In the impression of the world, monks are often highly respected and far away from the world. After becoming a monk, they settled in monasteries and lived a regular life of practice, chanting, and worshipping Buddha–This is what people think.
However, the wonderful life of the junior Burmese monk Naing Win, now living in Yangon, may completely break our established impression of monks. Not only does he “work remotely”, stays outside the temple for most of the year, but he can also enjoy high-end cuisine regardless of meat or vegetable, and even accepts the sponsorship of friends to travel around the world and enjoy life in star-rated hotels just because of “mutual trust”.
This time, Naing Win was invited to be interviewed by “The Icons” to reveal his unique Buddhist practice life.
Myanmar monasteries are more free than you think
Naing Win was travelling abroad at the time of the interview, and he was interviewed at the hotel with a polite, shy smile and peaceful Buddhist music in the background.
Naing Win explained that at the age of 6 or 7, Buddhists in Myanmar will be sent by their families to monasteries for free enlightenment education, learning their own cultural knowledge and Buddhist knowledge. After several years of education, young monks can either choose to return to secular life, stay as a monk, or even “transfer” to a different monastery.
Naing Win is an example of transferring monasteries. He shared: “When I was 7 to 10 years old, I practised in a monastery in my hometown, Mandalay (Burmese: မန္တလေး), but as I got older, I wanted to visit bigger cities, so I went to the monastery in Yangon (Burmese: ရန်ကုန်မြို့, the largest city in Myanmar), and stayed until now.”
The life of a monk is actually more like a “working holiday”?
So what to do in a monastery? Naing Win said that being a monk in a monastery is actually not like working. You don’t need to “check in to work” every day. When you are in a monastery, you will meditate and recite scriptures, or help those who want to learn Buddhism, but most of the time he prefers to travel outside, and the way of travel is also very special.
His trips are all based on friendship, with his friends sponsoring his travel expenses, while he accompanies friends to meditate, or acts as a tour guide to introduce Myanmar.
“I just went to Thailand a while ago, and I’m going to Japan next week. Actually, I prefer to go to Dubai, but my friend doesn’t want to go.” Naing Win said with a smile.
Next stop on the world tour, Dubai
“I have experienced Michelin restaurants and five-star hotels, so I don’t have strong desires now.” Because eating meat is not a taboo for Buddhist monks in Myanmar, plus Naing Win is not bound by the monastery, Naing Win has already tasted all kinds of delicacies and stayed in different sorts of high-end hotels under the sponsorship of friends.
He said that his current hobbies are photography, riding motorcycles, making friends, and introducing Burmese culture to foreigners. “What is your goal for the rest of your life?” Satisfied with his life, Naing Win only said: “I want to continue to travel around the world, especially Dubai, which I have longed for!”
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