Cultural and Tradition


In the time of Myanmar monarch before 1885, the wishful donor needs to apply permission directly to the monarch for the new monastery construction.

The monarch granted construction after inquiry about the monk who is going to accept new monastery regarding his level of education in Buddha teaching and moral and probity from the head of a religious order.

The permission was granted in accordance with customary rules and regulations, restrictions and limits.

If new monastery was for the monk who had perfect education in Buddha teaching and practice that grant 4 main entrances and 4 staircases to be assembled in two type of building which were grand and large monastery similar characteristic to ZayTa Wun Monastery existed in Buddha life time and other one was prototype building of royal crown prince.

cultural-18If new monastery was for the monk who is also a regional head monk, that monastery was granted to assemble decorative device in a row of upright leaves around ground foundation of monastery. The regional head monk and deputy have had position in privilege of using palanquin, golden umbrella and a white writing tablet made of palm leaves (Parabaik). During those ancient times, there are cases of death sentence decided by royal authorities and head monks are able to request to donate life of prisoners not to be killed but it is very rare story because there should have a reson why the one should not be punished.

If a new monastery was for the monk who had not good education in Buddha teaching and became a monk at old age after his retirement from household affairs that grant one main entrance and one staircase to be assembled in small size building regardless of how the donor willing to donate in big amount.

cultural-19That is a reason among the monks to distinguish level of education and moral in Buddha teaching and practice, so monks could pay respect each other in accord with their devoted life in Buddhism.

There were also customary rules and regulations for donor of a new monastery.

If a donor was not from Royal family and royal authorities such as Mayors, Ministers and the gazetted wealthy people, the size of monastery was in accord with monk level but not allow decorating carvings and other ornaments on intervening structure between successive and tiered roofs.

Construction of Sale monastery is noted as an example;

cultural-20Sale monastery has 4 staircases of Royal building type. In our history, crown princes used to donate his house in royal palace compound to their teacher monk when he attain supreme power of Country. So some donor construct a monastery as prototype of royal crown prince house.

King granted construction permit in scripture on a white writing tablet made of palm leaves.

Donor of SaLe monastery is U Bo Kyi who is a gazetted wealthy man of export and import company, therefore, he was allowed to decorate carvings and other ornaments on intervening structure between successive and tiered roofs in main building, an also wood carving sculpture at handrail POSTs. With that permit, teak woods belong to the king can be cut free of charge for monastery construction.

cultural-21If teak woods in excess of construction when monastery is completed, donor may construct more building or add more decorative carving for a reason of excessive teak wood not to be in vain that is a way leading to disobedience of King order. In 17 century of Nyaun-yan period, a donor was punished by flogging for building monastery bigger than permit allowance.

In the same way, each level of people from the ordinary firmer to royal crown prince has to construct in permitted design. Among mayors, some mayor can use elephant for travel and some were allowed to use only horse depend on their power. If a mayor who was not allowed to use elephant will construct a portico approaching a size of elephant that is rather dangerous situation if the king noticed it. In summary, monasteries and lay people houses were different in size, design and level. There are some monastery designs go by contraries in way of natural science point of views even today.


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