1. Geographical Background of Myanmar

Location of Myanmar

  • Sandwiched between China and India.
  • Geographical entity (a single land mass) on South East Asian peninsula.
  • The largest of five S.E. Asian countries on peninsula (Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao’s, Thailand and Vietnam).
  • Second largest of ten Asian countries (Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Brunei Darussalam, Singapore-insular countries, Myanmar, Cambodia, Lao’s, Thailand, Vietnam).
  • The territorial size of Myanmar is equal to these of U K, France and Belgium combined.

Physical futures

  • Not a land locked country
  • Long land borders with India, Bangladesh, Chinese Tibet, China, Lao’s, Thailand and long coastline of l,500 miles bordering with Bangladesh, India and Thailand
  • Lofty snow-capped mountains and forest covered mountain and hill ranges, rivers, streams, valleys and other water bodies, lakes, falls springs within the country
  • plains and deltas, archipelagoes, shallow sea running north to south.

Natural resources

  • Rich in bio-diversity, mineral resources in land, under water, underground and sea

Archaeology and anthropology

  • Fossils of all kinds, especially anthropoid primate anthopithicus erectus in Pondaung area near Monywa, upper Myanmar
  • Stone Age settlements
  • Remains of Bronze Age at Nyaung- gan near Monywa
  • Iron Age settlements, along the rivers

The primitive is derived from the Latin word primus, meaning the first creature to develop intelligence in the living world.

There are low-level primates and high-level primates.  Human, ape, monkeys are descended from higher-class primates and are also called human primates.

Generally the low-level primate has three teeth and the high-level primate has two teeth.

The Greek word Anthropoid is Anthro (human); poid (same). It means resembling a human being.

The anthropoid have larger brains than other mammals, and their eyes are in front of their faces, allowing them to see straight ahead.

Human resources

  • Human settlements of Paleolithic Age, Mesolithic Age and Neolithic Age
  • Dawn of belief system
  • Padalin Caves paintings
  • Evidence of nature worship and animism

Human migration from central Asia

Causes of migration

  1. Shifting cultivation moves people for new land with green grass and clear water new pasture.
  2. Tribal wars drove out the defeated to new places Curiosity motivates humans to search for novelties.
  3. Adventure instinct drives humans (all living creatures) on the move. Inter-marriage and minter-mingling of the native’s new comers.

Belief systems before the arrival of Buddhism

  1. Nature worship
  2. Animism (spirit worship)
  3. Ancestor worship
  4. Tribal gods and goddesses
  5. Hindu Brahmanism due to Idealization of the colonies in S.E. Asia
  6. Spread of Confucianism due to canonization of Chinese colonies in S.E. Asia.
  • Long lasting influence and prevalence of the above pre-Buddhist belief systems still today and their impact upon today’s Buddhism in the country
  • Their impact upon daily life of the people and their culture in all aspects


Htin Aung, Dr., Folk elements in Burmese Buddhism, Oxford University.

Than Tun, Dr., Buddhism of Bagan, Journal of Burma Research Society (J.B.R.S)

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3 thoughts on “1. Geographical Background of Myanmar

  1. Was it a kind of paganism before Buddhism as it worshipped to the nature, animals, ancestors, etc?

    1. As you said, paganism is not just about religion, it is about occult science, superstition, black magic and immortal life or longevity.
      It even involves the worship of deities.

      As you see in topic No. 8, that Myanmar people have two religions till today.

      Pre-Buddhist religions to promote their material interest and to promote their mundane life or secular life.

      Theravada Buddhism for the betterment of their life hereafter their spiritual interest (spiritual life) and Nirvana being the final goal.

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