Burma BeliefsBurmese Beliefs
Who are Myanmar's modern spiritual beliefs?
The small bells tinkling in the gentle whispers of the breeze outside the inner sanctuary, the weak sound of sound in the small room of worship, although the body kneels down in front of the gilded Buddha. Respecting Buddha, Buddhism and Burma in the room, I went on to circle around the great Zendi, the Myanmar term for Stupa.
The little girl of my boyfriend, M, taught my nephew Ana about Buddhistic story and praying rites. Looking at the sculptured figures decorating the outside of the sanctuary, I realized how Buddhism and mysticism are a constant and everyday part of Burma's Iife. Indeed, Burma is considered the most sacred of all the countries in the worid in respect of ceremony, merits and giving, according to the scientists who study these things.
Myth, animation and mysticism are at the heart of Myanmar's religion and none of my preliminary research has ever made me ready for the profoundly divine side of everyday living in Burma and its loyal pampering. Frankincense is floating as an oblation in the Popa Taungkalat Abbey near Mt Popa, Bagan, Burma.
Over 90 per cent of Burma's Theravada Buddhist practices, a fact that has been prevalent in this part of the globe since Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Sri Lanka, have reported similar proportions of Buddhism. However, the difference in Myanmar is that it embraces the deserving leaseholder of Buddhism. Religious dedication permeates the land and is the most evident level of Burma's religiousness.
However, when I look more closely at the sanctuaries and the sanctuaries, Buddha is only a part of their intellectuality. Ghost veneration and beliefs that were still vividly and fully incorporated into contemporary Buddhism before the time of Buddhism, as shown by the mythic characters and distorted faces of sub animals that stand watch on every sanctuary, in road shrines and in the outback.
Home to the 37 Nats in Burma mysticism, Popa Taungkalat Convent is located near Bagan, Myanmar; it requires 777 footsteps to fend off the apes and a dosage of ambitions to get to the top of this volcano cone, which was a kind of base that rises from the slope of the mouta.
I and Ana walked through the Bagan and Mandalay sanctuaries and examined the strange supplements to what appear to be Buddha Schools. And who are these upstanding men who guard the sanctuary high on Mount Popa? Now, it comes from the same, fundamental and old animistic beliefs. Animalism precedes Buddhism, Christianity and the vast majority community of religious beliefs.
It' s fun, I've been in Thailand for almost a year in the last two years, and yet, until Ana and I travelled through Burma and saw the passionate dedication, it didn't occur to me to take a closer look. There are ghosts in their most basic forms on Nat in Burma.
People in Burma believe in 37 different Nat, while Lower Nat have regional influences and often only a small fellowship adores this one spiritual. And that is probably a little contentious for all powerful Catholics, but the Nat all have a history of humanity behind them - a character who survived and dying (often violently), but is eventually pacified for refuge through adoration and honour.
Nat covers all aspects of man's life: stove, fauna, flora, security. Animistic beliefs are integrated into the day-to-day service for many Burmese countrymen and different people. And, to round out the image, the animistic beliefs have created a wealth of myths and traditions that did not make it much outside Burma in the last hundred years because of the country's rugged policies.
Tales told to kids in Burma tell why crowing is dark (Ana and I used them to get a feel for their legendary culture), and Burma folk created the country's imaginative cartoon figures who compete with the wonder super heroes with their strength and lesson in the world. A strange selection of woodcarvings, animal and paint characterize this place for animistic adoration outside of Hpa-an, Burma.
Mt Popa, near Bagan in Burma, is a place of worship for the Burmese, and my mates and their big families opened their doors and took Ana and me on their trip through Bagan's fracturing remains, gold stupa and hill monuments. We passed the summit shrine for almost an hours and our group gathered again near a light gold cedar.
And we talked about Buddhism, sanctity and living. All that remains of an old hilltop shrine is a lonely Buddha and ageing stupa. Combinations and similarities between all civilizations - Myanmar, US, Balinese - are constantly changing as I study and see this beauty.