Sunday, 9 February 2014

Burma Pilgrimage #2, Day 6: Something Special About Mandalay

The pilgrimage group was greeted to Myanmar's second biggest city, and its most important Buddhist one
The following excerpt was written by an American yogi about the pilgrimage in Burma. The first pilgrimage has ended, and the second one has just begun! To read about the previous day, go here. To read about the first pilgrimage group's experience on their own Day 6 in Mandalay last month, go here.

You can also consider joining a later pilgrimage in Burma yourself.

"There's something special about Mandalay. Perhaps it was the ride in, past verdant green fields. Or the stupas dotting the cityscape. Or the increased Sangha density. Whatever it is, it's pretty special.

A teashop next to the group's hotel
We started the day with a group sit at the Mahamuni temple. It happens to be a time during which the monks live chant the Patthana Sutta - this takes place 24 hrs a day for seven days, and was the background against which we sat. 

Pilgrims visited the Maha Myat Muni library and learned about the sacred Buddhist texts that are stored here

After some gong shopping, we head to Ma Khaing's place for a vegetarian feast. There was a siesta built in, and then the afternoon fun began...

Dhamma Mandapa is a sweet center tucked within a peaceful monastery in Mandalay city. The Dhamma hall and the dorms are built of wood, and surround a small lily pond. It serves as a daily group sit place, and apparently during the April water festival, the quaint center can house 170 students! 

On the right and in the foreground is Bamaw Monastery, whose Sayadaw generously allowed Goenkaji to have a center here (this can be entered by following the path leading to the right). The large white structure in the back comes from the Maha Bodhi Meditation Center, established in the Saya Thet Gyi tradition
Shwe Kyin monastery was the next stop. This place is known for the strict sila/vinaya of the monks. The area teacher for Burma currently resides here for his temporary ordination, as does a member of the last pilgrimage.

After witnessing the monks file in and begin their evening gathering, we reconvene for a Question and Answer session with the Acharya. In the midst of the time with this happy bhante, we get an audience with the Sayadaw. He's got a presence that is lovely to behold, and reminds all of us of the importance of sila.

He also offered to assist with any of us, men or women, with a monastic bent - music to some of our ears..."

To learn about Day 7 at Webu Monastery in Kyaukse, go here!

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