at a monastery outside Rangoon, Myanmar.
few months after his enlightenment the Buddha founded
an order of monks, and later on nuns. The purpose of this
order was twofold. Its primary purpose was to provide
a community that would give the optimum opportunity for
its members to practice the Dharma and attain Nirvana.
Its secondary purpose was to transmit the Dharma and be
a witness to its transforming power.
the time of the Buddha, monks and nuns have expanded
their role beyond that of the practitioner and teacher
to become, at different times and places, educators,
artists, social workers, scholars, physicians, and even
rulers. In Tibet, a line of monks called the Dalai Lama's,
ruled the country from the 16th to the middle of the
19th century. However despite these expanded, sometimes
even incongruous roles, there have always been monks
who have lived simple lives, meditating, teaching and
gently influencing the communities around them.