Notes: Burmese myth of the incarnation of Phralaong in the Buddha has elements of the descent of a deity upon a mountain imagery and sacred union with a vestal virgin – Princess Maia’s immaculate womb conception

As an example of a cosmic marriage type as related from Burmese sacred texts, excerpted below from “THE LIFE OR LEGEND OF GAUDAMA, THE BUDDHA OF THE BURMESE. The Ways to Neibban, and Notice on the Phongyies or Burmese Monks.” by the Right Rev. P. BIGANDET, Bishop of Ramatha, Vicar-Apostolic of Ava and Pegu. in two volumes. VOL. I.

“… This first point having been disposed of, Phralaong examined in what part of the glohe a Buddha was to appear.

His regards glanced over the four great islands and the 2000 small ones. He saw that the island of Dzapoudiba, the southern one, had always been the favourite place selected by all former Buddhas; he fixed upon it, too, for himself. That island, however, is a most extensive one, measuring in length 300 youdzanas, in breadth 252, and in circumference 900. He knew that on that island former Buddhas and semi-Buddlias, the two great Rahandas, or disciples of the right and left, the prince whose sway is universal, &c, had all of them invariably fixed upon and selected that island, and, amidst the various countries on the island, that of Mitzima, the central one, where is to be found the district of Kapilawot. Thither, said he, shall I resort, and become a Buddha.

Having determined the place which he was to select for his terrestrial seat, Phralaong examined the race or caste from which he was to be born. The caste of the people and that of merchants appeared too low, and much wanting in respectability, and, moreover, no Buddha had ever come out therefrom. That of the Pounhas was in former times the most illustrious and respected, but that of princes, in those days, far surpassed it in power and consideration. He therefore fixed his choice upon the caste of princes, as most becoming his future high calling. “Choose”, said he, Prince Thoodaudana for my father. As to the princess who is to become my mother, she must be distinguished by a modest deportment and chaste manners, and must never have tasted any intoxicating drink. During the duration of 100,000 worlds she must have lived in the practice of virtue, performing with a scrupulous exactitude all the rules and observances prescribed by the law. The great and glorious Princess Maia is the only person in whom all these conditions are to be found. Moreover, the period of her life shall be at an end ten months and seven days hence; she shall be my mother.

Having thus maturely pondered over these four circumstances, Phralaong, turning to the Nats that surrounded him, anxiously expecting his answer, plainly and unreservedly told them that the time for his becoming Buddha had arrived, and bade them forthwith communicate this great news to all the Brahmas aud Nats. He rose up, and, accompanied by all the Nats of Toocita, withdrew into the delightful garden of Nandawon. After a short sojourn in that place, he left the abode of Nats, descended into the seat of men, and incarnated in the womb of the glorious Maia, who at once understood that she was pregnant with a boy who would obtain the Buddliaship. At the same moment also the Princess Yathaudara, who was to be the wife of the son of Maia, descended from the seats of Xats, and was conceived in the womb of Amitau, the wife of Prince Thouppabuddha.

At that time the inhabitants of Kapilawot were busily engaged in celebrating, in the midst of extraordinary rejoicings, the festival of the constellation of Outarathan (July-August). But the virtuous Maia, without mixing amidst the crowds of those devoted to amusements, during the seven days that preceded the full moon of July, spent her time among her attendants, making offerings of flowers and perfumes. The day before the full moon she rose up at an early hour, bathed in perfumed water, and distributed to the needy four hundred thousand pieces of silver. Attired in her richest dress, she took her meal, and religiously performed all the pious observances usual on such occasions. This being done, she entered into her private apartment, and, lying on her couch, fell asleep and had the following dream:

Four princes of Nats, of the abode of Tsadoomarit, took the princess with her couch, carried it to the Mount Himawonta, and deposited it on an immense and magnificent rock, sixty youdzanas long, adorned with various colours, at the spot where a splendid tree, seven youdzanas high, extends its green and rich foliage. The four queens, wives of the four princes of Tsadoomarit, approaching the couch where Maia was reclining, took her to the banks of the lake Anawadat, washed her with the water of the lake, and spread over the couch flowers brought from the abode of Nats. Near the lake is a beautiful mountain of a silvery appearance, the summit whereof is crowned with a magnificent and lofty palace. On the east of the palace, in the side of the mount, is a splendid cave. Within the cave, a bed similar to that of the Nats was prepared. The princess was led to that place and sat on the bed, enjoying a delicious and refreshing rest. Opposite this mount, and facing the cave where Maia sat surrounded by her attendants, rose another mount, where Phralaong, under the shape of a young white elephant, was roaming over its sides in various directions. He was soon seen coming down that hill, and, ascending the one where the princess lay on her bed, directed his course towards the cave. On the extremity of his trunk, lifted up like a beautiful string of flowers, he carried a white lily. His voice, occasionally resounding through the air, could be heard distinctly by the inmates of the grotto, and indicated his approach. He soon entered the cave, turned three times round the couch whereupon sat the princess, then, standing for a while, he came nearer, opened her right side, and appeared to conceal himself in her womb.” 

[note the action in this tale of the Malla princes and princess Maia take place between northern India(Kushinara /Kushinaga) and north-eastern India(Bihar) – the Malla princes were a solar warlike Kshatriya clan – one of the four ruling military elite varna groups of the Vedic-Hindu social system outlined by the Vedas and Laws of Manu.]

732px-Ancient_india (1)

The Malla clans reside north of Magadha, North-eastern India

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s