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Buddhism in the Late Konbaung period (1819-1885)
- This paper is an analysis of Buddhism in the late Konbaung Period. How Buddhism was introduced into Myanmar is discussed. How the Myanmar professed a mixture of Buddhism and their traditional beliefs is explained. Among the seven kings who supported the Religion in Myanmar, two—Kings Badon and Mindon—reigned in the late Konbaung Period. King Badon’s personal views and progressive ideas concerning the Religion are touched upon. How the kings purified the Religion partly to facilitate their rule is discussed. The monks formed separate sects in the late Konbaung period even though they did not differ from one another in robes, literature, doctrine or goal. However, the kings’ support was important for a sect to stand on its own.In the late Konbaung Period, the Fifth Buddhist Synod, which was the first Buddhist Synod held in Myanmar, was convened. That the Buddhist synod convened by King Mindon was not necessary for the Religion and that heconvened it only todefy the British who had annexed Lower Myanmar and toassume the title Pyinsama Thangayanatin Mintaya (the Convener of the Fifth Buddhist Synod) are discussed. It is also learnt that the Thathanabyu ThathanazauntCommittee which had to work together with the king had to carry out not only the tasks concerning the Religion, but also those involving politics and administration if ordered by the king. Therefore, although the Fifth Buddhist Synod was convened and the number of monks and that of religious buildings increased in the late Konbaung period, both the king and his subjects were unable to free themselves from their traditional beliefs; they still had faith in spirit worship, astrology and occult arts. Of the three sasana—pariyatti, patipatti and pativedha,they attached much importance to pariyatti. It can be assumed that Buddhism would not prosper satisfactorily so long as the people did not change their basic belief concerning the Religion.
Ko Ko Naing