Mandalay Golden Buddha
Mahamuni Paya
Golden Buddha venerated with added gold leaf
over the centuries to today.  The seated Buddha
statue may be some 2,000 years old.  The layer of
pure gold is about 6 inches deep, which the male
devotees above continue to increase.  
Only Buddha's silver face is left uncovered by
gold, and ceremoniously polished each day.
To me this was the absolute worst case of losing
the example set by Buddha's own life, and instead
lavishing his statue in layers of gold.  Yet, in
contrast, Burmese pagodas often show what
Buddha actually stood for.  
This picture shows Buddha born a prince with
great wealth, wearing gold and other trappings of
the rich.  It's precisely such adornments which
Buddha cast off and rejected in favor of spiritual
These two pictures show the real Buddha who is
venerated for finding Nirvana with the glory of his
dedicated mind.  The true Buddha had no gold, no
finery, nor did he want any.      
It is difficult to reconcile these starkly conflicting
images in Burma.  But Bangkok, Thailand, full of
golden Buddhas, is little different, along with most
other Buddhist countries.  
If you have a high speed internet connection,
watch the free Intrepid Berkeley Explorer video
of my Burma trip, "To Mandalay and Beyond",
featuring spectacular temples with golden
Buddhas and a Royal Culture Show, by clicking
on this direct link which starts it playing in the
MP4 format:

To Mandalay and Beyond