Trip to Pindeya
Another weekend, another trip. Today we went to Pindeya. The main attraction was to see a huge spider in a Pindeya cave. The journey to Pindeya took us more than 4 hours. We left at 5:00 in the morning to be able to visit all places. As always with two lorries. But beware this time even some girls were sitting on the roof of the lorry and some guys sat down in the hold. I was sitting on the roof on the way there, enjoying the amazing view and feeling of freedom, and a slight dose of adrenaline. I sat on the way back in the driver’s cab where I dozed. All the way there and back all the students sang to shortened their boredom.
Along the way we stopped in monsters where they worshiped snakes because of a monk who lived there in the past.Not so interesting for me, there was nothing special, but almost all the students went there to pray.
The next stop was the 1st cave we had on the list. Htat Elian Cave Temple. In front of the pagoda we ate breakfast, which our students had prepared from early morning. They got up at 3:00 AM to prepare food for 60 people. Htat Elian Cave Temple is a pagoda inside a cave. Narrow long and winding corridors. A large number of Buddha statues and small stupas combined with stalagmites and stalactites and various small lakes. It was a very interesting sight.
The second stop was the 2nd cave we had on the list. In front of the cave was the mentioned statue of a large spider on which the archer aimed. It was more fun than scary. Surely I didn’t expect anything like this when they were talking about a big spider. This spider is associated with legend.
The legend of the spider
In front of the entrance is a sculpture of a giant spider and a Prince aiming his bow at it. Local legend tells that once a giant spider lived in the cave. One day the spider captured a local Princess and held her captive in the cave. According to the legend, the Prince armed with bow and arrow killed the spider, thus rescuing the Princess
After climbing many stairs we get to the cave. The cave is set in a limestone hill in Central Burma not far from Inle Lake. The hill contains three caves, only one of which is open to the public. This cave that is about 150 meters long contains thousands of Buddha images in various styles and from different eras. Every small corner and nook of the cave is cramped with Buddha images up to the ceiling. Between the images are also a number of small pagodas. The number of Buddhas in this cave is constantly growing since people are still adding more, by now there about 9,000. A very mystical place.
After visiting the cave we drove to the town of Pindeya where we had an hour break and time to eat at the local market, which was about 10 times larger than the market that in our village.
Our last stop was the Lwan Pagoda. Lwan Pagoda is where the body of Kone Lone Sayadaw rests.
Kone Lone Sayadaw was a monk who had superhuman abilities according to what everyone is saying. The practice of Kone Lone Sayadaw was largely samatha based, and he was not believed to practice Vipassana. Vipassana, which means to see things as they really are, is one of India’s most ancient techniques of meditation. Vipassana is a way of self-transformation through self-observation. It focuses on the deep interconnection between mind and body, which can be experienced directly by disciplined attention to the physical sensations that form the life of the body, and that continuously interconnect and condition the life of the mind. It is this observation-based, self-exploratory journey to the common root of mind and body that dissolves mental impurity, resulting in a balanced mind full of love and compassion. His hands were also believed to be special, particularly the palms, which were considered to have identical lines in both the right and left. Many believed his hands alone could keep away danger. The Kone Lone Sayadaw was known to eat only fruit during periods of his life. His skin was said to be so smooth and beautiful that no sweat ever marred it, and his inner purity was believed to give him a general sweet-smelling odor. He was known to become tired if even smelling the odor of those visitors who came to see him who were meat-eaters, and so only allowed a limited number of devotees at any time. Then, even after his death in 2004 at the age of 96 years old, his body was still sweet-smelling, and it did not decompose even after an attempted cremation. They said that his nails and hair are still growing as if he were alive and which they have to cut.This has led some supporters to believe he was fully enlightened. Eventually his devotees encased it in glass and built a stupa around it. The area is very unusual for Burmese Buddhist sites.
After this stop we went straight to Phayataung.