Buddhist Arts - a photographic journal

Pya-Tha-Da, the Unfinished Temple

Pya-tha-da Pagoda, also called the Unfinished Pagoda. Early Morning (Bagan, Myanmar 2009)

This temple was damaged in the 1975 earthquake that hit Bagan. The main Buddha image is new since then. Pictures included in Pierre Pichard’s Vol. 3 Inventory published in 1994 shows this temple still under repair. No Buddha is present there.

Paul Strachan describes a pyatthat as a seven tiered pavilion made normally from wood and may have been added after the temple  building was halted by the king and builder, Kyaswa.

“..he laboured at the sacred writ of the religion, and built the Pyatthada pagoda, his work of merit, but did not finish it because the people were ill-paid and ill0directed He bequeathed these words for history: “I care for naught save virtue.” 

This happened in 1249. King Kyaswa was a practicing Buddhist monarch and promoted the Dhamma with “humanitarian policies.” The  chronicles go on to report how he issued an edict that was to be put up everywhere in every village of more than 50 houses. It read, “Kings of the past punished thieves by divers torture, starting with impaling. I desire no such detruction. I consider all beings as my own children and with compassion to all I speak these words.” [Strachen, “Pagan”, p. 126]

Ancient Pagan: Buddhist Plain of Merit, Donald Stadtner, River Books, 2013
Pagan: Art and Architecture of Old Burma, Paul Strachan, Kiscadale Publications, 1989
Guide to Bagan Monuments by Min Bu Aung Kyaing, U Zaw Min Aye (Zaw Press), 2007
Inventory Of Monuments In Bagan, Pierre Pichard, UNESCO, 8 volumes, 1992-2001