Naypyidaw’s Version of Shwedagon Pagoda Nears Completion
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Naypyidaw’s Version of Shwedagon Pagoda Nears Completion

By THE IRRAWADDY Friday, March 6, 2009


Preparations are reported to be under way to consecrate and complete a replica in Naypyidaw of Burma's famous Shwedagon Pagoda.

The pagoda, just 30 cm shorter than Rangoon’s towering 98.8 m structure, is being built on a site visible from all main roads leading into Burma’s new capital.

A distant view of Uppatasanti pagoda.
The official regime daily The New Light of Myanmar carried a picture of the new pagoda in its Thursday issue and reported that festivities at the site had been attended by thousands of people. The replica will be known as the Uppatasanti, or "Peace Pagoda."

The inauguration of the Naypyidaw pagoda will be marked by ceremonies hoisting its Htidaw (sacred umbrella) and Seinbudaw (diamond bud).

Rumors are circulating that junta leader Snr-Gen Than Shwe will move the Shwedagon Pagoda’s Buddha relics and the diamonds donated by his family for the top of the structure from Rangoon to the Naypyidaw replica.

Meanwhile The New Light of Myanmar reported that the Shwedagon Pagoda’s Seinbudaw, a 76 karat diamond, had been polished in a ceremony led by leading monks from the State Sangha Maha Nayaka, the country's highest religious body, and some high ranking members of the ruling junta, including Lt-Gen Myint Swe, of the Ministry of Defence, Rangoon Command Commander Brig-Gen Win Myint and Rangoon Mayor Brig-Gen Aung Thein Lin.

Historians suggest that Burma’s pagodas were built by rulers as acts of penance for the wars they conducted, and the construction of the Naypyidaw pagoda is being seen by many Burmese as a continuation of this tradition by a regime intent on building “a modern nation with flourishing, disciplined democracy.”

A Rangoon-based observer had a different interpretation: "Traditionally, we Burmese say that the completion of new pagodas sponsored by kings will only lead to the destruction of the state. This actually happened in 1988, when Maha Wizaya Pagoda was completed by the late dictator Ne Win. Now we can hope that doomsday for Than Shwe's empire is coming soon. "

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U Saw Oo Wrote:
It marks the beginning of the end of the Than Shwe era as with Ne Win and Maha We Zaya. A good sign.

Singhnoi Wrote:
This is a country with a government that spends the most money on witchcraft and voodooism, the wizard and voodoo king being Than Shwe himself, with the help of his minor consort ET. The pagodas that Ne Win and the SPDC built have nothing to do with Buddhism, but were entombed with witchcraft and voodoo relics meant to suppress opposition.

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