Dr. U Shein an eighty-seven year old former military personnel is an alchemist and shaman living outside Yangon, Myanmar. His mix of Buddhism, a personal philosophy, and medicine has formed a cult all its own, not representative of mainstream Burmese Buddhism. His control over vulnerable populations that live on the outskirts of Yangon is apparent. In cult like fashion, he has a significant power over people who have chosen to follow him. They pay large amounts of money hoping for a cure for ailments such as cancer, HIV, impotency, spirit possession and much more.
During the full moon of Khatain, a Buddhist holiday, U Shein’s followers produced the traditional skin concoction Thanaka. As instructed by U Shein they recited prayers and danced while performing other rituals during their celebration.