Myanmar hosted three important visitors during the week of November 28: Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State of the United States of America; Mikhail Myasnikovich, Prime Minister of Belarus; and, from China, the wisdom tooth of Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha.
The Buddha's tooth, normally residing at the Ling Guang Temple in Beijing, is currently in the midst of a 48-day sojourn in Myanmar that it will take it to Naypyidaw (the new capital), Yangon (aka Rangoon), and Mandalay.
Housed in a gilded reliquary and attended by an escort team uniformed in gold silk, the tooth traveled by special plane to Naypyidaw. On its arrival, it was paraded through the streets of
the capital by elephant and installed at the Uppatasanti Temple.
At the temple, a jumbotron, elevator, special bus facilities, and a 24-hour cable channel were arranged to assist the faithful in their devotions.
Myanmar is socialist but not atheist. 80% of the citizens profess Buddhism. The Buddhist establishment is an important, respected, and activist constituency in Myanmar's political life, and frequently highly critical of the government.
It is important for the government to present itself as a supporter of Buddhism, and stream of national military, political, and commercial luminaries have visited the temple on the occasion of the tooth's residence to make obeisance before the relic and provide donations.
The local media has meticulously documented the event in daily reports. For example: READ MORE