Shwegyin Nikaya
ရွှေကျင်နိကာယ
AbbreviationShwegyin
FormationMid-1800s
TypeBuddhist monastic order
HeadquartersMyanmar
Members
50,692 (2016)
Key people
Shwegyin Sayadaw U Jāgara
In February 2012, one thousand Buddhist monks and followers gathered for the eighteenth annual Shwekyin Nikaya Conference at the compound of Dhammaduta Zetawon Tawya Monastery in Hmawbi Township, Yangon Region.
In February 2012, one thousand Buddhist monks and followers gathered for the eighteenth annual Shwekyin Nikaya Conference at the compound of Dhammaduta Zetawon Tawya Monastery in Hmawbi Township, Yangon Region.

Shwegyin Nikāya (Burmese: ရွှေကျင်နိကာယ; MLCTS: Hrwekyang Ni.kaya., IPA: [ʃwèdʑɪ́ɰ̃ nḭkàja̰]; also spelt Shwekyin Nikāya) is the second largest monastic order of monks in Burma.[1] It is one of nine legally sanctioned monastic orders (nikāya) in the country, under the 1990 Law Concerning Sangha Organizations.[2] Shwegyin Nikaya is a more orthodox order than Sudhammā Nikāya, with respect to adherence to the Vinaya,[3] and its leadership is more centralized and hierarchical.[4] The head of the Shwegyin Nikaya is called the Sangha Sammuti (သံဃာသမ္မုတိ), whose authority on doctrine and religious practice is considered absolute (နိကာယဓိပတိ ဥက္ကဋ္ဌ မဟာနာယက ဓမ္မသေနာပတိ).[5]

Statistics

According to 2016 statistics published by the State Sangha Maha Nayaka Committee, 50,692 monks belonged to this monastic order, representing 9.47% of all monks in the country, making it the second largest order after Sudhammā. With respect to geographic representation, the plurality of Shwegyin monks live in Yangon Region (23.66%), followed by Sagaing Region (17.47%), Bago Region (16.58%), and Mandalay Region (13.98%).

History

The monastic order was founded in the mid-nineteenth century by a chief abbot monk in the village of Shwegyin; hence, its name. It formally separated from the Sudhammā Nikāya during the reign of King Mindon Min, and attempts to reconcile the two sects by the last king of Burma, Thibaw Min, were unsuccessful.[1]

Monks of the order did not participate in the nationalist and anti-colonial movement in British Burma of the early 1900s. In the 1960s, with the ascent of Ne Win to power, the order gained monastic influence in the country, as Ne Win sought counsel from a monk at the Mahagandayon Monastery, a Shwegyin monastery in Amarapura.[6] During the 2021 Myanmar protests, the order urged Senior General Min Aung Hlaing to immediately cease the assaults on unarmed civilians and to refrain from engaging in theft and property destruction.[7][8] Its leading monks reminded the senior general to be a good Buddhist,[7] which entailed keeping to the Five Precepts required for at least a human rebirth.[a]

Notes

  1. ^ This letter, released in March, gained notoriety for the discrepancies between its signed original draft and its final version, the latter which appears to have legitimized Min Aung Hlaing's rule through a veiled reference to him as king.[9] The Burmese word for 'king', min (Burmese: မင်း; MLCTS: mang:), coincides with the first syllable of the general's name,[9] even in the Burmese script.

References

  1. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-12-17. Retrieved 2009-04-12.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ Gutter, Peter (2001). "Law and Religion in Burma" (PDF). Legal Issues on Burma Journal. Burma Legal Council (8): 10. Archived from the original (PDF) on March 14, 2012.
  3. ^ Aung-Thwin, Michael (2009). "Of Monarchs, Monks, and Men: Religion and the State in Myanmar" (PDF). Working Paper Series No. 127. Asia Research Institute (18).
  4. ^ Jordt, Ingrid (2007). Burma's mass lay meditation movement. Ohio University Press. p. 50. ISBN 978-0-89680-255-1.
  5. ^ Carbine, Jason A (2011). Sons of the Buddha: Continuities and Ruptures in a Burmese Monastic Tradition. 50. Walter de Gruyter. ISBN 978-3-11-025409-9.
  6. ^ Matthews, Bruce; Judith A. Nagata (1986). Religion, values, and development in Southeast Asia. Canadian Council for Southeast Asian Studies. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. p. 61. ISBN 9789971988203.
  7. ^ a b "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 7 March 2021. Retrieved 6 March 2021.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "From Petty Crimes to Atrocities, Myanmar's Junta Rules through Lawlessness". Myanmar Now. 2021-04-28.
  9. ^ a b "The 4th Point". Insight Myanmar. 2021-03-16.

See also