A Comparative Study Regrinding the Buddhism in Burma
International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR)

International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR)
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Research Paper | History | Sri Lanka | Volume 6 Issue 12, December 2017

A Comparative Study Regrinding the Buddhism in Burma

D.M.L. Harshika Bandara Dasanayaka

There are various legends the pious Burmese cherish today on how Buddhism was first introduced to their country. They even claim that the Buddha was related to their early kings. The Glass Palace Chronicle speaks about the first Sakyan kings of Burma and name Abhiraja, Dhajaraja and their dynasties. The New Pagan Chronicle omits Abhiraja, but mentions Dhajaraja. The popularly accepted tradition is that Buddhism came to Burma through two Talaing merchants, Taposa and Palika, (Tapassu and Bhalluka in Pali) to whom the Buddha is believed to have given eight hairs of his head which he instructed them to deposit in the Theinguttara Hill beside the relics of the three Buddhas who preceded him. They returned to Burma and searched far and wide for Theinguttara Hill, which was finally pointed out to them by the aged Sule nat. Here they enshrined the hairs in a pagoda which came to be later known as the Shwe Dagon, one of the most sacred Buddhist shrines in the East. A pagoda was later built to commemorate the nat who had pointed out the sacred site, this is the present Sule Pagoda which stands in the centre of the city of Rangoon. The story of these two merchants is recorded in the Mahavagga, but there it is mentioned that they were from Ukkala (Utkala, Orissa in India). According to Burmese version, there was a dynasty and a geographical area called Ukkalapa there. The story recorded in Mahavagga, however, does not have any reference to a hair locks being given to them. Burmese maintain that when two local merchants started building a temple (Sandalwood Monastery) in the village called Lekaing, the Buddha came there to supervise the work personally. These legends only reflect the enthusiasm of the Burmese Buddhists to claim to be an early Buddhist country that received Buddhism before any other country outside India. As Sukumar Dutt puts it We may put on one side these picturesque legends of the chronicles, obviously inventions of pious monks wishful to claim an impossibly high antiquity for Buddhism in their country. There are such stories told in Sri Lanka and Thailand also. A more probable tradition is that which states that Buddhism was brought to Burma by two monks, Sona and Uttara, who were sent out by the Third General Council, summoned under the patronage of the great Emperor Asoka, who flourished in India about 250 B.C.

Keywords: Sona and Uttara, Pyu, Anauratha, Sasanawamsa, Sihala Sangha, Buddhaghos

Edition: Volume 6 Issue 12, December 2017

Pages: 1453 - 1457

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D.M.L. Harshika Bandara Dasanayaka, "A Comparative Study Regrinding the Buddhism in Burma", International Journal of Science and Research (IJSR), https://www.ijsr.net/search_index_results_paperid.php?id=ART20178917, Volume 6 Issue 12, December 2017, 1453 - 1457

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