THE PAVILIONS PHUKET BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
Login | Create Account Poll Currency Weather Facebook Youtube Search

Sirinya’s World: Taking life in a stance

Representations of the Buddha can be found throughout Thai temple compounds. The Buddha is represented as either a statue or in mural painting as an idealized image of the Great Buddha who lived in northeast India in the 6th century BC. He is commonly shown in either of the following four positions: seated, standing, walking, and reclining. The Buddha’s hand gesture and posture refer to important events in his life.

culture
By Sirinya Pakditawan

Sunday 1 July 2018, 10:00AM


The Reclining Buddha in Wat Phra Chetuphon. Photo: Dudva

The Reclining Buddha in Wat Phra Chetuphon. Photo: Dudva

Siddhartha Gautama of the Sakya clan, who was to become the Buddha, was born in a small Hindu kingdom neighbouring to Nepal. First he became an ascetic before reaching enlightenment. Afterwards, he taught the truths he had learned and hence gained many disciples. He died around the age of 80.

The Buddha put forward the four noble truths concerning man’s condition and the eightfold path that should lead to enlightenment, perfection, absence from rebirths and finally to nirvana which is to be understood as the extinction of the “three poisons”, namely passion, aversion and ignorance. When these poisons or “fires” are extinguished, freedom from the cycle of rebirth (samsara) is attained.

In the reclining posture, the Buddha is also referred to as being in the “sleeping lion’s” position which is the state in that the Buddha died. Buddha lies on the right side with knees slightly bend and the left hand on the thigh. In Buddhism, the sleeping lion posture is also the traditionally recommended mode for dying. A well-known Buddha image in this position is the reclining Buddha at Wat Pho in Bangkok.

For example, a walking Buddha is the Buddha Monthon (Phutthamonthon) which is created in the Sukhothai style. The image performs the abhaya mudra, the gesture of reassurance and dispelling fear. Characteristic of the period are the broad shoulders and pendant arm. The flat feet and projecting heels are part of the anatomy characteristic of a great being.

It is also important to note that there are Buddha statues for each day of the week, each in different pose. They are often lined up in a row at a temple. Many Thai people know the day and hour they were born thus paying respect to the Buddha image presiding over their day of birth.

The Buddha of Monday is the one preventing calamities. The image for Tuesday is in the reclining posture. Wednesday, in fact, has two Buddha images, in the morning it is the Buddha holding an alms bowl and in the evening he is in the posture of retreating in the forest. The Thursday image is meditating and on Friday the Buddha is in reflection. The Saturday statue is sitting in meditation while being protected by Muchalinda’s cobra hood. Finally, the Sunday Buddha is in pensive thought.

The most prevalent posture and gesture in Thailand is the Buddha in sitting position with his right hand pointing down to the earth. By doing so, he calls on the earth to be his witness that over many lives he fulfilled and accomplished himself thus being able to reach enlightenment.

Summing up, we may say that the Buddha image in Thai culture is very prominent and deeply revered.


Sirinya Pakditawan is a ‘luk kreung’, or half-Thai, born and raised in Hamburg, Germany. She enjoys writing about Thailand, with a focus is on culture, art, history, tradition and on the people, as well as a mix of topics concerning Thai popular culture, travelogues and articles about Thai food.

Sirinya’s aim is not only to entertain you but to provide you with information and facts about Thailand, its culture and history that may not be generally known, in particular to the Western world. She has a PhD in American Studies from the University of Hamburg. 

To read the original story, and many more, be sure to check out Sirinya’s blog: www.sirinyas-thailand.de

 

 

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

Comments Here:
Comments Left:
# Characters
Username:
Password:
E-mail:
Security:

Be the first to comment.

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
B1bn earmarked to improve road safety around schools

The picture says it all. 3 kids on a bike with no helmets and presumably no license (they don't ...(Read More)


Taxi driver charged after collision with motorbike leaves man, 74, dead

Way to set an example and actually improve road safety RTP... not. Spurious charges like this only s...(Read More)


Dogs rounded up at Ao Nang as PM visits Finnish boy dog-attack victim in hospital

Whatever the condition of more than 20 dogs is, they should never be allowed to be again at the beac...(Read More)


B1bn earmarked to improve road safety around schools

See the photo: 3 thai girls on 1 motorbike, no helmets, probably without driving license. And talki...(Read More)


Doubts on pot use linger over amended drug law

Well, a lot of tumbling new rules/laws/bla bla's. contradicting in everything, so, nothing will...(Read More)


Taxi driver charged after collision with motorbike leaves man, 74, dead

Correct application of the law. If you're too lazy to look at the road and what you or others i...(Read More)


Phuket health officials, police unite to enforce Makha Bucha alcohol ban

Dek, you are always talking about how you don't want Thailand to be a Nanny state. Now you are p...(Read More)


Finnish boy, 5, attacked by stray dogs at Ao Nang, Krabi

When will the Thai government stop taking orders from other governments and foreign organizations su...(Read More)


German expat gets eight years jail for slaying Phuket girlfriend

8 Years? You call that justice? I think a bullet in the back of the head would have been a more a...(Read More)


Finnish boy, 5, attacked by stray dogs at Ao Nang, Krabi

Dek, your comment makes no sense. Snakes not attack people when they are not provocated and feel the...(Read More)