Meditating in front of the Shwezigon Pagoda
Almost 90% of the population of Myanmar classify themselves as Buddhists, claiming to be the world’s most devout Buddhist nation; measured in terms of money spent on religion and the percentage of monks in the country.
Myanmar follows the Theravada (the “Law of the Elders”) school of Buddhism which is the oldest and most conservative version of the religion; emphasizing renunciation and meditation to reach enlightenment. The religious daily life of most Burmese people is to follow Five Precepts (kind of 5 commandments) to accumulate merit which should ensure a favorable rebirth in the next life.
Anyone can join Buddha in the Nirvana but it will take several lifetimes of dedication, being a monk is thus a fast track to reach that goal; which explains their importance in Myanmar.
All Burmese Buddhist men are expected to experience monastic life at least once anytime after 7 years old and it can be at little as a week.
For the poorest or orphans (men or women), monastery becomes a home where they receive full education and may be ordained at the age of 20 or later.
Image dimensions: 3864 x 5796 pixels