Buddhism & Monks, Bangkok
For the Buddhist, going to the temple is quite special thing for us to do. We believe that there’re many angels or good spirits protect the monastery. We will not do anything to find it as disrespect way to the place. Even though some area of the temple is nice and cool to lay down and take a nap but try not to do please because it doesn’t look nice for when a hundred of people come to pray and walk pass you. We feel like you’re relaxing on the beach….
In many temples you will see seated golden statues covered all over with little golden shhets. These sheets can be bought at the entrance of the temple and be offered to the statues that represent old holy monks.
They put the golden sheets over the statues, covering them all over with gold...
I have never deeply understood all those buddhist ceremonies, but when I visit the temples I like to sit aside and watch the locals come in, prepare the incense and the flowers, put it in place, bend, pray, mutter, look up, bend again, put their shoes on and go...
I have always wonder what do they pray for... Health? Love? Fortune? and who do they pray to?... the same God (at the end)?
Along highways and even on tiny country roads, signboard advertisements for Jatukham amulets such as this one are becoming an ubiquitous feature of Thailand scenery. Jatukham amulets are becoming a staple of Thai life with economic and political uncertainties and one can see many of these large cookie sized images hanging on the necks of many Thais nowadays.
About 95% of Thais are buddhist. However, Thais tend to respect all religions. You will see many buddhists go to a Hindu temple, a Chinese one, or even a church.
In the pic, it's the main Hindu temple in Silom area. We call it "Wat Khaek". There are always people going there to pay a respect and pray.
For Thais, sometimes it's not just about the religion you're labeled to have since you were not yet born. It's about superstitious beliefs. It's about respect.
PS It's somehow popular for some Westerners who decorate their yard, bathroom, or whatsoever, with a buddha image. That behavior is considered disrespect to our religion and ALL buddhists. So if you happen to know someone who have such a decors style, maybe you can help them out.
When Ayutthaya was destroyed in 1767, the valueable things were taken by the invaders.
This Buddha Image was brought together with the inner core of Phra Buddha Chao Si Sanphet by the ordered of King Rama I to Wat Phra Chetuphon, Bangkok.
Phra Si-Sakayamunee ,the Buddha statue in the (Royal Temple)Phra Viharn Luang of Wat Suthat Thep Wararam, made of casted bronze.
This statue is the largest one of all castled Buddha statues discovered in Thailand.
The dimension is 6.25 meters in width.
Phra Si-Sakayamunee was the principal Buddha statue in the Phra Viharn Luang of Wat Mahathat ,Sukhothai.
In the stone inscription of Wat Pa Mamuang (Sukhothai), indicated that Phra Maha-Dhammaraja Lithai King of Sukhothai ordered to mould this statue and had a celebration in 1361.
9 temples tour
Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) has launched a temple tour during weekends to bring people good luck at the start of the New Year.
The Bangkok Tourism Bureau of the Bangkok Metropolitan Administration (BMA) had organized the Bangkok Temple Tour Program to nine holy temples in Bangkok, to bring people good luck at the start of the New Year.
Thai people believe that visiting and making merit at nine temples in one day will bring them luck and good karma. The number nine is considered lucky by thai people.
The 4-5 hours temple tour begins at the Bangkok Tourist Promotion Center near the Phra Pinklao Bridge.
The nine temples are Wat Suthat Thepwararam, Shrine of Chao Pho Suea (Tiger God), Wat Chanasongkram, the City Pillar Shrine, Wat Phra Kaew (the Temple of the Emerald Buddha), Wat Phra Chetuphon, Wat Kanlayanamit, The temple of Dawn, and Wat Rakang Kositaram.
The tour costs 399 baht each for adults and 299 baht for children under 12. Included in the package are snacks, drinks, air-conditioned van, and guides.
The trips start at 7.30 a.m., 8.00 a.m., 1:00 p.m., and 1:30 p.m.
We were quite shocked when we saw this monk having a long and friendly chat through his mobile phone. In a way, they look so out of this world that you dont imagine that they have phones, computers or anything like that. We were told later that many Thai man spend a 3-month period of their youth living as monks. Perhaps this young man was not a full time monk. Or perhaps monks really have mobile phones, I dont know
Nos quedamos bastante flipados cuando vimos a este monje que llevaba un buen rato de charla divertida a traves de su telefono movil (celular). De algun modo, los monjes parecen tan fuera de este mundo que no te imaginas que tengan telefonos, ordenadores ni nada por el estilo. Nos dijeron despues que muchos thais pasan un periodo de tres meses de su juventud viviendo como monjes. Quizas este joven no era un monje a tiempo completo, sino que solo estaba pasando ese periodo. O quizas los monjes tengan realmente telefonos moviles, no lo se.
It’s guaranteed that on your road travels around Bangkok, the rural areas and the islands you’ll get to see trees wrapped up in coloured silks and non-descript man made fibres. Often they will have old “redundant”, rotting and broken spirit houses laid at their base.
Most usually they are a sacred Banyan Tree, and more often than not, if they are not in temple grounds, they are in areas of significant numbers of motorcycle accidents. A “momento mori” with a colourful typically Thai bent to design, style and mai pen rai.
Some spirits are believed to live in trees, especially the ones with aerial root structures, creating spaghetti patterns and small crannies. The bodhi tree is one of these, and reports are that the Lord Buddha received enlightenment under one. So the Bodhi and the Banyan get wrapped up right the way across the Kingdom. Cut one down? Dread the thought, at least not with some elaborate rituals that allowed the spirit to relocate.
This sacred tree is in the back area of Wat Pho and attracts more than its fair share of incense and prayer offerings. No motorcycles or homeless spirits here thank goodness.
If, on the piers along the Chao Phraya, you see a Styrofoam tray of beef on steamed rice, along with a couple of cups of tea lying around, with an incense stick rammed into the top, try not to go down the judgemental “look at the littering!” “isn’t this disgraceful?” “oh what hypocrisy about Buddhism and treating the environment this way” route. Just don’t do it.
What you have here is what we see from many of the Chinese Thai Business Owners around the Wat Arun river pier. An offering to the river, to the temple or to whatever happens to be on their minds that day. The dear old lass who laid this lot here carried on her rituals in her own world as the motor boats rolled in and the heaving crowds washed past her. She, non plussed, let them get on with it, and they, well they let her get on with her stuff too. Oh yes. Amid this chaos there is always someone in their quiet own world, considering their spirituality and the “elsewhen”.
For some reason I had in my mind that Monks would be not easy to talk to. But I was wrong they usually love to talk probably to learn about where I am from and to practice their English. This picture is me and a couple of Monks at the Grand Palace in 1984 on my first trip to Thailand! Since then I have had many pleasant conversations with Monks.
I’m not talking about wat’s being the houses of God as was thrust into me at a North London Church of England school. What I mean about “wat’s as homes” is that a wat is in its broadest definition is an enclosed / defined area where men and women can be ordained. And once they are ordained they live and “work” in and around the wat.
A great many wats have the chapels, have the towering chedis and have the small out of the way personal shrines we all love to photograph. (And the Thais often love to cover these with as much shiny stuff they can lay their hands on.) Added to this, wats have the “life goes on bit” we don’t tend to notice on our first photographic pass.
Round the sides of the compounds there is all the “living now” stuff - the dormitories, the salas (pavilions with no walls to allow the breeze to blow through, good for a chat with an older wiser monk), and in the wealthier wats, there will be a library to boot. Great for those newly ordained wat swots.
Here we are in Wat Pho, with one of its two basketball courts. As they say strong body, strong mind. The novice monks playing on a Saturday evening are pretty good at scoring the odd three-pointer. Be the ball guys, be the ball.
Double the amount of respect then. Spiritual sites, and also someone's home.
Thai people are always keeping their faith even though there are lot's of expats living in their country and tourists. I can see in their eyes that they haven't change for centuries even for some reasons, teenagers are tend to part ways. They adapt western cultures but keeping the traditional behavior!
You can see people greeting monks and even offering them seats on public transports. More than 90% of the population believe in Buddhism. There are about 10 000 temples in Thailand and 270 000 Sangha(monks). Monks are highly respected there as most of them doubled up as counsellors, teachers and even mediators.