Lecture No. 4: Buddhism in Inwa Period (contd.) - Buddhism, Philosophy, and Khmer Literature


Buddhism, Philosophy, and Khmer Literature

The teachings of the Buddha are aimed solely at liberating sentient beings from suffering. The Basic Teachings of Buddha which are core to Buddhism are: The Three Universal Truths; The Four Noble Truths; and The Noble Eightfold Path.

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Monday, June 17, 2019

Lecture No. 4: Buddhism in Inwa Period (contd.)

Lecture No. IV
Buddhism in Inwa period (contd.)

1.    Shin Maha Rahtathara'spro­minent Pyopoems were (a) KoganPyo, (b) ThanwaraPyo, and (c) GambitharaPyo. All three Pyos were religious in theme with moral instruction. He also composed Maw­kun, Ratu and Linka verses.
2.    No literary critiques[1]of Inwa Period or even of today can pass a final assessment[2]as to who the better poet was – Shin Maha Rahtathara or Shin Maha Thilawuntha. The two were equals as their literary works prove. They propagated Buddhism by means of poems and different verses.
3.    Kantaw Min Kyaung Sayadaw means "the Abbot of Royal monastery at Kantaw". He was also a reputed monk poet of Inwa Period. He specialized in composing "Myittasar" verses. Myittasaris an epistle[3]. An epistle is a piece of writing either in prose or verse addressed to a king or a superior with advice and instruction in moral conduct and good government. It is an indirect but effective way of calling the attention of the king to his bad administration and reminding him of the need to reform. We may say that his literary works were more secular[4]than religious.
4.    But his epistles were not devoid of religious references. They contain proverbs, old sayings, and excerpts[5] from history, Jatakas and scriptures.
5.    The Abbot also composed a series of Pyo to instruct young generations on moral conduct and character building. These Pyos are known as "Loka Thaya Sone Masar". [Admo­nitive (admonitory) missives[6]on moral, manners, good conduct and culti­vation of good character.
6.    Buddhist literature of Inwa Period was not confined to monastic life and monastic environment. It came out into the secular world. It became a down-to-earth literature because it tried to reach out to the lay public. Although literary theme remained religious, the style of propagating Buddhism changed for the under­standing of the lay people.
7.    Buddhism was vernacularized[7] and made easily accessible[8] to lay public thanks to the poems of the monks.
8.    Inwa Period was the golden age of Myanmar literature. It was the period of monk writers. Though there were laymen writers of both genders their works were inferior to those of the monks.
9.    Royal patronage and public support promoted the monk's learning and writing. A liberal attitude towards Vinaya in Inwa Period gave the monks freedom to turn to literary pursuits[9].
10.         In Bagan Period, poetic talent of the monks was restrained due to orthodox disciplinarians[10]. In InwaPeriod monks were given a free rein in their writing.
11.         Yet there were some orthodox monks in Inwa Period who disliked monks indulging in poetic com­position. They jeered at Shin Maha Thilawunthaand Shin Maha Rahtathara calling them "song composers" and refusing to partake[11]food with them for fear of invol­vement in sin commission.
12.         But it is a fact that Buddhism in Inwa Period was further promoted by the prolific pens of monk poets. Jataka stories and Buddha's teachings were made more well-known to the public through Pyos Tawlaverses of monk poets than they were in Plain Pali Text.

[1]           to write or give your opinion of, or reaction to, a set of ideas, a work of art, etc
[2]           an opinion or a judgement about sb/sth that has been thought about very carefully/ SYN EVALUATION. // the act of judging or forming an opinion about sb/sth. // an amount that has been calculated and that must be paid
[3]           (Epistle) any of the letters in the New Testament of the Bible, written by the first people who followed Christ// a long, serious letter on an important subject
[4]           (adj) not connected with spiritual or religious matters: secular art/ education/ music// (of priests) living among ordinary people rather than in a religious community
[5]           (n) ~ (from sth) a short piece of writing, music, film, etc. taken from a longer whole// (v) ~ sth (from sth)
[6]           a letter, especially a long or an official one
[7]           vernacular {speaker}, (n) /(usually the vernacular) [sing.] the language spoken in a particular area or by a particular group, especially one that is not the official or written language// [U] (technical) a style of architecture concerned with ordinary houses rather then large public buildings// (adj) vernacular languages / architecture
[8]           (adj) ~ (to sb)  that can be reached, entered, used, seen, etc// easy to understand// (of a person) easy to talk toand get to know àOPP INACCESSIBLE//  accessibility {speaker} noun
[9]           (n) ~ of sth the act of looking for or trying to find sth// the act of following or chasing sb//            sth that you give your time and energy to, that you do as a hobby
[10]         a person who believes in using rules and punishments for controlling people
[11]         (partook {speaker} partaken {speaker}) ~ (of sth) to eat or drink sth especially sth that is offered to you//    ~ (in sth) to take part in an activity// PHRASAL VERBS :  partake of sth to have some of a particular quality

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