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Temple Carvers by Robert Wallace

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In the north west of Myanmar (Burma to you Brits having a hard time of letting go of the Empire) is the town of Monywa, a center for agricultural products. Monywa is a trade center with India and nearby are forests which produce teak and other hardwoods.

About 2500 years ago an Indian prince named Sidhartha sat under a bodhi tree in Bodhgaya India, achieved enlightenment, and became the most recent Buddha. Since then the bodhi has become an important symbol for Buddhists and highly esteemed tree that one often sees decorated with color scarves and other gifts.

A few years ago a monk decided to plant one thousand bodhi trees and place a Buddha image under each. He created a Buddha park a few kilometers from Monywa that is known as Bodhi-tataung or One Thousand Bodhi Trees. But the collection of Buddha images has long passed one thousand; perhaps ten thousand would be more accurate.

The images range from statues only a few inches tall and placed in niches of buildings to almost life-sized, to enormous. The reclining Buddha in the first picture is 90 meters long and behind it is being constructed a 140 tall standing Buddha.

This is a close-up of the head of the Buddha image that is seated on several elephants in the upper left of the first picture. To give some sense of scale, the eyelashes are made of rebar.


 
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