Thursday, July 16, 2009

Where to get a Buddha statue in Bangkok

If you are looking to buy a genuine Buddha statue or amulet in Bangkok, one place I can suggest is at Wat Phra Kaew, Bangkok. Wat Phra Kaew is normally in the agenda to those who are travelling to Bangkok. For normal tourist, the impression is that the temple is majestic and you can see the beautiful structures from far far away.

The entrance fee is a bit steep: 350 baht for foreigners (previously it was 250 baht). The temple opens early- I think before 9am and closes at about 5pm. Please take heart that the entrance fee you pay goes in as part of the donation to the temple- if you visit Wat Phra Kaew, you will soon realise that a temple of such great magnificence is not easy to maintain.

There is an office within the perimeters of Wat Phra Kaew, located near the washrooms. The office is painted in white colour and is located near an exit/entrance directly facing the hall entrance door to the Emerald Buddha. If you are not sure, you can ask the guards or workers as most of them should be able to speak basic English, given the number of foreigners visiting the area. It is also the same office that visitors will be directed to to report lost and found.

In the office, replicas of the Emerald Buddha amulets and statues are sold in a few designs. There is a statue of the Buddha according to three different seasons in Thailand- hot, rainy and cold weather. Few foreigners know about them- even few Thai people are aware of that. These Buddha amulets/statues are blessed and their designs have been seen and approved by the King himself.

Please note that I am not writing this for commercial reasons. I am writting this because I and a few others have personally benefited from buying and paying daily reverence to the Emerald Buddha. If you are a foreigner and began to embrace Buddhism, naturally you may want to buy a Buddha statue.

I bought one for about 1000 plus baht- it is a design of 3 Emerald Buddhas in a glass case wearing clothes of the 3 different seasons. It is placed in my home altar. Normally I do morning and evening chanting (total twice a day). Sometimes, unexpected solutions will come to some problems doing chanting. It may not be the same case for everyone- but having the Buddha statue had maintained peace in my home. My Thai spiritual teacher had advised me and other Malaysians/Singaporeans about this and they have also bought amulets and statues from the office at Wat Phra Kaew.

When you buy it, the office will issue you with an official receipt of purchase. All purchases made are recorded and accounted for. After buying it, take it to the hall of the actual Emerald Buddha (the main building). In front of the Emerald Buddha, make an aspiration that you (your full name) have purchased the Buddha and would want to take it home (state your full house address). Treat the Emerald Buddha with respect- ensure that it is not placed at a low area or anyone going over it.

Caution: There are a number of nearby shops located outside the temple selling replicas or you may find people promoting these statues/amulets. Don't buy from them but buy directly from the office at the temple. The office is not a gift shop which is located at the entrance where you pay for your entrance ticket. It is located more inside- the best thing is to ask the staff for the office or the place to go to report any lost and found- they will bring you to an office whereby the moment you open the white door, you will see display of different designs of Emerald Buddhas and behind the counter, you can see that it is an office.

Another word of advise is don't buy any Buddha statues or amulets from the amulet peddlers around- you will never know what is inside the amulet- such as if it's been blessed or cursed.

Also, always treat any Buddha statues and amulets with respect- that means

  • do not place them on the floor or any low place- put in an altar or a high place
  • do not place Buddha statues or amulets in places like the bathroom or toilet- even Buddha decorated pieces