Author Topic: The craze of Thai Buddha amulets  (Read 29284 times)

WisdomBeing

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The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
« on: May 06, 2013, 06:43:59 PM »
Just sharing this interesting article I came across. The Thai amulets sound like the Tibetan tsatsas with their being made of clay and ash, and often having holy relics embedded in them. I wonder if there is any correlation. It would be fantastic if there were Dorje Shugden tsatsas made as amulets for this growing Chinese market so that they receive the protection from our supreme Protector. Perhaps DorjeShugden.com may wish to explore this? I know that all products from Dorjeshugden.com are of the best quality and I am sure it would prove to be popular anywhere!

The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90782/8233165.html
(Global Times)
09:14, May 06, 2013


A customer selects Buddha amulets in a shop in Beijing. (Global Times/Wei Xi)

Since ancient times, wearing an amulet was supposed to endow the owner with either a protective quality, or would herald the coming of good luck and fortune. These days, when high-profile Chinese celebrities have turned to wearing an amulet as a fashion statement, the market in China, whether the wearers are "believers" or not, has taken off. And nothing is more on-trend right now than Thai Buddha amulets.

A Buddha amulet is called plah keang in its local language. It's said that once upon a time, there was a renowned monk in Thailand, who was invited by the king to go to the disaster area when a deadly drought afflicted the nation.

Unable to bring the large Buddha statue in his home, he dreamed of the Buddha statue telling him he could make a small model of it with the clay from the temple and bring that instead. He did what he was told, and the drought eased. When the monk gave this amulet to the king, the king asked him to make more and spread them among the common people.

Shaping belief

Like Christian crosses and Chinese Buddha amulets, Thai Buddha amulets can be made of metal or precious stones. Yet a majority of them today are still a combination of clay and incense ash. They are then molded into a Buddha statue (some are not) and put in a box. Sometimes, pollen, herbs, metal bars (with Scripture carved on), an eyebrow hair from a holy monk and a drop of his blood may also be contained inside. It's not finished and ready to give out until it's blessed by a renowned monk.

Thai Buddha amulets can be made into different shapes, such as round, square and triangular. Yet, what decides an amulet's major function is the Buddha or creature shown on it.

Buddhism is polytheistic religion and there are multiple gods and goddesses. For example, a Buddha called bida (one with his hands covering the face) helps to drive bad luck away. A colorful butterfly is useful for a woman to attract a man.

In the old days, Buddha amulets in Thailand were purely hand-made, but today, due to the large demand, some procedures, like carving a model, are mechanized.

Although almost everyone can make an amulet, it is believed in Thailand that only those made by renowned monks contain power, and each Buddhist master has his own specialty. Luang Phor Koon, a renowned monk at Wat Ban Rai, a temple in Nakhon Ratchasima Province in Thailand, is famous for making bida Buddha.

"Today, most of the amulets are made up by these masters' disciples and then blessed by the masters, because these masters are all elderly," said Wang Lei, a Buddhist believer and Thai amulet dealer in Beijing.

Fashion fad

According to Wang, the price of a Thai Buddha amulet has almost doubled in two years or so. And behind the climbing prices are the uses of them in fashion not only in Thailand, but also in Malaysia, Singapore, the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. Yet, the trend in the mainland started much later than in other places.

Wang said that in 2005, there were only three Thai Buddhist amulet shops in Beijing, and the number climbed to around 1,000 last year, while this year, it soared to nearly 3,000.

A simple click on popular online shopping platform taobao.com can also see the prosperity of this market - altogether there are 3,156 shops and the most popular one sold over 7,000 pieces in the past one month.

Prices can range from 500 yuan ($81.25) or so, to millions of yuan for those sold on the luxury market.

According to another Thai Buddha amulet seller in Beijing, Wang Yang, the trend in the mainland, to some degree, is also led by celebrities, when actors and actresses like Jackie Chan, Donnie Yen and Cecilia Cheung are seen wearing them in public.

As similar amulets to those worn by celebrities can often sell for a higher price, despite other facts like the fame of the maker and the age of an amulet often decide whether an amulet sells at several hundreds of yuan or millions.

"Many wearers think [the amulets] are very effective [in bringing luck], although I do believe 50 percent of them do not believe in Buddhism, but only think it is very fashionable," Wang Lei said.

He added that some only buy them for the purpose of showing off their wealth, and therefore prefers to ask for silver or gold ones, but pay less attention to whether the amulets have been blessed.

Buyer beware

The popularity of Thai Buddhist amulets in the mainland market also brings business opportunities to copycats. But different from Thailand, which has professional certification agencies, customers in the Chinese mainland can only rely on the trustworthiness of the vendors.

Wang Lei told the Global Times that every experienced amulet dealer will bring a magnifier with them, for many details often reveal the identity of an amulet, but this is a skill requiring long-term professional experience.

He first heard of the Thai Buddhist amulets in 2005 and began trading them in 2007. During his previous two years, he was often cheated.

And Wang Yang added that very good imitations are also difficult to identify even by experienced dealers. Therefore, to avoid being cheated, they prefer to buy amulets directly from famous temples in Thailand.

Wang Yang said that unlike a number of temples in the Chinese mainland that have become over-commercialized in recent years, most temples in Thailand still possess a high reputation among local people and will not sell fake amulets. He believes it is also the over-commercialization of Chinese Buddhism that has driven more and more believers away to other religions.

"To enter a temple, you have to first buy a ticket and believers are sorted [to high and low] according to the money they spend on incense," said Wang Yang. "Many of the monks [do not come from long years of self-cultivation but] graduate from Buddhist colleges."

Wang Lei believes some rare amulets are still collectable and have value as an investment. In fact, he told the Global Times, amulets have already been auctioned in Thailand, and for some expensive ones the price can reach 50 million Baht, or nearly 10 million yuan.

As every trend has its peaks and troughs, the pursuit of amulets will not be an eternal phenomenon either. For that final fate, Wang Lei said he prepares by keeping an eye on business opportunities outside Beijing.

"The business in second- and third-tier cities [in China] has not been raised yet," he noted.


(Global Times/Wei Xi)

Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

WisdomBeing

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Re: The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2013, 06:47:25 PM »
I'm not sure why the picture in my earlier post didn't show up. Here it is again and hope it works (fingers crossed)

Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

Ensapa

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Re: The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2013, 08:09:08 AM »
One thing about the thai Buddhist amulets is that Thai Buddhism has been blended in with the native religion of Thailand which believes in spirits and animism that is supposed to protect one from harm. The amulets claim to protect one from black magic and some, from bullets and accidents, or bring luck or partners to the person wearing them. It's not strictly Buddhism per se, but it got blended with mainstream Buddhism somehow because  people would always need protection of some kind.

In any case, this has certainly brought in people who would normally not be interested in Buddhism to Buddhism although it does so by leaving imprints in the current life but it probably would take a long time to blossom.

WisdomBeing

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Re: The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2013, 02:04:42 PM »
Well Buddhism believes that holy relics can provide protection from black magic and evil spirits and the Dharma Protector practice is especially efficacious against removal of obstacles and lessening the fruitioning of our negative karma. So in that sense, i guess that the effectiveness of Thai Buddhist amulets, provided that they are prepared properly, are in line with Buddhism. Tibetan Buddhism especially seems very partial to carrying the blessings from Buddha images and relics in stupas and tsa tsas so I find the similarities interesting.

And since Thai Buddhist amulets are currently popular in China, the Chinese would be used to seeing these items and not need to be educated about its benefits. Therefore, as I said earlier, I think that they would be very open to authentic Tibetan amulets too!
Kate Walker - a wannabe wisdom Being

Q

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Re: The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
« Reply #4 on: May 10, 2013, 04:54:51 PM »
Wow.... 10 million Yuan for a Thai Buddha amulet... I really hope the proceeds goes to a temple or it would really be such negative karma to gain profit from Buddha images for oneself.

It is not really surprising that the Buddha amulets are big in China or most Asian countries. The people there are after all quite superstitious and always believed in good luck charms or some amulet of protection... probably due to many black magic can be done by the locals in the area. I have some Asian friends... they too wear these Thai Amulets as protection and gave me some explanation as to why it is so famous.

I think to a certain extent all of this is true and we should never doubt the Buddha's blessings to make our lives better so that we can continue to serve the Dharma and be of benefit to others. If only everyone would wear a DS amulet... that would be so cool.

whitelion

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Re: The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2013, 07:02:56 PM »
I think it's a kind of Asia culture where parents will gave their children some amulet that contains Buddha images or mantra to wear for protection. It might be some kind of supertitious action but it's also an action that parents showing love to their children.

In ancient Tibet where their writting system developed at very late stage compare to others ancient countries such as China or India. Most of the ancient Buddhism masters will teached their students by giving oral transmission, and we call them ear wispering lineage, this culture is still very well keep in most of the sacred tantric teachings in different Tibetan Buddhism schools.

While these masters giving out their teaching, some will also draw out some Buddha images or mandala for the students to understand deeper. Hence Buddha's iconography and mandala drawing in Tibetan Buddhism is extremly important because each line or each hand mudra will represent deep teaching.

Hence if we truthly understand an iconography of any Buddha, we will understand the teaching behind, which with these teaching, it can eventually lead us to enlightement. Hence to wear a Buddha image, it's not only supertitious action but also remind us of Buddha teaching.   

Dorje Shugden is not just a protector, who have the same mind stream as Buddha of all Wisdom, Manjushri, hence by wearing any images of DS, it will not only give us protection but also plant a seed of Manjushri's wisdom mind. It's extremly rare to find any image of DS in form of pendants and tsa tsa, I ordered one of the DS pendants from the E-shop when i first visited this site, and it's still look very good now...

   http://www.dorjeshugden.com/downloads/texts/first-ever-dorje-shugden-comic-book/

Big Uncle

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Re: The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2013, 07:47:09 AM »
I think its great way to bless people especially amulets that have the power to protect its wearers and yet bless them with the image of the Buddha. However, I really think that the Thai Buddhist amulet thingy is way over-commercialized. I doubt that the money raised through these amulets really go to a worthy cause. More likely to the private coffers of its collectors. That's just too bad. That's very bad karma as someone has already mentioned. However, it also shows what people really look for - protection and blessings. That's where Dorje Shugden would come in handy as well. If I am not mistaken, there are special protective talismans called chakras and roos that will be just as effective, if not more

Ensapa

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Re: The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
« Reply #7 on: May 11, 2013, 04:49:36 PM »
There is a distinction between genuine Buddhist amulets and amulets that are used to give protection, wealth, attraction and power to the user. Genuine Buddhist amulets that are based on Buddhist principles from thailand are not as popular as you think and they are called buchas. However, instead of the Buddha's blessings, even these amulets can be used to house spirits and the like that will be bound with the wearer in order to benefit the wearer. So there is an important distinction to be made here.

More info about such amulets can be found by reading this forum: http://amuletforums.com/forums/thai-amulets-buchas-discussion.22/page-2

kris

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Re: The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2013, 08:14:30 AM »
Thailand is a country where Buddhism is widely accepted.However, on the other hand, black magic is also very widely practiced. There are also many deities whom the locals called Buddha, but they are actually not Buddha (but still very powerful beings). One of the very power deities in Bangkok is the four-face "Buddha". She is not a fully enlightened Buddha, though she is very powerful and grant wishes very fast. If it said that if you promised to repay her after the wishes are granted, then you must fulfill the wishes else She will not be happy and bad things will happen. (Buddha will not punish you).

As such it is important to know whenever we get amulets from Thailand. We must know the source of the items we wear. If we rely on the deities who are not Buddha, we must be very careful...

Ensapa

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Re: The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2013, 10:01:43 AM »
Thailand is a country where Buddhism is widely accepted.However, on the other hand, black magic is also very widely practiced. There are also many deities whom the locals called Buddha, but they are actually not Buddha (but still very powerful beings). One of the very power deities in Bangkok is the four-face "Buddha". She is not a fully enlightened Buddha, though she is very powerful and grant wishes very fast. If it said that if you promised to repay her after the wishes are granted, then you must fulfill the wishes else She will not be happy and bad things will happen. (Buddha will not punish you).

As such it is important to know whenever we get amulets from Thailand. We must know the source of the items we wear. If we rely on the deities who are not Buddha, we must be very careful...

The so called 'four faced Buddha' is actually brahma. As people would basically have faith in whatever that brings them results, they will pray to whatever that will grant them luck in general. So they kind of regard brahma as a Buddha because he 'benefits' them. But what they do not know is that there is a huge possibility that the brahma that they pray to happens to be a lowly spirit waiting for the right time to take advantage of that person and is 'fishing' the person by misleading them with 'good luck' at the beginning.

Tenzin Malgyur

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Re: The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
« Reply #10 on: May 12, 2013, 10:11:58 AM »
Well, it looks like some parties have taken advantage of the power of Thai amulets to bless and protect the person wearing it and made a lot of money for themselves. The very purpose of Thai amulets have become more than just for protection against dangers and evil spirits. It is now being traded in the market with some commanding a price of a lofty USD1.6 million! I know of a Thailand Buddhist monk who made lots of amulets to be given away to people who needed them and he does not demand any payment for those amulets. Most recipients would make some money offerings to pay for the cost of materials. It would be good if one can obtain an amulet from a temple when they visit one instead of buying them from a trader. There are Dorje Shugden ruel available that can bless and protect the wearers too and they do not cost an arm and a leg.  I am sure many have come across the protective ruels that is available at http://shop.dorjeshugden.com/dorje-shugden-protective-ruel.html.

Ensapa

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Re: The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
« Reply #11 on: May 12, 2013, 10:26:35 AM »
Well, it looks like some parties have taken advantage of the power of Thai amulets to bless and protect the person wearing it and made a lot of money for themselves. The very purpose of Thai amulets have become more than just for protection against dangers and evil spirits. It is now being traded in the market with some commanding a price of a lofty USD1.6 million! I know of a Thailand Buddhist monk who made lots of amulets to be given away to people who needed them and he does not demand any payment for those amulets. Most recipients would make some money offerings to pay for the cost of materials. It would be good if one can obtain an amulet from a temple when they visit one instead of buying them from a trader. There are Dorje Shugden ruel available that can bless and protect the wearers too and they do not cost an arm and a leg.  I am sure many have come across the protective ruels that is available at http://shop.dorjeshugden.com/dorje-shugden-protective-ruel.html.


Give me a Dorje Shugden ruel anytime! Some of these amulets contain grave soils, ashes from dead people and even  mummified fetuses! It's not those with the Buddha's image that is the most popular, but amulets that bring attraction and whatever that they want and usually contain spirits of dead people that were bound to the amulets by the monks or shamans who manufacture them. An example of the more popular ones are like these: http://www.bestthaiamulets.com/2011/05/sex-appeal-pong-nai-amuletcant-take.html

so anyone wants to wear human ashes for luck or for love?

Jessie Fong

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Re: The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
« Reply #12 on: May 12, 2013, 11:19:14 AM »
Tibetan Buddhists wear amulets of Buddha images or religious signs to attract good luck and for protection:
- avert danget
- dispel evil
- protdct from diseases
- success at work
- happy relationship

These may be made of any material and are usually blessed by holy monks during pujas.

Pendants with Dorje Shugden images are available online www.dorjeshugden.com


dsiluvu

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Re: The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
« Reply #13 on: May 12, 2013, 12:03:58 PM »
Wouldn't this be equivalent to the Thai Buddhist emulates?

http://shop.dorjeshugden.com/pendants/dorje-shugden-gold-encased-pendant.html
With a classic image of Dorje Shugden on one side, and the word "Blessings" in Chinese calligraphy embossed in gold on the other, this pendant cum tsatsa is encased in clear, durable plastic and encircled with faux-gold trim.

Or this?

http://shop.dorjeshugden.com/blessed-items/dorje-shugden-protective-ruel.html
Ruels are extremely powerful Tibetan protective talismans containing mantras, holy items and consecrated by qualified monks from Dorje Shugden monasteries. Ruels can be placed in your home, car, office, carried with you or worn as a protective amulet.

I've also seen some from Italy like these ones...



Perhaps we can have these types of Dorje Shugden Tsa tsas online??? ;) ;) ;)
I heard it also has blessed relics of Holy masters mixed in it, though I'm not sure who exactly. Definitely would be a great way for dorjeshugden.com to have online here available for everyone?

fruven

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Re: The craze of Thai Buddha amulets
« Reply #14 on: May 12, 2013, 05:20:01 PM »
It is a great idea to have DS amulet available because it seems that the main theme of people of this time is protection. Protection of what? Mainly fears. In a way people are more fearful than ever even though there is higher survival rate among us because of technological advance in medicine. People get easily worried about theft, robberies, accidents, and sickness. The trend is people buying expensive insurance for their lives. Fear is a huge factor. Also people get easily suspicious of each other out of fearfulness. I guessed amulets are becoming a craze now because of these reasons. Also it is fashionable to wear something that is the same amulet as your favorite star as stated.