Wednesday, 12 November 2014

"Is it Easy to Communicate in English at Burmese Monasteries? Are Interviews and Guidance Provided?"

Meditators from the Pariyatti Pilgrimage had many successful experiences communicating with monks, despite the language gap

One yogi recently sent us a question asking how foreign yogis may communicate with Burmese monks. Following is our answer. For more questions about Dhamma in Burma to be answered on this blog, shoot us an email at burmadhamma(at)gmail.

"Is it easy to communicate in English at these monasteries? Are interviews and guidance provided?"

This depends on the type of monastery you are visiting. If you are staying at one that is consistently engaged in meditation practice and instruction, then a means of English communication is more likely to take place, especially if foreign yogis already come in some numbers. Translations and communication may occur through either monks or lay people who have spent time abroad, or written or audio material that is made available. At some monasteries sit may depend upon your luck when happening to visit, as there may be times when no bilingual people are present. For those monasteries that double as meditation centers, it is likely that they will have their own protocol as to when interviews, guidance, and Dhamma talks are given, and how (and if) translation is available. If you wanted to discuss meditation or Buddhism directly with a monk or Sayadaw, you would be welcome to, however a translation or English-speaking monk would be needed (and women yogis should take care to initiate such conversations only when another male is present).