Sunday, 10 April 2016

Maha Myat Muni Pagoda: A Single Dhammic Object

The Maha Myat Muni Buddha image! In this single object, now heavily coated in gold, can be seen the intersection between myth and documented history, between ancient India and modern Myanmar, between political power and the quest for liberation, and between external devotion and internal faith. Meditators from lands without a strong Dhamma history may not understand how— or even be aware that— centuries of devoted Buddhist practice manifest through material objects, especially Buddha images. One of the clearest examples of this is the Maha Myat Muni Buddha statue. As British colonial writer George Bird wrote over a century ago, “[S]o highly venerated was this image, that from the earliest times pious pilgrims from most distant Buddhist countries have been in the habit of coming to the shrine to pay their devotions.” The tradition and reverence continues to this day.