Posted by khmernews on November 8, 2006

This pagoda is located in the southern part of Phnom Penh, near the Royal Phnom Penh Hotel, opposite the Russian Embassy on Samdech Sothea Ros Street.

Sway means mango, and poupear is a goat. Perhaps a large mango tree in front of the pagoda resembles a goat. It is a peaceful Wat, out of the way of traffic and not in the political limelight. The old man who tends the grounds, the achar, was very friendly and spent much time with us explaining the pictures and the history of the pagoda.

During the 1970’s, the Khmer Rouge stationed troops at Wat Sway Poupear, and so it was not totally destroyed. The pagoda had originally been built around al large pipal tree in such a way that the main statue of the Buddha was actually sitting under it. The tree was destroyed, and now the Buddha sits beneath a painted tree. This large statue made of bronze, copper, and gold, was made in the 1980’s.
The monks at Wat Sway Poupear, of the Dhammayut sect, are proud of a large bell which used to be placed outside, and which could be heard more than a kilometer away. However, because of fear of thieves who once attempted to steal it, it was placed inside the vihara. Another pair of small gongs are said to have cost the pagoda a small fortune.
An old structure resembling a pagoda stands beside the present vihara, but there is nothing inside. It is older than the vihara, and made of better quality wood,

There is a good collection of fifteen Preah Vessandaa pictures, as well as the other jataka stories of the ten lives. One of the more uncommon stories pictured in Wat Sway Poupear is that of the human bridge, in which the hermit (=taboh) Somehtii places his body over a stream for the Buddha to cross. Another rare picture is one in which two armies : the Sakyas (the Buddha’s clan )and the Koliyas (his wife’s clan) are fighting over who could use the water from a stream during a drought, and the Buddha convinces them not to fight, saying that the blood of the soldiers was more precious than the water of the stream. Other rather uncommon stories depicted are the Buddha’s sermon at the deathbed of his father, and a good account of the rich woman Vitshakaa donating the temple Bo Pieram.


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