World’s Largest Book
Set at the foot of Mandalay Hill, Kuthodaw Pagoda was one of the traditional foundations of the Burmese capital of Mandalay in the 19th century. King Mindon wanted to complete a great work of merit, and at the same time ensure the preservation of Buddhist teaching in the midst of the British occupation of southern Burma.
Besides organizing the Fifth Buddhist Synod, a gathering of top Buddhist monks from all Buddhist countries with the goal of purifying Buddhist Dhamma (teachings) for modern times, Mindon also built the world’s largest book. The book explains the Tipitaka Pali canon of Theravada Buddhism and consists of 729 large marble tablets (with an extra tablet to explain its construction), each with its own stone roof and precious gem adorning the top. Each of the 1,460 pages of the five foot tall, three and half foot wide tablets has 80 to 100 lines of carefully chiseled text.It is estimated that it would take 450 days to read the book if one devoted eight hours a day to the task. When King Mindon convened the Fifth Buddhist Synod, a team of 2400 monks read the whole book in a non-stop relay that lasted six months!