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Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Time Does Not Fly

 
Days passed so slowly. Passing days are the longest days for me. Longest second, longest minute, longest hour, longest day, and longest night I could never suffered more. Suffering is a very long moment. For me, time itself does not progress. Now, one month goes over. The twenty-sixth April comes as the time wheels around.

 (Offering yellow robe at the monastery, it was the act of good deed.)

As Buddhists do, I went to the Sunlun Monastery to pay respect Sunlun Sayadaw, and offering yellow robe, and offering meals to all the monks, and the guests that I invited for the one month passing anniversary of my dear mother. All those ku-tho (good deeds) might comfort me a little, or doing meditation might change my mind clear, and strong.

 (My twin brother became a temporary monk under the guidance of the Sunlun Sayadaw, obeying the laws of monkhood, and meditating included.)

Remembering back to the day, after 7 days my mother passed away, my twin brother became a temporary monk to express his gratitude to our dear mother. I,…. I could not do such noble deed. That was because I was not a man or I was not born as a boy at the beginning of my life. In the Buddhist way of life, being a girl, or a woman prohibited her from doing noble deeds that boys/men  do. For example, girls/women are prohibited to ascend the upper part of Shwedagon pagoda, etc. 


Life will go on in spite of the tragedy that had struck to us. I wished all the days-sufferings became a nightmare, and I would wake up from this terrible dream. Although time can cure all as people say, we will never be back to normal again.


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Kou Ka or Symbol of seven-day-born



‘Kou’Ka’ 

'Kou'Ka', a kind of a long thin paper flag on which Seven-day-born symbols and their sketches are made, tied at bamboo stick, which gives all the seven-day-born safety and health.  
-->It was also a long flag on which Seven-day-born mythical symbols drawn.

In detail, at the long thin paper flag on which Garuna bird- mythical symbol for Sunday, Mouse - mythical symbol for Thursday, Guniea Pig - mythical symbol for Friday, Tiger - mythical symbol for Monday, Lion - mythical symbol for Tuesday, Elephant - mythical symbol for Wednesday, Fire-breathing dragon - mythical symbol for Saturday, are drawn partially illustrated.


(From the upper figure, anti-clockwise direction; Garuna bird- mythical symbol for Sunday, Mouse - mythical symbol for Thursday, Guniea Pig - mythical symbol for Friday, Fire-breathing dragon - mythical symbol for Saturday, Elephant - mythical symbol for Wednesday, Lion - mythical symbol for Tuesday, Tiger - mythical symbol for Monday.) 

(The pilgrim buys flowers, coloured flags and streamers which are meaningful to Burmese Buddhists, and offers at the foot of the pagoda. It is the act of dhana, or giving, an important aspect of Buddhist teaching.) 

Above figure, the reader can see a set of flowers, and leaves, and the other colourful and meaningful things. Among those colorful things, a long thin paper flag is included. All represents to all the seven-day-born be healthy, and well ever.


Friday, April 21, 2017

Burmese Cultural Things - Hti, Dagun, Malei Bwa, Yat


On the pagoda platform, Buddhists are buying flowers and leaves, and also buying candles, coloured flags and streamers to offer at the foot of the pagoda in honour of the stupa where Buddha’s relics are enshrined. Such things are very colourful, and have full of meanings to Burmese Buddhists. Some are easy to explain;

‘Dagun pennant’ (a kind of paper flag) (Banner Post) which gives the one success, ‘Hti’ (looks like a holy umbrella made of paper) which gives the one safety and to gain power, ‘Malei Bwa’ (a kind of paper streamer designed like a flowers) which gives the one wealth, ‘Yat’ (a kind of paper fan) which gives the one tranquility and peace. Some papers are yellow (goldenish), some are silver or some are of various colors as they wished (according to their astrologers). A pilgrim can choose what color he or she likes. All are meaningful to Myanmar Buddhists, because ‘yellow’ means ‘to gain gold’, ‘silver’ means ‘to have money’, etc

 
(Beautiful Htis with various colors. Each color represents each seven-day-born.)

(Dagun, Malei Bwa, Yat)



Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Meaningful and Colorful


(Pilgrim preferred Eugenias, and also others meaningful things to offer at the foot of the pagoda.)
-->

Thingyan Pots not only exist for Thingyan festival and Burmese New Year, but also a set of flowers or leaves for Seven-Day-Born are always meaningful in the Buddhist way of life. When Burmese Buddhists go to pray at the pagoda, before praying, they buy a set of flowers and leaves from the pagodas stalls. Most of flowers sellers from the pagoda platform choose prettiest flowers for Seven-day-born, and sell them with a good price. They call us and said ‘Come, come, how beautiful this set of flowers is, we chose the prettiest for all the Seven-day-born.’

 
 (The colorful, and meaningful at the pagoda stall.)

On the pagoda platform, people are buying not only flowers and leaves, but also candles, coloured flags and streamers to offer at the foot of the pagoda in honour of the stupa where Buddha’s relics are enshrined. Such things are very colourful too and they are full of meaning to Burmese Buddhists.


Monday, April 17, 2017

Tha Pyay(Eugenia)




(Bonsai at the monastery.)

ThaPyay(Eugenia) is not only common chosen leaves for Thingyan Pot, but also for offering at the pagoda in honor of the stupa where Buddha’s relics enshrined. It is a symbol of love, peace, success and kindness. People use it as a triumph and welcome home symbol when soldiers returned from their battle in older times.


(Flowers, Pots, and a set of Eugenia at the market.)

At the market, flowers-sellers always included Eugenia among their flowers and leaves. People buy a set of Eugenia within their shopping. Burmese people especially choose ThaPyay for their household shrine for everyday offering.

Some people hold it in their hands sprinkling water to others as the illustration below during water festival (April) (Thingyan).


Illustration by Artist U Ba Kyi
(A girl holds ThaPyay leaves in her hands to sprinkle water to others.)

Most of the visitors choose ‘ThaPyay’ (Eugenia) they offer on the pagoda platform in honor of the stupa where relics of Buddha enshrined.


(Eugenia Pot.)

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Today Thingyan Pot


Here, what I chose a set of leaves and flowers for the Burmese Thingyan Pot.

 (Let red rose, and red paper flowers be arranged attractively, and others also added by the law of Burmese alphabets.)

Collecting flowers, and leaves from my garden, and arranging in the Thingyan Pot, and placing in front of our house, to welcome Tha-Gyar-Min (King of celestials). (Sure, he will be on a visit to the human abode for 3 days during Thingyan (water festival), (from 14th April to 16th April). All these Thingyan days, people have nice clean fun with their friends sprinkling water on the one another, and also do good deed such as keep fast, and give alms.

I plucked leaves, and flowers of Mesura Ferrea for all the Monday born, Paper flower for all the Tuesday born, Youclip for all the Wednesday born, Gun-kino for all the Thursday born, Eugenia for all the Friday born, Roses for all the Saturday born, Lily for all the Sunday born. I arranged in the Thingyan Pot, and placed at the front of our house. It was the act of welcoming Tha-Gyar-Min. I collected all these flowers and leaves from my garden by a little knowledge of Burmese days, Burmese Alphabets, and its letters.

 (Thingyan Pot, and its set of flowers and leaves.)

It shows our loving kindness to all the Seven-day-born, friends or foes will be happy, and healthy for all the coming year. 

 References:
http://myanmarbookshop.com/EnglishBooks/BookDetails/29371 

https://www.amazon.com/Burmese-Days-Flowers-Junior-ebook/dp/B00DMNELJS/ref=sr_1_18?ie=UTF8&qid=1372332470&sr=8-18&keywords=moemaka 

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Thingyan Pot for Burmese New Year


(Thingyan Pot Illustration by Maung Yit.)

To welcome the Burmese New Year, having ‘Thingyan Pot’ plays the important part in our Burmese life. Placing ‘Thingyan Pot’ in front of our house, and to welcome Tha-Gyar-Min (King of the celestials), is one of our good deeds or it may be our propaganda to be written our names on his Golden plate! 

-->(Tha-Gyar-Min comes on the first day of the Thingyan Festival and returned to his abode on the last day of the Thingyan Festival. He brings two kinds of parchments (Gold Plate and Dog-hide) with him. He notes down the names of the people who are good on the Gold plate and who are bad on Dog-hide.) 

So, let there be Thingyan Pot, wish for the best and our thingyan pot be prettiest for the king of the celestials- Tha-Gyar-Min, and let’s hope we have ours on the gold! Let's go to the market on the day (on 13th April of 2017), before Thingyan comes (14th April is the beginning of the Thingyan Festival), and find Thingyan pots! No need to worry, there were, in the market place, thingyan pots, and its flowers, and leaves are sold at every townships of Burma with a very cheap price.  People loved to buy them with pleasure, and ready to welcome Tha-Gyar-Min.

(Thingyan pots seller.)

(Flowers and leaves for the Thingyan Pot.)

(Some sold both Thingyan pots, and its flowers, and leaves.)

The Pot with its set of flowers and leaves, is called ‘Thingyan Pot’. It welcomes our Burmese New Year, especially to the King of the Celestials- Tha-Gyar-Min. Whether he forgets to come or not, we never forget to welcome him with ‘Thingyan Pot’. We place Thingyan Pot at the suitable place in front of our house and hope that he will see it and let our names be engraved on his Gold plate.

(Placing Thingyan Pot in front of our house,...let Tha-Gyar-Min sees.)

(Note; Tagu: April – The first month of Burmese Year. Burmese New Year falls in the second week of April, the Water Festival (Thingyan Festival).)

 Epilogue

Thingyan Pot sellers choose such flowers and leaves for Thingyan Pot obeying the law of Burmese Custom. Please note that  they are not plucking randomly from the garden. They choose a set of flowers and leaves carefully with the knowledge of Burmese Alphabet and its days concerned. If you want to make your own Thingyan Pot, you will have to collect ‘flowers and leaves’ by obeying the law of Burmese custom as the sellers do. At first, you must have a little knowledge of Burmese Days, Burmese Alphabet and its letters.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Thin-gyan-Memory

Tha-Gyar-Min



(Tha-Gyar-Min has with  two parchments (Gold plate and Dog-hide) when he comes down to the human abode. Illustration Credit – Maung Yit)


According to folklore, Tha-Gyar-Min, king of the celestials, will be on a visit to the human abode for three days during Thingyan Festival (water festival on April, - Tahku - the first month of Burmese calendar). The story goes that Buddha entrusts him with the responsibility of seeing that the Buddha’s teachings flourish. Tha-Gyar-Min is there to see that humans live according to the way of life taught by the Buddha. He must see that justice is done; he must save the good and let the bad get their deserts. We do not know if he accomplishes his duties faithfully, but one thing we are sure is that he comes down in the New Year, and reminds people of their religious and spiritual duties. Tha-Gyar-Min will be in the human abode to see that people live and practice the Buddhist Way. He returns to his celestial on the last day of Thingyan Festival.

He brings two kinds of parchments (Gold Plate and Dog-hide) with him and he notes down the names of the people who are good and who are bad on his each parchment. Here, no need to explain which parchment belongs to whom. We should not kill, or steal, lie or use bad language or hurt others especially on Thingyan days, because Tha-Gyar-Min will put our names inscribed on the parchment of dog-hide, which means disgrace and punishment. Those who are good will have their names inscribed on the gold plate, the roll of honour.


Thin-gyan-sar

 

(One of the example of Thin-Gyan-Sar.)


As my grandmother, Khin Myo Chit says in her book of Colourful Myanmar: “Thin-gyan-sar, a single sheet of hand-bill, we still read and believe what is written on, on which is printed all the information of what to expect in the coming year. It is a kind of oracle sheet for us. It also tells us how Tha-Gar-Min is coming down to us like for example, this year Tha-Gyar-Min will be riding on a dragon, holding a bow and arrow in one hand and a spear in the other.” How important Tha-Gyar-Min is! What animal he will be riding this year? Or What instruments he is holding in each hand this year? We believe that these things can tell the future for the coming year

We buy such a single sheet of hand-bill before the Thingyan festival comes, and read and follow the instruction that goes with it. We can find there is a set of instruction for each of us born on a particular day of the week! Sometimes it says: “those born on Sunday should wear roses in the hair after shampooing, those born on Monday should choose the color white for having good health, those born on Saturday should wear a diamond ring when they have to meet an important person, those born on Wednesday should avoid the color ‘green’ if they have to decide something important matter, etc. It also tells the future of the country and the world about politics, economy, agriculture, sociology, weather, etc. It foretells generally, but it is exciting to read and still popular among Burmese Buddhists.