Category Archives: Buddha

Thai Legend: Buddha of Wealth Luang Phor Sothorn

Buddhism is a major world religion founded in the 5th century BC based on the teachings of Lord Buddha Siddhartha Gautama. There are approximately 535 million Buddhists worldwide of which more than 100 million are Theravada Buddhists. Theravada Buddhism, also known as “doctrine of the elders”, is the oldest and purest form of Buddhism which preserved and practiced the teachings and traditions as was observed during Lord Buddha’s time and thereafter recorded in the Pali canons. Today, Theravada Buddhism is strongest in South Asia but is, currently, gaining grounds throughout Southeast Asia as well as western continent.Pursuant therefrom, it is not difficult to imagine the number of Buddhist temples around the world. In our earlier article “Phra Jaktukam Ramathep: a Frenzy Culture within and beyond Thailand” we mentioned that in the Kingdom of Thailand alone there are 40, 717 Theravada temples and, perhaps, the most in the world. Out of these 40,717 temples is a historical temple that was built during the late Ayutthaya Period on the bank of Bang Pakong River, Tambon Amphoe Mueang Chachoengsao, eastern Thailand. The history of this temple and the Buddha image that it houses are both filled with mystery and suspense.

An old and simple temple which housed the National Treasure, the image of Luang Phor Sothorn

Three Large Bronze Buddha Swimming in Bang Pakong River

More than three centuries ago, during the reign of King Narai the Great or Ramathibodi Si Samphet of the Siamese Ayutthaya Kingdom, three large bronze Buddha images were unbelievably discovered floating in Bang Pakong River by a fisherman. The fisherman quickly gathered the villagers to help bring the three large bronze Buddha images out from the water. However, all attempt failed. They even tied ropes to the images but the ropes snapped and the Buddha images kept flowing down the river. The villagers were filled with disappointment and grieve as they believed the village did not have sufficient merits to invite the three Buddha images to be enshrined in their village.Suddenly, water current increased and became turbulent. Two of the three images were swiped downstream whilst the third remained in the water. One of the two Buddha travelled another 79 kilometres and took up abode in Samut Prakan and became known as Luang Phor Toh Bang Phli whilst the other travelled 152 kilometres to Samut Songkhram and became known as Luang Phor Wat Ban Laem.

A Guru Monk Used a Chanting Thread and Invited the Buddha Image out from the River

A guru monk from Wat Hong was summoned to help invite the remaining Buddha to reside in the village. Joss-sticks, flowers, and other offerings were made during the ritual and the villagers were surprised when the guru monk asked them to bring a “saisin” (Thai chanting thread) out to the Buddha image and tie it around the Buddha. Even a thick rope had snapped and what good can a “saisin” do, the villagers thought. Nonetheless, they did as they were told. The monk then sat by the river bank and began chanting. To the surprise of the villagers, the Buddha image began flowing towards the river bank as the monk chanted.The large bronze Buddha image lap-wide 1.65 meters and height 1.48 meters was lifted off the water and His features were so different from other Buddha images during or before the Ayutthaya Period. Luang Phor Sothorn’s face is a full moon with a peaceful smile. The image of Luang Phor Sothorn was invited to be enshrined in Wat Hong which was subsequently renamed Wat Sothorn Woraram Woravihan. Do not be surprised that the Buddha image you pay homage to in Wat Sothorn Woraram Woravihan today is much larger than the measurements provided herein because the original image has been concealed in a coat of stucco to prevent sinners from stealing the image during the time when the Buddha was first enshrined in Wat Hong. Since then, the original image has remained concealed hitherto.

Believers praying to Luang Phor Sothorn and asking for help

The Mascot of Chachoengsao

After Luang Phor Sothorn was enshrined in Wat Hong, the province of Chachoengsao which was originally a sparsely populated fishing village began to prosper and develop. Traders gradually brought their transactions to the village and more businesses were also set up there. Those who pay homage to Luang Phor Sothorn saw their businesses prospered and, thus, for centuries, Luang Phor Sothorn has been Thailand’s most prominent Buddha of Wealth.During the Ayutthaya Period, medical facilities were almost primitive and people usually resort to faith healing. Diseases, sickness, and outbreak of epidemic are just too often during those days. The people of Chachoengsao, and subsequently included people from other provinces, turned to Luang Phor Sothorn for help. The incense and flowers used as offerings were used as medicines. They were either boiled and consumed or used in bath to ward away sickness. Many miracles had taken place, especially the cure of epidemic in the year 2433, have strengthened the people’s faith in Luang Phor Sothorn who not only became the guardian but also the mascot of Chachoengsao.

Sacred objects made and consecrated by Wat Sothorn are made available to public.

The Two Main Effects that Touched the Hearts of Millions

The two main effects granted by Luang Phor Sothorn are wealth and good health. As news about the effects of Luang Phor Sothorn spread, many people from all over Thailand travelled by rafts through the Bang Pakong River to Wat Sothorn. Consequently, the number of people who decided to settle down in Chachoengsao also increased and the population inevitably bloomed. Perhaps, it was for that particular reason that some people today also think and speculate that, apart from the two primary effects, Luang Phor Sothorn is also “fertility” Buddha.

Reverence of Luang Phor Sothorn as the Buddha of wealth and healing has persisted to this day. Millions of businessmen and believers from all over the world have deliberately travelled to the Chacherngsao province every year to worship Luang Phor Sothorn resulting in Wat Sothorn Woraram Woravihan becoming Thailand’s richest temple. Phra Buddha Sothorn or simply Luang Phor Sothorn has become the main prosperity Buddha in the Kingdom of Thailand.

The Wish of His Majesty King Bhumibol Aduyadej

In 1966, His Majesty King Bhumibol Aduyadej has made a wish that the most revered Buddha image of Luang Phor Sothorn will one day be enshrined in a magnificent temple. The temple administrators have since set their minds in fulfilling the wish of His Majesty and, finally, in the year 1992, Wat Sothorn Woraram Woravihan underwent a 15 year-long reconstruction which was completed in the year 2006.

A majestically magnificent white monastery decorated with gold

The new temple took on a unique architectural outlook comprising traditional Thai architectural characteristics and contemporary flavour with Italian carrara marble tiles and gold plated ceramics. The current temple occupies an area of 5496 meter square, excluding other surrounding temple facilities.

External compound include a garden and a Chinese shrine

At the centre of the “Vihan”, or the assembly hall, is a square structure with four arches erected into an eight-level pyramidal roof of 85m in height with five 4.9m high golden royal umbrella weighing 77kg. It was estimated that the entire reconstruction project cost more than 2.04 billion baht in total.

Wat Sothorn’s Chinese Shrine

In August 30, 2006, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn officiated the opening ceremony of the newly constructed Wat Sothorn Wararam Worawiharn in Chachoengsao for and on behalf of His Majesty the King Bhumibol Aduyadej. The new temple is considered the most beautiful and largest Theravada Buddhist temple in the world.

Luang Phor Sothorn and other Buddha images housed in an unconventional open and spacious style

Luang Phor Sothorn Amulets are as Expensive as Phra Somdej Amulets

Luang Phor Sothorn bronze statue bearing the King’s insignia

Because of the effects, amulets and images of Luang Phor Sothorn are highly sought after. To cater for the varying masses, some of these amulets and images are pricey while others are moderately priced. Those that were made a century or so ago are without saying exquisite and expensive for both effects and antique value and their prices easily fetch from a few hundred thousand baht to tens of millions baht. The highest recorded price of Luang Phor Sothorn amulet is 30 million baht for a 2460 medallion. Fake copies are selling over the Internet for a meagre amount of few hundred baht to as much as half-a-million baht. Other moulds commemorating special occasions or made from special materials may also be costly.

Luang Phor Sothorn 2460 extracted from Collection Book

Even those amulets and images slightly above half-a-century old are placed on the high-end of the scale.

Images and amulets bearing the royal insignia are also priced higher than normal moulds.

Luang Phor Sothorn 2509

There are two batches of roof tile images and amulets released in the Buddhist calendar years 2530 and 2534. The former were made from old roof tiles dismantled from Wat Sothorn Wararam Worawiharn that was believed to contained strong energies due to years of chanting by guru monks in the temple. This batch was made available to soldiers only.

Luang Phor Sothorn 2534 Roof Tile

The latter were made from a mixture of old and new roof tiles. They were moderately priced and made available to the public. In the Buddhist calendar year 2534 batch include images and amulets made from shredded bank notes provided by the Bank of Thailand signifying wealth and prosperity. Simultaneously, there were also those made from Gomphrena globosa linn flowers signifying good health.

Luang Phor Sothorn 2534 Roof Tile

In Thailand there is a sally saying “you are not a Thai Buddhist if you do not rent a Luang Phor Sothorn image or amulet”. From the sally it can be known the importance of Luang Phor Sothorn to Thai Buddhism. Luang Phor Sothorn is not only an important Buddha but He is also one of the three main Thai Buddhas of Wealth. Thais throughout the Kingdom of Thailand revered Luang Phor Sothorn and so do many people from around the world. If you think we have exaggerated the prominence of Luang Phor Sothorn please feel free to consult any Thai about this Buddha and verify our content for yourself. Finally, if you are keen to know who are the other two Thai Buddhas of Wealth, please keep a watch out for our articles.


佛教是公元前5世紀基於佛陀悉達多喬達摩的教義所建立的主要世界宗教, 全世界約有5.35億佛教徒,其中超過1億是上座部佛教徒。上座部佛教,也被稱為“長老教義”,是佛教中最古老,最純粹的形式,保存和實踐了佛陀時代的教義和傳統。這些古老的教義和傳統皆很詳細的被記錄在巴利教規中。現今,上座部佛教在南亞最為強大,同時也漸漸在整個東南亞甚至歐洲西部大陸都佔有一席之地。

由佛教遍布世界各地看來,佛教寺廟數量便不想可知。在我們早期的文章“帕澤渡金拉瑪帖: 泰國境內外的狂熱文化”我們曾提到僅在泰國王國就有40,717座上座部佛教寺廟,或許, 也是世界上最多上座部佛教寺廟的國家。在這40,717座上座部佛教寺廟中更包括一座歷史悠久的寺廟,一座大城府年代晚期建於泰國東部北柳府的西部曼芭空河岸邊的古廟佛寺。這座寺廟的歷史和它所供奉的主佛像都充滿了神秘和懸念。





繩索拉斷而不動 聖僧卻一線恭請佛上岸


該金銅佛像寬1.65米,高1.48米,經高僧一番誦經恭請,盡然隨著高僧收回的“賽新” “漂”到岸邊,再經村民輕輕一撈,便輕而易舉的將佛像搬上岸來。鑾波梭通佛祖的特徵與其他佛像的特徵截然不同,祂臉如滿月且嘴角更帶著平靜微笑,這種神態的佛像在暹羅大城王國年代或之前根本不成有過。鑾波梭通佛祖被入住瓦鴻佛寺受供奉,後來瓦鴻佛寺也因而改名為瓦梭通沃拉蘭沃拉維漢佛寺。不要感到驚訝,今天在瓦梭通沃拉蘭沃拉維漢佛寺大殿受供奉的佛像尺寸比以上所述要大得多,原因是原本的鑾波梭通佛祖的佛像,為防備盜竊,從在瓦鴻佛寺受供奉時便已在佛像外多加了一層水泥,把原有的佛像隱藏在其中。





















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.


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.