Yangon, MYANMAR - Monk

Li Pinyo

Interview made by Cyril Bruyelle in September 2017​

What did you want to be when you were a kid?  

When I was young, I was from a village, so no specific interest in what I wanted to do. I listened to my parents to enter monkhood in order to stay in Sasana Life. 


With whom would you like to have a coffee?  

There is no specific person that I would like to have a coffee with. I don't have a habit of drinking coffee or tea. 


If you could choose something that could be taught in every school in the world, what would it be? 

School means every type of schools including monasteries, religious schools & government schools is it correct? All types of schools can be considered. Then it is difficult for me to say. Every country has its own prescribed texts, so that it is not easy for me to answer. I was taught in Buddhist Teachings at a monastery and this is not my area to comment. 


To you, what’s the main characteristic that all human being have in common?  

All human beings are different in characters, some are bad, and some are good. This concept, from the moment you are born, we called it "B-Za" meaning The Origin. If all people have good characters you can find only good men.  


To you, who is the happiest person on earth?  

I can say I am the happiest person. 


If you were President of the US, what would your first reform be?  

I've never been to America so I cannot say anything. I don't know their characters so it is difficult for me to say. 


What do you need?  

I need nothing at all. 


What would you do if we gave you 1 million dollars now?  

I wish to do prosperity works not for my own benefit but for the poor’. For those who are uneducated I wish to provide them education. For those poor villages that don't have water or electricity I have a desire to help them get it. 


Which innovation, realistic or not, would greatly ease your day-to-day life?  

I live my entire life as a monk, trying to excel in Sasana Life, developing young novice monks. In this monastery we don't have young novice monks but apprentice monks who are studying the holy text "Tripitaka".  They have completed part one, part two and those studying part three reside here. We are here to develop them and do all the necessary tasks. After my time here in this monastery and in the future, if I have my own monastery I will develop young novice monks and apprentice monks through Buddha's teachings. 


What’s the news that affects you the most in your country these days?  

Buthidaung, Maungdaw issues’ are the news that affect me. They implicate religious matters, some of our people lost their homes and I felt empathy, took pity on them and I felt sorrow. 


Do you think your life is easier or more complicated than the life of your parents?  

Yes, my life is easier than my parents’. 


If you had to create a company, what would it be?  

Due to the fact that I am wearing a monk's robe, I cannot and should not start a company. It is not correct to do this for a Buddhist monk. 


Can you sing something beautiful?  

I don’t know any songs at all.  


What are you afraid of?  

As a human being I am afraid of death. 


What is your dream?  

The question is about my future path, my desire, correct? As I have mentioned before, I want to develop novice monks and start my own monastery. 


Close your eyes, you are in 2100, what do you see?  

I see nothing. 


What is the most beautiful thing that you’ve seen in your life?  

I have spent my entire life as a monk in Sasana so I can say the most beautiful things I have seen are 'my teachers'.  


If you had to write a book about the current world, what would be the title?  

How can I say... About the world...The title should be about "Peace". I want it that way. 


What does religion mean to you?  

Religion is what you believe in and worship.  I am a Buddhist monk so that I have to live with the abided laws laid down by our Lord Buddha.  


Which of your country's cultural specificities are you the proudest of? 

I am from the "Dhanu" ethnicity and I am proud of my tradition. Anyone will be proud of his or her tradition. In "Dhanu" tradition there is a dance associated with OhSi Drums, which is the one that I am the proudest of. 


If you could do any job regardless of money, what would it be? 

Like my dream, I will develop novice monks and educate them.  


If you had to explain our planet to an alien, what would you say?  

About this planet, I cannot explain much. Young people like you can explain better than me because you travel a lot. It will be more impactful if you explain. 


And you, which question would you like to ask the world?  

How to get along well with one another and what can we do to stay in peace?