All posts by น้ำแข็ง

Kruba Chao Duangdee Suphatto

When we talk about northern Thailand or the Lanna regions, we refer to regions including Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Sawan, Nan, Phayao, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Lampang, Lamphun, Sukhothai, Uttaradit, Uthai Thani, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Phetchabun, and Mae Hong Son. Most of these regions are characterized by mountains, valleys and basins between mountains. There is a steep slope from the northwest that gradually slopes down to the low plains in the south-eastern and central regions before it slowly rises back in the east and northeast in the Nan Province, namely the Luang Prabang Mountain Range. These highlands are the source of many rivers and streams that flows into the Mekong River in the north and into the Chao Phraya River in the south as well as the Salween River in the west. It is an ideal fertile area for farming and settlement making it a source of important communities in the region.

Northern Thailand is a region of diverse traditions and cultures that are no less interesting than other regions of Thailand. It is known as a region full of magical charm with Chiangmai being the heart of Lanna and the centre of tourist attraction. Tourists are impressed with the many attractions and the generous spirit of the northerners. Apart from being a centre for arts, antiques, and traditional Lanna culture, Chiangmai is also a province that produces many Thai beauties and celebrities including Susira Anjeleena Nannan, Oranate D. Caballes, Natthanicha Dangwattanawanich, Pijakkana Wongsaratanasilp, and et cetera. Nonetheless, the actual spirit of northern Thais remains rooted in Lanna Buddhism.

Buddhism in Lanna Land

Prior to Theravada Buddhism, the people of Chiang Mai and those living in Lanna regions embraced Sasana Phi which was subsequently integrated with Buddhism giving rise to the various unique rituals and ceremonies hitherto. Theravada Buddhism is also the primary source that integrated the people of northern Thailand. The most unique feature is perhaps “Tung” that is likened to “flags” in the central region but has a meaning in Buddhism reflecting beliefs and faith as well as a cause to create unity among human beings. Theravada Buddhism continued to florished throughout the Lanna region with two eminent temples built under the grace of Phaya Kue Na to house the relics of Lord Buddha, namely, Wat Suan Dok and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Ratchaworawihan.

Unfortunately, the Lanna regions fell into the hands of the Burmese in 1558 (B.E 2101), beginning what is called the 200 years of “Dark Age” in northern Thailand. Buddhism took a deep plunge during that era. There was a lack of monks who have qualifications, there were no Buddhist philosophers, and there were no religious texts or literature as there used to be in the past. Not until late 1760s and early 1770s that light began to shine through the kingdom once again with the rise of King Taksin the Great who successfully ended Burmese incursions in toto. The 15-year reign of King Taksin the Great was marked by a series of wars. After the establishment of Thonburi as the new Thai capital, the Burmese repeatedly tried to invade the kingdom. A total of nine major battles were fought during that period. The Burmese were defeated at Bang Kung, Samut Sakhon Province; Sawangkhalok; Phichai; and at Bang Kaew, Ratchaburi. Further battles were fought in the northern provinces to free Lanna Thai. The greatest battle of all took place in Chiangmai where the Burmese hold over the city was especially strong. The last Burmese attack on Chiangmai took place in 1776 (B.E. 2319) but they were thoroughly defeated by the Thai army. For more information, please refer to our earlier article “Understanding Thai Buddhism.”

Saint of Lanna

When Chiang Mai came under the rule of Bangkok, Buddhism in Chiangmai which used to be the centre of Lanna Buddhism has, therefore, been modified according to the practices originating from Bangkok. Regulations are all set centrally and which were deemed detrimental to the belief, custom, and cultural values of the Lanna people, especially the hill tribes.

During this time, Kruba Sriwichai, a hero within the clergy was born. He was a monk who respected both the faiths of the townspeople and hill tribes and he was the monk who revitalized Lanna Buddhism especially in Chiangmai. His Venerable was also responsible for the reformation and restoration of various temples in Chiangmai and nearby provinces until he received the title Saint of Lanna. His Venerable’s struggle to restore Lanna Buddhism gained strong support from the Lanna community as well as the northern clergy with more than 90 temples breaking rank with the Thai Sangha to join Kruba Srivichai. His Venerable’s influence was both eminent and prominent among the Lanna communities so-much-so that he was perceived as a threat by both the Thai Sangha and the Thai state leading to His Venerable’s second detention at Wat Benchamabophit in 1935 (B.E. 2478).

His Venerable’s detention caused loud public disquiet that Luang Sri Praklak, the member of the House of Representatives for Chiangmai at that time, ultimately demanded the release of Kruba Srivichai at the Cabinet meeting. The political intervention caught the eyes of the general public and His Venerable was finally released in 1936 (B.E. 2479).

The Immortal Speech

After being released, His Venerable said “if the Ping River doesn’t flow back north will not ask to step on the land of Chiang Mai.”

Kruba Srivichai thus returned to Wat Ban Pang, Li District, Lamphun Province where His Venerable entered parinibbāna on February 21, 1938 (B,E. 2481). His relics were divided into 7 parts and enshrined in 7 different locations throughout Lanna as follows:

1. Wat Chamadewi, Lamphun Province

2. Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai Province

3. Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao, Lampang Province

4. Wat Sri Khom Kham, Phayao Province

5. Wat Phra That Cho Hae, Phrae Province

6. Wat Nam Hoo, Mae Hong Son Province

7. Wat Ban Pang, Li District, Lamphun Province

A statue of Kruba Sriwichai moulded and casted in Bangkok was delivered upon the completion of the Kruba Srivichai Monument at the foot of the mountain on the way up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. However, it was said that the statue just somehow cannot be taken out from the car and has to be sent back to Bangkok. The people believe it was due to the mystical immortality of His Venerable’s speech aforementioned. Consequently, the construction of the Bhumibol Dam in Tak Province caused water to flood up to the north in 1964 (B.E. 2507) and Kruba Srivichai’s image was then successfully invited and enshrined at the foot of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.

The Last of Kruba Srivichai’s Disciples

Besides Kruba Srivichai, there are also several other northern Thai monks such as Luang Pu Waen and Luang Phor Kasaem who achieved nationwide reverence. However, the most celebrated figure in in recent Lanna history was Phra Mongkolwisut or Kruba Chao Duangdee Suphatto, the former abbot of Wat Tha Champi, one of the top guru monks in Chiangmai who is known as the last generation of Kruba Srivichai’s disciples.

Kruba Duangdee Suphatto was born on April 26, 2449 in Ban Tha Champi, Thung Satok Subdistrict, San Pa Tong District, Chiang Mai Province during the reign of His Majesty King Chulalongkorn, King Rama V, corresponding to the reign of Por Chao Inthawichayanon (Chao Maha Chiva) Ruler of Chiang Mai. He was a native of Tha Champi village from birth. His parents were farmers. His father’s name was Por Oob and his mother’s was Mae Chan. Kruba Duangdee had 8 siblings from the same parents, 4 males, 4 females and His Venerable was the 7th child in the family.

At the age of 13, Kruba Duangdee was brought before Kruba Sriwichai who, at that time, had come to restore the city of Chiangmai in 2462. Kruba Srivichai was pleased and he  told Kruba Duangdee that “If you are ordained a monk, then you come up and stay at Wat Phra Singh and will be friend with Sing Dam” (the biological grandson of Kruba Sriwichai). Kruba Duangdee was subsequently ordained. He studied and practiced under the instruction of Kruba Srivichai until he was 32 years old. Then His Venerable followed the footsteps of Kruba Srivichai and travelled extensively to build temples in the northern regions before returning to construct Wat Tha Champi.

At the age of 42, Kruba Duangdee received the title of Chao Awat of Thung Satok Subdistrict. However, even he was burdened by duties of the Sangha His Venerable did not neglect the observance of Vipassana meditation and practices of ancient Lanna wetmon. Besides the building and expansion of Wat Tha Champi, His Venerable also became the main force in the construction and restoration of almost every temple in the region as well as other philanthropic projects be it roads, ubosot, viharn, chedi, bridges, or even schools and hospitals. Therefore, His Venerable had utilise the ancient Lanna wetmon he learned from Kruba Srivichai to make and consecrate various sacred objects to raise funds for these activities.

Sacred objects made and consecrated by His Venerable are highly priced but, nonetheless, are well received by followers, believers, and collectors. Among the many sacred objects highly sought after is Kumarnthong Thep Phanom (Loon Lek) made and consecrated in Buddhist year 2517. Kumanthong Thep Phanom was made from108 types of powder mixed with gold leaves and consecrated through the invocation of ancient Lanna Thai rituals of Samanayakaya where the gloomy Rasri become bright with merit. Kumanthong Thep Phanom, as an angel, will perform the prestige by helping believers in various positive aspects. Unfortunately, owing to high effectiveness and demand, Kumarnthong Thep Phanom becomes one of the most imitated Kumanthong images after those made and consecrated by Luang Phor Teh.

Watthuk Mongkhun loon Sudthai Phra Mongkhon Wisut

His Venerable continued his virtuous endeavours right up to his final days. In Buddhist year 2551, His Venerable made and consecrated the last batch of sacred objects (Watthuk Mongkhun loon Sudthai Phra Mongkhon Wisut) to raise funds for Wat Choeng Wai, Pak Than Subdistrict, Bang Rachan District, Singburi Province for the construction of the Buddha Trai Rattanakosin (Luang Por To) image measuring lap width 20 meters and height 43 meters costing 20 million baht whilst the overall project inclusive of pillars, archways and et cetera amounted to another 5 million baht. The direct temple rental prices for Watthuk Mongkhun loon Sudthai Phra Mongkhon Wisut begins from 5,000 baht to 1 million baht. Some of these sacred objects are still available at Wat Tha Champi at old prices.

After serving the Sangha for 83 years, Kruba Duangdee entered parinibbāna at the age 104 years old on February 6, 2553. The former abbot of Wat Tha Champi, San Pa Tong District, Chiang Mai Province, was the longest-lived famous monk in Lanna Thai. The passing of His Venerable has caused rental prices for sacred objects made and consecrated by His Venerable skyrocketing. At the same time, it has also led to counterfeit products flooding the market.

Goddess of Earth Mae Tollani

History of Mae Tollani

People familiar with Thai Buddhism and culture will have already noticed that there are many Goddesses within the belief system. The most commonly seen Goddess in Thailand is perhaps the Goddess of Fortune Mae Nangkwak whose statues are seen in most shops and stalls across the country. However, in this article, we are going to talk about the Earth Goddess who has existed prior to Buddhism and who has been widely worshipped since the period known as Sasana Phi and hitherto.

Painting of Mae Tollani on the wall in front of the principal Buddha image in the Ubosot, Chom Phu Wek Temple, Mueang District, Nonthaburi Province.

The belief in Earth Goddess as a primordial anthropomorphic celestial deity was almost common throughout ancient civilizations from East to West. To the Greeks, she was known as Gaia; to the Aztecs, she was Goddess Toci; to Indo-Europeans, she was known either as Demeter or Semele; to the native Americans, she was known as Atira; to the Chinapeople, she was known as Dimu; to the Indonesians, she was known as Ibu Pertiwi; in India, she was known either as Prithvi or Dharti Mata, and et cetera. To the modern people today, she is simply called Mother Earth. Therefore, it can be said that the Earth Goddess has been with human beings since time immemorial and prior to the creation of religions.

Calling Earth to Witness

The huge and beautiful Mae Tallani image enshrined in Wat Ban Ai, Si Dong Yen, Chai Prakan District, Chiang Mai.

The Earth Goddess is Phra Sri Suwanthara or popularly known as Mae Tollani to the Thais. The most popular reference to Mae Tollani in Buddhism is the chapter known as “Calling Earth to Witness.” The chapter depicts Lord Buddha’s final stage towards enlightenment under the bodhi tree when Mara, accompanied by his warriors and daughters, attempted to drive Lord Buddha from His throne. The dark forces were so aggressive that they managed to terrify all Gods and sent them scurrying away, leaving Lord Buddha to face the devils all by Himself.

Lord Buddha stretched down his right hand and touched the earth (known as the Māravijaya or mara vichai posture), summoning the Goddess of Earth to be His witness. Mae Tollani appeared in the form of a beautiful young woman and avowed Lord Buddha’s right. When the devil forces remained adamant, Mae Tollani twisted her long cascading hair and torrents of water collected from the innumerable donatives libations over the ages created a flood which washed Mara and his army away.

Somdej Channa Manbandal Sapo made and consecrated by Luang Phor Thongdaam, Wat Tham Thapian Thong in Buddhist year 2552

The Māravijaya or mara vichai posture where the seated Buddha puts His right hand casually on His knee cap with fingers pointing towards to the ground, and His other hand on His lap with His eyes either closed or looking down to the ground became known as “subduing Mara.” Buddha images in that posture are associated with the power of invincibility, warding away evil, success, victory, and great wealth. The most popular sacred object of this category originating from a temple is the Somdej Channa Manbandal Sapo made and consecrated by Luang Phor Thongdaam, Wat Tham Thapian Thong in Buddhist year 2552. The amulet depicts Lord Buddha in the mara vichai posture under the bodhi tree with Mae Tollani under the throne and Mae Bosok on the rear of the amulet.

This 5″ Mae Tollani image made and consecrated by Luang Phor Kuay’s temple, Wat Kositaram in Buddhist year 2553 has been voted to be the most beautiful and exquisite Mae tollani’s images created in modern time.

At the same time, the name Mae Tollani appears in many Thai literature, such as the book of the First Mahachat sermon (the Vessantara, Jataka), Lilit Taleng Phai and etc. with different names, such as the Mae Tollani and Phra Mae Vasuntharapsutha which all possess the same meaning – owner of wealth. The chapter “Calling Earth to Witness” has also influenced the outlook of Mae Tollani whereby her image is created with her twisting her long cascading hair. According to various Thai reviews, the most expensive and effective image of Mae Tollani ever made and consecrated in modern days is that of Luang Phor Pae of Wat Pikulthong whereas, in terms of beauty and exquisiteness, the unanimous vote went to the image from Luang Phor Kuay’s temple, Wat Kositaram.

Rituals and Traditions in Construction

Paying homage to Mae Tollani plays an important role in Thai Buddhism and Thai culture.  Before the commencement of anything, homage has to be paid to Mae Tollani first because she is the guardian who sustains the land from which everything in this world is born. This is particularly so pertaining to works requiring pounding, digging, drilling, and hitting the ground. It is believed that these activities not only disturb Mae Tollani but also other spirits, especially the Nagas. Therefore, in some temples there are also four Nagas statues enshrined together with Mae Tollani.

This 5″ Mae Tollani image was made and consecrated by Luang Pu Hong, Wat Petburi in Buddhist year 2556.

There is no universal ritual in this regards. It varies according to the various schools of thoughts. People from different provinces may also have their own traditions as well. Therefore, whatever procedures elaborated in this article is by no means authoritative and/or exhaustive but a mere window into the belief system.

Relocation of Mae Tollani

Generally, prior to any building construction, homage has to be made to Mae Tollani whereby a “petition” for the intended activities is “submitted” to Mae Tollani seeking her approval, forgiveness and blessing. This is followed by the ritual of “Relocation of Mae Tollani” known commonly as the relocation ceremony. This ceremony can either be very grand or merely symbolic depending on individuals. In the least, the property owner will bring a pair of joss sticks, a yellow candle, a pair of jasmine garland on a pedestal or a silver bowl into the middle of the courtyard where the house would be built and recite a spell (usually under the guidance of a guru). After the recitation is completed, the joss sticks and candle will be placed on the west side of the area where the house is to be built.

Offerings to Mae Tollani

Immediately following the relocation ceremony is the ritual of offerings. The property owner will present offerings to Mae Tollani in 5 containers (trays), namely, (a) 5 pairs of white flowers except Champa flowers; (b) 1 bowl of rain water; (c) 1 comb; (d) 1 ripe banana; (e) 1 hard-boiled egg; and (f) five bowls consisting of white flowers and 5 pairs of white candles each with matches. The person who performs the ceremony will hold the 5 bowls while those who attend the ceremony will walk behind the person who performs the ritual to the ceremonial area. The property owner will then light two candles and place them on the five bowls and raise the five bowls up to about his chest level. He will make another recitation after which all offerings will be moved to a place where no one will step on them. This completes the relocation ceremony.

The most popular Mae Tollani image in Senam Luang Park opposite the Royal Hotel at the end of Ratchadamnoen Klang avenue was built in Buddhist year 2460 during the reign of Rama VI .

Most people will proceed to initiate the ritual of “Perd Tollani” or ground opening immediately after offerings to Mae Tollani. “Perd Tollani” means a ritual pertaining to working the ground that serves as a prelude to the commencement of construction work. However, according to Luang Phor Somjit’s linage, we will conduct a “Wai Kru” ritual to pay homage to our ancestral teachers, Rheesis, and Gods in-between these two ceremonies.

There will also be other rituals pertaining to the selection of direction, the raising of the main pillar or setting of the foundation stone, and et cetera but which are all-in-all beyond the purview of this article.

Similarly, in the process of buying and selling properties, renovation, and moving into a new home, homage and offerings are also made to Mae Tollani to ensure all transactions and works go on smoothly and people moving into a new house will enjoy peace, good health and prosperity.

Phitti Boon Nang Din

In Northern Thailand, there are also various rituals relating to Mae Tollani that are regarded as traditions and the most important being “Phitti Boon Nang Din.” This is a very complicated ceremony involving various homage and rituals to different Gods including Mae Tollani, Mae Khongkha, Mae Bosok and other Gods involved in the process of planting rice.

As we now know, Mae Tollani is the guardian Goddess of Earth and rice planting involves working on the earth so it is inevitable that homage to Mae Tollani has to be conducted. But what about Mae Khongkha? Well, the history of Mae Khongkha is beyond the scope of this article but suffice to state herein that she is the sister of Phra Mae Uma (Lord Shiva’s wife and Lord Ganesha’s mother). Mae Khongkha is responsible for the water element that can either be a creative or destructive source for which rice planting is intrinsically dependent upon. Hence, it is necessary to pay homage to Mae Khongkha as well. Whereas Mae Bosok is the guardian of rice and, hence, the primary Goddess involved in “Phitti Boon Nang Din”. Homage will be made to Mae Bosok before and during planting as well as during harvesting.

Mae Tollani as a Witness of Merits

A rare traditional posture of Mae Tollani amulet made and consecrated by eminent guru monk Luang Phor Pern, Wat Bangplad, Bangplad, Nakhon Chai Si District, Nakhon Pathom in Buddhist year 2545.

Pursuant to the chapter “Calling Earth to Witness” the Goddess of Earth Mae Tollani has been revered as an impartial witness of merits in all rituals and ceremonies. Practitioners of the inner path, especially “Wethmon Khao,” often pay homage to and invite Mae Tollani as a witness, a protector, or a facilitator in their chants and rituals. Many rituals cannot succeed without her approval and help. Even in the creation of “nammoon Mae Tollani” or holy water to drive away negative energies and evil, practitioners will have to dedicate 21 days of prayers to Mae Tollani.

The “kruad nam” or water libation ritual is said to have a long tradition going back to the time of Lord Buddha where merits are dedicated to immotals, mortals, and deceased.

Mae Tollani is also the principal Goddess overseeing the “Kruad Nam” or water libation ritual that forms an essential part of almost all ceremonies in Thailand, for examples, merit making, “sedok krok” or extracting bad luck, wedding, funeral, and et cetera where water is deposited into the earth through Mae Tollani as an impartial witness. For those who have participated in the water libation ritual, you will remember hearing the monks begin the chant with “Yatha Wariwaha Pura Paripurenti Sakarang …” and you will start pouring water without interruption, dedicating merits to the intended benefactor(s) both seen and/or unseen. It is believed that water and earth are the mediators between the human world and the other worlds, especially afterlife. The water libation ritual is said to have a long tradition going back to the time when Lord Buddha taught King Bimbisarn to pour water (Thaksinotok) onto the ground to dedicate merits to deceased relatives. In this regard, it has become something that has been adhered to for generations.

Worshipping Mae Tollani

This rare 9″ Mae Tollani image made and consecrated by top guru monk Luang Phor Pae, Wat Pikulthong, in Buddhist year 2532 has been voted to be most expensive but effective.

It is believed that worshipping a genuinely consecrated image of Mae Tollani at home or in an office will bring about harmony, happiness, good fortune and wealth. At the same time, she will protect the territory from negative energies and dispel all evil. For the general believers the process is simply as follows:

Prepare the followings:

1. Five kinds of fruit (preferably including young coconut and banana)

2. Three colours satin fabric

3. Yellow or orange flowers

4. Seven kinds of sweets

5. Rice, hard boiled eggs

6. Water, milk, red sago

7. Betel nuts 

8. Light 21 joss sticks and 9 candles 

The chant of Mother Earth

(Namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammasambuddhassa 3 times)

Tassa Kesi Sato Yathaganga Sotang Pavattanti Marasena

Patitatung Parimanubhavena Marasena Parachija Nisonisang

Palayanti Withangsenti Asesato Sathu Sathu Sathu Sathu

Sangkhatang Lotangavitu Tantiputting Namo Putthaya Namapata

Panmare Chino Nato Patto Sambodhimuttamang Catusacchan Pakaseti

Dhammacakkan Pavattayi Etena Saccavajjena Hotu Mechayamangalang

Repeat the chant 3 times and if possible chant it 21 times because the strength of Mae Tollani is 21. After the chant has been completed, say your prayers.


在這科學和科技皆發達的二十一世紀談論鬼怪,照常理聽起來應該是挺愚昧的,但事實上到底是如此嗎?根據 2020 年皮尤研究中心的調查,估計只有 16% 全球人口將自己視為是無神論者或不可知論者,也就是說,世界上84%的人口 或65.5億人都有某宗教信仰。從這些數字可以看出,不信鬼神的人是事實上是佔少數。更何況,人嘛,大多數攏口不對心,人前人後表裡不一,嘴講佮心想的嘛三不五時無仝款。說不相信鬼神的人當真不相信嗎?

泰國是少數幾個製作最好恐怖電影的國家之一,然而,對鬼神信仰並不是泰國獨有的,相反,它是大多數文化的基石。YouGov 在 2019 年 10 月進行的一項民意調查發現,至少 45% 的美國人相信鬼怪,而 2014 年 10 月進行的一項類似民意調查發現,至少34% 的英國人也相信鬼怪,而且這些數字在 35 歲以下人群中正在不停穩步上升。過去 10 年進行的其他調查也顯示,68% 45 歲以下的新加坡人都相信鬼怪,而相比之下,幾乎每個泰國人和台灣人都深信鬼怪。 然而,鬼神的存在與否和其有效性是真實還是純粹迷信,該由你本人形成自己的觀點,因為這畢竟是你自己的個人信仰和經歷,除了你自己之外,沒有其他人可以代發任何聲明。


在科技發達的 21 世紀,鬼神信仰到底要如何衡量? 有許多佛教學者拒絕精靈相關的問題,他們認為生死輪迴是瞬間的事,也就是說,當一個人臨死的那一刻,呼吸他最後一口氣時,他的“心”立即找到了一個受其思想制約的【身體】。同樣也有其他佛教學者聲稱,投生於不同的存在位面,都是在心中,也就是說,投生直到覺悟都是在一個生命循環中完成的,實際上根本沒有真正的投生或輪迴的存在。

我們不確定他們命題的前提,我們沒有在任何佛經中找到可支持以上的兩種聲稱,更別說是佛陀的教誨。 然而,我們觀察到的是,這兩個命題有一個共同的名稱,在心理學中,稱為“思想流”。 第一個命題可以定義為【幻想】,第二個命題可以定義為【白日夢】。 如果這樣的命題在佛教中具有任何實際性,那麼理解四聖諦、緣起論、業力法則和修行八正道將不可避免地都成為浪費時間和一種嘲弄。 可不是嗎? 佛教面對死亡的精髓是戰勝對未知的恐懼,而不幸的是,上述兩種命題皆通過形成一條逃生路線來面對死亡和輪迴所帶來的未知、恐懼和焦慮。當然,這條逃生路線要為人容易接受自然就得接近舒適區,就像幻想和白日夢一樣輕鬆愉快。 嗨!歹勢,那根本就不是佛學、佛理,講卡歹聽,這簡直是一種病態!


從第 33 頻道放映的曼谷鬼故事中提取的照片

科學家們試圖根據大腦中的錯誤活動來揭穿和解釋超自然現象的經歷。 他們通常將這種經歷歸因於某種形式的神經創傷,例如,物體自身移動可能與大腦視覺處理中心特定區域(稱為枕葉)的某些故障有關; 某些形式的癲癇,一種中樞神經系統疾病,可能會引起幽靈般的感覺,例如看不見的存在; 疲勞、藥物、酒精和燈光效果的任何組合也可能導致單一和孤立的超自然遭遇體驗。 這些科學教條可能有些道理,但未必完全是正確的。

如果沒有檢測到腦損傷又怎樣? 那麼它一定是某種形式的認知或情緒障礙,否則,答案一定是【起痟】。這些科學協議受到機構的熱心保護,但同時卻犧牲了經歷超自然活動的人們的福祉。因為害怕被污名化並致力於某些精神病院,經歷超自然活動的人顯然不敢坦誠。但是,話又得說回來,在多數的情況下,所謂的超自然活動經歷確實屬於某種精神或心裡的問題,但因為上訴原因或一般迷信因素,許多人求助於非醫療途徑,因此,往往上了一些神棍的當。在醫療和宗教幫助之間必須有一個正確的平衡,這一切都體現在從業者的道德規範上。


研究宗教的心理學家利用和擴展了弗洛伊德的【防護罩】概念來解釋對神靈的信仰。防護罩的作用是作為個人外部世界和內部世界之間的動態屏障,以及將那些無法控制的事物歸咎於某些可以統稱為迷信的虛幻力量的心態。 例如,尋求神明的幫助以確保工作; 祈求愛人早日康復; 或佩戴神聖物品以增強魅力等。

別忘了,科學是一個學習和發現的過程,並且已經一次又一次地證明,最初被認為是科學正確和結論性的事物,在幾十年後卻變成了錯誤的判斷。讓我們以優生學為例吧! 在過去,在某種程度上,即使是現在,有部分的學者都認為智力是遺傳的,但根據科學本身的標準,經證明優生學在科學上是有缺陷的,且是毫無意義的。 真正影響一個正常人的智力因素,最重要的是環境。 那為什麼有些學者還堅持和宣傳這樣的錯誤信念呢? 答案很明顯,不是嗎? 這一切都歸結為政治和歧視。 如果您相信優生學,那麼您自然也該讚美納粹主義。 在這種情況下,究竟是誰拿著防護罩呢?




儘管如此,在這篇文章中,我們將不談論鬼,而是要探索泰國人所謂的“維亞塔瑪查”即自然靈體。在我們之前的文章“瞭解泰國佛教”中,我們簡要地提及[夜叉]的方式談到了這個話題。當然,有無數人已經並將繼續爭辯說,[夜叉]是印度教加詞,而非佛教鬼神類別。然而,儘管佛教和印度教之間的夜叉信仰有重疊,但上述主張實際上是有缺陷和不真實的,因為自然靈體信仰的起源,早於我們目前所知的任何宗教傳統之先。從東方到西方,幾乎所有原始文明和社會都發現了自然靈體信仰跡象。 現今,對於自然靈體信仰不一致的觀點皆可歸因於各方在宇宙論、本體論和認識論方法上的差異。

自然靈體信仰沒有官方名稱,但泰國人將其描述為【薩薩那批】”或【鬼宗教】。儘管如此,本文不打算深入探討自然靈體信仰的起源,但在此足以說明,根據 藏經、拉塔納經 和 阿塔納提亞經中的 摩訶尼德薩篇,自然靈體或【夜叉】的概念本身構成了佛教的一部分。當我們談論泰國上部座佛教中的【夜叉】時,幾乎很自然地,大多數人會誤以為它指的僅是泰國寺廟中常見的12尊【雅克】守護神。在這 12尊【雅克】守護神中,最著名的是 【帕雅雅克投薩刊】。然而,事實是,在泰國上部座佛教中,【夜叉】指的不是特定類別的神靈,而是一個非常廣泛且龐大的自然鬼神團體。這些鬼神存在於水、土、樹、石頭、山脈、洞穴等中,他們可以像一些守護神一樣善良和仁慈,也可以頑皮、任性、甚至徹底如同惡魔般邪惡。由於他們不同的特徵和個性,他們通常被稱為【阿曼努煞】,可以是神靈、鬼魂、鬼怪、惡魔或魔鬼。

在本文中,我們不會進行探索廣泛的自然靈體,而只關注【南脈】即樹精一項。 【南脈】可以是居住在大樹,尤其是古樹中的神靈、精靈、鬼魂、或惡魔。 換句話說,【南脈】居住的樹木被視為它們的家園,因此它們會保護自己的家園不被人類破壞。 當人類篡改或有意砍伐被【南脈】佔居的樹木時,它們就不得不展示自己的力量,讓人們知道他們的存在,以警告和阻止人們破壞他們的家園。 各國都有流傳著無數樹精的故事,人們在砍伐了一些傳說中被樹精【附身】的樹木後,一般都生病、發瘋甚至死亡。

精可以是雄性也可以是雌性,但在泰國,它通常被描繪成一個美麗的年輕女子,頭髮齊肩,身著傳統服飾,肩披帶有【薩拜】。 沒有闡明雄性樹精的原因可能與性別之間性慾的抑制立場有關。 【南脈】的故事和電影通常以某種性關係為中心,因此在泰國這樣的父系制度社會中,刺激女性性幻想是一種禁忌。 所以,本文將撇開性和性別歧視的話題,繼續依照一般假設把樹精當作都是雌性的。


據說塔潛樹高可達45米,樹幹根部直徑可達4.5米寬。 一些 數百年的老塔潛樹, 蔓延高大的樹幹總是給人一種陰森恐怖的感覺,傳說這些老塔潛樹裡面居住的非神既鬼怪。 泰國人深信 塔潛樹通常都被某靈體佔有, 如果樹幹滲出的汁液越多,便更有可能有靈體附居在裡面。 泰國人稱居住在 塔潛樹中的靈體為【湄塔潛】或 【南塔潛】。


到底是否每棵塔潛樹都有一個靈體?沒有人可以肯定,但是要砍伐一棵塔潛樹,尤其是一棵幾十年以上的塔潛樹,砍伐者通常必須執行一個儀式,要求湄塔潛搬遷到一個新的地方去。砍伐塔潛樹而不進行這種儀式的人通常會受到懲罰,他們不是疾病、就是精神錯亂,有的甚至暴斃。相反的,對於那些表現出尊重的人,湄塔】通常會賜給他們好運和財富。由於 湄塔潛喜怒無常的本性,很難將她描述為固定的神靈或鬼怪,因此,在泰國上部坐佛教來說,一般都使用【阿曼努煞】一詞來形容它。



在紅通省沙灣區 實布爾通分區的 瓦橋卡昌佛寺內,有一尊高 5 米、半徑 1.5 米寬的塔潛木雕像,塑像一位身著傳統蘭納泰族服飾、飾有 闢克悟花卉圖案和精美珠寶的婦女。根據寺廟方丈 帕庫•維文•沃拉佤的說法,供奉在寺廟亭閣中的雕像被稱為【湄•橋•帕凱通】或【昭湄塔潛】。它是由分區行政組織從 實布爾通池塘中發現的塔潛木所雕刻而成,木材年齡可追溯到 德瓦拉瓦蒂時期。請注意,一旦被僧侶開光並供奉在寺廟中,湄塔潛的地位就會從【阿曼努煞】提升為【昭】即天神。


泰國人相信塔潛木本身具有天然磁場,許多由塔潛木雕刻而成的聖物被認為具有強大神秘力量,故備受追捧。 在佛曆 2550 年,沙木沙空府孟沙木沙空縣塔查洛姆區的瓦蘇提佤瓦拉南佛寺【瓦崇隆】製作並開光了一批佛牌,這些佛牌是用在其寺廟中挖掘所得的古代塔潛木材雕刻而成的。

同時,也有其他佛寺用塔潛木製作並開光各種佛牌。例如,在佛曆 2551 年,瓦農博佛寺製作並開光了一批神僧鑾波德恩的佛牌。


除了供奉於紅通省沙灣區實布爾通分區瓦橋卡昌佛寺的【湄塔潛】雕像外,如果您向東北方向行駛約 548 公里(從曼谷出發約 7-8 個小時),到達四色菊府的甫信縣,再往瓦般泰塔翁佛寺,您會發現 3 尊由該佛寺住持龍波文松•帕耙苟採用從寺廟的大院中挖掘出來的塔潛木親手雕製而成的巨大的神像。

於佛曆2554 年發掘的第一棵 塔潛樹被該佛寺住持龍波文松•帕耙苟親手雕刻成 【趙湄塔潛】 雕像,也稱為 【娘•橋•葩屯】。 後於佛曆2562 年,村民又在池塘中發現了第二棵塔潛 樹幹, 然而,村民們連續 七 天試圖將樹幹吊起來,但卻沒有成功。 因此,他們邀請龍波文松舉辦了一個儀式,向 【湄塔潛】呈上供品和祈禱,徵求湄塔潛同意後,樹幹便成功被吊起。

村民發現從池塘吊起來的塔潛木樹幹有被火燒燬的跡象,推測可能在落水前被雷擊重過,因此樹幹表面非常粗糙。 龍波文松 建議將樹幹雕刻成 14 米長、1 米寬的 鱷魚神,將粗糙的表面變成 帕亞•喬•拉赫 堅硬的鱗片。 帕亞•喬•拉赫 被命名為【阿拉卡當】,據信信徒從鱷魚神嘴裡走進,再從它的尾部走出來,將有助於驅散所有不好的元素並帶來好運。

邵•維蘇萬雕像高約9米,底座寬約5米。 他的右手拿著一根帶有狗頭的法杖,左手拿著一個發光的球體。 邵•維蘇萬也被稱為【帕松坡】,是所有惡魔的將軍。 他是人類世界的四大天王之一,居住北天,東天有邵•投特 或【帕尹】即持國天王,南天有邵•威閠哈克或【帕雍】即增長天王,還有邵•威儒帕克或【帕瓦倫】即廣目天王鎮守西天。


當我們談論【弓蕉鬼】時,泰國、馬來西亞、新加坡和印度尼西亞都有類似的故事。 在泰國,弓蕉鬼被稱為【皮塔尼】或【南塔尼】,是一種自然之鬼魅,而在馬來西亞和新加坡,印度尼西亞則分別稱為【彭啼阿娜】和【昆啼阿娜】,指的是 附在香蕉樹的鬼魂,多數是不幸死去的孕婦鬼魂。 無論是先天還是後天所致,弓蕉鬼都不過是一些鬼魅之類。

根據泰國青年百科全書第 13 卷,【南塔尼】 的定義如下:

【香蕉樹是老一輩人熟知的 拍南塔尼的聚集地。 相傳,其面容清秀,身姿芬芳,長髮飄飄,手心淡紅,腳底似鴿,嘴唇是成熟葫蘆的顏色。 如果香蕉有豐滿的莖,那麼  拍南塔尼的身材也會很豐滿; 如果有一個透明的樹幹,那麼  拍南塔尼的身材就會很苗條。】

因為 南塔尼是鬼魅之類,所以泰國人不在家附近種植 【塔尼】香蕉樹。 在切割塔尼香蕉葉來使用時,也有一定的規則要遵守。 禁止切斷包括假莖在內的整片葉子, 要嘛只修剪香蕉葉,要不只切斷中肋,使假莖和明顯的樹幹完好無損。 若切斷假莖和/或明顯樹乾就像切入 南塔尼的房子, 那是不祥之兆,家裡很快就會有人死亡。 這似乎是依據使用三片香蕉葉支撐棺材底部的古老格言所演變而成的傳說, 現在已經很少人會用香蕉葉壓棺底了,最多也只在棺蓋頂部使用香蕉葉工藝品。


在某些地方,出於各種原因,有些人會舉行儀式來安撫 南塔尼。 使用的物品包括白絲、豬頭、甜味菜餚、米飯、鮮花、香燭、香水和各種香料,如檀香等。在香蕉花上綁上戒指和金項鍊作為裝飾品,後在香蕉樹幹上纏著一塊紅布。 通常,儀式是要求南塔尼不要傷害而反過來保護房子裡的人獲得好運。 有時也會有人邀請僧侶為 南塔尼祈禱並做功德。

然而,有些不道德的巫師將相信有南塔尼居住的香蕉樹上的花採摘下來,在陽光下曬乾,然後研磨成粉末並與誦過經的粉末混合,用來迷惑人。 有時,巫師也會將香蕉花粉放入蜂蜜和/或口紅中讓一些人用以吸引異性。

召喚南塔尼的手法真是千奇百怪,有的更是低級到令人唾棄。最可悲的是歪曲了傳統宋卡人與精靈樹結合的儀式。據說,一個知道 南塔尼存在於某棵香蕉樹上的單身漢,每天晚上到那棵樹前,用他的生殖器在那棵香蕉樹的根部摩擦,同時對 南塔尼說一些調情的話,直到她被喚醒時,拿刀將香蕉樹的根部切開根莖,將該根莖雕刻成一個女人的雕像,然後放在一個木製的容器裡,連續幾天,每天早晚都要供養和誦經,直到南塔尼的鬼魂出現在他的夢中,該男子將娶南塔尼為妻,她將反過來幫助他繁榮昌盛。這種做法對一些心術不正之徒具有相當吸引力,但他們卻不知自己的無知背後附有什麼代價。據泰國智慧寶庫記載,“鬼南塔尼喜歡勾引男人,嫉妒心極強。如果一個與她發生性關係的男人和另一個女人發生性關係,南塔尼會立即跟隨並在嫉妒的憤怒下折斷那個男人的脖子。”

我們留意到各種各樣的南塔尼術品在互聯網上已經流傳了好一段時間,但在泰國佛教領域中卻從未見過有如此之術品。 對於我們詢問的眾多泰國人來說,他們和我們一樣感到困惑和好笑。 他們皆說,沒有一個心智正常的泰國人會佩戴鬼一類的術品,相反,如果一個親近的人被懷疑是【玩鬼】的話,他們通常會邀請僧侶或【摩皮】來幫助終止這種背德行為和關係,並將功德迴向給南塔尼,願她能安息。 此外,鬼魂的行動範圍是被限制在發現它們的特定區域內,它們不能自由地從一個地方移動到另一個地方, 例如,即使鄰居家鬧鬼,鬼也不能鬧到你家唉!所以,南塔尼又如何能陪人們到處趴趴走呢?

根據我們向多位神靈派高德的求教,他們都一致說,這種低級物品有違泰國上部座佛教概念和精神,一般都是奸商專門為不懂泰國佛教的外國人特意製作的產品。這類東西在泰國本土沒有市場 . 對泰國人來說,佛教不僅是一種宗教,更是一種生活方式, 所以大多數泰國人都瞭解業力法則,他們瞭解由“齊塔納”(巴利文【意圖】的意思)驅動的行為將導致未來的後果。 換句話說,每一個行為都有代價,也是今生和輪迴中重生的決定因素。 玩弄低等物只會導致這一生的不詳結局,如果不是悲劇的話,故為泰國佛教徒不取之。

那麼佩戴【弓蕉鬼】到底有多靈驗? 老實說,我們不知道,但佩戴者肯定有他們自己的一套說法。


我們前文提到宋卡人與精靈結合的古老習俗,該習俗根源可追溯到 300-400 年前。 習俗集中在一座古老的寺廟瓦瑪孟佛寺。 這座寺廟建於公元前 2299 年左右, 它位於宋卡府辛哈納空區薩定模分區的辦孟姆鎮,隸屬大乘僧伽一脈。 那也是【超湄孟通】傳說的發源地, 而傳說有兩個版本,它們如下。

根據第一個版本,超湄孟通是亞產 和塔真 的女兒,她捐贈了建造她房屋的土地用於建造一座寺廟,死後,她多次出現在村民面前,告訴他們她居住在寺廟大院的那棵巨大的芒果樹內。 她身著的傳統服飾,手鐲、腳鍊、項鍊和髮簪等全是由黃金製作而成,因此村民稱她為【湄孟通】,字面意思是“金芒果媽媽”。 當村民們開始向芒果樹供養時,她便為村民治癒各種疾病和疾苦。

第二個版本記載在宋卡與文化之書, 據說:“那空是貪瑪叻省省長的女兒被強盜俘虜,被搶劫殺害,屍體被藏在一個大芒果樹幹的空洞中。該女後來奇蹟般地反覆出現,直到村民開始尊重並獻祭 她。”

超湄孟通多次出現在村民面前,讓他們看到和夢到,讓他們知道她居住在 瓦瑪孟佛寺內的大芒果樹裡。 隨後,村民們便開始在大芒果樹前獻祭趙湄孟通。 村民們最獨特的感恩文化是願望實現後便與超湄孟通結合。

然而,與精靈結合的起源記載卻不詳。 有人說,這可能歸因於中國移民的做法,因為中國人有個迷信,如果家裡的孩子得了重病,不如【奉獻】孩子,讓他成為神靈的傳人,即讓孩子成為神靈的【契囝】或【契查某囝】。 因此,演變成要使家庭與精靈有親戚關係,就必須舉行婚禮。

不知何故,這種儀式漸漸變成了一種習俗,即一個已經成熟但尚未出家做和尚之前的男人(泰國習俗,男孩子成年後必須短暫出家),都必須與 湄孟通 結婚。 然而,這與 弓蕉鬼有關的低級巫術大不相同,在宋卡拉人與精靈結合的儀式下,並不存有骯髒和低賤的性幻想,即使與 湄孟通 結合後,男人仍然可以像正常人一樣娶一個真正的女人為妻,而不會遭到湄孟通的報復。 因此,與 湄孟通結合就變成一個必須通過的家族傳承儀式。 和 湄孟通結合的婚禮方式與正常的人之間的婚禮相同,但是,只能在週二和週六舉行。 另一個獨特的現象是新郎必須穿著傳統服裝並攜帶匕首, 舉行傳統的【堪嗎】遊行。 儀式結束時,村裡的每一個人都會分得一碗粉絲湯。 順便說一句,如果一個女人得到了湄孟通的幫助,她也會打扮成男人和美孟通舉行婚禮。

局外人傾向於將這種習俗視為純粹的迷信, 然而,在社會學家的觀點,這種看似【怪異】的風俗實際上是社會凝聚力的體現,也是定居在辛哈納空區的各種種族和宗教的融合。 在泰國記者協會發表的一篇文章中,社會學家勸告評論家在做出任何價值判斷之前,要超越表面,深入研究宋卡府的歷史和人口統計數據,尤其是辦孟姆鎮。 經過深入觀察和分析便會發現,與精靈結合的婚禮是不同種族各種傳統的融合,比如新郎的服飾代表上部座佛教和泰國人,新郎手持的匕首【克里斯】是伊斯蘭教的象徵, 粉絲湯是中國人的食物等等。 因此,習俗本身俱有豐富的社會文化底蘊,而非表面看來的迷信。

[蛇靈大師 ]龍波普



龍波本在曼谷 瓦耐鴻佛寺主持開光儀式時所拍攝。

大多數泰國佛教徒都熟悉龍波本的虎靈咒語,龍波本也因此獲得[虎靈大師]的美號。有關龍波本的中文文章一般都把[虎靈大師] 誤譯為[伏虎羅漢],精通虎靈法術與降伏老虎根本是兩回事,但在本文中,我們將不對此誤解多加進行批評,我們主要是為您介紹龍波普和大師的靈蛇咒語。

[蛇靈大師 ]龍波普

龍波普的本名是普,姓氏 漢莎麥。 他於 佛曆2453 年 11 月 9 日出生在佛統府那空猜是區的 班帕分區。 他父親叫康,母親叫潘。 他是五個兄弟姐妹家庭中的第二個孩子。 他從小就在 瓦班帕佛寺接受教育。

普,當時大師的名稱,在二十歲時被徵召入伍軍隊。 他曾在皇家衛隊服役了兩年,然後返鄉幫助家中的農場事務。 他將多年的佛學學識融入村民的社會,幫助他們培養佛教社區的倫理道德,贏得了村民的尊重和信任。 隨後,他被任命為瓦拉姆分區的[普亞班]即村長。 在徵得父母同意出家之前,他勤奮地為村民服務了五年。

於佛曆2489 年 4 月 1 日,普結束了世俗生涯,正式拜在泛靈派大宗師龍普印•引達崇彤門下,在瓦班帕佛寺遁入空門。 龍普印賜普法號帕普•孫達洛。 在龍普印細心的指導和教導下,帕普•孫達洛在佛學和佛法方面皆表現卓出,並於 佛曆2491 年獲得了佛學雙碩士學位。 同時,大師也掌握了龍普印傳授的法術,尤其物靈咒語。 但是,帕普•孫達洛覺得僅僅學習和掌握佛學和法術是不夠的,同時,他主張接觸和實習的重要性。 於是,他拜別恩師,下山進行“土東”即苦修。 在此期間,他還從瓦大空佛寺的龍普兼 和瓦斯里薩通佛寺的 龍普耐處繼承了古曼童的製作和開光法術。

於佛曆2532 年,龍波普製作並開光的站立的古曼金佛童。

在佛曆 2495 年,瓦康班帕佛寺第五任住持大師涅槃,僧侶和村民聯合邀請帕普•孫達洛擔任這座歷史悠久的古佛寺住持。瓦康班帕佛寺建造於拉瑪一世統治期間,約佛曆1783 年左右,是一座臘塔那哥欣時代的歷史建築。因此,於 佛曆2495 年 6 月 7 日,帕普•孫達洛被正式任命為瓦康班帕佛寺的住持,並被稱為怕阿占普•孫達洛,隨後受封為 順德帕普達叩薩佔•孫通無敵坤。

根據教育部宗教事務司的記錄,瓦康班帕佛寺是建於 佛曆1819 年左右,而非佛曆 1783 年。建立的位置是[溺佛] 遺址。 相傳佛曆2300年左右,在緬甸人入侵時,一艘從湄南河到班帕運河,載有佛像、菩提樹、朝臣和村民的船傾覆了, 佛像沉入了河中,菩提樹卻從班帕運河漂流到西瑪哈坡分區,並在那裡生長。 該地點位於瓦班帕佛寺和瓦西瑪哈坡佛寺之間,這也是瓦康班帕佛寺名稱的由來。 因此,寺廟中出現的古遺址和遺蹟是龍波普特別重視保存和/或修復的寶貴歷史文物。


瓦康班帕佛寺內有一尊用馬賽克瓷磚裝飾的大型佛像,是由龍波普於 佛曆2524 年建造並開光的[驚魔] 佛陀神像,類似製服魔王的意思。 這尊大佛被稱為龍波雅。 在巨大龍波雅神像內,有 99 尊9 英吋膝寬的佛像。


自佛曆2524 年以來,龍波雅每年都吸引了成百上千的信徒。 當他們的祈願得賞後,他們開始稱龍波雅為[圓賞佛陀],即龍波頌旺。 每次祈禱得賞後,信徒們都會用雞蛋和豬頭做為供品答謝神恩。 只需看看照片中豬頭的數量,便可知龍波頌旺的靈驗。



這是 佛历2528 年製作並开光的龍波普 5 英寸膝寬神像。


這是 佛曆2505 年製作並開光的龍波普本人首批銅牌。



然而,龍波普製作和開光的昂貴聖物卻屬於那些非傳統且含神異性的聖物。 如前所述,龍波普和龍波本都源於泛靈派大宗師龍普印•引達崇彤,然而,他們每個人在專業上的表現都大不相同。 龍波本專攻虎靈法術,而龍波普的專長卻在於蛇靈符咒。


對蛇和娜迦的信仰可以追溯到遠古時代,泰國人更是相信崇拜者將被賦予更好的生活命運。在本文中,我們不會深入研究 帕雅娜迦,但對於那些到過泰國遊玩人來說,你們可能已經留意到泰國各地都建造了許多大型蛇和娜迦的雕像,尤其是在寺廟和神社中更是普遍。例如,叻丕府蛇石山國家公園的大型眼鏡蛇雕像、曼谷拉瑪二世路沿線的昭湄瑽俺公廟、北標府的大蛇神社和寺廟屋頂和樓梯上的眾多娜迦的雕像。事實上,對娜迦的信仰一直是原始佛教的一部分,現在更構成了上座部受戒過程的重要組成部分。您不妨參考我們早前於 2018 年 8 月 23 日發表的關於[泰國南傳佛教受戒儀式] 的文章。


精通蛇靈法術的師傅並不多,更少會用蛇刺製作並開光成稱為[努棱]的護身符 。龍波普是少數精通這門法術的人之一。 蛇刺很少見,因為只有某些年齡的蛇才有蛇刺。 而且,為了將製作成聖物,這些蛇不能被故意或以其他方式殺死。 此外,它們的骨刺它們必須與殘留的股骨完好無損,並且成對出現。 幾十年來,龍波普收集到的蛇刺數量有限,這就解釋了為什麼[努棱]的數量稀少,價格也昂貴。




南無塔薩帕卡瓦托阿拉哈托薩瑪桑普特塔薩 X3

嗡馬哈拿卡娜迦怒馬甲康普啦瑞塔拉勒馬尼瑪瑪 X9


市場上有許多蛇皮護身符,然而,這些護身符再等等條件下都不能以龍波普製作和開光的[帕雅怒]相提並論。根據龍波普當年陳述,故意把蛇殺死以剝取其皮,所得是沒有用的。 因此,通過商業鏈衍產生出的蛇皮護身符,除了裝飾之外沒有其他用途。 為了用蛇皮製作有效的靈蛇護身符並召喚所有類別的蛇靈,蛇必須以昆達里尼冥想姿勢(盤繞)死在洞穴或寺廟中。那是回歸娜迦世界的標誌,因此也是神力的象徵。 是的,這種情況很罕見,很難遇到。 在其 200 多年的歷史中,在瓦康班帕佛寺只出現過一次。 我們目睹的另一件是出現在華富裡府的瓦譚達翩通佛寺內。


蛇皮更需經過九年的誦經,代表一個完整的淨化循環,才能發動四大納迦家族的力量。然後,龍波普在銅板上寫下[靈蛇符咒],再將銅板與蛇皮一起捲成所謂的[帕雅怒]護身符。 它是跨越三個領域的不朽力量的整合,因此,擁有[帕雅怒]護身符意味著富足、財富、吸引力等等神異磁場,最重要的是,它可以守護和保護你的星盤。 蛇皮上的鱗片從暗褐色變為黃色或閃閃發光的金色,這是你持續運程的指標。


南無塔薩帕卡瓦托阿拉哈托薩瑪桑普特塔薩 X3

納蒂當帕雅瑪 娜卡阿批囊娜卡薩涂 濃盤特 雅瑪雅瑪 X9

南無塔薩帕卡瓦托阿拉哈托薩瑪桑普特塔薩 X3

卡亞瓦查吉堂 阿航萬塔 拿卡提博迪 西素陀 維蘇特瓦普者彌 X9


[帕雅鐸]或黃蜂靈的信仰很普遍,它構成了自然神靈信仰的一部分。 有許多泰國寺廟製作和開光帕雅鐸佛牌, 它們通常是一金一銀成對出現。[帕雅鐸]的流傳可歸功於長勝將軍坤平的傳說。據說坤平將軍曾經將素攀武裡府瓦卡爾內佛寺內的羅望子樹葉變成無數的黃蜂。


一般帕雅鐸製作和開光的共同目的是為了招財富和繁榮,正如泰語[艮銅] 字面意思便是金錢和財富。


然而,由龍波普製作和開光的[帕雅鐸]沒有這些招財功能。 由龍波普製作和開光的帕雅鐸只有一個功能,那就是消除小人。 這些帕雅鐸是由[麥塔田] 神木雕刻而成的,這種木材被認為本身俱有神奇的力量,可遇不可求,因此,由龍波普製作和開光的[帕雅鐸]數量自然是有限的。 然而,由於,信徒對[帕雅鐸]的需求量高,現任方丈帕庫•西涂拉空,俗稱為龍波西,重新製作並開光了一批由紅木雕成的[帕雅鐸]共信徒奉請。由龍波西製作和開光的[帕雅鐸]價格當然比較經濟得多了。


龍波本和龍波普師兄弟兩都以其[孔卡盤]或[無敵] 咒語而聞名。 除了在 2528 年製作和開光的木製帕比打之外,還有一批由龍波普採用現代歷史上幾乎聞所未聞的特殊[孔卡盤]儀式製作和開光的佛牌、護身符和布符。這批聖物被稱為[論普刊] 或 [十字槍印]系列。


[論普刊] 開光儀式採用真正的槍支、彈藥和手榴彈堆積在瓦康班帕佛寺大殿中,然後再將佛牌、護身符和布符放在這些武器上進行誦經開光。 這批聖物很受泰國歡迎,而且,泰國各大報紙都報導了許多與此批聖物有關的超自然現象和事蹟。


為僧伽服務52年後,龍波普終於在佛曆2542年1月17日早晨涅槃,享年88歲。龍波普的法身至今尚保留在寺廟內,供公眾禮拜。 許多追隨者和信徒也都奉請了龍波普的銅像回家供奉崇拜。 信徒們相信,供奉崇拜龍波普的神像,充當了龍波普與信徒之間的溝通渠道,同時也能夠提高經龍波普開光聖物的有效性。


南無塔薩帕卡瓦托阿拉哈托薩瑪桑普特塔薩 X3

卡耶那哇加壓 哇加塔薩 嘛嘿薩卡亞

特瓦塔呀 阿闢帕禮堂 伊提帕提哈利刊

普塔瑪吉馬拉美 薩米吉塔薩

普塔帕提忙 普車米航

么吉萬加 蘇卡米叩 蘇卡帕提亞X3

Luang Pu Poot: Master of Snake Spirit

Luang Pu Im Inthachoto, the Great Grandmaster of Animism and teacher to Luang Phor Pern and Luang Phor Poot.

Somdej Phra Buddhakosachan Sunthonwutthikhun, popularly known as Luang Phor Poot Suntharo, former abbot of Wat Klang Bangplad, , and Phra Udom Prachanat Thitkunno, popularly known as Luang Phor Pern, the former abbot of Wat Khok Kham and Wat Bangplad, were two prominent guru monks of Nakhon Chai Si, Nakhon Pathom Province. They were both disciples of Great Grandmaster of Animism Luang Pu Im Inthachoto.

Luang Phor Pern presiding over a consecrating ceremony in Wat Noi Nanghong, Bangkok Noi.

Most Thai Buddhists are familiar with Luang Phor Pern’s tiger spell that earned His Venerable the title “Tiger Spirit Master” but in this article we will introduce you to Luang Phor Poot and His Venerable’s snake spell.

Luang Phor Poot, the Master of Snake Spirit spell.

Luang Phor Poot’s birth name was Poot, surname, Hansamai. He was born on November 9, 2453 in Bangplad Subdistrict, Nakhon Chai Si District, Nakhon Pathom Province. His father’s name was Kham and his mother’s name was Pan. He was the second child in a family of five siblings. From young, he was educated in Wat Bangplad.

Poot, as His Venerable was then known, was conscripted into the army at the age of twenty. He served as a Royal Guard for two years before returning to help in the family’s farm. He brought his years of Buddhist learning into socialization with villagers and helping them cultivate the ethics of a Buddhist community which gained their respect and trust. He was subsequently appointed “phuyai baan” or village head of Wat Lamu Subdistrict. He diligently served the villagers for five years before asking for his parents’ permission to enter monkhood.

On April 1, 2489, Poot cut himself off mundane life and entered the monastic life in Wat Bangplad. He was accepted by Luang Pu Im Inthachoto as disciple and was given the name Suntaro. Under the guidance and teaching of Luang Pu Im , Phra Suntharo excelled in Dhamma and in year 2491, His Venerable earned a double Masters in Dhamma. At the same time, His Venerable also mastered the art of magic, especially in animism, imparted by Luang Pu Im. Phra Suntharo felt an insufficiency in mere learning and mastering both Dhamma and magic. He saw the importance of exposure and practicing. Therefore, he took leave from Wat Bangplad and went on “tudong”. During that period of time, he also inherited the secrets to making and consecrating Kumanthong from Luang Pu Cham of Wat Takong and Luang Pu Noi of Wat Srisathong.

The standing Kumanthong made and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot in year 2532.

In the year 2495, the 5th abbot of Wat Klang Bangplad, a historical Ratanakosin temple built around 1783 during the reign of Rama I, passed over and the resident monks and villagers jointly invited Phra Poot Suntharo to assume the abbotship. Hence, on June 7, 2495 Phra Poot Suntharo was officially appointed the abbot of Wat Klang Bangplad and became known as Phra Ajahn Poot Suntharo, subsequently Somdej Phra Buddhakosachan Sunthonwutthikhun.

According to records from the Department of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Education, Wat Klang Bangplad was built around 1819 in lieu of 1783 on the site of the “drowning Buddha”. It was said that during the Burmese invasion around year 2300, a boat carrying a Buddha image, a bodhi tree, both courtiers and villagers from Chao Phraya River to Bangplad Canal capsized. The Buddha image “drowned” and the bodhi tree floated along the water from Bangplad Canal to Si Maha Pho Sub-district and grew there.  The location was between Wat Bangplad and Wat Si Maha Pho which served as the origin of the name Wat Klang Bangplad. Therefore, the ancient sites and relics that appeared in the temple are valuable historical artefacts which Luang Phor Poot paid special attention to their preservation and/or restoration.

Every weekend, hundreds and thousands of devotees flocked to Wat Klang Bangbplad to worship Luang Phor Somwang.

Inside Wat Klang Bangplad is a large Buddha statue decorated with mosaic tiles created and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot in year 2524. The Buddha is known to “startle the devil” which is analogous to subduing Mara. This large Buddha is called Luang Phor Yai. Inside Luang Phor Yai’s image sits 99 Buddha statues, size 9 inches lap-width.

The photograph extracted from khaosod showed Luang Phor Sri presiding over the ritual where devotees make offerings to Luang Phor Somwang after having their wishes fulfilled.

Since 2524, Luang Phor Yai has attracted hundreds and thousands of devotees annually. As their prayers are fulfilled they began calling Luang Phor Yai the fulfilling Buddha, that is, Luang Phor Somwang. Each time when a prayer is fulfilled, devotees will make offerings with eggs and pig’s head. Just look at the number of pig’s heads in the photograph will give you an indication of Luang Phor Somwang’s effectiveness.

This huge Phra Putta Gaona image was originally enshrined in Wat Klang Bangplad but is now being worshipped in Singapore.

Preservation, restoration, building and construction works as well as philanthropic endeavors are costly, hence, Luang Phor Poot had made and consecrated various sacred objects to raise fund.

This is a 5 inches lap-width image of Luang Phor Poot made and consecrated in the year 2528.

There were ten batches of coins and medallions of Luang Phor Poot himself made and consecrated between years 2505 to 2533 for various purposes. 

The first batch medallion of Luang Phor Poot 2505

There are various conventional sacred objects including images Phra Putta Gaona, Hanuman, Mae Nam Kua, Mae Bosok and et cetera made and consecrated by His Venerable beginning year 2505.

These are some of the various sacred objects originating from Wat Klang Bangplad.

However, the more expensive sacred objects created and consecrated by His Venerable are those of the exotic range. As mentioned earlier, both Luang Phor Poot and Luang Phor Pern shared the same lineage directly from Luang Pu Im, the Great Grandmaster of Animism; however, they each excelled quite differently in specialty. Luang Phor Pern of Wat Bangplad specialized in the Tiger Spirit spell whilst the expertise of Luang Phor Poot was in the Snake Spirit charm.

The most popular Naga temple in Bangkok is the one honoring Chao Mae Cong Ang along Rama II Road.

The belief in snake and Naga spell goes back to time immemorial and Thais believe worshippers will be bestowed with a better life destiny. In this article we will not be delving into Phaya Nagas specifically but for those who have visited Thailand, you may have already been aware of the many large serpent and Naga statues built across the country especially in temples and shrines. For examples, the large cobra statue in Khao Ngu Stone Park in Ratchaburi Province; the Chao Mae Cong Ang Shrine along Rama II Road in Bangkok; the Great Serpent Shrine in Saraburi Province and the numerous Nagas on temple roofs and stairways. In fact, this belief in Naga has been part of original Buddhism and now constitutes an important part of the Theravada ordination process. You may wish to refer to our earlier article on “Thai Theravada Ordination Ceremony” published on August 23, 2018.

Ngu Leum must be made from snake spurs with femurs intact and the snakes must not be intentionally killed.

There are not many guru masters who know the secrets of the Snake Spirit spell least using snake spurs to make and consecrate into amulets called Ngu Leum. Luang Phor Poot is among one of the few who specialized in this art. Snake spurs are rare because only certain species of snakes of age have them. Moreover, to turn them into sacred items those snakes must not be killed intentionally or otherwise. Furthermore, their spurs must be intact with the vestigial femur and come in a pair. Over decades, the number of snake spurs collected by Luang Phor Poot was limited which explained why the number of Ngu Leum made were scarce and, hence, expensive.

Rheesi Phuchong’s statue in the form of snakehead is rare and difficult to find.

According to Luang Phor Poot, the Ngu Leum made and consecrated by him are serpent spirits under the leadership of Rheesi Phuchong (Snakehead Rheesi) who also happens to be Lord Shiva’s serpent companion. This association is evidenced by the Palakit or lingam tied to the top of the femurs. It is believed that spirits, ghouls, and ghosts generally come under the command of Lord Shiva and Rheesi Phuchong. According to ancient text, snakes with spurs usually draw a territorial circle with them and anything that comes within that circle will be struck by a magical spell and becomes totally at the disposal of the snakes. Therefore, Ngu Leum has all the characteristics of snakes including great charm and attraction, mysticism and hypnotism. It brings about good luck, wealth, business and interpersonal relationship somewhat automatically. It is said that anyone possessing and worshipping Ngu Leum does not have to worry about food and basic necessities for survival and will prosperous progressively.

The chant for enhancing the effects of Ngu Leum is as follows:

Namo Tassa Pakawatoh Arahatoh Samma Samput Tassa X3

Om Mahanaka Najangu Majakang Pularuay Talalay Mani Mama X9

There are many snake-skin talismans available in the market, however, these talismans cannot be equated to the Takrut Phayangu created and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot in various ways. According to His Venerable, snake skin derived from snakes deliberately killed is useless. Therefore, talismans made from snake skin derived through the commercial chain serve no purpose other than decoration. In order to make effective talisman out of snake skin and summon snake spirits of all classes, the snake must die in a kundalini mediative posture (coiled) in a cave or in a temple. It is a sign of return to the Naga world and, hence, divine power. Yes, such occurrence is rare and difficult to come across. In its 200 over year’s history, it only occurred once in Wat Klang Bangplad. The other we witnessed was in Wat Tham Tapian Thong, Lopburi Province.

The fossilised Phayangu inside a bat cave in Wat Tham Tapian Thong, Lopburi Province.

The snake skin needs to go through 9 years of chanting representing a complete purifying cycle before the power of the four Naga families may be invoked. Luang Phor Poot then wrote the “Yant Phayana” on a copper plate that is subsequently rolled up together with a piece of the snake skin into what is called Takrut Phayangu.

The scales of Takrut Phayangu change color in accordance with the ongoing luck of the carrier.

It is a consolidation of immortal powers across three realms and, thus, possessing Takrut Phayangu means abundance, wealth, fortune, attraction, and most importantly, it guards and protects your horoscope. The scales on the snake skin changes from dull brown to yellow or sparkling gold which is an indicator of your ongoing luck.

The chants to enhance the effects of Takrut Phayangu are as follow:

Namo Tassa Pakawatoh Arahatoh Samma Samput Tassa X3

Natitang Phaya Ma Naga Apinang Naga Sathu Nophante Yama Yama X9

Namo Tassa Pakawatoh Arahatoh Samma Samput Tassa X3

Kaya Wacha Cittang Ahangwantha Nakathibodi SrisutthoWisuttheva Puchemi X3

Luang Pu Kong, the Great Grandmaster of Phaya Tor spell sitting on a huge statue of Phaya Tor in Wat Khae, Supanburi Province.

The belief of Phaya Tor or Wasp spirit is common and it forms part of the belief in nature spirits. There are many Thai temples making and consecrating Phaya Tor. They usually come in a pair. The popularity of Phaya Tor may be attributed to the legend of the Undefeated Warrior Khunpaen who turned tamarind leaves into wasps in Wat Khae, Supanburi Province.

Phaya Tor Ngen Tor Thong made and consecrated by Wat Khae.

The common purposes of Phaya Tor made and consecrated are for wealth and prosperity as suggested by the terms “ngen thong” which literally refers to money and wealth in Thai language.

The Phaya Tor carved from “mai takien” made and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot has the effect of stinging away backstabbers and villains.

However, the Phaya Tor amulet made and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot carries no such purposes. The Phaya Tor made and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot serves only one single objective, that is eliminating villains especially backstabbers. These amulets are made from “mai takien”, a kind of wood believed to possess magical power per se, therefore, the number of Phaya Tor amulets made and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot were also limited. However, due to high demand for the Phaya Tor amulet, the current abbot Phrakhru Sritulakorn, more commonly known as Luang Phor Sri, has remade and consecrated a new batch made from red wood which are far more economical compared to those made and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot.

Takrut Krasun is a limited and special edition of Luang Phor Poot’s Takruts. His Venerable personally hand-carved talismans on this amulet that is specifically meant to protect carriers from all types of danger and evil.

Both Luang Phor Pern and Luang Phor Poot are equally known for their “khong krapan” or “invincible” spell. Besides the wooden Phra Pidta made and consecrated in 2528, there is a batch of amulets, takruts, and talismans made and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot known as “loon pun kham” or the “cross guns print” that has underwent a very special “khong krapan” ritual almost unheard of in modern history.

This “loon pun kham” talisman has uniquely two cross guns and grenades under the image of Luang Phor Poot.

Real guns, ammunitions, and grenades were piled up in the Ubosoth where amulets, takruts, and talismans were then placed over those weapons during consecration ceremony. This batch of sacred objects was well received by the Thai people and many paranormal experiences were reported in major Thai newspapers.

The holy body of Luang Phor Poot is preserved in the temple and opened for public worship.

After serving the Sangha for 52 years, Luang Phor Poot entered nibbana in the morning of January 17, 2542 at the age of 88. The holy body of His Venerable remains in the temple and is opened for public worship. Many followers and believers also invited the image of His Venerable home for worship. It is believed that the image of His Venerable acts as a communication channel between Luang Phor Poot and his believers that is also, at the same time, capable of enhancing the effectiveness of sacred objects consecrated by His Venerable.

The following fulfilling chant is used for praying to Luang Phor Somwang and Luang Phor Poot:

Namo Tassa Pakawatoh Arahatoh Samma Samput Tassa X3

Kayena Wajaya Wajay Tassa Mahaysak Khaya

Tehwataya Apipalitang Etipatiharikan

Putta Machimaramay Samichit Tassa

Putta Patimang Puchemihang

Yaochiwanja Sukamiko Sukkhapatiya X3

Phra Rheesi Petcherukan: Headmaster of Supernatural Powers

Asceticism has been practiced since time immemorial. It is not a practice unique to Hinduism. In fact, it was also and, perchance, is also practiced by many religions including Christianity and Islam. In Hinduism, laypeople who practiced asceticism and who have achieved high level of inner tapas (supernatural powers) were collectively called “Rishi” (rheesi).  

In our previous article “Understanding Thai Buddhism” we have highlighted the entwinement between Buddhism and Hinduism as well as religious complexity in Thai Buddhism and the topic of this article again reinforced that unique relationship. We will not be going into the controversies pertaining to the various schools of asceticism but suffice to establish the nexus between original Buddhism and asceticism.

The Buddha image in the posture of performing dukriya in Wat Suthat Thepwararam Ratchaworahawihan, The word “dukriya” (dukkarakiriya in Pāli) means “the most difficult action”.

Lord Buddha too led an extreme ascetic life but realised extreme asceticism does not lead to enlightenment. Only moderation does. The five ascetics who practiced asceticism with Lord Buddha became His first five disciples and they are, Kondañña, Assaji, Bhaddiya, Vappa, and Mahānāma. It has to be noted that Lord Buddha did not condemn the practice of asceticism or the supernatural abilities deriving therefrom but only extreme indulgence therein. In fact, many of Lord Buddha’s disciples who subsequently attained arahantship were ascetics and the most prominent being Mahākāśyapa (Kassapa). Mahākāśyapa is one of the nine main Rheesi honored by the inner path.

Rheesi and Thai Buddhism

This Rheesi Tafire mask was honoured and used in rituals by Ajahn Somjit.

Rheesi is an important part of Thai Buddhism and Thais are generally familiar with Rheesi because ancient chronicles and old archives often make references to Rheesi. Furthermore, Rheesi also appears in various literatures as the sole governor of ceremonies whom rulers need to learn from in order to lead the people. Other than that, Rheesi also dominate many academic disciplines such as music, theatrics, medicine and et cetera. For examples, in music, dance, and theatrics, you see people worshipping Phra Rheesi Narathanmuni whilst people in the medical profession worship Rheesi Chiwokkomaraphat. In other words, Rheesi are regarded as ancestors and teachers of various disciplines with regards to humanity which is why “wan wai khru” is such a solemn and important occasion to the Thais. The general attire of the Rheesi is either white robe or tiger skin with tall headgear.

Classification of Rheesi: Disparities within Inner Paths

The sacred image of the Master of Charm Luang Phor Somjit Sukkho.

Things are more complicated when it comes to the inner path where Phra Weyth or supernatural elements form the core of practices. There are too many Rheesi, some of them pious, some iniquitous, and some in-between. Nonetheless, the various schools of thoughts generally agree on the 108 categories of Rheesi but they differ in classification and numbers of the main Rheesi which thus underscore their disparities in cultivation and practices. However, in Regalia, as disciples of Luang Phor Somjit, we inherit and adhere to a classification of nine main Rheesi as follows:

(1) Rheesi Narod (Monday) – Protection and charisma (Bhrama)

(2) Rheesi Narai (Tuesday) – Strengthening positive energy (Vishnu)

(3) Rheesi Nanua (Wednesday) – Strengthen charisma

(4) Rheesi Tafire (Sunday) – Destroy bad energy (Shiva)

(5) Rheesi Kalaikot (Thursday) – Defeat enemies

(6) Rheesi Kassapa (Friday) – Add charm

(7) Rheesi Glaipok (Saturday) – also known as Rheesi Prabman or Rheesi Akasatya the Demon Slayer

(8) Rheesi Nalaek (Wednesday night) – Increase wealth and fortune

(9) Rheesi Petcherukan (Everyday) – Attract positive energy and return all bad things to their places of origin.

Worshipping Rheesi

Theoretically, these main Rheesi may be traced back to Vedic religions and, again, different schools of thoughts have their own versions. These disparities hitherto remain contentious issues within the inner paths. However, we will not be delving into the specificities and origins of each Rheesi in this article but suffice to state herein that, in general, anyone who worships Rheesi must first worship and honour Rheesi Narod because Rheesi Narod is believed to evolve from the fifth head of Phra Promthada and is considered to be the first Rheesi of Triphumi, alternatively known as the three worlds.  He is thus also the leader of all Rheesi and, therefore, regardless of lineage, Rheesi Narod must first be invited and honoured in whatever ceremony and ritual or else that ceremony or ritual will be incomplete. Only after honouring Rheesi Narod then will you worship other Rheesi. This pronouncement is seconded by the various different schools.

Ancestral Rheesi

The statue of this Phor Gae Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapaktheap was hand-made by Luang Phor Somjit using the earth of seven cremation grounds of guru monks. This statue currently sits on the altar table in Regalia Buddhist Cultural Centre Co. Ltd. in Taiwan.

For a practitioner of the inner path, there is a specific guardian Rheesi from and through which all magical powers are derived, cultivated, and practiced. This guardian Rheesi is known as the ancestral Rheesi of a particular lineage (Kru Yai). The ancestral Rheesi of our lineage is Rheesi Petcherukan. Those who have followed our wan wai kru rituals in person would have noticed we begin our ritual by honoring the Triple Gem (the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha) before inviting and asking the 9 main Rheesi to descend. We then proceed to invite Phra Prom, Phra Narai, Mae Kongkha, Mae Phra Pai, Phra Phayana, and Phra Angkarn to take specific positions. We will then make offerings to Mae Tollani and invite all gods around the compound to come and rejoice together with our ancestral Rheesi. Once all these Pali chants and recitals are completed, we then do the Kham Athithan or prayers before engaging in a short 5 to 10 minutes of meditation. These rituals usually take about an hour or more to complete.

Phra Rheesi Petcherukan: The Two Forms

The statue of this limited edition Phor Gae Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapaktheap was made and consecrated by Luang Phor Somjit in the year 2532.

Phor Gae Phra Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapaktheap

Many people may have heard about Rheesi Petcherukan who is the headmaster of supernatural powers and magic in the rank of Rheesi but little do they know that Rheesi Petcherukan actually has two forms. The form which people are more familiar with, including most Thais, is known as Phor Gae Phra Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapaktheap who they usually only refer to as Phor Gae Phra Rheesi Petcherukan. In this form, Rhessi Petcherukan looks not much different from any other Rheesi who are clothed in white robes and tall headgears. As Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapaktheap, he is also known as the weapon maker for all class of gods. It is through his incantation and spell that the weapons derive magical powers.

Por Gae Phra Rheesi Petchrukan Pang Phrapak Asura

Traditional Thai shadow puppeting, dance, and music artists worship Phor Gae Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapaktheap and they will always conduct a small ritual to worship Phor Gae Phra Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapaktheap before their shows begin. Astrologists and soothsayers too have to worship Phor Gae Phra Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapaktheap in order to see through hidden things in the three realms of past, present, and future although Rheesi Mordo is their ancestral Rheesi.

This Phor Gae Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapak Asura was made and consecrated by Luang Phor with hand drawn talisman and other sacred objects to guard the kuthip where His Venerable performed most rituals.

The other form lesser known to people in general is Por Gae Phra Rheesi Petchrukan Pang Phrapak Asura. “Asura” refers to the same class of power-seeking deities as used in Hinduism and not any evil forces assumed by movie scriptwriters. According to Hindu mythology, Asuras are not essentially evil just as Gods are not necessarily good. The term “Asura” does not denote good or evil but just as opposition to “Sura”. In other words, the term is merely a categorization of clans within the cosmos. However, in the form of Pang Phrapak Asura, Phra Rheesi Petchrukan is so powerful that he leads a large army of warring gods, spirits, demons, and ghosts across the three realms. Consequential of his power and influence in art of supernatural abilities, Por Gae Phra Rheesi Petchrukan is officiated as the headmaster of supernatural powers and magic in the rank of Rheesi.

This limited edition Phor Gae Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapak Asura was made and consecrated by Luang Phor Somjit in the year 2518 using elephant bones carved into skulls. Skulls are symbols of dark magic and a direct contrast to Pang Phrapaktheap.

As high ranking deities, all nine main Rheesi inevitably show compassion and benevolence to a certain degree. Even for the two more aggressive ones, namely, Rheesi Tafire and Rheesi Glypok, they merely either repel or destroy harmful elements to protect believers whereas Rheesi Petcherukan in the form of Pang Phrapak Asura goes as far as returning harmful elements to their original sources to destroy their root causes. It is more of an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth.

Owing to the fact that our ancestral Rheesi belongs to the Asura clan, we are instructed to conduct one of our three annual “wan wai kru” on the 15th day of the seventh lunar month, that is Ghost Day. Good, bad, and in-between spirits are summoned whereby both white and black magic are being amalgamated and consolidated through recitals.

This limited edition Phor Gae Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapak Asura was made and consecrated by Luang Phor Somjit in the year 2520 using beads carved from specially energized wood retrieved from the jungle in India during His Venerable’s stay there.

Other than Luang Phor Somjit hitherto there have been no other guru monks or masters able to perform the special rituals in making and consecrating Por Gae Phra Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapak Asura. This has resulted in the prices of His Venerable’s creation skyrocketing from ten-twenty thousand baht to several hundred thousand baht.

This edition of Phor Gae Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapak Asura was handmade and consecrated by Luang Phor Somjit in the year 2525 using skulls carved from elephant bone, handwritten talisman on silver plate, and a special material for the heart.

His Venerable has also made and consecrated a batch of Por Gae Phra Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapak Asura for believers. This include the miniature skeleton-like figurines shown above which has become most popular and sought after by believers; that in a shape of a sea shell known as Bia Kair Petcherukan; and the more subtle form in a talisman container called takut Petcherukan. Nonetheless, because all sacred items were personally handmade by His Venerable hence the numbers were inevitably small and limited.

This edition of Phor Gae Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapak Asura was handmade and consecrated by Luang Phor Somjit in the year 2525 using skulls carved from elephant bone, handwritten talisman on copper plate, and a special material for the heart.

Rheesi Petcherukan is Not Hoon Phayom

Since the past decade or so, a new and trendy object has found its way into the Thai Buddhism amulet market and it is called Hoon Phayom. Many people mistook it as Por Gae Phra Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapak Asura or that the Por Gae Phra Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapak Asura made and consecrated by Luang Phor Somjit were actually Hoon Phayom. The irony is that Por Gae Phra Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapak Asura has a long history rooted in Vedic religions whilst Hoon Phayom per se is neither a deity nor ghost according to their makers but a “bodyguard” character developed from an untraceable story. Again, we will not be exploring the details of Hoon Phayom but suffice to pronounce herein that it is not Por Gae Phra Rheesi Petcherukan Pang Phrapak Asura or vice versa.

Simplicity in Worshipping Rheesi for Laypeople

For practitioners, you will have to follow the methods imparted by your teacher (ajahn) and the chants associated with your lineage. Whereas for general believers and followers, worshipping and honouring Rheesi on wan wai kru is actually quite simple. All you need are fruits, flowers, tea, coffee, some sweet or savoury desserts, beetle nuts, cigarettes, and liquor. If you do not find it cumbersome and are affordable, you may offer a variety of food of your choices as well. Kham Athithan or prayers, which are totally different from charms or incantations used by practitioners, need not be recited in Pali or Thai languages. You may use your own choice of language, Rheesi can understand you.

Make 3 bows and you may begin as follow:

On this auspicious day, in the grace of the Triple Gems, the Lord Buddha, the Holy Dharma, and the Sangha, I humbly ask for your blessings as I recite my prayers under the prestige of the Triple Gems in honour of Phra Rheesi Narod (followed by the names of other Rheesi you worship). I humbly invite and ask you to descend upon this house and bestow upon me (and whoever else) all positive energy. I humbly beseech….. (request what you want)…..May my wishes be granted as my faith weighs.

Make another 3 bows and that is it.

Understanding Thai Buddhism


It has been five years since Regalia Buddhist Cultural Centre expanded into Taiwan under the entity Regalia Buddhist Cultural Centre Pte Ltd. in 2017. Our modus operandi remains the same as Regalia Singapore. We distinguish ourselves from others in similar trade by virtue of the concept of Buddhist economy by adopting a “middle-path” similar to that advocated by His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej.  A balance between business and religious interests are adhered to in our operation since date of establishment.

Our experience over here in Taiwan draws many resemblances to that when Regalia were first established in Singapore more than two decades ago. We are faced with a complex customer base with diverse motives, a phenomenon that is common in our entire customer base including Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, and even Thailand. The mass majority of the people misconceived Thai Buddhism as an occult entrenched in some form of mysticism and magic. However, unlike Singapore, which is a multi-religious country, whereby Singaporeans are being exposed to different religions since young, Taiwanese, on the other hand, are somewhat rooted in Chinese folk religion, a mixture of Mahayana Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism premised on superstition in lieu of religious doctrines thereby resulting in serious ontological and epistemological misconceptions. Their beliefs in spells, curses, and “kongtao” (sorcery or black occultism) in everyday life are overwhelmingly widespread. Therefore, our presence in Taiwan has drawn much curiosity and enthusiasm as we did in Singapore during the 90s. Nonetheless, the marked difference between our experiences is Taiwanese exposure and understanding of basic Hinduism and Theravada Buddhism is almost naught. This makes the preaching of Thai Buddhism a lot more tedious.

Most customers love mystical stories but our approach to mysticism, as usual, is based more on rationality instead of exaggeration. Under the Fourth Precept of Theravada Buddhism (pañcasīla), there is no such thing as a fine line between exaggeration and falsification. Consequently, this inevitably makes mystical stories less colourful and interesting that leads to the dismay of many people. We understand most customers are less ready to accommodate and accept dhammic teachings and explanations than they would superstitious beliefs and, as a result thereof, our approach to the subject matter may hurt our business interest. However, this is what makes Regalia unique. We find it un-Buddhist to postulate on the misconception of Thai Buddhism least to abet such misconception about Thai Buddhism thereby driving customers into one of the two extreme ends of fanaticism in Buddhism. The most difficult part is dealing with the category of people who are Internet savvy particularly when they possess strong confirmation bias. A lack of understanding about Thai Buddhism usually lead them to process and store mainly misinformation and disinformation more than facts. Therefore, to them, Regalia are labelled as old-fashioned, outdated, dry, boring, and not in-line with mainstream Taiwanese belief system.

Nevertheless, to the enthusiastic, we are ready to preach and teach; to the curious, we are more than willing to share information and knowledge; and to the “knowledgeable”, we will provide our best services without compromising our religious beliefs and values. It is this review of our Taiwan experience that prompted the writing of this article, however, the content herein is meant for general consumption especially to those who are keen about Thai Buddhism. We will begin this article with a brief history of Buddhism from Siam to Thailand that will allow you to appreciate why Thailand is considered the Centre of Theravada Buddhism and now inching towards becoming the World’s Buddhist Centre. We will then explore the complexity of Buddhism in Thai society with references to original Buddhism, the conflicts of fanaticism, and finally the Middle-Path in Thai society. Of course, we will also briefly touch on Thai amulets before penning off. We hope this will help you have a better understanding of Thai Buddhism.

Early Buddhism in Thailand

Buddhism in Suvarnabhumi

Wat Phra Pathom Chedi at 27 Tesa Rd, Phra Prathom Chedi Sub-district, Mueang Nakhon Pathom District, Nakhon Pathom 73000, Thailand

Indian culture was the dominant culture in Asia up-to 15th century. Buddhism entered the territory of Thailand around the year 236 BCE (before current era). At that time, Thailand was included in the territory known as Suvarnabhumi which comprised at least 7 countries, namely Thailand, Myanmar, Cambodia, Laos, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Malaysia, and possibly a large part of southern China with Nakhon Pathom Province of Thailand as its capital per historical artefacts such as the Phra Pathom Chedi and the crouching deer or Dhammachakra evidenced. The type of Buddhism that first entered Suvarnabhumi and, hence, Thailand was original Buddhism, that is, traditional Theravada Buddhism because the first Buddhist breakaway known as the Mahayana sect only occurred one-and-a-half century later and whose philosophy did not gain hold in Thailand. Therefore, it is not surprising that these countries share many common beliefs, cultural practices, arts, legends, folklores and et cetera. For examples, there are common beliefs in jumping vampire known as “Phi Dip Chin” in Thailand, “hantu pocong” in Malaysia and Indonesia, “cương thi” in Vietnam, and “jiangshi” in China; and the flying head ghost known as “krasue” in Thailand, “ahp” in Cambodia, “kasu” in Laos, “penanggalan” in Malaysia, “leyak” in Indonesia, and by various names such as “luotou” or “feitou” in China.

Sukhothai Buddhism

The belief in ghosts is not un-Buddhist; on the contrary, it aligns with the concept of samsāra of original Buddhism and the Ratana Sutta. Inasmuch as people of different geographical regions seek refuge in the Triple Gem so do ghosts and spirits of those respective localities. This perchance constituted the complexity of religious traditions. Furthermore, in every country, language, and religion, terms like ghosts, spirits, demons and the like are equally rich and abundant. The situation is no different for Thai Buddhism beginning from the first Thai Kingdom, the Sukhothai Kingdom (1238-1428 CE), as Thai people’s belief in ghosts began from time immemorial.

Ram Khamhaeng Inscription Inscription at The National Museum BangkokNa Phra That Alley, Phra Borom Maha Ratchawang, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok 10200, Thailand

The exact date as to when complexity of religious traditions occurred in Thai Buddhism is uncertain. The earliest archaeological evidence listed by UNESCO World Heritage Site in Thailand is a stone inscription of Sukhothai, No. 1 that reads:

“…Above Sukhothai City, there are the monk’s dwelling, monastery, Pu Kru, Saridapong, Pa Phrao, Pa Lang, Pa Kham, Nam Khok, and Phra Khaphung Phi. The fairies in that mountain are more powerful than any spirit in this city. Any noblemen who conquer Sukhothai City with good respect, the city will be good. Without the respect, the spirits in the mountains will not protect the city…” 

Photograph of “phi-thewada” Phra Khaphung Phi at Ram Khamhaeng National Park, Na Choeng Khiri, Khiri Mat District, Sukhothai 64160, Thailand

The Ram Khamhaeng inscription described the devotion of the Thai people to Theravada Buddhism and, at the same time, highlighted their reverence for “phi-thewada” or Phra Khaphung Phi Nang Sueang known as Phra Mae Ya to the Sukhothai people. Some writers claimed the classification of “phi-thewada” which literally means “ghost-deity” suggested the beginning of merging religious traditions or an amalgamation of Theravada Buddhism with local Thai religions but which we opined are both un-substantiable and flawed. If it was a merging of religious traditions or an amalgamation of Theravada Buddhism with local Thai religions the process would have occurred long ago during Suvarnabhumi period and not after the founding of Sukhothai Kingdom. Furthermore, from Thai perspective, good spirits are usually seen and revered as equivalent to deities. The process aforementioned was more a perpetuation of original Buddhism.

Phra Putta Si Sakyamuni enshrined in Wat Mahathat, Mueang Kao, Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai 64210, Thailand

The main Theravada Buddhist temple built in the reign of King Sri Inthrathit was Wat Mahathat located in today’s Sukhothai Historical Park at Mueang Kao, Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai, Thailand. It was the largest and most important temple of Sukhothai era. The temple has a spacious area consisting the main viharn, mondop, boath and chedi. The main Buddha statue enshrined in the temple is Phra Putta Si Sakyamuni.

Wat Si Chum, Mueang Kao, Mueang Sukhothai District, Sukhothai 64210, Thailand

Another historical temple built during Sukhothai period is Wat Si Chum, Mueang Kao, Mueang Sukhothai District, Thailand. It contained wall murals that pointed to the first Thai Buddhist Jataka tales underlying Thai national epic Ramakien. It is important to note that Ramakien is based on Hindu epic Ramayana thereby reiterating the entwined relationship between Buddhism and Hinduism in the Thai context. This further supports our proposition that Thai Buddhism is a perpetuation of original Buddhism.

Phra Ajana at Wat Si Chum

The main Buddha enshrined in the temple is Phra Ajana, the immoveable Buddha, measuring 15.6 meters high and 11.3 meters lap width.

Lanna Buddhism

At almost the same time as the Sukhothai Kingdom was founded in the north-central by King Sri Inthrathit, the Lanna Kingdom emerged in the north founded by King Mengrai of Chiang Saen. Lanna territories include Lamphun,    Lampang, Chiang Rai, Chiang Saen, Nan, Phrae,   Phayao, Mae Hong Son, Chiang Tung and Sipsong Phan Na with Chiang Mai as the capital. These territories were initially under Hariphunchai, a Theravada Buddhist kingdom with its capital in Lamphun. Therefore, the Lanna Kingdom also inherited Theravada Buddhism when it conquered the Mon kingdom. Similarly, the Lanna people aligned beliefs in ghosts and spirits with original Buddhist cosmology. The most popular is the nature spirit Mae Takien that is analogous to “yakkha” described in the Āṭānāṭiya Sutta.

Wat Chiang Mun 171 Ratchapakhinai Rd, Tambon Si Phum, Mueang Chiang Mai District, Chiang Mai 50200, Thailand

The first Lanna Buddhist temple Wat Chiang Mun built in 1681 enshrined the Phra Kaew Khaw Buddha statue brought back from Lamphun by King Mengrai. The wall murals of Buddhist Jataka tales were painted with gold on red background. Besides differences in artistic traditions, Sukhothai and Lanna Buddhism were very much the same.

Wall murals of Buddhist Jataka tales were painted with gold on red background.

However, Lanna civilization and Lanna Buddhism underwent a period  known as the “Dark Age” in Northern Thailand from 1560-1770 when the territory repeatedly fell under Burmese rule. Although, in between, King Naresuan and King Narai of the Ayutthaya Kingdom managed to reclaim Chiang Mai but the Burmese invaders were able to wrestle it back each time. It was in 1776 that King Taksin successfully drove the Burmese out of Chiang Mai but Lanna territories only formerly became part of the Thailand in 1892. Thence, Lanna-Thai Buddhism also became integrated and systematically regulated.

Kruba Srivichai Phim Sawng Chai 2482 medal has a current open market value of ฿500,000 to ฿1,000,000

The revitalization of Theravada Buddhism in the north is much attributed to the prominent monk Kruba Sriwichai (1878-1939) who remained revered as the Saint of Lanna hitherto.

Ayutthaya Buddhism

In 1350, King U-Thong or Ramathibodi I founded the Ayutthaya Kingdom and annexed the entire Sukhothai Kingdom in 1376 thereby forming the Siam Empire based in Ayutthaya which borders were approximate those of modern Thailand, saved for the northern territories comprising the Lanna Kingdom. Theravada Buddhism was declared the state religion. It was also during that period that the Tenth Buddhist Council was held in Thailand for the first time. Therefore, the Ayutthaya period was considered the golden era of Theravada Buddhism that formed the roots of contemporary Thai Buddhism.

The murals of King Kirti Sri Rajasinghe presenting a ritual fan to Phra Upali at Kelaniya Raja Maha Vihara in Colombo. Photograph extracted from Bangkok Post, Life Section

Theravada Buddhism was so well preserved in Siam so much so that in 1753 a mission of 17 monks led by Phra Upali Maha Thera of Wat Dhammaram in Ayutthaya was sent to Ceylon at the request of King Kirti Sri Rajasinhe (1747-1782) to re-establish higher ordination in the kingdom. The Siamese ordination tradition survived until now and became known as Siyam Nikāya (Svasti, 2013).

Many Thai Buddhist temples were built during that era and the most prominent are Wat Mahathat built during the reign of King Borom Rachathirat I, Wat Rachaburana built during the reign of King Borom Rachathirat II, Wat Phra Si Sanphet built during the reign of King Borom Trailokanat, and Wat Phra Ram which was built on the cremation site of Ramathibodi I. Another thing worth noting is that the official titles of the Ayutthaya kings highlighted the entwined relationship between original Buddhism and Hinduism, e.g. “Narai”, “Ramathibodi”, “Ramesuan”, “Ekathotsarot” and “Phra Phutthachao” as appeared in the palatine law.

Wat Mahathat, Naresuan Rd, Tha Wasukri, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya 13000, Thailand

Unfortunately, most of those historical temples were destroyed by the Burmese when Burma launched a 7 year war against Ayutthaya from 1760-1767 that brought to end 416 years of Siam Empire. Phraya Taksin, as he was then known, however, managed to secure the east coast of the Gulf of Siam including provinces such as Rayong, Chonburi, Chanthaburi and Trat from the Burmese invaders. After securing Thonburi on the west bank of the Chao Phraya River near present day Bangkok in 1768, Phraya Taksin declared himself king and made Thon Buri his capital. 

The Monument of King Taksin the Great has commemorating His Majestiy passing Chachoengsao after the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767 to restore Thailand’s independence.

The succession of King Taksin the Great (1768-1782) merely extended the life of the Siam Empire by another 15 years but within 10 years of his ascension, he not only reclaimed all Ayutthaya territories seized by the Burmese he also successfully liberated Chiang Mai and totally ended Burmese incursion. Although his reign was short, King Taksin the Great is revered by the Thais hitherto and is also known as King of Siam, Warrior King, and the first king to have restored and united the Kingdom of Thailand. December 28 became King Taksin Day commemorating his ascension to the throne in December 28, 1768.

The Taksin Maharat Memorial located in the near the town hall at Liap Noen Road in Chantaburi houses the statue of King Taksin and his four bodyguards.

King Taksin was a devout Theravada Buddhist who began education in Wat Kosawat, Khlong Mueang, Tambon Tha Wasukri and was ordained as a monk for three years before he joined the service of King Ekkathat. Therefore, after his ascension to the throne, King Taksin extensively promoted the study of Theravada Buddhism and laid the foundation for development of contemporary Thai Buddhism.

Ratanakosin Buddhism

The history of Rattanakosin began year 1782 when King Rama I of the Chakri Dynasty shifted the capital to Krungthep, that is, present day Bangkok. Inasmuch as not many people fully understand Thai Buddhism, there are equally few people who remember the official name least the meaning of the Thai capital. Even if they do, how many would see the significance therein? The official name of Bangkok is “Krungthep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit” which literally means “The city of angels, the great city, the eternal jewel city, the impregnable city of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarma”. Indra is the Vedic Hindu god and Vishnukarma is the divine architect in Hinduism. Consequently, we again see a continued entwinement between Buddhism and Hinduism in Thailand.

We will not be going into archaic political illusion of truth about “divine right to rule” or being a “reincarnation of God” because, in this contemporary world, anyone who claims thus is unlikely to gain a throne but a bed space in a mental institution. However, the institution of the Thai monarchy, which is deeply rooted in Hinduism and Buddhism, have adopted Hindu Gods’ names as their official titles with the current Chakri Dynasty adopting the name “Rama”, the seventh avatar of Lord Vishnu.  Nonetheless, the Theravada Buddhist concept of “Dhammaraja”, that is, kingship under dhamma has been the proclaimed goal of the Thai monarchy. Amongst all kings of the Chakri Dynasty, Thai people have shown a “cultish” reverence towards King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and King Bhumibol (Rama IX) not for their “godliness” but for their Buddhist virtues, values, and their contribution to Thai society and people.

Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poraminthra Maha Chulalongkorn Phra Chunla Chom Klao Chao Yu Hua (Rama V)

Many temples and Buddha statues including scriptures were destroyed by the Burmese invaders that prompted the Second Buddhist Council of Siam to be held in Krungthep from November 13, 1788 to April 10, 1789 whereby the Pāḷi Canon Tipitaka and commentaries were collected, revised and re-established. The reign of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) underscored major innovations in both secular and religious affairs leading to a systematized institutional structure for Buddhism in the Kingdom of Thailand. He enacted the Sangha Administration Act 1902 which systemized the entire Siamese Buddhist ecclesiastical system and education under the regulation of a single Siamese Sasana headed by the Supreme Patriarch. King Chulalongkorn was dedicated to Buddhism and education, thus, the 1902 Act prescribed education to commence at various temples and it was the responsibility of abbots and higher-ranking monks to educate both monks and laypeople.

Under commission by His Majesty, the world’s first printed PāḷiTipitaka known as the Chulachomklao of Siam Pāḷi Tipiṭaka Edition comprising 39 volumes came into existence in 1893. They were distributed to prominent temples in Thailand and leading institutions around the world. The Chulachomklao of Siam Pāḷi Tipiṭaka is presently being preserved in at least 30 countries (British Library, 2019). Meanwhile, King Chulalongkorn also had the Pāḷi Tipitaka translated and published in the Thai language in 1898 which is called “The Printed Tipitaka Edition” (Maha Chulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya University, 2002).

Phrabat Somdet Phra Paraminthara Maha Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX)

Despite the Siam Revolution 1932 that put an end to absolute monarchy, Thai people generally welcomed the restoration of the monarchy after World War II. We will leave what is called the “coup season” running from 1932 until present day to the scholars and just concentrate on His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s impact on Thai Buddhism between 1950-2017. What made His Majesty popular with the people were his Buddhist virtues and values. He was as dedicated as his grandfather, Rama V, to Buddhism and the people. He cared and worked hard for the people and was a frequent visitor to poor rural areas. He integrated the Buddhist Middle-Path concept into what became known as Thailand’s “Sufficiency Economy” comprising three fundamental principles, namely, moderation, rationality, and self-immunity to changes (Chaisumritchoke, 2007).

Somdet Sangkarat Phra Yannasangwon Suvaddhano 19th Supreme Buddhist Patriarch of Thailand

During the reign of King Bhumibol Adulyadej, Thai Buddhism flourished internationally and the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka was made comprehensible and available to the laypeople. In 1988, Mahidol University recorded all 45 volumes of the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka in Thai-script digitally and in 1991, at the request of King Bhumibol, another 70 volumes of Atthakatha or commentary were also added to its data base.  Finally, in 1994, all 115 volumes of the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka in Thai-script were made available on CD-Rom.

In 1999, the 19th Supreme Patriarch of Thailand Somdet Sangkarat Phra Yannasangwon of Wat Bovoranives initiated the Commemorative Pāḷi Tipiṭaka Project resulting in the complete 40-volume Roman-script Tipitaka known as “Mahāsaṅgīti Tipiṭaka Buddhavasse 2500” or simply as “The World Tipiṭaka Edition” published by M.L. Maniratana Bunnag Dhamma Society Fund in 2004. Pāḷi Suttas in Thai language have also been made widely available. Among others, Maha Chulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya University has been publishing Buddhist scriptures in Thai language since 1993.

We shall also leave the politicization of Thai Buddhism, a fundamental condition on which most academic dissertation on Thai Buddhism is premised, out from this article as categorizations such as those proposed by Jackson (1989) are not only spurious but also based on false premises and, thus, not reflective of Thai reality. Whereas atheistic propositions attributing Buddhist cosmology to metaphors for mental states (Phuthathat, 1982) are equally farfetched and self-defeating when studied alongside the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka. Notwithstanding, it can be self-consoling when everything from heaven and hell to karma are perceived as nothing more than make-believes or illusions of the mind. In that case, everyone can have his own perfect fantasy world all in his mind which would consequently render Buddha’s teachings redundant in toto. Scientifically, an imaginary state of mind would amount to deficiency ranging from mild daydreaming to severe mental illness. Obviously, this is not what Buddhism is about.

Scholarly and Academic Buddhism

In order to understand Thai Buddhism we must not allow the subject matter to be clouded by cognitive biases. When we talk about fact we refer to a statement of truth whereas in academic discourse a fact does not necessarily have to be true but suffice that it relies on some form of observation and research which are oftentimes subject to study power and bias (Ioannidis, 2005). For example, Prombunpong (1995) cited in Blyth (1995) alleged there was a decline in monkhood in Thailand owing to “outdated Buddhist texts” and the use of Pāḷi language. Any Thai Buddhist can tell you that the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka is regarded as the corpus of Buddhist scriptures, thus, despite the availability of Thai or English translated editions, the depth of language and, therefore, meanings may not be fully appreciated beyond the original language. Nonetheless, monks ordained on a temporary basis are not required to study the Pāḷi language. Furthermore, the study of Pāḷi language has, on the contrary, been growing exponentially so much so that it is being offered by universities including Oxford Centre for Buddhist Studies, Oxford University. UK. In Thailand, there are three universities operated by the Supreme Sangha Council of Thailand that offer Bachelors, Masters, and Doctoral level studies in Pāḷi language, and they are, Mahachulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya University (founded in 1887), Mahamakut Buddhist University (founded in 1893), and International Buddhist College (founded in 2005). Furthermore, Theravada Buddhism is a religion, an orthodox tradition with roots stretching 2564 years back and is based on the Pāḷi Tipiṭaka, thereby distinguishing it from other Buddhist offshoots, thus, the allegation of “outdated Buddhist texts” is simply misplaced if not superficial.

There may be a decline in ecclesiastical ordination but the reasons thereof are likely to be changes in social values and behavior. Modernization, advancement, and affluence are causes shifting sacred to sacrilegious in every society and religion. We will leave the exploration between religiosity and affluence to you. What we wish to highlight here is that the art of discernment, especially in academic praxis, is always tricky so are misconceptions that are lodged in our consciousness which result in what is known as fragmented knowledge and a distorted worldview. For example, you may have read about “Buddhist conversion” or “converting to Buddhism” (Gokhale, 1986; Yu, 2014; Baker, 2020), however, do you know the phenomenon of “conversion” does not exist in Buddhism? Academically it may be said that the premise is false but in psychology we aptly call this paradoxical knowing. Refer to Upāli Sutta (Majjhima Nikāya 56) and you will understand Lord Buddha’s position on this subject matter. It will also help you understand the tolerant and accommodating nature of present day Thai Buddhism.

Confusion in Thai Society

The majority of Thais share the same set of complexity and perplexity encountered by non-Thai believers when it comes to Thai Buddhism. The situation is being aggravated especially when temples and clergies willingly deviate from Buddha’s teachings in pursuit of economic gains. The Dhammakaya Temple scandal, the sports car scandal involving the abbot Luang Pi Namfon (Phraku Palad Sitthiwat) of Wat Pailom, the Private Jet scandal involving the abbot Phra Wirapol Sukphol of Wat Pa Khantitham (now defrocked) and et cetera are all severe examples of un-Buddhist behaviors. Although disapproved and shunned by the general public, however, these institutions and people still managed to retain and/or recruit sizeable followers who in turn contributed to those monastic misbehavior (Worathanee, 2013). This unequivocally shows that even the Thais share the same intellectual deficiencies as non-Thai believers when it comes to truth, wisdom, and faith.

Apart from the afore-mentioned challenges, Thais are also faced with competing propositions pertaining Thai Buddhism. There are basically three main propositions, namely, Thai Buddhism is a philosophy, Thai Buddhism is a religion, and Thai Buddhism is merely superstition. Now, when a “nobody” makes such claims the impact is not readily felt by the larger population but if their proponents are famous monks or academics the consequence will definitely be immense if not dire. Whichever proposition there is bound to be followers and opponents, thus, disagreement and dispute that tend to obfuscate the subject matter especially when an incorrect definition is being ascribed to the respective subject matter is present.

The three competing topics are, namely, (1) philosophy; (2) religion; and (3) superstition. We are going to import definitions of these topics from dictionaries as well as an influential source within the Thai society, the “Encyclopedia for Thai Youth” for the purpose of comparison.

According to dictionaries:

Philosophy: a theory or attitude that acts as a guiding principle for behaviour.

Religion:  a particular system of faith and worship.

Superstition: a widely held but irrational belief in supernatural influences, especially as leading to good or bad luck, or a practice based on such a belief.

According to the Encyclopedia for Thai Youth:

Religion:Religion is a way of life for the ultimate goal, which is liberation from suffering, complete happiness when leaving this world. It is an explanation of the cause of suffering and the course of action for the release of suffering which must be practiced every day for the rest of their lives.”

Superstition: “Superstition is the subject of controlling mystical powers believed to exist in the world, in nature, and in the universe. Inspiring to produce desirable effects such as curing diseases, enchanting people, various tattoos for invincibility and hanging sacred objects to get out of danger. Miracle work in order to achieve the desired effect, recitation, spells, etc. ……”

Whichever proposition you may favour we will like to reiterate Lord Buddha’s teaching about the “Middle-Path” which should be a guide to “moderation” in life, achieving a balance and not falling into either side of the extreme ends.

Now, before we proceed further with “Understanding Thai Buddhism” it is crucial that we walk you through the backdrop of original Buddhism so that you are able to better comprehend the composition and essence of Thai Buddhism.

Backdrop of Original Buddhism


The birthplace of Buddhism is dominated by Vedic Hinduism which, albeit being polytheistic, Hinduism propagates Lord Brahma as the creator of the universe, Lord Vishnu as the preserver, and Lord Shiva as the destroyer that underlined Hindu life-death cycle and cosmological order. Lord Buddha, however, rejected the proposition of a divine creator but not polytheism and propounded the theory of dependent origination (paṭiccasamuppāda) whereby life-death cycle is consequential of interactions amongst elements within six realms and thirty-one planes which formed the Buddhist cosmological order as explicitly set out in the Sāleyyakasutta of the Majjhima Nikāya and Anguttara-Nikāya.

You may find many similarities and differences between the two religions, for examples, they utilise similar concepts such as saṃsāra, dhamma, kamma, Dhammachakra Mudra, and et cetera but differ in their substances and constituents. The concept of saṃsāra in Hinduism pertains to the everlasting “atman” whilst Lord Buddha advocates anattā” which literally means not-self not-soul in His teaching of saṃsāra that is aligned with His doctrine of “annica”, that is, impermanence. Although both sought liberation (moksha) from saṃsāra, in Hinduism the ultimate goal is the unification of the atman with Brahman whilst for Buddhism is the entering of nibbāna. The concept of dhamma in Hinduism pertains to one’s role in the universe and is caste specific whilst in Buddhism dhamma refers to the modus operandi of the universe and teachings of Lord Buddha. Both Hinduism and Buddhism are in agreement when kamma is concerned. It relates to the cause-and-effect of one’s actions for which condition life events. It is a neutral and non-judgmental cycle of life.

Philosophy of cosmology is a scientific conceptualization as well as deliberation and explanation of the universe as a sum total. However, despite celebrations of human intelligence and achievements, many things within this universe remain unknown and inexplicable by science. We will leave the limits and flaws of scientific cosmological theorizing to the academics and scientists. Religious cosmology, on the other hand, is a description of how the universe works from a religious point of view. This may include creation myths (now disproven) or evolution theory in describing the spatial arrangement of the universe including dimensions unseen by mortal eyes. Many religions are based on narratives, legends, and doctrines formulated over long periods of time. Nonetheless, in Thai Buddhism, we are only interested in what Lord Buddha has said and taught and not what someone else perceives and interprets what Lord Buddha has said and taught. Therefore, in pursuit of truth, wisdom, and faith, we adhere to the ten intellectual tenets imparted by Lord Buddha. We will explain what these ten tenets are in the later part of this article.

From the backdrop of original Buddhism, it can be seen that Buddhism, especially Thai Buddhism, is somewhat intertwined with and yet different from Hinduism. So, now we are ready to move on to Thai Buddhism whereby there is sumptuous of mysticism both in rituals and practices invoked by monastic figures including “iddhi” (psychic powers), “paritta” (chant and incantation), “raksha” (charm and spell), and “asphanaka yoga” which have been misunderstood as Hindu or un-Buddhist even by some Thais when these are actually derivations from original Buddhism that are reflected in the Pāli Canon. Hence, even Thais are confused about Thai Buddhism so it is neither surprising nor embarrassing for non-Thai believers to be equally bewildered.

Diversity and Mysticism

Regardless of whichever religion, a common attraction that draws people to it is mysticism. There are Christian mysticism pertaining to contact with the divine (Stefon, n.d.); Islamic Sufism pertaining to esoteric insight (Stanford, 2021); Hindu Tantrism relating to the obscured (Hoen & Goudriaan, 1981) so is there mysticism in Buddhism. However, people are drawn by this mystical factor for varying reasons and motives ranging from a desire to establish a deeper spiritual relationship and a channel of communication with the Divine to the belief in the ability of manipulating the supernatural forces for specific ends.  It is neither the purpose of this article to explore the consonance and dissonance of religious beliefs nor the conflict arising from a philosophical versus a religious approach to Buddhism but rather to expound the complexity of Thai Buddhism underscored by a sumptuousness of mysticism.

Thai Buddhism in particular and Buddhism in general is not a theistic religion and do not believe in an omnipotent creator. According to the Saṃyutta Nikāya (one of the “three baskets” comprising Pāli Tripitaka), Lord Buddha said this saṃsāra or world is without beginning and, in both the Abhidhamma and Aggañña Sutta, He propounded the theory of dependent origination through interactions amongst elements which may, prima facie, be equated with contemporary theory of evolution.

It is, therefore, correct and true to claim that Buddhism is not a theistic religion but it is false and wrong to garble original Buddhism as atheistic. Not theistic refers to the rejection of a single omnipotent creator of the world and all beings therein but does not reject the existence of Gods, Deities, spirits, ghosts and et cetera as atheism does. The existence of Gods, Deities, spirits, ghosts and et cetera are posited throughout Buddhist scriptures and texts by which basic Buddhist tenets such as six spiritual realms, thirty-one planes of existence, kammic cycle, reincarnation and et cetera are thereupon premised.

Fanaticism on Two Extreme Ends

Many people are drawn to Thai Buddhism by virtue of the mysticism associated with the Order. Magic has been part of religion since time immemorial and it has remained a crucial part of Thai belief system hitherto. Supernatural beings and supernatural abilities are intertwined and entrenched just as they were in original Buddhism.

There are people, monastic and laity alike, who condemn mysticism or claim that belief and practices associated therewith are un-Buddhist. Well, under the theory of freedom of choice, a doctrine consistently advocated by Lord Buddha in His teachings, the prerogative to believe or disbelieve undoubtedly lies with the beholders. However, some people have gone to the extent as to falsely claim that Buddha denied the existence of supernatural beings and also condemned mysticism or magic and, thus, anyone believing and/or practicing such arts is un-Buddhist. The attempt to portray Buddhism as atheistic is one of the two extreme ends of fanaticism stemming purely from ignorance or “avijjā”.

In some Buddhist literature it was claimed that Lord Buddha himself condemned psychic powers as “triachchhana vijja” or “michchha-ajiva” or simply “low arts” by taking the Kevatta Sutta out of context. The said Sutta actually contains Lord Buddha’s cautions against possible abuse and falsification of supernatural abilities which are, at the same time, not indicators of truth and wisdom. Condemnation, if any, is confined to obsessive indulgence in psychic power which constitutes the other extreme end of fanaticism not beneficial towards liberation and/or enlightenment.

Lord Buddha teaching Devas

The fact is, inasmuch as Lord Buddha did not deny the existence of Gods, Deities, spirits, ghosts and et cetera, He neither condemned nor forbade the cultivation and practice of supernatural abilities. It should not be forgotten that Lord Buddha is “satthadevamanussanam”, that is, teacher to Gods and human. A rich account of Lord Buddha’s interactions with celestial beings is recorded in Saṃyutta Nikāya. Furthermore, in various ancient Pāli Canon and Buddhist literature, “iddhi” or the supernatural abilities including what is known as “abhiññā” or the six higher knowledge of Lord Buddha have been explicitly recorded.  Charms against evil spirits and a description of the celestial kingdoms are also provided for in a section of the Dīgha Nikāya Pāli Canon known as the Āṭānāṭiya Sutta.

Now, take a pause and analyze the conflicting propositions with references to what Lord Buddha said and did not say. Start with the most common example such as did Lord Buddha prescribe a vegetarian diet? Do not bother about what people said or told you, just ask yourself what is Lord Buddha’s position on this subject matter. Fact (1): Lord Buddha survived on alms food and did not choose what to receive and what not to. Fact (2): According to the Pāli Canon, Lord Buddha explicitly rejected Devadatta’s request to mandate vegetarian diet. Fact (3): The alms rules laid down by Lord Buddha, including the receiving and consumption of meat, are unambiguously set forth in Aṅguttara Nikāya, a tradition adhered to by Thai monks hitherto. These will provide you with a truthful answer to the question. Use the same process and ask yourself, were there any magical ability invoked when Lord Buddha brought Phra Maha Moggallāna to hell to see the latter’s mother or when He outpaced Aṅgulimāla? Were many of Lord Buddha’s disciples also masters of magical faculties and amongst them the most prominent was Phra Maha Moggallāna or was it not? Similarly, these should also provide you with a truthful answer with regards to Buddhist magic.

Finding the Path in a Foggy World

How should falsifications be construed and dealt with in a Buddhist context? What should we do when confronted with so many different and contradicting propositions? Luang Phor Pern of Wat Bangplaad once taught us “Examine, examine, re-examine. What is in accordance with the Dhamma is true and what is not does not really matter anymore.” So do not believe and accept everything that is fed to you, you will need to verify and authenticate those information against the teachings of Lord Buddha to ascertain the truth and anything untruthful thereof is rendered useless. When it comes to exposure and learning, this was what Luang Phor Somjit of Wat Noi Nanghong instructed us “Exposure and learning is good but knowing alone is insufficient. Understanding is the goal and practicing to perfection makes you whole.” Therefore, both Luang Phor Pern and Luang Phor Somjit provided us with the paraphernalia to learning, understanding, and practicing the Dhamma so as to find the Path in a foggy world.

Buddha’s Words

Theravada, or the “Doctrine of the Elders” teachings is based on the Pāli Canon “Tripitaka Suttas” that is “buddhavacana” (Buddha’s words).

Admittedly, Buddhism today is generally beyond recognition. There are simply too many sects purporting to spread the teachings of Lord Buddha but which canons vastly differ from the oldest and most authentic Buddhist scripture known as the “Tripitaka Suttas”.  Perhaps, the only orthodox follower of original Buddhism remains the Theravada, also known as the “Doctrine of the Elders”, which teachings still pivots on the Pāli Canon “Tripitaka Suttas” that is “buddhavacana” (Buddha’s words).  This is the Dhamma to Theravada Buddhists. Whereas for other sects of Buddhism, their canons may or may not contain the “Tripitaka Suttas” but undeniably contain self-composed supplementary writings based on perceptions and interpretations of others within and outside of India by breakaways from original Buddhism who spearheaded new ideas (Shashkevich, 2018). They labelled their new ideas “Mahāyāna” which means “greater way” whilst, at the same time, belittling original Buddhist way as “Hīnayāna” meaning “deficient way”. Despite scorning original and, hence, Theravada Buddhism as “deficient” , however, the founders of the Mahāyāna sect did not have an original philosophy but only to built upon the “deficient” through supplementing and varying “buddhavacana”.

Therefore, the Theravada school rejects Mahayana “scriptures” as inauthentic. If you believe and accept Lord Buddha as the “Samma Sambuddha”, it would be an irony to second guess His teachings and suggest that He had not contemplated or had hidden alternative truths (ācariya-muṭṭhi) and ways as postulated by the many non-awakened writers. The first set of rules set by Lord Buddha is known as “Ovādapātimokkha” which was delivered to 1250 enlightened disciples assembled without being summoned.

The three principles are:

Sabba-papassa akaranam,
kusalassa upasampada,
sa-citta pariyodapanam

– etam Buddhana-sasanam

  • Dhammapada, XIV. 5(183).

      1. Sabba-papassa akaranam: Abstain from all unwholesome deeds pertaining to action, speech, and thought that are trouble to self and others.

      2. Kusalassa upasampada: Perform wholesome deeds pertaining to action, speech, and thought that are right for self and others.

      3. Sa-citta pariyodapanam: Purify the mind to be free of sorrow, greed, anger, and delusion.

Etam Buddhana-sasanam : This is the teaching of Buddha.

Kālāma Sutta: Ten Tenets to Detect and Filter Illusion of Truth

The impact of un-Buddhist mischief becomes aggravated in a technological age whereby both misinformation and disinformation are immediately delivered at the tip of the fingers to mostly uncritical minds. The toxicity arising therefrom is vile. Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), chief propagandist for the Nazi Party, said “repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth” and that forms the law of propaganda. Psychologists termed the effect consequential therefrom “illusion of truth”. If you are to look around you and, examine your environment carefully, you may realize almost everybody from news reporters, politicians, advertisers and even academics are all postulating the flaw of human psychology for varying motives.  This is why we see and read about people, even the educated and knowledgeable too often fall victims to scams when those ruse are detectable from the outset with a little bit of wisdom.

From a religious perspective, “illusion of truth” takes effect by virtue of fantasies and desires to dispose uncomfortable realities. For example, it is much easier to attribute undesirable realities as the “will of God” than to take responsibility and face consequences therefrom. However, in Buddhism, these fantasies and desires are collectively classified as “taṇhā” which is the cause of “dukkhā”. Dukkhā is usually interpreted as suffering and other negative effects of life but, in reality, it pertains also to positive aspects of life whence attachments arise. We will not be delving into the concept of “upadanā” in this article but suffices to state herein that “dukkhā” may include the exact opposite “sukha” if “taṇhā” is found in the latter.

In Ambalatthika-Rahulovada Sutta of Majjhima Nikāya, second of the five Nikāyas in Sutta Pitaka, is a section of Lord Buddha’s instructions to Rahula at Mango Stone on the subjects of shame of telling lies, the purification of kamma, speech, and the mind. These underscored Theravada practice of “sacca-kiriyā” (act of truth) and underlined the Buddhist fourth precept of “not lying”. The precept of “not lying” goes well beyond the simple practice of not lying and it includes not reiterating and aiding in the spread of lies.

There are many Buddhist sects that grew from fantasies and desires of ignorant people and prospered on the latter’s sufferings through manufacturing an illusion of truth. Lord Buddha taught the doctrine of anattā as a key concept to nibanna through cessation of dukkha of which essence is contained in the Four Noble Truth and the Noble Eightfold Path. In cultivation thereof arose 227 precepts for monks and 311 precepts for nuns contained in the Suttavibhaṅga, a division of the Vinaya Piṭaka. In other words, the path and journey towards nibanna is long and difficult, something not achievable by laypeople who, at most, would settle in the Deva realms and have to be reborn as monks, nuns, or ascetics to achieve nibanna.  As part of religious inclusiveness arises waves of Buddhist populism propagating a “here and now” ideology that even laypeople can attain nibanna without having to forgo anything monks and nuns forgo. This is an illusion of truth appealing to the desire and lackadaisical nature of human beings. They will meet your requirement if you are merely looking to buying some psychological comfort or a fictitious place in heaven after death in the name of “Buddhism”. However, if you are not a subscriber to self-deception and truly seek liberation through Lord Buddha’s teachings we will like to share with you the ten primary tenets Lord Buddha imparted in pertinence to learning as per the Kālāma Sutta and they are as follow:

1. Mā anussavena: do not believe or accept just because something has been passed along and retold through the years.

2. Mā paramparāya: do not believe or accept just because some practice has become customary or traditional.

3. Mā itikiraāya: do not believe or accept merely because reports and news spreading far and wide throughout the world.

4. Mā pitakasampadānena: do not believe or accept just because something is cited in an “authoritative” literature.

5. Mā takkahetu: do not believe or accept just because something fits into logical reasoning (takka).

6. Mā nayahetu: do not believe or accept just because something is correct by virtue of deductive or inductive reasoning (naya).

7. Mā ākāraparivitakkena: do not believe or accept just because something appeals to one’s common sense.

8. Mā ditthinijjhānakkhantiyā: do not believe or accept just because something stands up to or agrees with one’s preconceived opinions and theories.

9. Mā bhabbarupatāya: do not believe or accept just because the speaker appears believable.

10. Mā samano no garu ti: do not believe or accept just because the samana or preacher, or the speaker is “our teacher.”  

Pursuant therefrom it may be argued that nothing is believable or acceptable. That will again be a misconception. Remember the advise from His Venerable Luang Phor Pern quoted above: “Examine, examine, re-examine. What is in accordance with the Dhamma is true and what is not does not really matter anymore.”

Before we end this article, we will like to provide you with a brief summary on Thai amulets as they have become central to Thai Buddhism. Inasmuch as we need to know what is and is not Buddhism, we also need to know what is and is not Thai amulets.

Thai Amulets

At the present moment, the oldest Buddha amulets discovered were Mathura art of the 2nd century (Chandra, 1985). However, Thai amulets are said to have existed only from 10th century CE (current era). At that time, Thai amulets were not meant to be worn or taken home rather they were buried in Chedi or in temple ground as a form of merit. The ancient prints then were usually “Phattha Kappa” commonly known as “Phra Puttha Har Phra Oong”. Thai historians have also pointed to a stone inscription of Wat Bang Sanuk, Phrae province dating back to Sukhothai period which described the people of the Sukhothai made Buddha amulets with tin and clay to make merit. This is the reason behind the belief that “renting” amulets (Thais do not use the term “buy” when it comes to amulets) is a form of merit making in Thai Buddhism.

The Phra Pathumas amulet unearthed is approximately more than 600 years old and it is made from a mixture of old silver and lead.

Amulets made during the Sukhothai period include Phra Pathumas, Phra Suphan Lang Phan, Phra Ruang and Phra Leela. Two thousand clay amulets dating back to 1101-1300 inscribed with “ye dhamma” known as Phra Phim Kradun Sriwichai were discovered in Wat Khao Si Wichai, Phunphin District, Surat Thani Province (Konchadleuk, 2014). “Ye dhamma” is an abbreviation for “ye dhammā hetuprabhavā hetuṃ teṣāṃ tathāgato hyavadat, teṣāṃ ca yo nirodha evaṃvādī mahāśramaṇaḥ” which means “regarding dhammas that arise from a cause, the Tathagata taught their cause and also their cessation. Those were the words of the Great Mendicant”

Phra Phim Kradun Sriwichai with diameter approximately 2 centimeter unearthed in in Wat Khao Si Wichai, Phunphin District, Surat Thani Province

When did the culture of wearing Thai amulets begin may be traced back to early Ratanakosin period. Thailand thence began to open up to foreigners and the culture of wearing auspicious and religious objects was brought into the country from the East to the West. From archaeological works to pure treasure hunting at ancient temple sites also took place during that era. Buddha amulets and images unearthed became treasure troves. The elites began collecting those religious antiques that gradually turned into a culture of wearing amulets and worshipping Buddha images at home.

Amulets started as treasure and remained as treasure up until today. High-end Thai amulet collectors only concentrate on traditional amulets such as Phra Benjakphakhi consisting of five types of amulets representing the five periods of Buddhism in Thai history and other rare prints originating from temples and consecrated by prominent guru monks. Phra Somdej from Wat Rakhang made and consecrated by Somdej Phra Puttachanto Promarangsri represent Ratanakosin; Phra Nang Phaya represents Ayutthaya; Phra Soonko represents Sukhothai; Phra Phong Suphan represents U-Thong; and Phra Rod represents Lopburi (Lanna); Phra Ruang, Phra Khring, Pidta and et cetera are also within the collection list. Subsequently, other guru monks versed in supernatural abilities began making various types of images and amulets available to the general public. Temple origination, thus, became a prerequisite for amulet collectors.

However, in contemporary commercial environment, the Thai amulet market has underwent major changes giving rise to distinctions between genuine (temple made) amulets and fake (non-temple made) amulets as well as Thai amulets (Buddhist) and non-Thai amulets (non-Buddhist). Therefore, amulets made-in-Thailand does not necessary mean Thai amulets (wathumongkhun) especially when they lack temple origin and Buddhist standing. Thai Buddhists generally shun and look down upon Black Occultism but these categories of amulets such as “corpse oil”. phi phrai kasip, mae hong phrai, mae tani, and et cetera, collectively classified as “khorng tam” meaning “low things” in Thailand, have their own market comprising mostly overseas customers of lower education background and who do not understand what Thai Buddhism is all about. For example, the 9-tail fox statues and amulets stemming from Chinese fairytales are totally unrelated to Thai Buddhism but has gain popularity with foreigners from China, Taiwan, Malaysia, and Singapore. 9-tail fox and anything related thereto is perceived as promiscuousness pertaining to sex trades (Kapook, 2018).

When we talk about magic within Buddhism, we are referring to “white magic that focuses on good and, at the same time, precludes evil in accordance with Buddhist values and not on immoral actions and thoughts which are suffering owing to ignorance. White magic is a matter that the monks can relate to, practice, and impart for advancing purposes as allowed in accordance with the Heart of Buddhism (Ovāda-pātimokkha ). It must not deviate from the Four Noble Truth and the Noble Eightfold Path. Remember, our actions, thoughts, and speeches are determinants of our karma impacting life events.


We have highlighted the entwinement between Thai Buddhism and Hinduism since time immemorial. Their co-existence and intricate mix is neither syncretism nor religious pluralism commonly understood in contemporary context but rather they characterizes the complex religious traditions of original and, hence, Thai Buddhism. Western literature for one reason or another usually picks the Sukhothai period, or more precisely, Rama Kamhaeng era, as the commencement of religious complexity in Thailand (Kirsch, 1977) which we opine was a perpetuation of original Buddhism. Nonetheless, whether complexity existed since time immemorial or from Rama Kamhaeng era is merely a topic for academic debate and does not impact Thai Buddhism as a religion.

However, debating over what “should” and “should not” be original Buddhism is purely argumentative. Perception is not reality but merely a cursor of illusion. When a perception becomes adamant it brings an individual further away from reality and into a delusionary state known as psychosis. This is a form of sickness and it is definitely not Buddhism. Therefore, in understanding Buddhism we concentrate on what “is” and “is not” Buddhism regardless whether or not we like the truth. Therefore, obstinately clinging onto either end of fanaticism is devoid from reality when it can unambiguously be discerned from the Pāli Canon that original Buddhism, hence, Thai Buddhism, is neither purely dhammic nor mystical. It is a moderation of the two elements.

We may not reach enlightenment in this lifetime but, in the least, we do not have to move further and further away from it. As laypeople it is impossible for us to lead the lives of monks or nuns and observe the 227 and 311 precepts respectively, but in the minimum, the Heart of Buddhism “Sabbapāpassa akaraṇaṃKusalassa upasampadāSa-citta pariyodapanaṃ – Etaṃ buddhāna sāsanaṃ” which simply means “avoid evil, do good, purify the mind – this is the teaching of Buddha” can be our guiding principles.  Therefore, after reading this article, we hope you are able to evaluate your own position within Thai Buddhism and make necessary adjustments, if needed, towards being a proper Thai Buddhist and have a happier Buddhistic life. 


Abhidhamma Piṭaka.

Aggañña Sutta, Dīgha Nikāya 27.

Ambalatthika-Rahulovada Sutta, Majjhima Nikāya.

Anguttara-Nikāya, Sutta Pitaka.

Āṭānāṭiya Sutta,  Dīgha Nikāya 32.

Baker, D. (2020). Converting American Buddhism: Second-Generation Buddhist Americans, the Politics Orientalism, and of Family Religion. CA: Claremont Press.

British Library (2019). British Library receives gift of Pāḷi Tipitaka. Retrieved from:

Chaisumritchoke, S.T. (2007). Sufficiency Economy, the King’s Philosophy: An Application of Buddhist Economics to Develop Thai Local Pharmaceutical Industries for Sustainable Well-Being. Society & Economy, 29(2), 235-252.

Chandra, P. (1985).  The Sculpture of India: 3000 B.C. to 1300 A.D. Washington: D.C., National Gallery of Art.

Gokhale, J.B. (1986). The Sociopolitical Effects of Ideological Change: The Buddhist Conversion of Maharashtrian Untouchables. Journal of Asian Studies, 45(2), 269-292.

Hoen, D.J., & Goudriaan, T. (1981). Review: A Survey of Tantric Hinduism for the Historian of Religions. History of Religions, 20(4), 345-360.

Jackson, P.A. (1989). Buddhism, Legitimation and Conflict: The Political Functions of Urban Thai Buddhism. Institute of Southeast Asian Studies.

Kevatta Sutta, Dīgha Nikāya 11.

Kirsch, A.T. (1977). Complexity in Thai Religious System: An Interpretation. Journal of Asian Studies, 241-266.

Komchadleuk (2014). Phra Phim Kradun Sriwichai over One Thousand Years Old. Extracted from Komshadleuk News on 2021, August 13:

Loannidis, J.P.A. (2005). Why Most Published Research Findings Are False. PLOS Med, 2(8) : e124.

Maha Chulalongkorn Rajavidyalaya University (2002). Thai Tripitaka Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University edition: From Wiriya to Wisdom in order to carry on Buddhism as a Thai partner. Extracted from Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University on 2021, August 7:

Prombunpong, S. (1995). Monkhood Faces Further Decline. In Blyth, G. (ed.). The Cult Worship of King Chulalongkorn. Department of Thai Studies, Clayton: AUS, Monash University.

Ratana Sutta, Khuddakapāṭha 6.

Sāleyyakasutta , Majjhima Nikāya 41.

Saṃyutta Nikāya, Sutta Pitaka.

 Shashkevich, A. (2018). Stanford Scholar Discusses Buddhism and its Origins. Extracted from Standford News on 2021, August 7:

Stanford University (2021). Mysticism in Arabic and Islamic Philosophy. Extracted from Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy on 2021, August 7:

Stefon, M. (n.d.). Christianity. Extracted from Britannica on 2021, August 7:

Suttavibhanga, Ninaya Pitaka.

 Svasti, P. (2013). Links Forged in Faith. Extracted from Bangkok Post on 2021, August 7:

Upāli Sutta, Majjhima Nikāya 56.

Worathanee (2013). I will make merit at all…consider it first (or not…?). Extracted from Post Today on 2021, August 7:

Yu, D.S. (2014). Buddhist Conversion in Contemporary World. New York: NY, The Oxford Handbook on Religious Conversion.

Kapook (2018). Revealing a Picture of a Resolute Chinese Woman Flocking to the Charm of a Nine-Tailed Fox, Believed to Help Attract Men and Fortune. Extracted from Kapook on 2021, August 7:

Origin of Phra Pikaniat

Phra Pikaniat or Lord Ganesh, the elder son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, is a popular Hindu God. Lord Shiva is part of Supreme Being Trimurti and Goddess Parvati is also part of Supreme Goddess Shakti. The origin of Lord Ganesh is contained in Shiva Purana, part of the Shivaism corpus of literature. He has an elephant head and a human body. He is the most popular Hindu God and is also regarded as the Chieftain of Gods. All religious ceremony must first go through Him because he clears all obstacles and ensures success. Consequently, it becomes believed those who seek success in business must first pay respect to Lord Ganesh.

The birth of Ganesha

It is recorded in Shiva Purana that one day, Goddess Parvati told Nandi, one of Lord Shiva’s able followers who was assigned as her bodyguard that she did not want to be disturbed as she takes her bath and he was not to let anyone pass, including her husband, Lord Shiva. Nandi faithfully took his post but when Lord Shiva came home, Nandi tried to stop him but when His Lordship was insistent, Nandi let him passed through. Parvati was infuriated by what happened.

Lord Siva and Goddess Parvati

In another day, when Goddess Parvati wished to take a bath and did not want to be disturbed but in lieu of asking Nandi to stand guard, she took the turmeric paste (for bathing) from her body and breathed life into it, she created Lord Ganesh out of it and declared him to be her own loyal son. She asked Lord Ganesh to stand guard for her.

When Lord Shiva returned home, he was deprived entry by the young boy. Lord Shiva was greatly offended and ordered His men to destroy Lord Ganesh. However, they failed. They were easily defeated by the young boy, thus, compelling Lord Shiva to take on the young boy himself.

Goddess Kali

Being one of the Supreme Gods, Lord Shiva was able to defeat Lord Ganesh easily and, out of blind anger, he severed Lord Ganesh’s head. When Goddess Parvati saw that, she was so enraged and she transformed into her multi-arms devilish form of Goddess of Death, Kali. Goddess Kali threatened to destroy all creation. That alarmed the Creator, Lord Brahma who tried to salvage the precarious situation. The Goddess of Death laid down two conditions, firstly, Lord Ganesh be resurrected and, secondly, thereafter be accorded the status of Ganapati and be honoured before all Gods in all religious ceremonies.

Knowing his wife well and realising the consequence of His rashness, Lord Shiva asked Lord Brahma to fetch Him the head of the first living creature He found facing in the North direction. Lord Brahma, upon reaching the North spotted an elephant and hence returned with an elephant’s severed head which Lord Shiva joined it to Lord Ganesh’s lifeless body. With His own breath, Lord Shiva brought Lord Ganesh back to life and declared Him His own son.

With the agreement of the three Supreme Gods, Lord Ganesh was accorded the status of leader of all ganas (all classes of beings) and will be worshipped before all other Gods in all religious ceremonies. It was from then that Lord Ganesh received His alternative name Ganapati – leader of all classes of beings.

Phra Pikaniat shrine at Central World

Lord Ganesh is known as Phra Pikaniat in Thailand and is widely worshipped by Thais. There are many temples and shrines dedicated to Phra Pikaniat. The most accessible would be the shrine at Central World, Rajmari Road which is frequented by both Thais and foreigners.

Wat Saman Rattanaram

Another Phra Pikaniat temple that has attracted tourists from around the world is Wat Saman Rattanaram in Chachoengsao with a large reclining statue of Lord Ganesha measuring 16 meters high and 22 meters long.

Besides the removing of obstacles, it is almost customary for Thais to pray to Phra Pikaniat when starting a business, embark on long travelling, starting a new construction or during engagement or wedding. Praying to Phra Pikaniat is also popular with university students not because Phra Pikaniat will do the exams for them but He will instead remove all obstacles to learning. Phra Pikaniat is also well-known for His passion for fine arts and is, thus, believed to encourage creativeness. This is evident in the logos of Thailand’s Department of Fine Arts and Silapakorn University.

Regalia Buddhist Cultural Centre

Regalia Buddhist Cultural Centre’s official logo

The Phra Pikaniat in our logo, sitting at the centre of our company’s name in Thai “Regalia Soon Wathanathamputh” or Regalia Buddhist Cultural Centre contains our mission to “encourage people to come and pray (Conch Shell) by pulling them to the highest goal (Rope) in the right path (Tusk) through love, wisdom, and action (Trident)”.

Phra Buddha Dhammakaya Thepmongkhon replaces Phra Si Ariyamettrai as the tallest Buddha statue in Bangkok

The Kingdom of Thailand, a country known for its leadership in Theravada Buddhism, adds yet another gigantic Buddha statue to the array that spreads throughout the kingdom, the tallest being the 92-metres high Phra Buddha Maha Nawamin statue in Wat Muang, Ang Thong province.

Phra Buddha Maha Nawamin in Wat Muang, Wiset Chai Chan, Ang Thong province

Nonetheless, the newly constructed statue of Phra Buddha Dhammakaya Thepmongkhon will replaced the iconic 32-metres tall Buddha statue of Phra Si Ariyamettrai of Wat Intharawihan, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok as the tallest Buddha in the capital.

Phra Si Ariyamettrai of Wat Intharawihan, Bang Khun Phrom, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok

The Phra Buddha Dhammakaya Thepmongkhon statue is a meditation Buddha image seated on a lotus with a lap width of 40-meters and a height of 69-meters that is approximately equivalent to a 20-storey building overseeing the Chao Phaya River.

Phra Buddha Dhammakaya Thepmongkhon in Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen

The construction took place in one of Thailand’s prominent temple Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen which was built during the Ayutthaya period or around year 1610. The temple received royal patronage up-until late nineteenth century before falling into abandonment and destitute.  

Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro abbot of Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen 2459-2502

However, at the turn of the twentieth century, the Wat Paknam rose from the ashes with the appointment of Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro’s (Phra Mongkolthepmuni) as its abbot in 1916. The temple underwent major restructuring and innovation under the leadership of His Venerable. Luang Pu Sodh began preaching the Dharma on a regular basis and His Venerable also conducted meditation classes for both monks and laypeople. Subsequently, in the 1950s, Luang Pu Sodh also established an institute for Pali studies and schools for primary education.

Somdej Wat Paknam Loon Sam 2499

Apart from his dharmic nature, Luang Pu Sodh was also a top and highly respected guru monk within the inner path. He has made various amulets and among the more highly sought after are His Venerable’s personal medallions and Somdej Wat Paknam Loon Laek to Loon Sam. Consequently, the temple was expeditiously restored to its past glory housing hundreds of monks and became well-supported by the affluent community around Bangkok.

The body of Luang Pu Sodh is preserved in the golden coffin behind the large image of His Venerable.

After serving the Sangha for 53 years, Luang Pu Sodh entered parinibbana on February 3, 1959 at the age of 75. His body is still being preserved in the temple because of the large number of believers paying respect to His Venerable hitherto. Pursuant thereto, it also became a major tourist attraction for the temple. However, the years 1916 to 1959 marked the peak of Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen.

Work on the statue of Phra Buddha Dhammakaya Thepmongkhon commenced in 2017 and is projected to be completed this year. However, owing to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, the Phra Puttapisek ceremony will likely be deferred to a later date.

It was speculated that the statue of Phra Buddha Dhammakaya Thepmongkhon was built as an offering to the Triple Gems, that is, the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, as well as a homage to Luang Pu Sodh, In other words, the statue of  Phra Buddha Dhammakaya Thepmongkhon is representational of Buddhanusati, Dhammanusati, and Sanghanusati,

12 kilograms of pure gold is placed inside the Buddha statue according to the Lotus Sattha Bongkut

The 69-metre-tall Buddha statue made from copper and painted gold has a heart, according to the “Lotus Sattha Bongkut”, made of 12 kilograms of pure gold. The total cost for the construction was reported to be 500 million baht (approximately USD 15.4 million). The Buddha statue will be visible across the capital, especially on all raised train lines, and is expected to become a new tourist attraction once the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic is over.










在三位至高無上的神,即梵天大天王霸拉瑪,濕婆天王和毘濕奴天王三得同意下,像神被賦予眾神之首,並將在所有宗教儀式中先受崇拜。從那時起,像神也接受了祂的另一個名字“甘納帕迪” – 眾神的領袖。





除了消除障礙之外,泰國人習慣在開辦企業,開始長途旅行,開始新建築或訂婚或婚禮期間都向象神祈禱。象神也很受泰國大學生的歡迎,不是因為象神將代替他們考試, 而是祂將為他們消除所有學習的障礙。像神也因其對美術的熱情而聞名,因此被認為是鼓勵創造力的神袛。因為以上原因,像神也成為泰國藝術部和希臘帕孔大學的標誌。



本行從開業之際也採用象神為標誌。象神端坐我們公司泰國名字中間,祂包含了本公司的使命,即“鼓勵人們前來祈禱(海螺殼牌),在正確的道路上(象牙 )通過愛,智慧和行動(三叉戟)將他們拉到最高目標(繩索)”。