Saturday, June 19, 2010

Spending the morning with Buddha

As you approach Koh Samui from the air, the 12-metre tall, golden statue of the Lord Buddha sitting on a high platform at the top of a wide staircase decorated with dragons, dominates the scene. Built in 1972, the enormous sitting Buddha sits within the Phra Yai Temple complex on a small island just of the northern shore of the island.

That's what we visited yesterday; the big Buddha here on the island, not too far away from our resort. But then again, the island is small and everything is relatively close by.

Thai visitors to the island usually make the Big Buddha their first stop. They will pray here, make offerings of fruit and flowers, rice and water, and burn five incense sticks. This is to ensure a happy and fruitful visit.

At the foot of the Buddha statue is a meditation centre and within the temple grounds is a market place where amulets and Buddhist and Brahmin religious souvenirs are sold alongside Tee-shirts, hats, and other secular items.

Jasmine and Juliet were impressed with all the holy stuff that was going on there. There is the big Buddha, and then there are Buddha's for each day of the week. We checked on which day the girls were born... on a Saturday and so we offered some money to the Buddha of Saturday. And they each bought a small buddha which represent the Saturday. Of course this one is more special than the other ones in their eyes since it has a cobra protecting it... Oh well, we just leave it that way :-)

The Seven Days of Thai Buddhism

Traditionally it is believed that Buddha spent seven days following his enlightenment thinking of the suffering of all living creatures and how unimportant his life was prior to reaching enlightenment. Thais are superstitious and believe that their day of birth reflects their life and there are seven Buddha images to reflect each day of the week, actually there are 8 and one is not represented with a day.

The days are also each assigned a different color and many Thai people pay special attention to this. The most visible example is the wearing of yellow shirts on Mondays to honor HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej. Likewise, you will see many blue shirts each Friday as that was the day of the week that HM Queen Sirikit was born. Even the different royal flags are colored to reflect individual birthdays of the royal family.

We only bought some images for the girls, and since they are born on a Saturday, I'll give you the info on this day, but if you are more interested in the day you were born, check out this website here.

Saturday is the Day of Protection and uses the colors of black or purple.

The image shows the Buddha in meditation and protected from tempest by the King of the Naga, Mucalinda, a coiled snake. The Naga appears since ancient Egypt as a force of good and is even used today as a symbol of medicine amongst other things. The image is related to the moment when a Naga spread its hood to protect the Buddha from a rainstorm while he was in profound meditation.

This person is calm, logical and a bit of a recluse. He is very likely engaged in manual work of a skilled nature. The lucky day is Friday and the lucky color is blue. The unlucky day is Wednesday during the daytime with the unlucky color of green.

This was just part of the day, the rest I will post more about tomorrow.
Have a great weekend!


plantagenet said...

Mireille, pics are great, nice story too!!!I have been to that temple too and remember now seeing the pics!!!
The girls look good and I am happy for you that you have such a great time with many things to learn for the girls... tks for sharing

Leah and Maya said...

interesting! again how cool yours girls get to grow up seeing and experiancing so many different things. Hey I like the color green, I wonder who decides its unlucky?

Mireille said...

It all depends on which day you are born Leah, maybe green is good for you?? Look it up at the website, do you know when you were born??

Annie said...

Wow! Really amazing temple!

Maci Miller said...

What a magnificent Buddha! So great for the girls to experience all these wonderful things Thailand has to offer.


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