Mahagandayon Monastery – Amarapura‘ We see monks lunch first and then we go to making gold leaf place.’
Our taxi driver Ko Swe Myint is taking us to one of the largest monastic colleges in Myanmar.
It was first started in 1908 as a meditation centre for forest-dwelling monks, and is now home to several thousand monks.
We are walked through an inviting line of trees and down a long road lined with the monks quarters. Young ones talk in groups and wait for the lunchtime signal. At the end of the road is the gate where the monks pass through for their daily meal, this is where we stop to film.
We wait, and watch the monks start to line up. There’s a few I think. And then there’s more, and more still, with the line stretching way down the road and finally round the corner. Youngsters run with their bowls to catch up, the older monk has a dog at the front of the line waiting for the signal from the monk to GO, and the young novice nuns in their pink robes are being very quiet watching with big eyes.
The older monks lead the way into the compound, and the head monastery dog leads the way beside them, stopping on the spot when his master stops.
Monks follow the line with eyes lowered, bowls in hand, and bare feet, past the watching tourists to the offerings of food.
Burmese people earn merit donating and helping serve the monks each day about 11am, and they are waiting for their turn to serve the monks.
We are amazed at the crowd of tourists here, and this is June the quiet season. It could be tourist overload in the busy season.
We walk back through the groups of young monks and dogs and fading groups of tourists. We have experienced order on a scale not seen usually.