Chauk Htat Gyi Buddha time

This century old Chauk Htat Gyi reclining Buddha seems just that same as I remember from my first visit back in 1995. It has been built and rebuilt many times in it’s life. The covered structure of the 65-meter-long reclining Buddha, means there is no way to expand upwards and the fact that it is in downtown Yangon means that it can’t very well expand sideways either! Along with everything else it does seem more shiny and well kept now and as with all the places of worship – the LED light and the small twinkle lights are everywhere!

As far as I can figure out there are two types of reclining Buddha images. One is a resting Buddha and the other is the Buddha after he has passed and is depicted as dead. That doesn’t sound so good but the nature of existence is impermanence, so it makes sense that there would be an image reflecting this aspect of the life of the Buddhas.

The feet of this image is really special with 108 beautifully designed ‘lakshanas’ on the soles of the feet, representing each of the noble characteristics of the Buddha. The reclining Buddha which is simply resting can be spotted by the placement of the hand on the head and by the feet and legs. The resting Buddha has his head lifted up by his hand, resting on the elbow and one knee seems to be bent brings the feet out of alignment. The deceased Buddha has his head laying on his arm and his feet are rigidly together.

Myanmar (Burma) 2014 by Keri Pickett Myanmar (Burma) 2014 by Keri Pickett Myanmar (Burma) 2014 by Keri Pickett Myanmar (Burma) 2014 by Keri Pickett Myanmar (Burma) 2014 by Keri Pickett Myanmar (Burma) 2014 by Keri Pickett

Keri Pickett

Keri Pickett is an author, photographer and filmmaker telling the stories of life, family and community with intimacy, honesty and impact. Pickett is Producer, Director and Camera for the award-winning feature documentary film ‘The Fabulous Ice Age’, about the rise and fall of the great American touring ice shows and one man’s quest to save the history, available on Netflix and Amazon. Her short film, 'Steel // Spirit' premiered at MSPIFF and won certificate of excellence in India. Her award-winning books include Love in the 90s; BB and Jo, The Story of a Lifelong Love, A Granddaughter’s Portrait (Warner Books, 1995); Faeries; Visions, Voices & Pretty Dresses (Aperture, 2000); Saving Body & Soul, The Mission of Mary Jo Copeland (WaterBrook, 2004). The recipient of a Jerome and Minnesota State Arts Board grants, three McKnight Foundation Photography fellowships, a National Endowment for the Arts award, and a Bush Foundation Fellow, Pickett’s work is in the permanent collections of the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Museum of Fine Arts Houston and the Minneapolis Institute of Art.