Shinbyu


Shinbyu
   The major life-cycle ritual for nearly all male believers in Burmese Buddhism, the initiation of boys into the Sangha, although their sojourn as koyin or novice monks in a monastery is usually brief. The ceremony begins with a festive procession, the initiates being dressed in princely garb, like Gotama Buddha before his renunciation of the world. The ritual usually entails considerable expense, and sponsors gain much kutho (merit), because shinbyu is seen as a means of propagating the religion. Parents play an important role in the initiation, but when the boy's head is shaved and he dons the robes of a monk, they must do him obeisance. Through shinbyu the boy becomes a "dignified person." A life-cycle ritual for small girls, ear boring, often occurs at the same time as the initiation. Although it is a common practice for boys in Theravada Buddhist countries to spend some time in a monastery, it is especially important in Burma.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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