Sunday, 25 October 2015

The Timeless Rhythms of Burmese Village Life

“The head of the village monastery virtually becomes the head of the village.” Maha Gandayone Sayadaw U Janaka

In many ways, the timeless rhythms of Burmese village life have changed little over the centuries. In Through the Looking Glass, the American monk Bhikkhu Cintita observed this timeless quality in village homes in 2013, writing: “Almost all houses in Burma are basically wicker baskets, thin but rigid structures of bamboo and straw with thatched roofs, simple holes for doors and windows, sometimes with a wooden flap but no glass, and an outhouse in the back.” In many villages, life still flows according to the seasons and revolves around farming. Today, about three-quarters of Myanmar’s population is rural, much of which is concentrated along the country’s many rivers, where agriculture the obvious main livelihood due to the very fertile soil. Similar to rural cultures the world over, it tends to be more “conservative” and religious in rural Myanmar than in its more urban counterparts.

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