Mahamuni Buddha Temple
The Mahamuni Buddha Temple is a Buddhist temple and major pilgrimage site, located southwest of Mandalay, Burma (Myanmar).
The Mahamuni Buddha image (literal meaning: The Great Sage) is deified in this temple, and originally came from Arakan. It is highly venerated in Burma and central to many people’s lives, as it is seen as an expression of representing the Buddha’s life.
Ancient tradition refers to only five likenesses of the Buddha, made during his lifetime; two were in India, two in paradise, and the fifth is the Mahamuni Buddha image in Myanmar.
According to the legend, the Buddha visited the Dhanyawadi city of Arakan in 554 BC. King Sanda Thuriya requested that an image was cast of him. After casting the Great Image, the Buddha breathed upon it, and thereafter the image became the exact likeness of the Mahamuni.
A major annual festival known as the ‘Mahamuni Paya pwe is held in early February, at the end of the Buddhist Lent to celebrate the history of the pagoda. During this festival, aside from the daily rituals, the Patthana from a “Book of Conditional Relations” is recited.
This book is a philosophical text which Buddha recounted to his mother in a sermon in Tavatimsa heaven and is a sacred scripture in the Pali language.
The Pattana recitation is a special feature, which continues for several days. Monks recite from the scriptures, in groups of two or three.
The festivities also include various forms of entertainment programmes such as dance, music, theatre etc., and there is also a social event, allowing families and friends gather to greet each other.
Given that large crowds of pilgrims are attracted during the festive season, guards are posted near the Great Image and video cameras are placed in many parts of the temple precincts to protect it.