[Buddha-l] Bewildering temple in Bangkok

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Wed Feb 27 03:28:24 MST 2013

Hi Chris,

The rats are affiliated with Ganesh -- one finds large ganesh statues on the 
street which are usually accompanied by huge live rats. By huge, I mean the 
size of housecats.

The Rama and Ramayana imagery is related to the royalty and the current 
dynasty -- each of the kings is named Rama, starting with Rama I, then Rama 
II, and so on. The Golden Palace in Bangkok, considered the royal sanctuary, 
has murals stretching around a good chunk of it depicting scenes from the 

Many of the temples (wats) are under the patronage of the royal family, and 
they are assigned a rank in the hierarchy -- 1st rank, 2nd rank, etc. --  
depending on the degree of support, which member of the royal family is 
involved (the king, queen, one of their children, etc.)

So the King's statue was no surprise.

Avalokitesvara has been popular in Theravada countries for a long time, 
Thailand is no exception.

There has been a strong Chinese presence in much of Thailand, and that 
particular wat (I don't know it offhand) may have had a Chinese connection, 
which would also help explain some of the more overt Mahayana elements.

As for the active fortune-telling, crystals, and other forms of interactive 
audience participation activities -- those are the money raisers.


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