Knowledge base Wat Pho

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History



Wat Pho, the official name being Wat Phra Chetuphon Wimon Mangkhalaram Rajwaramahawihan, is the first grade royal monastery, regarded as the most important one during the reign of King Rama I of the Chakri Dynasty. The importance of this is due to the King having managed the restoration of Wat Phodharam, an old monastery from the Ayudhya period, it re-established as a royal monastery located near the GrandPalace. Some ashe of King Rama I was kept under the pedestal of the principal Buddha image known as Phra Buddha DevaPatimakorn in the main chapel. The monastery is located on the area of 20 acres the south of the Grand Palace, with Thai Wang road in the north, Sanam Chai road in the east, Setthakan road in the south and Maharat road in the west. Separated by a tall white wall on Chetuphon road, the monastery has two main quarters : the sacred (or a chapel section = Buddhavas) and the residential (or the monk’s living section = Sangghavas).

It is said in a stone inscription that, after moving to the Grand Palace, King Phra Buddha Yod Fa The Great (King Rama I) recognized that there were 2 old temples along both sides of the Grand Palace : Wat Salak (Wat Mahatart) in the north, and Wat Phodharam in the south. He ordered his noblemen from the department of the Ten Crafts to restore Wat Phodharam in 1788. This first restoration took 7 years 5 months and 28 days. Then there was a celebration in 1801 and the King named it “Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklavas”, which was changed to “Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm” during the reign of King Rama IV. The great restoration, Had been taken 16 years and 7 months, was done during the reign of King Rama III, by extending both the South Vihara and West Vihara where the large reclining Buddha image is kept, the Missakawan Park,Phra Mondob (Library Hall) and teachinglearning hall as nowsaday. Although there was another restoration before the Bangkok Bicentennial Celebration in 1982, no more other major work has been done on the monastery, except for some minor repairs.

From the bypaths of history in the great restoration during King Rama I and King Rama III, It is said that all best craftsmen from the Royal Palace, outside the palace, all art work specialists, and the monks devoted themselves in creating this elaborately decorated monastery. It was done to fulfill the King’s ambition of using this Wat as the centre of Thai arts and knowledge, where descendants can study indefinitely. In “The Ubosot of Wat Pho” book, Chakrabhand Posayakrit who is a famous artist of Thailand said on October 10, 1999 “The fine arts in Wat Pho are bounteous wealth of knowledge. These enormously valuable resources can stimulate and enhance youthful enthusiasm for attaining artistic excellence and distinction.”

Wat Pho is an important landmark in the Ko Rattanakosin area. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful Buddhist fine arts and the existing Thai intellect which has descended from ancient times, taken as immortal careers knowledge. The monastery is open daily from 08.00 to 18.00 hrs., with an admission fee of 200 baht.





Legend of Buddha





Phra Buddha Saiyas



The Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho is a Buddha image of early Bangkok Period, in brick and stucco, lacquered and gilded, measuring 46 meters in length, 15 meters in height from the base to the topknot. The face from the hairline to the chin measures 5 meters long, 2.50 meters wide. The feet are 5 meters in length, 3 meters in height. The image is enshrined in the hall within the monastic area to the Northwestern corner of the temple. The Buddha is featured in “Lion Sleep” position.

The Reclining Buddha of Wat Pha Chetuphon is a large Buddha image of perfection, especially the mother-of-pearl inlaid soles, acclaimed as the finest reclining Buddha of the large scale. The Reclining Buddha is much revered by Thai Buddhists and foreigners as a significant object of worship of the city, one in the 9 holy shrines to pay homage to by devotees, signifying “happiness”.

Beliefs in 108 Auspicious Symbols in the Lord Buddha’s Footprint

The beliefs in 108 auspicious symbols came from the ancient scripture of Sri Lanka, indicating that they were spotted by the Brahmins on the soles of Prince Siddhartha 5 days after he was born. There were, however, no such footprints created in Sri Lanka. They came later in Burma. lt was said that the 108 auspicious symbols were developed from the Eight Auspicious Symbols.
The 108 auspicous symbols can be grouped as following;
1. Symbols of fortune and prosperity, such as water jar, a pair of fish, sawastika, a bunch of gems, and lotus.
2. Attributes of the greatness of a king or an emperor, such as the throne, the paraphernalia, the royal belongings.
3. Parts of religious cosmology such as the universe, the ocean, the four continenis, the Sumeru Mount, the 7 surrounding mountains and the heavenly forest.







About


The highlight for most people visiting Wat Pho is the Reclining Buddha. The figures here are impressive: 15 metres tall, 46 metres long, so large it feels like it has been squeezed into the building. The Buddha's feet are 5 metres long and exquisitely decorated in mother-of-pearl illustrations of auspicious 'laksanas' (characteristics) of the Buddha. 108 is a significant number, referring to the 108 positive actions and symbols that helped lead Buddha to perfection. You’ll need to take your shoes off to enter, and if you would like a little good luck, we recommend purchasing a bowl of coins at the entrance of the hall which you can drop in the 108 bronze bowls which line the length of the walls. Dropping the small pennies in makes a nice ringing sound and even if your wishes don’t come true, the money goes towards helping the monks renovate and preserve Wat Pho. As this is a revered image, all visitors must wear appropriate clothing; this means no exposed shoulders or skin above the knee.


Correct title 
Wat Phra Chetuphon Vimolmangklararm Rajwaramahaviharn
Is shortened to Wat Pho or (Po is thai for Bodhi tree) where Buddha sat and attained enlightenment


why called Pho

The Bodhi Tree (Sanskrit: बोधि), also known as Bo (from Sinhalese: Bo), "peepal tree", or "arasa maram" (Tamil:அரசமரம்)(Devanagari: पीपल क पेड़), was a large and ancient sacred fig tree (Ficus religiosa located in Bodh GayaBihar, India, under which Siddhartha Gautama, the spiritual teacher who became known as the Buddha, is said to have attained enlightenment or Bodhi. In religious iconography, the Bodhi Tree is recognizable by its heart-shaped leaves, which are usually prominently displayed.


The term "Bodhi Tree" is also widely applied to existing trees, particularly the sacred fig (Ficus religiosa) growing at the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya, which is often cited as a direct descendant of the original specimen planted in 288 BCE. This tree is a frequent destination for pilgrims, being the most important of the four main Buddhist pilgrimage sites.

Other holy bodhi trees which have a great significance in the history of Buddhism are the Anandabodhi tree in Sravasti and the Bodhi tree in AnuradhapuraSri Lanka. Both are believed to have been propagated from the original Bodhi Tree.

In Buddhism, enlightenment (called bodhi in Indian Buddhism, or satori in Zen Buddhism) is when a Buddhist finds the truth about life and stops being reborn because he has reached Nirvana and once you get to Nirvana you are not born again. Buddhists believe a person can become enlightened by following the Middle Way.


A reclining Buddha is a statue that represents Buddha lying down and is a major iconographic and statuary pattern of Buddhism. It represents the historical Buddha during his last illness, about to enter the parinirvana. He is lying on his right side, his head resting on a cushion or relying on his right elbow, supporting his head with his hand. After the Buddha's death, his followers decide to build a statue of him lying down. They first built the reclining Buddha inside the Wat Pho Temple then, decades later, they started making the sculpture everywhere in South East Asia.  More on reclining Buddha image


Did you know


The reclining Buddha represents the final stage of Buddha’s illness just before joining Nirvana!


In front of the giant Reclining Buddha, you will see 108 bronze bowls which line the length of the walls. These bowls symbolize the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. Many people put coins into the bowl because they believe that this brings happiness and good fortune. You can purchase a bowl of coins at the entrance.


… Wat Pho is also considered the first public university in Thailand. Thanks to the many murals and sculptures, students can learn more about the literature, science and religion of Thailand.






Things to see

The Sheltered Gates, The Main Chapel, Phra Uposatha, The Crystal Wall, Kampaengkaew, Phra Prang, Phra Rabieng and Phra Viharn Thit, The Single Based Chedi, Phra Viharn Kod, Phra Chedi Rai, The Khao Mor, The Sala Rai, The Belfry, Phra Maha Chedi Si Rajakarn, The Temple Museum, The Vihara of the Reclining Buddha, The Scripture Hall, Phra Mondrop, The teaching Hall, Sala Karn Parien, Missakawan Park, The Crocodile Pond, The Contorted Hermit Mount, The Traditional Medical Science School, The Chinese Ballast, Pagodas, Giants and Rockeries.





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The Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho



Wat Phra Chetuphon, Bankgkok


The Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho



The Reclining Buddha, Wat Pho



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