Saturday, April 25, 2009

Myanmar: Marvelling at the reclining Buddha of Khyaukhtatgyi Pagoda

reclining buddha of kyaukhtatgyi pagodaThough not as well-known or as well-venerated as the Shwethalyaung Buddha in Bago Division, the reclining Buddha of Khaukhtatgyi Pagoda is nevertheless an imposing sight at 230 feet in length. Only a few decades old, this Buddha was built with donations from all over the world including Japanese and Russian donors as evidenced by the markings on the walls.kyautatgyi buddha solesThe reclining position of the Buddha allows one to see that the soles carry the 108 distinguishing marks representing the three lokas (worlds) – okasaloka (inanimate/material), sattaloka (animate), and sankharaloka (conditioned/phenomenal). The essence is that the Buddha is above all three worlds.kyautatgyi novice monksA 60-something guide befriended me while going around the pagoda (a misnomer, since it is in reality, a pavilion). He toured me to the nearby monastery and living quarters where I got a glimpse of how the monks, the nuns, and the novices meditate, study, pray, and live. stepping onto the blazing-hot asphalt pavement, I remember the distinguishing marks on the soles of the reclining Buddha – a fitting image to reflect on for the journey ahead.


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