Posts tagged southeast asia
Country of Contrasts: Pagodas, Culture and Controversy.

There is very little that can entice me to get up at 4 a.m. but how often do you get a chance to bathe a Buddha? And not just any Buddha but one that the actual real Buddha is said to have embraced himself. The statue at Maha Muni Pagoda in Mandalay, Myanmar is believed to be one of only five likenesses of Buddha created during his lifetime. And the daily cleansing ritual for the hundreds of pilgrims who attend is both literal and spiritual

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My first surprise came during a visit to a vast pagoda complex in Myanmar. A Buddhist monk spoke to my wife Fyllis and me in English which, while not perfect, was good enough to be easily understood. Imagine, then, how astonished I was when he pulled a smartphone from the folds of his saffron-coloured robe and showed us pictures he had taken during his recent trip to Japan. More about the friendly monk later. This was but one of many fascinating encounters we have enjoyed during several trips planned by Myths and Mountains. That tour company promises journeys that “explore and experience,” and our time in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) lived up to that expectation-- and more.

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