I am writing to you today for your advice. I have been considering ordination in the Pau Auk tradition. I am planning a trip to stay for a month in May to see what the life is like. I am undecided whether to go to the main monastery in Mawlamyine or pyin oo lwin branch. I was hoping you could provide any information to help this decision. I am a Westerner from the USA if that has any influential factor. Thank you very much! With metta,
From my experience in the monastery located at Mawlamyine is that they are able to greet, accomodate with all that they might need and guide foreigners (that are quite numerous at times) with proper care. I have met a lot of very inspiring foreign/local lay followers and monks there.
The ordination process is fairly simple and straightforward (I would advice, if you were to go there, to ask for a "kuti" which is a hut, after ordination as you're more likely to have a suitable one that hasn't a leaky roof or that is being destroyed by termites), you usually have a short daily interview with a teacher for questions in regards to your practice (have you already been acquainted with the Pa-auk method of practicing ?). And if ever you wished I'm reasonably sure that you could also visit the one in Pyin oo lwin (and perhaps beyond ? There are a lot of different places foreigners can go to).
With regards to the comments to your initial post, I would nevertheless suggest reflecting on the decision as there might also be a lot of different opportunities to stay in monasteries in the United states and cannot foresee what may happen with the local conflicts there, I reckon uncertainty is an underlying reality wherever we are. But please do be careful ! (you can check restricted areas to avoid at all times). I still do know numerous foreign monks there who engage with great dedication to the path without meeting substantial obstacles related to these conflicts up until now.
Also, please do consider that May is a very hot season in Myanmar.