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Friday, February 01, 2008

Shin Pyu

Shin Pyu is an essential and integral part in a life of a Burmese Buddhist male. “Shin Pyu” is a ceremony in which a young Buddhist male becomes a novice in the order of The Sangha.

For a Burmese Buddhist male, it is important for him to be a novice for a certain period in his life as this will enable him to gain merit which will enable him, in his future lives, to gain Nirvana (enlightenment). Gaining Nirvana is the ultimate goal for any Buddhist. By entering the order of The Sangha, as a novice in this life, it will greatly enhance his Karma (Merit) in gaining Nirvana in later lives. Not only he will gain Karma, his parents will also gain the same Karma as him. Thus, it is the most important event for both the boy and the parents in his life.

Usually, the boy who is around the age of 10 years will join The Order as a novice. There is no fixed age for entering the order as a novice, but he must be under the age of 19 years and 3 months. (In Buddhism, a person becomes alive at conception, so at 19 years and 3 months, he will be 20 years old). He will usually stay in The Order as a novice for a few weeks. (Usually a week to a month, but may be more). He will learn basic principles that are essential in becoming a good Buddhist.

As this is a very important occasion for him and his family, the parents usually celebrate the event in an extravagant manner. The boy is dressed in princely outfits of silk and wears a gold headdress. He is then ridden around the town on a white horse or in a car, in a grand procession. Musicians are hired to entertain guests. Not all families can afford this however, and many shin pyus are more modest.

At the monastery, his hair is shaved and begins the ceremony of becoming the novice. After the ceremony, he becomes a proud member of the Holy Order of Sangha.

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