The Ramana Desa
Project:The Ramana Desa
Author: Lem Chuck Moth
Started date: August/01/2006
Last updated: June/30/2017
All right reserved.
Since this paper is still drafted, the readers would be advised to ignore any context errors. The content is not final and subjected to be reviewed.
In writing the modern history of Burma, scholars found themselves facing with dilemmas. Drawn between the deep past legacy of the native Barma and the recent migration of the Miens in medieval time, the confusion of identity was mostly due to the lack of historical concise data. Scholars found Vestiges of older era attesting the existence of the Mon societies long before the depiction of Burma and Siam in the world's map. The finding puzzled scholars, for it tells them that the Mon were actually ancient people of high cultural background but yet has no country that could be identified to be theirs own. Adding into the confusion, these vestiges that were supposedly of Mon origin were not found at Tathon where the Mon claimed their root, but were found instead at the Menam Valley where the Buddhist tradition had been verified to start since Buddha' s lifetime. Some scholars postulated that Dvaravati was actually the ancient stronghold of the Mons before they were displaced to Tathon by the Khmers. They argued that the Khmers actually came from India and built their first kingdom that was known to Chinese court as Chenla by subduing Funan out of its existence. At the same time they postulated that the Mons were left to their own tradition without a country. It was in fact one of many mistakes that modern Scholars had made in regard to the deep past of the Southeast Asian demography. Although wrong on the ethnicity issue, the theory was right about the KHmer and Mon Identities as product of INdianization (Notes: The Khmer-Mon Identity). Happening long after Kaundinya formed the Khmer Kingdom and started on his Khmerization into the Siam Country, the Mon identity was implanted by the Chenla King Bhavavarman that marked the set point of Ramanization into the the Menam Valley. The oldest vestiges found at Dvaravati that were associated as the Mon artifacts by modern scholars were in fact left by the Kaundinya court during his move to take control of the Siam country. Through agreement with his father-in-law, the Kambujan naga King, Kaundinya reestablished Sri Dharmarja as the seat of the Pali canon of Buddhism. It was this legacy that started the Mon' s Theravata Buddhist tradition. Nevertheless, scholars believed that the Mons existed as a people and that Dvaravati was the stronghold of their communities in the Menam Valley. We shall argue further that Dvaravati was in fact the progenator of the Mon country, which was through its existence, had very close develoment with the Khmerization of Southeast Asia. The Colavamsa referred this country by the name of Raman-desa to stay at least until the raid by king Parakramabahu I of Ceylon at the first half of the twelfth century (Cula: Chapter LXXVI: Account of the Capture of the Town of Rajina: pp. 64-69).
The Mon' s Identity
The foundation of the Mon Country that gave the people its identity was seen from the beginning with controversy. Etymologically, Ramana-Desa was meant to be the country of the Rama people. The Mons called themselves Ramen, a derivation of Rammana (Rama-man) meaning the Rama people. According to the Ramayana epic, Rama was an avatar of Vishnu. Living in Sri Adyudhia, Rama had no historical relationship whatsoever with Southeast Asian native whose Buddhism was virtually their sole religion. Like other Southeast Asian compatriots who had received various identities under the Saka and Kam leaderships, the Mon actually received their Vishnuite identity after the arrival of the Cham Kings. In the deep past, they were of the same race with the Khmers sharing common tradition and culture of the same country that had its name changed over time through cultural development. Takkasila and later Varadhana were two of such identities that were shared by all Southeast Asian people. By the time that Buddha Gautama visited Southeast Asia, we know from the Mahavamsa that Indochina was inhabited by the same race of people known as the nagas. Only after the formation of the Khmer Kingdom by Kaundinya that the Mon identity emerged after the conquest of Funan (Kambujadesa) by the Chenla clan. We also argued that it was the Chenla King Bhavavarman who, in the quest of converting the Menam Valley into Vishnuism, transformed the naga city of Dvaravati into the next stage of the Ramayana epic. Of Middle Eastern background, the Cham aristocrats were proud of their Rama ancestry that gave the people of Dvaravati the Mon Identity. It was Bhavavarman and his descending lineage of Anuruddha who, through the conquest to the west brought the Mon identity into the Irravadi Valley (Notes: Anuruddha 's Origin). The formation of the Angkorean Empire moreover contributed to the expansion of the Mon Country. Under Angkor, Hinayana Buddhism had been spreat into the rest of naga ream by the Angkorean monarch. For instance, Lavo and its sister city Haripangjaya became the seat of Hinayana Buddhism to serve as the Buddhist center of Northern Siam countries. During the dynastic crisis, Lavo was subdued along with Angkor by the new leadership from Ligor. After taking hold of the Angkorean throne, Suryavarman I resumed the Cakravatin kingship and carried on the mission to reunify the Khmer Empire. Nevertheless, the remote sites of the Menam and the Irrawadi Valleys were broken away. After the attack of Suryavarman I failed, evidence shows that Haripangjaya along with the northern Mon states were regrouped under the displaced Lavo court in the formation of the northern Mon Country.
THE MON COUNTRIES
Burmese chronicles were virtually the only sources available to make-up for the lack of archeological findings. Consolidating into a single volume, the Glass Palace chronicle is by far the sole source for the Burmese modern history (GPC: Introduction: pp. IX-XXIII). Nevertheless, the chronicle was compiled in such way that the Burmese prehistorical connection to Southeast Asia was left mostly in the dark. Besides pre-Christian era of elaborated past Buddhist connections, the chronicle provides a flurry picture of Burma's deep past connection with Nagadvipa. Only after the formation of Arimaddana (known later as Pagan) that the chronicle provides factual information that enable us to compile a comprehensive Burmese history that happens to be very close in development with the Angkorean Empire.
The Mons of Hamsavati
Even though sketchy in its coverage of the Burmese past of the Mon country, the Glass Palace Chronicle provides uas with enough information to conclude that Burmese legacy was common to all native communities of Southeast Asia (Dvaravati: Introduction: The Cradle of the Khmer-Mon Civilzation). At the contrary, we shall illustrate the start-up of the Mon societies through three iconic events. First, the formation of Hamsavati by the two Mala brothers was actually the beginning of the Mon' s identity. In a close conjunction to the Buddhist development of Sri Dharmaraja, Hamsavati was actually the oldest of the Mon communities of Southeast Asia. The formation of Haripangjaya was the second event that started the Mon country, in a political tie with the formation of the Angkorean Empire. Last and not least, the formation of Tathon was done during the break-up with Angkor. Happening during the dynastic crisis, it was traditionally remembered by the Mon people as the actual start of the Mon Country of its own. The Glass Palace Chronicle confirms that the history of Ramanadesa continued the Mon story of Buddhist development from Tathon (Notes: The Mon' s Identity of Burma). As we shall see, Tathon became later the original site of the "Talaing" identity in its close connection with their new line of kings of the Tribhuvanaditya lineage. At the mean time, Scholars agreed that Hamsavati (Known later as Pegu) was actually the first Mon country formed at the Irravati basin. The chronicle of Sri Dharmaraja sets the date of its foundation approximately at 825 AD by a twin brothers, Samala and Vimala. The city was named Hamsavati after the spiritual bird Hamsa (swan) appearing when the two brothers were looking for a place to build the city. The chronicle specifies that the two brothers were from Takkaxila and set themselves out westward to carve their own empires. It is interesting to note that their names ended with "Mala" indicate that they were lined from the Mala kings of Malayu, apparently of Anuruddha lineage. This origin from Malayu confirms that Sudhammavati or Sri Dharmaraja was according to the Mon Tradition, the origin of theirs race and was the same as Dvaravati of the Menam Valley. While Thamala ascended the throne, the younger brother Vimala was sent to Taxila to complete his education. When the latter returned back home, he found out that he was not welcomed back as promised by his brother. In a rage, he killed his brother and ordered his followers to kill his brother's son also. To save the child, the queen mother had arranged to hide him outside the town. After an elapse of time, Hindu strangers who were chased out from the town came back to attack the city. Samala's son named Atha-Kumma came out from the hiding and saved Hamsavadi from the Hindu attackers. Recognizing that the rescuer was no other than his nephew, Vimala confessed his mistake and finally delegated the throne to him. The story also mentions that the young king Atha-Kumma built Kyaikatha (the pagoda Atha) in Tathon District. It is interesting to note that the Mon identity emerged first, as a people of Hamsavati and the attribution of the Mon origin at Sudhammavati should be at Malaysia. AS indicated in story line, Tathon was mentioned in the story line as a distric of the Mon country. It was formed in 825, concurrently with the Angkorean Cakravatin Empire by two Mala prices of the Sailendra (or Ketomala)' s court. The Lao Tradition confirms the foundation of Hamsavati by one of Khun Borom's seven sons (Xiang-Mai: The Nan-Tchao's Affair: The Return of Khun Borom) along with the foundation of other cities that became part of the Khmer Cakravatin Empire. The Yannan chronicle elaborates on the Lao tradition of Khun Borom through the reign of King Pi-Lo-Ko of Yunnan that was renamed as the Mang Kingdom, in connection of his Mang Dynasty. With the help of Tibet, one of his descendants, Koh-lo-Fong extended the Mang kingdom from the Eastside of Yunnan down to Upper Burma (ESSA: The Rise of the Sri Vijaya: Burma, Conquest by Nan-Tchao (around 760) and the Decline of Prome: p. 95.). Dated back since the reign of the grand-son Man-Sui-Ti of Ashoka, the dynasty had very close development with the Khmer Empire, so much so that it became as the Khmer' s second identity (The Sakadvipa: The Mauryan Expansion: The Mauryan and the Spread of Buddhism). His conquest over Upper Burma conveys that he had been joining the Khmer consortium to fight off the Chenla clan and to rebuild the Khmer Empire after the victory. Evidences show that during the early stage of the Chenla uprising, this part of the ancient Funan Empire was under the Chenla King Bhavavarman. What Koh-lo-Fong did was just to reclaim his heritage and rebuilt it as a gate country between Angkor and Manipura. The reestablishment of Mahayana Buddhism, which undoubtedly dated back to the "Vikrama" dynsty, is confirmed by the discovery of Buddhisattvaimages. Some of them appear to date at the eighth century, which proved a new connection with the Buddhist communities of Bengal.
The Mons of Haripanjaya
The formation of the Mon communities in the Menam Valley could be checked-out in the Lampang chronicle about the son of the King Cakravati, ruling as his vice-king over Ramana Nagara and that his wife went out to form the northern Mon country of Haripangjaya. In conjunction to their historical background, the chronology confirms that the formation of Haripanjaya in 849 and of Ramavati in 857 all fell into the same period of the early foundation of the Angkorean Empire by the Cakravatin monarch Jayavarman II (802-869). By identifying the King Cakravati to no other than Jayavarman II and his son to Jayavarman III, we could see that both Ramavati and Haripangjaya were formed as part of the Khmer Cakravatin Empire (The making of a Cakravatin Empire: The dependency of Angkor: The Spreading of Theravada Buddhism). The queen Camadevi, who was then the cakravati's daughter-in-law, was commissioned by him to form Haripangjaya with a large retinue of people brought from Lavo. She also brought Buddhism from Sri Dharmaraja to spread over the northern Siam region. After founding Haripangjaya where her first son was set to rule, she went out to build Lampang for her second son. After her death, both Mon communities thrived under the rulership of her two sons. After a few generations however, the descendants of the queen Camadevi were no longer the sole rulers of Haripangjaya. Like many other parts of Southeast Asia, Lavo and Angkor included, Haripangjaya underwent dynastic changes. Evidences show that the next line of rulers of Haripangjaya was from Java and belonged to the Makutavamasa lineage. Itself originated from the Indonesian dynasty of Java, the lineage was part of the Cholan Dynasty. The change was peaceful due in fact to the Sailendra king taking over the Angkorean throne after the reign of Jayavarman III (The making of a Cakravatin Empire: The Ketomala Dynasty: The Legend of Prah Ketomala and Visnukarman). The rise of the Cholan interference in the Angkorean court could be checked out during the reign of Jayavarm IV at the same time that conflict erupted between the Javanese Cholan court and the Malaysian Sri Vijaya. The next transition during the dynastic crisis was however not that peaceful. We know next from the chronicle of Haripangjaya that the Mon King Joined Java to fight the Angkorean king stationing at Lavo who was no other than the Angkorean monarch (or one his close relative). The situation reversed itself as the Lavo king was heading north to take over the Haripangjaya throne for himself leaving the Mon King without a country. As the displaced court from Lavo was taking control on Haripangjaya, the court of Ligor on the other hand moved to take control of the Angkorean throne. Left alone by the treaty with Suryavarman I, it appears that Haripangjaya had joined with Pagan (Aridammana) and the southern Mon State of Hamsavati, in the overall formation of Ramandesa. To stand against the new Angkorean court, Haripungjaya had waged a constant war with Lavo. The chronicle of Camadevivamsa conveys a special circumstance that drew the relationship between the Mon of Haripangjaya and Hansavati closer to each other (CAMA: Royal Succession, Cholera Epidemic, and flight to Hamsavati). During the outbreak of an epidemic plague under the reign of king Malaraja, Haripangjaya seeked help from Hamsavati.
The inhabitants of Haripangjaya escaped to Sudhammavati. The sovereign Pukamraja with full of compassion reestablished the court of Sudhammavati. Unable to overcome their distress, they once again escaped to Hamsavati.
This is the first mentioning in the Mon's history of Tathon as Sudhammavati that was reestablished by the king of Pukamraja to accommodate the refugees from Haripangjaya. Judging from his title, the King Pukamraja was undoubtedly the king of Upper Burma. It was however a short stay before a new distress forced them to move again to Hamsavati. The distress was cited in other sources to be caused by the Pukamraja himself. While helping the Mons to fight off the plague, he also took the opportunity to take their women into his court. At the contrary, Hamsavati offered refuge and friendship that was developed to become a strong relationship between the two peoples.
The monarch of Hamsavati offered help by providing clothes, shelters and food like a father caring about their children. A mutual friendship was established between the people of both cities.
As mentioned next, the connection between the people of Tathon, Hamsavati and Haripangjaya was particularly strong due the epidemic outbreak.
They spoke the same language, with no different of vocabulary. The epidemic period took place around ten years, the people of Haripangjaya returned back to their home. Every year, at the anniversary of their return, they sent offering of food through floats made of Banana trunk downstream to their ancestors left behind.
It is interesting to note that the tradition of sending offering downstream to the ancestors is still practiced in both Thailand and Cambodia today.
The Mons of Tathon and the "Talaing" Identity
Archeology fails to provide proof of antiquity claimed by the Mons to relate Tathon as the ancient site of Sudhammavati. Vestiges found at the location are scarce and reveal both Vishnuism and Buddhism's practices. In contrast, Sudhammavati had been mentioned in local tradition as the Buddhist stronghold of Southeast Asia since the antiquity in connection with Sri Dhammaraja. During the formation of the Mon state of Hamsavati, the founders were two Mala princes mentioned to be from Takkasila and not from Tathon. Only after a series of epidemic plague that drove the people of Haripangjaya to seek refuge with Ramana-Desa that the Lampang chronicle mentions about the reconstruction of Tathon by the king of Pukam to accommodate the refugees. Although they returned back to Haripangjaya after the plague, many of the old and new generation alike had chosen to stay behind and Tathon became a new Mon state along side of Hamsavati. Undoubtedly Tathon had retained since its past heritage of both Sudharmvati and Dvaravati through connection with Haripangjaya. The connection however stopped after the Talaing king Makutavamsa took control of Tathon and carried along the Vishnuite heritage of the Cholan court. As we recall back, it started during the dynastic crisis happening in the Javanese court when a son or son-in-law of Makutavamsa named Dharmavamsa Tguh Anantavikrama started the war with Sri Vijaya (The Chola Dynasty: The dynastic crisis: The conflict between Java and Sri Vijaya). After the attack of the Chola on Sri Vijayan stronghold, Makutavamsa was free to make his move toward the Ramana country. During the decline of Buddhism and the adoption of orthodox Hindu in Bali, Makutavamsa court brought the Hindu practice along with him to Tathon. That would upset the deep root of Hinayana Buddhists of the Mon people and drove the chief monk Shin Arahan away to join the young Anurruddha court of Pagan. As a Buddhist himself, Makutavamsa might not act upon himself and was perhaps consorting with the Hindu clan of the Chola dynasty. Evidences show that the legacy stayed on at Tathon, even during the control of Anurruddha. Through contact with the Rashu Clan of South India, Hindu legacy could be revived back any time through interference of the Talaing' s court. Often mentioned in Burmese Tradition in regard to the Mons of Tathon, the "Talaing" identity was specifically attributed to the origin of the new Tathon court of King Makutavamsa from Orissa. Chronology set the event contemporary to the reign of the Cholan King Rajadhiraja (Notes: The Cholan Supremacy). Looking back, the settlement of King Makutavamsa at Tathon was just another outcome of the Chola development during the dynastic crisis. It took root even before the uprising of the Chenla Clan against the Kambujan Empire. The inscription of Veal Kantel (Le cambodge:La region de Bassac, Aymonier) commemorates the erection of The God king Tribhuvanesvara, by the Brahman Somasarman, husband of a daughter of king Viravarman and sister of Bhavavarman. The consecration was followed by the usual presents to the God King, among them a complete set of Mahabhatara, the Ramayana and the (Vishnu) Purana. This finding indicates that the Chenla Campaign also spread into the Indian Continent that set the dormant Chola legacy to reemerge in Southern India. We shall see that Tribhuvanesvara, besides becoming a powerful god king of the Angkorean Empire, had also become the Tribhuvanaditya lineage of the Rashu line of kings. Under the legacy of Tribhuvanaditya, the new line of Ramana kings had theirs deep past connection with the South Indian Cholan court. It is important to note that Tribhuvanaditya is the Visnuite version of the Sivaite Tribhuvanesvara. It was the first time in history, that Tathon emerged as the Mon country to eclipse its elder-sister city of Hamsavati. Presumably, it was also the first time that the Mons diverged from the Khmers and received theirs own identities as Raman or Talaings. Anuruddha must to feel pressure from this South Indian interference that he decided to curb the Hindu practices of the Ari monks. The Mahavasmsa confirms that he had played important role in the restoration of Theravada Buddhism of Ceylon after the attack of the Cholan Empire. At the mean time, the Talaing' s legacy along with the Vishnuite cult that were due to the Cholan interference still played important role in the history of Ramana-Desa until the raid of king Parakramabahu I of Ceylon and the take over of Pagan by Angkor. Under the Angkorean Empire, the Buddhist practices had been restored back to its old standard and the Mon' s legacy stayed until it was wiped out by colonial rule (Notes: The dawn of the Mon' s legacy).
THE BURMESE LEGACIES
Like the Khmer, we had argued that the Mon identitity was implanted on top of native tribesmen through Indianization. Dated back from the Great Flood, Barma was actually the most ancient identity of Indochinese indegenous people. After the setback induced by the Shang DynaSTY, the identity was revived and became stronger than ever, through the formation of the Hiong-Wang (Varadhana) Kingdom. Interference from the north however, started the diversion of Southeast Asia through influx of YUeh leadership of both Ta-Yueh and Tchao-Yueh power houses. Beneath the changes, evidences show that the Mons and the Khmers still kept their common heritage of Brahmanism from the past. After the dynastic crisis, Upper-Burma that was left out mostly from the Hinayans Buddhism of th past, became the seat of a new country to distance itself from the Angkorean court of Sri Dharmaraja.
The Burmese Identity
Like the Mons, the Burmese people of ethnic Barma had rich heritage recorded in their own tradition. As indigenous people of Southeast Asia, the original Barma people were also the survivors of the Great Flood. The past legacy could be checked out through their tradition of building their houses on stilt. According to their own tradition, they gained their Barma identity from the high concentration of Brahmans living in their communities. As part of the western side of the mainland Indochina, Burma was the extension of the country of the Great Brahmans that had close cultural connection with the Meru culture of Manipura. During the incursion of the Xia Dynasty, Tian-sun became the refuge of the displaced Brahmans from Manipura who gave the indigenous people the Barma identity or Burmese. During later Political and cultural Interchange, Brahmanic culture and the Barma identity extended itself deep into the Irrawadi Valley. The Burmese also claim that their kingship was the Sun Dynasty (Adityavamsa in Khmer Tradition) of Royal bones who were descendants from the very first king Manu. Their cultures strongly attest their claim, but consideration is needed to be make due to recent interference from outside world. As many part of Southeast Asia, the confusion of identity arose when elements from Central Asia came to mix in with the Austroasiatic communities of South Asia. The first of such mixtures was when Chinese texts mention about five hundreds families of the Ho (Mongols) to settle themselves at Prome. These Ho migrants were mentioned to be from India meaning that they were the same Kambojan stocks from the Gangetic India. Already in contact with Hindu Culture, they were fond of learning. The habit of offering their daughters to the Brahmans was an efficient way in breeding a new generation of Brahmanity. The children from the mixture, having the opportunity to learn from their fathers, acquired the potential of becoming Brahmans themselves. They were seen as knowledgeable as their fathers and were recruited as the power elite of the Kambojan court, a tradition that was passed on to the Angkorean court. Since they carried on the Brahmanist tradition of Burma, they were wrongly identified as the original Barma or Burmese people (Notes: Pyu vs Barma people). Nevertheless, they assimilated themselves seamlessly into the Burmese societies of Upper Burma until today. Adding to the confusion, we had argued that the influx of Yueh migrants, facilitated by the Han Dynasty, came in high numbers to take control of the northern part of Indochina. This time, not only the Yueh leadership but also the mass of the Yueh population had moved deep into Yunnan and the eastern region of Himalaya where Tibeto-Burman tongue is found to be dominant today. The Glass Palace chronicle and other Burmese source claim that the first Burmese communities were formed by a legendary figure named Pyusawti. Nevertheless, the chronicle elaborates on his origin and background with full of myth. Etymologically, the Burmese title "Pyusawti" is the same as the Chinese title "Piao-Tsiu-Ti" meaning the emperor Piao. Of Chinese origin, the title could be traced to Ashoka's third son whose personal ambition brought him to find opportunity at the east (Sakadvipa: The Sakas of Day Desa: King Ashoka of Magadha). According to the Yunnan chronicle, Piao-Tsiu-Ti left his country of Magadha during the fall of the Qins, and went out to form his own venture outside of his father's kingdom. His exploit left strong legacies of him in many oriental Buddhist communities, specifically in southern China and in Southeast Asia. Chinese sources had many accounts confirming that these communities were in fact ruled by direct descendants of Piao-Tsiu-Ti and were known as Pyuksetra. It was another Central Asian legacy that plays important role in the identity confusion later in modern Burmese history. At the same time, Pyuksetra should not be confused as a country of ethnic Pyu people who, as subject to the Pyu kings were both composing of Barma and Mien (or Yao) stocks. Other mountainous communities of tribesmen, speaking Tibeto-Burman tongue are actually the real ancestors of the native of Southeast Asia. In the case of the Jins or the Karens (Notes: The karens), we had argured that they were actually the progenitors of the Mon-Khmer people. Unlike theirs valley Shan people, these isolated mountainous tribesmen were left out from the early phase of Indianization and stayed to become the remnant of of the Meru Culture' s start-up. Evidences moreover show that, like the Shans, they still retained no less of theirs past Barma legacy than the Pyu people of which Arimaddanapur was founded and referred as a Burmese state.
The Foundation of Pagan
In compiling the modern history of Burma, scholars particularly misconcepted the difference of identity between the Mon and the Barma people. While Pagan and its surroundings were associated to Barma, the rest of Ramana-Desa was left to the Mon ethnicity. This geopolitical split, as we shall see, was not only ethnically irrelevant but was much more recent than have been presented before (The Kingdom of Burma: The past legacy: The Legacy of Ramanadesa). The Glass palace chronicle credits the founding of Pagan to a legendary king named Pyinbya around 849 (GPC: Of the ten kings from king Theinhka to king Tannek: Pyinbya). He received his name (more precisely surname) because as a young prince he ruled over the city of Pyinbya.
In the year 208 his (Hkelu' s) younger brother Pyinbya became king. He was so called because as a young prince he ate (reigned) the village of Pyinbya. In the third year after he became king, Pagan was built; the year was 211.
The mentioning of the name Pagan here is somewhat misleading. The chronicle acknowledges that the name Pagan was conceived only later under the reign of king Narathipati, at a time that Ramandesa was taken under Angkor's control. At the mean time, Pagan was still known as Arimaddana, a Mon city founded by Pyinbya in 878. From the same source, we also know that he also found Rammavati in 857.
In 219 he founded the city of Taungdwin and gave it the name Rammavati.
The chronicle lines Pyinbya from king Thsinhka (Simha ?), but is not explicit about the latter' s background except that he was of royal bone. However, the mention of Rammavati reminded us of the Chenla king Bhavavarman' s exploit during his conquest over the Menam Valley. According to the Mon tradition, Bhavavarman founded Rammavati soon after the fall of the Kambujan Empire by his own exploit. His change of faith from Vishnuite to Buddhism restored back the Buddhist tradition of Dvaravati. His extensive conquest furthermore enabled his descendant Anuruddha to spread Hinayana Buddhism into upper Burma. It was at the same time that the Xiang-Mai chronicle commenting on Anuruddha building Xiang-Mai as a Buddhist stronghold of northern Siam countries to become since the precursor of the Angkorean cakravatin empire (Xiang-Mai
: The Chenla Connection: The Work of Anuruddha). After Angkor was formed, we had seen that Rammavati was under Lavo' s control and ruled by Jayavarman III, the son of the Angkorean monarch Jayavarman II (The making of a Cakravatin Empire: The dependency of Angkor: Lawaratha as a cardinal state of Angkor). From the two facts set together, we believe that Pyinbya who was no other than Bhavavarman I (or his descendant Anuruddha), moved his court to Arimaddana and left Sri Dharmaraja to be part of the Angkorean Empire. The next account about the break of king Pyinbya' s lineage by a usurper might explain the obscurity of Bhavavasrman I' s own descendants, following the fall of the Chenla Empire (The Chenla Empire: The Chenla legacy: The Chenl's conquest). In the year 878, Pyinbya's son named Tannek became king of Arimaddana. The new king loves horse and was a master of horsemanship. This hobby would put him in a collision course with another strong personality named Ngahkwe who happened to become his assassin and his replacement for the throne of Pagan. His background was obscure but according to legend, was related to two Burmese brothers in a family feud. In their fight, the elder won and the younger fled and lived in hiding at Sale. He had a grandson Ngahkwe whose parents sold him to a wealthy man. The rich man was hash, so Ngahkwe left him and entered the service of the king Tannek as the groom of the royal stables. Following the king order, he dug a pit for the horse-dung and set fire to burn the dung. One day, during the visit of king Tannek, he pushed the king into the dung-pit and killed him. After the assassination, he forced the queen and the Burmese court to crown him king. It was how the original Anuruddha lineage ended at Pagan. Ngahkwe was succeeded by his son Theinhko who became king in the year 277. He was killed at the age of forty-one in an incidence that was quite dramatic as his father' s beginning in the court of Pagan. In a riding excursion for sport in the forest, he was hungry and stopped in a farmer's plantation to pluck and eat a cucumber. Because he plucked it without telling the farmer, the farmer thought that he was a thief. The farmer then struck him with a spade that he died. The farmer became king himself and established his own lineage known as the Cucumber Gardener King. Last and not least, the legend about King Kunhsaw Kyaungbyu, Anuruddha's father who emerged back to claim the Arimaddana's throne, furthermore connects the kings of Pyinbya's lineage to the same Anuruddha lineage of the Chenla king Bhavavarman' s descendant.
The Three Dynasties
The dynastic crises started at Sri Dharamaraja, but evidences show that Ramanadesa was the next seat of crises to come. Known as the Cucumber Gardener, the next king of Pagan was not of royal bone. He was a farmer who planted cucumbers in his private garden. His story began with the late king of Pagan Theinhko entering into his garden and without asking, picked some cucumbers to satisfy his hunger. Not knowing that the intruder was a king, the gardener stroked him with a spade. As recounted next in the Glass Palace Chronicle, he would become king himself.
Theinhko' s groom came up and said 'Ho! Farmer, why strike thou our master?' He answered 'Thy king hath plucked and eaten my cucumber. Did I not well to strike him?' And the groom spake winding words and said 'O farmer, he who slays a king, becomes a king.'
The story then continues on mentioning that the Pagan Court crowned the Cucumber Gardener as their next king under the name of Nyaung Sarahan. His reign was however short as the next seed of the ancient Anuruddha lineage emerged to claim back the Pagan throne. As we shall see, the lineage of the Cucumber Gardener stayed on and reemerged, not at Pagan, but at the Angkorean site under the name of the Sweet Cucumber king. At the mean time, the Burmese tradition relates the next King of Pagan to a son of the late king Tannek.
One of the queen of king Tannek, what time Sale Ngahkwe killed the king and came to the throne, ran down from the palace with a child in her womb, for she would not brook becoming queen to Ngahkwe. She dwelt in Kyaungbyu, which is known as Nagakyaung. There, Kyaungbyumin was born.
The country Kyaungbyu (Pyuksetra) that was also known as Nagakyaung (the Naga's kingdom) where Kunksaw grew up was more likely Sri Dharmaraja. Hearing that a future king would appear to take the throne of Pagan, Kunhsaw set himself to see the new king. There appeared Saka in disguise to prepare Kunhsaw for his destiny.
Now Sakra, disguising himself as an old man riding a horse, spake thus from horseback to Kunhsaw:"Young man, be pleased to take this horse I am riding to Pagan. I must tarry here." And Kunshaw said, "Grandfather I must to be in time to see the coming king. I cannot take the horse." But the old man whom horse it was replied, "Young man, is it not faster going on horseback than on foot? Ride me then this horse. Wear also this ruby hairpin and this ruby ring. Grasp also this lance and sword. If I tarry long ride this horse and go till thou art in the bosom presence of the king."
The rest of the story is about King Kunshaw riding the horse as told by the old man. Realizing by now that he was himself the man of merit and was destined for the throne of Pagan rode the mystified horse and flied into the palace. The story is similar to the legend of Prahm Kel in Khmer Tradition that characterized the line of the Lanna kings originated from Ponha Krek or Bhavavarman. Anuruddha was the son of King Kunsho Kyangphyu and one of the three princesses who were previously consort of the Cucumber Gardener. During his father reign, his haft brothers usurped the throne of Pagan by forcing King Kunsho Kyangphyu into monk-hood. After a quarrel with his half-brother king Sokkate of Pagan that ended up in the death of the latter, Anuruddha became king in 1044. Under the advise of his chaplain the chief Buddhist monk Shin-Arahan, he converted Pagan into a religious center of Hinayana Buddhism. During his time, an envoy was sent to the court of Vesali. It returned back with the princess Pancakalyani to be supposedly becoming his queen. An intrigue involving the chief of envoy disgraced her in the eye of Anuruddha. She was sent to Pareima while being pregnant and she was about to give birth when she arrived. There was a great earthquake and Nawrahtaminsaw requested his court's astrologers to foretell the sign. They replied that the future king is being born in the north quarter. The king gave order to search for all pregnant women and put them to death over seven thousand, but the princess escaped the ordeal and gave birth to Kyanzittha. Informed by his astrologers that the target baby was spared, the king ordered to kill all kids about his age. Over five thousands had been killed but Kyanzittha was spared again. The Burmese version gave credit to a naga to save both Kyanzittha and his mother. After many more fail attempts, Nawrahtaminsaw finally overcame his paranoia and took Kyanzittha under his tutelage. After a series of adventurous encounters, Kyanzittha became king in the year 426. His story was similar to the Khmer story about a king surnamed Backsei-cham-krong (Bird waits to protect) whose lineage had ruled over the Khmer throne after the post-Angkorean period for a short time (The break down of the Cakravatin Empire: The Last Varman Kings). The difference is that during one of his ordeals at his youth, Kyanzittha was protected by a naga while Backsei-cham-krong, as he was so called was protected by a bird (Notes: Naga and Bird representation in Vishnuite Cult).
THE ANGKOREAN CONNECTION
Under auspicious moments, Angkor was ruled by a perfect consortium between three Southeast Asian Dynasties that were derived from the Khmer court of Kaundinya (Prey Nokor: The Three Dynasties). After the dynastic crisis, the Buddhist institution of Tathon was totally wrecked. Anuruddha spent all of his energy to recover it back by using the last legacy of the Hinayan practice that was left over at Tathon. In a political split from Angkor, Anuruddha rebuilt Ramanadesa into becoming an Angkorean rival.
The Legend of the Emarald Buddha
The Khmer tradition of mentioning Nokor Lam Neang (Lanna) as Burma reflects the past connection of the Siam country with Anuruddha line of kings. It dated back since the fall of Chenla, when a descendant of king Bhavavarman (or himself) named Anuruddha, founded Lawasangharatha from the small country of Xiang-Mai. To restore communities of the Menam valley, Anuruddha requested lord Indra for the leadership of the Parama king (known in Tai Tradition as Khun Borom's sons). Jayavarman II, built Angkor to become the new Cakravatin Empire of Southeast Asia and anointed the queen Camadevi to build Haripangjaya. The reestablishment of Tathon by immigrants from Haripangjaya during the epidemic breakout marked the starting point of the Mon official Identity. After the dynastic crisis, the Talaing king Makutavamsa took over Tathon. Happening after the Chola took over Ceylon, Buddhism in both Srey Langka and Tathon were almost destroyed. Even though he was Buddhist by faith, king Makutavamsa also carried on the Vishnuite discipline as the official state procession. After subduing the Talaing king, Anuruddha started on his own quest to salvage Hinayana Buddhism back to Tathon. Under the tutelage of his Shin Arahan, he brought the Buddhist legacy to spread over Upper-Burma. It was the first time in history of Ramanadesa that Pagan became converted to Hinayana Budhism. His effort had led to his quest over the ream of the Chola and the restoration of Ceylon's Buddhist institution was next. In that heroic work, the Mahavamsa recounted his crucial help in the salvation of Buddhism in Langka.
As the number of bhikkhus was not sufficient to make the chapter full for the ceremony of admission into the order and other acts. The ruler of men who had at heart the continuance of the order, sent to his friend, the prince Anuruddha in the Ramanna country messengers with gifts and had fetched thence bhikkhus who had thoroughly studied the three Pidakas. They were fond of moral discipline and other virtues, acknowledged as Theras. (CuI: Chapter VX: Care for the Laity and for the Order: p.214)
To no avail, Ceylon still possess valuable Buddhist relics which among them were the legendary Emerald Buddha image and complete sets of original Tripidaka in Pali that Anuruddha would like to have them stored in Ramana-Desa. Obviously, after all his intervention against the Chola Empire, Ceylon had no option to refuse his request.
There was a king reigning at Nokor Lam Neang with the name of Anuruddha. He was all mighty and powerful, devout and protector of Buddhism. He could fly and commissioned two ships sailing to Langkadvipa. He then rode his flying horse to Langkadvipa and requested copies of Tripidaka and the Emarald Buddha image to be shipped back to his country. (RPNK: The Emarald Buddha Image)
As a gratification or an obligation from the court of Ceylon, the trophies were sent to the court of Pagan by ships. According to the same chronicle, the acquirement of the Tripidaka's copies along with the Emerald Buddha Image from Langka, was however not without incidences.
The first ship carrying copies of Tripidaka scribed by the people of Langka arrived at Lam Neang. The second ship carrying the Emaral Buddha and copies of Tribidaka (scribed by the people of Lam Neang) was hit by a storm and landed at Indrapath Mahanokor. The king BotumSuryavamsa kept the precious trophies. He commissioned to proceed proper rituals and to copy (the Tripidaka) on gold and silver sheets.
Inconsistency in the story about the second ship, on the same way back from Langka to Lam Neang (Pagan), ending up landing in Cambodia could be explained. Controlled by Pagan court, Tathon was obviously the destination of the two ships, but only the first ship arrived at its destination. The second ship that was swayed off course by the storm must to land farther south, on the territory controlled by the Sri Vijaya and ended-up under the hand of the Angkorean court. The story continued with Anuruddha performing magical maneuvering to induce fears to the Angkorean court, hoping that its king would give up the trophies. Suryavarman I (BotumSuryavamsa in the story) agreed to deliver the copies of Tripidaka back to Anuruddha, but kept the Emarald Buddha Image. Before they were turned over to Auruddha, their content were already copied into gold and silver sheets and were deposited along with the Emarald Buddha Image in Angkor Wat (Notes: The building of Angkor Wat).
The Conflict over Haripangjaya
under the leadership of Suryavarman I, the Sri Vijaya court took hold of Angkor and fought to regain back its legacy of the Cakravatin Empire, the Chola took hold of South India and fought against the Sri Vijaya. During the Cholera epidemic, Haripanjaya was deserted but was back to its former glory soon after the end of the plague.
With the return of former inhabitants, Haripanjaya took no time to sprung back to its former glory. The people of Hamsavati, who still loved their friends and relatives in Haripanjaya often visited them, bearing many letters. (CAMA:Cholera Epidemic and flight to Hamsavati)
Its history changed courses one more time when a king named Adittaraja of obscure origin invaded Haripangjaya and ruled it for nine years. The chronicle of Lapun says that he was a Cakkavati from Abhibhuye Nagara, while the Camadevivamsa says that he was from the city of Thammauyya. Otherwise unknown, Abhibhuye Nagara must to be one of the three powerhouses of Southeast Asia of the time. Since we know that Angkor was under the Sri Vijaya and that Pagan was under Anuruddha, Adittaraja could not be from Angkor or Pagan. Only the Chola Empire was left to be the last contender and the city of Thammuyya could be Sudhammvati or Tathon. After the people of Haripanjaya left, Tathon became a country of its own right and we had seen that Makutavamsa from Java had moved in to take control of the Southern Mon Country. Judging from the fact that Thaton and Haripangjaya were two close sister states, it is not surprising that the Chola Empire would extend its control over the northern Mon country also.
It was either Makutavamsa himself or someone from his court who extended the Cholan control further north over Haripangjaya. His title of Attitaraja could also be a reference to the title Triphuvanaditya of the new Tathon king Makutavamsa (Notes: Manuha as Makutvamsa). One of Anuruddha' s objectives of conquering Tathon was to take all Buddhist establishments to Pagan including thirty collections of Tripitaka, monks and artisans. According to Burmese Tradition, the whole court of king Makuta was brought to Pagan and kept under watches, but was spare from execution.
Anuruddha dedicated Manuha the Talaing king with all his family attendants to the Shwezigon pagoda, his work of merit. Manuha was their head.
The passage indicates that king Manuha was a Talaing King. This connection with Orissa explained the South Indian Chola' s presence in the Javanese court of king Manuha' s origin. Not only that Anuruddha brought Hinayana Buddhism up north, he also launched a campaign to ban the practices of the Ari Monks from Upper Burma. This Cultural Revolution allowed Anurudhha to cleanse the Buddhist practices and brought him close to Ceylon in the fight against the Chola. By consolidating the Burmese and Mon States into Ramanadesa, Anurudhha ended the reign of Makutavamsa at both Tathon and Haripangjaya. Coincidentally enough the reign of king Attitaraja also ended after only nine years at Lampung. Before his death, the Lapung chronicle mentioned that both Lavo and Haripangjaya were back into their old feud. Each side, under either the Sri Vijayan or the Cholan influence, launched its own campaign against the other. At Tathon, the legacy of Triphuvanaditya from the Rashu line of the Chola kings remained to become the traditional Mon royal title of his successor, Kyanzittha. In 1103, Kyanzittha sent his first embassy to China and was recorded in the history of the Sung (CJQ: Pu Kam: P.58). Three years later in 1106, other envoys followed and Kyanzithqa received back a high honor awarded to him by the Chinese court 's concil of rites.
Envoys of the kingdom of Pu-kam have come to offer tribute. The emperor at first gave order to receive them and gave them the same treatment accorded to the envoys of Chu Lien. However the president of the council of rites made the following observation: Chu Lien is a vassal of San-fo-shi that it is why during the his-nine-years it was enough to write to the king of this country on heavy paper, with an envelop of plain material. The king of Pu-kam, on the other hand is the sovereign of the great kingdom of the Fan. One ought to accord to him the same honors as to the prince of Ta-Shih and Chiao-Shih, by writing to him on silk with flowers of gold. The letter should be stuffed in double envelope of tafeta and satin and enclosed in a little box rigged with gold, with a silver lock.
The passage indicated that the Chola (Chu Lien) became now a vassal of Sri Vijaya and that Pu-kam is actually the kingdoms of the Brahmans (Burma). According to the Chinese council of rite, Ramana-Desa should receive the recognition as high as Maha Nokor (Ta-Shih).
The Shan-Yun and the Shan-Maw
After its restoration, Pagan became the political center of a new Southeast Asian empire and was set to challenge both the already established legacies of Coladhara and Mahidhara empires. Unlike these two ancient dynasties of the Kamara background, Pagan's leaderships were formed on the ground of the Sakan heritage. After the dynastic crisis, displaced Lavo court brought a new wave of Khmer legacies into Pagan and was set to challenge the new Angkorean Empire. The combination of Kamara, Saka and Kala leaderships gave birth to three rival dynasties. Characterized by a specific event, each dynasty was identified by mean of its ancestral history or legend recounted in local tradition from one generation to the next. In a twist of fate, the same legends were found among post-Angkorean dynasties, indicating that they moved to take over the Angkorean throne after the fall of Angkor by the Mongol's invasion (Notes: A shared legacy). At the mean time, Ramanadesa was not in friendly term with the Angkorean court of Sri Vijaya. One of the causes was concerning the occupation of Muang Mao by Suryavarman I. During the early stage of his reign, the Glass Palace Chronicle confirms the close relationship of Anuruddha with the local Shan Mao rulers. One of them sent his daughter to Pagan to be Anuruddha's consort. Not long after, Suryavarman I took control of Rajapati and stripped the local rulers of their authority to be delegated later to his own people (The Sri Vijaya: The Angkorean Empire under the Mahidhara court: The northern Siam Connection). The maneuver obviously alienated against Anurudhha and the feud continued on during the next generations of Ramana and Agkorean kings. Evidences show that the Kambojan king Suryavarman I, after settling himself at Angkor had also reached out to the Chola court for reconciliation. At the mean time, Anuruddha found himself also at odd with the Chola after he subdued Tathon and helped Ceylon to restore the practice of Hinayana Buddhism. Now that the Sri Vijaya and the Chola were on the verge of forming an alliance, Anuruddha must to feel the threat of being alone and made necessary preparation to safeguard his newly founded country. According to the Glass Palace Chronicle, Anuruddha built towns surrounding his country to prevent both Shan powers to claim on Ramana' s territory.
King Anuruddhadeva, having ascended the throne in the year 379. In his sixteenth year, 395, on Friday the twelfth waxing of Tabaung, he began to build the forty three towns to prevent mixture with Shan-Yuns who dwelt with the Burmese kingdom of Tampadvipa and the Kamboja kingdom ruled by Maw kings of the Shan country of Maw. (GPC: Frontier towns and fortresses)
On commenting about the legacies of both Shan-Yun and Shan-Maw, the chronicle provided us with important clue about the real identity of both the Sri Vijayan and the Cholan powerhouses. It confirms the origin of both the Chola and the Mahidhara kings from the same Nokor Phnom or Shan country. The passage furthermore implicated that Ramanadesa had lost its control over both Rajapati and Tempalinga to Angkor. The dispute over Tempadvipa (Tenassarim) mentioned to be under the Shan-Yuns indicated to us that the Chola's legacy actually originated from Yunnan. On the other hand, the chronicle also identifies the Mahidhara court of the new Angkorean Empire of Sri Vijayan background as the Maw kings from the Shan country of Maw (Notes: The Shan-Yuns and the Shan-Maw). Before it went on declining, the Chola had conducted a final attack on Sri Dhammaraja and handed it back to the Sri Vijaya. The fight on Sri Dhammaraja off the control of Ramana-Desa would explain the declining of the court of Anuruddha and the come back of the Cholan legacy of Triphuvanaditya in the court of Kyanzittha. According to Chinese source, he should receive the honor as the true prince of country of Brahmans (Burma or Varadhana). Nevertheless, there are still debates about his paternity. Some say that he was the son of Anuruddha while others say that the chief of envoy was his biological father. One interesting fact is that he retained the Tribhuvanaditya legacy of the late Talaing king Makutavamsa and unlike Anuruddha, Kyanzittha was a devout Visnuite and claimed himself as a Visnu's incarnation. With the new consortium with the Chola, the Mon country rose into a prominent position to receive recognition from the Chinese court of rite in equal status with Ta-Tche. Nevertheless, we shall see that the recognition only last lasted in a short time. When the Chola joined with Angkor, we shall see that the Mon court fell into deep immoral conduct and adopted a hostile policy toward Angkor and Ceylon that lasted until the raid of King Parakramabahu I of Ceylon on the southern seaports of the Mon Country. As we shall see, the Ceylonese campaign was conducted in conjunction with Angkorean campaign that reduced Ramana-Desa into becoming vassal of Angkor (Nokor Thom: The restoration of Angkor: The dependancy of Ramana-Desa).
THE SPLIT OF THE KHMER-MON LEGACY
Scholars consented on the Khmer-Mon Kinship in regard to both ethnicity and cultural background. Nevertheless, they distinguished their cultures as two distinct austroasiatic subgroups. Most see the fall of the Funan Empire by the Chenla uprising as the formation of the Khmer Empire to be the actual split between the two cultures (Notes: Khmer-Mon vs Mon-Khmer identification). We had argued instead that the split was as late as the dynastic crisis of the eleventh centuries, during the feud between the Srey Vijaya and the Cholan Empire. The conflict that was in conjunction with the cultural development of Ceylon and South India had been later solved by the victory of Ceylon over the Tamil country. Nevertheless, the damage was already done and the Mon stayed unconnected with Angkor through the official formation of Ramanadesa.
The Buddhist Heritage
The introduction to Buddhism among the naga communities of Southeast Asia was fairly well received mainly due to the pacification brought by the religion. As indicated by local tradition, the acceptance of Buddhism was immediate after the first visit of Buddha Gautama to Nagadvipa. After the conflict between the two naga Kings was resolved, Southeast Asia became the stronghold of Buddhist religion. The arrival of the Sri Vijaya line of kings and later of missionaries from the Mauryan court moreover created in Southeast Asia a religious base for the spread of future Maqhayana Buddhism. Vestiges found at Dvaravati of the Menam Valley support the Mons' claim of past connection with Sri Langka through the introduction of Hinayana Buddhism by Buddhaghosa. From the findings, scholars were quick to attribute Dvaravati as the country of the Mon people. Ignoring the Mon' s own tradition of locating their origin at Tathon and not at the Valley, Scholars had never come to the idea that the people of Dvaravati were in fact the same Khmer people of the Angkorean Empire. The misconception was not only due to the difference of language, but also due to the cultural difference between the two people as well. There were strong assumptions that the Khmers were Hindu that could not be part of the Buddhist Dvaravati. We have argued that Buddhism was practiced at the mainland of Indochina among the Khmer-Mon and the Lawa tribesmen of Southeast Asia since the start of Buddhism during Budhha Gautama time (Civilization: The spread of Buddhism). More concrete evidences of Hinayana's presence in the mainland dated after the fourth century when the new Kaundinya line of kings from Magadha found the Khmer Kingdom of Prey-Nokor. Since then Dvaravati along with Sri Dharmaraja, became the seat of Hinayan Buddhism, as recounted in the Mon 'a account of Buddhagosha. It became a common legacy of the Khmer-Mon culture to be interrupted only during the invasion of the Chenla King Bhavavarman. After a setback of short duration, the peoples of Dvaravati were allowed back to practice Hinayana Buddhism. Having changed his faith to become Buddhist, King Bhavavarman instill in his descendants a strong sense of duty of preserving Theravada Buddhism. However, evidences show that Visnuism had already left its mark over the Khmer-Mon tradition of Dvaravati. Among the changes, the city of Guchanaga lost its naga tradition to become Ayudhya or Ramavati, the abode of Rama. Through more interference of the Cholan Empire from South India, Vishnuism continued its incursion into the Angkorean court. This reversal trend allowed Southeast Asia to be more open to other religious believes and to cope with diversity of seemingly conflicting religious believes in order to find common ground. Unfortunately, the consortium with the Chola came with a high cost that the Angkorean court had to pay. As the feud between the Visnuite Cholan Empire and the Buddhist Sri Vijayan intensified, the Angkorean court had to suffer the consequence. The dynastic crisis had set the politic of Angkor and subsequently of Southeast Asia into a tall spin of conflicts (The Chola Dynasty: The dynastic Crisis: The Conflict between Java and Sri Vijaya). Taking over Tathon, a new line of kings from Java formed Ramanadesa to be closely affiliated with the Cholan Empire. On the other hand, Angkor was taken over by a new line of kings from Sri Dharmaraja to become the Sri Vijayan closely affiliated. The crisis constituted the real split between the Mon and the Khmer People, as they became now subjects of two different countries. It was supposed to be a short period of time since Anuruddha, after subduing the Tathon court of king Makutavamsa, restored Hinayana Buddhism into the Mon country. Nevertheless, Kyanzittha who reigned next after Anuruddha had restored back connection with the Cholan Empire and subsequently kept Ramanadesa apart from Angkor. Even though the Angkorean court succeeded to reconcile with the Chola, Ramandesa remained detached as a separate country until it was taken over by Jayavarman VII.
The Ari Monks
The word "Ari" is the short form of "Aryavamsa" and the Ari monks claimed themselves as Aryan. They were often called the white robe ascetics because of their white instead of yellow colored robe as mandated by the Buddhist Sangha. In the modern Burman history book, they were often referred as monks of Mahayana Buddhist sect. However their origin was deeply rooted from Brahmanism and later Sivaism of Southeast Asia. They were the original Brahmans of the past that gave Burma its identification. They were the same Nanda Brahmans who later compiled the Rig-Veda, in which they referred themselves as the Aryaman. In reconnaissance of the Theravada sect of Buddhism, they were observing Buddhist Sankha and because of that they were known to be monks instead of Brahmans. Half Buddhist and half Brahman, they were confined to Buddhist discipline as much as they felt comfortable and focus mainly on Paganism. Their knowledge ranged from mere magic and astrology to higher science and technology such as Mathematics, Architect, Medicine and Astronomy. Following the Buddhist conception of knowledge that broke free from mythology, the Ari monks contributed to the emergence of the true scientific knowledge and technology. Their top scholarship is Pandita that is equivalent to the western scholarship of Doctorate degree. Because of their high scholarship, they were sought-out as public officials after leaving the monk-hood. The Panditas were considered as the top of the educated class and were actively involved in the state affair. It is fairly to say that the Ari monks were part of the power elite of the Angkorean Empire at the same level as the Hindu Brahmans of the Angkorean court. Chou-Ta-Kuan noted in his record during his visit to Angkor at the late thirteenth century, about the educated class of the Angkorean society called Pan-Ki.
I do not know what the Pan-Ki owed (their scholarship) to. There is nothing like schools or places of learning. It is hard to know what books they read. People see them dress like the rest of people, except of a collar of white threads wore around the neck as the mark of their educated status. The employed Pan-ki ends-up in high functions. The collar of the neck stayed the rest of their life.
Obviously there were no public institutions for the Pan-Ki (Pandita) and their education was mainly done at religious institutions. Comparing to that of modern scholars of today, the Pan-Ki's scholarship was clearly lagging behind, nonetheless theirs past contribution to Civilization was no less imminent. In Burma, their practices however suffered from many centuries of neglect. Isolated from the mainstream of Civilization, the application of their science had turned into junk practices of mere magic and astrology. To maintain religious integrity, Aunuruddha had been known to ban completely their practices. It was then justified that, being drawn deeper and deeper into Tantrism, the Ari monks practiced their faith based on false premises (Notes: A tale of the Ari Monks). At the contrary, the Ari monks at Angkor still created wonder and received their recognition from the Khmer societies (Nokor Thom: The new development of the Shan country: Jayavarman VII anointed his Guru as Rajapatindra). Under Angkor's control, evidences show that Paganism was revived back to make upper Burma part of the ancient Burmese Kingdom again. After all, it was not Paganism that was bad, but it was instead the bad practices through negligence of the power-elite that drove the Ari monks to choose the wrong path. As a Cakravatin Empire, Angkor combined the best of Buddhism with Hinduism. The notion of Hindu Trinity composing of Brahmanism, Sivaism and Visnuism was assimilated under the same symbol of Hariharalaya. Beside Brahmanism that through the Man Culture provided basic knowledge for life and society sustaining, the Sivaite culture provided a systematic way of conducting the administration and state affair while the Visnuite cult provided technology and civil engineering needed to build their society. A legacy of the Visnuite Cult, Visnukarman was known as the famous architect of the stone temple of Angkor Wat. Buddhism on the other hand secured the harmony of all disciplines that were put in place for the benefit of society. Under Buddhist influence, Hindu myths were mostly restrained to the bare necessity and the casting system was never applied at full scale. The social classification was based instead on financial standing rather than on religious background. Distinguishing only the class of slaves from the class of slave owners, the classification was never intended to be a strict religious casting system. It was also quite understood that a slave could become as well a slave owner and vice versa depending upon their financial standing. New finding reveals that this classification predated the Hindu casting system and was the legacy of the naga culture. This social development, still far to be perfect, was nonetheless a leap of social progress compared to other parts of the world at the time. While other societies were still under the spell of the Kala Yuga, Southeast Asia was already in the transition for the next Satya Yuga to come.
The Khmer-Mon Culture
There are fierce debates among scholars on the origin of the Khmer scripture as well as of other Southeast Asian scriptures. The conflicts arose when scholars attempt to single out the source of these scriptures as part of Cultural transfer from India. So far, scholars failed to recognize that there were different cultures of different origins involved in the formation of Southeast Asia. We shall argue that the Civilization of Southeast Asia was much more complex than most scholars had already suggested. The misconception started with the classification of the Khmer Culture as Indian and not of Austroasiatic origin. Some scholars went far to postulate that the Khmer people were actually Indian who came to build theirs country (during the emergence of the Chenla Empire in the late fifth century AD) at the expense of the native Mon people. From the start, we had argued that the Mons and the Khmers were actually the same people, having the same origin as well as the same Austroasiatic Culture in pre-historical time. After the Great Flood, evidences show that the culture had been transformed in many occasions (Notes: Prehistoric Evolution of the Khmer-Mon Culture). Nevertheless, there was no evidence of cultural split between communities of Southeast Asian population during the transformation. Referred as the Kamara in the Arab records or as the Kun-Lun in the Chinese source, the natives spoke the same language that linguist classified as belonging to the Mon-Khmer family. As people, they stayed connected still in homogenous communities until the next disturbance that brought western leadership into the dynamic of the regional politic. Cultural deviation could then be noticed more and more among the mountainous tribesmen and the Valley people. As subject to Central Asian leadership of the western Kambujan leadership, evidence show that the Jins, the Karen as well as other mountainous tribesmen started to adopt the Tibeto-Burman tongue. At the mean time, evidences also show that some northern Lawa communities also received Western Kamboja or Tai Culture through contact with their leadership from Ka-Daya (Cathay in Chinese). Evidences also show that other Valley people were still retaining their suzerainty under the native Param Kambojan leadership of Southeast Asia. Subjected to the same naga culture, they were later initiated to the practice of Hinayana Buddhism that was brought by Buddha Gautama himself to spread in Nagadvipa. During the formation of Nokor Khmer in Prey Nokor, evidences show that the Mons of Dvaravati were also brought under the same Khmerization through the accord between Kaundinya and his father in law, the Kambu naga King. Mon inscriptions found at Dvaravati confirm the usage of the same Khmer scripture during the formation of the Angkorean Empire until late in the ninth century AD. Nevertheless, linguists could notice minor diversion of the Mon language used in the Mon inscription as compared to the Khmer language used in most inscriptions of Angkor (The making of a Cakravatin Empire: The Concept of a Cakravatin Empire: The Khmer Language). After the official formation of Ramandesa at Tathon by king Makutavamsa at the eleventh century only that the substantial split occurred between the two people. While the Angkorean culture underwent its own development, Ramanadesa on the other hand kept receiving Indian influence from South India. It was actually the Cholan interference that set the Medieval Mon culture apart from its neighboring Sri Dharmaraja and the Khmer culture. As an element of cultural development, scriptures were of no exception. Evidences show that they were of different sources and were introduced into the Khmer-Mon societies in different phases. Our studies revealed that at least three different types of scripture evolved into modern Khmer-Mon fonts. First, the Cham of decorated scripture with angular shape had made its way to Southeast Asia since the Saka era of prehistoric time. Either it was derived from the Brahmi scripture or vice versa, evidence shows that the Cham or the Pyu scripture was first introduced to the Southeast Asia perhaps by the arrival of King Ajisaka (Kamboja: The Funan Culture: The scripture). Next, the Gupta of simple style scripture from Magadha was brought at the end of the fourth century and was evolving into the proper modern Khmer and Mon scriptures. After the formation of Ramanadesa, the two scriptures started to look different. Of its round shape, the Mon-Barma scripture differed from its Khmer' s scripture that stayed cursive until modern days. Last and not least, the Round Scripture that has round shape with decorated feature were found mostly in ancient Khmer inscriptions and later in Buddhist manuscripts. Because of its resemblance to the Calukya-Pallawa script, it was though at first to have its origin from South India, but Khmer Tradition claims that it was instead a local invention. Named at first as the Khemara scripture, the Round scripture was the combination of the decorated feature of the Cham or Brahmi script with the round shape of the Gupta or Nagari script of Magadha. The script was used in the inscription of Tep Pranam (JA: The stele de Tep Pranam, par George Coedes) and was identified in the last sentence as the Kambujan scripture.
Some time called the Kam scripture, the script was used mainly to replace the Cham or Brahmi scripture in religious texts. The modern Pali Buddhist manuscripts were mostly inscribed using the same scripture on Palm leaves.
- ISSA: The Indianized States of Southeast Asia, by G. Coedes
- GPC: The Glass Palace Chronicle of the Kings of Burma, translated by Pe Mong Tin and G. H. Luce
- LAPUN: Annales du Siam, Chronique de Lapun, Traduction de M. Camille Notton
- CAMA: Camadevivamsa, By Bodhiramsi, Translated by Donald K. Swearer and Sommai Premchit
- JINKAL: Jinkalamali, By Jayawikrama
- CuI: Culavamsa part I: Being the more recent part of the Mahavamsa, Translated by Wilhelm Geiger
- SHAN: The Shan States and the British Annexiation, By Sao Saimong Mangrai
- CJQ: BEFEO VI: On the Chinese and Arab Trade in the Twelve and Thirteen Centurie, by Chao-Ju-Kua, Translated by Friedrich Hirth and W.W. Rockhill.
758: Establishement of a Cakravatin Empire (Huang-wang) at Virapura of Prey-Nokor (Lin-yi); 802-869: The reign of Jayavarman II (Angkor); 825: The Mala brothers, Thamala and Vimala founded Hamsavati; 849: Pyinbya founded Arimaddana; 857: Pyinbya founded Ramavati; 921-951: The Reign of Khun Lai; 985-1014: The reign of the King Rajaraja I (Chola); 1002-1006: The reign of Jayaviravarman (Angkor); 1006-1050: The reign of Suryavarman I (Angkor); 1014-1044: The reign of Rajendra I (Chola); 1017-1059: The reign of Anuruddha;
- Anuruddha 's Origin
In the Glass Palace Chronicle, Anuruddha' s background was mentioned to be of King Kunsho Kyangphyu' s descendant. This specific reference gave way to the misconception that he was of ethnic Barma. Our finding would show that Anuruddha 's legacy was a lot older and started as a lineage directly descended from the Chenla King Bhavavarman I (The Chenla Empire: The Chenla Conquest: The Chenla's legacies).
- The Khmer-Mon Identity
Etymologically, the Khmer Identity owed its origin to Meru and the Mon to Rama. It had been mistaken by linguists that the two identities were ethnic related and was originated from India. Thinking that the Mons were first to come at Southeast Asia and that the Khmers came later, they referred the combined ethnicity as the Mon-Khmer people. Our finding shows that both people were in fact natives of Southeast Asia and that the Khmer-Mon Identity was instead the result of cultural transfer from India.
- The Cholan Supremacy
It was contemporary to the reign of the Cholan King Rajadhiraja, the son of Rajendra. His title as Rajadhiraja indicates that he was a Cakravatin Monarch. The claim is justified in conjunction to the Cholan expansion that extended itself into the mainland Indochina.
- The dawn of the Mon' s legacy
The Mon legacy was wiped off by the abolishment of Burmese court during the occupation of England. After gaining independence, the new rulers of Mien background started a campaign to finish off local Mon feudal tradition and later adopted the name of Myanma. To make the matter worst, the new rulers denied the Mons their autonomy for the sake of the national uniformity based largely on the Mien legacy.
- The Mon' s Identity of Burma
The new history of Ramanadesa started after the take-over of Tathon by Anuruddha from king Makutavamasa. The Mon's identity was in fact was the same as the power elite at Tathon who, in their political and religious affinity under the Rashu clan of the Tribhuvanaditya' s legacy, became the driving force of newly formed kingdom,
- Pyu vs Burmese identity
Until recently, Ramana-Desa was better known to the outside world as Burma. It was based on the fact that the Burmese, speaker of Tibeto-Burman tongue were the Majority of the country. This classification by language has its own short fall and leads to the recent confusion between Burma and Mienma identity. Early in the formation of Ramana-Desa, it is quite understood that the Barma people who was the majority of Burma were not of Pyu ethnicity, let alone of Mien stock. As we had seen the Barma identity came from the word "Brahman", another Sanskrit classification due to the high concentration of Brahmans in the region. Going back in time, we had argued that Burma, was basically the country of the descendant of the Tians or the Jins, and the naga people of the Irrawati Basin (Kamboja Desa: The exploit of Funan: Tien Souen or the country of Brahmans). The diversion also created the split of the indigenous tribesmen into the northern Shan people, speaking of the Tai-Kadai language, and the southern Barma people, speaking the Burmese language of today.
- The Mien Country
After the Hans, the Miens of Central Asia had moved in to occupy Yunnan. Their zeal for Buddhism is much more than other migrants of Central Asian's origin. This is due in fact to their early migration into the region and their early contact with the Sakyan refugees from the Gangetic India into the Shan country. It was how they get many Sakyan stories in their own tradition. The non-Buddhist Miens were often called the Mans and their cremation tradition connected them to the Man Culture. They are actually known as the Shan Chinese.
- The karens
Except for their Tibeto-Burman language, the Karens share other Austroasiatic legacy of the Great Flood survivors. Their physical traits were also resemblant to the Khmer-Mon stocks of southern Indochina. Modern scholar however classified them as refugee from Burma to settle in their present mountain range at the border of Burma and Thailand. Our findings show that they were instead resident of the same mountain range since at least the Great Flood. Of semi-nomadic lifestyle, they were up to move around but their mountainous life-style would not allow them to leave their homeland into the plain and move from one mountain range to another. It was the recent geographical split between Burma and Thailand that made the Karens as migrants in their own country. Their Tibeto-Burman tongue was on the other hand the same legacy of other mountainous tribes, received during the early expansion of the Mauryan Empire.
- The Mon' s legacy
During the Mongol incursion, Ramana-Desa was split into three factions. As Pagan still retained its name of Burma, northern Burmese states were drawn to be part of the new nation of Myanma. By the formation, the people of Sudhammavati of Buddhist Background retained the Rammana or Mon identity by themselves and became minority of the new nation. After the Mongol's era, the Mons of Hamsavati was the most active in the reunification of the Burmese states by warding off Chinese controls of both the Yuan and the Ming dynasties. During the next era, the Mons of Hamsavati ruled the whole Burma until the colonial era.
- A shared legacy
As the same legends seam to be repeated in the Khmer Tradition, scholars had long been puzzled and doubted about their credibility. In reality, these Ramana dynasties shared the same ancestry of the Angkorean court and circumstances allowed them to return back to Angkor after the Mongol's incursion (The break down of the Cakravatin Empire: Introduction: Evidences from legendary pasts). Needless to say, they would bring along their legendary past.
- Manuha as Makutavamsa
In the Glass Palace chronicle, the King of Tathon was referred as Manuha (Manoah), a Cholan legacy connecting to the hero of the Great Flood. Inscription however refers him as Makutavamsa, a reference to a Javanese lineage.
- The Shan-Yun and the Shan-Maw
Referring to the original Tian leadership of mount Shan-Yun, the Shan Phi Ta Yun was meant to be the mount of the spirit Ta Yun. Referring to the original Tian leadership of mount Shan-Maw (Mao), The Shan-Maw was meant to be the country of the Maw King or Moang Yang (Sip-song-pan-na).
- naga and Bird representation in Vishnuite Cult
In Vishnuite folklore, the naga and the bird Annanuki were both considered as the carrier of Vishnu. The Burmese versions of Kyanzitha and the Khmer version of King Badsei-Cham-Krong both conveys that the next kings of Pagan were of Vishnuite background and were originated from the Talaing court of South India.
- The building of Angkor Wat
Angkor Wat mentioned in the story line was actually a Buddhist temple. It was built to shelter both the Emarald Buddha and the copies of Tripitaka, during the reign of Suryavarman I. The actual stone temple of Angkor Wat of today was built later during the reign of Suryavarman II presumably on the same site as the old temple.
- Khmer-Mon vs Mon-Khmer Identification
Mistakenly identify that the Mon Culture predated the Khmer, western scholars used the word Khmer-Mon as the common reference to same culture before the split. Khmer scholars preferred the word "Khmer-Mon" instead since the Khmer (or Meru) Culture was actually the common culture for all Southeast Asia, long before the split (Prehistory:).
- A tale of the Ari Monks
Seeing that the people had been fondly clinging to the doctrine of the Ari lords for thirty generations of kings at Pagan, Anawrataminsaw, filled with virtue and wisdom, rejected the rank heresies of the Ari lords and followed the precepts of Shin Arahan, known as Dhammadassi. Where upon those Ari lords, in order that people might believe their doctrine, made manuscripts to suit their purpose, and placed them inside a thahkut tree. And when the thahkut tree became covered with scale and bark they sought and seduced fit interpreters of dreams, and made them read and publish the manuscripts found in the thahkut tree. So that the king and all the people misbelieve (GPC: A tale of the Ari).
- Prehistorical Evolution of the Khmer-Mon Culture
We had argued that the first one happened during the migration of the Jin that brought the original Jin or Meru Culture down into the plain of Southeast Asia. The next occurrence happened during the high of the Kambujan Empire when the naga culture was found widespread extending itself over the Jin territory to form the country of Kambuja-Desa. Last and not least, the formation of Varadhana (Hiong-Wang in Chinese texts) was the last development of Southeast Asia that brought the new concept of Cakravatin Empire (Huang-wang in Chinese source) to start first time in Southeast Asia in the twelve century BC.