Notes on the Geography of Burma / Myanmar: Pagan: Photo 20
Each of the eight inward-facing sides of the piers has a carved image of Brahma, presumably once supportive of a now-vanished freestanding Buddha. Of such a statue, Anawrahta wrote: "I, King Anawrahta the Great, have cast this image of the Buddha. May I, by virtue of this act of merit, gain the bliss of nibbana during the dispensation of Arimettaya."* Such was the motivation for most of the construction at Pagan: people with the means would erect a monument, stuff it with as much treasure as they could afford, endow it with hereditary slaves to maintain it in perpetuity--and hope that this banked merit would suffice to ensure that they'd be present when the next Buddha--Arimettaya by name--came, dispensing salvation.
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