Wikipedia: “The Shwezigon Pagoda or Shwezigon Paya (ရွှေစည်းခုံဘုရား) is a Buddhist temple located in Nyaung-U, a town near Bagan, in Myanmar. A prototype of Burmese stupas, it consists of a circular gold leaf-gilded stupa surrounded by smaller temples and shrines. Construction of the Shwezigon Pagoda began during the reign of King Anawrahta (r. 1044–77), who was the founder of the Pagan Dynasty, in 1059–1060 and was completed in 1102 AD, during the reign of his son King Kyansittha. Over the centuries the pagoda had been damaged by many earthquakes and other natural calamities, and has been refurbished several times. In recent renovations it has been covered by more than 30,000 copper plates. However, the lowest level terraces have remained as they were.”
浦甘是千塔之地, 到處都是佛塔。在老蒲甘附近的良烏有一座著名的大金塔, 首建於十一世紀, 成於1102。據說佛塔是緬甸式(亦即是孟邦Mon式), 大金塔曾受多次地震破壞而多次重修。近代的重修將塔蓋上30,000塊銅片, 不过下部方台仍是舊構。據說塔中供奉有佛祖舍利。
Wikipedia: “The pagoda, a prototype of Burmese stupas, is like a bell-shaped stupa in traditional Mon people, which became the prototype architectural feature for many stupas built in the then Burma (now Myanmar). It has features of staircases, gates, and a richly ornamented spire fitted with a large golden umbrella type finial embedded with gems. The relics that are believed to be enshrined in the pagoda are Buddha’s collar-bone and his frontal bone from Prome, and his tooth from Ceylon. On the outer limits of the pagoda there is a shrine where 37 nats are deified along with an intricately carved wooden sculpture of Thagyamin, Buddhist deva Śakra, king of the nats, which is believed to be 900 years old; it is the Burmese version of the Indian god Indra holding his weapon, the thunderbolt. These shrines of 37 nat spirits have been built to circumambulate as a homage to these relics.”
⇓ Very likely a monk from other country making his pilgrimage in Myanmar.
Shortly after entering the premisses of Shwezigon Pagoda, we first stepped in a hall with a gold-leaved ceiling. Above eye level, attached to the four pillars are four statues presenting a story. If I remember correctly, that’s about how the Lord Buddha, then Price Siddhartha, encountered the scenes of suffering from sickness (as a result of getting old), and death. Our guide, Mr Kyaw, told us the story, however, I don’t recall the whole story. I did a little research later at home and found a similar story in the Buddhist History [佛教史大宝藏论]. The story goes: one day Prince Siddhartha asked permission from the King to visit the villages outside the walled palace. Permission granted, he met a very sick man for the first time outside the East Gate, he had also seen a corpse and the sadness and sorrow that surrounded it. He felt sad and was told by a servant that this was the sufferings we would have in life. However, at the North Gate he met a man dressed differently and was receiving food and offering from the public. The man had a calm and peaceful appearance, and more importantly wearing a contented smile. The Prince was told that this was a monk, he had nothing but he had everything. The story goes, the Prince was so impressed then he…..
⇓ This must be (I’m not sure though, but he dressed with a salwe) Prince Siddhartha, followed by a servant who explained to him what he had seen, sickness and death, during the Prince’s first excursion out of the walled palace.
寺中有一座特殊建築物, 不是佛殿, 內中央四柱上各有雕像, 有太子騎着馬, 僕人隨後; 另两柱有枯瘦老人和死者。當時導遊是有講解, 不過早忘了, 今天做了點功課, 相信就是描述佛陀在太子位時, 第一次看到老、病、死苦况的故事, 有興趣的朋友看看。
佛教史大宝藏論: “… 太子希望一遊園林，命駕車者配備車馬，駕車者將太子的希求向國王啟請。國王認為少見太子有歡悅的行動，今有此歡喜準如所請。 於是太子從東門出行，由感召力天神等變現出所有老苦的形相，太子見此情景，問道：“御者此人形色衰，血肉枯瘦筋皮縮，頭白齒脫身枯槁，倚杖歪行是何人？”駕車者答道：“殿下！此人被老所迫害，諸報衰殘精力弱，親眷欺侮無怙主，不能作事如朽木。”太子吩咐道：“快探詢這’老’者之法，是宗族種姓法？抑是眾生都有此一法？照我話快去問來，我聽得回答後，對所說的意義，當如法思考之。”駕車者回答道：“殿下！老非宗法非國法，眾人至壯被老殘，王之父母親眷等，定皆老去無他途。”太子菩薩道：“駕車童子智淺薄，年輕狂妄未見老，今欲返宮速回車，我為老至何可樂！”於是驅車返宮。繼後，太子復出南門，見一病人而問道：“御者：此人形色惡，諸根衰弱氣息喘，肢枯腹隆容顏痿，二便遺地此何人？駕車者答道：“殿下！此人已被病纏身，病卮常在將近死，永健不存神形衰，此世難尋救怙友。”太子道：“夢想無病等兒戲，病之煎熬極難忍，智者今見此病狀，如何能生遊覽樂。”此後，太子復出西門見死者而問道：“御者此人在輦中，發殘頭上散黃土，雜聲呼號搥胸泣，人眾繞輦是何人？”駕車者答道：“殿下！贍洲此是已死人，以後難見兒孫悲，捨離資財與親屬，轉趣他世不見親。”太子說道：“何能變老為青春，轉諸病害為無病，變不長存為常活，貪者轉為善巧士。老病死苦縱成無，執此五蘊仍大苦，老病死隨何須說，應思善遣謀解脫。”太子復出北門遇見比丘而問道：“御者此士心安靜，目視路行一軛量，身著緇衣戒行，持缽無驕此何人？”駕車者答道：“殿下此名比丘僧，斷除欲樂調柔行，自尋安靜已出家，遠離貪瞋行乞食。”太子說道：“此謂善業我亦求，是諸智者所常贊，此行利已又利他，安養將成無死果。”