chapter
Introduction
Pages 48

In the literature which has grown up around the Burmese tradition of the 37 nats, two omissions have been generally conspicuous. The most explicit reference to the Mon cult occurs in the course of an encomium on Dhammaceti, who was king of Pegu from 1472 to 1492, in the mid-sixteenth-century Nidana arambhakatha. In the Thaton prototype each district as well as the capital was protected by possession of a stupa containing a tooth of the Buddha, the sites of which constituted the domains and possessions of the Mon country. The Indian earth-god Visundhara reached South East Asia as a goddess, Visundhari or Dharani, whom the Mons calls a bau: literally a 'grandmother' or ancestress. The absorption of the Mon state in a larger Burmese unity entailed the disappearance of the central cult, and the significance of local centres, already obscured by Buddhicization, was correspondingly lost. This sufficiently accounts for the paucity of direct evidence.