Upakhut in the storm

From time to time, especially in lower Burma, someone decides to float a Shin Upago image on a river down to the ocean. This is meant symbolically to return the saint to his home. It is an occasion for special festivities, at the end of which the statue is installed on a specially constructed raft and towed out to mid-river, where it is released. Often, villagers downstream, upon seeing a Shin Upago raft, will intercept it and take it back to their own village, where a whole new cycle of ceremonies in honor of the saint will commence. Then they, too, will put him in the water and send him on his way. (From John S. Strong, The Legend and Cult of Upagupta, page 14)

It was Shun Upago (Upakhut or Upagupta) who defeated the evil Mara. He is still called upon to provide “protection from all kinds of danger, from the evils of government, fire, thieves, storms, ill-wishers, and from sixteen types of anxiety and disease” (Strong, Legend and Cult, page 286).

All strength to him.