BY :SARA SHWE
The king Surya Kula was the fourteenth king of the third Dhanyawady. He reigned the country earlier two successive kings than the king Surya Seitra who erased the 609 kawza era. I have not described about this king for he had no speciality. But now we have to full fill this void for we find a speciality of this king.
It was because we have paid homage to a copper image upon which the name of Surya Kula was inscribed with Rakhine (Arakanese) alphabets at the back of the pedestal. We would like to recount Brahmi alphabet was also inscribed in front of the pedestal and explain how we found this copper image.
How the image was found
It was second in June 2000, when a fisherman from Tharma hamlet, Thantra village in Mrauk-U Township, casted his net to get fish, but instead he found a copper image. The height of the image is 18 inches and the width of its breast is 8 inches . In ( 05/07.2000) the fisherman entrusted and donated this bronze image to the venerable abbot Sakka Pala of Bandoola monastery in Mrauk-U.
Some of the local scholar described a bout the image as follow:-
This image is sculpted in the posture of Dhamma Sakkra Mudra.Except its visage, so many minute images are covering across the body. On the palm of the left hand eight pointed star is studded. Within the contour of eight pointed star there is ashape of wheel that symbolizes the Dhamma Sakkra. In the middle of the forehead there is as mall group of curling hair down with the spiral formation. The image was casted and executed with crafty skill. Measurements of Lord Buddha’s body structures were carefully and exactly executed. There is a writing at the front portion of the pedestal is assumed to be” Ye Dhamma” and by estimation its age will be 2200 years old. It was in third Dhanyawady period. At the back portion of the pedestal there is another writing with Rakhine (Arakanese) alphabet. That writing is the transition from Brahmi to Rakhine (Arakanes) alphabet. That writing was inscribed on the stone piliar during Withali ( Vissali) Periot. The alphabets and style of writings are similar with the writings on copper Lamp and Sula Maha Raji coin.
This image was started to cast and mould since third Dhanyawady period and the label was assumed to be inscribed by the king, Thiri (Sri) Candra of Wesali (Vasali) peroit. This image is extraordinary and rare because Dhamma Sakkra Mudra is expressed symbolically. It indicated that Theravarda Buddhism prevailed and flourished in Rakhine (Arakanese) state since that time.
I found the short accounts of image at the back of the photograph recorded by the photographer U Tun Myint.
- The image is made of copper, its height is 18 inches.
- Right hand of the image is dropped over the knee but it does not touch the ground.
- Left palm rests on its back and the eight pointed star rests on the palm. At the centre of the star there exists a wheel that symbolizes the Dhamma Sakka.
- There are uncountable minute images on its head and across the body. It is very rare and craftily executed. At the centre of the forehead there is spiral mark.
- The names of donors are inscribed as the King Surya Kula and the Queen Seitra Kalyni ( From 519 to 555).
Alphabets of the inscription
If we examine this image from the point of view of icI was told by a friend that the inscription in the back portion of the pedestal, used the alphabets that indicated the transition from Brahmi to Rakhine (Arakanese). In this paragraph the donor’s name was inscribed as Surya Kula. In the inscription , we can find the era 520 in Rakhine ( Arakanese) alphabets. A line of Brahmi alphabets is inscribed in front of the pedestal also.
By examining the facts mentioned above, the name on the doors the King Surya Kula, who was the fourteenth in line of the successive kings of Third Dhanyawady. The time of the accession to the throne of this king was from 519 to 555 in Kawza era. It corresponded with the accepted date. But there were two periodic time scales that corresponded with 520 Kawza era. Once in Wethali ( Visali) period when the King Thiri Candra (Sri Candra ) reigned there and seconded in Le- Mro period when the King DhanuRupaw, who bulit the second Sampawet. The style of hand writing with Rakhine (Arakanese) alphabets on the pedestal of this image would not be the inscription of original donor. Someone did it in later period. Most probably it had done during Withal (Visali) period, in which Rakhine alphabets were evolved. (Like that of Man Aung Muni in Zalun.)onography its style of execution is neither related with Mraul- U period. It resembles with that of Man Aung Myin Muni of Zalun.
By None other than Rakhine (Arakanese) Artisans
Its face seems to be smiling. The eyes are looking downwards. Its. Posture is elegant and executed with the rule of Buddhist treatise. This treatise was written in Mrauk- U periot basing on the rules of moulding the Kaha Muni image. The orototype image done by Rakhine( Arakanese) can be easily differentiate. The ear lobes of image is drooped down, but they do not touch the image’s shoulders. The two arms do not contact with the body. So we remark this image was casted and moulded by none other than Rakhine ( Arakanese) Artisans.
Its posture( mudra) combines with two or there postures. The art of combining various postures is not an easy one. It was extraordinarily and craftily executed. The image combines with ground touching posture ( Bhumiphassa Mudra) and Dhamma Sakkra Mudra.. Dhamma Sakkra is symbolically expressed with eight pointed star, that indicates the eight cardinal points or all the directions except above and below. It symbolizes that Dhamma propagates and spreads all around. It also denotes the eight ways to Nirvana. By examining this image we can assume that the donor was deeply rooted in Buddhism and wise enough to foresee the furture.
The head and body of the image is covered with uncountable minute image. It reminded the Mandaing stupa in Pharabaw Phara of Mrauk-U . Upon the ten rings of this stupa 103 small images are studded. That seem to refer the Rakhine( Arakanese’s) tradition. These myriads of minutes images. It reminded the mandaing stupa in Pharabaw Phara of Maruk-U . Upon the ten rings of this stupa 103 small inages are studded. That seems to refer the Rakhine ( Arakanese’s ) tradition. These myriad of minute images are similar to one another. So we should call this image as Mandaing image (The pivotal centre image).
A group of Down hair curling spirally at the centre of the forehead is skillfully depicted. 9If it is uncoiled it will be elbow’s length).
Buddhism in the third Dhanyawady Period
In brief we can postulate that since that time tha Buddhism prevailed and flourished throughout the Rakhine( Arakanese) region . In third Dhanyawady period the Buddhism was up to its summit and Rakhine (Arakanese) literature with Brahmi alphabets was fully up graded.
Finding of this image and having chance to worship this image sheds light on the Buddhism that flourished in third Dhanyawady and Withali (Visali)Kyauk Hlaykha period. And it disproves the notion put forward by some scholars that the Rakhine (Arakanese) people of that period preached the Mahayana Buddhism.
The civilisation cannot emerge suddenly. It cultivates through thousands of years. The buddhist civilisation had done the same. The buddhism was rooted in Rakhine( Arakan) during the life time of Buddha. Lord Buddha paid a visitation to Rakhine in 123 Maha era.
This time was when Buddha attained 20th monsoon retreates. It was the time when the King Canda Surya of Dhanyawady had ruled there 26 years in 57.B.C. Moreover in 214 Buddhist era (278.B.C), the king Surya Sakka received the Buddhist missionaries who were sent by King Ashoka of Pataliputra in India. In this way originally Buddhist state was deeply rooted by this Buddhist mission. They preached Theravada Buddhism. From those days on the parents let their sons to novitiate. In other root in rakhine soil. The Sandar Muni Maha Kyan image was casted and moulded in accordance with the wish of the king Surya Sakka.
Rare and important evidence
Now it would be a rare chance to pay homage to a copper image which was casted and moulded by the wish of the King Surya Kula. It proves that Theravada Buddhism prevailed and flourished there since then. Moreover Rakhine (Arakanese) literature and civilisation derived from Bagan.And in Dr. Pamela Gutma’s doctoral thesis stated that the site of Dhayawady emerged from the water in 1050 A.D. This theory basing on geologicalprocess is absolutely absurd. Accoording to her thesis, the Dhanyawaddy evolved after Withali (Visali) and Le-Mro period. It seems to express Dhanyawady as afable.
In brief we would like to settle the controversial notions and to put forward the authentic accounts that Rakhine (Arakanese) people’s predominant of Kawza era and Rakine ( Arakan) alphabets were derived from Brahmi of northern India and Rakhine (Arakan) alphabets are writings were well spread and flourished since middle of the Wethali period . Period of the emergence of Rakhine( Arakan ) alphabets were more earlier than Bagan. It will not be possible as some scholars made assumption that Rakhine alphabets and civilisation were derived from Bagan. Wethali ( Visali) khauk Hlaykha was built by the King Maha Taing Candra who was the son of the King Surya Kaytu of third Dhanyawady’s 25th in line and last king . So their religious practise will be accepted as Theravada Buddhism without any doub. The most important fact is that the date of the King Surya Kula’s accession to the throne was 27. A.D. The lapse of time between the first King Canda Surya and the last King was 569 years apart. Most of the European scholars confused in dealing with dates and they recorded the King Candra Surya’s ascension of the throne was dates as 146 . A.D.