While many Yangon youths are participating in the traditional celebration of Thingyan by happily throwing water, many others entered monasteries and meditation centres.
At Mingun monastery in Bahan Township, Yangon, the trustee of the monastery said most of the 806 yogis who enter the meditation retreat during Thingyan were youths.
“There are 117 don-la-ba monks (part-time monks), 116 shin-tha-ma-ne (junior monks), 216 thi-la-shin (female monks), 46 male yogi and 401 female yogi during this Thingyan,” said Mingun monastery trustee group member U Soe Min Aung.
Maung Yan Paing from Ahlone Township who is attending the retreat, said it was an annual ritual.
“During Thingyan, all our family enter the meditation retreat. This is the second year. I will try to do this every year.”
Maung Myo Min Kyaw, 17, from Tharkayta Township, is in the Mingun monastery meditation retreat for the first time as an adult.
“I have no experience of meditating in a meditation retreat like this during Thingyan even though I did went to a youth meditation retreat earlier. I’m here now to gain experience as well as merit. I plan to do the same next year too.”
It is learnt that there are about 2,000 male and female yogis in this year’s Thingyan meditation retreat at Mahasi Meditation Centre in Bahan Township.
Mahasi Meditation Centre trustee reserve volunteer member Ko Zaw Myint said arrangements were made to receive about 2,000 this year, including full-time monks, and added that there are many young people this year.
Devotees were seen bringing donations for the welfare of people to the meditation retreats in monasteries and meditation centres.
Ma Nay Min Soe, 19, who came to the Mahasi Meditation Centre from South Dagon Township, was at a retreat for the first time.
“I no longer have my parents, and I’m here for them. I didn’t enter a meditation centre before and it is very peaceful here. I’m able to learn about the nobleness of Buddha and his teaching and the value of Dhamma. I’m thinking of coming again next year.”
Since the Thingyan period is a new year holiday period, youths from the wards, students as well as middle-aged employees are seen entering meditation centres to practice vipassana meditation.
There are differences in the meditation times among meditation centres and retreats, but meditation is normally practiced in the morning, noon and afternoon interspersed with preaching on meditation methods by the head monks.
In addition to meditating and fasting in the wards and monasteries, Shwedagon Pagoda, Kaba Aye Pagoda, Botahtaung Pagoda, Shwe Bone Pwint Pagoda, Ngar Htat Gyi Pagoda, Chauk Htat Gyi Pagoda, Ko Htat Gyi Pagoda were packed with Thingyan period merit makers and people distributing satuditha (free food).
Min Thit & Thint Zin Win