Infobox Monarch
reign=Konbaung Dynasty:1782 - 1819

caption=Royal palace established by king Bodawpaya at Amarapura. Visit of the British Embassy of Michael Symes, in 1795.
othertitles=Hsinbyumyashin, Badon Min
predecessor=Phaungkaza Maung Maung
queen=Min Lun Me
dynasty=Konbaung Dynasty
mother=Me Yun San [cite web|url=|title=The Royal Ark:Burma - Konbaung1|last=Buyers|first=Christopher|accessdate=2007-03-14]
date of birth=birth date|1745|3|11|df=y
place of birth=
date of death=death date and age|1819|6|5|1745|3|11|df=y
place of death=Amarapura|

Bodawpaya ( _my. ဘိုတော်ဘုရား; _th. ปะดุง) literally Royal Grandfather, 11 March 1745 - 5 June 1819) was the sixth king of the Konbaung Dynasty of Burma (1782-1819). Born Maung Shwe Waing and later Badon Min, he was the fourth son of Alaungpaya, founder of the dynasty and the Third Burmese Empire. He was proclaimed king after deposing his nephew Phaungkaza Maung Maung, son of his oldest brother Naungdawgyi, at Ava. Bodawpaya moved the royal capital back to Amarapura in 1782. He was titled Hsinbyumyashin (Lord of the White Elephants), although he became known to posterity as Bodawpaya in relation to his successor, his grandson Bagyidaw (Royal Elder Uncle), who in turn was given this name in relation to his nephew Mindon Min. He fathered 62 sons and 58 daughters by about 200 consorts.cite web|url=|title=The Royal Ark:Burma - The Konbaung Dynasty|first=Christopher|last=Buyers|accessdate=2007-03-14]

Military expeditions

Also known as Bodaw U Waing, he invaded Arakan in 1784 sending his royal armies led by his son, the Heir Apparent Prince of Dabayin, father of Bagyidaw and Tharrawaddy Min, across the Western Yoma range of mountains. The capital of Arakan Mrauk U was captured on 2 January 1785. The Mahamuni Buddha image, among other treasures such as the Khmer bronze statues, were brought back to mainland Burma; these can still be seen in Mandalay. Also taken were 20,000 captives as slaves to pagodas and temples, and the nobility at Amarapura. Once Arakan was annexed as a province of Burma, her borders became contiguous with British India. The Arakanese revolted in 1794, and the British Governor of India Sir John Shore (later Lord Teignmouth) sent Captain Michael Symes on an embassy, fully equipped to gather as much information as possible about the country, to the Court of Ava as the kingdom was still known to the outside world.cite book|url=|title=Burma|author=D.G.E.Hall|year=1960|publisher=Hutchinson University Library|pages=93-95] cite book|url=|author=Michael Symes|year=1800|title=An Account of an Embassy to the Kingdom of Ava, sent by the Governor-General of India, in the year 1795|publisher=W. Bulmer & Co.|location=London|pages=39-40|accessdate=2007-03-15] Bodawpaya invaded Rattanakosin in 1785 resulting in defeat, and again in 1808, but failed to capture the capital. The Governor of Tavoy revolted in 1791 with the aid of the Siamese, but a punitive expedition sent by Bodawpaya by sea laid siege ending in peace negotiations in 1793 and the ceding of the Tenasserim coast to the Burmese.

Religion and culture

Bodawpaya proclaimed himself the next messianic Buddha or Maitreya ("Areimmadeiya"), but his claim was firmly rejected by the Sangha.cite web|url=|title=Bodawpaya|publisher=Encyclopaedia Britannica Online] cite book|url=|title=Buddhism in Myanmar - A Short History|last=Bischoff|first=Roger|year=1995|publisher=Buddhist Publication Society|location=Kandy, Sri Lanka|pages=110-118] During his reign, scholarship flourished due to the discipline and stability achieved by establishing a chapter of Sangharajas or senior monks charged with the responsibility of safeguarding the purity of the Sangha. He had successfully arbitrated in favour of orthodoxy to cover both shoulders on the alms round in the controversy concerning the correct way of wearing the robes, and the Order of Monks was unified under the Thudhamma sect. Burma became the custodian of Buddhism in the region, and the upasampada ordination was re-introduced to Sri Lanka where it established the Amarapura Nikaya.

In 1790 Bodawpaya begun the construction of a gigantic stupa called Mantalagyi (Great Royal Stupa) at Mingun, 11 km up the River Irrawaddy from Mandalay on the west bank. It was however never finished after a prophecy went round saying " Payagyi lè apeethat, moksoe thonnya kap" - "Once the great pagoda has been wrought, the Moksoe dynasty will come to nought". It was meant to have stood 150 metres, tall enough to be seen from Shwebo in the west, the birthplace of the dynasty, towering above the Minwun Hills. An earthquake in 1838 left huge fissures in the structure, and also caused the heads of the two gigantic chinthes fall into the river. It remains the largest pile of bricks in the world. There was also a gigantic 90 ton bell dedicated to the stupa called the Mingun Bell, cast between 1808 and 1810. [cite web|url=|title=Mingun|publisher=Myanmar's Net Inc.|accessdate=2007-03-14] [cite web|url=|title=The Mingun Bell|publisher=Myanmar's Net Inc.|accessdate=2007-03-14] It is the largest ringing bell in the world as the larger bell in Moscow Kremlin called the Tsar bell is broken. [cite web|url=|title=The World's Three Largest Bells|publisher=Blagovest Bells|accessdate=2007-03-14] During his reign Bodawpaya also proved to be a great patron of the performing arts; he appointed a minister called "Thabin Wun", and established strict regulations by royal decree ("Ameintdaw"). [cite web|url=|title=King Bodawpaya's Dramatic Performance Law|author=Dr. Khin Maung Nyunt|year=1998|publisher="Perspective"|accessdate=2007-03-14] He also ordered a major economic survey of the kingdom in 1784.

Bodawpaya was succeeded after his death in 1819 by his grandson Sagaing Min (Prince of Sagaing) who later became known as Bagyidaw. The Heir Apparent, father of Bagyidaw, had died in 1808.


External links

* [;cc=sea;sid=1a1bb1c6438db3e9379d92a66cb790c5;rgn=full%20text;idno=sea282;view=image;seq=462 Wanderings in Burma by George W Bird, 1897] F J Bright & Son, London, pp 316A, 318, 318A, 320A inc. old photos of Mingun by Signor Beaton of Mandalay

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