Lecture No. VII: BUDDHA SASANA IN PRE-BAGAN - 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.

Post Top Ad

Post Top Ad

Monday, June 17, 2019


Lecture No VII
(1)         Archaeological evidences – religious and secular monuments, ruined buildings and excavated artefacts
(2)         Pyu city kingdoms – from the 1st to the 9thcentury A.D
(3)         Beikthano in Central Myanmar, Halin in upper Myanmarand Sre Kestra in central Myanmar
(4)         City kingdoms were like ancient Greak city states such as Athens, Sparta, Delphi etc, But Pyu city kingdoms were much large and they were walled and fortified. Both ruling class and the subject people lived within the fortified kingdoms.
(5)         Ancient stupas and monuments within and outside the city walls tangible evidences of the existence of Buddha Sasana there.
(6)         The earliest city kingdom was Beikthano or Vishnu. But Vishnu here is not the name of Hindu deity Vishnu. It was the name of queen Beikthano [Vishnu]/ because she built this city kingdom, the kingdom came to be known as Beikthano city. Ruined brick and stone buildings above ground and excavated artefacts prove that Buddhism of Mahayana type and Hindu Brahmanism coexisted here. Statues images and associated finds are Hindu deities.
(7)         Though ruined structures indicate the existence and flourish of Buddhism, the total absence of Buddha statue or image make scholars suggest that in Beikthano, Buddhism of pre-icon period flourished. Recently a bonze Buddha statue in sitting on a chair posture was discovered in the debris of a fallen stupa. It could have been an object enshrined in the stupa at a much later date. It was not excavated from the depth of the earth of Beikthano's time.
(8)         Next in seniority of age is Halin near Shwebo. Here we find inscriptions on funeral urns, clay seals and stone slabs bearing Buddha images in relief. Ruined stupas, ground plans of monasteries and some coins. Buddhism of later periods flourished here.
(9)         Sre Kestra near Pyay about 160 miles to the north of Yangon was the third Pyu city kingdom. It was a well-developed Pyu city Kingdom. Religious monuments city walls, gates, palaces sites, cemeteries, irrigation works were excavated.
(10)     Buddhism of both Mahayana and Theravada types flourished here and Hindu Brahmanism strongly persisted.
(11)     Chinese records of old Tang and new Tang dynasties give a vivid and detailed account of Pyu, their religion and civilization. We learn from these records the following.
(12)     In A.D 802 a diplomatic mission led by Pyu crown Prince Sunanda was sent to the Chinese Emperor of Tang dynasty at the capital Chang-an Chinese chroniclers fully recorded this event in the court annals. We can glean the situation of Buddha Sasana in Pyu Kingdoms from these records.
(13)     Chinese Buddhist monks, during their pilgrimage to Bodhgaya and other sacred places in India transited in Pyu city kingdoms. They recorded in writing what they eye-witnessed
(a)   That Pyus were staunch Buddhist – They did not wear silk because silk wear involved the killing of silk worms.
(b)   There were over 100 large teak monasteries teaching Buddhism at the capital.
(c)   Every boy at the age of 7 had his head shaved and entered monkhood as novice to learn Buddhism. On reaching 200 years in age males were ordained monk.
(d)   The Pyu king and his court propitiated the white marble image of elephant [Ganesha?] in times of calamities, natural disasters or war.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Post Top Ad