Bang a Gong


Yesterday we met three delightful 12 year-old Burmese nuns who introduced us to their daily life. We simulate this schedule in class as a way to connect with the kids of Myanmar and also with the nation’s respect for Buddhist traditions.

What is the daily life of a Burmese monk or nun? Here are some highlights:

1) you wake up at 4 or 5 a.m. in complete darkness
2) you pray
3) you receive “alms,” which are gifts to monks or nuns from the lay population
4) LISTEN FOR THE GONG! At 7 a.m. the gong says it’s breakfast time
5) you care for the temple compound, ideally with a repetitive task, like sweeping, you can do while meditating
6) At 11:30 a.m. eat leftovers from breakfast, which will compose your second and last meal of the day. [some monks only eat once a day]
7) Study or meditate from 1pm to 6pm
8) 7pm: pray
9) 8pm, listen to sermons
10) go to sleep. Dream monkly or nunly dreams.

In class we separate each of these activities with the sound of a gong. While our “gong” is most likely a drum cymbal or pot lid, if you have any chance to access to a gong that’s anything like the gongs in this video, DO IT. And, as you’ll notice in this video, if you’re a reporter doing a story on huge Burmese gongs and have a chance to use the line, “the craftsmen…are hoping their innovations RESONATE with buyers…” DO IT.

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