Nat Worship
Tuesday, October 27, 2009 at 3:04PM
[chuck] in Myanmar, Nats, Other, Shwedagon Pagoda, animistic spirits

Prior to the arrival of Buddhism in Myanmar, animistic spirits known as Nats were commonly worshipped. When King Anawrahta came to power in the 11th century, however, he wanted to make Theravada Buddhism the national faith and he ordered the destruction of all the Nat shrines in the kingdom. This didn't work at all, and when the King saw that he was turning people away from Buddhism - rather than destroying their faith in Nats - he rescinded his order and allowed Nats to be worshiped and displayed at Buddhist temples together with arhats. The image above shows a prominent group of Nats at Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon. [NOTE: King Anawrahta also added a 37th Nat, Thagyamin, to the existing list of spirits and crowned him "King of the Nats".] 


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