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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Buddha is born 623 BC and Shwedagon Pagoda

Myoma's Beloved Shwedagon    

Myoma's Beloved Shwedagon
Research by-မြင့်ကြွယ်၊ မြို့မ
Research by- Myoma Myint Kywe

As there are pagodas all over Burma, Burma (Myanmar) is rightly known as the land of pagodas. Many of these pagodas are ancient historical pagodas. The Shwedagon is the most ancient historical pagoda in Burma.

The history of the Shwedagon says that the Gotama Buddha give eight hair relics to the two brothers, Taphussa and Ballika, who went to India as traders BC 588. They're first pioneer and first brothers Buddhists in the World. They brought the relics to their hometown, Okkalapa in Burma, now known as Rangoon (Yangon). They gave the scared relics to the king of Okkalapa. The king and the citizens built the first pagoda in Burma.

This pagoda, now known as the Shwedagon, enshrines not only the eight hair relics of Gotama Buddha but also the relics of Kakusam Buddha, Konagon Buddha and Kassapa Buddha. So it is regarded as the most sacred pagoda. The pagoda was rebuit and enlarged by later kings. The last person to rebuild the pagoda to the present size and shape was Queen Shin Saw Pu. The pagoda is 326 feet tall and its circumference at the base is 1420 feet. It is covered with gold from top to bottom. It glitters in the sun-light like solid gold. It is well know not only in Burma but also in the whole world.

The Shwedagon Pagoda also known in English as the Great Dagon Pagoda and the Golden Pagoda, is a 99 metres (326 ft) gilded pagoda and stupa located in Rangoon, (Yangon), Burma. The pagoda lies to the west of Kandawgyi Lake, on Singuttara Hill, thus dominating the skyline of the city. It is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda for the Burmese with relics of the past four Buddhas enshrined within, namely the staff of Kakusandha, the water filter of Koṇāgamana, a piece of the robe of Kassapa and eight hairs of Gautama, the historical Buddha.

According to historical record, the Shwedagon Pagoda is over 2600 years old. Shwedagon is the first oldest pagoda in the whole World. According to the records by ancient historical record and old Buddhist monks it was built before Lord Buddha died in 543 BC.  

Buddha is born 623 BC. Archaeologists believe the stupa was actually rebuilt sometime between the 6th and 10th centuries by the Mon, The true historical record of Shwedagon Pagoda begins with two merchant brothers, Taphussa and Bhallika, from the land of Ramanya, meeting the Lord Gautama Buddha and receiving eight of the Buddha's hairs to be enshrined in Burma. The two brothers made their way to Burma and with the help of the local king, King Okkalapa in Burma, found Singuttara Hill, where relics of other Buddhas preceding Gautama Buddha had been enshrined.

The stupa fell into disrepair until the 14th century when the Mon king Binnya U of Bago had the stupa rebuilt to a height of 18 m (59 ft). The stupa is the oldest Buddhist religious monument and was originally only a simple mound of mud or clay to cover supposed relics of the Buddha (cetiya). It was rebuilt several times and reached its current height of 98 m (326 ft) in the 18th century. The Mon kingdom possessed two great pagodas of especial sanctity, the Shwemawdaw at Bago and the Shwedagon. Originally only 27 ft (8 m) high, it was raised to a height of 66 m (217 ft) in 1362 by King Binnya U as an act of special piety. Dhammazedi's immediate predecessor, his mother-in-law Queen Shinsawbu (1453–72), raised its height to 40 m (131 ft). She terraced the hill on which it stands, paved the top terrace with flagstones, and assigned land and hereditary slaves for its maintenance. When in 1472 she yielded up the throne to Dhammazedi, she retired to Dagon, and during her last illness had her bed placed so that she could rest her dying eyes upon the gilded dome of the sacred fane. The Mon face of the Shwe Dagon inscription catalogues a list of repairs beginning in 1436 and finishing during Dhammazedi's reign. It mentions Queen Shinsawbu under a terrific Pali name of sixty-six letters. By the beginning of the 16th century the pagoda had become the most famous place of pilgrimage in Burma.

Visitors must remove their shoes before the first step at any of the entrances. The southern and eastern approaches have traditional shops with wide gradual staircases. In addition these entrances have an elevator and the infrequently used western one is equipped with escalators. Burmese walk around the stupa clockwise (let ya yit). The day of the week a person is born will determine their planetary post, eight in all as Wednesday is split in two, a.m. and p.m. They are marked by animals that represent the day, galon (garuda) for Sunday (ta nin ganway), tiger for Monday (ta nin la), lion for Tuesday (in ga), tusked elephant for Wednesday a.m.(bouddahu), tuskless elephant for Wednesday p.m. (yahu), mouse for Thursday (kyatha baday), guinea pig for Friday (thaukkya) and naga (mythical dragon/serpent) for Saturday (sanay). Each planetary post has a Buddha image and devotees offer flowers and prayer flags and pour water on the image with a prayer and a wish. At the base of the post behind the image is a guardian angel, and underneath the image can be seen the animal representing the day. The base of the stupa is octagonal and also surrounded by small shrines, eight in number for each day of the week.

Most Myanmar people are Buddhist, at the same time believing astrology which originated from Hindu Brahmanism. It is very important for every Myanmar Buddhist people to recognize the day of their birth, such as Sunday, Monday, Tuesday etc. Otherwise, he or she may not know which part of pagoda platform to go and make special devotional acts either his or her desire or by the advice of Astrologer.

The Shwedagon is the most ancient historical pagoda in Burma and in the World.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shwedagon_Pagoda

Research by-Myoma Myint Kywe