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Buddhism in Myanmar

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Buddhism (Burmese: ဗုဒ္ဓဘာသာ), specifically Theravāda Buddhism (Burmese: ထေရဝါဒဗုဒ္ဓဘာသာ), is the state religion of Myanmar since 1961,[2] and practiced by nearly 90% of the population.[3][4] It is the most religious Buddhist country in terms of the proportion of monks in the population and proportion of income spent on religion.[5] Adherents are most likely found among the dominant Bamar people, Shan, Rakhine, Mon, Karen, and Chinese who are well integrated into Burmese society. Monks, collectively known as the sangha (community), are venerated members of Burmese society. Among many ethnic groups in Myanmar, including the Bamar and Shan, Theravada Buddhism is practiced in conjunction with the worship of nats, which are spirits who can intercede in worldly affairs.

Quick facts: Total population, Regions with significant po...
Theravāda Buddha Sāsana
Flag of Sāsana
Total population
c.48 million (90%) in 2016[1]
Regions with significant populations
Throughout Myanmar
Dharma_Wheel.svg Theravāda Buddhism
Burmese and other languages
Temples in the ancient city of Bagan

Regarding the practice of Buddhism, two popular practices stand out: merit-making and vipassanā meditation. There is also the less popular weizza path.[6] Merit-making is the most common path undertaken by Burmese Buddhists. This path involves the observance of the Five precepts and accumulation of good merit through charity (dana, often to monks) and good deeds to obtain a favorable rebirth. The meditation path, which has gained ground since the early 1900s, is a form of Buddhist meditation which is seen as leading to awakening and can involve intense meditation retreats. The weizza path is an esoteric system of occult practices (such as recitation of spells, samatha and alchemy) believed to lead to life as a weizza (Burmese: ဝိဇ္ဇာ Pali: vijjā), a semi-immortal and supernatural being who awaits the appearance of the future Buddha, Maitreya (Arimeitaya).[7]

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