The Sule Pagoda in Yangon needles its diamond tipped spears to the threatening sky, each point threatening to unzip the rain. Yet in the centre of the city at mile zero sits the Pagoda, a centre from which the entire colonial British Empire in Yangon radiated. As diverse as the Indian clerks and as proliferous as the merchant marina.
The pink shrouds of the Sisters of Mercy introduce an emerging order of women serving as monks — updating the product with a correctness that is not political.
The Swedago Pagoda rises above the city park where it is located. 114 acres of temples and towers. A stupa realigned and refined with gold with every passing change of control. Each layer a trademark of the next generation.
The stupa takes up 14 acres in the centre of the site. Each entrance a compass quadrant. Each birth day marked by stations of adoration. I learned I was born on a Fiday. The lighting of the oil lamps at sundown marked a link to Festival of Lights and the pathway of the way toward enlightenment or “nirvana”. The rain made the torches hard to light. It was the Elijah story in reverse.
The most hopeful images were those of families, children, the elderly and the newly wed all running, jumping praying and playing together in a shrine of devotion to the sacred. The hope for the next generation is in the learned way this youngster holds the hammer. He knew how to strike the bell. Whether your story is steps or steeples or stupas how are the children?