Culture: Religion

80% of Myanmar’s population practice Theravada Buddhism - the way of the elders which adheres most closely to the original teachings of Buddha Gautama who lived in Northern India 2,600 years ago. The core of His teaching is the path of the Middle Way - the avoidance of extremes, cultivation of tranquility, the acceptance of Kamma, awareness of the four ultimates and the following of the Nobel Eightfold Path. One is not obliged to be blindly convinced in Buddhism, only to practice and testify oneself. The goal of all Buddhists is to attain Nirvana, freedom from the endless cycle of rebirths. The realization of this ideal is in the hands of the individual, who cultivates the wholesome mind with wisdom in this life, the forces of individual's actions and deeds lead one to be born a step closer to the ultimate goal in the next one. To remind people think of His teaching, Buddhists build pagodas for merit believing that it is the highest grace of all. This belief makes Myanmar, the land of pagodas.  

Although most Myanmar practice Buddhism profoundly, some people still grip ancient folklore and superstition dating back to the animistic beliefs of their ancestors. These traditional beliefs and customs are interwoven with the Hinduism of early traders, to create sophisticated concepts. Most evident are the nats, a host of spirits, some local, some universal, some individuals. Each holds dominion over a person, place or activity.  The planetary posts on the pagodas' platform are nothing less than a superstitious cosmological concept.


 


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