Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The beginnings of the universe (UKI:1-8)

The Burmese Chronicle: Book I: 1-8

Nama tatha bagawadaw arahadaw thammathambuddatha

1. Banamapobbakagandarama.

[Two lines of Pali] I pray to the exalted Buddha, the honourable and noble king who governs the world. Having prayed to him, I also pray to the ten sacred laws that one should subsist on because the exalted Buddha himself subsisted on intense concentration (Gawsaya Theiwana) and meditation (Bawana Theiwana). Having prayed thus, I also pray to the eight Ariyas, intimate sons of the exalted Buddha. Having prayed thus I will make a treatise on the history of kings in which I describe the continuous line of kings that starts with the Mahathamada king. (Note: Gawsaya = concentration, one type of which is Kathain which is meditation with intense concentration on an object; Theiwana = take refuge in, subsist on; Bawana = meditation).

A person writing a treatise must always place the three prefaces (Bobbaka): the Panama Bobbaka, the Athitha Bobbaka, and the Wuttuni Bobbaka at the beginning of his treatise. It is said that by placing the Panama Bobbaka at the beggining of his treatise he is paying reverence (praying) to the three gems in order to assure the disappearance of all dangers and the completion of his treatise. While in these Pali verses (gata) there is much grammar that is useful for preaching (discoursing) about the Buddha, why should the grammar that is called Lawkadipati be spoken of? Because the human Adipati (leaders of humans) used in the language of chronicles used to describe the royal lines of kings, by means of the so-called Lawkadipati.... gratitude we honor (Dawmanalo) the exalted Buddha, thus we speak.

(Note: Bobbaka = occurring at the very beginning, here it must mean preface; Athitha = aim, desire; Athitha Bobbaka = must be the preface where the aim, purpose, or what is to be accomplished with the treatise is set out, presented, here of course it would be to worship the Buddha. The secondary unstated reason being to help and honor kings; Adipati = pre- eminent leader; lawkadipati - pre-eminent ruler of the world.)

[Three pairs of two lines of Pali]

There is both the language of kings and other types of language. These types of language are ordinarily found in Pali verses and the noble Buddha in the village of the gods and in nibbana, it is said that he uses "Phila" language, if he is a lord who preaches most aptly, even though he preaches like this, those treatises that explain Pali verses "Atakata," because they are special, during the reign of those pure kings, they arrive at the state of being used up and destroyed. There are other types of language,. There are teachings on meditation. There is "Anissa" and other venerable people comparable to those who meditate, these royal chronicles of kings have not become widespread, please listen knowledgable sirs with good hearts.

Yazatan - the language of kings,
Sawrakatan - the language of thieves,
Mahamatakatan - the language of great ministers,
Theinakatan - the language of soldiers,
Bayakatan - the language of danger,
Yotakatan - the language of shooting weapons,
Annakatan - the language of rice,
B anakatan - the language of pleasure,
Wuttakatan - the language of Basoes and clothing,
Thayanakatan - the language of the place where one sleeps,
Malakatan - the language of flowers (?)
Gandagatan - the language of scents,
Nyatikatan - the language of families,
Yanakatan - the language of conveyance (vehicles, transportation),
Gamakatan - the language of villages.
Nigamakatan - the language of Nigon (hamlets or small villages),
Nagarakatan - the language of towns,
Zanabatakatan - the language of Zanabot (hamlets or small villages),
Eindikatan - the language of women,
Burithakatan - the language of men,
Thurakatan - the language of heroes,
Withikatatan - the language of arriving at the end of one's journey,
Kompatanakatan - the language of places where there is water,
Bobbabeitakatan - the language of ancestors,
Nanattakatan - language without any special purpose,
Lawkakayikan - language describing those who created the world with supernatural power and other related language,
Thamoddakkayikan - the describing how King Thagara dug the ocean and other related language.
EidiBawabawakatan - the language in which topics are brought up and pass away in talking without any purpose. (?)
Wiggahikakatan - harsh and cruel language.

These types of language are Phila language used in the villages of the gods and in nibbana for preaching (teaching).

2. How the universe was created and destroyed.

[A Pali verse] According to the meaning of this Pali verse, among the three worlds the world that is called Okathaloka (p. 122, the world where people, animals, and plants live. where there is water, earth, jungle, and sky) was the first world created in the universe. It was destroyed by fire, water, and wind and then once more rebuilt.

3. Regarding the following terms - Andara Kat, Ethinkyei Kat, and Maha Kat.

Among these things, people started with a lifespan of 10 years, then more and more people were born and their lifespan became so long one could not count the number of years they lived. At the end of their long lives, the lifespan once again decreased for their offspring so that they returned to the times when they lived for ten years and then one of the three sacred kats (natural disasters) which are known as Thattanda, Yokanda, and Domeikanda occurred. You should know that it was the Andara Kat that arrived and at that time all living beings were destroyed. It is called the Andara Kat because during this Andara Kat, before the Thanawina Kat had arrived, all things were destroyed.

4. About the Athinkyeiya (countless, infinite) Kat.

There were 64 Andaya Kats and one of them was called Athinkyeiya Kat. In the Zihalinkaya treatise as well as in other treatises (you will see, you will meet) they say that there were 20 Andaya Kats and that one of them was called the Athinkyeiya Kat. The Athinkyeiya Kat is called "Athinkyeiya Kat" because one cannot count the number of years in this Kat.

5. About the different eras (periods) of the Maha Kat.

During the Athinkyeiya Kat there were four periods: Thanwina, Thanwinatari, Wiwanna, and Wiwannatari. Among these four eras the era of destruction was called "Thanwina Kat." The period of time after the period of destruction was called the Thanwinatari Kat. The era when things once again thrived, prospered and grew was called the Wiwina Kat. The period of time after this period of prosperity when everything had been established was called the Winwinatari Kat.

6. About the extent (duration ?) of the periods refered to above.

During the Athinkyeiya Kat there were four periods: Thanwina, Thanwinatari, Wiwanna, and Wiwannatari. Among these four eras the era of destruction was called "Thanwina Kat." The period of time after the period of destruction was called the Thanwinatari Kat. The era when things once again thrived, prospered and grew was called the Wiwina Kat. The period of time after this period of prosperity when everything had been established was called the Winwinatari Kat.

6. About the duration of the periods refered to above.

Regarding the extent of these four periods of time. In the beginning there was a world destroying rain that spread over the 10,100,000 universes. All the people cultivated their crops with joy and happiness. When there was enough paddy to feed their cows the rain made a sound like a donkey and while the rain was making this sound, there was not even one burst of rain and then one by one seven suns appeared, the abodes of the first Jhana up to the third abode ignited (caught on fire) and burned up (were cremated). You should know at least this of this period called the Thanwinna Kat. After being engulfed in tongues of fire, the sky below (the lower sky) and the sky above (the upper sky) stuck together (became adjacent, contiguous, moved together) and there was a great pile of wreckage there (garbage, waste). During the whole Athinkyeiya Kat there was at the same time a time of creation and building called the Thawinatawi Kat You should know this. After this there was a world building (making, creating) rain that from the start (beginning) was a very soft rain. One by one as the rain fell water lily stocks (shoots) appeared from the ground, wooden staffs for walking, pestles for crushing, and Toddy palm trees also appeared. The 10,100,000 universes were filled with things and a torrent of rain engulfed it. After a long period of time (the situation changed and the water went away, and a piece of ground (some land. an island of earth floating in the air, a plot of ground) with a palace on it. an abode of the gods, appeared, and this time up until the sun and the moon appeared is called the Wiwina Kat. You should know this. Starting from the appearance of the sun and the moon the lifespan of people alternatively grew shorter and then longer and after 64 cycles of the Andaya Kat had finished a rain, that falling one time would destroy the world, fell. The period of time before this rain is called the Wiwinatawi Kat. You should know this. Among the four Athinkaya Kats one of them is called the world of the Maha Kat.

7. How the world was destroyed.

Among the four Kats of the Athinkyei Kat there was the Thanwina Kat and this Kat in turn consisted of three Kats: the Deizaw Thanwina Kat in which things were destroyed by fire, the Abaw Thanwina in which things were destroyed by water, and the Wayaw Thanwina in which things were destroyed by wind. Of these three Kats in the world destroyed by fire the strength of the seven suns was so great that smoke and flames spontaneously burst out and from the earth to the third abode of the first Jhana everything was engulfed in flames and cremated so that there was nothing, not even something as small as a mustard seed left.

In the world destroyed by water and up to the third abode of the second Jhana was crushed and destroyed just like salt dropped in water and crushed to a powder (??).

In the world destroyed by wind up to the third abode of the third Jhana the 10,100,000 universes were smashed to smithereens and disappeared.

This text has been humbly taken from the following treatises: Withuddimuk Atakata, Tharattathinkaha, Tharattadipani. Tikakyaw, Thankeibawinna, Manitharamissutha, as well as other treatises. In the work of other scholars say that fire destroyed up to the third, fourth, or fifth abodes. They say that water destroyed up to the sixth, seventh, or eighth abodes. They have used these alternative forms in their composition of poetry (kabya) and epic poetry (pyo) and their writing of verses (gata). These alternative versions have been declared contrary to scripture (the Tripitaka, treatise) by exalted scholars perfect in their knowledge of the scriptures.

8. About the structure and order of world destruction.

Regarding the structure of the fire, water and wind that destroyed the world during the so- called three Thanwinna periods. It was destroyed seven successive times by the fire. After this it was destroyed one time by the water. This pattern was repeated 64 more times, first fire destroying the world 7 times and then water destroying the world one time and then wind destroyed the world one time. This is the structure of how the world was destroyed. The world of the Bada Kat being established first fire seven times and after this destruction by water and then with a second sequence of seven fires, destruction by fire for the first time and the world which is called Mileindabanya was created.


Blogger Myat Thura - Myanmar man from Burma said...

Great! As a Burmese, I really appreciate your work in publishing them on the internet. I posted your link in my blog myatthura.blogspot.com

8:50 PM  
Blogger Porikolpok Oxom said...

Dear Jon Fernquest

Looking for possible external resources on history of Assam. Have you come across anything yet while researching on history of Burma.

Plz, write back.

Amitabh Kakoty

11:31 PM  
Blogger meiteimay said...

I m from Manipur. I m looking for historical data concerning how the hair of buddha came to Burma and the people that brought it. Which route did they come by? I believe there was some magadhi connection as there are some magadhai people in Manipur.

9:59 AM  

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