The Way of Buddhist Life

There are few countries in the world today in which tradition has such a strong influence on everyday life as it has in Myanmar. Let us observe the path of life a typical Myanmar goes through.


Childhood Years, from Birth to Marriage: Seven days after birth, the baby's parents invite friends to a naming ceremony. The youngster is given a name based on astrological calculations, and it need bear no relation to that of the parents.

There are Thirty Three alphabets in Myanmar Literature.

These alphabets are divided into eight category belonging to eight birthday planets, and the alphabet of each category represents the day of the birth.

It is little strange, because there are eight days a week according to Myanmar Astrology.

The reason is that the mid week day, Wednesday is divided into two days; until 6 p.m. it is Wednesday, but after to the midnight it is Rahu's day.

The baby's is name is based on his/her birth days, and the astrologer will give the suitable names on the base of his Astrological Calculation of which is to be chosen by the patients.

Whatever the method the astrologer's use his calculation, the following alphabet is to be included.

Birthday Represented Alphabet
Monday Ka, kha, Ga, Gha, Nga
Tuesdays Sa, hsa, za, sha, nya
Saturday ta, hta, da, dha, na
Thursday pa, hpa, ba, bha, ma
Wednesday la, wa
Rahu ya, ra
Friday tha, ha
Sunday A, aha

Mostly, Myanmar people put the birthday alphabet on the first word of the name if it has two words, and put the middle if it has three words.

For example, "Htay Kywe" is the name which was chosen by his parents in accordance special calculation of the Astrologer.

You will see the first word which includes the alphabet "hta", so it is easy to know he was born on Saturday.

For the names having three words, the birth day alphabet is usually placed in the middle. For Example; Look at the following name "Khin Maung Win"

The middle word is "Maung" which is based on "ma" alphabet which represent Thursday category. Therefore he must be born on Thursday.

The child is sent to school at the age of five. However, despite a system of compulsory education and strenuous efforts by the government since independence to ensure education for all, there are still areas with no state schools. In these place the local kyaung (monastery) takes charge of the child's elementary education.


noviciatation ceremony
novice horse


When a boy is nine years old, his noviciation or shin-pyu takes place. This is an initiation ceremony making the end of his childhood and the beginning of a period of monkhood. Girls of the same age participate in an ear-piercing ceremony called the nahtwin or ear boring ceremony, which also symbolizes a farewell to the unburdened life of the child.

Burmese Cheroot

cheroot burmese1Myanmar People has its own habit like European and Western people who smoke Pipe, Cigarette, or chewing gum. Myanmar people are very fond of smoking Cheroot. Cheroot can be made by corn husk or Thnatphet leaf. Mostly the filter is made by corn-husk, and the ingredient of cheroot are the chops of tobacco root, and the pieces of tobacco leaf which are put inside according to particular formula that passes generation to generation.


Betel Chewing

betel chewing shopYou can not escape to seeing a small shop at every corner of the street in Yangon. The small shop sells the Betel quid, various cigarettes, and Burmese cheroot. Betel quid is a betel leaf packed with some ingredients such as a dash of lime, the small pieces of betel nuts, a little bit of anise seed, and a strip of tobacco which is ready to chew in the mouth of many Burmese people, and Indian people.

The chewing of betel leaf is to be done leisurely, and relax manner so that one will get the real taste of betel quid. You might be gone away if you are offered the pulp of chewed betel quid, but it was done only by the King and Queen who showed their preference to their followers during Myanmar Kingdom. The man of offered the pulp of chewed betel leaf is popular and proud among the others. The result of chewing betel leaf is the lip become red. So For the women and girls, it is a kind of beautifying their lips without any modern lip-stick.

Betel Box

During that time of Myanmar Kingdom, the betel leafs, the chops of betel nuts, Lime box, the anise seed box, and pieces of tobacco are systematically put in a betel box made by pure gold for the use of royalty. For the lay people, the box can be lacquerer ware betel box or bronze betel box according to the social status. The displaying of betel box nowadays is to show the hospitality or welcoming the guest to their home. 

The Role of Betel Box

bete netThe betel box ruled a very important part of courtship during the last 2 decades. Most of Myanmar young ladies in countryside are hard workers. During the daytime they were involved in the cooking affairs, and cleaning house, and washing cloths. At the evening, they also busy with their spinning cotton fabrics for making the new cloths. The young lady always put fully equipped betel box just besides her spinning wheel of cotton. It is a lovely tradition of Myanmar people to welcome the visitors by putting betel box at the Lounge. It was a tradition for the young man group of bachelors to walk around the village after they have done their daily work, and sit at the house of a young lady to have a chat together. At that time, the young lady showed her preference to the particular young man by offering the betel quid made by her. It was the way to choose their suitor for the young ladies or the girls, and the betel box was very important part of the courtship.

Pasting of Thanakha

thanakha pastingMost of the girls and women of Myanmar has always a tradition that is to paste their face with "Thanatkha" after they washed their face in the morning. It is a kind of beautifying themselves with the liquid of thanatkha. Thanakha is a word of Myanmar to call a tree which botanical name is Micheltia champaka or anything like. The small tusk of Thanakha is obtained from that particular tree that naturally grown in upper Myanmar. The tusk of thanakha is grinned with water on a circular stone which has circular engrave around. Rubbing and grinning of thanakha on the stone with water will get the sticky liquid glue like taking place in the engraved line of circular stone. That glue like thanakha is ready to paste on the face of girls and women. Practically saying, the pasting of thanakha keeps the skin smooth and relief the sun burn on the face.


weddingMyanmars tend to get married relatively young. The married itself requires no religious or civil ceremony, although it should be registered for the purpose of any future division of property. A woan does not change her name when married. If her marriage does break up, she can return to her parents at any time.


Specialization in Myanmar

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