The history of Buddhism

The history of Buddhism

Theravada Buddhism flourishes in Myanmar .With reference to stone inscriptions, palm leaf inscriptions and court chronicles tell us that Buddhism arrived in Myanmar not once but many times.

The first arrival of Buddha Sasana

The first arrival of Buddha Sasana was associated with the legend of the Shwedagon Pagoda. In accordance with this legend, Buddhism arrived in Myanmar in the lifetime of Buddha. In the Maha Sakarit year 103,while the Buddha. was in a phalasamm apatti meditation at the foot of Rajayatana Lin Lun tree in the Uruvela Forest near the Nerajara River, two merchant brothers Taphussa and Bhallika of Ukkalapa village of Ramannadesa came to worship the Buddha .

The first arrival of Buddha Sasana was associated with the legend of the Shwedagon Pagoda

The brothers offered the Buddha honey cakes and the Buddha preached the Dhamma to them. At their request the Buddha gave them eight sacred hairs of His Head as His relics to venerate. On their return home, they enshrined the Sacred Hairs in a ceti (pagoda) they built on the hill then called Tampaguta. That ceti was we now call Shwedagon Pagoda. This legend is mentioned in the Shwedagon stone inscription, set up by King Dhammazedi of Hanthawaddy Kingdom.

The second arrival of Buddha Sasana

In the Maha Sakarit year 111 , in the 20th Vasa of Buddha, Arahat Maha Thera Shin Gavempti entreated the Buddha to visit Thaton (Sudhammapura) in the Kingdom of Ramannnadesa. The people in that place become Buddhists after hearing the Dhamma.

The third arrival of Buddha Sasana

The third arrival of Buddha Sasana

In the Maha Sakarit year 123 in the 20th Vasa of the Buddha, Maha Punna came and requested the Buddha to visit Sunaparanta Vaniccagama. When Buddha came to that place with 500 disciples, a monastery built of sandal wood was offered to the Buddha to reside. Namanta Naga and his friend Hermit came to pay homage to the Buddha and requested to leave some kind of his Representative for them to worship. Thus, the Buddha left two footprints, one at the foot of the Minbu Hill Range and the other on a little higher up on the hill.

Arrival of written Tipitaka in Tampadipa ( Bagan )

Buddha Sasana flourished in the Pyu City Kingdoms. By virtue of the artifacts excavated from archaeological sites such as Sri Kestra, Beikthano, and Hanlin show that at that time Mahayana Buddhism co-existed with Theravada Buddhism. Other places where Buddha Sasana flourished were Rakhine Vesali and Ramanna Desa. When Anawrahta became king in A.D. 1044, he was intent upon purifying Buddhism which was prevalent in Bagan. After he met Venerable Shin Arahan and achieved Tipitaka from Thaton Theravada Buddhism flourished in Myanmar.