Shwedagon Pagoda

Temples of Asia | | May 29, 2009 at 3:03 pm


shwedagon pagodaShining in gold and studded with diamonds is the massive Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar is one of the best Buddhist temples in the world. It is a splendid example of Burmese temple architecture and a place of pilgrimage making it the holiest Buddhist shrine in Myanmar.

It is said that two merchants from Burma met Lord Buddha. The Buddha gave the eight of his hair to be enshrined in Burma. The Merchants with the help of spirits (knwn as nat in Burmese) and the king of Burma found the hill where the relics of the previous Buddha’s had been preserved. To house the relics a chamber was built and when the hairs were taken out of the gold casket astonishing things happened:

There was a tumult among men and spirits … rays emitted by the Hairs penetrated up to the heavens above and down to hell … the blind beheld objects … the deaf heard sounds … the dumb spoke distinctly … the earth quaked … the winds of the ocean blew … Mount Meru shook … lightning flashed … gems rained down until they were knee deep … all trees of the Himalayas, though not in season, bore blossoms and fruit.

After the relics were enshrined in the shrine and a god slab was placed on the chamber.

shwedagon pagoda nightOn top of the shrine a gold stupa was built. The gold stupa was then layered by a silver stupa followed by a tin, copper, lead, marbe and iron stupas. Over the centuries the stupa turned into a ruin and was lost the engulfing forest. It was rediscovered by the Indian Buddhist King Ashoka who restored it to its previous glory.

Shwedagon Pagoda has been rebuilt many times and has received generous donations of gold over the centuries which have helped to restore the stupa from the damage caused due to natural and manmade calamities. The present stupa is studded with over 2,000 carats of diamonds and is completely covered with gold. The height of the stupa is 98 meters and dominates the city skyline. The stupa has relics of past four Buddha’s and enshrined relics include the staff of Lord Kakusandha, the water filter of Lord Konagamana, a piece of the robe of Lord Kassapa and eight hairs of Lord Gautama.

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1 Comment

  1. manawphyulay says:

    so good. Nice post!

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