Buddhism Laying Down
By Gordon Klco
What is one
hundred feet long, completely white, lying down and revered by
people? I found the answer in Myanmar. It is the Reclining Buddha in Yangon. This
enormous statue is one of the many religious sites found scattered
the city, but it is one of the most unique Buddha statues I have ever
Buddha is housed in a huge hanger style building in the North of Yangon. The building consists of a huge open space
enough room for hundreds of people to sit in admiration of the amazing
Buddha itself is a huge statue, completely white with golden clothing. One of the most prominent features of the
statue was its eyes. They seemed to be
The religious space
surrounding the Buddha was used differently by each group that was
over the huge empty sitting area. The
groups that were scattered over the floor when my roommate and I were
were a cross section of humanity in Myanmar.
The people sitting nearest to us were a
family with three small children. The
parents and the oldest of the children kneeled and prayed to the Buddha
the other small children ran and played around the Buddha.
In front of me and closest to the statue,
were monks, with prayer beads in hand, in deep prayer.
Another group of teenage school girls sat and
chatted while another lone women sat reading a magazine, all while
front of the Buddha.
This place was a
community building more than a strictly religious site. Although
it had many uses it did not seem to
be being exploited as a money maker like the Hindu temples talked about
in the Mary
Hancock article “Modernities Remade”.
The area seemed to be more or less untouched by tourism. Unlike India
which is well known for its religion and culture and has an
tourist destination, I think Myanmar
is mostly unknown and its many Buddhist monuments are still untainted
tourists. Like the country itself it was
a hodgepodge of many different things, religion being one. From
this experience I came to understand
that this was a good glimpse of how the Burmese people practice
religion. The Buddhist religion is so much a part of
the Burmese way of life that it is casually incorporated into everyday