Before traveling to Burma, I’d always pictured Buddhist Monks as older, wise gentlemen. Then I visited a teaching monastery.
It’s customary for young boys, especially those from intensely religious families, to enter a monastery. In Burma, becoming a “novice” monk is considered a great honor. Young monks sometimes stay for only one week but can remain there for years. Poorer families send their sons for a free education.
When I visited, the young monks were “at recess.” Watching them joyfully playing ball like any group of children gave me a new perspective. I later saw more young monks at the Amarapura footbridge – they had the same bountiful grins and joy.