Shinbinthalyaung Temple – Bagan

The Shinbinthalyaung is a long, low, rectangular brick structure that houses the biggest reclining image of the Buddha in Bagan, a colossal 18-meter-long (60 feet) image of the 11th century. This temple is very unusual because it is barely wide enough to house the statue, leaving only a fairly narrow passageway around the Buddha. It is said that the person who designed the temple had spent time in prison and he designed the temple to replicate the claustrophobic experience of his jailing.

Shinbinthalyaung Temple

Credit: Peter Amber

The Buddha is in the position of Parinibbana, the Decease, lying on his right side, his cheek resting on his right hand. In Buddhist iconography throughout Asia, this is a preferred sleeping and dying posture with antecedents in Indian yoga, because the left nostril is kept clear, thus stimulating the Ida nerve channel along the spine to induce a clear, restful state.

A peculiarity of this reclining image is that the head is oriented toward the south instead of pointing northwards, which would indicate that the Buddha depicted is in a resting rather than dying or in a Parinibbana state. A possible explanation for this is that the architects didn’t want the Buddha’s back to face Shwesandaw, which is to its east.

When in there make sure you ask permission for photography. And if you are lucky, monks can light all the candles, which may take some time, but the lovely warm glow makes for such appealing colors to photographs.

Shinbinthalyaung Temple Map and Location

It is located a little to the West of the walls of Shwesandaw Pagoda.