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Rich and poor donate gold for next life

- - - - - Rich poor gold donation

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BurmeseNews

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The 41-year-old car accessories salesman, who runs a modest business in the city’s Mayangone township, has for the past 15 years religiously allocated a share of his daily profit to the tin.

"I never forget to save money for donation," he says, pointing to the box on an altar beside a small statue of the Buddha and two vases full of flowers. 

He estimates that the tin has collected almost 30,000 US dollars over the years, all of it going toward renovations at the Shwedagon Pagoda, Myanmar’s holiest Buddhist site. The 100-metre stupa, which towers over Myanmar’s most populous city, is currently wrapped in bamboo scaffolding as workers touch up its gold leaf covering and replace some of the solid gold plates that adorn its upper reaches. Zaw Win, his face beaming, says he has donated gold weighing a total of 45 kyattha to the pagoda. 

With a kyattha corresponding to just over 16 grammes, one kyattha of gold is currently worth about 600US dollars.

"By saving just a small amount of money at a time, I donate at least3 kyattha a year for the renovation of the Shwedagon Pagoda," he said.

Renovations are funded by individual donations from ordinary people, as well as from religious associations across Myanmar.

Many people in the majority-Buddhist country give a large portion of their income to religious causes or to charity in hopes of improving their fortune in the next life.The country’s gross domestic product per capita is just US$1,105, according to a World Bank report published this week, and the poverty rate is among the highest in Southeast Asia at 37.5 per cent. But many families still manage to find the $600 to $3,600 needed to buy a gold plate, depending on the size, for the Shwedagon.

http://www.nationmul...e-30250486.html


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