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     After the conquest of Thaton, Anawrahta marched on the old Pyu capital of Sri Ksetra. The Pyu had remained a potent cultural force in Burma and Anawrahta may have regarded the Pyu as his dynastic and cultural forerunner. To differentiate ethnically. between Pyu and Early Burman is deceptive. Pagan dates back to Pyu times, and was originally one of many city states, existing contemporary to the great Pyu centres, practicing wet rice cultivation in central Burma. Moreover, the fall of Sri Ksetra in 832-5 to the Nanchao does not necessarily imply the annihilation of the Pyu and their civilisation. Whilst at Sri Ksetra, Anawrahta opened the massive Baw-baw-gyi stupa and removed the relic to take it back for re-enshrinement at his own capital, leaving behind, within the Baw-baw-gyi tabena, some of his own signed votive tablets.
     3' This was symbolic of the absorption of the old Pyu heartland into Anawrahta's renewing empire.
     Pagan's religion and art were not suddenly imported wholesale from the south after the Thaton raid of 1060. Indian religions had been professed in Burma for at least three centuries prior to this date. Coexisting without struggle, the Theravada, Mahayana and the Brahmanic cults have left their remains in the cities of the Pyu, Mon and Arakanese. The Pyu fell to the Nanchao Chinese in c.832-5, and there was a power vacum into which the Early Burmans stepped, absorbing elements of their culture. It is around this date that the Pagan city walls were built (850) and as late as 1113 a Pagan quadrilingual inscription still uses the Pyu script together with the Mon, Pali and Early Burmese scripts.'" The Pagan temple type is derived froth the early brick temples of the Pyu capital of Sri Ksetra, such as the Be-he and Lei-myethna temples, where radiating arches and a voussoir type brickwork, of the same kind used at Pagan, are to be found. The Pyus were fine workers of bronze and makers of exquisite jewellery. They passed on all this to' Pagan.
     There are no surviving temples from these early times in the Mon country, for the relentless monsoon rains of the delta have simply dissolved all early brickworks. To suggest that the Early Pagan temple type is Mon cannot be substantiated. Luce goes so far as to describe the Early Period as the " 'Mon' period". This assumption is based on the fact that the Old Molt script was used for the glosses on temple walls that narrate pictorial scenes, and on terracotta plaques illustrating 550 Jataka tales. Whilst Mon culture was doubtless a significant literary force in Early Pagan, there is no substantive evidence to suggest that the Mons originated the type of brick temple found at Early Pagan. The main contribution of the Mons to Pagan was this Jataka literature, and their language that was used to narrate it. This literary tradition was combined with the Pyu temple building tradition, more contemporary South and North Indian decorative currents, and the courageous and aspiring spirit of the early Burman-the daring quest for an architectural ultimate that embodied his search for an escape from samsara, and thirst for nibbana.
     More significant than the assimilation of the federation of Mon port-states, such as Bassein, Twante and Thaton, after Anawrahta's 1060 conquest, was the opening up of Burma to the influences of the older Theravada country of Ceylon, and possibly to a lesser degree, South Indian artistic influences. For the conquest of Thaton gave Pagan access to sea, and thus to Ceylon. It is known from contemporary epigraphy that Anawrahta assisted his fellow Buddhist king, and contemporary Vijaya Bahu I (1055-1110) in the defeat of the Saivite South Indian Cola, who had occupied that sacred isle bringing about a wane of its Pali Buddhism, and in the re-establishment of the Theravada faith there .i5 It would seem that whilst Ceylon possessed the pitaka,they lacked the bhikkhu.Monks exchanged missions as well as diplomats, occasionally monks were diplomats, and in addition to monks women were exchanged between the two courts. Thus began a tradition of cultural exchange and periodic renewal between the two countries that has continued up till the present time.
     At Pagan, new Pali texts were introduced from the late IIth century onwards-this is apparent in the subjects chosen by the painters of murals. From the reign of Anawrahta, few temples, as distinct from stupas, were either built or survive. However, at min, which, along with the Nan-hpaya, may be attributed to his reign, some mural painting does remain, triad panels of the Buddha with his two foremost disciples, Mogallana and ,aripUtta, which are repeated identically across vaults and soffits, the uppermost being polychromed coffered mouldings. These are intended to portray the moment of the delivery of a sutta, or discourse, by the Buddha. At this early stage, other than Jataka estampages, pictorial illustration of the events of the Buddha's life had not yet been applied to broad narrative cycles on temple walls, though, again at KyaVk-ku, the Pagan artist was attempting to release the principal scenes from the life of the Buddha, from the eight or nine scenes presented together in a cycle on a votive tablet, to individual stone reliefs. With the maritime opening, left by the removal of the Mon hegemony of the seaboard, new, purified texts arrive.at Pagan and are deciphered and expounded by the monks to the artists who disseminated their message or story on the wall space and statuary of temples.
     By the time of the next great reign after Anawrahta, that of Kyanzittha (1084-1113), not only was the Pagan artist in possession of more detailed texts on the life of the Buddha, and past buddhas, namely the Nidanakatha and Buddhavamsa, which seemed to be the most popular narratives for pictorial exposition at Pagan, but also his competence as painter, or sculptor, had improved. For example, examine the great leap in the sculptor's skill from the Kyauk-ku reliefs, to those at the Naga-yon, or, alternatively, note the sudden liberation of the painter's brush from the tight triad panels of the Kuyauk-ku vaults to the broad, like narrative of the Pa-hto-tha-mya.
     - Towards the end of Anawrahta's reign, the system for numbering. the Jataka changed from a Mon recension to the Ceylonese recension, and under Kyanzittha (1084-1113)- a revision of the pitaka or scriptures, again on a Ceylonese model, is noticeable in the choice of subjects employed in contemporary painting schemes." By the time of Rajakumar's temple building activity, at the turn of the 11th to 12th centuries, and his supervision of the Myinkaba kqbyauk-gyi construction work in 1113, the wider range of texts that were selected for translation into the medium of painting, demonstrates' the great progress of scholarship at Pagan. Pali studies were, perhaps, the legacy of Ceylonese contact: Just as Anawrahta had sent bhikkhu to Ceylon, when the faith was on the wane there, in the face of South Indian Saivite pressures, so too the Ceylonese assisted Burma in the establishment of a purer canon at Pagan.
     Ceylon was not alone in the development of Pagan's religion and art. North India was also in contact with the young empire. Kyanzittha's supposed bride, Abeyadana, has been said to be a Bengali princess, with Mahayanist inclinations, and the painted decorations in the temple named after her are said to confirm this connection.` For at Pagan, South and North Indian artistic elements met as did the Theravada and Mahayana, with the Brahmanic somewhere in between. Burma's art grew from these disparate elements to achieve a distinctive style and type, that never becomes dominated by any of these crosscultural elements. Pala Bengal was Mahayanist, and though the Mahayana must have been tolerated at Pagan, and, though there are numerous examples of Mahayana elements in Pagan's art and architecture, the dominant religious movement, as is clearly expressed in contemporary literature, was Theravada Buddhism. However, Pagan's Theravada art selected and took what it fancied from the Mahayana art of contemporary North India, together with what vestiges of the Pyu Mahayana tendencies that remained, not to mention Hindu elements (themselves absorbed into the art of Buddhism at a far earlier stage in its development) and adapted such disparate elements to suit current Theravada tastes. Thus, a full cycle is evident: Mahayana temple forms and designs, and even practices, were applied to magnify the rational of the orthodox Theravada religion and state. Past scholars have exaggerated the place of the Mahayana in Pagan's religious life, and in the descriptions of the - monuments that follow below in Part Two, constant reference is made to the fact that the Mahayana entities were secondary, by their iconographic position supporting the Theravada, and were often merely decorative.
     A stable, well run empire encourages trade, and that brings about prosperity. Immigrant Indians -came to serve the court as ritual major-domos, astrologers, artists and artisans and the such like, and Theravada Buddhism. being an essentially tolerant creed, naturally let them practise their respective religions without hindrance. Outside the court orbit were other Indians-merchants and pedlars, scions of distant trading, houses, plying the web of routes that converged on Pagan.
     The Pagan Palace inscription refers throughout to the vital role of brahmans in the palace's ceremonial construction." The earliest surviving temple found at Pagan is the Nat-hlaungkyaung and is dedicated to the Hindu deity Vishnu. There is no dichotomy in this side-by-side existence of two religions which in their essences were once opposed to each other. Nor was Pagan a religious syncretism. Elements of Hinduism were absorbed to support Buddhism, not to challenge it. Most likely, the priests of the Nat-hlaung-kyaung were the king's personal brahmans who supported the king in, his mission to.propagate Buddhism, as in contemporary art, where in certain instances, such as the Buddha's Descent from Tavatimsa, Indra and Brahma physically support the Buddha.
     Marshalled through their duties by Indian brahmans, who had a monopoly on the rituals that dominated the life of the inner city that was the palace, kings were styled as avatar of Brahmanic deities in the service of Buddhism. Kyanzittha, as part of his personal propaganda, presented himself, in his panegyric inscriptions, as an avatar of Vishnu reincarnated in kingly form to propagate the dhamma. To promote the religion, or sasana, a Pagan king's royal duty lay in the construction of monuments to his religion's founder, the Buddha, in some cases enshrining actual relics of the lord hi mself. The building of temples and other edifices, the feeding of monks and a cycle of court life based on meritorious activities thus became obligatory for any credible monarch. This accounts for the magnificence and profusion.of temples at Pagan. Monarchs, motivated by a mixture of genuine piety, statecraft and a desire for credibility, became obsessed with temple building. The original reason for building a temple or stupa was not only to enshrine a precious relic or image, but to glorify and propagate the faith, whilst bringing untold benefits to man in his quest for nibbana, and thereby earn the merit that ensures release from the sufferings of this world. By the Late Period at Pagan, such instincts had, perhaps, become politicised. However, it would be unnecessarily cynical to suggest that a city of such outward visual glory and inner spiritual power was the product of political preoccupations.
     The merit accumulated by royal temple building activities was part of the national interest. Temple building secured the release of the king's subjects as well as the king himself. The humanitarian objective of 'sharing' merit is constantly underlined in the inscriptions that detail such dedications. The king was often styled as a bodhisattva, a future buddha: incarnate in this world to assist mankind in their quest for salvation.' Kings were thus addressed as hpaya, the same appellation used for a sacrosanct object of worship, whether it be an image of the Buddha, a stupa or a monk (who is the living embodiment of the dhamma). This concept of the king as 'Champion of Buddhism' is based on Indian models that originate with the first Buddhist emperor, and unifier of India,. Asoka Maurya (272-232 B.C.). Like Asoka, Early Pagan kings viewed themselves as cakkavatti or 'Universal Monarch', the temporal equivalent of a buddha, and, whilst supporting the faith, found the faith supported them, in their drive for an imperial end. Other conceptions of the Pagan monarch included the belief that the king was dhammaraja or king of the dhamma' or kammaraja, a king whose power is based on the accumulation of merit from past existerices. Finally, in the chronicles there is mention of a a monk-king who is the embodiment of total sacred and temporal power." These conceptions of kingship were an integral part of contemporary statecraft, and, to prove the validity of such titles and appellations, a king was required to build stupas and temples-this in part explains the multitude and magnitude of royal monuments on the Pagan plain. Other people, members of the royal family or household, merchants and officials, likewise followed the royal example to enhance their own, and their family's accumulation of merit. They hoped not only to better their circumstances in this existence, but also the next, and ultimately hoped to be present here on earth when the next buddha, Mettaya, comes, so as to receive instant and effortless enlightenment through the hearing of the dhamma from the actual lips of a buddha.
     The Burmese fixation with earning merit is often expressed in the dedicatory inscriptions. Here the foster mother of King Klacaw expresses her sentiments:
     ...desiring to escape the misery of the round of rebirths and to attain salvation in the presence of the Lord Buddha Metnaya and desiring the numberless beings in the Avici hell below (to come) up to the firmament above, and (that) the countless world systems across, might all attain salvation made a cave and also a four faced pagoda. She also made three sets of Pitakas and a great summit monastery ...
     In the following chapters some discussion will be made on the role of the future buddha, Mettaya, in the religious life of Pagan and the application of this cult figure on the religious architecture of the old city.' Here, it must be initially emphasised that it was upon this future buddha that the people of Pagan rested their hopes of salvation. Gotama had come and gone and it was their own ill luck, or ill kamma, to have missed him. Though a great corpus of teaching was left ,behind and disseminated by the sanghathe attainment of an enlightened state, nibbana, was no easy task. Thus, most Pagan people looked to Mettaya for ultimate salvation, and it was often a fervent prayer that they. may be reborn, as a man, contemporary of the next great teaching buddha, Mettaya.
     Merit earning occurred at all levels of society and was not just the prerogative of the ruling cast thatorbited itself about the king's person. Though Pagan society was hierarchic, with castes defined by occupations living within their own unit-for example, there would be a residential quarter for masons and another for musiciansall sectors of the population were arranged towards the national objective of making merit. The lowest of the casts were the hpaya kywan or 'pagoda slaves', who were hereditarily bonded to a dedication in order to maintain it, and its incumbents, into posterity (hpaya kywanwere formally abolished in 1947). Thus, Pagan society was rigidly organised around temple building occupations and the maintenance of the various dedications.
     Michael Aung Thwin believes that Pagan economically declined in the 13th century, prior to its fall to the Mongols in 1287, as a result of such pagoda building preoccupations. Along with a temple, glebe lands, villages and slaves were endowed for.perpetuity to maintain the dedication. These lands were exempted from taxes. Endowments increased and revenues dwindled, ultimately weakening the state's authority. However, Late Period monuments show no sign of prevalent decline, rather they are emblematic of a supreme self-confidence. This is curious, for usually in a decadent society there is a collapse in aesthetic sensitivity, or taste, combined with a slackening in the quality of craftsmanship. No such movement is evident in the arts of Late Pagan. Further, there does not appear to have been a sudden cut-off, certainly none of the customary fin de siecle slip downwards, and temples continue to be dedicated well into the meridian of the next century." The physical arrival of the Mongols would seem to have affected Pagan little and despite the political imbalances that the Mongols brought about Pagan remained a cultural centre, possibly even up to the present. From one inscription it is known that the rhea Disapramuk travelled to the court of the Mongol Emperor and persuaded him that an agriculturally productive Burma would be of greater value to his hungry horsemen than an ecologically raped Burma." The presence of exotically clad Mongol cavalrymen on the streets of Pagan seems to have aroused more interest than shock: one artist painted'such figures on the soffits of the Kyanzittha Umin cave-temple; they are curiosities, not fiends.
     Thus, Pagan did not physically 'fall' in 1287, when the Mongols entered into the tattadesa. Though the regime was politically destablised, and some tribute and booty must have been removed, life seems to have carried on at Pagan, little changed, well into the 14th century. Dedications continued: monastic land endowments increased and temple-monastery complexes continued to be built and lavishly embellished with ornament. What devastation one finds nowadays, disembowelled Buddhas and the such-like, was either the work of Shan hordes, treasure hunting during anarchic phases in the Early Ava period, or, possibly, the work of underpaid Mon or Burmese armies moving up or down the Irrawaddy valley during the 17th and 18th centuries.

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