Kengtung Monastery

(Since there is very little information online about things here in Myanmar, I’ll be trying to make posts about the different places at least here in Taunggyi. For the first post is the Buddhist monastery nearest to where I live, the Kengtung Kyaung. This short history is partly written by one of my students, Nan Do Dhar Sa (Noom), who is a young monk in the monastery)20160704_064125

Kengtung Monastery (Wat Kengtung or Kengtung Kyaung) is named after a city in eastern Shan state, whose people donated funds to build this monastery in Taunggyi.

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A coloured bas relief depiction of the Buddha preaching under the Bodhi Tree at the back of the wihara, facing Kambawza street

Most of the people from Kengtung, who largely belong to the Tai ethnic group, are very charitable. It is Tai tradition (specially from those in Kengtung) to seek to build temples wherever their people visit. This monastery is thus a branch from Buddhist institutions in Kengtung, and this is why it is named after the city even if it is in Taunggyi. There is a similar monastery in Yangon.

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The wihara, with a pair of impressive naga adorning the stairs

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The Thein at the center, with the Ar Saung (monks’ living quarters) to the right

The Kengtung Monastery at the capital of Shan state was founded on June 23, 1980. The villagers from Kengtung spent 300,000kyat just to buy the land. At the time it was very difficult to get money, and this was a large amount. The large Wihara (the prayer hall) was built a year after in 1981, then the Thein (or the Ubosot, the Ordination hall) was built in 1994.

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Kengtung Monastery’s wihara as seen from SAG

The Founder of Kengtung Monastery is the Venerable Dr Jao Khru War Seng Lar, who was born in Sipsongpannar (Xishuangbanna), on the Burmese border with China.

Kengtung Monastery is located on one corner of Kambawza and Ye Htwet Oo streets in Taunggyi’s Forest Quarter. Just across Ye Htwet Oo is Ko Myo Shin Nat temple.

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