Burma: Monks

Buddhism is a very important part of Burmese tradition and practiced by 90% of the country. Most Burmese men serve as monks at some point in their lives. Over 1% of the population spends their entire life in a monastic existence. Even under the strict military rule of the last 50 years, monks have been a potent religious and more recently political force. In 2007 thousands of monks were involved in the Saffron Revolution, demanding change in Burma and leading groups of tens of thousands. Political activism among monks has created internal tensions as some are accused of fomenting anti-Muslim tension and violence. Today as the country opens up, monks span the gamut from living a traditional cloistered existence to active societal and civic participation.

For more images on Flickr, click here.