Wanting to visit some of the more peaceful temples we ventured to the north on Yangon where we visited two amazing buddha statues. One a huge reclining Buddha at chaukhtatgyi and another over the other side of the road surrounded in small monasteries, an equally massive seated buddha covered in precious stones. An older man who showed us around the area and took us around a couple of the monasteries – some of which are housed in old collonial buildings.
We met the Abbot of one of the bigger monasteries, Surya, and he insisted we come to visit. He force fed us fruit, cakes, dry fish and wouldn’t take no for an answer. He was very happy I had a little undertanding of Buddhism and insisted we return there the next day to have breakfast.
We took a gift of new robes and had a little giving ceremony. Then afterwards he declared that we are both Buddhists now. He told us he had special powers and as long as we think of him we wont come to any harm – Thats pretty handy I thought. Also he gave me my own Buddha relic in the form of a carved Buddha in a small tube.
After this the monks had breakfast and we lay people waited till they had finished and then got stuck into the feast. And what a feast it was – Fish, Pork, Fried greens, Rice, Soup and enough dried fish to feed the 4000. It was great. The monks and their friends really looked after us. We couldn’t have felt more at home.
We were sad to leave. Definately one of the best experiences of our trip.