The legend of Phaya Kai Pa may be traced back to Lord Buddha who used the parable of Phaya Kai Pa in depicting “Whoever does not know the things that happened suddenly … That person will fall into the power of villains and will suffer later. … As for whomever who knows exactly what happened suddenly … That person will be free from the persecution of the villains. “
In Thailand, Phaya Kai Pa has been used by many monks as a complimentary figure in many amulets especially Somdej and Khunpaen amulets. The most prominent is, of course, Somdej Tan Song Kai from Luang Pu Parn Wat Bang Nom Kho located in Bang Nom Kho Subdistrict, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province; and Phra Khunpaen Ki Kai from Luang Pu Kuay Wat Khositaram located in Bang Khut, Sankhaburi District, Chai Nat. However, the making and consecrating of Phaya Kai Pa as the main character is attributed solely to Luang Pu Suang Worasuttho or Phrakru Suthiwaraporn, Abbot of Wat Tham Phrom Sawat, Chong Sarika Subdistrict, Pattananikom District, Lopburi Province.
Luang Pu Suang: A Brief History
Luang Pu Suang Worasutho was born on Wednesday, February 14, 2476 in Raka Ban Noi Na Wan, Village 10, Tambon Phon Mueang Noi. Hua Taphan District, Ubon Ratchathani Province (currently Amnat Charoen Province). He was ordained at the age of 20 in year 2496 at Wat Sriburi Rattanaram, Pak Piao Subdistrict, Muang District, Saraburi Province. His Venerable learned and mastered the charm and magic of Phaya Kai Pa according to ancient texts and scriptures from Luang Phor Khaem of Wat Samphao Lom, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. He has also undergone intense training under the instruction of Luang Pu Du Phrompanyo of Wat Sakae. Thereafter, his Venerable traveled extensively, visiting and learning Phra Weth and charms from various senior guru monks including Luang Pu Parn of Wat Bang Nom Kho, Sena district, Ayutthaya Province; Luang Phor Niam of Wat Noi Sahathamik, Supanburi; and Luang Pu Toh of Wat Pradu Chim Phli, Wat Tha Phra Subdistrict, Bangkok Yai District, Krungtheap.
Finally, in year 2525, His Venerable finally traveled to and settled down in a cave in Lopburi Province. In that cave were skeletons of ancient people, the remains of elephants, horses, cattle and other animals. No one even dare to pass by after dusk but Luang Pu Suang took abode in it. A giant boa constrictor visited and slept with his Venerable every night. At first, the villagers were shocked but subsequently they began to have faith and began to visit Luang Pu Suang to make merit. The cave now forms part of Wat Tham Phrom Sawat.
Luang Pu Suang used the magical knowledge mastered and started building Wat Tham Phrom Sawat from scrap to completion. The main source of construction came from sacred objects made and consecrated by Luang Pu Suang and they include Buddha statue Phra Somdej Jakkapak, Rama V and Rama IX, Phra Yod, Khunpaen, and Phra Zhao Sure. However, the most popular is Phaya Kai Pa medals and lockets which brought in most funds for the construction and completion of Wat Tham Phrom Sawat.His Venerable entered nirvana on the afternoon of January 25, 2561 at the age of 84 after serving 60 years of monkhood.
Phaya Kai Pai
The Phaya Kai Pa charm has a few common characteristics amongst different guru masters including wealth, prosperity, having work and a successful career. Therefore, when it is used with a Buddha image as in the case of Somdej Tan Song Kai it usually contains the charms for good fortune, progress, promotion, and profitability whereas when it is used together with Khunpaen, it adds a streak of gaming luck to the aforementioned characteristics.
However, the Phaya Kai Pa stand alone statues and amulets created and consecrated by Luang Pu Suang have more things to offer. Statues of Phaya Kai are meant for home, office, and stores to bring wealth, fortune, and prosperity. Wearing amulets of the Phaya Kai Pa have similar properties.
However, when these statues and amulets are put at the four corners of a premise, Phaya Kai become guardians within the perimeters. Roosters pick on worms, centipedes, scorpions, geckos, anoles and et cetera which are all symbols of black magic and evil spells. Owing to some lineage connection, Luang Pu Suang revealed this piece of secret. His Venerable said: “Fowls are territorial and will defend a specific area where all activities take place. They do not leave their nests. Placing Phaya Kai Pa in the four corners specified an area of activities that they will defend. Evil spirits and ghosts are then prohibited.” Placement must be done at 5 in the morning with a specific charm.
The common house lizards are a species of non-venomous nocturnal gecko native of Southeast Asia. They usually hide during the day and searches for insects at night. Scientifically, lizards make noises to announce their presence and/or to attract mates but ancient belief deciphers good and bad omens from those noises.
In Thailand, it is believed that a Jinchok Song Hang or a two-tailed lizard is an ancient animal that brings good luck. Therefore, if a two-tailed lizard is found in a house, it is believed that the owner of the house will inherit a stream of good fortune; when it is found in a commercial place, it is believed that business will boom and money will keep pouring in. Therefore, when a two-tailed lizard dies, it is often framed and carried as a good luck charm.
Lanna Thai Sorcery
Talismans and spells of the two-tailed lizard have appeared in both Lanna and northern Thai cities ancient texts. It is recorded that two-tailed lizards are rare and, therefore, guru masters often carved figurines of a two-tailed lizard out of a host of materials including ivory, animal bones, horns, shells, and other magical woods such as Takhian wood, black swamp wood, Rakson, and et cetera. The more modern method uses metals to cast figurines of two-tailed lizards.
Examples of two-tailed lizard amulets created using the modern method include those from Luang Pu Liu, Wat Rai Tang Thong, Nakhon Pathom Province; Luang Pho Choi, Wat Sri Uthumphon, Nakhon Sawan Province; Luang Pu Chen, Wat Ta E, Buriram Province and et cetera.
Jinchok Song Hang Luang Phor Ruay
Some twenty years ago, together with three Singaporeans and three Thais, we visited Luang Phor Ruay of Wat Kau Phrachuntheap up in a mountain in Chanwat Rayong. We were all seated on the floor in a wooden hut, the temporary Ubosot, as the temple was still under construction at that time. Incidentally, we talked about the subject of two-tailed lizards. My fellow Singaporeans who had never seen a two-tailed lizard in their lifetime were sceptical of its existence leave alone the supernatural powers inherent thereof.
“If I were to summon the lizards would you help build this temple?” Luang Phor Ruay asked.
Well, even if his venerable had not performed any magic we would still have made our donations for the temple construction. Luang Phor Ruay started chanting, sprinkling holy water exuberantly all over, and after about half-an-hour he entered into a state of meditation. We sat patiently as the clock ticked away. About another 10-15 minutes has passed and there was still no sight of a single lizard. My fellow Singaporeans became impatient and a little edgy. It was then that we heard chirps, squeaks, and clicking noises. Next, there were screams and commotion. The two ladies (a Singaporean and a Thai) were the first to run out from the hut as hundreds of lizards swarmed in from all directions.
From outside, we listened to Luang Phor Ruay’s chanting and saw him sprinkling holy water in all directions. Subsequently, he called the novices to collect and place those lizards on trays before we were called back into the hut. There were no more lizards in the hut besides those on the trays; about 50-70 of different sizes but what was amazing was they were all indeed two-tailed. Luang Phor Ruay had those two-tailed lizards dried, consecrated, and encased and used them to raise donations at SGD 313.00 per piece. We do not know why his venerable asked for SGD 313.00 and nothing more nothing less.
Some of you may have heard this reminiscence from the other three Singaporeans present on that eventful day and some of you may have made the donations through Regalia or directly to Luang Phor Ruay. Like most other animism objects, two-tailed lizards have been paired with Thai society for a long time and its popularity remains high to-date.
Worshiping Buddha images or wearing Thai amulets is perhaps no longer a Thai culture privy to Thais. The successful spread of Thai Buddhism around the world has also brought around Thai culture to many countries. Many people are either worshiping Buddha images or wearing Thai amulets for various reasons and there is no one universal standard applicable to what type of Buddha image or amulet should be worshiped or worn. It all depends on an individual’s belief, value, and objective. For many people the most intrinsic reason for worshiping a Buddha image or wearing a Thai amulet is either spiritual or psychological comfort. Yet, to others, it may merely be a matter of trend or decoration. However, whatever the reasons may be, the power of Phuttakhun, Thammakhun, and Sangkhakhun behind this action then brings about progress and prosperity in life for that individual.
Different people have different preferences for different types of Buddha images and amulets. In fact, Thais usually worship and wear multiple Buddha images and amulets. Amongst the many Buddha images and amulets, there is an image or amulet the Thais classify as the number one sacred object, it is considered the highest divine power of all, and that is their Birthday Buddha. In this article, we will introduce you to the Phra Prajamwan or Seven Days Buddha.
According to Thai astrology and belief, people who are born on different days of the week innate certain general but unique characteristics that are a mixture of both good and bad attributes in life. Therefore, in Thai Buddhism, there are a total of 8 Buddhas known as Phra Prajamwan acting as Birthday Buddhas to enhance those good characteristics and make good for the bad ones.
A person born on Sunday is said to be in the position of the Sun and is ambitious, determined, sincere and generous but, at the same time, impatient and quick-tempered. Owing to these birth characteristics, a person born on Sunday is prone to unknowingly create as many enemies as he makes friends. He just has too much fire in him.
Therefore, the Birthday Buddha for Sunday, Phra Prang Thewaynet, depicts Buddha in a standing position, eyes looking downward, and right hand overlapping left hand on lower abdomen (Phra Phela), a posture symbolising Sangvorn, looking at the Phra Sri Maha Bodhi tree. It is a representation of calm and peace which are attributes needed to reconcile the negative characteristics inherent of Sunday. The Sunday Buddha also symbolises the Fire element.
Chant for Worshipping Sunday Buddha
u the tan yan chak ku mae ka ra ja ha rissa wanno pat tha wi papa phaso
tang na massa mi harissa wan nang pa tha wi papa pha sang ta ya cha
kut ta vi hare mu ti wa sang yep rah ma na we ta ku sa pa tham me te me
namo te cha mang pa la ya na tu nama tu put ta nang nama tu phi ya
namo wi mut ta nang namo wi mu ti ya e mang so parit tang kat wa mo ro
ja ra te sana
a pe tan yan jak ku mae ka ra ja harissa wan no pat tha wi papa phaso
tang nama sa mi harissa wan nang pata wi papa pha sang ta ya cha
kut ta vi hare mu rat ting yep rah mana we ta ku sap tham me te me
namo te cha mang pa lay an tu nama tu put ta nang nama tu phi ya
namo wi mut ta nang namo wi mu ti ya e mang so parit tang kat wa mo ro
wa sama kap pa yi ti
A person born on Monday tends to have a charming character that attracts people. However, contrary to his charm, he is also an individualistic and competitive person, thus, often losing humbleness. Owing to the contrasting characteristics, he often does things unexpectedly that cause uneasiness to other people, thus, losing favourable position and harming long-term relationships.
Therefore, the Birthday Buddha for Monday took the standing posture with either one (Prang Pranaya) or both (Prang Praban) hands raised to the chest with palm(s) forward signifying forbidden action or simply “Stop!” The gist is to stop, introspect, and think before rash decisions and actions. The Monday Buddha also symbolises the Water element.
Chant for Worshipping Monday Buddha
yan thu nimit tang xa wa mang kha lay ca yo ca ma na po sa ku nassa sath tho papa kha ho thu su pi nang xa kan tang phutha nu pha we na wi na sa men tu
yan thu nimit tang xa wa mang kha lay ca yo ca ma na po sa ku nassa sath tho papa kha ho thus su pi nang xa kan tang thamma nu pha we na wi na sa men tu
yan thu nimit tang xa wa mang kha lay ca yo ca ma na po sa ku nassa sath tho papa kha ho thu su pi nang xa kan tang sangkha nu pha we na wi na sa men tu
A person born on Tuesday is carefree, un-ambitious, and does not care much about long-term planning. He does what he wants and what comes to mind without consideration of consequences and impact on others. Therefore, the life of a person born on Tuesday tends to be volatile especially when it comes to work and finance. Another shortcoming is that he rarely has any real friends. What is needed in order to have a stable life is a mindset of planning, sequencing of ideas, and goals setting.
Therefore, Tuesday Buddha Prang Pla Surintrahu takes on the reclining posture, lying on his right side with right hand supporting the head and left hand rested on the body. The Buddha symbolises nirvana and in order to enter nirvana the mind has to be healed, that is enlightened. Tuesday Buddha also represents the Earth element.
Chant for Worshipping Tuesday Buddha
ya sa nu sa ra ne na pi an ta li k khe pi pa ni no
pa tit tha ma thi kha chan ti phu mi yang wi ya saph pha tha
saph phu path tha wa cha lam ha yak kha co ra thi sampha wa
kha na na na ca mut ta nang pa ri tan tam pha na ma he
A person born on Wednesday usually has with him an onerous social burden. He often has to support family and relatives. This is primarily due to the nature that a person born on Wednesday finds satisfaction in seeing people around him being happy. Therefore, he has many friends in general but his true friends are only those of older age and higher social status. However, albeit being a very sociable person, he lacks charitable character because his likes entertainment and is being drowned in mundane enjoyment to bother about spirituality. The treasure for a person born on Wednesday is travelling where he gets his fortune.
For those born on Wednesday, his Birthday Buddha can be separated into two, day and night. The Wednesday daytime Buddha is Prang Om Bart in a standing position with both hands holding an alms bowl. It symbolises charity. It symbolises the Metal element. After 6 p.m. the Birthday Buddha is Wednesday night Buddha, Prang Palelai in the Ariyabot sitting on a rock with both hands on his knees but his right palm facing outward. By the sides of Buddha are an elephant offering water and a monkey offering a honeycomb. It represents making merits and characterises the Earth element.
Chant for Worshipping Wednesday Buddha
saph pha si wi sa cha ti nang thi pha mạn ta kha thạng wi ya
yan na se ti wi sang kho rang se say ca pi pa ri sa yang
xa nak khet tam hi saph phat tha saph pha tha saph pha pa ni nang
saph pha so pi ni wa re ti parit tan tam pha na ma he
Kin nu san ta ra ma no wa ra hu can thang pa mu ca si
sang wi kha ru po xa kham ma kin nu p̣hi to tit tha si ti
sat ta tha me pha le mu tha chi wan to na su khang la phe
phuth tha kha tha phi khi to hi no ce mu ce ya can thi man ti
A person born on Thursday is usually intelligent and knowledgeable. He develops the habit for deep detail and exquisite work and, thus, always interested in seeking knowledge. However, it is also because of the extent of knowledge that gradually turns him self-centric so much so that he rarely accepts others’ ideas and perceptions. He always wants to be right and thinks he is always right. He has high determination and enjoys making decisions both for himself and others. He craves for fame, honour and position. Owing to the self-centric characteristics, he suffers poor interpersonal relationships and normally ended up with few friends and a strained matrimonial relationship.
Therefore, Thursday Buddha also known as Prang Sammathi is in a meditating posture, legs crossed in half-lotus, right hand over the left hand. It is a representation of enlightenment and attainment of peace and tranquility.
Chant for Worshipping Thursday Buddha
pu ren tam pho ti sampha re ni phat wat ta chat yang
ya sa te che na ta wak khi ma ha sa tang vi wat cha cha yi
thra sa sa sa ri puta sa lo ka na te na pha si tang
u pat tha yi ma maha te chang parit tan tam bha na mae
A person born on Friday has a good character and is un-ambitious and easy-going. He is a simple person with a kind heart and is easily contented with life. He has a charitable character, however, his compassion is also his setback as he is often emotional especially over the misfortune of others. He gets angry easily but also forgives as quickly.
Therefore, Prang Rampheang or Friday Buddha stands with both hands raised to his chest, the right hand on-top the left hand in a meditative posture. It represents concentration and firming the heart. Thus, it is also symbolises the Metal element.
Chant for Worshipping Friday Buddha
ya sa nu pha wa to yak kha ne wa tha sen ti phing sa nang
ya hi ce wa nu yu chan to rat tin thi wa ma tan thi to
su khang su pa ti sut to ca pa pang ki ci na pa sa ti
xe wa ma thi khu nu pe tang parit tan tam pha na ma he
A person born on Saturday is tough, bold, and a go-getter. He has a passion of risk-taking and adventure that at times become reckless. He likes to catch attention that are frequently interpreted as being show-off or selfish. Another shortcoming is that he thinks too much, wanting to be sure and careful so much so that he procrastinates over almost everything. Thus, he is usually indecisive, faint-hearted and not resolute. Like work that does not have to be too serious.
The Saturday Buddha has a guardian Naga with him and, hence, is known a Prang Naplok. The Buddha is in the Ariyabha, sits cross-legged, both hands on the lap, right hand on-top the left and the Naga King Mujalin as his seat and shade. It represents wisdom and protection.
Chant for Worshipping Friday Buddha
ya to hang pha khi ni xa ri ya ya cha ti ya cha to
na phi cha na mi say ci ca pa nang chi wi ta wo ro pe ta
te na sa ce na sot thi te ho tu sot thi kha pha sa
Phra Rheesi Chiwok Komaraphat, also known as Mor Yai, was a physician. He was born in Rajgir, an ancient city in the northeast Indian state of Bihar to a courtesan by the name of Salwadee who, in the middle of the night, ordered her servant to throw the baby away. However, at dawn, one of King Pimpisan’s sons, Prince Ampai and his guards happened to come across the abandoned child. The prince asked his guards if the baby was still alive and was told “still alive,” hence, he named that baby “Chiwok” meaning “alive.” The prince brought the baby back to the palace and raised him there thereby giving him the surname Komaraphat meaning “a child who was raised in the royal court.”
When Chiwok grew up and knew he was actually an orphan adopted by the prince, he was determined to seek the arts to support himself. Therefore, he asked for permission to leave the palace and travelled to Taxila, currently Rawalpindi District in Pakistan, where he was accepted as a student of a famous medical doctor Thipamokk. He studied for seven years before asking for permission to return to Rajgir. Doctor Thipamokk asked Chiwok to enter the forest and bring him a plant that cannot be used for treatment. Chiwok obliged. He entered the forest and tested every plant and returned empty handed. When doctor Thipamokk asked him what he had brought back, Chiwok replied “nothing” and explained that every plant in the forest is capable for use in treatment. Doctor Thipamokk then said “You have graduated then.” On his way back to Rajgir, Chiwok stopped and healed a rich man’s wife who had suffered severe headaches for many years. In return the rich man gave Chiwok 16,000 pieces of gold, slaves and a carriage to bring him safely back to Rajgir.
Upon returning to the palace, Chiwok brought the gold and rewards he received and presented them to Prince Ampai as gratitude for raising him. However, the prince rejected those presents and asked Chiwok to keep them instead. Not long thereafter, Chiwok treated and cured King Pimpisan from hemorrhoids and was appointed the Royal Physician. King Pimpisan also rewarded Chiwok with 500 royal women and many jewellery. This time round it was Chiwok who turned down those rewards and asked King Pimpisan to consider it as his service to the kingdom. However, he did accept the mango garden which he converted into a temple and presented it to Lord Buddha and His disciples. Rajgir was hit by diseases and Chiwok quickly went around helping and healing the people.
Besides practicing medicine, Maha Chiwok was also dedicated to the Dharma with strong faith in Lord Buddha. He visited Lord Buddha frequently to learn and practice the Dharma. He followed the teachings of Lord Buddha and practiced well that Lord Buddha bestowed on him the title of the Ethical One. At the same time, he was granted permission to serve as a physician in the Sangha to help maintain the health of all monks. Subsequently, he even extended his services to worshippers and devotees thereby becoming known as Rheesi Mor Chiwok Komaraphat, “The Grand Master of Traditional Medicine” and is revered by the general public until today.
What it is now
At present, there has been considerable archaeological evidence unearthed, one of which is the Thammarajiga Stupa which is said to be the earliest Buddhist footprint in Pakistan. It is believed to have been built during the time of the Ashoka the Great of the Moriya Dynasty in order to enshrine the relics of the Lord Buddha. Aubsequently, it has been expanded in the 2nd century AD during the reign of King Kanishaka.
In addition to archaeological remains that have already discovered in both Rajgir, India and in Taxila, Punjab, Pakistan where the medical school Rheesi Mor Chiwok Komaraphat studied, there is practically nothing left with regards to the legacy of traditional medicine in those areas. On the contrary, only the medical textbooks of Taksila or the medical texts written by Rheesi Mor Chiwok Komaraphat have been passed down for more than 2,500 years in the present Suvarnabhumi land, especially the Kingdfom of Thailand which underscored the source of honouring Rheesi Mor Chiwok Komaraphat as the Grand Instructor of Thai Traditional Medicine.
Honouring Rheesi Mor Chiwok Komaraphat
There are many temples making and consecrating statues and amulets of Rheesi Mor Chiwok Komaraphat for believers. The most popular temple is Wat Intharawihan, Bang Khun Phrom, Bangkok followed by Wat Khok That, Thai Traditional Medicine Association Nakhon Si Thammarat Province. The purpose is common, plain, and simple. They are for good health and speedy recovery from illness.
Since there is no distinction between practitioners and believers with regards to the charm for Phra Rheesi Chiwok Komaraphat; and since the charm only pertains to good health and speedy recovery from illness, we find it no harm sharing it with our readers as follow:
Kattar Bucha Phra Rheesi Chiwok
Om Namo Chiwoko Sirasa Ahang
Karunikon Sapa Sathanang O Sathatip Pamang Tang
Papaso Suriyanjan Tang Ko Mun Pacho Paka Say Si
Wanthami Panthito Su May Tasa Aroka Sumana Homi
This charm may be recited daily, both day and night, after paying homage to Lord Buddha.
This Somdej Phra Buddhachantoh Promarangsi amulet was made and consecrated by His Venerable Luang Pu Fa Phatachari of Wat Khao Wong Phrachan, Lopburi in year 2521. It depicts Ajahn Toh sitting on a three tier Chat Tat representing the Three Realms, the two ivory tusks representing protection and peace, and the Phat Yot representing the highest order of the Sangha. On the rear side of the amulet is a Chedi with radiance on top of Buddha’s footprint representing the light of Buddha’s footsteps. Overall, this amulet is for the purpose of protection and blessing from Ajahn Toh.
Not many foreigners have heard about Wat Khao Wong Phrachan because it was almost inaccessible to tourists three-to-four decades back because the temple is located 650 meters above sea level at the peak of the tallest mountain known to the locals as Khao Hanuman in Lopburi province. Not many tourists, both local and foreign, would hike their way up without some mental preparation. During those days, we have to trek and hike our way up the thickly forested mountain.
However, at present, the temple has been fully constructed with a large Buddha statue Phra Buddha Prang Chiang Saen in the middle of the mountain. The Buddha has a lap width 45 meters and height 75 meters. is It is the second largest Buddha image in Thailand after Luang Pho Yai, Wat Muang, Ang Thong province.
To make the temple more accessible to devotees and tourists, a 3790-steps stairway steeping 2165 feet up the mountain has been constructed. A further 180 steps stairway was also constructed to take visitors to the summit, i.e. approximately another 100 meters upwards where the statues of many Taoist Gods including Mae Kuan Yim and Phra Chao Khun Wu stand. Now the temple has became an attraction of Lopburi and is flooded by devotees and tourists.
Be it in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, or anywhere else (with the exception of Thailand), a common question oftentimes surfaces in the mind of some people and that is “Do Thai amulets really cost that much?” We have been answering this question repeatedly especially within a lesser Thai accustomed environment such as Taiwan. Therefore, in this article, we will explore the value and economy of Thai amulets. In this article, we will briefly provide readers the underlying value and economic influences from a Thai perspective. For those who are interested in a detailed analysis on the subject matter may refer to the thesis of Professor Nattapon Yurungruangsak titled “Buddha Amulets and Thai Society from World War II to 2007 AD: A Study of Beliefs, Forms and Buddhist Commerce.”
The Thai Perspective
Like any other product, the original pricing of Thai amulets inevitably begin with production costs which include design, moulding, raw materials, packing, wages, taxes and et cetera. Next will be the costs of consecration ceremonies followed by advertising costs. Finally, an intended amount to be raised will be added to derive the final product pricing.
A simple calculation as follow is often used:
a + b / c = x
a = production costs
b = amount to be raised
c = units produced
Therefore, anything rented for below value x is questionable.However, the moment an amulet enters the market various extrinsic factors will influence its value. There are four major factors, namely, popularity, age, uniqueness, and economy.
There are many factors that can contribute to the popularity of a particular amulet and the most outstanding is the reputation of originating temple and/or monk. This is similar to brand name. For examples, for the past three decades, amulets from Luang Phor Pae, Luang Phor Pern, and Luang Phor Koon have received closed to frantic popularity. We remember 30 years ago, a Somdej Pair Phan 2510 was merely ฿10,000 but it now costs at least ฿200,000 to ฿300,000.
Another factor contributing to an amulet’s popularity may include escape from death. On this point, Somdej Wat Paknam just have too many reported life incidents associated with escape from death so much so that Thais formulated a sally saying “If have Wat Paknam with you, in the water, you won’t die, on land, won’t die, in the air, won’t die. Fortune does not run out.” These have driven the prices for the first three batches of Somdej Wat Paknam skyrocketing.
Other contributing factors include great charismatic effect, good businesses, prosperity, and vocational progress.
Thai amulets are like antiques and their value increases with age. This may partially be attributed to the fact that as time goes by many amulets of a particular release or batch are either damaged or destroyed resulting in the remaining available number becoming scarce thereby driving demand far above supply. This is especially so when the consecrating monk is exceptionally prominent and popular. The most outstanding in this category are indisputably those Somdej amulets made and consecrated by Phra Phuttachantoh Promarangsi which current value easily begins from seven digit figures onwards. If you think you got a bargain on these series, think twice.
The above Kruba Srivichai Phim Sawng Chai 2482 medal has a currently open market value of ฿500,000 to ฿1,000,000 depending on condition of the amulet.
The uniqueness of the amulet refers either to the distinction, beauty, and popularity of an amulet or it may indicate the exclusivity of a particular amulet such as special materials, hair from monks, and some serial numbers. For example, the Phra Somdej Putthason of Wat Kao Takroa is sought after for its distinction, beauty, and popularity. The last offer we received for this amulet was ฿3.8 million.
Finally, the value of Thai amulets is directly tied to the Thai economy and prices fluctuate according to expansion or contraction thereof. When the economy expands, the prices of the amulets increased. This is partly due to more people having the financial capability to afford more expensive amulets thereby pushing up prices. As a result, in part, Thai amulet is an alternative form of investment that can even be speculated or accumulated for sale in future. On this aspect, many of our old customers would have experienced the impact. The price of their purchase 10-20 years ago is only a meagre portion of what they have to pay for a same amulet today.
In 2007, Kasikorn Research Center valued the Thai amulet business at ฿40,000 million which is approximately ฿50,143 million today. With innovation and development in technology, especially with regards to digital advertisements and promotions to reach buyers beyond Thai borders, the value of the entire industry is easily three times much more than the last reported figures.
Personal Value and Satisfaction
In view of the aforementioned, it is difficult for us to pronounce whether Thai amulets are expensive or not. There are obviously no clear standards for comparison. All we can say is that it greatly depends of an individual’s personal value and satisfaction. Let us put it in another way, for example, a continental made automobile such as BMW and Mercedes Benz in contrast to other Asian made automobile may give an individual the same personal value and satisfaction whilst it does not equally produce the same effect for another individual. The situation is even more eminent with Thai amulets since the price range for the same type of amulet is very vast.
Temple Amulets versus Factory Amulets
The steep pricing of sacred objects originating from temples has also given rise to another huge market known as “phrakherung khorng rongngan” in Thai which literally means “factory amulets.” In the past, these are confined to counterfeit copies of original amulets originating from temples. However, innovation within the business industry has also brought new life-lines to factory amulet market. There have been a group of businesspeople who have came up with ingenious idea and entered into partnership with various less known temples and monks whereby those businesspeople will make amulets in the name of those temples and monks and sell them to especially unsuspecting foreigners at ridiculously cheap prices which are below value x when calculated using the above given formula. Many so-called “special edition” and “limited edition” amulets claimed to have only produced 9 to 19 pieces are been sold at ฿1,000 to ฿2,000 of which price total of all units sold will not even cover the cost of moulding alone. For prices of design and moulding, you may refer to various factories such as Amulet Maker or Pornwasin.
There are uncountable occasions where amulets are made and sold in the name of specific temples and monks without approval or knowledge from the respective parties. The most recent trend is pot luck gaming of amulets involving “products” from various temples. Such acts are equivalent to gambling and considered an offense to Nissakiyapachitti under the monastic rules. Therefore, prominent monks are unlikely to be involved in such mischief. As such, if you are accosted with such speculation, it is best that you do a search on the relevant monk and temple alleged to be involved in such offense. We have conducted several background searches for such incidents and they all turned out to be opportunists abusing and misusing the names of temples and monks for personal gains without the temple’s or monk’s knowledge. Nonetheless, if such behavior is purely attributable to individual’s sales tactic then we have no comment.
As business-people in the Thai amulet industry, we advise our customers to make their own judgments as to value. We offer different price range temple products catering to the varying demands of our customer and all we can do is explain the reasons behind price differences. The ultimate judgment lies in the hands of our valued customers. Whether should you obtain a high price amulet, a low price amulet, or even a factory made amulet, it all voices down to your personal perception, value, and satisfaction thereof. However, if you are looking for factory amulets, please give us a pass as we do not provide such services. We hope this article will help you better understand the value and economy behind Thai amulets.