Lecture No. VIII: 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.

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Monday, June 17, 2019


Lecture No VIII
(14) The records of Pyu diplomatic mission in A.D 802 in the annals of old and new T'ang dynasties reflected the influence of Buddhism on Pyu culture. A cultural troupe of Pyu performing artists accompanied the mission and staged performances at the Imperial court.
(a)   Songs and dances described the Buddha's life stories and reflected his teachings [Dhamma]
(b)   The performing artists paid homage and respects in Buddhist style.
(c)   Their musical instruments represented Hindu and Buddhist symbols and designs – cornch shell, lotus flower, hamsa bird, etc,.
(15)      Ancient monuments at Sre Kestra such as Baw Baw Gyi, Phaya mas, Phaya gyi outside the city wall have earliest Buddhist stupa design – cylinder shape with no ornaments and decorative motifs and no Hti (umbrella) on them. Bei Bei Gyi, Lay Myet Hna and Gu Phaya within the city wall are one storey temples with a stupa on the roof. They suggest design of early Buddhist structures in Southern India.
(16)      Funerary urns made of earth or stone with epitaphs in Pyu letters and some skeletons at the burial grounds tell us both cremation and burying were practised in those days. Letters on stone urns containing bone ashes give dynastic name of Vikarama – very sanscrit or Pāi sounding names.
(17)      Big statues of sand stone representing maha deva vishnu and his consort Pavati holding lotus flowers, and Bodhisatta with a Buddha figure in his crown are also discovered, proving the co-existence of Hindu Brahmanism and Buddhism.
(18)      Stone slabs set up at the city gates bearing inscriptions of extracts from paritta sutta to ward off all kinds of enemies – natural and supernatural indicate the flourish of Theravada Buddhism and existence of Pariyatti monastic schools at Sre kestra
(19)      Statues and figures of Mahayana Buddhism e.g. Lokanatha deva, Naga, Garuda etc, are excavated to show us that pre-Buddhist religious still persisted.
(20)      Pyu coins mostly of silver bear both Hindu and Buddhist motifs and designs – rising sun, moon, stars, ocean, swastika, lotus flower, auspicious symbols, seals and stamps have also such designs.

G.H Luce "Ancient Pyu"
2. Tan Yee Sein "Pyu mission to T'ang China A.D.802
3. U Aung Thaw, Historical sites of Burma, Excavation reports of Archaeology Department.

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