Shwedagon Paya - Yangon
May 23, 2006
|Shwedagon Paya (Pagoda) is one of the most important sights in Myanmar because housed deep inside are eight hairs from the Buddha that were given to two brothers, along with relics from the other three buddha's as well. To have relics from each of the Buddha's is one thing, but to have them all in one place is another.
Legend says that when the gold casket in which the hairs are kept was opened;
"there was a tumuet among men & spirits... rays emitted by the hairs penetrated up to heaven above and down to hell... the blind beheld objects... the deaf heard sounds... the dumb spoke distinctly... the earth quaked... the winds of hte ocean blew... Mount Meru shook... lightning flashed... gems rained down until theyr were knee deep... all the trees of the Himulayas, though not in season, bore blossoms & friuts."
Now that would be a sight to behold, and one i would hope to have pockets for.
Our way around the complex was lead by our tour guide Uncle K, who we had met on the street the night before and was talked about in 'Yangon'. Though it is here that his knowledge was shown to us and we are so very glad to have agreed to hire him.
From the moment he picked us up he was filling us with information about everything in front of our eyes. Even the walk along the corridor to the complex took ten minutes with everything he had to say. Once in side he quickly showed us the tree that has grown from a sapling brought from India of tree tree the first Buddha became enlightned under. We were all given a leaf that had fallen as a suviner.
One of the cooler things we learned that day was our Buddist birth day of the week, and our cooresponding planet and animal. It turns out that Hana, Andrew and I all had different days.
Hana: Friday, Venus, Guinea pig/mole
Andrew: Wednesday (morning), Mercury, elephant (tusked)
Cameron: Sunday, Sun, Golan (mythical creature)
It took the full half day to get around and see everything that was there. We saw representations of each of the four buddha's, and the only time we have seen one for the first buddha.
By the time we had walked around the cirumference of the comple our brains were full and the sun had baked us a little bit.
We went back in the evening to see the spectacul at night, too bad it was raining. There were a few good photos taken though, and we saw a huge crazy bug that i didn't have enough space to put up here. Looked like the one on the cover of Naked Lunch,if anyone else has read that.
The amount of gold and jewels that is used at Shwedagon is imense and so wide spread that you can't have your eyes open and not see at least gold. There is an amount measured in tons of gold leaf that is used on the paya!