Daily Routine of Buddhist Monks

Early morning around 6:00 AM, many people wait on the street to donate food to Buddhist monks. Since monks are doing their daily routines on a precise schedule, people know exactly when the monks will arrive in front of their houses. Even though each monastery has their own daily routine schedule, generally they are the same. Buddhist monks have to follow strict regulations and their responsibility is to preserve the Buddhist doctrine and discipline. They have to study Buddhist Dhamma regularly and live an austere life. Buddhist monks are intended to have a simple life with no attachments.

They have to wake up at 4:00 AM in the morning. After washing up, all monks have to do the Morning Prayer. Morning Prayer usually last for about an hour and after that, every monk has to head out to the community to ask for donation; especially food. When coming back, all monks have to divide responsibilities for cleaning. And then after cleaning, they can rest for a while before the first session of study about Buddhist Dhamma, which usually starts around 9:30AM. The first studying session last about an hour and a half, and after that all the monks can go back to their rooms to take shower and rest.

Lunch is provided at 11:30PM and they can rest until the second studying session starts. Buddhist monks are not allowed to eat anything after 12:00PM, one of the regulations that monks have to strictly follow. In Myanmar, monks can only have one meal a day and they can only eat the food that has been provided by direct donation from lay supporters. The second session starts at 1:00PM to end at 5:00PM and there are two half an hour breaks during the second session. In the studying sessions, monks have to memorize the prayer and ritual texts. They also have to study the Buddhist doctrine in Pali Language. After the second session, monks are allowed to get back to their rooms and rest until 6:00PM. At 6:00PM, all the monks have to gather at the prayer hall for the Evening Prayer. Then, after the prayer, they have to recite the lessons till 7:30PM. After resting for half an hour, they have to study new chapters again till 10:00PM. All the monks have to turn lights off and sleep at 11:00PM.

Buddhist monks gain higher level according to their knowledge and level of studying. They have to take exam to be appointed to higher position in the ecclesiastic hierarchy. While junior monks are studying, the senior monks have to teach the Buddhist doctrine to the audiences. Every monastery has one leader monk and the rest of the monks have to obey him. The leader of a monastery usually plans the schedules for the routines.

Since more than 80% of the population in Myanmar is Buddhist, there are many monasteries everywhere in the country. Each community has their own monastery that they support regularly. People believe that they can earn merit by providing food and gift to monks. The tradition was maintained till now and religious people are frequently going to the monasteries to learn the Buddhist doctrine. At the same time, Buddhist monks are following the regulations to spread and maintain Buddha’s teachings.

If you are willing to learn Buddha’s teaching and experience the Buddhist monks’ simple way of life to elevate you through meditation, it is totally possible for foreigners to join a monastery or a meditation center and you could do that any time of the year. Currently, there are five meditation centers in Yangon that cater for foreign meditators. There, you could practice Intensive Satipatthana Vipassana meditation, which emphasizes the continuity of moment to moment awareness of all physical and mental phenomenon.

The following meditation centres provide single accommodation and hot water, but you must follow their rules strictly if you want to stay at the monastery and achieve what you expect to reach. For more information about the centers in Yangon, check the list below.

Dhamma Joti Vipassana Centre
Wingaba Yele Kyaung
Nga HtatGyi Pagoda Road,
Bahan Township, Yangon, Myanmar
Tel: (1) 549 290
Contact: Mr. Banwariji Goenka, Bandoola International Ltd
Office. No. 134, Shwebontha Street, Yangon, Myanmar
Tel: (1) 72467, 248 174, 248 175, Fax: 289 965
299, Bosundat Street, Yangoon, Myanmar
Tel: Res. [95] (01) 524 983; Off. 281 277
Email: BANDOOLAMYANMAR@mtp400.stems.com
Tradition: Sayagi U Ba Khin

Chanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Centre
55A Kaba Aye Pagoda Road
Kaba Aye P.O. Yangon (Rangoon) 11061
Tel: (01) 661479, Fax: 01- 667050
Email: chanmyay@mptmail.net.mm 
Web site: www.chanmyay.org
Teacher: Ven. Sayadaw U Janaka
Tradition: Vipassana using the Mahasi Sayadaw method

HMAWBI – Chanmyay Yeiktha Meditation Centre
No. 588, No. 3 Block, Hmawbi Township, Yangon, Myanmar
Tel: (01) 620-321
Email: chanmyay@mptmail.net.mm 
Web site: www.chanmyay.org 
Teacher: Ven. Sayadaw U Janaka
Tradition: Vipassana using the Mahasi Sayadaw method

Saddhamma Ransi Meditation Centre
7 Zeyar Khemar Road,
Mayangone 7SHP. Yangon, Myanmar
Teacher: Ven. Sayadaw U Kundala
Tradition: Vipassana / Mahasi Sayadaw method

Mahasi Sasana Yeiktha Meditation Centre
Buddha Sasana Nuggaha Organisation
No 16, Sasana Yeiktha Road, Yangon, 11201Myanmar
Tel: 01 541971, 552501
Fax: 289960, 289961
Email: Webmaster@mahasi.com 
Web site: www.mahasi.com
Tradition: Satipatthana Vipassana meditation