Transformation by fire

Inscription at the Cave of Victory

The Head Master of Nagama Mountain, the Siddha and Sayadaw (religious master) Kowida

The accomplishment of life prolongation after undergoing the transformation by fire in the Cave of Victory.

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During the tenure of Senior General Than Shwe, Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council, at 9.08 p.m. of the Saturday 3rd of December of 1994, a loud sound emerged from the Cave of Victory and the words “By the Blessing of Buddha, Victory” echoed through the area. This was at the time when the Sayadaw and Iron Siddha Kowida, at the age of 1026 years, completed the ceremony of transformation by fire, gaining longevity of life.

He was born in Khante village (Myanmar), on a Monday of the year 968, during the reign of King Kyaung Hpyu, also known as King Kunzaw of Bagan, and his parents, Thar Aung and Yin May, named him Maung Kan Thar.

He became a Buddhist monk, receiving the name of Kowida, at the Newthar Monastery, and in 1027, at the age of 59 and after 39 years of being a monk, he became an Iron Siddha of Alchemy, through the teachings of his Master, the Siddha Upagote. Since then, he lives at the Nagama Mountain, where he founded the residence of the Siddhas. At the Siddha’s age of 966, he had concluded succesfully the ceremony above related. The Sayadaw Kowida was the one to initiate this practice, but he said that he would not “overstep the authority of the elders”, and allowed the Sayadaws and Siddhas Pandita and Uttamakyaw to be the firsts in undergoing the transformation by fire.

On the evening of the 3rd of December of 1994, at 5.00 p.m., together with the Siddha and Botaw (lay master) Bo Htun Aung, the Sayadaw came to the Aungtawmu Monastery and directed the disciples to perform the ceremony of the transformation by fire. Around 6.00 p.m., at the South side of the Cave of Victory, on the Upagote pond, a golden Buddha Image was placed on a throne of elephants, inside a Karaweik Bird crested boat lit with colored lights. The image was surrounded by three homage offerings containing a precious medicine bar each one. The ignition bar was placed inside the Cave of Victory in a special offering homage. Between the cave and the pond, Major Zaw Win and his friends from Rangoon, and Ba Yi and his friends of Mandalay, altogether over 300, sat on bamboo couches. Separated by the walkway, Dr. Sein Yi marked out a string of  Dharma flags on the demarcation line, made with popped corn.

Inside the cave ten Sayadaws started to recite protective chantings to cover those inside and outside of it. The Sayadaw Rawi Nanda gave the nine precepts to the audience and at 9.45 p.m. the Siddha and Sayadaw Kowida appeared spontaneously inside the demarcation circle where his disciples stood. He gave the nine precepts again and after completing his preaching he asked the Sayadaw Sanathar to open the door of the Cave of Victory. Inside it, in the place where one hundred sticks of thanakhar wood were laid, the disciples from the two groups scattered white and yellow popped corn on the Siddha and shouted: “the Sayadaw Kowida’s ceremony of transformation by fire is victorious”.

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The Sayadaw Sanathar Tillaw Keinda placed two packets of lucky charms on the shrine inside the cave. Then, he took the ignition bar from the offerings at the cave and locked the iron door. He then gave the keys to Ko Lay and Kan Hla. After this, thirty men chosen from each group threw red popped corn through the eleven inch hole placed at the West side of the Cave of Victory, shouting as before.

At about 8.30 p.m., A One, Hla Myin and Gyi took the three medicinal bars from the Karaweik bird crested boat and gave them to the men chosen to throw them. At the auspicious hour of 9.08 p.m., the Sayadaw Sanathar threw the ignition bar into the round hole earlier mentioned, after what the earth road and the door jamb were broken. To the amazement of everyone, the Sayadaw was seen seated in the lotus position and facing East, in the middle of the flaming sticks of thanakhar wood and with his robe covering his head.

Then, Min Maung, of Mawlamyaine, Myo Lwin, of Rangoon, and  Sann Tun, of Mandalay, with a time separation of two, three and five minutes, threw the medicinal bars taken from the barge into the round hole, shouting as before. While others tried to lock the doors, again twenty men threw Eugenia leaves and Holy Water into the hole while shouting again. At about 10 p.m., the ceremony of life prolongation after undergoing the transformation by fire process was complete.

After seventy four days, on the Monday 13 of February 1995 at night, thousands of disciples waited around the Cave of Victory. When the cave door was opened, the Sayadaw Kowida gave packages of lucky charms to Major Zaw Win and Ba Yi. Then, led by the Sayadaw Pandita, the disciples covered the Sayadaw Kowida with four white umbrellas and carried him around.

There were so many people present, that the Sayadaw was carried back to the cave a second time for all to see him. Only at the third attempt, at about 1.30 a.m., he could be successfully taken away from the cave to preach to the many disciples. Then, he left in Khin Maung Thet’s car. By his power, on the way he spontaneously disappeared from the car and returned to his abode at the Nagama Mountain. Thus was completed the ceremony of the Siddha and Sayadaw Kowida.

The above inscription is found on the Southern side of the Cave of Victory of the Head Master Kowida, located at Pauk Kyaung, inside the area of the Aungtawmu Monastery, placed at Mebegon village. It was written by Thein Oo, Zaw Tun, Than Tun and Mayor Zaw Win. It was painted in Myanmar script by an artist on the 1st of January of 2000 by the donors Tun Kyi and his wife Thein Thein Aye.

(Translated from Mynmar script and reviewed by Trikaya)