THE RECLINING BUDDHA - WAT PHO
The Temple of the Reclining Buddha - (Wat Pho), is an 80,000 sqm2. Buddhist temple, 700 meters south, of The Grand Palace. The temple complex houses the largest collection of Buddha figurines in Thailand; including the world-renowned 46 meter long gold plated reclining Buddha. Wat Pho is one of Bangkok's most ancient temples and holds a classification as the highest grade first-class royal temple. It was originally named Wat Photharam, referring to the monastery of the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya, India where Buddha attained enlightenment.
It existed before Bangkok was founded as the capital by King Rama I in 1782. He expanded and rebuilt the temple complex on an earlier temple site, which became his foremost temple. Some of the Kings ashes are even enshrined there.
The temple was later expanded and extensively renovated by King Rama III, (1787- 1851).
It is also known as the birthplace of traditional natural Thai medicine and massage which is still taught and practiced there today. It is even possible to learn Thai massage or get a traditional massage from a qualified practitioner in the grounds.
History states Wat Pho was intended to serve as a place of education for the general public. Pictorial encyclopaedia plaques inscribed with text and illustrations were carved on granite stone slabs outlining eight subjects, history, medicine, health, customs, literature, proverbs, lexicography (compiling, writing and editing dictionaries), and Buddhist religion.
They are placed around the temple, for example at Hermit Hill, which contains several statues showing ancient techniques of massage and yoga positions.
On the walls of the library there are drawings of constellations, inscriptions on local administration, as well as paintings of folk tales and farming.
The posture of the reclining Buddha is referring to the pose of a sleeping or reclining lion presenting entry into complete spiritual enlightenment through the ending of all worldly desires. The soles of the feet of the reclining Buddha are exquisitely crafted with inlaid mother-of-pearl shell. At the centre of each foot is a symbol of a wheel (dharma- cause and effect) and representing one of many chakra energy points where universal energy flows into the body. Portioned into 108 sections and displaying auspicious symbols identifying The Buddha, including flowers, dancers, white elephants, tigers and altar accessories.
Within the surrounding corridor there are 108 bronze bowls representing the 108 auspicious characteristics of The Buddha.
It is believed donating coins into these bowls brings wealth and prosperity.
These coins and donations can benefit the Monks and community to maintain the Temple for important cultural activities. *Banknotes for coins can be exchanged at the Temple.
The Emerald Buddha (Wat Phra Kaew) in the Grand Palace itself is the main attraction. A figurine of the meditating Buddha made from one solid piece of green jade, clothed in gold and diamonds. It is greatly revered from the Royal family to Thai nationals alike, as Thailand’s utmost precious religious icon...
EMERALD BUDDHA SEASONAL COSTUME CHANGING
In tone of great reverence for The Emerald Buddha a ceremonial costume change, only performed by the King of Thailand, occurs three times per year: for summer, rainy and winter seasons...