Monk finds sanctuary

Venerable Panna Cakka became an Australian citizen this month. Picture: Emma Reeves www.communitypix.com.au d403454
Venerable Panna Cakka became an Australian citizen this month. Picture: Emma Reeves www.communitypix.com.au d403454

The Girrawheen resident migrated to Australia in 2008 as a political refugee on a visa supported by the United Nations Human Rights Commission.

Venerable Panna Cakka told the Times he left Burma in 1989 and spent most of the next two decades in India.

He became a Buddhist monk in 1996 while living in Delhi, joined the All Burma Young Monks Union and was heavily involved in peaceful political activism.

‘In Delhi, I opened the Burmese library,’ he said.

‘During the September Saffron Revolution in 2007, we took a demonstration to (the Burmese) embassy.’

After arriving in Perth, he studied English at Tafe, reaching Certificate III before knee problems in 2011 prevented him from continuing to walk to classes.

Venerable Panna Cakka runs one of several Burmese monasteries in Perth, the Mingala Thukha Vihara.

Although he visited Burma in 2004, he said he had not been able to contact his family since he first left.

‘It is a long time ‘