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Form and Function of the Shwedagon - Case Study Example

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The purpose of this paper “Form and Function of the Shwedagon” is to discuss the Shwedagon Pagoda, which is the most important shrine in Myanmar or Burma. Singuttara Hill on which the pagoda is built is situated north of the city’s busiest section which is the congested streets near the riverfront…
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Form and Function of the Shwedagon
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Download file to see previous pages Some of the smaller spires (sides) and pavilions are around the base of the central stupa while others are in remote corners of the wide esplanade that encircles the pagoda (as seen in Figures 1-3 below). The platform measuring around 280 by 220 meters was leveled more than 2000 years ago, long before founding the city of Rangoon, which is the present-day Yangon. The spacious pavilion surrounding the pagoda promotes devotees’ engaging in prayer and facilitates their walking around the pagoda, which is part of the worship. The Shwedagon Pagoda road is lined with monasteries, rest houses (zayat), and other pagodas such as the Maha Vijaya opposite the southern stairs (Falconer et al, 2001: 55).
According to the legendary history of the Shwedagon, its founding was in the lifetime of Gautama Buddha, in the 6th century B.C. Encased deep within the structure is a golden barge, studded with jewels in the form of a mythical bird. The golden vessel encloses eight sacred hairs of the Buddha, which had apparently been given to two merchants from Myanmar, on their journey to India. According to the historical story, it was a time of famine, and the two brothers Taphussa and Bhallika traveled with a boatload of rice which they placed on 500 ox-carts. The mother of the two brothers had died and become a nat, and she had urged them to seek out the recently enlightened Buddha and receive his teaching. The brothers gave the Buddha honey balls along with another kind of cake.  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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