Young boys the day before they become monks. Maha Bodhi Tahtaung monastery, Monywa, Myanmar

Once a year, a celebration is held in the Maha Bodhi Tahtaung monastery on the outskirts of Monywa. Young boys, painted with makeup and dressed extravagantly, are carried through the monastery on the shoulders of local men, eating their favourite foods from a bowl they carry as the parade winds its way through the monastery grounds. Tomorrow, these boys will become monks - this is their last celebration of worldly pleasures for now. 

Portrait of a young monk in Myo Chat monastery in Kalaymyo, Myanmar.

A young monk poses for a portrait at the Myo Chat monastery in Kalaymyo.

Young monks studying at the Mya Sat Kyar monastery. Sagaing, Myanmar.

Young monks study in the morning at the Mya Sat Kyar monastery in Sagaing.

Monks eating their morning meal at the Myo Chat monastery in Kalaymyo, Myanmar,

After collecting donations of food all morning, the monks in the Myo Chat monastery in Kalaymyo gather together for the main meal of the day, which must be eaten before midday. After this meal, these monks will not eat again for the rest of the day. 

Monks chanting at the Myo Chat monastery in Kalaymyo.

Monks chanting at the Myo Chat monastery in Kalaymyo.

Monks looking for their shoes after their morning meal. Mya Sat Kyar monastery, Sagaing, Myanmar.

After the morning meal is finished, these monks search through the neat rows of near-identical shoes to find their own pair. Mya Sat Kyar monastery, Sagaing. 

Monks working hard at the Yadanar Aung Myay monastery in Monywa, Myanmar.

Young monks working hard under the oversight of a senior monk in the Yadanar Aung Myay monastery in Monywa.

Monks playing Chinlone at the Mahar Bawdi monastery in Monywa, Myanmar.

Monks playing the Myanmar national sport, Chinlone, in the afternoon at Mahar Bawdi monastery in Monywa. 

Monks washing at the Myo Chat monastery in Kalaymyo, Myanmar.

Monks washing at the Myo Chat monastery in Kalaymyo.

A monk dries his robes at the Myo Chat monastery in Kalaymyo, Myanmar.

A monk wrings out his robe after washing at the Myo Chat monastery in Kalaymyo.

A monk studies in the morning while surrounded by drying robes at the Mya Sat Kyar monastery, Sagaing, Myanmar.

This monk paced slowly up and down between the rows of drying robes while reading his morning study aloud. Mya Sat Kyar monastery, Sagaing

A monk studies in the afternoon at the Yadanar Aung Myay monastery in Monywa.

Mid-afternoon study in the Yadanar Aung Myay monastery in Monywa.

Portrait of the head monk of a small monastery in Sagaing, Myanmar.

The head monk of a small monastery in the back streets of Sagaing. 

Portrait of a senior monk at the Yadanar Aung Myay monastery in Monywa.

A senior monk at the Yadanar Aung Myay monastery in Monywa.

A senior monk contemplates the afternoon sunset at the Mahamuni Paya in Mandalay, Myanmar.

Mahamuni Paya is one of the busiest and largest pagodas in the city of Mandalay. Despite the chaos and numerous tourists at the pagoda, there is always time to pause and appreciate the afternoon sunset. 

A senior monk pauses for a moment of silent meditation after teaching a class to local Buddhists. Shwebontha Pagoda, Kalaymyo.

A senior monk pauses for a moment of silent meditation after teaching a class to local Buddhists. Shwebontha Pagoda, Kalaymyo. 

A statue of a monk silently meditating in the Sutaungpyi Paya in Monywa.

A statue of a monk silently meditating in the Sutaungpyi Paya in Monywa.

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