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Nature-Spirits in the 21st Century

Thailand is one of the few countries that produce the best horror movies, however, the belief in ghosts is not uniquely Thai but, on the contrary, it is a cornerstone of most cultures. If you think believing in ghosts and spirits in this scientifically and technologically advanced age is weird or not align with mainstream belief then you may have to rethink critically.

A poll conducted by YouGov in October 2019 found that at least 45% of Americans believe in ghosts and demons whereas a similar poll conducted in October 2014 found 34% of British people share similar belief and these figures are rising steadily among those aged 35 and below. Other surveys conducted in the last 10 years have shown 68% of Singaporeans aged 45 and below and just about everyone in Thailand and Taiwan believe in ghosts.

Belief in Paranormal Existences in the 21st Century

Photograph extracted from the horror movie “Rang Song” produced by GDH.

Where does the belief in ghosts and spirits stands in a technologically and scientifically advanced 21st century? There are many Buddhist scholars who reject spirit related issues based on a claim that the death-birth cycle is instantaneous, that is to say, the moment an individual dies, his/her “mind” immediately finds a body conditioned by thoughts of that individual when breathing his/her last breath. There are equally other Buddhist scholars who claim that rebirth in the various planes of existence is all up in the mind, that is, from birth right up to enlightenment are all played out in a single life time and there is no real rebirth or reincarnation of beings.

We are not sure about the premises of their propositions. We have not found them in any sutta leave alone in the words of Lord Buddha. However, what we do observed is that both propositions share a common denomination which, in psychology, is called “thought flow.” The first proposition may be defined as fantasizing and, the second as daydreaming. If such propositions are to hold any legitimacy in Buddhism then, sadly, understanding the Four Noble Truth, the theory of dependent origination, the law of kamma, and practising the Noble Eightfold Path amongst other things taught by Lord Buddha will inevitably all-in-all become a mockery and a waste of time, are they not?

The essence of Buddhism in facing death is to conquer fear for the unknown. Rebirth after death, how long does it take to be reincarnated and what afterlife is like; and in which plane of existence will one be reborn are all unknown to an individual. Therefore, unavoidably, there will always be fear and anxiety. In order to overcome these negative psychological and emotional effects is through the understanding of the law of kamma, to cultivate and accumlate good kamma so as to be reborn in a pleasant state within the 31 planes of existence. Unfortunately, the afore-mentioned scholarly propositions approach fear and anxiety over the unknown outside one’s comfort zone through the formation of an escape route made easy and pleasant by way of fantasy and daydream which, in our opinion, is simply not Buddhism!

Does Science Explain Everything?

Photograph extracted from Bangkok Ghost Stories screened on Channel 33

Scientists have attempted to debunk and explain paranormal experiences based on faulty activity in the brain. They usually attribute such experiences to some form of neurotrauma, for examples, objects moving by itself may be associated with certain malfunctioning to specific regions of the visual processing centre of the brain called the occipital lobe; certain forms of epilepsy, a central nervous system disorder, may cause spooky feelings such as the presence of the unseen; and any combination of fatigue, drugs, alcohol, and lighting effects may also contribute to a single and isolated experience of paranormal encounter. There may be some truth in these scientific dogmas but they may not always be true in every context.

The psychiatric patient or more popularly known as the asylum lady in Shutter Island played by American actress Jill Larson

What happens if there is no brain damage detected? Then it must be some form of cognitive or emotional dysfunction, otherwise, the answer must be that of insanity. These are somewhat the scientific protocols that are guarded zealously by the institutions at the expense and well-being of people who experience paranormal activities. Many but not all paranormal experiences may be linked to neuropsychiatric problems and to force-fit each and every content into a set of predetermined context do more harm than good. The fear of being stigmatised and committed to some mental institutions apparently discouraged people to be frank about their experiences or to seek help and solutions if their experiences are bad ones.

The Protective Shield

Psychologists studying religion have utilised and expanded the concept of “protective shield” formulated by Freud to explain the belief in Gods and spirits. The protective shield functions as a dynamic barrier between outside and inside worlds of an individual as well as an aversive state of mind in attributing those things that is beyond one’s control to some illusory forces which may collectively be termed superstition. For examples, asking for God’s help to secure a job; prayers for a love one to recover speedily from a sickness; or wearing a sacred object to enhance charisma and et cetera.

We must not forget that science is a process of learning and discovery, and it has been proven times and again that what was initially thought to be scientifically right and conclusive turned out wrong decades later. Take eugenics, for example. In the past and, to a certain extent, even now, it is believed that intelligence is hereditary which by the very own scientific standards have proven it to be scientifically flawed and meaningless. Inasmuch as criminality, intelligence is greatly influenced by environment and not genes. Are sophisticated crimes not usually committed by intelligent, influential, and well-connected people? Why then do some people still hold ardently on to and propagate such a flawed belief? The answer is quite obvious, is it not? It all voices down to politics and discrimination serving the interests of a dominant group, like Nazis. Therefore, who is actually holding the protective shield?

Believing science knows everything is as superstitious as what it sets out to disprove. The very belief that science is the ultimate revelation and omniscience that ends all revelations as both Hawking and Weinberg envisioned has hitherto turned out to be nothing more than an apparition of scientific delusion. Thinking science as true and permanent is itself self-defeating right from the outset. We are making this statement not because we are Thai Buddhist subscribing to the theorem of impermanence but the very fact that aspects of life are none permanent. Our environment, laws, marriage instituion, and even apparatus are not even the same compared just to 20-30 years back. Try comparing each sexagenary cycle as far back as you could and you will see how vastly different things are. And they are continuously changing.

We have to bear in mind that science is not a conclusion but merely an approximation derived from the limited knowledge of mankind. Even the current knowledge of the cosmos together with the law and logic formulated there-in-under are merely inconclusive scientific guesses just as Newton’s theory on gravity does not explain the precession of Mercury’s orbit. In response, a hypothetical planet name Vulcan is said to have caused the scientific hiccups. Hitherto, to these scientists, planet Vulcan remains the omnipotent “Spirit” orbiting in our known solar system. Vulcan’s existence is just like spirits and ghosts that are scientifically incapable of being proved or disproved, at least with the current technology and knowledge of mankind.

In our opinion, whether the existence and validity of ghosts and spirits are real or mere superstition is for you to form your own judgment because it is after-all your own personal belief and experiences which none other besides yourself has the privy to make any pronouncement.

Nature-Spirits in Modern Thailand

The shrine of Nang Nak at “Wat Mahabut”, On Nut Road, Soi 7, Phra Khanong District, Bangkok

Nonetheless, in this article we are not going to talk about ghosts, rather, we are going to explore the theme of nature-spirits or “winyan thamachat” in the Thai context. In our earlier article “Understanding Thai Buddhism” we briefly touched on this topic by way of reference to “yakkhas,” There are a myriad of those who have and would continue to argue that yakkhas are Hindu and not Buddhist epithet and, thus, non-Buddhist. However, despite the overlap in the belief of yakkhas between Buddhism and Hinduism, the said proposition is actually flawed and untrue per se because nature-spirits predated any religious tradition we know of today. They were found in almost all primitive civilization and society from East to West. We may attribute the apparent incongruity to differences in cosmological, ontological, and epistemological approaches to the subject matter in contrast to Buddhism.

When talking about yakkhas it is often misunderstood that it refers only to the 12 Yahks.

There is no official name to that belief but which the Thais describe as “Satsana Phi” or “ghost religion.” Nevertheless, we are also not going to delve into the origin of the belief but suffice to state herein that the very concept of nature-spirits or yakkhas forms part of Buddhism per the Maha Niddesa in Pitaka Sutta, Ratana Sutta and Āṭānāṭiya Sutta. When we talk about yakkhas in Thai Buddhism, almost naturally, most people misperceive it to refer to the 12 guardian Yahks commonly seen in Thai temples. The most famous of these 12 Yahks is Phaya Yahk Tosakan. However, the fact is that in Buddhism, yakkhas refer not to a specific class of spirits but a very broad category of nature-spirits that are found in water, earth, trees, stones, mountains, caves, and et cetera. They can be good and benevolent like some tutelary deities or naughty, whimsical, or even outright demonic and devilish. Owing to their diverse characteristics and personalities, they are sometimes generally referred to as “amanussa” who could either be a deity, a spirit, a ghost, a demon or a devil.

Yakkhini Phra Nang Suphan Apsorn of Wat Nang Takhien Khlong Khoen, Mueang Samut Songkhram District, Samut Songkhram Province.

In this article, we are not going to explore the wide spectrum of nature-spirits but only to concentrate on tree spirits. We will borrow the epithet “nymph” from Greek mythology as a collective reference to tree spirits known as “nang mai” in Thailand. Nymphs can either be a deity, a spirit, a ghost, a demon or a devil that reside in large trees, especially old trees. In other words, the trees in which nymphs reside are considered their homes, thus, they will protect their homes from being destroyed by human beings. When human beings tampered with or have the intention of cutting down trees occupied by nymphs, the nymphs had to show their powers and make their presence known to warn and deter people from destroying their homes. There are numerous stories in various countries where people fell sick, became insane, or even died after cutting down certain trees believed to be “possessed” by spirits.

A nymph can either be male or female but in Thailand it is usually depicted as a beautiful young woman, with shoulder length hair, dressed in traditional costumes with a sabai. The reason for not illustrating a male nymph is perhaps related to inhibited stances in sexual desire between genders. Stories and movies of nymphs are usually centred on some sexual relationship and, hence, in a patriarchal society like Thailand, it is a taboo to stimulate female sexual fantasy. We will also leave the topic of sexuality and gender discrimination as it is and continue this article under the general assumption that nymphs are all females.

Mae Takhien: A Powerful Tree Spirit

Photograph taken from Phranakornfilm Takhian: The Haunted Tree Nov 10, 2018

A takhien can grow up to 45m in height with the base of its trunk reaching a diameter of 4.5m. Some of these takhien trees have been around for hundreds of years. The sprawling tall trunk gives a spooky and terrifying feeling that either something sacred or evil is in it. It is believed that the takhien trees are usually possessed by nymphs. If the more sap oozes out from it, the more it is possible that a nymph has taken abode in it. The Thais call nymphs residing in the takhien trees Mae Takhien or Nang Takhien.

Mae Takhien is a very powerful nature-spirit who can either bring blessing or cause severe disaster. It is said that Mae Takhien is usually a beautiful woman with long hair, wearing traditional Thai costumes with a sabai like an ancient Thai woman but sometimes she may also appear as typical forest girl, innocent, sweet and attractive. It is believed that in a very old takhian tree there will most likely be a Mae Takhian residing in it. Therefore, Mae Takhien is not a single entity but multiple individual spirits which, by virtue thereof, makes their characteristics diverse and unpredictable.

Is there a nymph residing in every takhian tree? No one can tell for sure. But to cut down a takhien tree, especially that which is many decades old, the cutter often has to perform a ritual requesting Mae Takhien to relocate to a new place. People who cut a takhian tree without performing that ritual are often punished. They are either struck with illness, insanity, or death whereas for people who show respect and honour Mae Takhien, they are, on the contrary, usually rewarded with good fortune and luck. Owing to the capricious nature of Mae Takhien it is difficult to describe her as a deva or a ghost, thus, the term “amanussa” is used in lieu.

This photograph extracted from Thairath shows monks and villagers participating in a ritual before two canoes carved from takhien trees.

Despite the belief, the fear, and the costs, both psychological and spiritual, associated with takhien trees, they are insufficient to prevent human beings from their desire to cut and use the hardwood that is resistant to sunlight and rain for various purposes, especially in canoe building. For the canoe builders, they usually perform grand offering ceremony when cutting and turning a takhien tree into a canoe. Each time a canoe is completed, another special ritual will be performed so that Mae Takhien will change her status to Mae Yanang, the guardian and protector of that canoe.

Some people also use takhien trees to make house pillars. However, there have been many reported cases in the Thai newspapers that oil kept oozing out from those pillars made from takhien trees. Those pillars are coined as “Oil Tak Pillar” and it is believed that it is a sign that Mae Takhien cries in dissatisfaction. The oil stopped oozing once homeowners hurry to pay homage to each pillar with grandiosity. Whereas for those house owners who ignored the omen, members living in the house will become sick and eventually die. The question is, why would one wants to have Mae Takhien as the pillars to his house?

Mae Takien of Wat Kaew Krachang, Si Bua Thong, Sawaeng Ha District, Ang Thong Province

In Wat Kaeo Krachang, Si Bua Thong Subdistrict, Sawan District, Ang Thong Province, there is a 5 meters tall and radius 1.5 meters wide wooden sculpture of a woman dressed in traditional Lanna Thai costumes with Pikul flowered patterns and beautiful jewellery enshrined in the pavillion. According to the abbot of the temple, Phrakru Wiboon Worawat, the statue enshrined in the temple is called “Mae Kaew Prakaithong” or “Chao Mae Takhien.” It is carved from a takhien wood dating back to Dvaravati period recovered from the Si Bua Thong pond by the Subdistrict Administrative Organization. This is one of the few Mae Takhien statues in Thailand. Note that once consecrated by monks and enshrined in a temple, the status of Mae Takhien is elevated from “amanussa” to “Chao” meaning deva.

Sacred Objects made from Takhien Wood

The Jaktukam amulet with Phra Pidta on the reverse side carved from takhien wood and consecrated by Wat Suthiwat Wararam (Wat Chong Lom) in 2550.

Takhien wood is believed to possess natural divine energy and many sacred objects carved from takhien wood are believed to be very powerful and highly sought after. In Buddhist year 2550, Wat Suthiwat Wararam (Wat Chong Lom), Tha Chalom, Mueang Samut Sakhon District, Samut Sakhon made and consecrated a batch of amulets carved from ancient takhien wood excavated in its temple compound.

The Luang Pu Tuad amulet with Phra Pikaniat on the reverse side carved from takhien wood and consecrated by Wat Suthiwat Wararam (Wat Chong Lom) in 2550.

There are also other temples that made and consecrated amulets out of takhien wood. For example, in Buddhist year 2551, Wat Nongpho also made and consecrated a batch of Luang Phor Derm amulets from Takhien wood.

Luang Phor Derm Buddhasaro of Wat Nongpho, Nong Pho Subdistrict, Takhli District, Nakhon Sawan, is one of the top guru monks revered by Thai Buddhists.

In our earlier article “Luang Phor Poot: Master of Snake Spirit” we have also introduced the the Phaya Tor amulets made from takhien wood and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot of Wat Klang Bangplad.

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

Besides the huge statue of Chao Mae Takien statue in Wat Kaew Krachang that is carved from takhien wood, if you travel approximately 548 kilometres (about 7-8 hours journey from Bangkok) in the northeast direction to Phu Sing District, Si Saket Province to Wat Ban Thai Tavorn, you will find 3 huge statues carved personally by the abbot Luang Phor Boonsong Paphakro from takhien trees excavated within the temple’s compound.

The statue of Chao Mae Takhien also known as Niang Kaew Pathum of Wat Ban Thai Tavorn, Phu Sing District, Si Saket Province.

The first takhien tree excavated in year 2554 was carved into a statue of Chao Mae Takhien also known as Niang Kaew Pathum. A second takhien tree trunk was found immersed in a pond in year 2562 by villagers. However, for 7 days the villagers tried to hoist up the tree trunk but failed. A ritual was then initiated where prayers and offerings were made to Mae Takhien. After asking Mae Takhien for permission, the trunk was successfully hoisted.

The Phaya Jolakhe “Arak Khadang” carved from Takhien wood believed to be hundreds of years old.

The trunk was found to be burned, possibly being struck by lightning before it fell into water, therefore, the surface of the trunk was very rough. Luang Phor Boonsong then came up with the idea of carving the trunk into a 14 metres long and 1 metre wide Phaya Jolakhe, turning the rough surface into hard scales of Phaya Jolakhe. The Phaya Jolakhe is named “Arak Khadang” and is believed that walking into its mouth and coming out from its tail will help ward away all bad elements and bring about good fortune.

Thao Wesuwan belongs to the Yahk family and is the half-brother of Phaya Yahk Tosakan and a Buddhist Guardian protecting the human race.

The statue of Thao Wessuwan is about 9 meters high and the base is about 5 meters wide. His right hand holds a wand with a dog’s head and his left hand holds a glowing orb. Thao Wessuwan is also called “Thao Phaisop” and is the General of all demons. He is one of the four Jatulokban protectors of the human world and resides in the north heavens, with Thao Thot or “Phra In” in the east heavens, Thao Wirunhak or”Phra Yom” in the south heavens, and Thao Wirupak or “Phra Varun” in the west heavens. The Mahayanists call them the “Four Great Heavenly Kings.”

Nang Tani: The Banan Tree Ghost

It is believed Nang Tani has a beautiful face, a fragrant body, long hair, and pale red palms and soles like pigeon feet.

When we talk about banana tree ghost, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia share a similar belief. In Thailand, a banana tree ghost is known as “Phi Tani” or “Nang Tani” whilst in Malaysia and Singapore, and Indonesia it is called “pontianak” and “kuntilanak” respectively which refers to the ghost of a pregnant woman who died a tragic death and somehow resides in a banana tree. Whether primordial or impending, banana tree ghost is nothing but a ghost.

According to the Thai Encyclopedia for Youth, Volume 13, Nang Tani is defined as follows:

The banana tree is the hangout of Prai Nang Tani, well known among the older generation. She is said to have a beautiful face, a fragrant body, long hair, and pale red palms and soles like pigeon feet. Lips are the color of ripe gourds. If bananas have plump stems Prai Nang Tani has a chubby figure; if there is a transparent trunk Prai Nang Tani has a slender figure.”

Because Nang Tani is a ghost, therefore, Thais do not plant Tani banana trees near their houses. There are also certain rules to adhere to when cutting the tani banana leaves for use. It is forbidden to cut off the whole leaf which includes the pseudo stem. Either only trim off the banana leaves or cut off the mid rib leaving the pseudo stem and apparent trunk intact. Cutting off the pseudo stem and/or apparent trunk is like cutting into the house of Nang Tani. It is a bad omen and someone at home will soon die. This appears to be due to the old aphorism of using three banana leaves to support the bottom of a coffin. Now, usually only banana leaf crafts or “thaeng yuak” are used on-top of coffin cover.

Banana Ghost Witchcraft: A Low-Art Shunned by Mainstream

In certain places, ceremonies are initiated to placate Nang Tani for various reasons. Items used include baisi, pork head, sweet and savoury dishes, rice, flowers, incense sticks and candles, perfumes and fragrances such as sandalwood and etc. A ring and a gold necklace are attached to the trunk of a banana flower as an ornament and a piece of red cloth is wrapped around the banana tree trunk. Usually, the ritual is to ask Nang Tani not to harm but to protect the people in the house and to have good fortune. Sometimes monks are invited to pray and make merit for Nang Tani as well.

However, there are also witchcraft masters who performed rituals by taking the banana flowers from a tree in which it is believed a Nang Tani resides, dry them under the sun and, subsequently, grind them into powder and mixed it with chanted powder for use to charm people. Sometimes they put the banana flower-powder in honey and/or lipsticks to be use to attract the opposite sex.

There are also many low-crafts used in summoning Nang Tani. The most deplorable one is a distortion of a traditional Songkhla ritual of wedding a spirit tree. It has been said that a bachelor who knows about the existence of Nang Tani in a specific tree will go to that banana tree every night and rubbed his genital against the base of that banana tree as he says flirtatious words to Nang Tani until she becomes aroused. At that point, he then takes a knife and cut the root of the banana tree that looks like a rhizome to be carved into a figurine of a woman and put it in a wooden container. Offerings and chanting will be made every morning and evening for several days until the ghost of Nang Tani appears in his dream. The man will take Nang Tani as his wife and she will in turn help him to prosper. However, according to the Treasury of Thai Wisdom, it is stated that “The ghost Nang Tani likes to seduce men and is terribly jealous. If a man who has sex with her went with another woman, Nang Tani would immediately follow and break that man’s neck in a rage of jealousy.”

Such funny amulets are regarded as low arts and do not fall within Thai Buddhism

We have seen various amulets of Nang Tani circulating on the Internet for quite sometimes now but which are not found within the Thai community. To the numerous Thais we inquired, they are as equally perplexed and amused as we are. No Thai in his right mind would wear a ghost amulet, on the contrary, if a close one is suspected to be “playing with ghosts” monks or “mor phi” will usually be invited to terminate that relationship and dedicate the merit to Nang Tani to rest in peace. Moreover, ghosts are restrained within specific territories in which they are found and cannot travel freely from one place to another. For example, even if your neighbour’s house is haunted, the ghost cannot come to your house.

According to the various guru monks we have spoken to about the subject matter, they all said such “khorng dam” or low objects are specially made by profiteers for foreigners who do not understand Thai Buddhism because there is no Thai market for this type of things. To the Thais, Buddhism is not only a religion but also a way of life. Most Thais understand the law of kamma and they understand that actions driven by “cetanā” (intention) will lead to future consequences. In other words, there is a cost to every action which is a determining factor in both this life and the kind of rebirth in “saṃsāra.” The playing with low objects will only lead to bad, if not tragic, experiences in this lifetime and a rebirth in the lower planes.

So how real is the “banana ghost” some people are wearing? Honestly, we are sure but they will definitely have their own stories to tell.

Marrying a Nymph

As afore-mentioned, marrying a nymph or tree spirit is an ancient Songkhla custom with its root stretching 300-400 years back. The custom is centred in an ancient temple, Wat Mamuang. The temple was built around 2299 B.E. It is located at Ban Muang Mu, Sathing Mo Sub-district, Singhanakhon District, Songkhla Province, under the Maha Nikaya Sangha. It is also the place of origin pertaining to the legend of Chao Mae Muang Thong. There are two versions to the legend and they are as follows.

The statue of Mae Muang Thong in Wat Mamuang, Ban Muang Mu, Sathing Mo Sub-district, Singhanakhon District, Songkhla Province

According to the first story, the nymph Chao Mae Muang Thong was the daughter of Ya Chan and Ta Jerm, who donated the land on which her house was built to be built into a temple. After she died, she repeatedly appeared to the villagers and let them know that she resided in the huge mango tree in the temple’s compound. She was dressed in traditional costumes and was full of gold including bracelets, anklets, necklaces, and hairpins, hence, the villagers addressed her as Mae Muang Thong, literally meaning “mother gold mango.” When the villagers began to make offerings to the mango tree, she in turn cured them of their diseases and sufferings from various causes.

The second version is recorded in the Book of Songkhla and Culture. It states that “the daughter of the Governor of Nakhon Si Thammarat was captured by thieves and she was robbed and killed. The corpse was hidden in the hollow of a large mango which later performed miracles to appear repeatedly until the villagers respected and made sacrifices to her.

Chao Mae Muang Thong or such a nymph repeatedly appeared to the villagers to see and dream of, letting them know that she resided in the large mango tree inside Wat Mamuang. Indeed, the villagers began making offerings and sacrifices to Chao Mae Muang Thong at the large mango tree. The most unique thanksgiving culture practiced by the villagers is that of marrying the nymph after wishes are fulfilled.

The origin of marriage with a nymph is, however, unclear. It has been said that it could possibly be attributed to practices of the Chinese migrants from China. Chinapeople believe that if a child in the family falls seriously ill it is better to “sacrifice” the child and make it a descendant of the spirit, i.e. making the child a “godson” or “goddaughter” of a spirit. Thus, for the family to be bonded with the spirit, a marriage has to take place.

Somehow, that practice transformed into a custom that a man who has reached maturity but before the ordination as a monk must be wedded to Mae Muang Thong. However, unlike the low art practiced with regards to Nang Tani, there is no sexual fantasy in this instance and even after being married to Mae Muang Thong, the man can still marry a real woman as usual. Therefore, marriage with Mae Muang Thong is a matter that must be passed on through the family line. The wedding ceremony with Mae Muang Thong is carried out in the same way as a normal marriage between people but it can be performed only on Tuesdays and Saturdays. Another unique phenomenon is that the groom must dress in traditional costumes and carry a dagger. A traditional “khan mak” procession is held. At the end of the ceremony, everyone in the village will be fed with a bowl of vermicelli soup. Incidentally, if a woman received help from Mae Muang Thong, she will also initiate a wedding ceremony by dressing as a man.

Outsiders tend to view this custom as pure superstition. However, according to sociologists, the seemingly “weird” custom is actually an embodiment of social cohesion and integration of the various races and religions that settled in Singhanakhon District. In an article published by Thai Journalist Association, sociologists exhort critics to see beyond the surface and look deeper into the history and demographics of Songkhla, especially Ban Muang before passing any value judgment. Observation and analysis will show that the wedding ceremony is an amalgamation of various traditions of different races, for examples, the costume of the groom represents Buddhism and Thai, the dagger carried by the groom, a Kris, is a symbol of Islam, and the vermicelli soup is the food of the Chinese people. Therefore, the custom per se has rich socio-cultural undertones in lieu of superstition.



主要的帕普達尼米特古佛金身佛像目前仍被供奉於其原廟,即大城那空府坦邦塔塔蘇蘇克里鎮的瓦帕梅魯拉希卡拉姆沃拉維漢佛寺。雄偉壯觀的佛像有4.5米的圈寬和6米的高度。 佛像依照布密斯帕薩姿勢,盤膝成雙膝坐姿,左手仰臥在膝上; 右手放在右腿上。

帕普達尼米特古佛佛像是建造與1503年(帕拉瑪蒂波迪二世國王統治時期)的大城府初期,結合“佛法”和“ 上座部”佛教藝術而設計的,以表達佛陀的宏偉和威嚴。 後來在帕南革勞國王(拉瑪三世國王)統治期間,帕普達尼米特古佛被正式任命為大城府的守護佛,並授予帕普達尼米特•威奇特•馬爾莫里•斯里•桑菲特•博羅姆•特洛卡納特古佛的正式名稱。

瓦帕梅魯拉希卡拉姆沃拉維漢佛寺在第一次緬甸入侵期間遭到嚴重破壞,但被帕南革勞國王復原。 然而,在佛曆2303年,在緬甸貢巴王朝的國王阿拉貢帕亞的領導下,緬甸人再次入侵暹羅帝國時,而瓦帕梅魯拉希卡拉姆沃拉維漢佛寺也再次落入敵人的手中。

更荒唐的是,緬甸人盡然無禮地在瓦帕梅魯拉希卡拉姆沃拉維漢佛寺內建立了砲台,而阿拉貢帕亞則認為帕普達尼米特古佛將幫助他摧毀大城府,因此,他親自去點燃了大砲。 在阿拉貢帕亞點燃大砲的那一刻,奇蹟發生了,大砲沒有炸燬大城府卻相反的把阿拉貢帕亞炸成重傷。緬甸軍隊看到了這一幕不祥之兆,立即撤退,但阿拉貢帕亞卻在返回緬甸途中傷重身故。 從那時起,帕普達尼米特古佛備受泰國人崇拜,祂代表摧毀了魔鬼,並賜給忠實信徒第二次機會。







在泰國有幾座寺廟製作帕普達尼米特古佛佛像,但最受歡迎的是帕克魯蘇吉塔彭(阿贊傑)所製作開光的佛像,由於其藝術美感和特殊效果故備受歡迎。 於佛曆2546年,阿贊傑依照供奉於寶殿中的帕普達尼米特古佛佛像製作了一批金身雕像供信徒奉請。奉獻儀式由當時神靈派最受尊敬的長老鑾普添帶領來自四方八面的高僧為該批佛像進行開光加持。這批帕普達尼米特古佛佛像有兩種尺寸,一是5英吋寬,另是9英吋的寬度, 兩種型號均半貼金。






帕卡萬博迪 2546




除了上述所介紹的帕普達尼米特古佛金身和佛牌外,還有一批帕普達尼米特古佛佛牌值得特別注意和推薦的便是來自 羅勇府由鑾波瑞於佛曆2515年用草藥製成了一批帕普達尼米特古佛佛牌。這批佛牌是按照古老的帕韋斯儀式將其奉獻的,而且鑾波瑞在四年內費力地將這些佛牌帶到了108座寺廟中,經108名神靈派高德們加持開光。 因此,據說這批佛牌靈異能力非常強大,可以消滅所有魔鬼。鑾波瑞曾使用這批佛牌在泰國和新加坡進行驅魔,並獲得了有效的成果。

由於帕普達尼米特古佛具有各種特殊的靈異效果,因此佛祖一直是主流信徒的優先選擇,並 堅信帕普達尼米特古佛擁有奇蹟中的奇蹟和三界中“莎拉娜”。 增強效果的特殊咒語如下:



Phra Buddha Nimit Wichit Marmoli Sri Sanphet Borom Trilokanat

Phra Buddha Nimit Buddha image enshrined in the Ubosot of Wat Phra Meru Rachikaram Worawihan in Tambon Tha Wa Su Kri, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province

The main Phra Buddha Nimit is enshrined in the Ubosot of Wat Phra Meru Rachikaram Worawihan in Tambon Tha Wa Su Kri, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province.  The majestically constructed Buddha image has a 4.5 meters lap width and 6 meters height. The Buddha image sits cross-legged in bhumisparsa mudra posture with left hand placed supine on lap; right hand placed resting on right leg. The Phra Buddha Nimit statue was designed with a mixture of “Dharma” and “Dhavaraja” Buddhist art in 1503, early Ayutthaya period during the reign of King Phra Ramathibodi II, to amplify the grandiose and majesty of Lord Buddha. Later in the reign of King Phra Nangklao (Rama III), Phra Buddha Nimit was officially named the guardian Buddha of Ayutthaya by His Majesty and conferred the official name of Phra Buddha Nimit Wichit Marmoli Sri Sanphet Borom Trilokanat.

Wat Phra Meru Rachikaram Worawihan was severely damaged during the first Burmese invasion but was restored by King Phra Nangklao. However, in year 2303, the Burmese again invaded the Siam Empire under the leadership of Alaungpaya, king of the Konbaung Dynasty in Burma. Wat Phra Meru again fell into the enemy’s hands. The Burmese disrespectfully brought and set up artillery in Wat Phra Meru Rachikaram Worawihan and Alaungpaya thought that Phra Buddha Nimit will help him destroy Ayutthaya, thus, he personally went to light the cannon. However, a miracle happened, the moment Alaungpaya lit the cannon, it exploded and severely injuring Alaungpaya himself. The Burmese troops saw that as a bad omen and immediately retreated but Alaungpaya nevertheless died on the way before reaching Burma. From thence, Phra Buddha Nimit has been worshipped by Thais for destroying the devils and for according the faithful a second chance.

Phra Buddha Nimit: Wat Noak

The Phra Buddha Nimit enshrined in Wat Noak, Phasi Charoen, Bangkok is designed and constructed with mixture of Indian Gandhara, Sukhothai, and western arts. The facial features of the Buddha are typically more realistic and human-like as in western art but, at the same time, retained the slender figure, spiral hair curls, and distended earlobes of Sukhothai art as well as the facial expression of inner peace typical of Indian Gandhara art.

The Phra Buddha Nimit statue in Wat Noak also differs from that of Wat Phra Meru Rachikaram Worawihan in three other major aspects. Firstly, in lieu of the bhumisparsa mudra posture, the Phra Buddha Nimit in Wat Noak adopts the Dhyana Mudra and a Khad Samathi Rab posture; secondly, the Buddha is adorned in Kāṣāya instead of the Mahachak ornamental gears; and thirdly, the Buddha sits on a round lotus top Chat Tat or triratha pedestal with eight disciples or Arahants, namely, Phra Kotamyak, Phra Mahakasapak, Phra Anun, Phra Mokalanak, Phra Lahoon, Phra Kawanbodi, Phra Wubali, and Phra Salibuk guarding the eight directions.

The primary purposes of Phra Buddha Nimit Wat Noak remain the same as those of Wat Phra Meru saved that the meditating posture of the Buddha adds a proximate cause to the attainment of wisdom; the replacement of royal gears with Kāṣāya represents the Triple Gems, compassion, and forgiveness augmenting the effect of according faithful believers a second chance in life; and the eight disciples guarding the eight direction enhances the effect of destroying the devils.

There are several temples making and consecrating statues of Phra Buddha Nimit but the most popular are those of Phrakru Sujittaporn, better known as Ajahn Jet of Wat Noak due to their artistic beauty and special effects.  In a replication of the Phra Buddha Nimit enshrined in the Ubosot, Ajahn Jet made and consecrated a batch of statues in year 2546. The consecration ceremony was led by the most respected elder of the inner path Luang Pu Tim of Wat Phra Khao, Bang Ban District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. This batch of Phra Buddha Nimit statues comes in two sizes, one in 5 inches lap width and the other in 9 inches lap width. Both models are half-spread with gold leaf.

Phra Buddha Nimit and the Eight Arahats

Gold-plated Phra Buddha Nimit with Eight Arahats 2549 Wat Noak

Subsequently, in Buddhist year 2549, Ajahn Jet also made and consecrated a batch of Phra Buddha Nimit and the eight Arahat amulets. The features of the Buddha exhibited traditional Gandhara art with Buddha’s hair tied up in spiral curls, a serene expression with half-closed eyes and long ear lobes. Behind the Buddha is the chakra wheel and at the external perimeter of the amulet are the eight Arahants.

Color-painted Phra Buddha Nimit with Eight Arahats 2549 Wat Noak

There are two models of amulets made on that occasion, one is made from bronze and gold-plated and another made from selected powder and color-painted.

Phra Kawanbodi 2546

In Buddhist year 2546, apart from the 5-inch and 9-inch Phra Buddha Nimit statues, Ajahn Jet has also separately made and consecrated amulets of the eight Arahants, namely, Phra Kotamyak, Phra Mahakasapak, Phra Anun, Phra Mokalanak, Phra Lahoon, Phra Kawanbodi, Phra Wubali, and Phra Salibuk. These amulets are made of lead.

Phra Buddha Nimit: Wat Kao Phrachuntheap

Phra Buddha Nimit Nerwan 2515 Luang Phor Ruay, Chanwat Rayong

Besides those Phra Buddha Nimit statues and amulets aforementioned, there is also a batch of Phra Buddha Nimit amulets that deserve special attention and recommendation. In Buddhist year 2515, Luang Phor Ruay of Wat Kao Phrachuntheap had also made a batch of Phra Buddha Nimit amulets from herbs and consecrated them in accordance with ancient Phra Weth ritual. His venerable has laboriously brought these amulets to a total of 108 temples within four years to be charmed by 108 guru monks from the inner path. Therefore, this batch of amulets is said to be so powerful that it is able to destroy all devils. His Venerable has used this batch of amulets to perform exorcism in both Thailand and Singapore with effective results.

With various special attributes and effects accorded by Phra Buddha Nimit, this Buddha has remained a priority choice among mainstream believers. It is strongly believed that Phra Buddha Nimit possesses the miracle of miracles and a “Sarana” that is justified in respect of all 3 worlds. The special charm to enhance these effects is as follow:

Namo Tassa Pakawatoh Arahatoh Samma Samput Tassa X3

Putang Arahang Wankha Mamihang

Puta Sanatang Sana Sakotik Tatang

Putang Sathu Rupatang Eti Sukatoh Arahang Putoh Namoputaya

Sailom Kungkha Phra Phut Ma Thewaka Mamihang




然而,很幸運地,當我們用泰語“พี่จุก”來搜索時,我們直接被導入了瓦蒜鑾佛寺的 網站且發現一篇名為“帕瓦批族古曼貼卡題”的文章,該文章是由翁珀恩亦延澇女士撰寫有關”批族“的起源。我們已經重新發佈了上述文章,並把資料來源歸由翁珀恩亦延澇女士和瓦蒜鑾佛寺。將“批族”翻譯成中文的“大哥族”可能也導致了失實陳述。如果有人需要字面翻譯,就讓我們提供微勞吧!“พี่”是“兄弟”,“大哥”,“大姐”,或“先生”等的總稱而“จุก”是奶嘴,因此,“พี่จุก” 是指“奶嘴兄弟”,不過經翻譯拼音便成“大哥族”。




如果觀眾夠細心觀察的話,編劇人員們一般都喜歡用小女鬼多過小男鬼,但是他們還是把小女鬼稱之為古曼童。讓我們在這裡為讀者提供一道配菜,在泰國文化中,古曼童的女性對手稱為古曼莉。這是許多人所不知道的事情,特別是外國人,可能古曼莉不如古曼童出名,所以編劇人員們便乾脆把小女鬼也叫古曼童。此外,這些神秘故事中缺少了一種必要的儀式,以便產生一個由咒語控制的嬰兒幽靈。一個小鬼不是墮胎的自然結果,否則在目前這個文明世界,我們將會有太多的小鬼到處狂奔了唄!除此外,鬼仔的先決條件是一個完全發育的胎兒,它與其母親一起死亡,再通過黑魔法將其從母親的子宮中取出,並將其靈魂召回胎盤。到目前為止,只有“坤平 – 軍閥的傳說“戲中有向觀眾介紹了這段程序。




儘管有這些謬誤,為了使其更完美,編劇們隨後增加了越來越多的荒唐添加內容。如果觀眾有主意到的話,在這些故事中,業力報應通常是在未來十年後方出現,並且 隨著時間的推移,小鬼也已成長為一個小男孩或小女孩。也許,編劇發現一個嬰兒甚至一個牙牙學語的小孩都無法造成太大的恐懼和殺傷,所以他們概念化了小鬼需要長大。這條故事後來被稱為 “賣”鬼仔的人所借用,然而,這“概念”本身就具有太多疑問,其中一個是個非常基本的問題,假設所述傳播屬真,那麼小鬼不是最終會長大成為一個成年鬼,一個老 鬼甚至一個垂死鬼嗎?好笑吧,不是嗎?或者,不,該是好可怕……被人愚弄了!這些都是故事講述者無法預見的漏洞和逆境,但仍然有很多人還是因為本身的邪念而遭受神棍給騙了。

實際上,古曼童既不是鬼故事,也不是坤平將軍文學中的典故,它是關於圍繞生命週期的宇宙定律,但這些定義在一般故事中都沒有令人滿意的描述出來。這個宇宙定律 是通過關於業力因果報應法則的佛教哲學來演變和解釋的。對那些不瞭解佛教概念的人,特別是南傳佛教概念,這些故事內容通常是困惑的,因此破譯其表麵價值信息不可避免地導致對泰國佛教和古曼童 的錯誤理解。這聽起來可能會對無知者造成很大的傷害,但不幸的是,真相往往是不會令人愉快的,特別是當它與個人信念產生矛盾時。

作為泰國佛教信徒和實踐者,且懷有一絲學術基礎,請允許我假設這個世界不可能僅僅依靠純粹的科學存在,儘管科學和技術都在不斷發展,但在這些不為人知的情況下仍然存在 著一些科學和技術既不能解釋也不能涵蓋的事項。然而,拒絕不明事項的存在除了隱瞞無知和沮喪之外,也沒有任何有益的目的。同樣的,迷信在實體上或心靈上都沒有積極 的貢獻。溫和派學者最近開始接觸雙重存在理論和概念,但我認為這種理論雖然對心靈提供款曲和對科學添加光澤,但也僅此而已。它仍然沒有解釋科學上的模糊地帶,即 隱藏在某個空間範圍內的神秘。代替雙重存在理論,我們更傾向於通過雙重科學的視角來觀察世界和泰國佛教,這是兩種科學的共存,即純科學和心靈科學。






泰國南傳受戒儀式到如今仍然採用原始佛教語言巴利文進行,以保持一定程度的神聖和莊嚴形式。這泰國神聖任命儀式不以任何其他語言進行。老實說,巴利文是一種沒有多少人熟悉的語言。我也不例外。因此,在我的 神聖 職任命之前,我請求泰國朋友把整個儀式過程如劇本般的誦讀給我聽,而我將其發音用注音給記下,並且我的泰國朋友也不厭其煩地把整個巴利文所記載的儀式含義一五一十的為我解釋。我把這些資料帶了回去,直到我將整個“劇本”記住後,我才又回到了寺廟正式要求被任命為僧。




我已故的父親為我受戒儀式啟動了剃度儀式過程開端,他為我剃了第一縷頭髮,代表他批准我進入維納亞和授予他對我的祝福。接下來是由我 師兄瑪哈巴Maha Bard啟發納迦的剃度儀式,師兄口中唸唸有詞地剃光了我的頭,眉毛,並用純淨的白水塗抹我,這代表了我身心的清潔,一心向善。



納迦儀式的根源可以追溯到佛陀時代,話說當時,有一條蛇(巴利語稱之為納迦)將自己變成人形並被任命為僧侶,但是當他的身份被發現時,佛陀召喚了它 並告訴他只有人類方可以做和尚。佛陀賜予納迦五戒,以便他在下輩子獲得人類的肉身,從而允許他進入維納亞。與此同時,佛陀宣佈所有未來的僧侶候選人將在正式授予僧袍之前皆以“納迦”稱之,而且受戒儀式的前端便稱為“納迦”儀式。












寺廟環繞遊行的過程中實際上也是一種儀式,是對靈界發出公告公佈我即將剃度為僧侶,它們應該高興並挺身而出來分享和接受功德。 這就是為什麼當我環繞寺廟時,我不得不停下來為靈魂獻祭 。




在獲得恩師的祝福之後不久,我便被傳喚到“梧泊屬”或受戒院。那時,大廳僧侶聚集,好不莊嚴。在我抵達受戒院門口便被兩名高僧長老在入大約十二英呎 處給攔住了。那是代表受戒儀式正式開始了。如前所述,只要是巴利語言,我就是文盲,因此,我焦急地,專注地聽取了兩名長老以巴利語誦出經文,等待著我所背好的對答出現。

當我順利通過“安塔拉亦卡達嘛”即使進入維納亞的障礙,並被召喚出現在僧伽面前時,我終於鬆了一口氣。在我進入受戒院的那一刻,我從贊助者手中接過加沙。僧伽會眾是由一位重量級高僧昭君蘇帖(現稱昭君帕帖)主持,他是瓦帕葩屯徹底佛寺的住持。昭君帕帖是我的戒律導師,負責我在整個僧侶生涯中的良好行為且堅守佛門227條戒律。儀式繼續進行,我跪倒在僧伽面前,把僧袍放在我的左邊,這樣我就可以把供品一一呈上給戒律導師昭君帕帖以及兩位高級監考長老鑾波蘇博(前瓦耐南鴻佛寺的住持)和鑾波文若(現任瓦耐南鴻佛寺的住持)。接著,我便以巴利語朗誦芭蘭帕查經文三次請求出家。然後我的戒律導師在發出正向和反向命令之前指導我進行冥想。他隨後將內袍放在我的頭上,然後把剩下的束縛還給了我,讓我換上 。





然後我用安加利手勢即雙手合十,並用巴利語請求尼薩雅。隨後進行了一系列的往返巴利語對答。隨後我的戒律導師告訴我我的巴利文法號叫刊惕帕 咯並將缽給我抬在我的左肩。之後,我被指示退休到後院去。





古曼童 Kumanthong



皮德克 Pee Dek 俗稱鬼仔






Phra Prom





帕蓬“四面佛” 的來源

談到泰國佛教,許多人,特別是香港人,台灣人,新加坡人和馬來西亞人,一般都誤認為“帕蓬”(外地人稱之為“四面佛”)是泰國佛教代表象徵卻不知其實四面佛 源於印度教神袛。在印度教中,帕蓬被稱為梵天大天王霸拉瑪,祂是創造之神。正如名詞所示,泰國佛教是以佛陀為中心的而非梵天大天王。

在我們即將發表關於像神的文章中,我們將向讀者介紹特裡穆迪的印度教概念,那是包括梵天大天王霸拉瑪,濕婆天王和毘濕奴天王三大王合一而成的至尊神。當三位至尊神合璧成一個超級體時,祂們被統稱為“帕特里穆迪”,形象是一尊三頭六臂的神,代表創造,保護和毀滅。根據印度教經文中記錄的說法,梵天大天王霸拉瑪的起源雖些為 複雜且不詳細,但本文的興趣並不是深入研究其中所包含的每一個細節,而是從印度教經文中證實梵天大天王霸拉瑪是為帕特里穆迪的領導者便足以。然而,我們也必須在此強調,依據濕婆經文聲稱 濕婆天王才是帕特里穆迪的領導者。因為缺乏時間和空間,我們不會在此討論不同經文之間的差異 。







然而,在濕婆天王的詛咒下少數倖存的梵天大天王霸拉瑪的寺廟中是一座位於印度拉賈斯坦邦普什卡的十四世紀寺廟,每年都會看到大量的朝聖者到那朝拜梵天大天王霸拉瑪。在濕婆天王的詛咒下,梵天大天王霸拉瑪在印度或許沒有太多剩餘的寺廟和信徒,然而,祂是呼在“流亡”他方之際做得很好,並且在 泰國獲得了更廣泛和多樣化的信徒基礎,這有助於祂在整個地區領土不斷地擴展。整個東南亞,特別是印度尼西亞,新加坡,馬來西亞,香港,且現在包括台灣,都相繼看到了梵天大天王霸拉瑪的信徒崛起和增加。


雖然在泰國沒有純屬梵天大天王霸拉瑪的寺廟,但是你們到處都可以可以看到供奉帕蓬的神社,而且,在泰國許多寺廟中也有設立供奉帕蓬的神社,讓信徒們崇拜這尊 來之印度教的大天王。也許在泰國最大的帕蓬神像是在位於春武裡府的瓦崇薩美叄薩特喜佛寺內所供奉的雕像。該雕像高7.8米,寬4.99米,這是朱拉隆功國王統治時期建造的一座歷史悠久的寺廟。



大多數不熟悉泰國的外國人大約只聽說過伊拉灣酒店的帕蓬神社,並且忽視了具更大規模的崇拜帕蓬的其他著名聖地。 除了上述的佛寺之外,位於巴吞他尼府的瓦邦庫迪通佛寺也供奉著一尊建造莊嚴的帕蓬神像。








這個前互聯網版本的故事不是以占星術感知為基而是充滿了神秘。據說,伊拉灣酒店所處的位置是古代大象墓地,而酒店的建設,其樁帽和柱子建設擾亂了象靈,因此 在建築工地上發生了許多意外事故。一名僧人被邀請到現場進行一些祭祀儀式看到了受驚憂的象靈,因此,他指示在酒店前方建造帕蓬神社以製服象靈。









在家裡建立一座帕蓬神社是另一個通常被外國人誤解的項目,一般人們普遍認為因為帕蓬有四張臉所以必須被安置在房子外面崇拜,那麼就不必有一面面對牆壁,因此, 若要設立帕蓬神社必須如同伊拉灣酒店神社相似。不過,只要信徒退後一步想想,看看梵天大天王霸拉瑪在寺廟中的形象時,他們就不難理解上述因愚昧而 產生的誤解。一旦發現這種愚昧後,對祈禱時就必須在帕蓬的神像周圍繞之說也一定覺得好笑。有很多花樣原本和宗教都沒關係的,只不過人們一般都喜歡有花樣方覺得 有效,所以就會產生一些專門塑造迷信的“師傅”囉!如果依照以上所述的迷信,只有擁有大院子的富家子弟才有資格崇拜帕蓬了!



當談到答謝神恩時,我們不斷從有趣的人那裡看到有趣的動作。向素食的帕蓬提供肉類祭品已屬罪過了,在祂面前裸舞更顯得異常邪惡。對於脫衣舞的宣傳可能是受到印度教的“薩拉瓦蒂故事”的影響,但是,這故事不在本文的討論範圍內,不過建議信徒,尤其是我們南傳佛教徒,請放棄這種愚蠢的行為 。


The Truth of Tattooing Talisman (ความจริงของการสักยันต์)


Sakyan or Just Modern Tattooing


Tattooing of talisman or “sak yan” originated from time immemorial and it entails special rituals of “wai kru” before it can be done. The tattooing of talisman is not mere tattooing. It is something magical and purposeful. Conventionally, the tattooing of magical talisman is performed by a handful of learned guru masters for only a selected number of their disciples mainly for strengthening of their mind and, exceptionally, for battling evil forces or as their successors. These talismans are usually representation of animism together with ancient inscriptions. Each design and form of talisman carries with it a different alchemy and it is the master who chooses the designs to be tattooed on the individual disciples and what type of mystical knowledge he will impart to the latter. Basically. the disciples do not enjoy the liberty of choice.


The Ritual of “Wai Kru” (ไหว้ครู)

The ritual of “wai kru” is a serious ceremony. It is also a grand ceremony whereby both Gods and human come together to witness the initiation process. In the presence of both the immortals and mortals, an individual begs to be accepted as a disciple and takes an oath to abide by certain rules and regulations, including the “dos and don’ts” of the specific lineage. Different masters may impose varying stipulations but those in common are as follow:


The recipient of magical tattoo will (1) observe the taboos imposed by the master; (2) adhere to canon laws; and (3) exercise self-restrain. There are also some universal taboos imposed by the various masters, amongst other things, (a) refrain from immoral practices; (b) refrain from being un-filial; (c) refrain from certain types of food, e.g. food offered in funeral; (d) refraining from walking under clothe hangers and bamboos; (e) refrain from allowing a woman to cross over the body and et cetera.


When the master agrees to accept the requestor as his disciple, he will instruct the latter to make offerings to Rheesi, the witnessing Gods and ancestors. Tributes in the process include (1) joss sticks; (2) candles; (3) flowers; (4) gold leaf foils; (5) betel nuts; (5) cigarettes; (6) liquor; (7) baisri; (8) coconut; (9) banana; (10) 7 types of fruits; (11) tea; (12) cooked and raw pig’s head; (13) cooked and raw duck; (14) cooked and raw chicken; (15) cooked and raw shrimps; (16) cooked and raw fish; (17) raw pork, heart and liver; (18) raw eggs; (19) pastries; (20) sesame seeds; and water.


Tributes for Waikru

Photograph extracted from


When this ritual of “wai kru” is completed, only then will the master tattoo for his disciple and impart to him the magical knowledge. It is important to understand that a talisman tattoo has to be in a certain position where it should be for it to produce magical effect. Tattooing a talisman in the wrong position of the body will bring about counter-effect and extreme bad luck.


The Modern Trend of “Sak Yan” (สักยันต์)



Up-to-now, the ancient tradition of “wai kru” is not and cannot be dispensed with if the “sak yan” process is to be meaningful and useful. However, many laypeople, both men and women, are having their bodies tattooed but few actually went through the process of “wai kru” least being taught the secrets of activating the power of those talismans tattooed.


People nowadays went on tattooing talisman for a variety of reasons, ranging from the desire of wealth and invincibility to melancholic craving for love and sexual attraction. They choose their own tattoo designs and where they want them to be tattooed. They have very little knowledge and understanding of the tradition of “sak yan” (although many pretended as if they know a lot!).


What Happened to the Power of Invincibility?


corpse with talisman tattoos

Photograph extracted from


Furthermore, most secular or individual who perform popular tattooing of talisman without due consideration for the traditions is not a real master. Such individuals are at best tattoo artists who allows clients to choose their own designs and where they want the talismans to be tattooed. Both the tattoo artist and clients are eager to build a reciprocal relationship without the onus of rituals of “wai kru” and the precepts flowing there-from. Therefore, at the end of the day, the tattoo artist gets paid for his work and his clients get the required symbol tattoo on the surface of their skin.


Although this revelation may be crude but take a look around you and analyze your observation critically. How many of those who had had their bodies inked with talisman through the modern process have prospered, gained social acceptance, charmed others, and are really invincible? Or has the ink appearing on their bodies, especially their necks, hands, and legs projected them negatively and impressing on the general public a subculture of hooliganism that is being frowned upon?


Does She Look More Attractive with Tattooed Talismans?


girl with talisman tattoos

Photograph extracted from โพสท์จัง Webboard


Traditionally, talisman tattoos are supposed to help an individual avoid danger or difficult situation and bestow mental strength and stability but if it, on the contrary, causes one to slip into a subculture of tattoo superstition then the puzzle really needs to be reworked with a little more intelligence.

Wat Palelai (Supanburi)

Wat Kare (Supanburi)


อย่าเชื่อในสิ่งใดเพียงเพราะคุณเคยได้ยินมัน อย่าเชื่อในสิ่งใดเพียงเพราะมันจะพูดและข่าวลือมากมาย อย่าเชื่อในสิ่งใดเพียงเพราะมันจะจดไว้ในหนังสือศาสนาของคุณ อย่าเชื่อในสิ่งใดเพียงในอำนาจของครูผู้สอนและผู้สูงอายุของคุณ ไม่เชื่อในประเพณีเพราะพวกเขาได้รับการส่งลงมาหลายชั่วอายุคน แต่หลังจากการสังเกตและการวิเคราะห์เมื่อคุณพบว่าสิ่งที่เห็นด้วยกับเหตุผลและเอื้อต่อการที่ดีและประโยชน์ของหนึ่งและจากนั้นยอมรับและอยู่ถึงมัน  (กาลามะซูต)

Lord Buddha taught:

Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.  (Kālāma Sutta)

Wat Phra Keaw (วัดพระแก้ว)

Phra Keaw Morokut
Phra Kaew images and amulets are believed to bring about success and prosperity to believers.  Devotees in Singapore and Malaysia usually prefer the Buddha image adorned in the summer cloak but the Thais prefer a complete set of three representing the three seasons which symbolize success and prosperity all year round. Apart from these, it is also believed that reverence of the Emerald Buddha bestows authority on the believer and helps in overcoming dangers.

Phra Keaw - LP Pirn

Wat Phra Keaw

Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram, or more commonly known as Wat Phra Keaw, houses one of the Buddhist treasure, the Emerald Buddha or Phra Keaw Morakot, in its ordination hall. The sacred Buddha image is officially known as Phra Buddha Maha Mani Rattana Patimakon. It is carved from a single block of emerald and adorned in one of the three seasonal cloaks (summer, rainy season, and winter) that are exquisitely made from gold. The costumes changing ceremonies take place three times annually during the 4th, 8th, and 12th lunar months and are personally performed by His Majesty the King to bring about good fortune to the Kingdom and its people. It is enshrined on a traditional Thai-style throne made from gilded-carved wood of which is known as Busabok in Thai. The Royal Monastery is located in the historic centre of Bangkok within the premise of the Grand Palace.

The Controversial Origin

The exact origin and history of the Emerald Buddha hitherto remains controversial. There are many versions of claim. One version propounded that the sacred Emerald Buddha originated from Pataliputra in India around 43 BC where it remained for three centuries before it was moved to Sri Lanka. It was claimed that the Burmese King Anuruth, in an attempt to strengthen Buddhism in Burma, sent a mission to Ceylon to receive the holy image and other Buddhist scriptures. However, during the return voyage, the Emerald Buddha’s image was lost in a storm together with the ship and crew sent out by the Burmese king. It was not explained how the sacred Buddha image subsequently surfaced in Cambodia when the Thais allegedly took possession in 1432 after they captured Angkor Wat.

Phra Keaw - LP Pirn (W)

The Various Claims and Contentions

Another version of claim was said to be based on archeological and historical findings. It proposed that the Emerald Buddha image was a creation of the Lannathai period in the 15th century. Historical sources adduced explained that the Emerald Buddha was first discovered in 1434 during King Sam Fang Kaen era in northern Thailand when an old chedi in Chiang Rai fell apart. A clay Buddha image was discovered in the ruined chedi and it was taken and housed in Wat Phra Kaew in Chiang Rai. However, it was not until the Buddha image began flaking that it was discovered that the Buddha image was actually carved from a single block of jade. (Note: there was another version claiming that the Buddha image was dropped and the clay fell apart during transportation).

Phra Keaw Being Stolen

It was said that the Emerald Buddha was moved from Chiang Rai to Lamphang where it remained in Wat Phra Kaew Don Tao until King Tilok shifted his capital to Chiang Mai. King Tilok had the Emerald Buddha enshrined in Wat Chedi Luang until 1552 when an interruption occurred in the Lannathai line of succession when Prince Setthathirah of Luang Prabang was invited to succeed the throne to become King Chaichettha. However, shortly thereafter, King Chaichettha returned to Laos to succeed the Lan Xang throne upon the death of King Photisarath and he allegedly stole the Emerald Buddha image and carted it to Vientiane.

Phra Keaw - Wat Phra Keaw

King Rama I Reclaimed the Holy Emerald Buddha

The Emerald Buddha image was detained for 226 years by the Laos until 1779 when General Chao Phraya Chakri, who later became Phra Chao Yodfa Chulaloke or King Rama I, successfully invaded Laos and captured the Laotian capital of Vientiane. General Chao Phraya Chakri regained the holy image and brought it safely back to Siam. The Emerald Buddha was then temporarily housed in Thonburi.  When General Chao Phraya Chakri ascended the throne, he built his capital in Krungtheap – the City of Angels (Bangkok) in 1782. Wat Phra Sri Rattana Satsadaram was then constructed to house the Emerald Buddha. Construction was duly completed in 1784 and the sacred Emerald Buddha was thence enshrined in the Royal Monastery.