Burma adopted Buddhism almost 2,000 years ago, so it's not surprising that 89% of the population are Buddhists. It's quite common for growing boys to spend short spells in a monastery as they grow, and indeed the older monks are viewed as the educated ones in the country. But the monks are not entirely peaceful beings here. In 2007 they led the riots that ended in terrible bloodshed and imprisonment for thousands. And even now, they have been identified in taking part in massacres against the small Muslim population in an act that could be described as ethnic cleansing ! But putting all that aside, the temples, pagodas and stupas liberally scattered around the country, are truly wonderful.