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Beloved Princes: Boys Become Monks

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#1 Michael



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Posted 27 April 2018 - 02:02 PM

Great article and a great slide show at the bottom!



#2 Bob



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Posted 28 April 2018 - 08:15 AM


Poy Sang Long is a Shan buddhist ceremony with a long tradition and which many of the Shan boys do to make merit for their parents and elders.  Typically it's a 3 or 4 day ceremony and, until the boys are ordained, they're not allowed to touch the ground.  After their heads are shaved, they're dressed up in all kinds of silks and finery as well as facial makeup, all to have them mimic the Buddha himself (before Buddha was an ascetic, he was the son of a king and had all the riches and finery one could imagine).  The most colorful and public portion of the ceremony occurs early in the morning for two days when the boys are paraded around the temple grounds (and sometimes outside the temple) on the shoulders of their male relatives (or, occasionally, on a pony or even a palaquin).


The last day is the "ordination" day and the boys are stripped of all their finery, don the saffron robes, and enter the temple as novices.  Most of the boys stay at the temple for 1-3 weeks although a very small minority might actually become formal monks for life.


Mae Hong Song supposedly has the largest concentration of Shan here in Thailand and their Poy Sang Long ceremonies are purported to be fairly grandiose; however, here in Chiangmai, there is a sizable Shan population and similar ceremonies are held each year (between the middle of March and April, the precise dates either set by the phase of the moon or by the discretionary choice of the temple elders) at the two local Shan temples, Wat Guu Tao and Wat Pa Pao.  The Poy Sang Long ceremonies at Wat Guu Tao were held this year during the last week of March and about 70 boys were invested as novices.  I'll attempt to attach a few photos of that event.


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