Renowned Burmese monk U Kovida passed away peacefully on Tuesday at 13:07 Eastern Standard Time in New York. He was 81 and had been hospitalized that morning suffering from heart disease.
Also known as Masoeyein Sayadaw, U Kovida was a highly respected senior monk who was born in Irrawaddy Division in Burma in 1927.
For 50 years U Kovida was one of the abbots at Masoeyein Monastery, one of the oldest Buddhist schools in Mandalay, where he taught Buddhist literature.
In1990, U Kovida led a patam nikkujjana kamma-an alms boycott of military families-in response to a violent crackdown on Buddhist monks in Mandalay. He was subsequently imprisoned from 1990 to1993.
After the Burmese junta violently cracked down on monk-led protesters in September 2007, U Kovida founded Sasana Moli-the International Burmese Monks Organization-to promote Buddhist monks’ affairs and democracy in Burma.
Since 2001 he had been dividing his time between Burma and New York, where he worked for the Sasana Joti Center.
Pyinnya Jota, a leading member of the All Burma Monks Alliance who fled to Thailand in February, told The Irrawaddy: “Sayadaw respected Buddhist religion, promoted Burmese Buddhism and was a well-known teacher of Buddhism.”
He added, “In his last days, Sayadaw was urging Burmese people to boycott the referendum.”