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Wat Thaton
As early as the time of King Asoke of India, around 2,000 years ago, Buddhist monks were sent to Thaton to spread the Buddha's teachings. Thaton was a trading centre of southern Burma. However, from the first century C.E. onwards, trade between India and Burma expanded and there was increased contact with the Indian traders and their religious beliefs. Buddhism was widely accepted by the people in Thaton as more Buddhist missionaries arrived from Indian Buddhist centres. Thaton soon became an important centre for Theravada Buddhism.
A Wat or Temple, is place of worship where Theravada Buddhist monks and nuns practice the Buddha's teaching and also transmit the teachings to lay-people. Many people naturally congregate for the Buddhist day ceremonies to pay respects to Buddha images there and listen to Dhamma Talks.
In paying respects to the image of the Buddha we recollect the virtues of the Buddha. "He, the Blessed One, is indeed the Pure One, the Perfectly Enlightened One. He is impeccable in conduct and understanding, the Accomplished One, the Knower of the Worlds. He trains perfectly those who wish to be trained; he is Teacher of gods and humans; he is Awake and Holy."
From the time of the historical Buddha, temples were built for Buddhist monk practitioners to reside in. The Buddhist monks used them as residence during the 3 months of the rainy season ("Phansaa"). This is a characteristic feature of their practicing style which has continued to the present day here at Wat Thaton
The main stupa is a domed memorial building with a solid core and that enshrines relics of the Buddha or other important persons. The relics are buried inside the solid interior. Actual relics might include ashes, hairs, bone fragments, or other cremated remains. Symbolic relics might include jewels, statues, or texts. This Stupa is one of the oldest structures at Wat Thaton as are some of the sculptures seen here inside the Vihara (Grand Meeting Hall).
The Chedi Kaew Pagoda under construction now will be a unique structure with many symbolic and functional features .
 
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