Due to the recent pandemic many monastics in Myanmar who depend largely on daily offerings from locals are now faced with a stark reality: shortage of food and lack of other basic life necessities. This project’s aim is to counter this lack of supplies by providing food to monastics living in Mingaladon, a township located in the outskirts of Yangon, Myanmar. We especially wish to help those most in need, in this case, local nunneries and monasteries with children because they are the most affected by this situation.
This is really important. I think even monasteries that are normally well supported are struggling.
Thank you for sharing this. As my wife and I investigate this opportunity to give, my wife is curious about the little girls who are nuns who look so young. Does anyone know how such a young girl becomes a nun in these areas? Do the girls decide to become nuns or is that decision made for them by parents, etc? Thank you.
Economics and education are two of the main reasons.In many instances, by ordaining, these youngsters are provided food, shelter and an education that they otherwise may not receive. Many young female novices from poor families would avoid more dubious professions or exploitation as well.
Sometimes the families also ordain one or two of their kids as a traditional practice.
I know Bhante Gunaratana ordained when he was 12, and Ven Balangoda Ananda Maitreya Mahathera when he was 15. Bhante G, from his autobiography, explained that didn’t like being a monastic when he was young. I’ve heard that Ven Ananda Maitreya requested to ordain himself.
The Venerables on DD with experience in traditional Buddhist countries can offer you more in-depth insight, of course🙏🏼
And I have a middle-aged Thai friend in Australia who is well educated. His family ordained him because they were very poor. Once his education was completed he disrobed. He still feels very close to his family and is able to give them substantial financial support. Plus he is a really decent human being.
In Myanmar the monasteries often function as orphanages. There is no formal social system in Myanmar so the monastics, often the nuns, take over and take care of the orphans, feed them and give them an education. The population in turn takes care of them by donating food and other necessities. But often the people are so poor that it is difficult to make ends meet.
That’s wonderful! Thanks, Venerable.
Just a little bit more information about this project.
The associated FB page is: Food for Nuns in Yangon, Myanmar
Also, the nuns are being given priority in this project as generally they are a lot more impoverished and less supported than the monks. They are only allowed to go on alms round twice a week, for example, whereas the monks can go pindabatha every day. Also, they are not allowed formal begging bowls such as the monks have.
I believe Alliance for Bhikkhunis is doing work on this, is that so?
AfB are supporting the Bhikkhunis in India who, already impoverished (coming from the lowest caste and dependent on struggling communities) are in a dire situation during this Covid time
We support bhikkhunis across the world with any requisite needs. However, we’re sadly not able to support the nuns in Myanmar because they have not received Bhikkhuni ordination, as our bylaws designate.