The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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The Shai-thaung Temple (Rakhine and Burmese: ရှစ်သောင်းဘုရား; MLCTS: hrac saung bhu. ra:, Rakhine pronunciation: [ʃaɪʔθáʊɴ pʰəɹá]; also spelled Shitthaung, [ʃɪʔθáʊɴ pʰəjá]) is a famous temple in Mrauk U.
There is a central hall at the heart of the temple, which can be easily accessed. Hundreds of Buddha statues line the main hall, some of them in their original positions, others moved from nearby excavation sites.
However, the Shitthaung's most prominent feature is not the central hall, but rather the three layers of maze-like corridors that encircle the main hall.
Due to Mrauk U's tropical location, much of its temples have been damaged by the monsoon rain. It was discovered in 2003 that the central stupa had begun to leak, dissolving away some of the intricate statues in the two chambers.
Many Arakanese criticize "the defacing" of their most treasured temple, but since it was the only way to prevent the more precious carvings inside, the actions have not been as widely condemned as expected.