Young Monks of Myanmar

Another rainy day in Myanmar. We spent the morning visiting the vast temple grounds of Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. Out of nowhere, a flash of crimson passed by, an evanescent moment. The colour, so striking against the backdrop of gold, was unexpected, as was the youth and animation of the group. The young monks were quiet and respectful as they ambled through this magnificent Buddhist monument but their gait and facial expressions revealed something else.

Buddhist monastic schools play a vital role in the education of the poor and underprivileged throughout Myanmar, as well as in Laos and Thailand. I often visit these schools when in the vicinity, and watch as young monks are instructed in business maths or English grammar or art, the latter usually based on sculpting Buddhist images or restoring carved panels.

‘ Generally, Burmese monastic schools accept children from needy families who live nearby and are unable to attend government schools. Many of the orphans who attend monastery schools in Yangon and Mandalay are from remote areas and have been sent by senior monks from their villages and small towns. Some operate similarly as boarding schools and some as day schools depending on the situation and support of the public.

The schools are required to cooperate closely with township education authorities to be officially recognized. The operation and finance rely heavily on donations and collaboration from the public. The fees of most of the students at the school were covered by these donations, and some parents were able to make a small contribution.’¹


14 thoughts on “Young Monks of Myanmar”

  1. ‘ . . . ‘young monks are instructed in business maths or English grammar or art’ . . . sometimes one feels there is still hope for the world. Absolutely wonderful !

    Liked by 2 people

    1. There is no problem photographing monks. They are no different really to any one else. As you can tell from their demeanour, they were a cheery and youthful school group out for the day.


  2. This reminds me a lot of Luang Prabang, Laos. The city feels like a place all to itself, it’s Buddhist culture is so strong, with young boys coming to the city to study with the monks. The monastery plays such an important part for the whole country. Thanks for bringing me back to my travel memories.


    1. I first came across Buddhist schools in Luang Prabang. They are open for foreigners to visit. I loved my time there so much and am looking forward to returning to Laos. So pleased it brought back memories for you.

      Liked by 1 person

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