QUOTE(AEROFORCE1 @ Sep 5 2006, 01:18 PM) [snapback]2261426[/snapback]
Is that Schwedagong pagoda built by mon? It in d south of Burma so I guess
The founders were the brothers Tapussa and Bhallika probably natives of Suvannabhumi or Paukkharavati. As for their ethnicity : who knows . They may well have even been Indian.
All three cultures the Thai / Mon / Burmese claim Suvannabhumi 'Golden Land' as their own.
What is without doubt is that Suvannabhumi was in what is now lower Burma .
As for the ethnicity of the people there : it is likely that they were of Austro - Asiatic origin , probably Mon-Khmer.
The Burmese ( Burmans ) and Tai were relatively late comers into mainland SE Asia.
The Shwe Dagon as you see it now is most definitely Burmese and it's current size is 18th century.
Here is one version of events ...
The Legend of Shwedagon Sandawshin Cedi
The legend has it that some 2,500 years past, when Gotama Buddha was on his quest to attain enlightenment, at the same time there lived in the Yamanya Taing of Paukkharavati country, two merchant brothers by the name of Tapussa and Bhallika. The two brothers were trading along the coastal areas from India to Suvannabhumi.
After Bodhisatta Gotama has gained the enlightenment, he went through the bliss of Emancipation (Vimutti Sukha) for 49 days of fasting and concentration practice to reflect on his discoveries: the four Noble truths and the doctrine of the law of dependent origination. He woke up from the jhanas concentration and was in the mood to receive food for nourishment. A female Deva, the mother of the two merchant brothers from their previous existence, noted that her two sons were in the vicinity on their trading journey with 500 caravans. The Deva manifested herself in the form of female serpent (naga) and instructed them to offer food to the Buddha. She directed them to the location and asked them to offer their choicest food to the Buddha. The two merchant brothers then took their choicest foods (cakes and honey) and approached the Buddha to offer alms to the Buddha.
The Devas of the four kings at that time knowing that the Buddha will need the alms bowl to receive the food, offered the Buddha the alms bowl. The Buddha received the food with the alms bowl and partake the alms food. The two brothers were delighted of their offering and asked the Buddha to receive them as his lay disciples. They then took refuge in the Buddha and Dhamma, the Buddha has not establish Bhikkhu Sangha order at that time, so they could only took refuge in the two jewels. Since, the two brothers are returning to the Yamanya City in Suvannabhumi (now Thaton), they beg the Buddha something for remembrance and reverence. The Buddha gave them eight strands of hairs relics and instructed them with the proclamation:
“I shall proclaim you two as my future sons who will carry my dispensation in to the future. So take these eight strands of hair and enshrined them at a stupa in the Theiguttara Hill in the land where my Dispensation will flourish for a long time in the future. ”
Not many knew that the dialect used at that time was Magadha. The Buddha spoke to them in Magadha dialect when he made the proclamation. Tapussa reproduced the exact Buddha’s proclamation in Magadha with paraphrasing in Myanmar. ( **** ) They put the hair relics in a casket and continue their journey back by sea to the Yamanya taing, Suvannabhumi.
In the Suvannabhumi region, at that time, there lived in the forest a holy ascetic hermit holy man. One day, on his way to collecting alms food, he found a large Melamu bud hanging on the Melamu fruit tree. He took the bud home, curious of the size of the Melamu fruit. Miraculously after some time, the bud opens up and from the bud emerges a baby girl whom he named her Melamu. When she was of age, she grew up to be a beautiful young damsel.
At that time, the Sakka of the King of the thirty-three Devas heaven notices that the girl would one day bear a son who would be the donor of a stupa enshrined with the Buddha hair relics. It is only fitting that Sakka should be the one who must father a son with Melamu. Therefore, Sakka descended to earth. He manifested himself as a young man, and approached the hermit to ask his daughter Melamu in marriage. Agreeing to the young man proposal, the young man and Melamu got married. Melamu soon conceived in her a baby. The Sakka in Cogniito then went back to his heavenly realm. Soon after, Melamu delivered a son. Sakka came back again when the baby came of age and named the boy Okkalapa. Sakka before he left for his heavenly abode left a message to Melamu stating that the son will one day become the ruler and he will build a stupa enshrining Buddha hair relics at Theinguttara Hill.
The Arrival of Hair Relics
As instructed by Buddha, the two brothers sold their merchandise and quickly started their journey back. On their way by sea, they met King Atjjhatta who took two hairs from them and another two hairs by the king of naga, Jayasena for their own reverence. The incident happened while they were sailing near Mawthinzun, the place well known as the abode of the Naga King. They arrived in Suvannabhumi only with four hair relics. The king Okkalapa welcome them with great fan fare. When they opened the casket, they only found four hair relics. The two merchant brothers’ then invoke the power of truth:
“We vowed that the Buddha proclaimed the two of us who should carry the eight hair relics back to Suvannabhumi and enshrined them in a stupa at Theinguttara Hill for all to revere. Should this statement be true, may the eight hair relics appear in the original form in the casket”
Miraculously, all the eight strands of hair relics reappeared in the casket. The hairs rose to a height of several 100 feet and the assembly of Devas and men rejoiced.
Theinguttra Hill , at that time was a thick jungle area and no one knows the location of the sacred hill. The legend has it that on this sacred hill there located three sacred things from the past Buddhas’: the water filter of Kakusandha, the robe of Konagamana, and the staff of Kassapa, all these known as Paribawga relics. The king of the thirty-three knowing that, the human on their own could not find the location, he sent his assistant, Withagyone Deva to clear the hill and make the place ready to accept the stupa. The Deva, within a nighttime, used their miraculous power, had cleared the jungle and level the place ready to accept the stupa. In that very night, in the most miraculous way, the two brothers received the Deva’s message and saw the Theinguttara Hills in their dreams. In the morning, they informed Okkalapa King the location of the sacred hill.
The two brothers then disclosed what the Buddha had told them about the sacred things used by the past Buddha – the water filter, the robe and the staff. The entire assembly of King’s retinue went out to find the sacred things, but failed to find the thing. At that time, Sakka, the king of the thirty-three came down with his retinue of Devas from haven, riding the elephant descended on the Theinguttara Hill. The Deva’s shining bodies illuminated the place and the Devas unearthed the sacred paribawga sacred relics.. Together with the Gotama hair relics, all the sacred relics were enshrined in a stupa. The glory of the hair relics stupa stand there to this day for the past 2,500 years, and will continue to shine its glory until the end of the Buddha’s dispensation in the Sasana year 5,000.