i io BURMA, PAST AND PRESENT
had still greater charms in the troublous times which preceded British rule. In the quiet and solitude of his monastery, the monk was safe from all the care and turmoil of the outer world, he could not be pressed to serve as a soldier, was free from all taxation and forced labour, and no robber was sacrilegious enough to attack a monastery.
For admission to the Order, only a few necessary conditions are required, and the rules to be observed convey more an obligation to refrain from certain usages, rather than as imposing a class of duties that he has to perform. " On the part of the candidate, it is an acknowledgment of the excellence of asceticism, with an implied declaration that its obligations should be observed ; and on the part of the priests by whom the ceremony is conducted, it is an admission that the candidate is eligible to the reception of the office, and that so long as he fulfils its duties, he will be received as a member of the ascetic community, and be entitled to all its rights and privileges." *
The Buddhist kyoung, or monastery, plays an important part in the life of every Burman. It is almost the universal custom for Burmese parents in every class of life, to cause their sons to enter the monasteries as novices, for the purpose of learning to read and write. Then, again, Gautama preached
* " Eastern Monachism," p. 44.* " Eastern Monachism," p. 44.