Saturday, January 15, 2011
shwedagon in the mist
Shwedagon is one of the most sacred sites for the Burmese Buddhists.
A brief history of the pagoda, from Wikipedia:
Legend has it that the Shwedagon Paya is 2500 years old. Archeologists believe the stupa was actually built sometime between the 6th and 10th centuries by the Mon. The story of Shwedagon Paya begins with two merchant brothers meeting the Lord Gawdama Buddha and receiving eight of the Buddha's hairs to be enshirned in Burma. The two brothers made their way to Burma and with the help of the local king found Singuttara Hill where other Buddha relics had been enshrined. When the hairs were taken from their golden casket to be enshrined some incredible things happened:
There was a tumult among men and spirits ... rays emitted by the Hairs penetrated up to the heavans 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.
The stupa fell into disrepair until the 14th century when King Binnya U of Bago had the stupa rebuilt to a height of 18 meters. The stupa was rebuilt several times and reached it's current height of 98 meters in the 15th century. A series of earthquakes during the next centuries caused damage. The worst damage came from a 1768 earthquake that brought down the top of the stupa.