Photos of Monasteries in Myanmar

OzOutback
Images of the World
Flag of Myanmar

Monasteries in Myanmar

Therevada Buddhism is practiced by around 88% of the population in Myanmar and was brought here, probably during the 3rd century BCE by missionaries, sent by the great Indian emperor Asoka.

Botataung Paya
 
Pagoda, Botataung
 
Gilded Buddha statue
 
Buddha, bodhi tree
 
Hall, Botataung Paya
 
Gilded Buddha statue
 
Sule Paya
 
Pagoda of Sule Paya
 
Shwedagon Paya
 
Shrines, Shwedagon
 
Chaukhtatgyi Buddha
 
Ngahtatgyi Buddha
 
Shwesandaw Buddha
 
Buddha, Twante
 
Stupa, Twante
 
''Chinthe'', Bago
 
Shwethalyaung Buddha
 
Boy novice monks
 
Shwemawdaw Paya
 
Shrine, Shwemawdaw
 
Stupas, Shwemawdaw
 
''Kamakura Image''
 
Around the zedi
 
Praying in Shwemawdaw
 
Gilded roof
 
''Chinthe'', Shwemawdaw
 
Kha Khat Wain Kyaung
 
Entrance gate
 
Kyaik Pun Paya gate
 
Kyaik Pun Paya
 
Worship, Kyaik Pun
 
Young monks, Hpa-an
 
Aung Min Ga Lar Paya
 
The five holy images
 
Phaung Daw Oo Paya
 
Buddha and cobra
 
Tibetan-style Buddhas
 
In Nga Hpe Chaung
 
Monastery cats
 
Stupas, Nyaungshwe
 
Monastery work
 
''Chinthe'' protector
 
Yadana Man Aung Paya
 
Three Buddhist nuns
 
Abbot, Ywa Thit
 
Small shrines
 
Gold painted shrine
 
Ywa Thit Monastery
 
Mahamuni Paya stupa
 
Ringing bronze bells
 
In Bagaya Kyaung
 
Young monk reading
 
Bagaya Kyaung, Inwa
 
Novice monks studying
 
Kyauktawgyi Paya
 
Shwekyimyint Paya
 
Eindawya Paya
 
Eindawya Paya stupa
 
Marble slab, Sandamani
 
Shwenandaw Kyaung
 

The Mon were the first people practicing Buddhism and in the 9th century CE the Pyu of northern Myanmar were practicing a mixture of Therevada and Mahayana-Tantric Buddhism from the Tibetan plateau, where they came from. In the 11th century the Bamar King Anawratha of the Bagan Empire decided that only "pure" Therevada Buddhism should be practiced and this is now predominantly the case although it is often practiced together with nat worship, the placation of spirits that may intercede in worldly affairs.

Ordained Buddhist monks and nuns, who collectively are called "Sangha", are a respected and venerated part of society; young boys are expected to become a novice monk (samanera) between the ages of 10 and 20 for a time, participating in "shinbyu", the novitiation ceremony, a great honour for the family. This is usually performed when they are about seven years old and involves a procession and ceremony in which they change from princely clothes into those of an ascetic, like the historical Buddha, Siddharta Gautama. There are approximately half a million Buddhist monks and around 75,000 nuns in Myanmar and they can be seen with their alms bowls in the morning and late afternoon, giving opportunities to the people to earn merit by donating food. There are many Buddhist festivals, including the "Paya pwe", pagoda festivals, usually held when the moon is full.

There are thousands of monasteries and pagodas all over the country. The most iconic and most sacred is without doubt the Shwedagon Paya in Yangon but there are many more; Buddha statues, including huge reclining Buddhas, can be seen in many places: the 55 metre long and 16 metre high Shwethalyaung Buddha in Bago is the largest at the moment. There are also schools in monasteries where children are sent to receive a Buddhist education, as has been the tradition before secular schools were brought in by the British; in fact, the Burmese word for school, "kyaung" is derived from "hpongyi kyaung", monastery.