Shin Upagote ရွင္ဥပဂုတ္

Shin U Pa Gota, the “saint” of all waters. According to legend, Shin U Pa Gota grew up a troubled boy until the Buddha visited him and brought him instant enlightenment. From that moment, he spent his time meditating in the Irrawaddy.

He is the saint of boatmen, of fishermen, of anyone who relies on the river.

The bamboo rafts with Shin U Pa Gota images are floated down the rivers during the monsoon and wherever the raft comes to shore it is greeted with huge reverence and a ceremony will be held. This will sometimes be just a day or maybe stretch into days.

Then, the villagers will set the raft loose so it can continue down the river, bringing blessings to the next village that takes it in.

Another legend is that this “arahat” Uppagutta was a diciple of Lord Buddha and was always late to take his lunch before noon.That is why his statue is always shown with the alms bowl in his hand and looking up to the sun to see whether it has passed the meridien.

The Burmese believe that Shin Upagote still lives in a floating brazen [brass] palace in the southern ocean, and that he too can be invoked to come by a prayer of special formula, and that his mere invisible presence will prevent storms and floods. Some believe also that he can be invoked when danger in the form of some physical violence threatens.

Shin Upagote {rhin U.pa.goat} seems to have been an entire creation of Mahayana Buddhism, unless he was the same monk as Moggaliputta-Tissa, who presided over the Third Buddhist [{p133}] Council, as some scholars would maintain. Shin Upagote was believed to have tamed the arch enemy of Buddhism, the great God Mara himself. Asoka was preparing to hold a great festival in honour of the religion, and the monks, realizing that God Mara would do everything in his power to destroy the festival, sent for Upagote. Upagote, by his miraculous powers, not only defeated Mara in a great struggle, but also converted him to Buddhism.

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