Many Buddhist lessons while visiting Bago`s highlights

Buddhist lessons in Bago

Today the highlights of Bago are on my agenda, and they will come packed with Buddhist lessons. At a leisurely pace, Tin, my motor driver shows me the points of interest of this small town. There is no pressure nor complaints about how bad things are going with his life or anything else. Without a doubt, he turns out to the best guide I have met during my Myanmar trip. He gives a thorough explanation at all of the temples and pagodas, and always strongly inspired by his Buddhist way of looking upon life.

Kyaik Pun (4 Buddhas) pagoda Bago: lessons in Buddhism

Refrain from being too optimistic

This characterizes the man clearly. During a coffee break, among other things, we elaborate on his Buddhist view. The man has a drinking history but abstained entirely about a year ago. In his opinion, a person should not be too optimistic in life, because that only entails complaint, frustration, and a desire for more. You must bear your destiny, even when that means suffering.

monumental standing Buddha in Bagotemple guardian in Bago

Some Buddhist lessons about acceptance

He tells me a story about the time that he was still a trishaw driver; he was in his late twenties then. Due to a conflict with his boss, he quit the job. That same night two bikes were stolen from the company he just resigned from. Of course Tin was the main suspect, even though he did not do it. The police locked him up for 15 days, without any proof of guilt. In prison, he had to take off all his clothes – a very embarrassing situation for Burmese people – and was tortured all the time. His initial reaction was, of course, anger and frustration, but over the years this changes into acceptance. Acceptance of destiny, a striking example of the Buddhist lessons of life; recognition of your destiny. Perhaps this was penance for what he started in a previous life.

Mya Tha Lyang Reclining BuddhaBuddhist lessons in Bago`on`Buddhas feet

A Buddhist in heart and soul

So Tin is a Buddhist in heart and soul. My hair rises when listening to this story. To him, this is not something he wanted, but a Buddhist lesson in resignation. Meanwhile, while talking, I already found out that we are the same age, that is to say, I am four days older than this most remarkable man. Is that why we get along so well?

food distribution in Kyaly Khat Wai monastery Bago

There is no single path to happiness

He brings me back to the hotel to escape the heat during the warm afternoon hours. Tin himself goes home to have lunch with his wife. By the way, we also talk about relationships. He married for the second time. He has been living together harmoniously with his current, dedicated wife for 14 years. I speak about my – somewhat parallel – relational life. We conclude that happiness cannot be found in one way, there are several ways, alone or together, ultimately that does not matter.

golden Buddha statue Bagogolden pillars in Shwegugale pagoda Bago

Coming to rest at the Shwesandaw pagoda

3 Buddhas at Shwemawdaw pagodabrother and sister at_Shwemawdaw pagoda Bago

Late afternoon, Tin shows me 3 more pagodas and temples. I get the impression that he is becoming more distant now, as we both know that the end of day arrangement is approaching. At the Shwemawdaw pagoda, I enjoy the sunset on my own; this pagoda is largely comparable to the Shwedagon pagoda in Yangon. What mainly brings me to rest here are the ringing bells – driven by the wind – from the countless small stupas in this place. Bago as a city does not mean too much to me, but I have had some incredible, instructive Buddhist lessons here, thanks to my memorable supervisor.

sunset at Shwemawdaw pagoda in Bago