Crucial Mon monk test draws unexpectedly large number examinees

Independent Mon News Agency
FRIDAY, 19 FEBRUARY 2010 14:48

In an unexpected turn, the number of participants of the Remonnyanikaya monk test for all of Mon State, has been higher then test administrators anticipated.

The exam Rahmonnya Nikaya Dhamma Sariya, which was carried out from February 12th to the 16th , is crucial for the rank advancement of all Mon monks.

What was initially expected to be a decreased turn out due to the increase in political tension in the area, turned out to draw a higher number of participants then last year. This year 1,293 monks registered while 1,138 actually sat for the test. Last year 1,116 monks registered but only 975 took the monk exam.

“We thought that because of the political security [situation], less monks would come to take the test, but [instead] we have more than last year,” explained a presiding monk at the examination. “Also the examination was carried out until its completion. We didn’t see any problems during the exam.” According to a monk at the test, the increase is likely due to a rise in the number of donations, and more monasteries being built. A head monk from Thartanar 2500 monastery said, “Every year there is a change in situation. In the same way [every year] we have many educated and intelligent people from Mon State. At fist, if a monk passed the primary, Anye or Alatt levels [middle], they didn’t to try to reach the next. But now there is competition between each other and more are interested in the Akyi or Damasariya [higher] levels”.

The Rahmonnya monk examination consists of 5 testing levels – the lowest being primary and the highest being Damasariya. In the past, a Pali (traditional Buddhist language) test has also been conducted, however this year the test was dropped because no one registered.

According to one monk, “The Pali test is very difficult because we have to explain [all answers] in Pali words. Last year we had 1 monk who came and registered for the Pali test but he did not pass.”

The number of monks registered for the 5 levels breaks down to, 405 for the primary, 280 for the Anye, 201 for the Alatt, 153 for the Akyi and 245 for the Damasiriya. 437 monks successfully passed the Rahmonnya examination, with 156 in primary, 116 in Anye, 73 in Alatt, 31 in Akyi and 61 in Dmasiriya.

The Rahmonnya Dhamma Sariya test was first administered in 1982. Since its formation it has been administered by the chairman of the organizing committee, Sayadaw Wishudha, 1st vice-chairman Sayadaw Nondiya and 2nd vice-chairman Sayadaw Tika.


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