A local rhyme says: “Massiveness is Dhammayan Gyi, Sublimity is Thatbyinnyu, Grace is Ananda, Almighty is Shwezigon.”
Ananda Phaya is said to be the most gracious temple in the vicinity of Bagan, unfortunately, I was not aware that, we were so focused on the murals in Ananda Okkyaung (chapel?) and the four standing Buddha images in the monastery, we didn’t even spend anytime walking around the temple to admire the beauty of its architecture, well, not until we boarded our bus leaving the vicinity and then someone yelled to stop the bus and got off to take pictures from a distance. I have borrowed a photo from Wikipedia (©Gerd Eickmann) to show a better view of the outside architectural (see below).
蒲甘在地人一句順口溜點出三大名寺的持性 ” 達瑪央吉大, 達比紐寺高, 阿難陀寺漂亮” 。不知是否因為重建的関係, 又或許是貼了金箔的塔頂的亮麗, 阿難陀寺確實令人眼前一亮。我看過一張別人拍的照片, 牆漆得白白的, 襯着藍色的天, 金色的塔, 叫人驚艷。可惜導遊先生过於強調壁画和四尊立佛, 没有給時間我們看看外面, 待我們乘車離開時, 在遠處才發現它的美。
⇑ Wikipedia photo – by Gerd Eickmann
Wikipedia: The Ananda Temple (Burmese: အာနႏၵာဘုရား, pronounced [ànàɴdà pʰəjá]), located in Bagan, Myanmar is a Buddhist temple built in 1105 AD during the reign (1084–1113) of King Kyanzittha of the Pagan Dynasty. It is one of four surviving temples in Bagan. The temple layout is in a cruciform with several terraces leading to a small pagoda at the top covered by an umbrella known as hti, which is the name of the umbrella or top ornament found in almost all pagodas in Myanmar. The Buddhist temple houses four standing Buddhas, each one facing the cardinal direction of East, North, West and South. The temple is said to be an architectural wonder in a fusion of Mon and adopted Indian style of architecture. The impressive temple has also been titled the “Westminster Abbey of Burma”. The temple has close similarity to the Pathothamya temple of the 10th–11th century, and is also known as “veritable museum of stones”.
維基百科: 阿難陀寺（英文：Ananda Temple），一譯阿難達寺，是一座位於緬甸蒲甘的佛教寺廟。由緬甸蒲甘王國國王江喜陀於公元1105年時興建，寺名來源自佛陀釋迦牟尼十大弟子中的阿難陀，是蒲甘現存的四座佛教寺廟之一。曾一度毀於1975年的地震，後又重建。
The temple was damaged in the earthquake of 1975. However, it has been fully restored and is well maintained by frequent painting and whitewashing of the walls. On the occasion of 900th anniversary of its construction celebrated in 1990 the temple spires were gilded. It is a highly revered temple of Bagan.
The name Ananda of the temple is derived from the Venerable Ananda, Buddha’s first cousin, personal secretary, one of his many principal disciples and a devout attendant. It was once known as Ananta Temple, coming from the phrase ‘ananta pinya’ in Sanskrit, which translates as “endless wisdom”. However, the word ‘Ānanda’ in Pali, Sanskrit as well as other Indian languages mean “bliss”. It is a popular Buddhist and Hindu name. The attributes of the Buddha, his infinite wisdom “Anandapinnya in Burmese and Pali” is commemorated in its name ‘Ananda’.
Ananda Okkyaung: a chapel built in 12 century, famous for its 18 century murals. Photography was not allowed. ⇑⇓ These two photos show the outside of the chapel.
One of the unique selling points of Ananda Phaya is that they have, not one, but four 9.5-meter tall standing Buddhas. If you are like me, you don’t why there are so many Buddhas, here is a link to find out: List of the named Buddhas
⇑⇓ 拘留孫佛, 面北方,意為「所應斷已斷」或「成就美妙」, 過去七佛的第四位。
KAKUSANDA BUDDHA- NORTH. Kakusandha (known as Krakucchaṃda in Sanskrit) is the first Buddha of the bhadrakalpa.
拘那含佛, 意譯曰金寂，過去七佛的第五佛, 面東方。
KONAGAMANA – EAST⇓ According to Theravāda Buddhist tradition, Koṇāgamana is the twenty-sixth of the twenty-nine named Buddhas, the fifth of the Seven Buddhas of Antiquity, and the second of the five Buddhas of the present kalpa.
⇑⇓ There are quite a few of niches on the wall of the corridor that house Buddha images. 寺內環廊、通道壁上有頗多壁龕, 供有不同佛像。
⇑ ⇓ KASSAPA – SOUTH. Wikipedia: According to Theravāda Buddhist tradition, Kassapa is the twenty-seventh of the twenty-nine named Buddhas, the sixth of the Seven Buddhas of Antiquity, and the third of the five Buddhas of the present kalpa.
It was pointed out to us that “the smile on this image changes as we approach and the angle of elevation increases”
⇑ KASSAPA – SOUTH
⇑ 释迦牟尼佛 ⇓，原名乔达摩·悉达多（巴利文：Gotama Siddhattha), 面西方, 手作無畏印。維基百科: 大乘佛教對他又有不同的尊稱，如《華嚴經》中又稱他為毗盧遮那佛，毗盧遮那是光明遍照的意思，俗謂大日如來。依照大乘佛教不同派系的見解，或認為毘盧遮那佛是法身佛，釋迦牟尼佛為應化身，而報身稱為盧舍那佛。
⇑ GOTAMA – WEST ⇓ Note the abhaya mudra = gesture of NO FEAR
⇑ KAKUSANDA – NORTH