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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 http://upic.me

 

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 www.dailynews.co.th

 

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)

พระพุทธเจ้าสอน

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.

 

The Four Fulfilling Conditions of Ordination (สี่คุณสมบัติของบรรพชาอุปสมบท)

Ordination Ceremony

Ordination ceremony in Wat Noi Nanghong with Chao Khun Phratheap of Wat Pathom Chedi as the preceptor.

Since time immemorial, there are those people who took up the life of brahmacariya of one ordained and who renounce earthly wealth and desires to pursue a more fulfilling spiritual life in instructing others on religious practices. These are the sattha or teachers whose teachings are believed by many people and passed down through the generations.

 

However, in our contemporary world, there are as many good teachers who took up a chaste life to teach and instruct others in the practice of the Dharma as there are self-proclaimed “teachers” who are either monastic or laity and who spread sectarian or outright fake religious practices. Therefore, as previously mentioned in “Mysticism in Thai Buddhism”, it is imperative for you not only to understand the Dharma but also the Vinaya so as to distinguish between the true teachers and the phonies in order not to be duped.

 

In this article, I will refer to the writings of His Holiness Somdej Phra Maha Samma Chao in starting off with a summary of the rules and regulations of giving the upasampada of which is also known as the “Four Fulfilling Conditions” or Sampati in order to be accepted into monkhood. The “Four Fulfilling Conditions” are summarized as:

 

(1)              Vatthu-sampati – of the material relating to personal qualities;

(2)              Parisa-sampati – of the assembly;

(3)              Sima-sampati – of the boundary; and

(4)              Kammavaca-sampati – of announcing the Act

 

An individual to be ordained as a monk has to possess the right personal qualities as stipulated in the Vinaya. Firstly, the person who wishes for upasampada has to be a male of at least 20 years of age; not physically defective; must not have committed any serious crime; and must not have committed any serious spiritual offence according to the Buddhasasana. It is also a tradition that the upasampada must only be given to a willing aspirant who utters the words requesting the Going-forth. The ordination of any individual not fulfilling the afore-mentioned prerequisites is defective of the material (vatthu-vipatti) and is not considered a monk according to the rules set by the Exalted Lord Buddha.

 

The second and third conditions are intertwined. An ordination ceremony can only take place within a prescribed boundary (sima) with one or two examiners of qualities (acariya), a preceptor (upajjhaaya) who has completed a minimum of ten rain retreats and a required quorum of monks (parisa-sampatti) to confirm the prescribed Sangha Act. Only when the formal rules and regulations are satisfied (sampatti), a senior monk would move the first motion (nanti) informing the Sangha and requesting that it accept the aspirant. The recital would be made another three times (anusavana) of which, in the course thereof, any monk can oppose the motion and announcements. The ceremony is spoilt if any objection takes place.  The quorum of monks unanimously assents to the motion by remaining silent during the anusavana.  Thereafter, the acariya through chanting witnessed the consent. Finally, the name of the aspirant, the upajjhaaya, and mention of the Sangha is uttered, fulfilling the final condition of kammavaca-sampati. 

 

The aspirant is then admitted into the Sangha, the community of monks. The newly ordained monk is expected to behave properly and uphold good conduct (Abhisamacara). For this purpose, the Exalted Lord Buddha has established the Buddhapannatti – the rules and regulations precluding wrongful behaviors. The Buddhapannatti and Abhisamacara are collectively known as the Vinaya. In the next article, I will provide a prelude to the origin and advantages of the Vinaya before delving into the rules of training in the subsequent articles.

Mysticism of Thai Buddhism (เวทย์มนต์ไทยพุทธ)

Rheesi

 

Religion and Culture

 

Thailand is probably the world’s largest Buddhist country with 95% of Thais being Theravada Buddhists. From an anthropological perspective, religion and culture are intertwined, that is to say, religion is actually a cultural universal of which includes beliefs and activities pertaining to supernatural beings, powers, and forces. Therefore, by virtue of Thai demographic composition, Thai Buddhism and, thus, Thai culture invariably comprises an integration of Theravada Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism, and other indigenous folk religions. The beliefs in supernatural beings, powers, and forces are traditional beliefs of the Thai people and they form a deeply entrenched culture known collectively as “Sayasak” (ไสยศาสตร์).

 

Thai Buddhism

 

Theravada Buddhism is Thailand’s de facto national religion and, unlike other religion, Buddhism in general does not seek to force convert individuals to a particular set of belief system and, hence, is able to integrate other traditional beliefs, rituals, and practices in Thailand. As a result thereof, supernatural powers in the forms of Buddha images, amulets, talismans and et cetera are in toto important aspects of Thai Buddhism. The supernatural aspects of Thai Buddhism have become a popular culture that transcends beyond national boundary.

However, it has to be noted Thai Buddhism does not focus on the supernatural powers alone. The essence and fundamentals remain deeply-rooted in Buddhist principles. As Thai Buddhism grows and expands so do the number of religious teachers. Therefore, it is imperative for you to understand both the Dharma (the Buddhist teachings) and the Vinaya (the monastic discipline), which constitutes the main root of the Buddhasasana vis-a-vis the Buddhist religion.

 

It is hence our endeavor to dedicate this category for this purpose. In our upcoming article we will start off with the “Four Fulfilling Conditions” or Sampati in order to be accepted into monkhood.

 

Please check out this category regularly for new updates.

 

 

 

 

Luang Phor Wat Raikhing (หลวงพ่อวัดไร่ขิง)

Luang Phor Wat Raikhing

Today most people have heard of Wat Raikhing, the most prominent temple in Nakhom Pathom province.  The temple was built in 2334 by the then abbot of Wat Sala Poon Woravihan Somdej Phra Buddhacharn Poot near the Nakhon Chaisri River in Tambon Raikhing, a village in Amphur Samphran, Changwat Nakhon Pathom during the reign of His Majesty the King Chulalongkorn or Rama V. Wat Raikhing is also known as Wat Mongkhun Chinda Ram Raikhing. On July 10, 2533, Wat Raikhing was officially upgraded from a common monastery to the status of Royal Monastery.

 

Annual Wat Raikhing Festival

 

Annually, during the Chinese Lunar New Year, thousands of faithful Buddhists flood to Wat Raikhing to worship Luang Phor Wat Raikhing, the golden Buddha image in the posture of Maravijaya that signifies victory over Mara. The atmosphere is festival with a host of entertainments. It is believed that worshipping Luang Phor Raikhing helps believers to be victorious. Then again, in the fifth month of the lunar calendar, there are yet another series of celebrations, collectively known as Wat Raikhing Festival, which begins on the 13th day of the waxing moon and ends on the 4th day of the waning moon.

 

A Brief History of Luang Phor Wat Raikhing

 

The golden Buddha image of Luang Phor Wat Raikhing measures 4 feet 2 inches in lap width and 4 feet 16 inches in height. The Buddha sits on a 5 level grandly decorated concrete base and faces north in the direction of Udon Thani. The origin of Luang Phoe Raikhing is not conclusively documented. However, it has been determined that the craftsmanship of the Buddha image resembles that of the Chiang Saen (Lanna) period.  According to legend, the golden Buddha image was found drifting in the Chao Praya River close to Ayutthaya, and was retrieved by villagers who brought it to the Wat Sala Poon. It was subsequently relocated to and enshrined in the newly constructed Wat Raikhing in Nakhon Pathom.


Somdej Phra Buddhacharn Poot named that temple Wat Raikhing after the district it was located. However, Prince Vachirayan Varoros gave the temple the official name Wat Mongkhun Chinda Ram Raikhing. Nonetheless, most people continued calling it Wat Raikhing until this day and its official name is seldom used or even known. The villagers also addressed the golden Buddha as Luang Phor Wat Raikhing or simply as Luang Phor Raikhing.


Once the construction of Wat Raikhing was completed, thousands of huge sawai fish began appearing in the river behind Wat Raikhing. The image of the golden Buddha was then sailed downstream from Wat Sala Poon in Ayutthaya to Wat Raikhing in Nakhon Pathom on a bamboo raft. It was said that the arrival of Luang Phor Raikhing changed the weather in Nakhon Pathom from a burning heat to a cooling pleasure that was interpreted as an auspicious sign of prosperity. True enough, the village began to prosper and the villagers devoutly made frequent homage to Luang Phor Raikhing. Hitherto, those huge sawai fish still exist in huge numbers in the river flowing through the Mae Nam Tha Chin behind the temple and it has since become customary for worshippers to feed the fish with bread after praying to Luang Phor Raikhing.

 

Amulets consecrated by Luang Phor Panya

 

Luang Phor Wat Raikhing FLuang Phor Wat Raikhing FIt is believed that Luang Phor Raikhing bestows devotees with success, affluence, and good health. Annually, thousands and thousands of devotees from all over the world travel to Nakhom Pathom specifically to worship Luang Phor Raikhing. Most believers would also enshrine a holy image of Luang Phor Raikhing at home and the more devout would even wear an amulet of Luang Phor Raikhing.

 

Luang Phor Panya, or Phra Ubali Khunupamajarn, the greatly respected abbot of Wat Raikhing, who was awakened at the age of 84 in Februabry 14, 2008, has over the years made various images and amulets of Luang Phor Raikhing. Each of these images and amulets were consecrated through traditional Thai incantation and they are quite pricey. However, despite the costliness these sacred items their demands are ever escalating.