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Entries in Monywa (5)


Maha Bodhi Ta Htaung

So, we spent the morning in Monywa visiting Bodhi TahTaung (see Bodhi Tahtaung) and viewing the giant Standing Buddha statue (see Lakyun Setkyar Buddha). And then, Kyaw Thin Latt from WCS (see Growth Bands), who was leading the excursion and is a devout Buddhist, suggested that we visit the Maha Bodhi Ta Htaung monastery. This is where the Venerable Sayadaw U Narada was abbot when all the bodhi trees were planted and the giant statues were built. I thought this was a fantastic idea. Next thing I knew, we were in the bedroom of the deceased abbot sitting on the floor with the head monk flipping through photo albums of the statue construction and looking at pictures of all of the dignitaries (e.g. Senior General Than Shwe) that had visited.  I still can't believe this happened (thx, Latt).   


Taking Refuge

This from Mohnyin Thambuddhei Paya (see Thambuddhei Paya and Thambuddhei Paya II). The giant king cobra, Mucalinda, rose up to protect Buddha from the elements after his enlightenment.  Appropriate place for two pigeons to escape the blazing afternoon sun in Monywa. Taking refuge in Buddha. 


Tiger Balm

In the complex of buildings that comprise the Mohnyin Thambuddhei Paya (see Thambuddhei Paya), there is a small clinic that was originally built for the monks. Over the years, it had gotten in increasingly bad condition and needed to be renovated. This was accomplished with a generous grant from Tiger Balm, the popular heat rub developed by Burmese herbalist Aw Chu Kin and his sons Aw Boon Haw and Aw Boon Par. Tiger Balm is named after Boon Haw, whose name means "tiger" in Chinese. 

As can be appreciated, this is a magical structure that would certainly seem to promote healing. A high-resolution copy of the image has beed added to the Downloads section for use as a therapy for your desktop. [NOTE: In addition to the tiger sitting on the fence post (lower right), there are little tigers scattered all over the structure; I count at least six]. 


Thambuddhei Paya

The 25 hour boat ride ends up in Monywa, a major trade center in Sagaing Division. Monywa is also home to the exquisite Mohnyin Thambuddhei Paya (shown above), which is one of the most beautiful examples of religious architecture I've ever seen. The temple dates from 1303, and is said to contain over 500,000 statues of Buddha. The walls are lined with them. All, to my eye, seem subtly different.

A close-up of one of the walls showing the detailed work is offered below. I couldn't stop taking pictures in here. [NOTE: I made a small donation to have a Buddha placed along the wall in my name. No idea where they are going to squeeze in one more statue].  


Htamanthi to Monywa

This 25 hour boat ride was mostly sitting and sleeping (see Duffel Bag). There was a bit of excitement at the start of the trip when they loaded the three motorcycles over the bow of the boat. And the the swarm of food sellers that boarded each time we stopped at a larger port during mealtime. In hindsight, I fondly remember my little 2 x 2 m cabin during this trip.