Myanmar student’s observation of life in Japan

ミャンマーの精霊のはなし

Story of the spirits in Myanmar
          Myanmar is a Buddhist country and many believe in Buddhism, but others also believe in Hindu and Islamic gods. In Burmese Buddhist religion, in addition to the god, we also believe in indigenous spirits and the spirit is called “Natu” in Burmese language.

table of contents

1. Spirit at houses

2.The spirit at my parents’ house

3.Local spirit

4.Summary

1. Spirit at houses
          The traditional spirit in Myanmar is the “house spirit”. Buddha is placed at special place in houses of Buddhists. There will be “House Spirit” near to the god. The spirits of the house are offered with coconuts and flowers.

People think that a house without the Buddha statue is not prosperous. But of course there are some people that do not believe in the God and spirit.

My mother used to pray to the spirit of the house when my father went far away and was late to home. When a family member was sick and was hospitalized, everyone in the family prayed to the spirit of the house. Since we always believe that spirits protect the house and always pray to the spirits of the house before doing anything important. My grandmother told me to pray to the spirits of the house at the time of the exam and before doing anything important. I also believe that the spirits of the house really protect the house and make the family happy.

          Burmese believe that homes without the spirits are not prosporous and thats why they call the spirits to come to their homes. And also believe that spirits are good people in the past and there are 37 good spirits who are in heaven and 37 who are not. If a good man who was burned in the past come to the house as a spirit The incent sticks and candiles are not light up because spirits hate fire.

2.The spirit at my parents’ house
          Everyone pray to their parent`s house spirit after getting married. Everyone must attend the festival of spirit of home town held yearly once.People who are away from their hometown will also return to their hometown at that time. Family will offer something to spirit for you in absense.

          There are priest of spirit in Myanmar and people know about their fortune and financial condition of the family from them. One priest told me that if I pray to spirits of parent`s house unfortunate things won`t happen to me.

My mother goes to the festival every year to pray for the spirits of my parents’ house. When I was 1 year old, my dad went to my parents’ spirit festival. Men don’t believe in spirits relatively, but my dad does.

MinMaHarGiRi精霊の大きい祠。
MinMaHarGiRi A large shrine of spirits. Women come to pray and offer.

3.Local spirit
         People warned to be careful to not to do any things which spirits don`t like. Bad things happen to the village when the people do something wrong.

For example,9 people should not go to May Myo town in Myanmar.When you got to with 9 people ,you have to a stone in hand assuming that you are 10 people. Myanmar people are always concern about spirits.

Koe Myo Shin という精霊の神様。
Burmese also believe in Shan people god named Koe Myo Shin. They also pray to this god when they go to Shan region.

4.Summary
          Burmese believe in many spirits around them. Although most of them are gods, related to Buddhism and exits even before Buddha. Burmese people still have belief in spirits.

Written by Htet Aung