(Worldkings) - As a religion with a 2.500-year history of founding and developing, Buddhism has witnessed many examples of Buddhists who sacrificed themselves to contribute to their belief. Without those devout Buddhists, the journey to preach Buddha's teaching probably could have more obstacles. In Myanmar, there is an example of Buddhist who is admired by every people - king Mindon.
King Mindon was the leader of Myanmar (or Burma at that time) from 1853 to 1878. He was born in an age when Asian kingdoms faced the risk of being invaded by Western countries so he soon knew the importance of country modernization. When he became the official king, he devoted his power to care for his people and find a way to modernize his country. Historians wrote that many Burmese scholars were sent to France, Italy, United States and Great Britain to learn about technology advances.
|A statue of King Mindon (Source: en.wikipedia.org)|
During Mindon's reign, important reforms were undertaken: centralization of the kingdom's internal administration, introduction of a salary system for the bureaucracy (to dampen the authority and income of bureaucrats), fixed judicial fees, comprehensive penal laws, reorganization of the financial system, removal of trade barriers including custom duties, reform of the thathameda taxes (to increase direct taxation), and modernization of the kingdom's army and introduction of new police forces.
Although showing passion to country modernization, King Mindon still was a person who respected traditional customs. He was a devout Buddhist and there were many times he gave gifts and offerings to monks and pagodas in the country. Moreover, he also did 2 great things for Buddhism that made him to be admired by the community of Buddhists in the world.
|The golden pagoda at Kuthodaw (Source: thebeautifulmyanmar.com)|
First, King Mindon was the one who was in charge of holding the Fifth Buddhist council in Myanmar (1871). Before the Fifth Buddhist council, the Fourth council had been held in 1st century B.C so after nearly 1.900 years, Buddhist scholars had a rare chance to meet and recite all Buddha's teachings. From this view, we could see how great the council held by King Mindon is because after 1.900 years, with many historical changes, surely Buddha's teachings could have been altered, dropped or distorted. Therefore, a council where Buddhist scholars could recite or readjust Buddha's teaching was very essential.
Second, King Mindon was the one who ordered Burmese scholars and stonemasons to engrave the Tripitaka Pali canon on marble tablets and conserved those tablets at Kuthodaw pagoda, Mandalay. There are 730 marble tablets in total, engraved on both sides and the inscription was filled in with gold ink for easy reading. Each tablet was put in a small cave-like stupa for preservation from rain or sunshine. All of them were arranged around a central golden pagoda to form a unique Buddhist site. This collection is also recognized as a world record: "The largest collection of Tripitaka inscription on stone
". The world record is another honour for King Mindon's achievement.
Being a king who is admired by many generations of Burmese and making history with 2 great things he did for Buddhism, King Mindon's name will always be recalled by Buddhists all over the world.
WORLD RECORDS UNION - WORLDKINGS