persecuted the Rohingya. It would be a positive if the civilian government that condoned and defended that genocide and are now in jail or hiding mulled this over.

terrigsimonNEW ,

.

Particularly Episode 31 the storyteller is all over the place. It seems his story starts in the middle. Doesn’t set context or provide details that lead up to what happened. Even when guided to do so is unwilling. He rambles and has difficulty getting to the story he is trying to tell. He sounds attached to rambling peripheral details.

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