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Shwegyin Nikaya

Doctrines The Shwegyin Nikaya is stricter than the Thudamma Nikaya. Schwegyin does not allow its members to smoke, to chew betel nut, to consume drinks after the midday meal, and attend popular forms of entertainment. Traditional forms of Buddhist belief, such as belief in heavens, gods and hells, continue to be part of their cosmology.

History The Shwegyin Nikaya derives its name from the village of the abbot who founded the new order in the middle of the 19th century. At this time Burma was under the rule of the British empire. King Pagan of Burma (r. 1846-53), unable to pursue his desire to strengthen Burma militarily, directed his energies into purifying the Sangha. Pagan's successor, King Mindon (r. 1853-78), continued to support the reform process. In 1860 Mindon built five monasteries for the Shwegyin sect. Shortly after thi s a dispute between the Shwegyin sect and Thuddama leadership of the Sangha led Mindon to allow the Schwegyin sect formally to separate from the Thuddama led Sangha.
By the time of Mindon's death in 1878 the Shwegyin Nikaya had moved away from Mandalay to live a forest existence. Attempts by Mindon's son and successor, King Thibaw, to reconcile Thuddama and Shwegyin were unsuccessful. In 1885 the monarchy was b rought to an end by the British. Following the destruction of the monarchy the Shwegyin sect continued to defend traditional ways in the context of British rule and the modernisation of Burma. Unlike the larger Thuddama Nikaya, the Shwegyin refused to b ecome involved in national politics on the grounds that politics was the preserve of the laity and not monks. This contributed to the growing independence of the Shwegyin. It would seem that the Shwegyin will continue to operate as an independent sect r ather than be absorbed into the Sangha at large.

Symbols Mahamuni Buddha - image of Buddha as world conqueror.

Adherents Shwegyin Nikaya has about 50,000 monks (Spiro 1982, 316).

Main Centre
 The monastery known as the Mahawithudarama Taik is the seat of the leader of the Shwegyin Nikaya.