Dr. Nyan Tun
In Myanmar Buddhist community, during summer vacation what we can see as common scene in every corner of the country is nothing but noviciation ceremony and ordination ceremony organized by respective families or organization with the intention of promotion and propagation of Buddhism. Every Buddhist parents who have a son or sons feel so happy for the boys are lucky gift to the parents and only the boys can fulfill the wishes of their parents. Every Myanmar Buddhist parents want their sons to join the Order of the Sangha either as novices or monks. This is the greatest wish for the parents. They wanted to support Buddhism as religious inheritance and only religious inheritance can give them the great benefits in this life and the life after. Whether the parents are rich or poor, they are trying to manage to ordain their sons when the boys are old enough to. They wanted to occupy the virtue of the noblest religious inheritance. So boys are superior to girls in our parents’ thought in our Myanmar society. Some parents have no sons and to fulfill their wishes, they ordained the sons of their relatives or the family of others.
This noblest gift can be traced to the source that was derived from the time of the Emperor Asoka himself. We learned as recorded in Buddhist literature that the Empire Asoka generously donated eighty four thousand stupas (pagodas), monasteries, ponds and well but he could not be termed as inheritance in Buddhism. He could be called only a supporter to Buddhism for he did not make his son to ordain. He was a great pious Buddhist so he wanted to be an inheritance of Buddhism and approached to Venerable Moggaliputta Tissa, the head of the Sangha and learned it from him. As soon as learning the reason, he made his son, Mahinda to join into the Order of Monks and then he could receive the inheritance of Buddhism. We have to thank the Empire Asoka and his son, Ven.Mahinda due to their gratitude and great effort and sacrificing their lives to Buddhism, we are enjoying the taste of the Truth. Otherwise, we can’t even think if Buddhism would exist today on the earth as one of the greatest religions.
The 15th time communal ordination ceremony was held at Alodawpyae Dhammacariya University, Dagon (Seikkan) Township, Yangon Region, organized by Nationalities Youth Resources Development Degree College (NRDC) (Yangon) family in 23rd and 24th May, 2016. This ordination ceremony was held annually in summer vacation from the time the college was set up. Any final students who wanted to join into the Order of monk are given chances and allowed them and it was managed and sponsored by the principal, teaching, administration staff and specific donors as their benefactors. I think only this institution organizes this noble tradition and we honor the pioneers who created this noble job. 341 students enrolled to join into the Order and the procession ceremony was led by Dr.Min Thant, the principal of the college under the drops of the rain. The procession was so simple that you will never see in Myanmar because the students themselves have to take their requisites such as bowl, robes and so on and followed by teaching and administration staff as their benefactors.
When the procession event reached to the monastery, students took their seats roll by roll and U Mya Thein, chairman of the organizing committee and acting head of Nationalities Affairs explained the novice hood students the procedure what to do and then Dr.Min Thant, the principal exhorted the students to stay beneficially within four days and told them does and doesn’t. Finally, the in-charge of the monastery suggested them and them shaving ceremony was going on.
The novice-hood students are nationalities youth students whose native places are far away and their parents can’t attend this ceremony so teaching and administration staff as well as specific donors are their benefactors. At shaving ceremony, respective staffs who are foster mothers accept their hair with the shawl for the hair not to fall down on the ground. Myanmar Buddhist community adopts this valuable tradition through the renunciation of Prince Siddhatha who left the palace at midnight to renounce the world to search for the truth. On the next morning, Prince Siddhatha cut off his hair with his sword and then threw up in the air to be remained if he would really become a Buddha. Buddhist community in Myanmar followed it so parents or relatives or benefactors accept hair shawl while shaving.
Novicitiation ceremony started at 4:30pm at the Dhamma Hall and the in-charge Sayadaw explained the procedure such as asking for robes and giving robes to be novices and followed the instruction as given by the Sayadaw. After putting on the robes, the figures of those students (now novices) turn to calm and peace. They know themselves that we are not ordinary boys but members of Sangha, noble ones. Everyone knows that the power of the clothes makes one to be calm, tranquil or sexy, vulnerable. The clothes, robes known as in Myanamr is termed as ‘Arahattadhaja’ in Pali which means the banner of the Arahant that the one who puts on this robes can destroy defilement and then ordination procedure went on that evening at Sima Hall.
In early morning of 24th, benefactors and donors who are teaching and administrating staff and specific donors were preparing to offertories in the stairway in the compound of the monastery to offer suitable items to newly ordained monks led by their preceptors and other member of the Sangha. Generous donors brought and lay down items on the tables what they wanted to offer to the Sangha individually or commonly as arranged departmentally in line. Everyone in the scene performs actively with the intention of gaining meritorious deeds. Media channels such as Sky Net, Myawaddy and MRTV came to the place and reported the function and interviewed responsible persons. As schedule time, the newly ordained monks led by senior monks came to the arranged place and accepted the offertories and the donors offered in person to the monks. I think this offering tradition to newly ordained monks can be seen only in Myanmar among Theravada Buddhist countries. The benefactors and donors offered suitable items to the monks.
After offering that, liberation ceremony was proceeded on at the Dhamma hall and it was attended by deputy-Director General, the principal, invited guests and well-wishers. Ven Aggadhama (Dvipitakadhara), vice-chairman of Township Sangha Nayaka committee, delivered Dhamma Talk and what he said was to enforce one’s good deed and pointed out the five principles of the Buddha to apply in daily life: charity (dana), morality (sila), meditation (bhavana), reflecting on the virtue of the Triple Gems (anussati) and cultivating loving-kindness (metta).
Then, the deputy in-charge of the monastery told the audience that the abbot Sayadaw was on his mission in the United States of America. Although he was away, he gave a call to us several times to support everything to this function even financial if needed so I believe our abbot will remember this day because whenever this ceremony is conducted, it was held in our monastery. He kept on saying that the principal of the college told his students yesterdays that he wanted them to stay beneficially within four days under the guidance of the Sayadaw. For me I would like these student monks to stay with me for life to do missionary work for the welfare of the world. Our monastery is also united monastery like your degree college and we are accepting all national races novices and monks who wanted to come and stay for their education in our temple. We have been producing hundreds of learned missionary monks and doing their mission around the country. Further, he went on that there are two happiest days in the life of our abbot in a year: one is the day when the results of Dhammacariya exam was released and the other day was when NRDC students join into the Order of monks. Our abbot always says that NRDC is producing human resources for the nation and we are also producing missionary monks for Buddha Sasana so we are on the same boat serving the welfare of the nation both secular and spiritual. Then, the ceremony was concluded after sharing merits by liberation water. The faces of the donors were so happy thinking that we have great chance being the inheritance of Buddhism. As soon as the function concluded, the king of deva blessed the ceremony by pouring having rain.