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Entries in Nats (3)


Holding Wires

A lovely Nat statue outside of a restaurant in Homalin, Sagaing Division, does double duty: as an object of veneration (see Nat Worship) and a useful place to store a bunch of excess electrical wire. [NOTE: The empty beer bottle on the table in the restaurant adds even another dimension to the image].    


Beautiful Nats

This exquisite carving of a nat spirit adorns one of the main doors to the Mahapasana Cave (see Examination Hall) in Yangon. The blending of nat worship and Buddhism is ubiquitous in Myanmar (see Nat Worship), and nat iconography can be extremely well developed. The image below shows three beautifully rendered nats at the Kyauktawgyi Pagoda (see Kyauktawgyi Buddha).  



Nat Worship

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and when the King saw that he was turning people away from Buddhism - rather than destroying their faith in Nats - he rescinded his order and allowed Nats to be worshiped and displayed at Buddhist temples together with arhats.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".]