Nayon is well underway, the 3rd and hottest month in the Burmese Calendar. The most sacred day of the month, is today and the full moon to come. The Full Moon of Nayon marks the time when aspiring monks are tested before becoming full-fledged monks. This examination period is known as Sar Pyan Pwel.

The annual Sar Pyan Pwel is a rigourous monk certification of sorts. There is a written and oral test where students must recite the three pitakas of the Pali Canon, well over a thousand pages. The International Buddhist University in Yangon will be filled with monks on the Full Moon of Nayon which falls on 20th June of this year.

The first Sar Pyan Pwel was held during King Thalun’s reign in the Innwa Era for the purpose of spreading Buddhism. The practice has been continued since then with a similar focus.

The full moon day of Nayon is also known Maha Samaya Day. It is the day where Lord Buddha preaches the Maha Samaya Sutta to the two warring kingdoms, Koliya and Kapilavattu. The two kingdoms were at war for the water resources. During that time, the scarcity of water was high and the two kingdoms were doing what they can to ensure the resource. However, Buddha intervened and helped achieve peace to the two kingdoms by reciting the Maha Samaya Sutta. It is also believed that when Buddha was preaching the sutta, the celestial beings who admired Buddha were also present there.

Where To Go
To commemorate these sacred events, there will be an events at Shwedagon and other famous pagodas where senior monks will preach the same sutta that Buddha gave on the same day. All of these monks have completed Sar Pyan Pwel. You are unable to lead a sermon unless you do. During the intense period of examination, ordinary people provide the monks with food and necessities so monks can focus on their studies. Laymen are welcome to participate and listen to the sutta. It is said that whoever recites or listens to the Maha Samaya Sutta will gain inner peace just like the two warring kingdoms.

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Gwan Tong
Gwan is an intern at Myanmore. He enjoys philosophy, music and exploring Yangon. He will be attending university in the US next fall.


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