“The Dhamma is so central to this culture, and [yet] not understood by the people who write about this place in the media from overseas. So all those sorts of things get reported from a vacuum of understanding about how incredibly important it is, for this whole culture.”
So says Daw Viranani, an American Buddhist nun based in Chan Myay Myaing Monastery in northern Yangon. We were able to talk with her just before a nationwide Internet black-out hit the country.
Since the military coup on February 1st, Myanmar has been one of the trending topics and major stories across news networks and social media platforms. And yet, as Daw Viranani points out, the core Buddhist practice animating much of the country’s spiritual life is barely mentioned in foreign reporting, let alone understood. In this interview, we address the current situation, but avoid the usual angles of analyzing politics, history, or biographies of the major players. Instead, Daw Viranani brings a Buddhist perspective to bear on the current events. She shares the teachings that resonate with her in this difficult moment, and talks of the power of practicing mettā-bhavana, or loving-kindness meditation, and radiating these good wishes to all beings—even those we have difficult feelings towards.
A note about our mission here at Insight Myanmar Podcast. While it usually takes us several weeks at minimum to produce an episode, we feel that the current moment demands a faster turn-around, and we managed to release this episode after just 36 hours. However, this can be challenging for a primarily volunteer organization, especially one with limited funds. We hope to continue bringing interviews on this topic with Buddhist practitioners, teachers, and scholars, but we need your support to do so. If you would like to support our mission, we welcome your contribution. You may give by searching “Insight Myanmar” on PayPal, Venmo, CashApp, Go Fund Me, and Patreon, as well as via Credit Card at www.insightmyanmar.org/donation.