A Minor Mystery by Dave Pooch

Does anybody know anything about this statue of a Buddha or yogi? It is made of plaster and has been in deep retreat in the Whare for many years. Jangchub brought it to light while he was teaching the Brazilian students at Wangapeka. But how did it get there? Who gave it? Those broad shoulders and narrow hips, what origin do they suggest? Matthew Eades wisely suggested we try and determine its provenance and this invitation is the result. The results so far follow.

Tarchin said “I have known of its existence from the early days of living at Wangapeka but I can’t add any new information about its history, or how it came to be at Wangapeka”.

Jangchub thought that Sayadaw U Thila Wunta who built the Wangapeka pagoda may have given it to Chim Shore of Perth.

Chim however said “Sorry I don’t know the provenance of that rupa”.

So I checked with Sayadaw’s monastery in Yangon/Rangoon. Bhikkhu Khemacara who is a Canadian monk and the new Sayadaw replied (U Thila Wunta died some years ago and the word sayadaw translates as abbot).

“The Buddha rupa itself does not look like one of Burmese origin. Both Sayadaw and myself had the impression that it looks more like Sri Lankan or Indian style. Such style of statues can be bought here now but really only since the 1990’s or late 1980’s at the earliest. Since Anandabodhi’s residency here was in 1959 ( Namgyal Rinpoche was known as Anandabodhi when he was in Myanmar) it is unlikely that he received it in Myanmar from Sayadaw”.

We have a minor mystery! But someone brought it from Asia. Someone brought it to Wangapeka. If you can shed some dharma light on the subject please email the editor: wanga.comms@gmail.com