chapter  6
Two Versions of Nationalism: Union State or Ethnicism
Pages 12

When Burma was close to independence, Aung San, the then leader, nationalist and champion of liberty, said that monks must desist from taking an active part in political life. They must concentrate on the Buddhist message of charity and non-violence; this must be their contribution to the country. He preferred this traditional role, where religion as an institution (the Sangha) looked after religious functions, kept its own ranks in order and refrained from politicising:

We must draw a clear line between politics and religion, because the two are not one and the same thing. If we mix religion and politics, then we offend the spirit of religion itself.1