The Maha Myat Muni Pagoda located in southwest Mandalay, also referred to as Mahamuni Pagoda, is considered one of most venerated images for the Buddhists in Myanmar and nearby countries. The image was originally cast in Arakan and moved to Amarapura by Crown Prince Thado Minsaw of Kongbaung dynasty in 1784. Since the image was too large, a new temple was constructed to house the image in Mandalay, the new capital under King Mindon.
It is said that there are only five likeness of the Buddha made in his lifetime – two were in India, two were in paradise, and the last is the Maha Myat Muni image. Arakan King Sanda Thuriya casted the image of Buddha in 554 BC when the Buddha visited Dhanyawadi with his 500 disciples. Sakka, who ruled the Heaven, and his assistant Vissakamma molded the lifelike image in seven days to gift the King. Gautama Buddha “imbued the image with his spiritual essence”, and stated that the image would last for five thousand years.
In the courtyard of Maha Myat Muni temple, you will also find a few bronze statues, which were originally from Angkor Wat of Cambodia. The Siamese took these statues from Angkor Wat to Ayutthaya after claiming victory. King Bayinnaung of Myanmar conquered Ayutthaya and took thirty statues to Bago in 1564. They were brought to Mrauk U by King Razagri after he invaded Bago. In 1785, Crown Prince Thado Minsaw brought them to Amarapura in 1785. The images are believed to cure sickness of those suffering from it.
Since 1988, there is a daily face washing ritual of the Maha Myat Muni Buddha image. The senior monk would wash the face with sandalwood paste and cleanse its teeth as well at 4:30 in the morning. The image has been applied with gold leaf over the years by devotees, that it is now 15cm thick. The crown is decorated with diamonds, rubies and sapphires.
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