Selection of Articles
written 100 years ago by
Mr. Taw Sein Ko

Superintendent, Archaeological Survey, Burma

Buddhism Related Articles
Burma and the Third Buddhist Council
The Religion of the Buddha will last 5000 years
The Introduction of Buddhism into Burma
Notable Monuments of Burma
Buddhist Archbishop for Burma
Burmese Eras and their Reckoning
Pali Examinations in Burma
General Topics
Kings of Burma


         As Sir Monier-Williams has endorsed this idle tradition and published it to the world in his great work on Buddhism* it is essential to ascertain the basis on which the statement is founded. The Buddhists do not question the truth of the statements in the Pali text of the Tripitaka, but they are at liberty to criticize the commentaries, such as the atthakathas, tikas, etc. In the present case, the limit of the continuance of Buddhism is fixed by the atthakathas and not by the Buddha himself.

        The Dighanikaya, the Mahavagga of the Suttapitaka and the Mahaparinibbana sutta do not contain any allusion to the question, but distinctly say, on the other hand, that the succession of monks will never be interrupted so long as there is peace and concord among them: "Sace, Subhadda, ime bhikkhu samdvindreyyum asunno loko arahantehi assa."

         In the Chulavagga, however, it is said that Gotama Buddha was averse to the admission of nuns into the Church, as he foresaw the risk accruing to the Order of Monks, and declared that his Religion would last 1,000 years if no nuns were admitted, but only 500 years if they were. This is, of course, only a hypothetical statement, and an euphemistic avowal of unwillingness to recognize the Order of Nuns, which was subsequently formed. But the commentators took a serious view of the matter, and, being constrained to put a literal interpretation on the declaration, prolonged the period of 1,000 years to 5,000, which they had no authority to do. In the Chulavaggatthakatha, a period of 1,000 years is assigned to each of the following classes of saints: -

        (a) Patisambhidapatta;

        (b) Sukkhavipassaka;

        (c) Anagami;

        (d) Sakadagami;

        (e) Sotapanni.

        In the Angutaratthakatha similar assignation is made, and the following are the classes: -

        (a) Patisambhidapatta;

        (b) Chhalabhinna;

        (c) Tevijjaka;

        (d) Sukkhavipassaka;

        (e) The observers of the Patimokkha.

        Personally, I am inclined to think with Froude that Truth is writ large on the tablets of eternity, and that it is idle to set bounds to the limits of eternity.

         * "And here again in regard to the doctrine left behind by each, a vast distinction is to be noted. For the doctrine delivered by Christ to his disciples to spread by degrees everywhere until it prevails eternally.Where as the doctrine left by Buddha, though it advanced rapidly by leap and bounds is, according to his own admission, to fade away by degrees, till at end of of 5, 000 years. it has disappeared altogether from the earth, and another Buddha must descend to restore it." - Monier William' Buddhism, pp. 556,567.


         " FROM Buddhist writings preserved at Ceylon and else where there can be no doubt that the Talaings* first obtained their knowledge of the Buddhist religion through the two missionaries as above described; and owing to their being on the sea·board, received it at a much earlier period than the Burmese. But as to when, and by what means, the Burmese first obtained their knowledge of it, no authentic record exists. Sir Arthur Phayre is of opinion that they were converted by Buddhist missionaries from Gangetic India who reached Upper Burma through Bengal and Manipur. Others, amongst whom is Rhys Davids, supposed that Buddhism was introduced from China. It is not unlikely, however, that the Burmese obtained both their religion and their alphabet through the Talaings. The Burmese alphabet is almost the same as the Talaing, and the circular form of both strongly indicates the influence of the Singalese, or the Tamulic type of letter."— Fytche's Burma Past and Present, Vol. II, page 171.

        The history of the Buddhist Church in Ramanna or the country of the Talaings begins with the third Buddhist Council convened by Asoka in 309 B.C (According to Burmese Chronology, the Buddha's Nirvana took place in 544 B.C., and the Third Buddhist Council was held 235 years after that event, i.e., in 309 B.C). At the conclusion of this Council, missionaries were sent forth to various countries to propagate the Religion. Mahinda was despatched to Ceylon, and Sona and Uttara were sent to Suvannabhumi, which land both Talaing and Burmese writers agree in identifying with Thaton, the Talaing kingdom conquered by Anawrata in 1057 A.D. An account of the despatch of these missionaries, and of the miraculous conversion of the countries visited by them is given in Chapter XII of the Mahavamsa (Turnour's Mahavamsa, edited by Wijesinha, pages 46-49) a history compiled in Ceylon by Mahanama, a Buddhist Monk, in the fifth century A.D. Doubts have been expressed by European scholars as to the authenticity of this account, and there is an inclination to treat the whole tale as a monkish legend. In the inscriptions of Asoka, Ceylon is referred to only twice and no mention is made either of Suvannabhumi, or of the mission of Asoka's son Mahinda, or of his daughter Sanghamitta (Colquhoun's Across Chryse, Preface, pages vi and vii). Nor have any inscriptions in the Asoka character been found at Thaton or Pagan, whither it is supposed the Burmese conquerors removed their spoils of war.

          As regards Suvannabhumi, Yule and Subhuti ( Vide S. V. Suvanna at page 492, Childers' Pali Dictionary) agree in identifying it with the Indo-Chinese Peninsula while Alberuni, who wrote his work on India about 1030 A.D., mentions Suvannabhumi as one of the countries situated to the north-east of India. (Sachau's Alberuni's India, Vol. 1, page 303) He also mentions that the Islands between China and India are the Islands of the Zabaj, called by the Hindus, Suvarnadvipa, "because you obtained much gold as deposit if you wash only a little of the earth of that country." (Sachau's Alberuni's India, Vol. II, page 106)

          The conversion of a country to a foreign religion is necessarily the result of a long and continued intercourse, and of sustained and strenuous missionary effort; and the statement in the Mahavamsa that, on the arrival of Sona and Uttara in Suvannabhumi, 60,000 people suddenly embraced the new faith, that 2,500 men and 1,500 women were admitted into the Order (Turnour's Mahavamsa, edited by Wijesinha, page 49) may be summarily dismissed as beyond the range of credibility. Judging, however, by the splendid ruins of Cambodia, and the numerous Sanskrit Inscriptions found there it seems to be highly probable that that Kingdom was the chief radiating centre of Buddhism in Indo-China, and that the expansion of its power to Thaton and Malaya was accompanied by the spread of Buddhist influences. Cambodian supremacy in the Salween valley lasted till the eleventh century and Cambodian influences in the valleys of the Salween and Irrawaddy ceased with the foundation of the kingdom of Siam in 1350 A. D. It may, therefore, be safely assumed that the religious traditions of the Cambodians, regarding especially the introduction of Buddhism, were inherited by the Siamese as well as the Talaings, by whom they were passed on to the Burmese.

          At the same time, Burmese writers are not willing to acknowledge their indebtedness to the Talaings, whom they had conquered, for their knowledge of Buddhism. They say that Sunaparanta, the classic name of their country, should be identified with Aparantaka; that the Buddha himself visited Sunaparanta during his life-time, and there established his Religion; and that, at the end of the Third Council, missionaries were sent to Aparantaka to propagate the Faith. They add that, as early as 443 B.C., Buddhism was established at Prome as attested by the ancient Pagodas still in existence, and that, if they are at all beholden to the Talaings, the revival of the faith is certainly due to the Buddhist scriptures brought from Thaton to Pagan in the 11th century A. D. The establishment of Buddhism at Prome in the 5th century B. C., cannot as yet be proved or disproved, because the ruins of that ancient capital have not been systematically explored; nor can Burma's claim to be identified with Aparantaka be admitted. Fergusson and Burgess in the Cave Temples of India (page 17), say that Aparantaka is the konkan of the present day. "Aparantaka" means the " Western Country" and cannot, by any stretch of imagination, be identified with Burma, whose relative position towards India prima facie vitiates the identification.

         If, before the foundation of Pagan in the second century A. D., Buddhism prevailed at Prome, it appears to have been of the Southern School, which was probably corrupted, later on, by the tenets of the Northern School as well as by Saivaism and Vaishnavaism. Burmese history relates that,. on the accession of Thaiktaing, the 13th King of Pagan, who began his reign in 513 A.D., the Naga-worship, with the Aris as its priests, arose at Pagan. It lasted for over five centuries, till it was finally suppressed by Anawrata. There is not much information available about the Aris or the system of faith taught by them. About the same period, i.e., 6th century A. D., in Northern India, Buddhism had lost its vigour of expansion,** and Indian Buddhists had migrated to China and neighbouring countries. Buddhism itself had been corrupted by the Tantric system, which is a mixture of magic, witchcraft and Siva-worship; and this Tantric Buddhism apparently percolated into Burma through Bengal, Assam and Manipur, and allied itself with the Northern School prevailing at Pagan. Indeed, Wilson observes in the preface to his Vishnu Purana: "it is a singular and as yet, uninvestigated, circumstance that Assam, or at least the north·east of Bengal (i.e., Kamrup) seems to have been, in a great degree, the source from which the Tantrika and Sakta corruptions of the religion of the Vedas and Puranas proceeded." All that we know about these priests is that they called themselves 'Aris' or 'Ariya,'— the 'Noble' that their robes were dyed with indigo, like those of the Lamas of Tibet and China; that they wore their hair at least two inches long; that they were not strict observers of their vow of celibacy; that the Jus primae noctis prevailed among them; and that the basis of their doctrines was that sin could be expiated by the recitation of certain hymns.

          The immorality of the Aris finds a parallel among the Lamas of Tibet and the Nairs of the Malabar Coast in Southern India. In Tibet, where the limited food-supply necessitates the practice of polyandry, Buddhist monks may beget children, and their sons are known as nephews. On the Malabar Coast, a communistic form of marriage prevails so far as the Brahmans are concerned; and a number of brothers may marry a single wife.

          The priests of the Bhutias and Lepchas of the present day also appear to reflect the 'Aris' of Pagan in some degree and the following is Dalton's account of them ;—

         "The Ghylongs, Lamas or priests, form a very large proportion of the Bhutia population. Admission to the priest hood is obtained by permission of the Deb (King), on payment of a fee. In addition to the religious duties, the Lamas are charged with the medical care of the people; but, as exorcism is the only system of treatment attempted, assurance in the practitioner, and faith in the patient, are all that is needed. The Lamas have been estimated at 1,500 to 2,000. They live in monasteries, the chief of which is the headquarters of the Government. In knowledge of the mysteries of the Buddhist religion, and in the literature of their country, they are very inferior to the Kampti Bapus or Phungis."***

         * ('Mon' is the preferred word, nowadays, Editor,

         ** At page 437 Encyclopaedia Britannica, Ninth edition, Vol. 4, Professor Rhys Davids says: "Buddhism began to decay soon after the commencement of the Christian Era. In 400 A. D., when Fa Hian visited India, he found Buddhism still flourishing, though scarcely maintaining its ground. Hiouen Thsang. who visited India two centuries later, found Buddhism at a very low ebb. In the 8th and 9th centuries, a great persecution arose, and Buddhism, was expelled from India." At page 438, ibid, he again says : The Buddhism introduced into Tibet in the 7th and 8th centuries of our era was a form of the great vehicle, already much corrupted by Sivaism, a mixture of witchcraft and Hindu philosophy."

         *** Dalton's Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, page 97. The large proportion of monks to the lay population in Buddhist countries has been noticed. "Thus in Tibet, where children are relatively few, it is believed that one out of every six or eight of the population is a priest. In Sikkhim the proportion is one to ten. In Ladak one-sixth, In Bhotan one to about ten." (Waddel's Buddhism of Tibet, page 171). "Under Burmese Rule, three percent of the population of Upper Burma, including the Cis-Salween Shan States, were pongyis (monks) and in Mandalay itself there were 13,227 members of the Order or about eight percent, of the total population." Scott's Gazetteer of Upper Burma Part 1, Vol. II, page 3.)

         "Dr. Campbell says, the Lepchas are Buddhists and have priests, some of their own tribe being educated at home; a few of the same race go for their education to the great monastic establishment beyond the snow; and some Tibetan priests. The latter two classes adhere to the monastic discipline, and are supposed to be devoted to celibacy. The country-born and country-educated priest is permitted to marry.' (Dalton's Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, page 101)

         "Dr. Latham tells us that the Lepcha is no Buddhist and that the priests, though they carry about the Buddhist prayer machines, wear Buddhist rosaries, and profess monkish mendicancy, are also the medicine men, the exorcists, and the directors of the feasts, ceremonies and sacrifices in honour of evil spirits; but notwithstanding all this, they may be just as good Buddhists as the Bhutias, who, whilst flirting with the mysteries of that religion, retain much of their original Paganism or Shamanism." (Dalton's Descriptive Ethnology of Bengal, pages 101-102)

         In India, the Tantric doctrine lapsed, in some cases, into a degrading system of impurity and licentiousness, as the form of worship required the use of some one of the five Ma-karas, or words beginning with the letter M' vis., : (1) madya, wine; (2) mamsa, flesh; (3) matsya, fish; (4) mudra, mystical gestures; (5) maithuna, sexual intercourse (Monier William's Indian Wisdom, page 523, footnote). Burmese records relate that, prior to the 11th century, offerings of wine and meat were made to images of the Buddha; and that it was only in 1555 A. D., that the Hanthawadi Sinbyuyin, the Branginoco of the early European writers, ordered the cessation of the practice of offering to the nats or deified spirits intoxicants and sacrifices of white buffaloes, white oxen, and white goats. That the Tantric doctrines became part and parcel of the prevailing system of faith in Burma is further shewn by the fact that, even at the present day, Nat-worship is not wholly free from licentiousness.

         The sacred language of Buddhism, whether of the Northern or Tantric school, was Sanskrit, and not Pali. Inscriptions of the eleventh and twelfth centuries have been found at Pagan, whose paleographical development is clearly traceable to the Indo-Pali alphabet of Kanishka (vide Cunningham's Corpus Inscriptionum Indicarum, Plate XXVII). This Scythian king, who convened the Fourth Buddhist Council in Kashmir in the first century of the Christian era, had the Tripitaka arranged in Sanskrit, and did for the Northern School what Asoka had done for the Southern. Further, terra-cotta tablets bearing Sanskrit legends have been found at Pagan and Tagaung; and Professors Fawsboll and Trenckner have noticed the marked preference shewn for the Sanskritic form of certain words in the Buddhist books of Burma. The most remarkable fact, however, is the existence in the Burmese language of words importing terms in religion, mythology, science and social life, which are derived directly from Sanskrit. In the domain of religion, the Burmese always employ partially Sanskrit forms like Dhammacakra, Sariputtara, Kramma, Sakra, and Samuddara, instead of the Pali forms, Dhammacakka, the wheel of Law; Sariputta, the right-hand disciple of Buddha; Kamma, the principle of Karma; Sakka, the Recording Angel of Buddhism; and Samudda, the ocean. This fact and the internal evidence afforded by the Inscriptions of Pagan appear to indicate:-

         (i) that the form of Buddhism first introduced into Burma · proper was that of the Mahayana or Northern School

         (ii) that the Buddhist Scriptures when first introduced were written in Sanskrit, which is the language of the Northern School;

          (iii) that the Southern school or Hinayana, the language of whose Scriptures is Pali, subsequently absorbed and assimilated, by its stronger vitality, the Northern School, which, through intermingling with the Tantric doctrine of Assam and with the Bon religion (Jaschke's Tibetan-English Dictionary, page 372, Waddell's Buddhism of Tibet, pages, 19, 41, 55) or Shamanism of Tibet, had fallen into corruption and decay.

         There are two words in the Burmese language, which, above, all, seem to point to religious intercourse both with Tibet and Nepal. The Pali word ' bhikkhu,' a monk, always appears in Burmese as 'pongyi' or 'rahan '. Now the word 'pongyi' is evidently connected with 'bonze', a priest of the Bon religion of Shamanism, which still prevails in Eastern and Southern Tibet, with which Burma must have had frequent intercourse in prehistoric times, and the Burmese word must be referred to the Tibetan compound made up of 'Bon', the Bon religion and 'gyepa' (Jaschke's Tibetan-English Dictionary, page 109 {vide under the word rgyas-pa ) to be great, 'pa' being an expletive suffix. Again, the word 'rahan' can only be referred to Arhana or 'Arhanta' under which designation monks are known in Nipal. These two words, 'pongyi' and 'rahan' must have already been in the Burmese language before the word 'bhikkhu' was introduced together with the Pali Tripitaka in the eleventh century A.D. Further, the Aris of Pagan appear to correspond to the Vajra-Acarya of Nipal. The latter may be a Bhikshu, Sravaka, Chailak or Sakyavamsika (Sakya-puttiya); he is bound for only ten days by the primitive rules of the Order, is then released from them, and marries though tonsured. Ostensibly he is a monk, but really he is a layman (Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, Vol. V, 183).

          At Pagan, the primitive system of faith was the Bon religion with its animistic worship and devil-dancing. The Burmese Pantheon of the 37 Nats, whose images are in the Shwezigon Pagoda at Pagan, only dates from the reign of Thinligyaung (344-387 A.D.) The Bon religion was superseded by the Mahayana School with its Sanskrit Scriptures, which, in its turn, had to give way, in the sixth century A. D. to the Tantric system with its immoral professors, the Aris and the form of Naga-worship. It was not till the 11th century A.D., that the Hinayana doctrine of the Southern School was introduced from Thaton. Possibly, there was also an admixture. of Jainism, Saivaism and Vaishnavaism. Vaishnava temples have been discovered at Pagan, and traces of the Siva cult have been found at Prome and in Arakan.

          The stratification of these various systems of faith can only be elucidated by the exploration of ancient ruins in Assam and Manipur, the excavation of ancient sites in Burma, and a close study of the architecture, sculpture, and frescoes at Pagan. The frequent political upheavals and the exterminating wars between Burma and the adjacent countries have, in a great measure, obliterated the chief landmarks of religious and ecclesiastical history, and no satisfactory account can be obtained from native records alone.

          In studying the Burmese form of Buddhism, we have hither to been accustomed to look only to India for prototypes and influences. The possible influence of China as a factor in the religious development of the Burmese has been overlooked. The Northern form of Buddhism, which was crystallized by the fourth Buddhist Council held under Kanishka, the Scythian King in Kashmir, was, together with its Scriptures in Sanskrit, introduced into China in 61 A.D., under the Emperor Ming Ti (Edkin's Chinese Buddhism, Pages 87-88), who reigned at Loyang in Honan. Ball says: "The first centuries of its arrival were marked by the translation into Chinese of numerous Buddhistic works; and there was considerable progress in making proselytes, for in the fourth century, nine-tenths of the inhabitants of China were Buddhists." (Ball's Things Chinese, page 51)

          Later on, Indian missionaries passed into China through Nepal and Tibet, and Chinese monks visited India and Ceylon by way of Central Asia and Afghanistan, with the object of studying Buddhism in the land of its birth and of making a collection of religious books for translation into Chinese. Buddhism was at the zenith of its power in, China, in the tenth and twelfth centuries, not only being popular but also exerting great literary influence (Ball's Things Chinese, page 53).

          Burma received her Buddhist impulse, not from the adjacent province of Kuangtung, where Buddha is called 'Fat', nor from the maritime Province, where the Amoy dialect is spoken, in which the Sage is called 'Put', but from some Province, most probably, Yunnan, Ssuch'uan or Central China, where the Mandarin dialect was spoken, the evolution of this last dialect being ascribed to the period 300-900 A.D., when old Chinese intermingled with the languages of the Tartar tribes (Parker's China, her History, Diplomacy and Commerce, pages 25-32). In Mandarin, Buddha is called 'Fo-yeh', but the older pronunciation is 'Fu-ya' which, in Burmese, assumes the form 'Phu-ya,' now pronounced 'Pha-ya'. The Shan and Siamese form is Phra,' the Cambodian form being 'Vra'. The earliest Burmese inscripton, where the word 'Phu-ya' occurs, is dated about 1139 A.D., but according to Edkins, 'Fu-ya' came into use about 561 A.D (Edkin's Introduction to the Study of the Chinese Character, page 202). In Burmese 'Pu-t'o' means an image of Buddha or a religious building commonly known as a Pagoda; and the corresponding Chinese word is 'Fu-t'u' (Watters' Essays on the Chinese Language, pages 387-388, 411-412). A monastery is called a 'Vihara' in Pali, and 'Kyaung' in Burmese, the form used in Tavoy being 'Klong'. In Mandarin, the corresponding word is 'Kung', the form used in Amoy being 'Kiong'. The leaves of the Talipot palm, on which the Buddhist Scriptures are written, are called 'Talapatra' in Sanskrit, and 'Tala-patta' in Pali; but the Burmese form is 'Pei' or 'Pei ywet' which corresponds to the Chinese wood 'Pei' or 'Pei yeh '. The transformation of this word is thus explained :—" This Sanskrit word Patra became 'Pei-to-lo' in Chinese, and hence the Buddhist books were called 'Pei-to-lo Ching'. But the full transcription is not much used, and we find it shortened to 'To-lo' and even to 'Pei'. Then the history of the term was lost, and 'pei-to-lo' and its abbreviation came to be regarded as the name of the tree, whose leaves were used for writing purposes. We find, accordingly, such expressions as Pei-yeh ' that is, patra leaves used to designate the sacred books of the Buddhist" (Watters' Essays on the Chinese Language, pages 42-429). A most interesting history is attached to 'Pu-ti-si,' the Burmese word for rosary, which is not, at all, mentioned in the whole range of Indian Buddhist literature, whether of the Northern or Southern School. Jaina works make mention of the rosary under the designation ' Ganettiya' or 'Kancaniya'; and Brahmanical books under 'Mala', 'Sutra', 'Akshamala', 'Akshamalika', 'Akshasutra', 'Rudrakshamala', Carcaka mala or 'Japamala' (Transaction of the Ninth International Congress of Orientalists, Vol. II, pages 883-889). It is thus evident that the Burmese term is not derived from any Indian word, but that it can only be referred to the Chinese word 'P'u-t'i-tzu' (Watters' Essays on the Chinese Language, page 377).

         It is extremely remarkable that terms intimately connected with Buddhism should have been borrowed by Burma from China and her translations from Sanskrit, rather than from Ceylon and her Pali literature and this circumstance alone is convincing proof that the Burmese are indebted to the Chinese for a good portion of their knowledge of Buddhism (For intercourse between Burma and China in the sixth century A.D., see pages 10-105, Edkin's Chinese Buddhism).

         Reference has been made above to the division of Buddhism into two great branches: the Northern and Southern Schools. China, Nipal, Bhutan, Tibet, Mongolia, Corea, Japan, and Cochin China belong to the Northern, while Ceylon, Burma, and Siam belong to the Southern. There are several points of difference between the two Schools. Sanskrit is the sacred language of the Northern Buddhists, as Pali is of the Southern. In the Northern School, the doctrine of the " Western paradise ", where one may live for Aeons in a state of absolute bliss, exempt from suffering, death, and sexual distinction, is superadded to that of Nirvana or absorption into a passionless state. The Northern cosmogony is more extensive than the Southern, which is based on the Brahmanical system. The Northern Buddhists acknowledge the existence of a supreme Being, the Creator of the Universe, called Adi-Buddha; while in the Southern School, the central tenet is that man, without any extraneous aid from any Superior Being, is capable of attaining salvation, and that the Buddha is the highest type of humanity. The Southern School favoured the purely human and psychological ethics, while into the Northern was introduced animistic and transcendental views tinged with Tantric doctrines together with beliefs in the supernatural. The greatest distinction between the two systems is, however, that the Northern prides itself on its designation "Maha Yana" or the "Great Vehicles' because its ideal is Bodhisatship, which involves a series of re-births for Aeons, and a desire to save all living creatures in the ages to come. The Southern is taunted as the "Hina Yana" or the "Lesser Vehicle," because its ideal is Arhatship, or the attainment of Nirvana in this life by self-culture and self-control. When Hiuen Tsiang visited India in the 6th century A.D., two-thirds of the members of the Buddhist Order still adhered to the older doctrine of the Southern School; but the great Chinese Pilgrim regarded himself as a Mahayanist, took away many books of the Great Vehicle back to China and became a founder of a long line of translators into Chinese. In the new Encyclopaedia Britannica, Professor Rhys Davids objects to the use of the terms " Northern and Southern " Schools of Buddhism as inaccurate and misleading. He says " We have learnt that the division of Buddhism, originating with Burnouf, into Northern and Southern, is misleading. He found that the Buddhism in his Pali MSS which came from Ceylon, differed from that in his Sanskrit MSS which came from Nipal. Now that the works he used have been made accessible in printed editions, we find that wherever the existing MSS came from, the original works themselves were all composed in the same stretch of country, that is in the valley of the Ganges. The difference of the opinions expressed in the MSS is due, not to the place where they are found, but to the difference of time at which they were originally composed. Not one of the books mentioned above (i.e., the publicaton of the Pali's Text Society) is either Northern or Southern. They all claim, and rightly claim to belong, so far as their place of origin is concerned, to the Majjhima Desa, the Middle Country. It is undesirable to base the main division of our subject on an adventitious circumstance, and specially so, when the nomenclature thus introduced (it is not found in the books themselves), cuts right across the true line of division. The use of the terms Northern and Southern as applied, not to these existing MSS, but to the original books, or to the Buddhism they teach, not only does not help us, it is the source of serious misunderstanding. It inevitably leads careless writers to take for granted that we have, historically, two Buddhisms; one manufactured in Ceylon, the other in Nipal. Now this is admittedly wrong. What we have to consider is, Buddhism varying through slight degrees, as the centuries pass by in almost every book. We may call it one, or we may call it many. What is quite certain is that it is not two. And the most useful distinction to emphasise is, not the ambiguous and misleading geographical one—derived from the places where the modern copies of the MSS are found; nor even though that would be better, the linguistic one—but the chronological one. The use, therefore, of the inaccurate and misleading terms Northern or Southern ought no longer to be followed in scholarly works on Buddhism." (Encyclopaedia Britannica, Ninth Edition, Vol. 26, page 433)

         With all deference to the scholarly opinion of the learned. Professor, I must say that the terms invented by Burnout are not only convenient and based on the geographical distribution of Buddhism with essentially distinctive features, but have also attained a popular fixity. The terms may not imply that " we have, historically, two Buddhisms—one manufactured in Ceylon, the other in Nipal" but they do imply that we have two different kinds of Buddhism, one fostered by Asoka and the other by Kaniska. Burnouf, no doubt, first used the terms owing to the difference of the Buddhism as expounded in his Pali manuscripts, which came from Ceylon, from that reflected in his Sanskrit manuscripts, which came from Nipal; but since his time, they have been extended to apply to the wider divergences of doctrine, belief, and usage. In his " Chinese Buddhism" (Page 100) Edkins rightly says: " The native annotator says that Tach'eng is the highest of three states of intelligence to which a disciple of Buddha can attain, and that the corresponding Sanskrit word, Mahayana, means 'Boundless revolution and unsurpassed knowledge.' It is here that the resemblance is most striking between the Buddhism of China and that of other countries, where it is professed in the north. These countries having the same additions to the creed of Shakya, the division of Buddhism by Burnouf into a Northern and Southern School has been rightly made. The superadded mythology and claim to magical powers of the Buddhists, who revere the Sanskrit as their sacred language, distinguish them from their co-religionists, who preserve their traditions in the Pali tongue.

         The introduction of the eras, now in use among the Burmans, constitutes one of the principal landmarks in the history of Buddhism in Burma; but native records are silent as to the reasons for their introduction. There are two eras in use, and are both of exotic origin: the Era of Religion or Anno Buddhae, reckoned by the Burmans from 544 B.C., and the Vulgar Era or Sakkaraj. The earlier era used in Burma seems to have been the Era of Religion. It was abolished by Samundari, King of Prome, in Anno Buddhae 624, and a new Era was established in its own second year, thus wiping out 622 years of the Era of Religion. Hence the Era established by King Samundari had the name of the Dodorasa era—the mnemonic words in Pali for the figure 622—applied to it. The new Era is, in fact, the Saka Era of India, and is reckoned from 78 A.D. The introduction of this Era is thus explained by Alberuni: (Sachau's Alberuni's India, Vol. II, page 6) "The epoch era of Saka or Sakakala falls 135years later than that of Vikramaditya. The here-mentioned Saka tyrannised over their country between the river Sindh and the ocean, after he had made Aryavarta in the midst of his realm his dwelling place. He interdicted the Hindus from considering and representing themselves as anything but Sakas. Some maintain that he was a Sudra from the city of Almanansura; others maintain that he was not a Hindu at all, and that he had come to India from the west. The Hindus had much to suffer from him, till at last they received help from the east, when Vikra maditya marched against him in the region of Karur between Multan and the castle of Loni. No this date became famous, as people rejoiced in the news of the death of the tyrant, and was used as the epoch of an era, especially by the astronomers."

        In 638 A. D., a new era called the Khachapanca—the mnemonic words in Pali for the figure 560 - was introduced. It was inaugurated by Popa Saw Rahan, a usurper of Pagan, who had been Buddhist Archbishop and Preceptor of the Queen of his predecessor. The unfrocked monk was reputed for his learning, but no reasons are assigned, in the Burmese records, for his action. His name indicates that he was of Shan or Cambodian origin. There is, however, evidence to shew that the Burmese derived their Khachapanca era from the Chinese. Forbes in his 'Languages of Further India,' (page 26), speaks of the " singular fact that all the nations of ultra-India, although deriving their religion, their civilization and their literature from India, have not adopted any of the Indian Eras, but have borrowed from China."

        The Dodorasa or Saka era demonstrates that there was frequent intercourse between India and Prome in the first century after Christ, and that Indian influence was predominant in the Irrawaddy valley. As to the extension of the Chinese era of the T'ang dynasty to Burma it can be accounted for thus: The Annamese, who became subject to China as long ago as the year 221 B.C., passed it on to their neighbours, the Cambodians, whose empire extended in the early centuries of the Christian era, prior to their conquest by the Siamese (1351-1374 A.D.), as far as the shores of the Gulf of Martaban. Traces of Cambodian influence and civilization are still to be found in the painting, sculpture, and architecture of Burma. The Cambodians then passed it on to the Talaings and the Burmese. Or it is possible that the Burmese received it direct from the Chinese, their northern neighbours. But whatever the course of the migration of the era may have been, nearly two years elapsed before its adoption, and its computation began with the second year of the new reckoning.

         The introduction of the Chinese calendar was apparently effected during the reign of T'ai Tsung of the T'ang dynasty, who ruled from 627-650 A.D. During this reign, flourished the great pilgrim and traveller, Hiuen Tsang. In the introduction to Hiuen Tsang's Travels, the Emperor is thus described in Beal's Buddhist Records of the Western World, Vol. I, page 9: -

         "With respect to the Emperor, who transcends the five and surpasses the three, we read how all creatures enjoy his benefit and all who can declare it utter his praises. From the royal city throughout the (five) Indies, men who inhabit the savage wilds, those whose customs are diverse from ours, through the most remote lands all have received the royal calendar, all have accepted the imperial instructions; alike they praise his war-like merit and sing of his exalted virtues and his true grace of utterance." The modern royal calendar is a work containing useful information about the seasons, etc. It is annually issued by the Astronomical Board at Peking, and is distributed throughout the Chinese Empire and its dependencies.

         In this sketch of Buddhism we must not omit a reference to Buddhaghosa, the great scholar and divine, who was the reputed apostle of Buddhism to Burma. Talaing historians claim him to be their fellow-countryman and state that he crossed over to Ceylon in 402 A. D., and thence brought back to Thaton a complete set of the Tripitaka together with its commentaries. This claim is vitiated by the Mahavamsa and other Sinhalese records, which say that he visited Ceylon during the reign of Mahanama (412-434 A. D.) and that he returned, not to Thaton, but to 'Jambudipa, to worship at the Bo-tree at Uruvela in Magadha" (Compare with the accounts given at pages 2-927, Copleaton's Buddhism). Further, the Kalyani Inscription erected by Dhammaceti, King of Pegu, in 1476 A. D., is absolutely silent regarding the celebrated Buddhist divine. If the story about Buddhaghosa's advent to Thaton be historically true, the event would have been considered to be an important epoch and would certainly have been mentioned in this inscription, which gives a resume of the vicissitudes of Buddhism in Burma and Ceylon, and which was erected by a king, who was called from the cloister to the throne, and to whom every kind of information was accessible. Considering that the identification with the Suvannabhumi of the ancients has been urged in favour of three countries, namely, Ramannadesa, the Malay Peninsula, and Cambodia, in all of which gold is found, one cannot help being sceptical as to the historical accuracy of the account relating to the mission of Buddhaghosa to Thaton. Such scepticism becomes somewhat confirmed, when it is borne in mind that there is no paleographical affinity between the Talaing and Sinhalese alphabets and that Cambodian writers affirm that the great divine came to their country (Bowring' Kingdom and People of Siam, Vol. I, page 36). In this connexion, the conclusions of Mr. Foulkes in his careful researches into the legends of Buddhaghosa are extremely interesting (Indian Antiquary for April 1890)

         A history of Buddhism in Burma still remains to be written. The influences exerted by China, Tibet, Nipal, Magadha, Assam, Manipur and Cambodia on the one hand, have to be distinguished from those exerted by Southern India and Ceylon on the other. The intermixture of the Bon religion with the Tantric doctrine and Naga-worship, the evolution of Shamanism or Nat-worship and the part played by Brahmanism, Saivaism, Vaishnavaism and Jainaism in the religious development of Burma have still to be described. Above all, the Talaing literature, which forms the connecting link between Southern India and Burma proper still remains to be explored.


       AFTER the British annexation of Upper Burma in 1886, it was considered to be politically expedient to recognize the Buddhist hierarchy with the Taungdaw Sadaw at its head. Under Burmese rule three per cent of the population of Upper Burma were monks, and in Mandalay itself there were 13,227 members of the Order, or about eight per cent of the total population. It was necessary to utilize the traditional machinery in dealing with this large number of pongyis, ( monks) whose influence over the people had always been great. The monks are not only spiritual guides, but are also teachers of the Burmese people. Every Burmese boy must go through a course of studies in a monastery as a novice. Admission into the novitiate is like baptism among Christians, and the investiture of the sacred thread among Hindus; it is a solemn act of confirmation in one's religion. For uplifting the masses morally, intellectually and socially, the pongyi is a most effective lever and it is an act of political wisdom to guide his energies and aspirations in the proper channel.

       The Taungdaw Sadaw was noted neither for learning nor administrative ability; but he had been Thibaw's teacher when the latter was an obscure prince, whom nobody ever dreamt of seeing on the throne of Burma. The fact of having been the Royal Preceptor, however, gave him sufficient prestige and he was a very good figure-head. He died in 1895, The ex-Ministers and Sadaws of Mandalay could not agree upon his successor, and two rival factions arose: one headed by the Megawadi Sadaw, and the other by the Pakan Sadaw. Neither of these candidates was recognized by the British Government. In 1901, the people of Mandalay, led by the venerable Kinwun Mingyi, C.S.I., again agitated for the appointment of a Thathanabaing, or Buddhist Archbishop.

      In October of that year, a very large and representative meeting was held at the foot of the Mandalay Hill, and the election was by voting. The Moda Sadaw secured the largest number of votes, and the candidate who stood next to him was the Taunggwin Sadaw. Lord Curzon met the Thathanabaing-elect at Mandalay in the following November, and discussed with the local officials the question of recognizing a Head of the Buddhist Church in Burma. A singular fatality appears to attach to every Sadaw who has aspired to be Thathanabaing. The Moda Sadaw was no exception to the rule, and he died of fever in March 1902. The necessity of a fresh election was obviated by the insertion of a provision in the rules relating to the previous one that in case of the refusal, inability etc. of the first candidate to accept office, the second on the list must be elected. Thus, like President Roosevelt, the Taunggwin Sadaw attained the supreme place by the sudden intervention of death. The Taunggwin Sadaw is 59 years old, and is hale, hearty and strong. His eyesight is, however, weak, as there is a cataract in one eye. He is of commanding stature and is of active habits. He is well versed both in secular and religious literature, and being endowed with tact, common sense and judgment, his decisions in ecclesiastical matters have always given satisfaction. He received his education in the colleges presided over by the Bongyaw and Sangyaung Sadaws and is well acquainted with the traditions of the office of Thatanabaing. He comes of an aristocratic family; he is a cousin of U Pe Si, C.I.E., ex-Myowun of Mandalay, and a grandson of the Kyauksauk Mingi, the Burmese Plenipotentiary, who signed the Yandabo Treaty of 1826. If he had joined the Burmese King's service, he would probably have attained high office as a Minister; but he elected the austerities of a monastic life, with its simple living and high thinking. In a few weeks, Sir Hugh Barnes will instal the Taunggwin Sadaw as Thathanabaing at Mandalay and present him with a sanad subscriptions all over the Province. The smallest mite should be received, and all classes should be invited to contribute, so that the Burma University shall be a fitting monument raised by his loyal and devoted subjects to King Edward VII, whose solicitude for their welfare and prosperity was well-known and highly appreciated.

Burmese Eras and Their Reckoning
(first published in 1893)

      The years of Sakaraj (Thetkayit), the 'Vulgar Era 'of the Burmese) throughout the Kalyani inscription are expressed by means of mnemonic words, the latter being written in the reverse order.

       The following list contains the words most commonly used in this connexion;

       CIPHER— kha; sunna (void), nabha (the sky).

       ONE - rupa (form),

       TWO - do or dye) chamma (there being two kinds of skins) Yama (a couple).

       THREE - sikhi (there being three kinds of fires, namely, of 1obha or raga, dosa, and moha).

       FOUR - beda (the number of Vedas being four).

       FIVE - pana (there being five kinds of intoxicants).

       SIX - rasa (there being six different kinds of tastes).

       SEVEN - muni (there being seven kinds of sages).

       EIGHT - naga (there being eight kinds of nagas).

       NINE - ruddha there being nine kinds of samapattis: five rupajjhana, and four arupajjhana)

       Two eras, both of exotic origin, are in use among the Burmese :—the era of Religion, or Anno Buddhae reckoned by the Burmans from 544 B.C, and the Vulgar era, or Sakaraj.

       The Burmans would derive Sakarajfrom Sakka or Sakra, the Recording Angel of Buddhism, and raja a king; because, according to them, the era was inaugurated by the King of the devas. In ancient books and inscriptions, however, the word is found written Sakaraj, which is more consonant with its true etymology from Sakaraja. It is, in fact, a form of the Saka era of India, and is found in use in most of the Indo-Chinese countries and in Java, being reckoned properly from Monday, 14th March, 78 A.D. (Julian era).

       The earliest era used in Burma seems to have been the ERA OF RELIGION, reckoned as above; but, according to the Burmese, this era was abolished by Samundari, King of Prome, or Srikshetra, in Anno Buddae 624, and a new era was established in its own second year, thus wiping out 622 years of the era of Religion. Hence the era established by King Samundari had the name of the Dodorasa Era applied to it.

       It will be thus seen that the Dodorasa Era of King Samundari reckons from 78 A.D., that is, from the Saka Era of India. The correspondence of the beginning of this era in India and Burma, and of its very appellation, and the existence of architectural remains in Prome, which resemble those of Upper India, are convincing proofs, to my mind, that there was frequent intercourse between India and Prome in the first century after Christ, when the latter was a seaport, and that Indian influence was predomimiant in the Irrawaddy valley.

       But the Burmese and the Indo-Chinese generally reckon, and have for centuries reckoned, the Sakkaraj from 638 A.D., adding, as they say 622 and 560 to it to arrive at the Anno Buddhae. That is, to convert a year Sakaraj into a year Anno Buddhae the numbers 622 and 560 must be added to the former. How the number 622 was arrived at, we have already seen, and the next puzzle is to find out why 560 has also to be added.

       Besides the name Sakkaraj or Thetkayit, the name Khachhapancha is applied to the era, which commences with 638 A.D., and the Burmese records are, so far as I know, silent as to the reasons for its introduction. For the matter of that they are silent as to the causes that led to the adoption of the Saka era of 78 A.D.

       But there is evidence to show that the new Sakkaraj or Era of 638 A.D. is of Chinese origin. Forbes, in his Languages of Further India, p. 26, talks of the 'singular fact that all the nations of Ultra-India, although deriving their religion, civilization and their literature from India, have not adopted any of the Indian Eras, but have borrowed from China."

       He then goes on to quote from Garnier:

       " Les relations etablies par les Thang avec les contrees du midi avaient propage sans aucun doute les connaisances astronomiques et le calendrier Chinois, et c'est la peut-etre l' origine de l' ere qui est aujonrd' hui la seule ernployee a Siam (CAMBODGE), au Laos, et en Birmanie, et qui commence a l' an 638. Cassini a demontre en effet que le point de depart de cette ere etait purement astronomique. Le 21 Mars 638 la nouvelle lune coincida avec l' entree du soleil dans le premier signe du zodiaque et produisit une eclipse importante."

       As to the travels of the Era from China to Burma, they may be accounted for thus. The Annamese, who became subject to China as long ago as the year 221 B.C. under the Emperor Huangti, passed it on to their neighbours, the Cambodians, whose empire extended in the early centuries of the Christian era, prior to their conquest by the Siamese (1351-1374 A.D.), as far as the shores of the Gulf of Martaban. Traces of their influence and civilization are still to be found in the painting, sculpture and architecture of Burma. It is also quite probable that the Burmese received their new era direct from the Chinese, one of the acts of suzeraianty of the Chinese government being to distribute copies of the Chinese calendar among tributary States.

       To convert the present Sakkaraj into years A.D., it is simply necessary to add 638; thus 1255 +638=1893. The year 1893 A.D.=the year 1255 B.E. (Burmese Era). According to the Burmans, the reckoning is as follows:

      1255 years Sakkaraj.
      +560 years Khackhapancka.
      +622 years Dodorasa.
       2437 the present year A.B.

       Subtract 1893 (years A.D.) from 2437 (years A.B.), and 544 B.C. is arrived at as the commencement of the Era of Religion.

       It will, however, be perceived that there is nothing Indian about the Sakkaraj of the modern Burmese, except its name and the traditions connected with it.


       UNDER the Burmese regime, competitive examinations in Pali were held annually just before the beginning of Buddhist Lent. They consisted of two parts Viz, :—(a) the written, and (b) the oral. The principal text-books prescribed were Kaccayana's Grammar, Abhidhammattha Sangaha, Abhidhanappadipika, Chanda and Alankara. The written portion was conducted by the officials, and the oral by the Council of Thudhamma Sadaws (Mahatheras of the Sudhamma Sabha). The lamp of classical and religious learning was thus kept burning, and a healthy spirit of emulation was maintained throughout the country.

       The written portion of the examinations was revived by the British Government in 1895 and, now that a Thathanabaing or Buddhist Archbishop and a Council of Thudhamma Sadaws will shortly be recognised, there is a prospect of the oral portion being revived also. Under the rules framed by the Education Department, the examinations are held annually about June at Mandalay, Rangoon, Moulmein and Akyab, and are open to monks and laymen as well as to nuns and other female candidates. The travelling expenses of successful candidates for the journey from their home to the examination centres and back are paid by Government. To every successful candidate, except the one who passes highest, a certificate is given signed by the President of the Examination Committee; and to the Patamagyaw, or the candidate who gains the highest number of marks, is presented a certificate signed by His Honour the Lieutenant-Governor. To laymen, rewards, in money, are given; and to monks an option is given to choose the form of their reward.

       About 400 candidates competed at the last examinations, which have become very popular through the energy and tact of Mr. J. Vansomeren Pope, M. A., Director of Public Instruction.

      The efforts of the Education Department in rendering these. examinations popular were nobly seconded by two religious societies at Mandalay called the Society for the Promotion of Buddhism and the Pariyattisssanahita Society, whose objects are to disseminate a knowledge of the Buddhist Scriptures throughout the Province, and to secure a body of learned monks, who are well qualified to play the role of instructors and spiritual guides. The latter Society has instituted a separate examination in the Vinayapitaka for monks only. A register is kept of the successful candidates; and whenever an application is made by the donor of a kyaung or monastery for a presiding abbot, a learned monk is always nominated by the Society. The former Society publishes a monthly newspaper in Burmese, and when a Thathanabaing has been recognised by the Government, it will undertake to publish his decrees and encyclicals to the Buddhist clergy. It has also established at Mandalay a school for the teaching of Burmese, Pali and English. It is hoped that this school will, in time, be able to present candidates for the Pali Patamabyan Examinations held by the Education Department.

       The Buddhist community of Burma is under a deep obligation to Sir Frederic Fryer, K.C.S.I., late Lieutenant-Governor for his kindly sympathy shown towards Buddhism, for reviving the Pali examinations, and for recommending the recognition of a Buddhist Archbishop for Upper Burma.



        At Hmawza in the Prome District, attention was devoted to the conservation of two monuments, namely, the Bebe and the Bawbawgyi Pagodas. The former enshrines a sculptured stone with a legend in an unknown script of very high antiquity, and it is extremely desirable to protect and preserve it. The language of the inscription is supposed to be Pyu, which survived at Pagan till the 11th century A.D.; but the record itself may be referred to the 7th century, if not earlier. A considerable amount of damage was done to the Bebe pagoda during the last rains. The bricks from the lower part of the Sikhara and from the terraces and part of the wall, on the west face, fell down; and they were replaced. The bricks composing the arched dome below the Sikhara were set in mud mortar. In order to reduce the superincumbent weight to a minimum and to prevent the future settlement of the building, the contents of the core of the Sikhara were scooped out, thereby converting it into a water-tight shell or cone. In restoring the terraces, replicas were made of the models, which exist on the north face of the pagoda. The colour of the work was toned down, so as to be in harmony with that of the old. The upper part of the eastern face had settled down although the foundation remained undisturbed. The bricks, which fell out of position, were carefully replaced and set in lime mortar. The domical roof of the Bawbawgyi Pagoda was rendered water tight with cement plaster; and, in repairing the body of the Pagoda, in order to produce cohesion between the new work and the old, and to neutralize the force of gravitation, Mr. W. G. Davie, Executive Engineer, Tharrawaddy Division, who was in charge of the works, issued instructions for the use of header bricks. To the north-east of the Bawbawgyi Pagoda are a stone staircase and a sculptured stone representing the Buddha in the act of taking the rice porridge offered by Sujata before attaining enlightenment. As there were seven attitudes of the Buddha around the Bodhi Tree, and, as the sculpture represents the seventh or final attitude, I directed a search to be made of the six remaining sites, which were found in the vicinity. In the course of an excavation made near the stone sculpture, exquisitely shaped terra-cotta plaques depicting various animals and a trident have been found, in addition to a clay seal bearing the linga on its obverse face. These are strong evidences of the Siva cult. The question arises as to whether the Bawbawgyi Pagoda, which is now 153 feet high and 240 in circumference, originally represented the linga, and whether, when Saivaism was absorbed or subverted by Buddhism, it was transformed into a symbol for the Bodhi tree. The shape of the Bawbawgyi is undoubtedly that of a stupa, which approximates more to a Turanian tumulus than to a domical Indian or Sinhalese dagoba. Indeed, Fergusson says :—" No only out of doors but in the earliest caves, the forms of dagobas are always rounded; and no example of a straight-lined cone covering a stupa has yet been discovered."

        No replica of this Burmese Pagoda appears to be found elsewhere, and its architecture deserves a careful and minute study.


        At Pagan, both sculpture and architecture were mainly derived from Southern India, through Thaton, which was conquered by Anawrata in the eleventh century. This conquest is a great land-mark in Burmese history. It resulted not only in the expansion and consolidation of Burmese dominion, but also in an outburst of architectural energy, the introduction of the Southern School of Buddhism, and the religious and commercial intercourse with Southern India and Ceylon, which. infused a new spirit into the Burmese nation. The most celebrated buildings were erected between 1057 and 1284 A.D., i.e., between the conquest of Thaton by Anawrata and the invasion of Pagan by Kublai Khan. The period, during which stone sculpture flourished is even more limited, as it extended from 1057 to 1234 A. D. The earliest specimen of stone-carving is found in the Theinpaya at Myinpagan, one of the numerous ordination halls consecrated by Anawrata (1059 A. D.), and the latest in the Setkudaik, a lecture hall, built in 1234 A.D. by Kyazwa Mingyi, who abdicated his throne in favour of his son, in order to devote himself to study and instructing others in the Buddhist scriptures. As falling between these two dates, may be mentioned the Nanpaya, erected in 1059 A. D., by Manuha, the last King of the Talaings, whose sculpture, both on the exterior and interior, is unique; the Ananda Temple, built in 1090 A. D., by Kyanzittha, which still remains the grandest religious edifice in Burma,. and the greatest store house of statuary in stone ; and the Kyaukku Temple, built in 1188 A D., by Narapatisithu against the face of a ravine, on the jambs of whose entrance are carved, in low relief, most interesting figures illustrating Buddhist cosmogony.


        The Ananda Pagoda is likewise adorned with eighty pieces of stone sculptures of exquisite workmanship depicting scenes in the life of Gotama Buddha from his conception and birth to his Nivarna. The pose, contour, and drapery of the figures are distinctly Indian, and the architects employed must have been foreigners


        Two kinds of terra cotta tiles have been found at Pagan adorning the basements and corridors of Pagodas. They illustrate scenes in the life of Gotama Buddha and during his previous births, and serve as sermons in baked clay exhorting the laity to follow, in both worldly and spiritual matters, in the footsteps of the Buddha, who is looked upon as the highest type of humanity. In the Shwezigon and Ananda, the tiles are enamelled in a green colour, while those decorating the ambulatory passages of the Petleik are of red baked clay. All these three shrines belong to the 11th century A.D. Chinese influences traceable in the former two, and the Petleik plaques, which are of a better technique, may be ascribed to a South-Indian origin. The arrangement of the tiles is still well preserved in the Ananda, and may be described as follows.

Position Description Number
  Basement   Hosts of Mara 276
  Basement   Disciples of Buddha 276
  First storey   Scenes in 537 Jatakas 537
  Second, Third, and Fourth storeys   Scenes in the ten Jatakas beginning with the Temiya and ending with the Vessantara Jataka. 383
  Total 1472


        The architecture of this Pagoda is unique, and bespeaks its ancient origin. It probably ante-dates the introduction of the Southern School of Buddhism into Pagan in the eleventh century A.D. It is bulbous in shape, and is crowned by a small chamber which is now roof-less. The striking peculiarity about this shrine is that its face bricks were moulded to size, were well finished and well baked, and dipped in a kind of green glaze, which cannot now be reproduced. It was decided not to restore the roof of the sanctum, because the Director-General emphasized "on the importance of not adding, in the course of repairing a building, any feature to it which does not actually exist at the time when repairs are first taken in hand, however strong the presumption may be that it originally existed, before the structure fell into decay. Much grouting was done; the basement was repaired; and the whole building was made water-tight as far as possible, so as to secure to it a further term of longevity.


        TheMingalazedi Pagoda was built by Tayokpyemin (the king who fled from the Chinese) in 1268 A.D., and indicates the high water-mark of Burmese religious architecture at Pagan. The Burmese empire was subverted by the Mongols under Kublai Khan in 1284 AD. It was shattered. to pieces and never recovered its former grandeur and magnificence. A stone inscription found within the walls of the Pagoda records the following: " On Sunday, the 6th waxing of Tabaung 630 Sakkarj(1269 A.D., King Narathihapade (Tayokpyemin) who is the supreme commander of the vast army of thirty-six million soldiers, and who is the consumer of three hundred dishes of curry daily, being desirous of attaining the bliss of Nirvana, erected a pagoda, - - - - ." "An empire under the rule of a gourmand of such a stupendous type certainly deserved to be shattered and torn to pieces. The Pagoda stands on a raised platform, and its triple terraces are adorned with green enamelled terra-cotta plaques depicting scenes in the Jataka stories. The small subsidiary shrines at the corners of the third terrace are entirely covered with green glazed tiles. The bricks, with which the retaining walls are built, are stamped with Talaing letters, and the dimensions of each are 18 inches by 9 inches by 3 inches. Efforts were made to procure a complete set of the inscribed bricks, without dismantling any portion of the walls, but they proved to be fruitless. The thick jungle found within the precincts and the debris were cleared; both the pagoda and the walls were made water-tight ; and the steps facing the east were repaired. The shrine is still an object of worship, and the iron ti now crowning it was placed by the villagers of Pagan in 1908. Under the Burmese regime, the crowning, by commoners, of a pagoda built by a royal personage, would be considered to be high treason, and the concession of this privilege is now greatly appreciated throughout the Province.


        Situated half-way between the villages of Myinpagan and Thiyipyitsaya in the Pagan Township, which were, at one time, centres of Talaing and Indian influence, the Seinnyet Pagoda, a cylindrical structure of the 11th century, represents a distinct stage in the development of Buddhist religious architecture in Burma. A detailed examination of it indicates its mixed origin in which the Chinese element preponderates. Unlike the Shwesandaw Pagoda at Pagan and the Sinbyume Paya at Mingun, each of which has five receding terraces representing the five-fold division of Mount Meru, it rests on a triple square basement, which symbolises the abode of the four Maharajas, or Guardian Spirits of the world. At each corner of the first terrace is a small chaitya resting on a high plinth. Each corner of the second terrace is decorated by an ornament which looks like a flower-vase or relic-casket, and which is guarded by the figure of a lion with distinctly Chinese features, while the corresponding decoration on the third terrace is a stunted chaitya guarded by the figure of an animal, whose remains indicate it to be a winged dragon. All the three terraces are fringed with miniature battlements, and are embellished with Mouldings in brick and plaster, which are a characteristic feature of the basement of all Burmese religious and ceremonial Structures. Then comes the octagonal band encircling the building, which represents the Tushita heaven, the abode of all Bodhisats or Buddhas in embryo; but the eight gods, Indra, Agni, and others, each of whom protects a point of the compass, are absent. The next tier is a circular moulding, which the Burmans call the "Kyiwaing" or circular band of copper, but which, the Chinese say, represents the highest empyrean, where Buddhas dwell after fulfilling their high mission on earth. Next succeeds the "Kaunglaungbon" or belt-shaped dome near whose rim is a circle of small battlements, surmounted by a double band of lotus petals. The dome is bisected by a bold moulding and to the upper fringe of the lower half is attached a row of ogres disgorging chaplets of pearls, a form of ornamentation which is very common in Tibet. Right across the bisectional moulding are small niches facing the cardinal points, which are crowned by miniature structures resembling the Temple at Bodhgaya. In each niche sits enshrined a small figure of a Buddha of exquisite proportions in a preaching attitude. The figures represent Kakusandha, Konagamana, Kassapa, and Gotama. In China, Metteyya or Maitreya, the Buddhist Messiah to come, is acknowledged and adored; but at the present time he has no votaries in Burma. The upper half of the dome is decorated with a band of Lotus petals and is surmounted by a foliated capital, which takes the place of a "dhatu-gabbha "or relic-chamber in a Sinhalese Pagoda. The whole structure is crowned by a sikhara or gradually attenuated spire with eleven concentric circles.


        The best specimen of stone architecture at Pagan, if not in the whole province, is the Nanpaya, erected in 1059 A. D. by Manuha, the last king of the Talaings. The wealth of the ornamentation lies in the frieze below the cornice, the corners of the building and the frieze at the basement. The sculptor's art reaches its climax in the decoration of the four pillars flanking the sanctuary in the main building. On the sides of each pillar is carved the four-faced Brahma, the creator of the universe, holding lotus flowers in each band. The anatomy of the figure and its facial expression are perfect. The broad forehead, the firm mouth, the thin lips, and the well-developed chin indicate high intellectual power.


        The Nagayon Pagoda, built by Kyanzittha in 1064 A. D., marks an intermediate stage in the development of Indo Burmese architecture, which reaches its culminating point in the Ananda Temple. With its portico and aisles, and its steeple-like sikhara, it looks, from a distance, somewhat like a mediaeval cathedral. The fineness of the brickwork and the absence of the slightest interstices between the different layers of brick, aided, no doubt, by the remarkable dryness of the climate, have kept this as well as other equally important buildings at Pagan, in a fairly good condition. In repairing the Pagoda, the main work consisted in renovating the terrace and making it water-tight, in grouting all cracks, after the removal of unsound portions of brickwork and plaster, in edging the old plaster carefully, and in restoring the inner circuit wall.


        The Sulamani Pagoda is a five-storied building erected by King Narapatisithu in 1183 A. D., and is ornamented with frescoes depicting the manners and customs of a bygone age. In the torrid heat of Pagan, it was apparently intended to serve as a combination of a stupa and vihara, that is to say, to be a chapel or pagoda as well as a monastery. No doubt, it was also intended to be a self-contained institution, like the ancient colleges of Europe, because, in its immediate vicinity, traces exist of cloistered cells, lecture halls, chapels, the residence of the Master or Abbot, an ordination hall, a library and a tank for the performance of ablutions. The building has much weathered, but the brickwork, strengthened by bond-stones, is still in a sound condition, in spite of the absence of plaster or cement on the outside. The conservation work done is more of the nature of preservation than restoration. The stone paving was repaired, cracks in the arches were cut out and rebuilt; all loose plaster was removed carefully, the sound portions being edged to arrest further decay. Extreme care was taken not to injure any of the valuable frescoes. The steep portions of the stairways were eased out. All damaged brick-work was renewed; and the sikhara surmounting the whole building as well as the small pagodas at the corners were repaired and made water-tight.


        The Sapada Pagoda constitutes a land-mark in the history of Buddhism as it commemorates the religious intercourse between Burma and Ceylon in the 12th century A. D. It was built by Sapada, a native of Bassein, who had been ordained a Buddhist monk in Ceylon, and who had founded a sect on his return to Pagan. The Pagoda was constructed after the model of a Singhalese shrine, and is the prototype of similar structures in the province. It stands on a raised earthern platform. which is protected by an ornamental retaining wall, measuring 88 feet square. Its form differs from the cylindrical-shaped Pagoda of the ordinary Burmese type, in that a square block of masonry, commonly called the "dhatu-gabbha," or relic-chamber, intervenes between the sikhara and the bell-shaped dome. The conservation work carried out by the Public Works Department was very well done. The grouting and pointing were nearly finished and the mouldings in plaster were correctly reproduced.


        The Kyaukku-Onhmin or temple is a remarkable building constructed partly of stone and partly of brick. It was erected by Narapatisithu in 1988 AD., and consists of three terraces built against the precipitous rock-bound face of a ravine. Its stone carving is in a fair state of preservation, and represents, in a narrow compass, the complete ascendancy achieved by the Buddhist faith over Brahmanism. Figures with four faces or four hands, from the Hindu Pantheon, no longer appear, and even Indra, the powerful god of the sky, becomes the Recording Angel of Buddhism, and is made to kneel, holding offerings of flowers, while Brahma, the Creator of the Universe and the Chief of the Triad, assumes the role of a humble disciple of the Buddha. The disrepair was mainly on the western face of the building, where the bricks work had been forced out of its original position owing to settlement and the leakage of rain-water. As it was found necessary to support the superstructure, the whole of the basement wall of the main portico, together with its moulding in stone, was restored as approximately as possible to its original condition. The terraces were all repaired with concrete, and a plain finish was given to the battlement walls. On the eastern side of the portico, an old door which had been bricked up was re-opened in order to improve the lighting of the interior. By the removal of obstructions, the upper rooms were lighted and ventilated. Although the repairs were comparatively extensive, efforts were successfully made to render them inconspicuous.


        On the Pegu-Thanatpin road two octagonal granite pillars, measuring about 11 and 5 feet, respectively, were found and one of them has been re-erected on a masonry plinth in the compound of the district court at Pegu. They may be identified with the Jayastambha or Pillars of Victory set up by Rajendra Chola I., who overran Pegu in 1025-1027 A. D., that is to say, a few years before the conquest of Thaton by Anawrata, King of Pagan. In the native chronicles, nothing is mentioned of Pegu for a period of 500 years from the 8th to the 13th centuries A. D., nor is there any reference, to it, during the Burmese invasion of the Talaing country by Anawrata. This omission can only be explained by its subjection to foreign rule, and the discovery of these two pillars, provided that the above identification is correct, fills up a gap in the Talaing records. There is a conspiracy of silence among native historians not to refer to anything relating to the invasion of their country by South Indians or other foreigners. Such silence appears to have been somewhat inexplicable to Sir Arthur Phayre, who attempts to explain it as follows (pages 31-32 of his History of Burma).

        "In the appendix to this volume will be found a list of the first dynasty of the Kings of Pegu as entered in the Talaing chronicles. But that dynasty extends only to the year AD. 781, when the reign of King Titha or Tissa came to a close. From that time until the conquest of Pegu by Anawrata, that is, for about two hundred and sixty-nine years, no events are recorded in the Talaing annals. The conquest by the King of Pagan is not to be found therein. From indications in the Talaing annals as to the reigns of King Tissa and his predecessor, it appears probable that, for a long period, the country was disturbed by religious struggles, Brahmanical and Buddhist votaries contending for the mastery. Later chronicles have been unwilling to refer to the troubles and the degradation of their country caused by heretical disturbance and foreign rule, so that the course of events can only be conjectured. Coins or medals bearing Hindu symbols which have been found and which no doubt were struck in Pegu, probably belong to this period, and lend support to the conclusion as to events which the native chroniclers have obscured or suppressed. Excepting a few vague sentences, no notice is taken in the Talaing chronicles of the conquest by Anawrata. Thus the native annals of Pegu, from the period when pure Buddhism was for a time restored under King Tissa, until the fall of the Pagan monarchy, near the close of the thirteenth century, a period of about 500 years are almost a blank."


        In the East generally, a royal personage is regarded as a manifestation of the divine afflatus, and his tomb serves as a place of pilgrimage. The maintenance of the sacrosanct character of a ruling house is in an inverse ratio to the development of political institutions. Where republicanism prevails, as in France and the United States of America, the office of the Head of the State is respected while his person merges in the common population. Where autocracy prevails, as in Russia and China, and to a certain extent, in Japan and Siam, the Sovereign assumes the role of vicegerent of Heaven on earth. Burma forms no exception to the rule and falls under the same category as her neighbours, Siam and China. The Sandamani Pagoda, whose conservation has been sanctioned by the Local Government, is the tomb of the Crown Prince of Mindon and three other princes, who were murdered in the rebellion of 1868. An annual festival is held in its honour in October of each year, which is largely attended by the adherents and descendants of the Crown Prince, who was not only the mainstay of his brother Mindon, in his capacity of warrior, statesmen, and reformer, but was one of the few vigorous and stimulating personalities of modern Burmese history. The process of the dedication of heroes is still extant in Burma, and the Sandamani Pagoda is a tribute paid to hero-worship.


        The majority of the conservation works undertaken during the year 1907-08 presented no special features of architectural interest, but the Taungthaman Kyauktawgyi Pagoda of Amarapura and the Nanpaya Temple of Pagan deserve some notice. The former was built, in 1847 A.D., by King Pagan, the immediate predecessor of Mindon Min. In constructing this shrine, the model taken was the Ananda Pagoda at Pagan. There was an interval of a little more then seven centuries and a half between the building of the two temples, and the achievement must be pronounced to be a fair success. The prototype is awe-inspiring by the chastity of its design and the simplicity of its grandeur, while one's religious sense is bewildered by the extraordinary wealth of detail and the amount of fantasfic ornamentation lavished on the later edifice. In the 19th century, the Burmans had apparently forgotten much of their knowledge of architecture in brick and stone, and had been accustomed to build and carve in wood ; hence one serious defect of the Amarapura Pagoda, which is conducive to its instability, is the use of wooden beams and joists in the interior aisles.


       The Pondawpaya or the model of the well-known Mingun Pagoda, consists of a sikhara surmounted by a miniature stupa and resting on a square plinth of solid masonry, and appears to be a hybrid between the Shwezigon and Ananda Pagodas of Pagan, which afford so many prototypes for Buddhist religious edifices throughout the country. It is adorned with all the appurtenances of a finished place of worship, namely, circuit walls, stair-cases, leogryphs, ornamented arches, etc. The following comparison between the known dimermsions of the two buildings will be of interest :—

Mingun Pagoda Pondawpaya.
Ft. Ins. Ft. Ins.
Height of masonry plinth 104 6 2 9
Length, of one side 240 0 10 0
Sikhara 6 7
Surmounting stupa 6 0

        The Mingun Pagoda was shattered by an earthquake in 1838 and Yule describes it, in his Mission to the Court of Ava, as a perfect geological phenomenon."


        The Museum will house the interesting relics found in the relic-chamber of the Shwebawgyun Pagoda, which was built in 1763 A.D., by King Naungdawgyi, the eldest son of Alompra, the founder of the last Burmese dynasty, which was subverted by the British in 1885 A.D. The exhibits of the Museum re-awaken an interest in the foreign relation of Burma in the 18th century. Ava was conquered by the Talaings in 1752 A.D. ; Alompra proclaimed himself King in the following year; and for ten years, the Burmans and the Talaings were engaged in incessant fighting. In these wars, the belligerents were still armed with bows and arrows and firearms decided the fate of battles. These weapons of precision were supplied by the Agents of the English and French East India Companies, which, having made peace after an open war of five years in the Carnatic, transferred their rival aspirations to Burmese soil. The French had a factory at Syriam, and the British established themselves at Negrais and Bassein. The presience of the latter in selecting the winning side in all disputes among native rulers in India and Burma, and the East generally, is truly remarkable, and is one of the chief contributory causes of the expansion of British domninion over-sea. The English supported the pretensions of Alompra, who was an upstart of no royal lineage, against the claims of the King of Pegu, who had unlimited resources at his disposal and, in the end, they were quite justified in their choice.

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