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Old 01-18-2014, 09:29 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
My keyboard is going haywire. I missed the letter "p" in "predominant" in the last post. I need to read these things more carefully before I hit the Submit Reply button, or at least go back and Edit any corrections. Sorry about that.

Yes, Hinduism seems to play a part in Buddhism in Thailand, at least in a cultural sense, often in the form of artwork and legends. For example, the Erawan Shrine contains the Thai representation of the Hindu god Brahma. Some Buddhist wats are adorned with swastikas, a symbol that predates Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The Naga is also frequently found adorning Thai wats.

In a cultural sense, the Garuda is the official symbol adopted by the Thai government. For example, you see them on banks and official documents.

Animism shows up in the form of amulets, spirit houses, magical tattoos, trees adorned with saffron-colored cloth, etc. Sometimes, Buddhist monks hold rituals to contain or appease various ghosts, etc. In rural areas, especially, the belief in ghosts, demons, and all sorts of strange things, is very strong among people. Thais have more different kinds of ghosts than you can shake a stick at. It really has nothing to do with Buddhism, but it has been incorporated in with it because of the cultural beliefs and practices of regions, local villages and communities. The ghost thing is pretty amusing to me. Around our neck of the woods, the locals, especially women, get together socially and scare each other silly with various ghost tales that they all swear are true experiences. The only spirits I've ever seen are the ones contained in bottles.

As noted, Buddhism, as practiced in Thailand, usually contains a wide mix of cultural practices, superstitutions and beliefs that have nothing to do with Buddhism, but are so deeply engrained in the culture that it's become part of the religion.
The swastika is also commonly found in Chinese and Japanese Buddhist art. As well as the lotus flower of course. Not sure you're aware but the Garuda is very prominent in Indonesian/particularly Javanese culture and belief, the mythical bird. Indonesia's national air carrier, Garuda Indonesia, for instance, takes on this motif.

Yep, syncretism like that is rife within the Buddhist world, from Kandy to Kyoto. The Goddess of Mercy functions as almost a sort of Buddhist virgin Mary in Sinitic Mahayana Buddhism, much of it influenced by folk religion and Daoism.

 
Old 01-18-2014, 11:50 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
The swastika is also commonly found in Chinese and Japanese Buddhist art. As well as the lotus flower of course. Not sure you're aware but the Garuda is very prominent in Indonesian/particularly Javanese culture and belief, the mythical bird. Indonesia's national air carrier, Garuda Indonesia, for instance, takes on this motif.

Yep, syncretism like that is rife within the Buddhist world, from Kandy to Kyoto. The Goddess of Mercy functions as almost a sort of Buddhist virgin Mary in Sinitic Mahayana Buddhism, much of it influenced by folk religion and Daoism.
My understanding about the Garuda is that the symbol is found throughout much of South & SE Asia. If I'm not mistaken, I think the swastika is supposed to represent the wheel or circle of life. Is the "Goddess of Mercy" you mentioned the same as Phra Mae Kuan Im (in Thailand)?
Guanyin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There are a lot of strange things to be found around Thailand. A few wats have the mummified remains of revered monks on display. A couple of other wats display what they call the mummified remains of Nariphon (or Naree Pon), which are said to be small pixie or faery-like creatures about the length of your hand. They look more like strange dry seed pods. It's also possible they might be some kind of carving. There are rural locals who swear they've seen such things running around.
Nariphon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
 
Old 01-19-2014, 12:25 AM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
My understanding about the Garuda is that the symbol is found throughout much of South & SE Asia. If I'm not mistaken, I think the swastika is supposed to represent the wheel or circle of life. Is the "Goddess of Mercy" you mentioned the same as Phra Mae Kuan Im (in Thailand)?
Guanyin - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

There are a lot of strange things to be found around Thailand. A few wats have the mummified remains of revered monks on display. A couple of other wats display what they call the mummified remains of Nariphon (or Naree Pon), which are said to be small pixie or faery-like creatures about the length of your hand. They look more like strange dry seed pods. It's also possible they might be some kind of carving. There are rural locals who swear they've seen such things running around.
Nariphon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Yes, Guanyin, which partially developed from the um, what do you call it, Avalokiteśvara, the bodhisattva (had to look up the spelling).

Interesting, never heard of the Nariphon...it actually reminds me of a well-known and well loved Australian children's book, 'Snugglepot and Cuddlepie' who are 'gumnut babies', or the cabbage patch dolls, or even the Japanese legend of Momataro the peach baby. So people actually believe these dried seed pods are little humanoid figures, like fairies?
 
Old 01-19-2014, 02:00 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
Yes, Guanyin, which partially developed from the um, what do you call it, Avalokiteśvara, the bodhisattva (had to look up the spelling).

Interesting, never heard of the Nariphon...it actually reminds me of a well-known and well loved Australian children's book, 'Snugglepot and Cuddlepie' who are 'gumnut babies', or the cabbage patch dolls, or even the Japanese legend of Momataro the peach baby. So people actually believe these dried seed pods are little humanoid figures, like fairies?
As far as I know, the only ones ever displayed are the dried ones. I've never heard of any that were fresh. There are claims in some rural province (can't remember which one) where a few of the trees are said to be growing, but I'm pretty sure that's nothing more than a wild tale. If such plants actually existed, it'd be a huge tourist attraction generating a lot of income for the local economy.

Sure, some people think Nariphon exist, but then some people think that Phi Krasue also exist. Superstitious beliefs are pretty common in Thailand.


Thailand Temple Naree Pon Flower Pod Elf Women Tree Fairies travel vacation holiday hotel airline - YouTube
 
Old 01-19-2014, 07:17 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Wow that's interesting, thanks for sharing that aspect of Thai culture I didn't know about (well which is most of it haha). They do look like dead dried up fetuses, but I find the beliefs.etc surrounding it quite fascinating.
 
Old 01-20-2014, 08:56 AM
 
Location: Jakarta, Indonesia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
The swastika is also commonly found in Chinese and Japanese Buddhist art. As well as the lotus flower of course. Not sure you're aware but the Garuda is very prominent in Indonesian/particularly Javanese culture and belief, the mythical bird. Indonesia's national air carrier, Garuda Indonesia, for instance, takes on this motif.

Yep, syncretism like that is rife within the Buddhist world, from Kandy to Kyoto. The Goddess of Mercy functions as almost a sort of Buddhist virgin Mary in Sinitic Mahayana Buddhism, much of it influenced by folk religion and Daoism.
Not only Javanese, it includes parts of Sumatra, Borneo, Bali, and Lombok, but its due to the Javanese since they are the dominant race in Indonesia. Garuda is part of Hindu-Buddhist culture in Indonesia, Javanese in particular are keen of their which they tend to blend together together with the religion of Islam (the fact that most Javanese names are sanskrit based rather than Arabic, practice black magics, and in particular aren't Muslim extremist) The mytical bird represent our true heritage and culture as Indonesians, so even we are no longer Hindu or Buddhist or Animanist, we will never forget those.
 
Old 01-20-2014, 06:28 PM
 
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A survey reveals that despite the majority of people attend the buddhist religious activities, but is less than the normal year.
 
Old 01-21-2014, 09:37 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
Wow that's interesting, thanks for sharing that aspect of Thai culture I didn't know about (well which is most of it haha). They do look like dead dried up fetuses, but I find the beliefs.etc surrounding it quite fascinating.
LOL! Yeah, they look pretty weird. I think they're probably carved out of some sort of woody material. There are some highly skilled and creative artisans around. My understanding is that the things are said the 'artifacts' are quite old and that they were given as gifts to the wats by traveling monks from India. They could've simply been meant as representations, but descriptions can change over time. Supposedly, the things have been x-rayed showing internal organs but no bones. That sounds like BS to me. But as the tales circulate, some people think these are real creatures and claim to have seen them. I don't think that's a widely held belief though.

The Naripon are said to be briefly mentioned in some Buddhist writings, most likely legends. There are lots of strange things that get passed around by word of mouth that some people take as factual while others see them as stories. I'm aware of the ones in BKK and Singburi, but I just read something about some possibly in Chiang Mai. That's the first I've heard of that. The writing suggests they are the ones from Wat Ampawan in Singburi but are in the care of a monk in Chiang Mai. No mention about the name of the wat in Chiang Mai. Things do get moved around from place to place though.

A lot of Buddhism as practiced in different localities tend to be mixed with Animism. And a lot of legends seem to have origins in India. As mentioned the Garuda is one example. The giant Yaks (or Yaksha) is another which can be found as guardians at wats, including those at the Grand Palace. The Kinnara and Kinnaree is still another. In the northeast, there's a festival of the Naga which shows up each year to spit fireballs from the Mekong River at Nong Khai, and a festival of the Phi Ta Khon (Issan ghosts) in the province of Loei.
 
Old 01-21-2014, 11:10 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NightBazaar View Post
LOL! Yeah, they look pretty weird. I think they're probably carved out of some sort of woody material. There are some highly skilled and creative artisans around. My understanding is that the things are said the 'artifacts' are quite old and that they were given as gifts to the wats by traveling monks from India. They could've simply been meant as representations, but descriptions can change over time. Supposedly, the things have been x-rayed showing internal organs but no bones. That sounds like BS to me. But as the tales circulate, some people think these are real creatures and claim to have seen them. I don't think that's a widely held belief though.

The Naripon are said to be briefly mentioned in some Buddhist writings, most likely legends. There are lots of strange things that get passed around by word of mouth that some people take as factual while others see them as stories. I'm aware of the ones in BKK and Singburi, but I just read something about some possibly in Chiang Mai. That's the first I've heard of that. The writing suggests they are the ones from Wat Ampawan in Singburi but are in the care of a monk in Chiang Mai. No mention about the name of the wat in Chiang Mai. Things do get moved around from place to place though.

A lot of Buddhism as practiced in different localities tend to be mixed with Animism. And a lot of legends seem to have origins in India. As mentioned the Garuda is one example. The giant Yaks (or Yaksha) is another which can be found as guardians at wats, including those at the Grand Palace. The Kinnara and Kinnaree is still another. In the northeast, there's a festival of the Naga which shows up each year to spit fireballs from the Mekong River at Nong Khai, and a festival of the Phi Ta Khon (Issan ghosts) in the province of Loei.
Yes that crossed my mind as a possibility, I mean they definitely DO look like creatures, definitely not just something that could naturally grow on trees. An outlandish theory could be they're like bats trapped by carnivorous plants haha.

As a tourist, there are many things like this a tourist would not know. If I visit Thailand again, it would be great to catch up with you and your family, I'm interested in learning more and experiencing more 'authentic' culture, if that was okay with you, of course.
 
Old 01-24-2014, 03:09 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Postman View Post
Yes that crossed my mind as a possibility, I mean they definitely DO look like creatures, definitely not just something that could naturally grow on trees. An outlandish theory could be they're like bats trapped by carnivorous plants haha.

As a tourist, there are many things like this a tourist would not know. If I visit Thailand again, it would be great to catch up with you and your family, I'm interested in learning more and experiencing more 'authentic' culture, if that was okay with you, of course.
Yes, they do look like creatures, but then so do the Garuda and the Kinnaree. That sort of thing seems to be typical when it comes to fanciful myths. It's not much different than rock depressions said to be Buddha's footprint and are enshrined as sacred relics.
Kinnara - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Wat Phra Phutthabat - Saraburi, Thailand

I agree there are a lot of things the average tourist isn't likely to know or experience. There's more things that I don't know than I'll probably ever know. There's always something new to see, experience and learn about. I think that's where time comes into it. The more time a person has spent in Thailand, the more you become familiar with the country, meet a lot more people, and make more new discoveries.

We're in the US right now, but we generally go back and forth. We have a house in the province of Saraburi, but it's a bit more rural and dusty than I prefer. Maybe I'll post some photos of it. We're looking for a house in Chiang Mai. It's far more convenient and comfortable for me in many ways. My step-daughter and her family live there, and I have friends there as well. My wife is going over there around March to look at a couple of prospective houses I've found at CM. If it looks promising and she likes it, I'll be making a short trip over to have a look and hopefully seal a deal. Our goal is that we plan to make a one-way trip to Thailand within the next 2 years, maybe sooner, assuming everything works out, to retire there.

If you do decide to visit the country, it'd be great to meet up with you. Chiang Mai is a really neat city in my opinion. If you've never been there, I think you'll like it. We'll make trips to Saraburi to visit with family and friends for a few days. For me, a few days is about all I can handle there. LOL! We've had some really great times in Saraburi though.
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