At four o’clock in the morning there is a ceremony that takes place at Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay, Myanmar.
The senior monk washes the face of the Buddha image in a ritual that takes more than an hour. The image is claimed to be one of only five in the world sculpted directly from the living Buddha, Gautama Buddha. Visiting Mahamuni is considered one of the great pilgrimages of Buddhism.
I wasn’t quite sure how to feel about photographing inside the inner chamber during the ceremony. I had my camera with me, expecting to photograph around the temple grounds after the ceremony (and privately hoping I would be able to photograph during the ceremony). When the ceremony began and they opened the gates to the inner-most chamber, showing the brilliant shinning golden image, a whole mix of reactions crashed through my mind – excitement to see such a spectacular scene, awestruck at the brilliance of the image, exuberant to be part of that congregation seated on the cool ceramic floor taking part in the ceremony, taken aback to see everyone around me whip out their smartphones and start snapping off photos, and relieved to know taking photos wasn’t just not frowned upon but rather it was accepted and embraced.
From Instagram… Attendees at the morning ceremony in Mahamuni Buddha Image Temple snap photos of the ritual face washing on their smartphones. #buddhistpilgrimage#buddhistworship #travellife#experiencetheworld #onceinalifetime#amazingplanet #gotravel#photographerslife #thisismyanmar#mahamuni
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