Sunday, 9 February 2014

Burma Yatra #2, Day 5

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 5, go here

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

"Most of today was spent aboard a luxurious motorcoach with plush reclining seats.

We arrived to a one month old hotel, inaugurated by the last pilgrimage group, built by a supporter of Pa Auk Monastery. It's quite a fancy place, with touch screen elevator keys, rooftop pool, etc. The 'light dinner' was a full on vegetarian buffet... Quite a contrast to the much simple monastic settings of yesterday. Anicca...

There's a lot to learn from the Burmese - their generosity, deep faith, kindness towards pilgrims...

There are a couple of things that have been especially touching - the first is how kusala actions (done by anyone) are actively celebrated. It's been a bit odd to do so with dana one gives, but when done with the Burmese frame of mind there's something sweet about it. And spontaneous mudita a t the kusala action of another is a lovely thing.

The other interesting thing has been to see how one's notion of practice shifts. Practice on the cushion, is one form of practice, but 'practice' in its other forms is intimately woven into daily life here. Dana/performing kusala actions is done naturally. Interactions are framed as 'opportunities to gain merit.' Devotion is palpable and visible - from the beautiful pagodas, to well kept monasteries, to methods of paying respect. While one might consider these the 'outer shell,' in context, this is part of it all. To place importance on only one part seems like painting in only one color. It may be the most important color, but the richness of the palette is lost... When performed with the right frame of mind, there seems to be no conflict with doing these and the filling of the parami jars...

We've been learning a bit about Burmese culture."

For Day 6 in Mandalay, read on!