"Burmese religious pilgrims flocked by the thousands at the weekend to Nyaunglaybin township, 160 kilometres north of Rangoon, to witness a "miracle" of multi-coloured light beams appearing from a Buddhist monastery." ( Source: DPA, Germany, March 1997 )

Residents of Nyaunglaybin say the light beams have been occurring since March 9, and has drawn increasingly large crowds to the small town.

At the centre of the phenomenon is a Buddhist monk named Sayadew.

In recent years the monk has become known for his hour-long sermons at which listeners are required to remain perfectly still with their eyes closed. But this year he changed his technique, shortening his sermons to 20 minutes and insisting that people keep their eyes wide open, with no blinking.

Earlier this month some of Sayadew's followers claimed to see "relics of the Buddha", or mortal remnants of the Lord Buddha who died more than 2500 years ago, on the monk's robes.

"Scriptures have it that those who have been blessed with the experience of looking at the relics would be distanced from Hell by 92 worlds," Sayadew told his followers on Sunday.

Witnesses also say they have seen rainbow-like colours coming from the roof of Sayadew's home.


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