The Earliest Epigraphic Evidence on the Visit of the Buddha to Dhaññavati City - Thar Le Zwa သာလီစြ - Arakan Monitor

Thar Le Zwa သာလီစြ - Arakan Monitor

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Monday, February 17, 2020

The Earliest Epigraphic Evidence on the Visit of the Buddha to Dhaññavati City


27. The Earliest Epigraphic Evidence on the Visit of the Buddha to Dhaññavati City
                                                                    Dr. Saw Mra Aung

                                                                
The earliest epigraphic evidence which makes mention of the visit of the Buddha to Dhannavati city was found by U San Shwe Bu and his assistant U Oo Tha Tun on the side of a rock hill near Taungpaukgyi village in Kyauktaw township in April 1932. It records the visit of the Gotama Buddha to Dhaññavati city in Pali with old Brahmi scripts. As it was discovered near Taunggyi village, it was commonly known as Taung Pauk Gyi stone inscription. Since most of the scripts have been erased due to weatherering, a few lines can be legible. Its Myanmar translation of the legible portion is as follows:
1. Paying homage to the Buddha, who is worthy of the veneration of humans. Devas and Brahmas, who has penetrated into the Four NobleTruths and who is endowed with six types of glory.
2. On that occasion, the Buddha had his disciples mount the carriages surmounted with a tiered roof,
3. While going on an itinerary in 500 carriages to Dhanñavati city through the sky,
4. To the west of the city named "Dhaññavati"
5. He descended from the sky and took a stand at the top of the rock hill on the eastern bank of the river name "Kacchapa."

The alphabets such as Ka and Na in this stone Inscription appear in the form of + and the form of T which are similar to those written in the 3rd century B.C Asoka stone inscription. Therefore, some scholars assume on the epigraphic ground that it might belong to about the 3rd century B.C. Therefore, it is to be logical to consider that the tradition of the visit of the Buddha was prevalent in Rakhine before the 3rd century B.C.*
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* Due to this similarity of the scripts with those in Asoka Stone inscription, Ashon Nyanuttara describes in his book that the style of writing and use of the alphabets seem to be in the reign of King Suriyacakka , contemporary with Asoka dynasty of India in the 3rd century B. C. and this coincided with the event when king of Pataliputta sent Sariradhatu (Bodily relics) of the Buddha to the king of Arakan. See in the book titled A Study of Buddhism in Arakan by Ashon Nyanuttara, Library of Congress Control Number: 2013923282, U Thein Maung. Wheaton IL, 2014, p. 114 But this stone inscription was exploded by mine and crushed to ruins during the Second World War. Only its eye-copy remained. So scholars thrown doubt over its real existence. However, the discovery of the Phaya Baikpu Stone inscription bearing a line of Saecakapar ipajaka jina with old Brahmi scripts similar to those of the Taungpaukgri Stone inscription verifies near Old Vesali, which is now displayed at the Mrauk U Museum that the latter had existed really. On the basis of the Mahasthan fragmentary stone plaque inscription recovered from the northern part of Bengal, U Sandamuni remarks that these two epigraphs mark the advent of scripts in Rakhine. He assigns these two inscriptions to 2nd -1st century B.C. See in the book named Origin of Development of Arakanese Scripts by U Sandamuni, Sagarika Press, Kolkata, India, 2016, pp. 18-19

Ref: Saw Mra Aung, Dr., "A Rakhine Chronicle" (page 93-94), 1st ed: U Lynn Zar Ni, Yangon, Myanmar, 2019

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