12 Aug

Monday Moment: Thai Amulets

Amulet Seller, Chiang Mai

I saw men like this all over northern Thailand; sitting at their folding tables selling their wares, usually to other men. I didn’t realize what they were peddling until we happened on a small shop in a temple one day and realized where they originated from.

They are amulets, much like the Saint Christopher pendant that many travellers wear to protect themselves. Thais buy them, or even rent them, to repel bad luck or evil spirits, to ward off sadness or sickness, and to overcome obstacles to good fortune.

Cast in clay, carved from wood, or imagined in silver or gold, they are created by the monks of the temple in the image of Buddha or other revered monks. They are often kept in a small case, held close to the body, and are called upon throughout the day to help the wearer gain strength.

They are bought and sold all over Thailand in temples and, as we often saw, from folding tables wherever they could set up.

Thai Amulets


10 thoughts on “Monday Moment: Thai Amulets

  1. A lot on the market tables are fakes, fake meaning they are replicas of famous ancient amulets that cost hundreds, thousands, and even hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars. Some are real some are fake, and the difference is hard to tell without decades of diligent study. A true expert will be able to tell an ancient classic from a cheap fake, and thus sometimes get an immense bargain. The word fake is silly really because any Buddha Image is Sacred, but fake means that it is not one of the original edition and neither was it blessed and empowered in Putta Pisek Ceremony by monks, which makes a big difference for Thai Buddhists.
    Spencer recently posted..Khun Phaen Paya Ngerd Gay Love Charm Amulet – sacred powders with golden flower herb – Phu Mor Nak 2544 BE

  2. When you said that mainly men bought them, my mind immediately thought that they must bestow some kind of sexual prowess upon the bearer. Woops.

    Still, they do look beautiful – I think I’d buy one and then pull it out and curse somebody whenever they push in front of me on the bus. Which is alarmingly often.

  3. With Buddhist amulets Tom, one rule to make the Magic work and not go bad, is that you must keep the five precepts. Not harming others (with acts, words or even thoughts) is one of those rules. Your curses on the bus would unfortunately cause the amulet’s magic to cease protecting you. They are for protection, and can not be used to harm others. Black Magic Sorcery is however an exception. Buddha magic only uses auspicious forces, not destructive.

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