15 January 2016

Of Monks and Monasteries in Myanmar

Myanmar is filled with monks. 
There are monks in trucks, monks on buses.
Tall monks, small monks, fat monks. 
Monks everywhere. 

Every man in Myanmar is a monk at some point. 
Sometimes only for a few weeks. 
Sometimes for years. 

Myanmar monks wear maroon. This one in orange is from Laos. The tiger too, I suppose.
Monks have 227 rules to follow. 
They aren't allowed to cook. 
Not allowed to handle money. Women -
are not allowed to touch the monks or sit next to them on a bus. 

Posters in temples show the 13 levels of hell. 

Believing is key.

This monk was halfway up a rock pinnacle. His silver bowl is ready to receive offerings.
Small boys dressed up for their first day as a novice at the monastery.
Novice monks only have 27 rules to follow. And they might even be home by dinnertime.
Trucks are filled with money trees - and of course a Buddha statue.  
It's the end of the Buddhist equivalent of Lent.
Everyone is out celebrating.

This means a MASSIVE sound system, cranked up full volume, full distortion. 
The offerings go to the monasteries.

The first truck has the money tree. The second truck has the massive "Wall of Sound".
Trucks are equipped with enormous speakers, and a group of young guys dancing. 
It's a holiday, full moon, fireworks, and everyone is excited.

Gardens FILLED with thousands of Buddhas.
Buddha is BIG here. 

Monasteries, monks, golden pagodas. 
Statues of Buddha, offering bowls. 
Bells, gongs, and blessings. 

There's a golden pagoda on top of every mountain.

They're in caves, on rocks, in villages. 
In gardens and at the river's edge.

Barefoot in Buddha-land. A cave filled with yet more Buddhas! 
But more on Buddhas later.
Time to explore.

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