A brief history of Mahamuni

According to almost all Arakanese chronicles, it is asserted that the Mahamuni Image was cast during the reign of King Candasuriya of Arakan in the middle of six century B.C. when the Lord Buddha in his life time made his sojourn to Dhanyawadi, the ancient city of Arakan .1 ( the old site of Dhanyawadi is situated on the focus of East longitude 93º 3´ and North Latitude 20º 52´). 
However the modern historians believe it may have been in the second century A.D.2 Among the several places where King Ashoka of India (273-236 B.C) had sent the Buddhist missionaries, it included the name "Mahinsaka". 3 Mahinsaka is the ancient name of Arakan.4 In the Rakhaing Medhapinnya Mawguan Lunga, it was composed such as that Rakkha Pura (Arakan) either possesses the name "Mahinsaka".
The Indian people especially of Bengal call the Arakanese as "Magh" or "Mogh".5 Magh may have also been derived from Mahinsaka/Mahka/Makh which sounds "Magh" or "Mogh".6 In Bengali literature, the vowel (a) sounds as (o). The Bengali people may have called Arakanese as Magh/Mogh or Maghad in sense of the people from Mahinsaka (Arakan).
Mahamuni Image and Its Long Events
In 81 A.D. the King Nagarasinda of Thayekhittaya (Burma) had made his journey to Arakan to worship the Mahamuni image.1 The King Suriya who ascended the throne of Arakan in 272 A.D had greatly devoted to it.2
Prince Mahataing Candra, founder of Chittagong, son of King Suriya (272-327 A.D) built a new temple at Mahamuni by the approval of his father. Before the accomplishment of it, the King Suriya had passed away and his son, prince Mahataing Candra, succeeded the throne in 327 A.D. He made a golden crown embellished with rubies and offered it to the Mahamuni image. During his rule in Arakan the Mahatheras from Ramanya (Mon) and Sri Lanka made the pilgrimage to the Mahamuni pagoda.3
He was succeeded by his son Suriya Candra. During the rule of King Suriya Candra in Arakan, the pedestal of the image was burnt down. He substituted it with a new one of marble stone and renovated the temple with the teak wood. After completing it he performed a great merit ceremony.4
In 776 A.D. during the reign of King Pe Phru in Arakan, the alien from the North had settled in the east of the hill-site of Mahamuni Shrine. They dug the treasure stored under the pedestal of the image and set fire the building of Gandakudi (The location where the Mahamuni image was housed).5
In 980 A.D. another settlement could be found from the wild northern part of the Arakan and they have occupied the area of Mahamuni. They tried to bring the image to their place and when it was unsuccessful they took the treasure and melted the statue. When they found it all in vain, the image was left behind. Thus the Mahamuni image could not be found out for three years and five months.6 King Anawratha, founder of the first Burmese Dynasty in Burma, ( who ascended the throne of Pagan in 1044 A.D.), himself came to Arakan and tried to bring the image to Burma. Later he had given up his previous plan and constructed the new temple at the shrine and came back to Pagan.7
Athinkhara Raza who became king of Pincha Dynasty of Arakan in 1068 A.D. rebeautified Mahamuni shrine again.8
In 11 century A.D in time of King Foonthan of Pincha in Arakan, the King of Pagan sent fifty thousand warriors, five hundred ministers and a Mahathera. They encamped at Cetootaya and begged the permission from the Arakanese king for the construction of a new temple at the Mahamuni. After getting the agreement from the King Foonthan of Arakan, they built a new Gandakudi and planted the Sanga trees at four locations of the Mahamuni."9
In 1103 A.D. the Paganians came to Arakan to confer Lakkyamunnan the throne of Arakan when it was in absence of king. They destroyed Mahamuni images and cut off the legs and hollowed the back in hunt for the treasure.10 Mahamuni was being lost till six successors of Arakanese kings Lakkyamunnan, Thiharaza, Thakyawangree, Thakyawannge to Koliya in Arakan. The King Datharaza who succeeded the throne of Parin Dynasty of Arakan in 1123 A.D. tried to search for the lost image and found out it by the help of Mro Lord Rahoungla in the wild sinking up to the neck under the ground, the right hand broken and a big hole on the back. He brought it back to old Dhanyawadi and placed it on its former Katanyuta Hill.11
King Ngahnaloon who succeeded the throne of Nerinsara in 1246 A.E. was the last King of Taung Ngoo Dynasty of Arakan. During his rule in Arakan, the temple of Mahamuni was ruined by a great storm.12 In time of King Alaumaphru, successor of King Ngahnaloon (1246-1250 A.D.) and founder of Laungrek Dynasty (1250 to 1430 A.D.), the temple of Mahamuni had been rebuilt and it was burnt down again in 1354 A.D.13
King Mong Saw Mon (1406-1433 A.D.) founded Mrauk U in 1430 A.D. He paved the road from Mrauk U to Mahamuni and dug several ponds and lakes along the way. In 1439 A.D. King Mong Khaki (Ali Khan), the successor of Mong Saw Mon brought the Pitaka from Sri Lanka and offered them to the Mahamuni.14
King Mong Ba or Mong Bun (Sri Suryachandra Dharm), (Jobouk Shah) (1531-1553 A.D.) made a great merit on the conquest of twelve towns of Bengal in 1536 A.D. He cast thousands of Buddha images resemble to Mahamuni and constructed many shrines and pagodas across Arakan, enshrined the images therein.15 King Mong Razagree (1593-1612 A.D.), grand son of Mong Ba renovated the temple of Mahamuni and celebrated a one-thousand-monks ordination ceremony at the Mahamuni temple.16
During the reign of Sandathudhamma (1652-1674 A.D.) the temple and Wunmana Kyi (rice store) were burnt down in 1647 A.D. The King constructed a new temple in 1658 A.D. and finished it in that era.17
In 1674 A.D. the son of King Sandathu-dhamma, King Ukkabala succeeded the throne and made the pilgrimage to Mahamuni. In time of King Waradhamma who became king of Arakan in 1684 A.D., many monasteries and Uppasampada temples (where monk-ordination is performed) were build around the Mahamuni pagoda and eight thousand monks were ordained within one year.18 In 1710 A.D., the Burmese king Thirimaha Thuradhamma had sent two missionaries of Weluthara and Sandataraza and they asked permission for the construction of a new temple at Mahamuni whereas the king of Arakan denied it.19
In 1718 A.D. the palace of Mrauk U, the temple of Mahamuni, other 8000 monasteries and 800 Uppasampada Temples were built by the king of Arakan.20
In 1761 and 1762 A.D. there was a pair of earthquake in Arakan and the roof and the walls of the temple were collapsed down. In 1764 A.D. the lord of Rembree succeeded the throne of Arakan by the name of Abayamaharaza. In Pratho (10th month of Arakanese Era, January) of the same year, the main temple of Mahamuni was burnt down and he reconstructed it in 1127 A.E. (1765 A.D).21
During the reign of King Sandasumanaraza of Arakan, the king of Eve of Burma, Sinphyu Shin (Lord of white elephant), sent a delegation of pilgrimage led by Surinchakka to Arakan and they arrived at Mahamuni on Saturday of 8th waxing of Tawthalunn (6th month of A.E. September) in 1136 A.E. (1774 A.D.).22
King Mahathamadaraza ascended the throne in 1784 A.D. and two years latter in 1784 there was a great flood of Gaiccapanadi (Kaladan river) which lasted for seven days. Among the people who sought shelter at the Mahamuni temple, the three women had given birth to three babies by the same time and a giant log reached onto the pedestal of Mahamuni Image. At night the people could hear the odd crises and sounds of trumpets and see the bad omens.
On hearing such odd events, King Maha-thamadaraza came to the Mahamuni on Thursday of 14th waning of Waso in 1146 A.E. (1784 A.D.). On Saturday of 7th waning of Pratho in 1146 A.E., on 30th December 1784, the Burmese King Bodaw Maung Wyne occupied Arakan and took Mahamuni Image, and it reached at the Sagaing harbour on 2nd waning after Kasone full-moon in 1147 A.E. (1785 A.D.).23
Mandalay Mahamyatmuni pagoda is the great Mahamuni Image of Arakan.
Khaing Kyaw Kyaw
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
1. Tun Shwe Khine (M.A.): "History of Mahamuni" (in Burmese), 1991.
2. Dr. Qanungo: "History of Chittagong" (in English), 1986.
3. Ahn Maung (M.A.): "2500 years of Buddhism" (in Burmese).
4. However, the historians of India have identified "Mahinsaka" as present "Mysore" of India. Kyaw Zan tha (M.A.): "Buddhism in Arakan before Yedhamma" (Rakhine Tazaung Magazine), 1980, p.20.
5. "Magh", nowadays, has the notorious sense as "Pirate" because the"Magh" or "Rakhaing" who were clever at the maritime warfare had often raided "Bengal" by the sea-route during the glorious age of golden "Mrauk U".
6. a) More research works should be done on this view point.
b) "Magh" is allied to Sanskrit word "Magh" which means "Superior".
(Dr. Qanungo: "History of Chittagong", 1986.)
c) Some scholars believe the word "Magh" is a derivation from "Maghada" of India.
(San Tha Aung (M.A): The Mog or the Magh or the Arakanese in Bangladesh.)
(Chittagong Gazetteer (Government of Bangladesh), 1974.)
d) "Magh", in Bengali Literature, is pronounced "Mogh". So is "Mahinsaka" pronounced as "Mohinsoko" and may be corrupted into "Mohinsoko/ Mohko/ Mokh/ Mogh.
1. a) Chan Htwan Oung: The Mahamuni Shrine in Arakan, J.B.R.S. (Journal of Burma Research Society).
b) Oo Kala Maharazawin (in Burmese), Vol. III, p.104.
c) Hmannanrazawin (in Burmese), Vol. III, p.104.
2. Sandamalalungara, Rakhaing Razawunthaik-kyan (in Burmese), Vol.III, p.104.
3. a) Rakhaing Razawunthaikkyan, Vol. I, p.286.
b) Dr. Forchammer; The Mahamuni Pagoda, p.6.
4. Kyauk Roe Razawun, (Palm scripture in Arakanese)
5. a) Dr. Forchammer, The Mahamuni Pagoda, p.6.
b) U Nyo Mya: Koombaung Shapoondaw, p.154.
c) Rakhaing Razawunthaikkyan, Vol. I, p.307.
d) Arakanese Princess Yaingcrong (Hantha-wadi Print) (in Arakanese), Stanza-14.
6. Chan Htwan Oung, Mahamuni Shrine in Arakan. J.B.R.S., P.263.
7. Rakhaing Razawunthaikkyan: Vol. I, p.316
8. Dr. Forchammer: Arakan, p.6.
9. a) Rakhaing Razawunthaikkyan: Vol. I, p.323.
b) Dr. Forchammer: Arakan, p.6.
10. a) Rakhaing Razawunthaikkyan: Vol. I, p.316
b) San Shwe Bu: The Story of Mahamuni, J.B.R.S., P.226
11. a) Rakhaing Razawunthaikkyan: Vol. I, p.130, 323, 329, 331.
b) San Shwe Bu: The Story of Mahamuni, J.B.R.S., P.226, 227, 228
c) Dhanyawadi Razawunthaikkyan, p.118.
d) Dr. Forchammer: Mahamuni shrine in Arakan, p.265.
e) Rakhaing Sgabre Razawun (Palm scripture in Arakanese), "Za" Sheet.
f) Sara Ngame Razawun and Rhihoung Razawun (Manuscript copy from palm scripture).
12. a) Dhanyawadi Razawunthaikkyan, p.120.
b) Rakhaing Sgabre Razawun, (Palm Scripture), "Zau" Sheet.
13. a) Dr. Forchammer: Mahamuni Pagoda, p.6.
b) U Nyo Mya: Koombaung Shapoondaw, "Mahamuni History", p.155.
14. Rakhaing Sgabre Razawun (Palm scripture in Arakanese), "Lau" Sheet.
15. Ibid. (Twelve towns of Bengal are (1) Gatapalan (2) Kana (3) Chittagong (4) Padikhara (5) Tilinga (6) Comilla (7) Barisal (8) Moksuja (9) Dacca (10) Ganga-Sagara (11) Rounphru and (12) Sylhet.
16. Ibid.
17. Rakhaing Razawunthaikkyan, Vol. I., p.241.
18. U Nyo Mya: Mahamuni History, p.155.
19. Rakhaing Razawunthaikkyan, Vol. I., p.243
20. a) Rakhaing Sgabre Razawun (Palm Scripture), "Taw" Sheet.
b) Rakhaing Razawunthaikkyan, Vol. I, p.244.
c) Dhanyawadi Razawunthaikkyan, Vol. I, p.277.
21. a) Rakhaing Sgabre Razawun, (Palm Scripture), "Htan" Sheet.
b) Rakhaing Razawunthaikkyan, Vol. I, p.270.
c) Rakhaing Razawunthaikkyan, Vol. I, p.276, 279.
22. Rakhaing Razawunthaikkyan, Vol. II, p.276, 279.
23. Ibid.
24. Arakanese Year (A.E.) English Year:
1. Thanku 1. April
2. Kasone 2. May
3. Nanyone 3. June
4. Waso 4. July
5. Wakhaung 5. August
6. Tawthalunn 6. September
7. Wakywat 7. October
8. Tansaungbone 8. November
9. Nattaw 9. December
10. Pratho 10. January
11. Taboohtwe 11. February
12. Taboung 12. March
Note: The Arakanese months are not fixed with English months 
every year as mentioned in the table.
*( A.E. = Arakanese Era 

...Posted By... Arakan Research Centre ...Date... Tuesday, November 01, 2011. ...Post Title... , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0

0 comments for A brief history of Mahamuni

Leave comment

My Visitors

Please Listen to Arakan Song

2010 BlogNews Magazine. All Rights Reserved. - Designed by SimplexDesign