The Buddhist Burmese Community of Amarillo Texas is a cultural bastion that adheres to ancient customs and traditions brought from Burma by political exiles and refugees who fled tyranny, torture and death by the hand of the Military Dictatorship. The community thrives within their culture and religion in spite of the fact their beloved homeland is thousands of miles away. And this story is about a thriving community that conquered the issues of assimilation and has excelled in ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’.
The Kathina Festival was held at the Sadimon Jeyawdi Buddhist Temple under the stewardship of Ashin Nanda Vamsa. Kathina. It is a time of giving and showing appreciation where the people bring gifts and robes to the monks. The ceremony is also a time of fellowship and feasting combined with traditional entertainment. I was fortunate to be invited to this hallowed event by my friend Kyaw Hein and frankly, I had a great time and enjoyed some of the finest Burmese cuisine I had ever eaten. It was heartening to note that Amarillo as a whole has embraced these humble and hard working people as members of their community proving that everything truly is bigger in Texas including their hearts.
What really impressed me about this cultural event was that the younger more Americanized folks were participating along side the older more traditional people in total harmony. The younger generation has embraced their culture, language and religion in such a way there is no question the spirit of Buddhism & Burma will continue to live and flourish for generations to come. The Buddhist Burmese religious & civil leaders have managed to build a healthy and thriving community that should be the envy of other communities that face divisions between generations.
Of course I must thank my interpreter, Madam Butterfly, who introduced me toBurmaand her culturally diverse people. With her priceless assistant I managed to explore the Burmese culture where few have ever delved and in the process I also ate some real good food. Being the foodie that I am, I enjoyed every scrumptious moment. Exploring and experiencing the peaks and valleys of these refugee/political exiles has offered me greater insights on their epic human challenge and happily I must report that this journey to Amarillo Texas is one of the highlights of my Burmese experience, so far. But then again, I’ve had many richly rewarding experiences with these ancient culturally diverse people from the Far East.
In all fairness it must be noted the videos produced do not include all of the brilliant performances but rest assured the ones I did miss where just as vibrant, culturally rich and colorfully entertaining. In some way it was as if I was taken back in time when Burma was still the ‘Land of Alaungpaya’. Within my tradition we believe everything comes in cycles and there is no question that one day Burma will regain her rightful place as Asia’s ‘Jewel of the Orient’. ‘The Yellow Rose of Texas’ has been complemented with priceless glimmering emeralds, and they are the Burmese people.
Kathina Festival pt 1
Kathina Festival pt 2
For more information contact:
Ashin Nanda Vamsa
Sadimon Jeyawdi Buddhist Temple
7301 Amarillo Blvd
East Amarillo,Texas 79107
Ph; 806 290 8017
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