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Mahamuni Pagoda: Why it’s Held with Reverence

Mahamuni Pagoda: Why it’s Held with Reverence


The Mahamuni Pagoda or the Mahamuni Buddha temple, located near the southwest of Mandalay in Burma is one of the major pilgrimage sites in the country. The temple is home to the Mahamuni Buddha (The Great Sage) image. The Burmese people hold it with great reverence as is it is primarily viewed as an expression of the great Buddha’s life. King Bodawpaya of the Konbaung dynasty had built this pagoda in the year 1785 after the seizure of the Mahamuni image during the invasion by the Arakan Kingdom.

The most famous legend surrounding this iconic pagoda is that Buddha had actually “breathed life” in to the image. The story goes like this…

As per ancient tradition, there are only 5 likenesses of Buddha which had been created during his existence. Two of them were in paradise, two in India and the fifth (i.e. the Mahamuni image) in Myanmar. Once again as per legend, Buddha had visited Dhanyawadi city of Arakan in the year 554 B.C and on King  Sanda Thuriya’s request an image of Buddha was cast. Buddha had breathed upon the image that had resulted in the exact likeness of this image to that of Buddha.

The Mahamuni museum serves as a special attraction at the temple ground. It informs you about the various places associated with Buddha’s life. Places related to his birth (in Nepal), the site where he had reached his enlightenment thereby transcending to the final stage of Nirvana- you are informed about each and every important place.

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