Authority Denies Renovation of Reclining Buddha

Narinjara News, Jan 25, 2006

Arakan, Burma -- The Burmese Army authority has refused to grant permission for the renovation of an ancient reclining Buddha image in Minbya Township in Arakan even though the image has recently collapsed, said a monk from Minbya.

The reclining Buddha statue is over 30 feet in length and about 18 feet in total from foot to head is breaking up. It is situated nearby a famous pagoda of Kyingdaung in Minbya Township.

According to sources, the authorities believe that the image is miraculous (power and glory) and that it will be disturbed by renovations, which could lead to the junta falling from power.

Before former Prime Minister Khin Nyunt was dismissed from his position he came to Minbya and renovated the Kyingdaung pagoda near the Buddha image. Soon after he was removed from his post as Prime Minister, said a trustee.

Likewise, former Prime Minister U Nu also came to Minbya around 1960 and made renovations to the reclining Buddha image. A couple of weeks later he was deposed and detained by General Ne Win, the trustee added.

The name Minbya is an Arakanese word that translates as "King Fall Down Town". Thus, the Burmese high authority very rarely visits Minbya for that reason. If authorities were to visit, they would be unable to avoid making the requisite renovations to the pagodas of the township.

According to sources, the Kyaingdaung pagoda trustee committee requested the town authority to issue permission to renovate the image, but the request was denied.

It has been learned that the authority is not only denying renovations for this 30 foot reclining Buddha image, but is also denying permission to renovate other pagodas in Minbya Township.