Myanmar; as the nation has been known throughout history, is one of the major countries following Buddhism. Meanwhile, they also believe and pray worship to God and Nats along together. The Botataung Pagoda is the religious place where incorporates of those two religious belief. Both religious faith and worship of the gods. Furthermore, inside the Botataung Pagoda, there is the Bo Bo Gyi ; Thep Than Jai (Speedy god) known to Thais, which is believed to be the guardian spirit of Botataung Pagoda and very famous to the visitors for devotee praying. The highlight to go here is to meet and pray to the Bo Bo Gyi.
The Botataung Pagoda (also spelled Botahtaung) is a famous pagoda located near the river in Yangon, Myanmar. The name “Botataung” means “1,000 military officers”. The pagoda was built to enshrine a sacred hair relic of the Buddha, later to be distributed to Shwedagon Pagoda. From history, The Botataung Pagoda was first built for more than 2,000 years ago by Mon Monarch; King Okkalapa, who asked one thousand military officers were drawn up as a guard of honor to welcome the sacred hair relics of the Buddha which brought over from India to landed in Burma. In the World War II, the original pagoda was destroyed from air force bombing raids at the nearby docks in Yangon. Rebuilding started in 1948 following the original design whereas the pagoda – shaped casket keeping sacred hair and relics of the Buddha was discovered inside the original pagoda and was moved to the new pagoda in 1953. They also built a new walkway and interior with glass showcases for the ancient Buddha relic and other artifacts and also open to the public.
The architecture design of the Botataung Pagoda is the same style with another pagoda from the same era. On the right side of the pagoda, there is the most beautiful Golden Attitude of Subduing Mara Buddha Image inside the pagoda. Previously, this Golden Buddha Image was enshrined at Mandalay Palace but when British ruled Myanmar (Burma) in 1885, the Golden Buddha was moved to the museum in Calcutta, India. So, the Buddha images was survived from bombing in the World War II. Moreover, there is another sacred things such as the Buddha Tooth Relic which keep in the glass showcase near the Golden Buddha Image Sanctuary and the Bo Bo Gyi Nat shrine (The Nut Pavilion) which located on the left side of the pagoda. The pilgrims go straight to the Bo Bo Gyi’s shrine to make a wish and pray.
Bo Bo Gyi Nat ; or Thep Than Jai (Speedy god) known to Thais, is the great grandfather spirit and being one of the 37 Bo Bo Gyi Nat shrines around the country. The word “Nat” is from “Na-Tha” means “supporter”. The Nat pavilion holds an almost life size image of Bo Bo Gyi who is believed to be the Nat spirit guarding the pagoda. The Bo Bo Gyi Nat is depicted as an old man wearing very colorful clothing. The Bo Bo Gyi Nat is believed to promptly grant everything you wish for. Nat worshipping still plays an important role in present day.
The Method of Worship to the Bo Bo Gyi
Traditionally, the pilgrims will prepare for coconut and red banana; as a first offering fruits, for being an offering gifts to the Bo Bo Gyi. The pilgrims or the visitors can buy it from the vendors before enter to the pavilion.
There are some method of worship, the pilgrims have to prepare two bank cash stack together in cone shape and put in the Bo Bo Gyi’ s hand. Then, let his forefinger to touch your middle forehead, make only one wish and he will grant you your wish. After that, walking around the Bo Bo Gyi and back to pray again. Then, bring back one bank cash from his hand and keep it for praise.