Religion & Beliefs, Ko Samui
One of the things that I have never understood about travellers is their desire to break the rules, or guidelines of the local people. Out of respect to the people who look after this temple, and also the buddhists, please remove your shoes and wear non-revealing clothing. It is not too much to ask to do this, but please do be a respectful tourist.
The official word is that there will be no beach wear, and no shoes while climbing up to see the shrine.
Early one morning (we were there in October) we headed out on our motorbikes to do some sightseeing and came across a small but obviously significant procession. Thais all across the country line up to give alms to the monks, before heading down to the local temple to listen to special sermons. And in many parts of the nation, a special cart (resplendent with a Buddha image) is brought down from a hill. Surrounding the cart is an entourage of monks, while the faithful flank each side of the road to fill their alms bowls, in an attempt to recreate the spiritual scenario when the Buddha returned from the realm of the angels. Appearantly, they also give new robes to the monks at this time.
This temple and Pagoda is located between Bang Kao and Trong Krut on Samui's southern coastline.
I didn't see any people around at all as it is off the beaten track as far as most tourists are concerned.
The statues at the entry to the Laem Sor Pagoda are very colourful and interesting and I'd love to know the significance of them.
This pagoda quite large and is situated right on the end a head-land between Bang Kao and Thong Krut and would be able to be seen a long way out to sea.
This is only a fairly new, but very ornate temple called Wat Plai Laem, that is very close to the Big Buddha temple and statue.
Around this magnificent temple you will find many small statues and monuments .
They have a lot of intricate detail in them and it is very interesting to speak to a Thai local to find out what they all represent.
In the lake next to the temple you will see many fish which you can feed if you want,with the fish food provided. (It's about 10 Baht for a bag of fish food )
On the right of this temple is the giant multi arm'ed Buddha statue that seemingly stands guard over the entrance to the temple.
Kunaram Temple - Mummified Monk
The body of Samui's most famous mummified monk,Loung Pordaeng , is on display here in a specially constructed building and sitting in a glass display case.
When he died in 1973, he was sitting in a meditation position.
He is still in that same position and his body shows few signs of any major decay although his skin is now looking quite leathery.
Wat Khunaram is on the 4169 ringroad almost near the entrance to the Namuang waterfall turnoff which is on the opposite side of the road.
Worth a look for sure, and very near to the Namuang waterfalls so it's easy to visit both places at the same time!
Just on the other side of the Chaweng lake from the main road you will find this small chinese temple.
If coming from Chaweng turn left at Reggae alley and you will see this temple on left on the way to the local markets.
Very colourful and worth a look.
Most of us have bought Buddha statues as decorative items, but few Westerners actually understand what they regard as merely "exotic & pretty":
Buddhism isn't actually seen as a "religion", it is a dharmic, non-theistic philosophy & a system of psychology. According to Buddhist belief, the current Dalai Lama is a reincarnation of a past lama who decided to be reborn to continue his important work. Buddhism in Thailand has flourished under patronage of the crown, with many members of the royal family entering the monk's order at times.
SOME EXPLANATIONS & GUIDELINES:
When visiting Temples or Shrines:
> Out of respect please remove your shoes before entering.
> Attire should be conservative (both men & women).
> Photography might not be permitted inside.
> Monks (in orange robes) hold a special place in Thai culture. It is polite for a woman to always keep a respectful distance from a monk.
Adding gold leaf to Buddha statues:
When visiting a wat (temple) Buddhists often apply small squares of gold leaf to a Buddha statue.
When Buddhism first arrived in Thailand (Siam) over 2500 years ago, spirit worship (animism) was already widely practiced throughout Asia. Today, many of these animistic beliefs are intertwined with Buddhism. One of these beliefs is the Spirit House.
These small wooden houses can be seen outside office, temples & private homes. They provide shelter for the spirits & herewith protect the home, etc.
Finally, these are the first 2 opening stanzas of the Dhammapada (one of the most well-known of Buddhist verses). I find it absolutely beautiful & enlightening:
Mind is the forerunner of all mental conditions,
mind is chief, mind-made are they;
if a person speaks or acts with an evil mind,
then suffering will surely follow;
just as the wheel follows the hoof of the ox.
if a person speaks or acts with a pure mind,
then happiness will surely follow;
like a (cool) shadow that is never left behind.
Although I am far from an expert on Buddhism, from my understanding, you are "making merit" in your life when you choose to add gold leaf to the image of a Buddha. There were several statues around the Wats that we visited where you can add gold leaf on to it.
In Samui they keep dead man in the glass box for tourists to take a pics.
He has been there since early 1970`s.
Please, put him in the grave!!!(Or at least remove those sunglasses...).