I’ve written how I made miso soup to a monk named Uvi Seita in Meiktila, Myanmar on the past blog (in Japanese only). This time, let me write what Uvi explained to us to grasp the idea of the monks’ life style.
The monks in Myanmar
The monks earn high regard from the people in Myanmar
While a monk stays at his monastery, one of his jobs is to host the visitors who come for conversation with him. Most of the time the visitors bring some donations of food or a little bit of money. As a visitor comes in, he or she raises his/her arms in front of the forehead pressing the palms together in prayer bowing three times on the ground.
The monks do not eat in the afternoon
Breakfast is at 6 am and lunch at 11am. Eating in the afternoon is prohibited but drinking liquid is allowed. How they get the meals is mostly by the alms that they received from the people when they walked around the town with barefoot in the early morning between 4:30-6 for breakfast and 8:30-11 for lunch. However, there are some exceptions. For example the sick monks and the adolescent and under are allowed to eat in the afternoon. Also, it is still ok to eat in the afternoon when really needed as long as they show some apology.
Never receive cash and watch TV is in the past time
There used to be the rules not to receive cash or watch TV for fun but it is definitely chaining with the change in the society today. The monks also needs cash to ride buses or to see doctors. Very small monks who are like 6 years old sometimes get cash for buying snacks, Uvi told us. Uvi’s pupils also love watching TVs at the monastery at night.
No flashing the lower half of the body while taking bath
As a Japanese person, who holds a culture of hot spring where people take all the clothes off to take bath together, it was interesting that they strictly hide their skin by their clothes. They wash their bodies still putting their clothes on, and after the bath, quickly change the clothes into the new dry one at the same time as dropping the old wet clothes. The photo above is the water tank for taking shower, brushing teeth, laundry and washing dishes.
The basic five rules
Lying , stealing, taking alcohol and drugs, having sexual contact or touching women, killing are the five prohibited things. Therefore they never get married or even shake hands with women.It was very nice experience to know how the Myanmar monks live and get to know Uvi Seita, who is very generous and trustworthy.