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Religion
    The Buddhist religion plays a very important role in Myanmar; approximately 89.5% of Myanmar are practicing Buddhists. This Buddhism is called 'Theravada Buddhism' and is of the same nature as the Buddhism of Sri Lanka, having been brought to Myanmar from the 'Temple of the Tooth' in Candy, formerly known as Ceylon. reference01
     Whilst many Buddhist countries have made drastic changes in their form of Buddhism, Myanmar has retained its pure form and is possibly the strongest and purest Buddhist country in the world.
    One cannot talk of Myanmar without mentioning the Buddhist way of life, everything connected with religion is considered to be sacred: all temples, shrines, Buddha images and monks should be treated with deference. The Myanmar will not accept a foreigner violating, damaging or being disrespectful to this aspect of their society. In the past, foreigners have been jailed for such acts as having their photographs taken, sitting on a Buddha image. To the Myanmar, this act of sitting on a sacred Buddha image is very irreverent and disrespectful. Foreigners must also note that saying things disrespectful about the Buddhist religion is also against the law.
    Part of the reason for the continued strength of Buddhism in Myanmar is the fact that there are many Myanmar homes, where at least one member of the family has studied the teachings of Buddha in a monastery. It has long been a custom for Buddhist males over the age of 19 years to be ordained into the monkhood for a period ranging from five days, three months to a lifetime.
    Generally, most men go into the momkhood during the rainy season, Mid-May to End-October, when the annual rain retreat takes place. During this period of Buddhist lent, for a three -month period, all monks must stay overnight inside their monasteries and forego any long distance travel. Monkhood is not just for men, many women become nuns too. However, this practice is not so common.
     Another prevalent sign of Buddhism is the many temples or Stupas (as they are commonly called) located throughout Myanmar. Yangon, Mandalay and Bagan are especially noted for having hundreds of temples in or around their vicinity. The monasteries besides serving as a place of worship, have also traditionally served as a news center, hospital, school, hotel, dispensary and community center for Myanmar society. Myanmar Buddhism is more than just a religion-it is also a way of looking at the world.
    There are many cultural aspects of Buddhism which affect every aspects of society, including business. Some of the more common aspects that businessmen need to be aware of are the Myanmar avoidance of aggression, their respect for seniority and status and their concept of giving merit.
    Before Buddhism came to Myanmar, respect was given to (37) spirits or nats, they are not worshipped as the Guatama Buddha, but paying respect to the nats is not regarded as being in any way in conflict with the principles of Buddhism. Foreigners are also advised to treat the nats with respect. reference02
    Religious intolerance or discrimination on grounds of religion is nonexistent. Besides Buddhism, the main religions in Myanmar are Christianity(4.9%), Muslims(3.8%), Hindus(0.05%) and Animism(1.3%).
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