Thursday, 1 January 2015

"Can I take photos when giving dana?"

One yogi recently sent us a question asking about whether one may take photos during dana ceremonies in Burma. 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.

What is the protocol about taking photographs or videos of the dana, either of the actual event or posed shots?


As with all cases of photography, it is best to ask first, but by and large this will be accepted and even encouraged. It is very common for Burmese Buddhists as well to take photographs or video, as a means of remembering their good deed. Some may record the entire ceremony from start to finish, or if Sangha Dana is given at a monastery or meditation center, to record the entire line of monks and yogis in getting and eating their food. Dr. Asabha explains this Burmese tendency by noting that “they want to take these pictures to remember the event. Whenever they see them again, they remember what they donated, and they are happy all over again. It is a way to develop their meritorious mind. For this reason, many also receive a certificate after making a donation, for this also reminds them of the act and brings them more happiness back.”