[Buddha-l] Bewildering temple in Bangkok

Chris Fynn chris.fynn at gmail.com
Wed Feb 27 02:42:00 MST 2013

I'm in Bangkok for a medical check up.

The other evening being full-moon a nice Thai lady dragged me to a large Thai temple (Wat Yan Nawa) near Saphan Taksin BTS station. I must say what I saw there rather shattered all my notions of Thai- Theravada Buddhism.

I was taken into a large hall the centre filled with about 100 crystal stupas - and probably a couple of hundred  of other gold and crystal reliquaries of various sorts all of them filled with various types of what Tibetans would call rinsel.
A crowd of people were circumambulating the hall  holding flowers incense and candles all chanting the three refuges and other prayers (which they were reading from cards) in Pali.  At one end was seated a very orthodox looking Theravadin monk teaching something to about a dozen people.
In the background a CD was playing OM MANI PADME HUM. At the sides of the hall were various shrines - including (next to the monk) a huge golden  Ganesh with hundreds of little model rats people had left as offerings.
On the other side of that statues of Shiva and Parvati.
At the other end of the hall were statues of Kwan Yin, Avalokiteshvara, Tara, Confucius. and a large white statue of some bearded fellow with a couple of rudraksha malas around his neck - supposed to be some great physician - and I was assured
that if I made offerings and prayed all my ailments would be gone. There was another cabinet filled with crystals of semi-precious stones and weird rock formations - and people were placing their hands in front of these to get energy. Another shrine was surrounded by children's toys - including a huge stuffed Winne the Pooh.
On the sides were glass cabinets with lifelike waxwork  figures of monks, a "bodhi tree" where you could write your name and a prayer on golden bodhi leaves,  and numerous other shrines - all heaped with offerings and flowers.
Right at the centre was a large black image of (I think) Rudra surmounted by a golden Garuda and figure of Vishnu or Rama - in front of this, people were offering black candles.

Upstairs was another large temple with regular Thai Buddhas and an very large image of the Thai King - next to this was another large hall with many monks and lay people listening to a Dharma talk.

I must say I was very bewildered by all this - but nobody there spoke English.

Perhaps someone here familiar with Thai Buddhism could enlighten me.
- Chris

More information about the buddha-l mailing list