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Bagan: Ancient Capital of Myanmar

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Shinbinthalyaung Temple

Type of monument : Single storey Cave Style
Location : West of Shwesandaw
Region : Old Bagan
Built by : Unknown
Date : 11th Century
Monument Number : 1570

Around the walls of Shwesandaw near the southern part, there is a long, vaulted-brick structure which houses an 18-metre-long reclining Buddha Image of the 11th century.

The reclining Buddha image's head is oriented toward the south, which would indicate that the Buddha depicted, is in a resting rather than dying or parinibbana state. One view holds that the orientation and iconography clash because the architects didn't want the Buddha's back to face Shwesandaw. In Buddhist iconography throughout Asia, however, reclining Buddha figures always lie on their right side, a preferred sleeping and dying posture with antecedents in Indian yoga (to keep the left nostril clear, thus stimulating the Ida nerve channel along the spine to induce a clear, restful state). The historical Buddha was thought to have passed into parinibbana while lying on his right side; even today Theravada Buddhist monks are often exhorted to sleep on their right rather than left sides.
 

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