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Novice buddhist monks in Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, Myanmar

Novice buddhist monks in Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, MyanmarThese novices are standing in the famous old teak wood Shwe Yan Pyay Monastery, near Inle Lake in Myanmar's Shan State. During Thingyan, the Burmese New Year, many Burmese boys celebrate shinbyu, a special rite of passage when a boy enters a monastery for a short time as a novice monk. They live the tough life of the monks: waking up early, washing with cold water and strict discipline. As the monks do, they have to buy their food with money given as alms. They are supposed to have only one meal a day, but I saw many child novices going discreetly, but frequently to the little shops to buy chocolate bars! Kids remain kids, even when they are novices!


© Eric Lafforgue

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Taken on December 23, 2005