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A kyaung (ဘုန်းကြီးကျောင်း [pʰóʊɴdʑí tɕáʊɴ], often shortened to ကျောင်း) is a religious complex (monastery) that not only houses Buddhist monks, but also serves the greater community during festivals and other merit-making occasions. Typically, it is wood or brick-constructed and consists of an ordination hall (သိမ် thein, from Pali sima), an assembly hall (ဓမ္မာရုံ dhamma yon), living quarters for the monks and separate living quarters for the chief monk, the sayadaw, as well as storerooms and cooking quarters.[1] Monasteries are never established by members of the Sangha, but by laymen who donate land or money to support the establishment of a monastery. Occasionally, the monastery also contains a bell tower, stupa and other shrines, notably to Shin Thiwali and Shin Upagot.

The monastery has traditionally been the center of village life in Burma, serving as both the educational institution for children and a community center, especially for merit-making activities such as construction of buildings, offering of food to monks and celebration of Buddhist festivals, and observation of the Uposatha, the Buddhist Sabbath.

Kyaung is also a generic term that is also used to describe Christian churches, Hindu temples, and Chinese joss houses, as well as schools. Mosques are an exception, using the Hindi-derived word bali (ဗလီ).

Monasteries located outside of Myanmar (Burma) tend to be smaller, often consisting of a single monk living in a home-monastery. Outside Myanmar, there are some Burmese monasteries in countries like United States, Japan, England, India, Singapore and Malaysia.


Monasteries abroad[edit]

  • United States:
    • California Pomona, Grandview, Azusa and Dhamma Ramsi and a Thilashin school in California
    • New York Mahasi is led by the Venerable Buddhist monk Kawthala
    • North Carolina: Burmese Buddhist Monastery (Dhamma Viman) 6612 Brass Rd, Jamestown [1]
  • Japan:
    • Tokyo: Takara Buddha Dhammavihara and New Life Arakan Asso.
  • England:
    • London Vihara (Britain-Burma Buddhist Trust):1 Old Church Lane, London
    • Tisarana Vihara: 357 Nelson Road, Whitton, Twickenham, Middlesex
    • Santisukha Vihara: 269 Vicarage Farm Road, Heston, Middlesex
    • Saraniya Dhamma Meditation Centre: 420 Lower Broughton Road, Salford, Lancashire
    • The Oxford Buddha Vihara: 33 Cherwell Drive, Marston, Oxford
    • Birmingham Buddhist Vihara: 29-31 Osler Street, Ladywood, Birmingham


  1. ^ World and Its Peoples: Eastern and Southern Asia. Marshall Cavendish. 2007. p. 630. ISBN 978-0-7614-7631-3. 

See also[edit]