Planetary Posts in Myanmar Pagodas

Planetary Posts on Shwedagon

Ever wonder what these people on Shwedagon Pagoda are doing pouring water on Buddha’s statue? This custom is not only seen on Shwedagon but also on many other pagodas in Myanmar. You might think this is a simple offering of clean and cool water to Lord Buddha in an act of merit making. However, there is a deeper meaning to this simple act which is deeply rooted not in Buddhism but in Indian Brahman belief.

Buddhism does not belief in the influence of one’s time or day of birth on his later life. What influence on his life is his karma, good and bad things he did in the past and does in this life. However, most Burmese Buddhists are strong believers of Hindi Brahman idea of astrological influence on a person’s life. They belief especially in the great influence of a person’s birth day on his later life. This belief was actually brought into Burma by Hindi Brahmans who worked as Royal Astrologers in the Burmese Royal Courts, thus exerting great influence over the decisions of the Burmese kings. Although this is contrary to the teaching of Lord Buddha, Burmese were quick to incorporate this idea into Buddhist teachings. They built the monuments for planet gods that govern the days of the week into the structure of the pagoda. As a result, Burmese pagodas always have eight planetary posts surrounding the main stupa structure. These are built at eight directions to represent eight days or planets of a week, on in each direction. (North, South, East, West and another four posts in between – see article on Eight Days a Week).

You might wonder what is the use of building these planetary posts into the pagoda structure, apart from the representation of the eight planets. These are more than mere representation. As most Burmese believe in the great influence of the day they were born on their life, they always try to do any important thing according to this day. They choose their name according to their day, they they choose the name of their business according to this day, they get married to a person whose day is friendly to their day. So, when a person goes to a pagoda to pay homage to Lord Buddha, they also do merit by offering water, flower, incense and candle light at the planetary post that governs their day. Thus a Sunday born would do this at the planetary post of Sun, while Monday born will do the same thing at the planetary post of Moon. This is very important for a Burmese. As Saturday is considered by most Burmese as an unlucky day, you will see more people at the post of planet Saturn than at other planetary posts on any pagoda.

Another importance of the planetary posts is in astrology. As Burmese believe in yadayar, a belief that one action will have a great influence on another event which is not related to the first act, they try to influence the outcome of their life events by doing some act. This usually involves some kind of merit making at the respective planetary post on a pagoda. This is strange for foreigners but for a Burmese, this is a very important act, and has to be done properly.

As this is an important cultural belife, never question or laugh at this to a Burmese friend. At best he will try to force a smile; at worst he might get angry. Even if you try to explain him the fact that this is nothing to do with Buddhism, most Burmese do not realize this and will be offended. After all, this is what he has been told to believe sinch he was young.

6 thoughts on “Planetary Posts in Myanmar Pagodas”

  1. baydinsaya – an myanmar astrologer from yangon.following eastern astrology.I would like to discuss with more clients online..regards

    Hello,,
    Nice to visit this myanmar cultures site.I also post about Planetary Posts in my blog.Those planetary posts were only astrological setting,cited in Indian astrology basic.The age or years of a Post differs.But total ages of all planetary posts are 108 years.This 108 years period was called Astottari.You can also see that in my blog.
    good luck,
    baydinsaya

  2. .-March 10th, 2010 at 8:55 am
    liew said:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    May be he(Yip) don’t know what the Buddha, if he know may be he is do like that, the Buddhist monks are students from Buddha times until today but students of Buddha have done well and done bad and but when they created good or bad they will response
    But not only this Datuk Yip come to advise them, all the monks have their teachers(Masters) and their monastry to resident, this Datuk Yip kum Fook unmindfulness or may be he proud in himself because he thought(think) he is Datuk
    Many people are very angry when go to read this article by Myanmar people and some said if my country(Myanmar) this Datuk Yip will people put fire on his house because so very dirty human
    .-March 20th, 2010 at 9:24

  3. 公告社会人士,

    甲洞No. 38 Desa Jaya, Kepong 52100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia三宝寺主席YIP KUM FOOK律师,家住No. 2A & B, Jalan 53, Desa Jaya, Kepong, 52100, Kuala Lumpur, WP Kuala Lumpur其人实事是一个骗财骗色的大老千。早期他加入甲洞三宝寺時,利用他的歪念知識,横行霸道,迫走知道内情的和尚和会员, 自便到处欺骗,私吞三宝寺的钱财,还敢向警察报案说三宝进贼,帐记被偷,损失惨重的案件,事实是他私吞三宝寺的钱财,自盗毁灭,他知法犯法,贪意妄为的行径,的确令人震惊而愤怒,
    他当任马华公会主席的時代,更坏事干尽, 恶名昭彰, 连破坏别人家庭之事,他也不手软,这不知羞耻的人 实事是民族的败数,佛教的叛徒。
    最近 ,他又想借用三宝寺举辦30周年纪念及建观音殿,我们顾虑他重蹈过去的恶行, 所认特函公告社会善心人士,要谨慎,不要再被阴险笑裡藏刀的恶徒,继续欺骗,为害社会.
    全国509大选,马华公会大败,其因马华公党内太多像 Yip Kum Fook 及 Yip Jiun Hann父子律师的领导層,行为缺德, 损人利己,高傲目大,不可一视,所引发人民不满的一部份,马华公会若想重振历史雄风, 类似以上的觉员必须清理,走入基層,否则免谈。
    此致,并祝国泰民安。
    马来西亚甲洞三宝寺会员敬啟
    TAN HWA HO

  4. Yip Kum Fook (Peguam Taman Desa Jaya, Kepong) …. dia selalu menipu orang… ..
    Ungkapan “sekali penipu, selalu penipu” telah digunakan berulang kali untuk menunjukkan bahawa mana-mana orang yang mempunyai satu perselingkuhan pasti mempunyai hubungan yang lain di masa depan.
    “Orang-orang telah mencuba menipu dalam kategori, tetapi saya rasa ada berbagai jenis dan keperluan dan alasan untuk menipu,”
    Faktor-faktor seperti di mana seseorang berada dalam hidupnya, bagaimana perasaan mereka dalam hubungan tertentu, atau bagaimana perasaan mereka terhadap diri mereka pada waktu tertentu dapat mempengaruhi motivasi menipu.

    Terima kasih
    Cik Chan

  5. Dear brother and sister,

    I am Myanmar who working in Malaysia more than 10 years and I would like to explain about SAMNAK SAMBODHI BUDDHIST ASSOCIATION. Therefore, recently I stayed at Sasanarakkha Buddhist Sanctuary (SBS), Taiping, Perak. I am very close with Ven. U Nandiya Maha Thero.

    My monk Ven. U Nandiya is very good heart and compassion to everyone in the world, also I heard when he stayed at Kuala Lumpur Buddhist Temple, he lends donation money to President of Temple (Datuk Yip Kum Fook, MCA Gombak) with amount RM20,000.00 only and he said that money belong to Myanmar society in Malaysia.

    On the other hand, my monk said, also many things happened when he stayed there because committees always disturbing, I am very sadly about that matter, why committees are very poor and crooks. Others Temple, people come to Temple to respected Buddha and Monks, also give red packet to monks. Why this Temple, monks must give money to committees, this is opposite.

    If anyone receive or read this message, please inform to DATUK YIP KUM FOOK to return that amount to my monk as soon as possible.

    My monk contact place:

    Ven. U Nandiya
    Sasana Daja Buddhist Temple
    49 Bombay Street, Lidcombe NSW 2141.
    Tel: (02) 9649-8124

    With kindness

    KO KO NAING
    Taiping, Perak, Malaysia
    We will take action to help you…Master
    Ok my son is lawyer

  6. To all Buddhist devotees …

    YIP KUM FOOK(LAWYER) drove the monks out of the temple or SAMNAK SAMBODHI, Desa Jaya, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur

    he used gangsters to drive the monks away and also called the police to harass the monks in the temple and YIP KUM FOOK(LAWYER) disrespected the Buddha and the monks

    Kepada semua penganut Buddha …

    YIP KUM FOOK (LAWYER) menghalau para bhikkhu keluar dari kuil atau SAMNAK SAMBODHI, Desa Jaya, Kepong, Kuala Lumpur

    Dia menggunakan samseng untuk mengusir para bhikkhu itu dan juga memanggil polis untuk mengganggu para bhikkhu di kuil dan YIP KUM FOOK (LAWYER) tidak menghormati Buddha dan para bhikkhu

    Thanks

    Ng, Kepong

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