MODiNS Home Page Myanmar's Information Myanmar's Business Information Tour Information Community Fashion Entartainment
   MODiNS.NET   

COMMUNITY
STREET BROADCAST
e-MESSENGER
MEMBER FORM
CHAT
JOB SEARCH
e-COOK
ONLINE TEST
TOPIC A II Z
DOWNLOAD CENTER
ENTERTAINMENT
e-CARTOON
FILM STARS
e-GALLERY
e-POEM
e-CARD
HUMOROUS STORY
e-MUSIC
dot.HOROSCOPE
e-MAGAZINE

Page 10   1 |  2 |   3 |  4 |   5 |  6 |   7 |  8 |   9 |  10 |   11 |  12 |   13 |  14 |   15 |  
     The gu, like the stupa, could contain sacred relics, images of the Buddha, made from precious and costly materials, or precious manuscripts. Such enclosures were protected by Hindu or even Tantric guardian figures, that could include images of contemporary members of the royal family, courtiers and soldiers." Before the shrine was sealed devotees would throw gems and various other precious items into the shrine."All this would be bricked up, never to be seen again and the donations were recorded on stone in
     scriptions that often meticulously detail the costs.-'" The significance of this enshrinement was that the relics and valuable images, the actual hpaya, emanated a force out from the central mass that benefited not just the donor and his immediate circle, but all mankind. In addition to within the sealed tabena, further images were placed in recesses on the oyster sides of the central block, usually made of brick and stucco, for large stone blocks are not easily quarried in this part of Burma. In the Early Period, the hallfacing recess of the Pyu, and Nat-hlaung-kyaung, was cut Into the block and formed a complete cella unit, however, by the beginning of the 12th century the original Pyu type, namely the lei-myet-lzna, was reverted to, with exceptions. Precious gems were placed with the spiritually sensitive areas of the body: within the head, chest, abdomen and upper arms (this accounts for the widespread vandalism and disembowelment of so many temple images). Pagan Buddhists measured the sanctity of a hpaya, whether it be an entire structure or an individual image, in terms of the expense lavished on it. The more expensive an image, the mom merit earned and, thus, the hpaya became more sacrosanct and beneficial for mankind. The spending of one's wealth on creating a potent hpaya was in itself a symbolic act, reflecting the Buddha's own act of renunciation and the Vessantara-Jataka. The hoarding of treasures within the hpaya, thus increasing the hpaya's potential, was therefore an act benefiting all who would worship the image. In one known instance, an outer image actually encases an inner one made of a more valuable material: like in the Lotus Sutra, buddha emanates out from buddha. Likewise, as discussed above, stupas may he periodically re-encased, structure radiating from structure.
     Just as the conceptions behind these two types of monuments are shared, the design of a gu is related to that of the stupa. Stupa motifs or zeidi, were placed at various points on the temple terraces and a stupa finial crested the sikhara. sikhara is, in essence, no more than an evolved adaption of the stupa.anda and chattravali, crowning, like a jatamukuta diadem, the hpaya. The sikhara was, though, not always preferred on temple superstructures and following the Pvu. who do not seem to have used this form on their temples, a current runs through our periods where a stupa, either concave or convex in shape, rose from a temple's terraces; in the periods after the Pagan dynastic ones this form was to become established as the norm.
Fig.l above: Sein-nyet Nyi-ma stupa plan
Fig.2 right: Myin-pya-gu plan forming a lei-myet-hna
     Thus, both temple and stupa have . a common symbolism and cosmology, each being hpaya. They differ in function, for the gu is conceived as a cave-like house for an image before which daily rituals were enacted and, judging by the pictorial schemes on the interior walls, they served a didactic role, at least in the early, proselytisin, part of the Pagan dynastic periods. Didactic or devotional, most likely both, the Early Period gu was an impressive instrument of the Buddhist faith at this time in Burma.
     To understand something of the devotional life that went on within the gu a quotation from one of the contemporary inscriptions is illuminating. In this excerpt, translated by U Pe Maung Tin, the donor records the offerings of provisions for the slaves, responsible for the enactment of the daily rituals going on about an anthropomorphised image of the Buddha or buddhas:
     Let my Lord, the Elder consider all these slaves, fields,cattle and gardens that I have offered to the cave and the monastery. Let him repair the cave, monastery and hall of the Law, should they fall into ruins ...The offering of betel to the Buddha is 10 nuts per day, 300 per month, 3600 per year ...135 baskets of paddy are for all the pagoda slaves who sleep in the cave, drummers, xylophonists, and naracana.
     In another inscription, also translated by U Pe Maung Tin, the requisite objects that the actual image required were listed in detail:
     ] The requisite things are for the lower Buddha his wearing apparel- 1 outer robe, 1 inner garment; for the upper Buddha his wearing apparel: 1 embroidered inner garment, 1 gold couch, 1 apartment for his dwelling place, 1 high cot complete with bed covers arrd pillows, 1 betel box, .copper oil lampstands, copper spitoons, ,1 elephant lotus from which the bell is hung, gold bowls, silver bowls, 2 pestals ....
     As U Pe Maung Tin notes, the Buddha in this dedication, was attired not in royal regalia, as was common at this time, but in an attitude of royal ease wearing only his under-robes, relaxing as if at home as a real king might. Thus, the now spartan brick gu interiors should be regarded in this light: cluttered with regal objects and requisites, a clamour of activity as food offerings were shuttled from the kitchens down passageways crowded with chanting devotees, to be offered to the rousing din of xylophones, drums and castanets, amidst the lustrous blaze of brightly coloured wall paintings, gilted furnishings and flapping banners and hangings. Like in certain of the popular shrines of Burma today, the usual plain, seated; Buddha image, found in the deserted temples of Pagan today, would have been bathed, perfumed and dressed with the finest arid most costly of garments.'
     The Early Period temples are composed of two units: the hall and the shrine, which are usually orientated in an east or northfacing direction, though there are numerous exceptions, and it would appear that the Pagan architect was less concerned with cosmologically arranged orientation, than his Indian counterpart. The hall may be said to be the Indian mandapa built up and covered with a vault. At Pagan's first surviving temple, the Nat-hlaung-kyaung., there is a mandapa, the only extant one at Pagan and now solidly restored by the Archaeology Department. In other temples this paved area, projecting; from the front, is transformed into a hall that would protect assembling devotees from the sun's glare. By the construction of the Shwe-gu-gyi in 1131, temples tend to be raised above subsidiary constructions on a plinth and this was to become the standard pattern for most middle-to-large size temple dedications.
     Between hall and shrine, whether set in a recess or cella, is an ambulatory that runs continuously around the central block. In the Early Period the two architectural units were separated: joining arches regulate the units. Within, the shrine or cella deepened from the niche recess on the central block's east face, that at the Nat-hlaung-kyaung held an image of Vishnu, and in the Pyu types an image of the Buddha, or buddhas. In the Early Period temple the niche is cut into the central block which is opened out to form a cella. Thus, the devotee is admitted into a previously closed sanctum to participate in a spiritual communion with the hpaya. Buddhism was being consciously developed into a popular movement by the Early Pagan kings. and their preceptors, at this time. Temple planning, though aiming, at least in the Early Period, at creating a spiritually charged atmosphere, in no way marked an esoteric movement, as was then current with the Vajrayana Himalayan kingdoms,, or maritime SouthEast Asia, rather, it was exoteric. The creation of a cella and the role of this unit in contemporary religious life may be said to be comparable with the development of the garbha greha in Indian temples.
     The psychological role of light in the Early Period temple is of some interest. The quantity of light permitted to enter each architectural unit of the building was skilfully managed. Entering from the glare of the outside into the cool, balanced light of the hall, one crosses into the ambulatory and makes a or ritual circumambulation, about the central block. Here, the light is rationed by elaborately perforated windows, yet is sufficient enough to follow the scenes and glosses of the mural paintings. Having completed the pradaksina, the shrine is faced and within the almost pitch-dark interior a massive image of the Buddha awaits worship. Secret skylights and long, narrow ducts pass through the mass of the superstructure, to throw a gentle beam of filtered light on the 'Enlightened One's' face.
     No.S: re-encased stupa S. of Myinkaba
No.6: hidden arches in the Nat-hlaung-kyaung
No.7: pitaka taik - Late Period
No.B: stupa forms in stucco relief - Pa-hto-tha-mya
No.9: gateway to enclosed sanctuary west of the south
Kyanzittha Umin
     This Early Period temple type was to be phased out by the early 12th century when the Pagan builder unconsciously reverted to the cosmically-orientated ground plan types of the Pyu ei-myet-hna. The distinction between hall and shrine gradually becomes -reduced; though rarely eliminated, and the temple's components become balanced into a unified whole, an integration evident both from the exterior and interior.`' The admittance of light was no longer rationed and it is easy to forget that this is supposed to be an artificial cave. This architectural movement is a reflection of prevalent religious beliefs. The dark, mystical Early Period gu interrors, that were contrived to inspire a personal devotion, as part of a national movement directed at propagating a purified form of Buddhism, were no longer required, for the process of purification had been completed by the reign of Sithu I (1113-1155) when, architecturally, the transition into the Middle Period takes place. There was, by this time, less need to psychologically spur the believer with architectural inducements. Bhakti had given way to a more rational Theravada philosophy. In temples, lighter environments came to be preferred, and the predominant architectural tendency was in the upwardly directed possibilities of the exterior, or elevation, rather than the mystical possibilities of the 'cave' interior.
     From the four-face type a five-face type (nga-myethna) develops. Though not very common, a number of examples are to be found dating from the late 12th century and continuing to occasionally be built up to the present. This pentagonal represents an extension of the four buddhas of this time span, or bhadrakalpala, to include the future buddha Mettaya. Mettaya's cult was popular at Pagan, judging by a number of finds of his image in bronze, and may be associated with the contemporary kingship cult, in that kings self-styled themselves as lon, or bodhisattva.The ultimate expression of, this theme was the magnificent Dhamma-yazika stupa near the village of Pwasaw built by Sithu II in 1196."'
     The inscriptions, the great bulk of which belong to the Late Period, that recorded each dedication offer much valuable information on the monuments of this time. A large dedication centred around a stupa or temple would have monastic complexes attached, rest houses for visitors and accommodation for the pagoda slaves and monastic servants. Few monastic structures .survive from before the Late period, however, from the mid-12th century onwards such dedications abound. Water tanks were dug and groves of shading palmyra planted: All this was built and laid out with astonishing speed, often within a year. Entire villages, and the lands connected to them, were dedicated and their taxexempted incomes were offered into perpetuity for the maintenance of the establishment."z Musicians were also offered to play music to the. hpaya and slaves were responsible for the ritual washing of the image and daily offerings-of food and flowers. These hereditarily-bonded slaves were also responsible for the' general upkeep of the shrine and to serve the monks, who themselves were living hpaya. The senior monk resided within the inner enclosure in a brick house known as kala kyaung, or 'Indian Monastery', possibly because the craftsmen who built them were Indians. The form of this type of structure may be described as a 'block house' on account of their: shape. The junior monks, novices and other members of the community lived in the outer enclosure. Attached to brick structures, that most likely acted as talk, were lean-to wooden halls, or dhamma yon, used for the preaching of sermons.
     These now desolate enclosures should be viewed as once having been the centre of a hub of activity, revolving around the glorification of the hpaya and scholarly pursuits, and the larger establishments, particularly in the outlying Minnanthu and Pavasaw areas, were akin to the ancient Buddhist universities of India, such as Nalanda. Inscriptions make mention of the fact that a set of the Pali canon, the Tipitaka was more costly than the building of a temple itself." A donor could also choose whether to have the 'cave' painted and in accordance with the advice of the monk who was to receive the dedication formulate a suitable programme of subjects to be illustrated.
     The great dedications were usually offered by a senior member of the court or the royal family. Often dedications were made by women, widowed and anxious to earn merit for their loved ones. Those lacking the financial resources to build their own hpaya could join in the national preoccupation with earning merit by serving a dedication and its monks; voluntarily, as kappiya, or involuntarily, as a. hereditarily-bonded slave-hpaya-kyawn. It would be mistaken to think of these pagoda slaves as pawns in the merit-making process of the higher classes, for a major dedication was built with all mankind's salvation in mind, not just the royal donor's, and the benefits of a lesser one extended out to the donor's family circle." Pagan society was hierarchically regimented into occupation-defined groups and all groups were bonded and socially immobile whether part of the crown and military sector or agricultural and services sector. It is arguable that life as a pagoda slave could have been a good deal softer than in the service of the crown.
     No.10: detail of the Ananda Ok-kyaung bronze image of the buddha Gotama

  1 |  2 |   3 |  4 |   5 |  6 |   7 |  8 |   9 |  10 |   11 |  12 |   13 |  14 |   15 |   Page 10
More Info:
Modins classified
Public Holidays
Exibitions
Yearly Festivals
Myanmar Links
Religious
Buddhist Childhood
Buddhist Religion
Bagan Pagodas
12 Months' Festivals
Tagu
Kasoun
Nayon
Warso
Warkaung
Tawtalin
Tatingyut
Tazaungmone
Nattaw
Pyathoh
Tabohdwe
Tabaung
References
Book
Colorful of Myanmar
Cooking
Yellow pages
Map
Travel & Tour
Travel tips
Vacations
Hotels' addresses
Pagodas
Palace
Map

Home |  Myanmar Info |  Business Info |  Tour Info |  Community |  Fashion |  Entertainment |  Service

Contact Us  |  Privacy Policy

Myanmar Online Data Information Network Solutions
Copyright 2002 MODiNS.Net Inc. All right reserved.