RELIGIONS

Buddhism is the national religion of Myanmar and consequently about 85 % of the population are Buddhists. But like Thai Buddhism Myanmar Buddhism is strongly intertwined with spiritism. Myanmar was the first country in Southeast Asia where the words of the Buddha were spread. Buddhism has been taught since the first millennium of Christian reckoning by Indian merchants, who entered the Ayeyarwaddy delta for trade purposes. But Buddhism became the dominant religion of Myanmar only after King Anawratha ascended the throne of the Burmese Kingdom in Bagan in 1044. King Anawratha was converted to Buddhism by a Mon missionary by the name of Shin Arahan. Myanmar a Buddhist temple is always the center of the village community. Myanmar Buddhist temples are the traditional places for education every male Burmese is expected to temporarily don the monk’s robes at least once in his lifetime usually as adolescent.Although Myanmar is predominantly a Buddhist country, following the school of Theravada Buddhism, | there are also Christians, Muslims, Hindus and some animists. Myanmar respects the freedom of belief and the people practice religious tolerance, evidenced by the existence of religious edifices of different U faiths in large cities. Freedom of worship for followers of different religions has exited in Myanmar since ancient times. Buddhism is practiced by about 89.3 percent of the population, Christianity by 5.6 percent, Islam by 3.8 percent, Hinduism by 0.5 percent and Animism by 0.2 percent. Buddhism, which teaches that people can find happiness only by freeing themselves of worldly desires, strongly influences familv and community.