Khmernews

WAT BOTIYARAM

Posted by khmernews on November 8, 2006

This is the pagoda visible across the Tonle Sap in Chroy Chung Wa. It is lacated directly across from the Riverside Hotel, and unlike Wat Prachum Sakor is visible from Phnom Penh.

 It is distinguished by its bright pink meeting house near the market area. The vihara itself is quite tasteful, and is built in an older style : lower, with a more pointed roof than the high, grandiose, box-like pagodas in fashion in the 1990’s.

The vihara is around 60 years old, but was damaged by the Khmer Rouge and renovated in 1979. There is a large pipal tree, whose age the monks have forgatten. The older monks recall that the tree was present when they were young, and since Wat Botiyaram is called the Old Wat or Wat Chah, it may be speculated that this tree is older than the one at Wat Prachum Sakor.

 Of the paintings in the vihara, several are noteworthy. There is a rendition of the Buddha visiting his former teacher Alaa Tabos just before this enlightenment, as well as a depiction of the story of Tasat and Talikat, two merchants who brought fruit to the Buddha to learn the dhamma from him. This rather uncommon scene is readily identifiable by the ox carts and rural setting. There is also the story of the woodcutter whom the Buddha convinced to cease chopping because it was killing the ants living in the wood.

 Of the common stories, there are some variations on the usual depictions. The usual splitting of the Buddha into five parts is here shown as a split into only three parts. Instead of showing separate paintings of the Buddha giving sermons to his various family members, he is shown standing on a bridge lecturing to the entire family.
 
 There are good and easily recognizable scenes from the 10 jataka lives. One main deviation from the usual Mahosot stories in one showing Preah Mahosot restraining an adversary, holding him by the hair to keep him form picking up a crystal. The enemy are shown wearing hats vaguely reminiscent of Vietnamese garb.

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