Monday, June 22, 2009

The Wat Benjamaborphit

PHITSANULOK - Pilgrims travelling to this northern province during the New Year festival to pay homage to Phra Jinaraj hardly had any peace of mind. All along the highway from Bangkok to Phitsanulok, for a distance of 377 kilometres, they were distracted by the eyesore posters of Chuan Leekpai and Thaksin Shinawatra.Both candidates were heading into a full-scale dogfight for the premiership. The political campaign trail created a worldly parallel to the journey of religious devotion of the thousands of pilgrims who had Wat Phrasri Rattana Mahathat as their final destination.Wat Phrasri Rattana Mahathat is an elegant temple, built during the reign of Phra Maha Thamma Raja (Phraya Lithai) in 1357. The temple overlooks the Nan River, which makes its way down south to form - together with the Ping, Wang and Yom - the Chao Phya River at Pak Nam Pho, Nakhon Sawan.Wat Phrasri Rattana Mahathat is home to Phra Jinaraj, unquestionably the Kingdom's most beautiful Buddha image through a perfect combination of size and proportion. The local people call the temple by its simple name of Wat Yai, or "Big Temple". They also give Phra Jinaraj a more intimate name of luang por ("father"). Most Buddha images are called luang por or luang pu (grandfather) because they do not age generation after generation.In the local people's consciousness, Phra Jinaraj is always there, giving moral guidance for courage and virtue. All the Siamese kings, as a royal tradition, have made a pilgrimage to Phra Jinaraj. You fulfil your devotion as a Thai Buddhist by paying homage to Phra Jinaraj at least once in your lifetime to realise the transcendental experience and to appreciate the perfection of impermanence.King Naresuan the Great (1590-1605) grew up with Phra Jinaraj, originally a bronze statue. A prince by birth, he was born and raised in Phitsanulok, then a northern outpost of Ayutthaya. Phra Jinaraj was definitely his mentor. Ekathotsarot, his younger brother, was said to have coated Phra Jinaraj with some of his gold regalia, using his own hands, until the Buddha image shone totally in gold. The effect is striking, adding to the glamour and the unworldliness of Phra Jinaraj.Phra Jinaraj is cast in a posture of the Buddha Subduing the Mara. Legend has it that the Buddha was sitting under a tree when he was suddenly surrounded by thousands of heavenly beings. Then came the Mara, or the Devil, with his army, which aimed to prevail over virtue with vice. But the Buddha's absolute power conquered the Mara, hence giving rise to one of his most famous postures in the making of Buddha images. It is also a sign of the victory of virtue over vice.Inside Wat Yai, hundreds of pilgrims flock to pay tribute to Phra Jinaraj. There are Buddha amulets of Phra Jinaraj on the front and King Naresuan, Prince Ekathosarot and Princess Suphan Kalaya on the back. The three siblings are now immortalised as heroes who sacrificed their lives for the cause of Thai independence.It was with the guiding spirit of Phra Jinaraj that King Naresuan fought his victorious wars against the Burmese and other enemies. Opposite the township of Phitsanulok, there is a shrine dedicated to King Naresuan. His statue is in a sitting posture and he is pouring lustral water from a golden container to declare Ayutthaya's independence from the Burmese. In this age, where genuine heroes cannot be found, it is necessary to go back to King Naresuan as a source of heroism and an inspiration of courage and virtue.Having fulfilled their pilgrimage, the thousands of Thais who visited the temple went home to resume their daily lives with the image of Phra Jinaraj and King Naresuan in the forefront of their consciousness. This blessing made the politics of the general election and the politicians undertaking to lead Thailand look absurd and unreal.Victorious and gloriousFor breathtaking aesthetic beauty, it's hard to match the statue of Phra Buddha Chinnaratby Thanong Khanthong, The Nation (Thailand), April 24, 2006Aesthetically speaking, Phra Buddha Chinnarat stands out as the most beautiful Buddha statue in Thailand. If beauty is to be defined by size and proportion, then Phra Buddha Chinnarat is a perfectly built statue, radiating a striking image of the Victorious Buddha and representing the highest achievement of Buddhist art.You have to hold your breath as you set foot inside Wat Phra Sri Ratana Mahathat, where Phra Buddha Chinnarat resides in his authoritative posture. It is in fact a posture of the Buddha's Subduing of the Mara. The entire body of the statue, with its decorative frame of Naga, the mythical snake, is covered with gold leaf, so bright that you can feel a myriad rays beaming out from the statue in the daytime.Built during the Sukhothai era, Phra Buddha Chinnarat truly embodies the noble spirit and grandeur of ancient Phitsanulok, the northern outpost and onetime capital of old Siam. The maker of Phra Buddha Chinnarat must have had a pure image of the Victorious Buddha in mind and set about creating the statue without following any previous model. The bronze statue is 3.72 metres high and 2.85 metres wide.Once you have made a pilgrimage to Phitsanulok to worship Phra Buddha Chinnarat, you have fulfilled your life as a Buddhist. Nobody can truly claim to be a Buddhist living in Siam without once in his or her life paying homage to this Victorious Buddha.Phra Buddha Chinnarat has the posture of the Buddha' Subduing of the Mara, or Demon King. The Buddha was sitting under a tree, surrounded by thousands of heavenly beings when the Mara arrived with his army. The Demon King wished to destroy the Buddha. The heavenly beings were filled with fear and fled away. The Buddha then conquered the Mara alone with his own power - hence the statue of the Buddha's Subduing of the Mara. For this reason, Phra Buddha Chinnarat is looked upon as the Victorious Buddha.King Naresuan the Great and his brother King Ekathosarot, both warrior kings, must have developed a special bond with Phra Buddha Chinnarat, for they only needed to cross the Nan River from their Chandra Palace to visit the temple and Phra Buddha Chinnarat, commonly called Luang Pho. The term Luang Pho gives Phra Buddha Chinnarat a life, an image of a grand old, learned man.Luang Pho can also be considered a teacher, for in the old days only monks served as teachers, with the temples serving as schools.The inspiration King Naresuan drew from worshipping Phra Buddha Chinnarat must have been carried with him to every battlefield on which he waged war against the Burmese. King Naresuan and King Ekathosarot were believed to have glued the gold leaf to the body of Phra Buddha Chinnarat with their own hands. With the Victorious Buddha in his heart, King Naresuan won all the battles alone, like the Buddha's victory over the Mara.When the statue is stripped of its gold for cleaning, it is completely black. Incidentally, King Naresuan was also known by the name Phra Ong Dum (the Black King). Four hundred years after his death, the people of Phitsanulok have come to associate King Naresuan with Phra Buddha Chinnarat. Buddha amulets and Buddha coins are made with the image of Phra Buddha Chinnarat on the front and that of King Naresuan on the back. In this regard, Phra Buddha Chinnarat and King Naresuan are two sides of the same coin.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Ramkhamhaeng stone inscription

The National Museum

My father was named Sri Indraditya, my mother was named Lady Suang, my elder brother was named Ban Muang. There were five of us born from the same womb: three boys and two firls. My eldest brother died when he was still a child.
When I was nineteen years old, Lord Sam Chon, the ruler of Muang Chot, came to attack Muang Tak. My father went to fight Lord Sam Chon on the left; Lord Sam Chon drove forward on convusion. (I did not flee. I mounted my elephant, opned [away through] the solders, and pushed him ahead in front of my father. I foght an elephant duel with Lord Sam Chon. I fought Lord Sam Chon's elephant, Mas Muang by name, and beat him. Lord Cham Chon fled. Then my father named me Phra Ram Khamhaeng because I fought Sam Chon's elephant.

In my father's lifetime I served my father and I served my mother. When I caught any game or fish I broght them to my father. When I picked any acid or sweet fruits that were delicious and good to eat, I brought them to my father. When I went hunting elephants, either by lasso or by [driving them into] a corral, I brought them to my father. When I raided a town or a village and captured elephants, young men or women of rank, silver or gold, I turned them over to my father. When my mother died, my elder brother was still alive, and I served him steadfastly as I had served my father. When my elder brother died, I got the whole kingdom for myself.

In the time of King Ram Khamhaeng this land of Sukhothai is thriving. There is fish in the water and rice in the fields. The lord of the realm does not levy toll on his subjects for travelling the roads; they lead their cattle to trade or ride their horses to sell; whoever wants to trade in elephants, does so; whoever wants to trade in horses, does so; whoever wants to trade in silver or gold, does so. When any commoner or man of rank dies, his estate -- his elephants, wives, children, granaries, rice, retainers, and groves of areca and betel -- is left in its entirety to his children. When commoners or men of rank differ and disagree, [the King] examines the case to get at the truth and then settles it justly for them. He does not connive with thieves or favour concealers [of stolen goods]. When he sees someone's rice he does not covet it; when he sees someon's wealth he does not get angry. If anyone riding an elephant comes to see him to put his own contry under his protection, he helps him, treats him generously, and takes care of him; if [someone comes to him] with no elephants, no horses, no yong men or women of rank, no silver or gold, he gives him some, and helps him until he can establish a state [of his own]. When he captures enemy warriors, he does not kill them or beat them. He has hung a bell in the opening of the gate over there: if any commoner in the land is involved in a quarrel and wants to make his case known to the ruler or lord, it is easy; he goes to strike the...

That's the end of the first side of the Inscription.

Nov 22, 1999: THIS evening, as the Thai people go to the nearby rivers, khlongs or ponds to float their lotus-shaped vessels made of banana leaves, they will be evoking the spirit of the sacred past, with a blessing of a full moon.Of all the Thai festivals, Loy Krathong is perhaps one of the most ritualistic and colourful events, rich in religious and spiritual expression. A krathong normally comes with a candle, three-joss-sticks and some flowers. Floating the krathong down the river during the high tide, and after the rainy season is over, not only signifies the attempt to purge evil or bad luck, but also represents an act of worshipping the Goddess of the water.Therein lies the influence of Brahminism. Brahmin rites cannot be separated from the traditional religious practices of the Thais. But ancient Thai beliefs and folklore also hold that there are higher spirits residing everywhere, in the rivers, the trees and the mountains. There are virtually no places on earth that are not, or have not been, occupied by ghosts or by gods. You are supposed to act with reservation and not to speak out loud when you are in a forest because you do not want to disturb the spirits. But in Western thought, a forest is nothing but a wilderness for man to conquer.For Bt3,800 a ticket at the Shangri-la Hotel, you can observe the delights of fireworks above the Chao Phraya River while having your favourite wine and food. Other Bangkok hotels, with an eye for the dollar, also go at top gear with their Loy Krathong gimmicks. This is an idle, if not rather expensive, way to let the Loy Krathong Day slip by without philosophising or without the trouble fighting the crowds on the riverbanks.Nowhere in Thailand is the Loy Krathong Festival held with more fanfare than at Sukhothai, one of the ancient capitals that lies about 450 kilometres north of Bangkok. Despite its past grandeur, and its Utopian characteristics, Sukhothai's existence comes to the fore only once a year, at the time of Loy Krathong. For most of the year Sukhothai is far from the Thai consciousness, like the ruins of its past that are forever buried under layers of the earth.Reviving Sukhothai can only be done necessarily by popularising it, with modern lights and sounds against the background of its decaying structures. But as the young girls, clad in exquisite Thai costumes, prepare to float their krathongs into the pond of the Sukhothai historical park in front of the thousands of visitors, they almost unconsciously might have formed an elusive image of the grandiose Noppamas in their imaginations.What Venus is to beauty for the ancient Greeks, Noppamas is beauty for Thais. And one way of popularising Noppamas is to immortalise her through the Noppamas Beauty Queen Contest, held not only in Sukhothai but elsewhere throughout the country.Legend has it that Noppamas, a beautiful lady of exceptional wit and charm, was the first to have devised the krathong in the 13th century. She served in the court of King Lithai, the grandson of King Ramkhamhaeng The Great. A favourite of the king, Noppamas was said to have raised court mannerisms and practices to a high order. The krathong she floated created a lasting tradition that is still observed today, though with different imageries.Now Loy Krathong is firmly connected with the worldly desires for material gains. Young Thai couples also find the festival auspicious enough to bind their love together. You will know a Thai girl's boyfriend by waiting to see with whom she goes to float the krathong with. Little do the young couples realise, however, that once they float the krathong, which is supposed to hold their spirits together, they let go their destiny into the realm of the unknown.While most Thais know Noppamas by associating her with the Loy Krathong Festival, few have bothered to go back to read King Lithai's Buddhist to gain a proper frame of mind.While his grandfather King Ramkhamhaeng was held as the inventor of the Thai written characters, King Lithai wrote Trai Phum Phra Ruang or ''Sermon on the Three Worlds''. This masterpiece was recognised as a Thai version of the Divine Comedy, ranked in the same class as Dante's.King Lithai's ''Three Worlds'' do not represent the earthly, the infernal or the heavenly spheres, but account for the three Buddhist forms of existence of the sentient world. In this religious universe, there is the world of kama-loka, or the world of the five senses; the world of rupa-loka, or the corporeal world of the 16 celestial grades; and the world of arupa-loka, or the incorporeal world where the five senses cease to function. This treatise formed a doctrinal basis for King Lithai to lead his followers to redemption. Ancient Thais were given the vision of the various cosmic realms and their inhabitants, some of whom were confined to eternal damnations if they could not break away from their sins.Floating the krathong with King Lithai -- not Noppamas -- in your heart will get you closer to Dharmma. A shocking reality is now emerging that in spite of her immortality, Noppamas might not exist at all.Whether she is a historical person or a fictional character is a subject of controversial debate in the academic circle. But let the academics carry on their debate. Noppamas will continue to exist, for in Thailand histories and legends are mixed so intensely like moulding gold into a pagoda that the facts lie in the realm of introspection.Even the significance of Sukhothai as the first formal capital of Thailand has also been disputed bitterly among the historians. For generations, Thais have been taught that Sukhothai was Thailand's first formal kingdom before it was defeated by Ayudhya. Then we have Thon Buri and Bangkok. All of which cover a span of more than 700 years. New suggestions have attempted to paint Sukhothai as simply one of the several kingdoms or muangs, which were scattering throughout this part of the world and vying for political and military predominance at the time.To deny Sukhothai is one thing, but to delete Noppamas from the Thai consciousness amounts to daylight robbery of Loy Krathong. The young girls who dance in front of the remnants of the Sukhothai look as if they were trying to establish a connection with the past through Noppamas, the person they can only imagine or dream of. And these Sukhothai dancers are but the descendants of the semi-devine and radius beings, who at the beginning of time, came down to this world and were lured by the temptations of the fragrance of the earth. Once they tasted the earth, they at once became walking mortals. In this classical Buddhist doctrine, mankind was created and reincarnated in the unending cycle of suffering, until enlightenment is attained.For almost three years, Thais have come to appreciate the world ''float'' even more. After the float of the Thai baht in July 1997, its value has been bumping up and down like the fate of the krathong trying to negotiate the treacherous high waters. The arrival of the Loy Krathong Festival once again reinforces the universality of Buddhism. It completes the cycle -- that the certain has become the uncertain and the uncertain has become the certain.BY THANONG KHANTHONG
Bangkok, Nov. 08: Myth and reality are inseparable in Thai history as shown by the latest debate, which centres on whether Lady Nopphamart, who has embodied the spirit of the Loy Krathong festival since the Sukhothai era, ever existed.
One by one, Thai heroines have come under historians' scrutiny, from Queen Suriyothai of the middle Ayudhaya period to Thao Suranaree of Nakhon Rachasima in the early Rattanakosin period.
Lady Nopphamart is among the latest casualties whose identity as a historical person is being questioned.
For generations, Thais have grown up believing that she was a court lady serving Phra Luang, a king of Sukhothai some 700 years ago. She was credited with inventing the krathong, a lotus-shaped vessel made from banana leaves, and floating it into a river as part of the full-moon festival in the twelfth month of the Thai calendar.
Thais learn about Lady Nopphamart and her idealised world from the "Book of Thaosrichulalak", which was earlier believed to have been written during the Sukhothai period. The book vividly depicted her life and how she had become a court lady. It described the rituals, the religion and life during the Sukhothai period.
Thais have been modelling the Loy Krathong festival after this book.
But most historians now believe that the "Book of Thaosrichulalak" was written in the early Rattakanosin Period. Dr Nithi Eaewsriwong of Chiang Mai University argues that the "Book of Thaosrichulalak" belongs to the Rattanakosin period.
Nithi goes so far as to say that the book was written during the reign of King Rama III. He bases this on an analysis of the book's language, and its references to America and arsenals. America did not exist in name 700 years ago!
In fact, Prince Damrong, or Krom Phraya Damrong Rajanuphap, had earlier made a similar claim, saying King Rama III could have written half of the book.
But most Thais remain quite comfortable with the mythical status of Lady Nopphamart. Whether or not she existed is not important as long as she continues to cast her spell during the full moon of the twelfth month.
On the Loy Krathong Day, her descendants or her representatives, dressed in beautiful traditional costumes, appear along the banks of rivers or beside ponds like angels to float krathongs.
The krathong is designed to look like a lotus, the flower used to pay respect to the Lord Buddha.
During the twelfth month's full moon, the tide is high. Hence, it is appropriate, ritualistically, to float the krathong down the river. "Loy" means "to float". Loy Krathong, therefore, is a festival for floating lotus-shaped vessels to pay respect to the Goddess of the River. Another purpose for floating the krathong is to dispel bad luck or ill omens from the past year.
Some years ago, a student at Chulalongkorn University floated a krathong to dispel his bad luck. He put a big "F" sign into the krathong and tried to float it away so that he would not get an "F" on any of his exams.
By design or by coincidence, the krathong kept floating back to him. He was unable to make if float away. The poor chap ended up spending more than five years at Chulalongkorn before managing to graduate!
Loy Krathong has become one of Thailand's most charming and ritualistic festivals, full of splendour and imagination. Thousands of people throng rivers near their hometowns every year for the opportunity to celebrate it.
If someone becomes your Valentine's Day date, you know for certain that he or she likes you. This also applies to a Loy Krathong date. When two people celebrate Loy Krathong together they make a vow to share a destiny.
Sometimes, you cannot help believing that Lady Nopphamart is the Goddess of the River herself as you gently float your krathong on a pond with your loved ones.
Lady Nopphamart will continue to exist, transcending the modern consciousness of Thais, as they look for the model of a perfect life and a perfect lady. Only in Lady Nopphamart can we reside blissfully in mythical experience, even though it is a short-lived one.-

Friday, June 19, 2009

wheel of dharma

พร้อมใบการันตีby G-PRA..นักสะสม&ชาวธรรมศาสตร์พลาดไม่ได้&ไม่เคยมีลงในเวป&หาเหรียญที่ 2 ยากแน่นอน..เหรียญแพรแถบที่ระลึกฉลองธรรมจักรสัญลักษณ์ม.ธ.11ธ.ค.2511สวยเดิมสุดๆได้มาจากศิษย์เก่าม.ธ.โดยตรง เคาะเดียว
^^พระแท้ๆ+ใบการันตีby G-PRA^^..นักสะสม&ชาวธรรมศาสตร์พลาดไม่ได้! & ไม่เคยมีลงในเวป & หาเหรียญที่ 2 แทบไม่ได้แน่นอนเพราะหายากมาก..เหรียญแพรแถบที่ระลึกฉลองธรรมจักร(ตราประจำมหาวิทยาลัย คือ พระธรรมจักร) วันที่ 11 ธ.ค.2511อีกด้านเป็นข้อความว่า "สถาปนา ม.ธ.ก. 27 มิถุนายน2477" เนื้อทองแดง มอบให้เฉพาะศิษย์เก่าที่ทำคุณค่าให้ ม.ธ.(เจ้าของเดิมที่มอบให้ผมขออนุญาตสงวนนามนะครับ แต่เป็นข้าราชการปลดเกษียณแล้วครับ)สภาพสวยเดิมสุดๆไม่มีล้างเหรียญเพื่ออนุรักษ์ความสวยเดิมๆไว้เหรียญนี้มาจากศิษย์เก่า ม.ธ. โดยตรงรับประกันแท้ตลอดชีพเคาะเดียวขั้นต่ำครับ สำหรับเหรียญที่มีคุณค่ายิ่งของชาวธรรมศาสตร์เหรียญนี้(ขนาดเหรียญปรกม.ธ. 50 ปี ..ปี2527 เนื้อทองแดงหนังสือพระลง 1500.- เนื้อเงินลง 5000.- ขึ้นหมด แต่เหรียญนี้ หาแทบไม่ได้แล้ว แถมปีพ.ศ.ลึกๆ อีกต่างหาก พลาดแล้วพลาดเลยนะครับ)-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------@เรื่องน่ารู้เกี่ยวกับ มธ.@1.มหาวิทยาลัยธรรมศาสตร์เป็นมหาวิทยาลัยแห่งที่ 2 ของประเทศ2.ชื่อเดิมของมหาวิทยาลัยธรรมศาสตร์ (ม.ธ.) คือ มหาวิทยาลัยวิชาธรรมศาสตร์และการเมือง (ม.ธ.ก.) ที่ต้องตัดคำว่า "และการเมือง" ออก เพื่อไม่ให้น.ศ.ฝักใฝ่การเมืองมากไปรวมระยะเวลาที่ใช้ชื่อนี้ 18 ปี3.สถาปนาโดยท่านผู้ประศาสน์การ ดร.ปรีดี พนมยงค์ รัฐบุรุษอาวุโส อดีตผู้สำเร็จราชการแทนพระองค์ หัวหน้าขบวนการเสรีไทย อดีตนายกรัฐมนตรี รัฐมนตรีว่าการกระทรวงการคลัง กระทรวงการต่างประเทศและ กระทรวงมหาดไทย และปัจจุบันองค์การยูเนสโกได้ประกาศว่าท่านเป็นบุคคลสำคัญของโลกอีกด้วย4.อธิการบดีคนแรกของมหาวิทยาลัยเป็นนายกรัฐมนตรีคือ จอมพล ป. พิบูลสงคราม5.วันสถาปนามหาวิทยาลัย คือ 27 มิถุนายน 2477 (ซึ่งตรงกับวันคล้ายวันพระราชทานรัฐธรรมนูญ ฉบับชั่วคราว)6.ความหมายของตึกโดม คือ ตัวโดมที่เป็นรูป 6 เหลี่ยมเพราะจะได้สะท้อนถึงหลักที่ 6 ในหลัก 6 ประการของคณะราษฎร คือ จะต้องให้การศึกษาเต็มที่แก่ราษฎร และ ที่ยอดตัวโดม แหลมขึ้นฟ้านั่นก็เพราะ เปรียบโดมเสมือนดินสอ ที่จดบันทึกวิชาความรู้และเรื่องราวต่าง ๆ ที่ไม่รู้จักจบสิ้นเอาไว้บนผืนฟ้าอันกว้างใหญ่7.จุดประสงค์ในการก่อตั้ง คือ เพื่อเป็นสถาบันการศึกษาชั้นสูงที่ ให้ความรู้ทางด้านกฎหมาย การเมือง และเศรษฐกิจ ซึ่งเป็นวิทยาการสมัยใหม่แก่ประชาชนทุกชนชั้น โดยเก็บค่าเล่าเรียน ให้น้อยที่สุด8.ตราประจำมหาวิทยาลัย คือ พระธรรมจักร เกิดขึ้นในปี 2479 เป็นรูปธรรมจักรสีเหลือง ตัดเส้นด้วยสีแดง มีพานรัฐธรรมนูญสีแดงสลับเหลืองอยู่กลาง ที่ขอบธรรมจักรมีอักษรสีแดงจารึกว่า "มหาวิทยาลัยธรรมศาสตร์" หรือ "ม.ธ." อยู่ตอนบน กับ "THAMMASAT UNIVERSITY" หรือ "T.U." อยู่ตอนล่าง และระหว่างคำว่า "มหาวิทยาลัยธรรมศาสตร์" หรือ "ม.ธ." กับ "THAMMASAT UNIVERSITY" หรือ "T.U." มีลายกนกสีแดงคั่นอยู่(คัดจากหนังสือราชกิจจานุเบกษา เล่ม 83 ตอนที่ 19 วันที่ 1 มีนาคม 2509)" ตราธรรมจักร" บอกความหมายว่า สถาบันแห่งนี้ยึดถือคติธรรมของพุทธศาสนา เป็นหลักกล่อมเกลาบัณฑิต สิ่งที่อยู่กลางธรรมจักร คือ พานรัฐธรรมนูญ หมายถึง การยึดมั่น เชิดชูรัฐธรรมนูญเป็นหลักการที่ มธก. ยึดถือ และประพฤติปฏิบัติ(จากหนังสือสำนักนั้นธรรมศาสตร์และการเมือง หน้า 54)9.สีประจำมหาวิทยาลัย คือ สีเหลือง-แดง มีความหมายว่า เหลือง คือ ธรรม ประจำจิตใจของน.ศ. แดง คือ โลหิตที่ต้องอุทิศตนเพื่อประชาชน"เหลืองของเราคือธรรมประจำจิต แดงของเราคือโลหิตอุทิศให้"10.ต้นไม้ประจำมหาวิทยาลัย คือ ต้นยูงทอง มีอยู่ 5 ต้น ซึ่งพระบาทสมเด็จ พระเจ้าอยู่หัว ได้ทรงเพาะชำเอง และเสด็จฯมาทรงปลูกด้วยพระองค์เอง ยังความปลาบปลื้ม มาสู่ชาวธรรมศาสตร์จวบจนทุกวันนี้

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Kuan Im shrine and Wat Kalayanamitr

Wat Kalayanamitr
Voice of sermon flew in the air as I walked along Wat Kalayanamitr community. That mystic voice led me the way to the gate. I believe the first thing any visitor see from the distance, the Chinese red and white lanterns which are swaying, are capable to explain briefly about Wat Kalayanamitr’s history.
Lord Nikornbodin, a great nobleman in Rattanakosin kingdom’s King Rama III throne, was the initiator of Wat Kalayanamitr construction. The Lord’s father was a Chinese merchant, later got accredit from King Taksin the Great, Thonburi dynasty, and became คุณหลวง. For having true faith in Buddhism, Lord Nikornbodin bestowed his house and nearby land to be a location for a temple. Lord Nikornbodin had served King Rama III with honesty and loyalty. By that reason, he had an honor to be called as “a good friend” of King Rama III. The temple construction was completely finished in 1825. Lord Nikornbodin had an intention at the beginning that he would dedicate the temple to be the royal temple. King Rama III appreciated his willing, so his majesty named the royal temple after Lord Nikornbodin’s last name, Kalayanamitr, which also means “a good friend”.
Since Lord Nikornbodin was Chinese descend, Wat Kalayanamitr’s architecture has an integration look between Thai and Chinese arts. Behind the red front door, a huge Chinese limestone arch places upon a golden censer. It was brought from China through bark, the same as other statues and decorations in the temple. I saw people gathered at the censer, prayed in silence toward three Buddha images and stabbed joss sticks in. Traditionally, Buddhism begin the worship by prostration with three of joss sticks which are signs reminding goodness of Buddha, his teaching and monks. The three Buddha images place at the center of the temple’s pavilion. พระพุทธไตรรัตนายกs stand on the right and left hand sides พระสังกัจจายนะ, smiling Buddha. พระสังกัจจายนะ is differentiated from common Buddha image due to his facial expression and body. As he is plump, he is seen as figure of luck and plentitude that really matter to Chinese people.
At the side of those, six of golden Chinese Gods sculptures stand. The God of Luck is in the first order since it is priority concerned. He is the plumpest among the sculptures. The rest of them are Gods of constancy, love, fighting, cure and wealthy. Notably, some people touched the sculptures, asking for blessings.
After walking around the pavilion, the sound of drums got louder as I stepped closer to the main monastery. I was stunning with a huge golden Buddha image, sitting in the center of the main monastery. With 19 meters height and 20 meters long measure in the posture of meditation, พระพุทธไตรรัตนายก has become the biggest Buddha image in Bangkok. Local residents call พระพุทธไตรรัตนายก as Tor monk, named accordingly to Lord Nikornbodin’s nickname. Although it was built in Rattanakosin kingdom, it has four arts characteristics. King Rama III impressed with Ayudhaya kingdom’s miracle Buddha image at Panacherng temple, which was constructed 685 years ago, therefore the royal architectures designed พระพุทธไตรรัตนายก with the Buddha image at Panacherng’s pattern. Amid similarity, there’s difference. พระพุทธไตรรัตนายก smiles, while most of Ayudhaya’s Buddha images looked solemn. พระพุทธไตรรัตนายก design might influenced by Sukhothai kingdom’s arts. During that era, people lived in peace and abundance. The kings treated people as good as their own children. It is seen as Eutopia of Thailand. Even though life in Rattanakosin kingdom is not perfect, still people live without tragedies. By that reason, พระพุทธไตรรัตนายก has common characteristic with Sukhothai kingdom’s Buddha image arts. Or you can say that พระพุทธไตรรัตนายก is the blend combination between arts of Sukhothai, Ayuddhaya, Rattanakoson and Chinese arts.
Inside the main monastery, the mixing arts of architectures reflect Thai and Chinese nationalities. Mural is drawn with pictures of flowers. Altar tables and vases upon are decorated with bas-reliefs of golden dragons, tigers and angels. Alongside with mural, some people took bottles of holy water and mystic symbol papers for worship. Those papers are hardly to seen in other Thai temples as it initiated in China. They believe that drinking holy water with the papers ash would obviate the persons from darkness and accusation. While sound of เซียมซี shaking continued, I found origin of the sound I heard at first. There are two of huge ancient drums near the gates, symbols of victory. Hence, people hit the drums with belief that it might bring luck. However, I didn’t see anyone frown inside the monastery, all smiled.
Various kinds of bells hang around the temple area. Seniors always say that ones may find peace when listen to the sound of swinging bells. By the reason, temples construction usually comes with bells in Rattanakosin kingdom as people have lived in peace. Thus, after worship, people will hit the bells, calling for peace in their mind. On the left hand side of the main monastery, a bell tower sets majestically. The gigantic brass bell inside, with 30 meters height and 9 meters width, is the biggest bell in Thailand. It was constructed in 1933, an era of Rattanakosin kingdom’s King Rama VI. One part of the message engraved on the bell said “the bell builder offers it for the temple, merits for King Rama I through VI ”. King Rama I was the primary king of Rattanakosin kingdom.
The bell is the connection between whole Thai kingdoms, Sukhothai, Ayuddhaya, Thonburi and Rattanakosin. I can say that because at the beginning of Thai administration in Sukhothai kingdom, King Ram Khamhaeng the Great used the big bell as justice calling, people hit the bell in front of the royal palace, asking for inquiry. In another case, the name of the kings appears on the bell not only refers directly to the kings of Rattanakosin kingdom, but also the kings from Ayuddhaya and Thonburi. Ayuddaya’s the first, tenth and twenty-seventh king were named as King Rama I, II and III subsequently. And King Thaksin the Great, the primary king of Thonburi kingdom, was named as King Rama IV. The monk at the temple calls this ‘a puzzle’, very few people perceive the message’s hidden meaning.
Moreover, the small monastery and chapel were created with Thai and Chinese arts. Chinese pagodas place around. Chinese and Thai have been deep rooted for hundreds years since Sukhothai kingdom. Besides Chinese involved with merchant, they and Thai people had close relationship. During Thonburi kingdom, King Thanksin the Great settled Chinese community, they truly adored him. After the king moved the capital to another one, some of them still stayed, then became neighbors with local people. Chinese people are one of the major key in preserving Thai unity. Cultures or use of language may adjust as the time pass, but the only thing which lasts long, be stable and unchanged in Thai society is the religion. It connected Thai and Chinese with common belief, and with that belief, it has kept the harmony survive until now.Along riverside at the back of the temple, Chinese community remains. And other religion churches nearly locate. I looked into the sky, the top of the temple, Christian church, mosque and Chinese pagodas came in my sight in the same. This peaceful view might looked the same as Eutopia dream of ancestors.

Pieces in Thonburi Era are evidenced inside the architectural building of Kulayanamitra Temple and the nearby ancient Chinese village that was initially dwelled by King Tak-Sin’s supporters in 1767-1782. Entering the other side of Bangkok is Thonburi, the shorten-glamour town of Thais before Bangkok, where situates many importance ancient places back in Thonburi Era and Ayudthaya Era such as Arunrachavararam Temple, King Tak-Sin the Great’s statue, an old Chinese village near Kulyanmitra Temple next to sacred Kuan Yim shrine, Moleelokayaram Temple or 327 years Wichai Prasit Fort.
The temple has shown the beautiful Chinese Art blends with Thai culture, even added more sacred to the place and completely the worship place for both Thai and Chinese. We have been told by a monk that this temple was built up by JaoSua To or the ancestor of Kulayanamitra family in King Rama III era. With his faith towards religion, he bought the areas for his family house before dedicated to religious purpose, that is, the creation of Kulyanamitra Temple.
It’s about 2 in the afternoon as we are moving to another observation. Kuan Yin shrine is located on Klong Bang Kok Yai in Kudee Jeen community (Chinese Monk’s house), supposedly named as many Chinese living there, facing the Chao Praya River of Thonburi side. We walk through the small path that leads us to the Goddess of Mercy. The surrounding ambience feel the sense of community of helping and caring to each other; the olds are bubbling about their pasts or things around them that could be claimed, children are playing around with the gang, some households build up their fronts as a small noodle restaurant and an order-in restaurant, some open as engine care (fixing; bicycle, any machines, TV, radio) or a small clinic, that seems to be remain since years as if she has prospered merci to people in the village.
It is a bit dark and humid during the walkway then the light brightens up showing the way out to the open land of Kuan Yin shrine.
Kuan Yin is another episode of Pra Po Thi Sat Kuan Yin that was born female for showing gentle and giving merci to the earth.
According to the Chinese traditional history, Princess Myo San, the third daughter of King Myo Juagn, aimed to help release pain and grieve occur in humanity and animals after had been practiced in Buddhism but it disobeyed her father’s purpose to arrange her a marriage. She was tortured, punished, exiled by her father’s greed in power but she never angry or blamed to his action. One day, King Myo Juagn had a serious illness that none of medicine could cure, caused by karma he did with his daughter. Princess Myo San heard about her father sickness by second sight then sacrificed her eyes and arms as to give his life. By the scarification, she earned the eternal worship and has been known among Chinese by her merci, forgiveness, love and kindness for years.
The sign is at your left in front of a small the Chao Praya river port, if you walk from Kulyanmitra Temple. The weather is not too bad during this summer because the wind breezes vapor from the ChaoPraya’s surface up to the walk path of the shrine, the fine heat-loosen the visitors’ temperature.
The red colored at the shrine and its courtyard, the fascinated red area, significantly presents an overwhelmed welcome for visitors as wishing them luck for coming in a meantime for going out; red is the color for luck according to Chinese beliefs.
On the day, silence covers as if she is forgotten; unlike crowded Yaowaraj. Anyhow, it has brought peaceful to the place for some visitors like us to respect and be pleasurable of the olden place.
Although, the red of the shrine is not as red as it was but becoming the sacred red that remains as central-minded for Chinese and Thai-Chinese to pay respect for over 200 years.
The area around the shrine is clean, no dry leaves on the ground as it has been taken care also plants have been decorated which gives a well-shady among the walk way.
Grasping around the shrine, it likes a house of old Chinese custom that is well decorated of Chinese animals’ signature; the dragons, the lions and Chinese arts that are unified with historical of Chinese characters.
As I walked closer to the entry, the smell of scent was spreading all over the place as if shown many people’s faith and sacred to the place. The entry is separated into two; one on the right, I assume, for going in and the exit is one on the left, walking in a square shape. In the middle is the light shining up from the sun facing Kuan Yin statue where the shadow covers like she remains her duty of giving merci, prosperous, wealth, health and happiness for the comer as they are here to wish for.
Chinese worship is different from Thai kind in a mean of beliefs. In Chinese custom, everything during worship process until the end always means to something such as 5propitios fruits, for example; orange for family’s or one’s auspicious, apple for healthiness or peach for longevity and to worship gods and goddesses in heaven. Silver and gold papers are burnt to the angles when asking for wealth and richness or oil that fills the lamp for the flame of lives in which Buddhist has shared the same belief as well as การเสี่ยงเซียมซี .
Whatever they ask for, they will first give to the upper part with the faith that results will come after which different from Thais’ that Buddhism is mind-centered to reduce anxiety and concerned.
At the right, there is another shrine of Chinese God and Buddha statues situates together similarly shown in Kulayanamitra Temple of the united among two races and tradition. Sanctity remains even the aged of this place is older. The cabinet of the ancestor’s names stills there as if protecting and caring for this sacred place for the younger generation to meet, also, to remind of their faiths toward religious and to realize its value toward humanity.

Before the time of Kuan Yin shrine installation in King Rama III, there were originally shrines situated two significant Gods of Chinese; Jo Sue Kong and Kuan U, which were built after they followed King Taksin to Thonburi as his important supporters.
Its history was not officially recorded but has been told as Fujians from China, the originated ancestors of Simasathien and Tuntivejjakul, were here to worship the shrines but found them decayed. Instead of restore the old, they rebuilt them into one and replaced the recent Kuan Yin Shrine for worshipping as the reason that Kuan Yin patronized the journey of พระพุทธไตรรัตนายก or Sum Por Kong establishment at Kulyanamitra Temple.
They found the shrine was left, assuming, when the Chinese followed King Rama I to Bangkok and sheltered in Sam-Peng market for merchandising. Then, the name of Kien Un Keng Shrine, situates of Kuan Yin; the goddess of mercy, has emerged in Thailand.
Coldness airs from the humidity in granite around the shrine that is usually used in many shrines around the country.
And art painted inside might be destroyed by the ages and times but stills be its value and story is told for visitors.
The front wall facing with the riverside looks alive even engraved on the stone. It tells the story of Chinese living cultural, social status, wealth, and the vital commerce of Chinese. It looks so much alive as they are really telling the story by themselves every time I concentrate. And that’s a charm of the place.
This is the evidence that prove the history of Chinese-Thai relations. Besides, trading field that Chinese has taught Thai for over times, the important factor that should be remembered is the community of King Taksin’s army’s energy in supporting food, water, and suppliers to won over Burma and also the reunite of collapsed Ayutthaya.
It also proves Chinese and Thai relations are firm throughout art and architecture that were engraved and created.
Moreover, it is not only the shelter for Chinese and Buddhism but also Christian and Islam, everyone is living together with the same faiths they have in religious for years after years.

OVERDRIVE: Civilisations in conflict - but we can handle it

Even at the very micro level, we routinely witness clashes between the khaek civilisation and the jek civilisation in Thailand.
Khaek is a convenient term that Thais use to refer to Indians.
Jek denotes the Chinese.
One such clash is taking place at a site where I am building a house on extended land for my family.
It would not be surprising to witness similar clashes between the khaek and the jek elsewhere - clashes that profoundly shape the way the Thai people live, speak, act, worship and believe.
In the backyard of my house will stand a spirit house.
Next month a Brahmin priest will conduct a sacred ceremony to erect the spirit house for the god or the gods to reside.
The gods will live side by side with my family and ensure that we live in peace and with happiness.
Coincidentally, my next door neighbour is also building a new house.
He is spying on what we are doing.
He has just consulted a feng shui master on the design and the construction of his house.
Feng shui is the Chinese art of living in harmony with nature.
My neighbour sometimes sneaks onto my site to send out a signal that I am not building my house within the principles of feng shui.
Apparently, he believes that the spirit house is not good enough for me to ensure luck and prosperity.
This is a big difference in our values.
I am more inclined toward the khaek civilisation.
For, through the spirit house, I want peace and happiness in my house.
My neighbour strictly follows feng shui because he wants luck and prosperity for his family.
Jamlong, the head of the construction site at my house, remarked with a good heart about the rivalry that is going on between the two beliefs.
"It is fun as we are going to see a fierce battle between the feng shui master and the priest," he said.
As Atal Bihari Vajpayee, the Indian prime minister, leads a top-level delegation to Thailand to open up a new era of bilateral relations, he will immediately recognise the profound influence that India has had on Thailand for thousands of years.
Thailand is a recipient country of two great civilisations - India from the West and China from the North.
But the influence from India is deeper, forming layers and layers in the foundation of Thai civilisation.
From religion to the arts, language, music, culture, law and literature, you see significant Indian elements in the ways of the Thais.
We borrowed ideas from India and used them rather conveniently until they were considered Thai ideas.
It was Emperor Asoka of India who in the third century played a key role in turning Suvarnabhumi, or the Golden Land, into a more civilised land.
Before, the local people in Suvarnabhumi worshipped ghosts and gods, who were believed to reside everywhere in rivers, in trees, in mountains, in the fields.
Emperor Asoka sent two chief missionaries to the east to propagate Buddhism.
One missionary went to Suvarnabhumi, the other to China, to then go on and teach Buddhism in Korea and Japan.
But before that, Hinduism, brought to this region by Indian merchants, had strengthened its foothold in the Cham civilisation of Vietnam and the Khmer civilisation, as witnessed by the grandeur of Angkor Wat.
When King Rama I, who founded Bangkok in 1782, wrote his own version of "Ramayana", originally written in Sanskrit by Valmiki, he did so in a poetic style and it now has its theme rooted in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in the Grand Palace of Bangkok.
"Ramayana" is widely read by Thais, who also adapted it into khlon plays.
It's immediately recognisable by the fact that the kings of the Chakri Dynasty use the title Rama, a name derived from the "Ramayana".
One of our deputy prime ministers, Dr Vishanu Krua-ngam, has a khaek first name.
Lord Vishnu is one of the Indian Gods.
But somehow the Indian elements have permeated Thai culture so deeply that we have forgotten their origin.
Pragmatic as we Thais are, we have also come to assume that the Indian elements are Thai.
Then the jek came later on with their forceful civilisation, their food, customs, beliefs and trading practices, to provide a topping for Thai civilisation.
Feng shui is only one of the examples.
The Chinese began building Chinatown from the founding of Bangkok.
We can also see the Indian community, around Phahurat near Chinatown.
Somehow the Chinese have overshadowed the Indians and now exert more influence on the Thais.
Yet the Indian spirit is always there in the consciousness of the Thais.
For the Thais, whether it is khaek or jek, we don't mind as long as it works.
Thanong Khanthong The Nation

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Phra Mahajanaka

Virtue of perseverance & virtue of giving
The Ninth Reign is devoted to two virtues simultaneously. To the King, “to be human” is everything and nothing. To be human is that one must have a reason to do things. To be inhuman is to do the incredible thing at the same time. We are here to be human, to make money so that we have money to spend and to make a good name for ourselves so that we have money to spend, and to make a good name for ourselves so that we are praised. But all this, if we have money, we will spend it and in the end we will lose the money. What is left is the pure soul. That is what we must attain – the pure soul. But if we want to attain the pure soul, we must give. Giving of the heart and feeling is one reason why leaders, if they are in a high position, should not think that their high position has been earned by hard work alone. Yes, it has been earned by hard work,. But, not only that, the position has to be maintained. This will lead to a more satisfying feeling for the soul. That is the reason why the leaders of the world should do that – they should give more, and take less.

The virtue of perseverance and the virtue of giving in line with the jataka, or the former lives of the Buddha. King Bhumibol has been aiming two virtues at the same time. For perseverance, one may visit a book store to read his book, the Phra Mahajanaka. For the virtue of giving, you should visit two temples, Wat Chong Nonsi in Bangkok and Wat Suwannaram in Thon Buri. Thai painting represents a precious heritage of art and spirituality extending over more than seven centuries of the life of this civilization. Yet this artistic heritage cannot be separated from the culture and the structures, whose walls were adorned with these paintings.
Phra Mahajanaka
Yet Phra Siamdevathiraj, or "the city angel", has become a recurring theme in modern Thai consciousness. For any time the country is in deep peril, Thais will pin their faith on Phra Siamdevathiraj in the belief that eventually the city angel will come to the country's rescue.
This is part of the ancient belief in gods that are omnipresent, residing in water, trees, the forest, practically everywhere. The beliefs date back long before Buddhism entered this country.
In the 19th century, King Mongkut, or Rama IV, believed strongly in the gods, or the superior beings, which he felt were protecting him, the royal family and Siam from all evils besetting their world. During his time, Burma, Malaya and Vietnam fell to Western imperialism. The king more often than not thanked Phra Siamdevathiraj for guarding Siam.
The Chatri Dynasty regards Phra Siamdevathiraj with the utmost reverence. A statue depicting the angel, all in gold and currently situated in the Dusit Palace inside the Grand Palace, is in a standing position and eight inches high. It is meticulously dressed in the form of a mythical god descending from heaven. In its right hand is a sword, while the left hand stretches out at breast level in a blessing posture.
Phra Siamdevathiraj also appears in different form in literature. Banthoon Lamsam, the president of Thai Farmers Bank, interpreted Mani Mekhala, a goddess in "The Story of Mahajanaka" written by His Majesty the King, as a sort of Phra Siamdevathiraj.
In this classic story, which is a best-seller, Mani Mekhala, assigned by the Four World Watchers to look after all virtuous creatures, descended from heaven to rescue the Great Being, who was Prince Mahajanaka. Prince Mahajanaka, or the prince who would be born Buddha, had been swimming in the deep sea for seven days. But as a virtuous prince, endowed with the virtue of perseverance, he was destined to be saved so that he could accomplish the greater goal.
But first he had to satisfy Mani Mekhala by solving the three riddles. This he was able to do, and so Mani Mekhala rescued him from the sea and took him to his destination.
This story provides moral guidance for Thais who wish to succeed. The gods will only help those who help themselves first, or those who have the wisdom to persevere.
Shortly after the 1997 economic crisis there were fears among Thai conservatives that Phra Siamdevathiraj might forsake Thailand, which could face complete ruin from the plummeting baht, bank runs, runaway inflation, skyrocketing unemployment and social crisis. But as it turned out, the crisis was contained between 1997 and 1999.

This could only be interpreted as Phra Siamdevathiraj still protecting Thailand.
If you travel around Ratanakosin Island, Old Bangkok remains unchanged. It stands elegantly against the test of time. But outside of Old Bangkok is New Bangkok and it has been crumbling since 1997 from its financial sins.

Vessantara Jataka

The Vessantara Jataka, the virtue of Giving, is the last and most venerated of the Ten Great Jatakas. It narrates the most recent former life of the Buddha, that of his rebirth as Prince Vessantara. Jujaka is the nemesis of Vessantara. He is depicted as a treachery and low rank Brahmin, similar to Shakespeare's Sherlock in the Merchants of Venice. Sherlock epitomises the greeds and worldly tricks. Jujaka also represents the greeds and human sins. Wat Chong Nonsi, in the Yanawa area of Bangkok, is quite a distance away from Old Bangkok. In the old days, it would take even more time to reach this temple, which was built in the late Ayutthaya period or around the third quarter of the 17th century. But here lies an invaluable clue to our understanding of the Ninth Reign. From the outside, Wat Chong Nonsi looks like most other temples in Thailand, with the main chapel, an all purpose building, and a living quarter for the monks. But inside Wat Chong Nonsi stands an ancient ubosot, built in a shape of a boat with exquisite roof. A steel fence surrounds this ubosot to prevent an uninvited intrusion. One needs special permission from the abbot to go inside this ancient chapel, which is decaying with time. There are several jedis, including eight sema made from clay, built around the chapel. One can also see the old brick wall surrounding the chapel.
The mural painting from the ubosot of Wat Chong Nonsi represents the high art of the late Ayutthaya period. It depicts the jataka, or the former lives of the Buddha. Only about 15 to 20 per cent of the mural painting survives. Phra Kittisak unlocks the door of the ubosot, which holds the secret of the past. "The Fine Arts Department has told us to keep the mural painting as it is. They do not want us to work on any renovation of the mural painting because it would destroy the original value. The mural painting is kept as it is to allow the new generation to study mural painting, its drawing patterns and colouring. If the mural painting is renovated, it would lose its originality," Phra Kittisak said. On the left hand side of the wall of the ubosot, you can see some scenes from the Vessantara Jataka. Jujaka, a Brahmin, asks a hermit the way to the hermitage of Vessantara.

Monarchy and traditions

Over the past 2 years or so, I have done some serious reflecting on the nature of the Republican and Democratic forms of government, and contrasted them in my mind with other forms of government; such as Communism and Socialism. I have found all these systems wanting in a greater or lesser degree, because in spite of the varied ideologies they have they all suffer from a diseased concept concerning the nature and purpose of the State, and its proper relations to the people. In regards to Republicanism and Democracy, these are based on the illusory concept of "Popular Suffrage," which in fact means nothing in that the masses have neither the capability or know-how to determine or understand the workings of the State in relation to the economy, so purely economic interests seize the opportunity of this vacuum to co-opt the State to insure their control over the economy and the socio-political system. Thus under the guise and fraud of the "will of the people," the most banal aspects of the mass culture enshrine themselves as an oligarchy and plutocracy, and through finance easily control the political class as well as the political process of so-called "elections."
It is common knowledge that all political candidates and parties are controlled by monied interests, just as the political system and its laws are in turn controlled by lobbyists who are also controlled by monied interests. Thus as Julius Evola has pointed out, in this way the purpose and nobility of the State is destroyed through its subordination to the principles of the economy. No matter what system you look at in the modern world, these same subversive processes hold sway and engage in a process of dialectical disintegration with one another. The machinations of high finance and distribution of currency in excess of the GNP of Nations, causes them to fall into patterns of debt in the public and private sectors. This is true no matter what the ideology, as the principles of economy are the same. Similarly the creation of surplus value through wage/profit coefficients, creates an inductive disparity between wages and prices which relocates all wealth to the Capitalist class through the draining of the purchasing power of the wage earners, distributing profit to themselves and scarcity to the workers respectively.
The perversion of Democracy is that it gives power to the plutocrats in light of the incoherent "mass-will."
In spite of the fact that this is also true in Communist countries as the party-bosses raid the coffers of the State to obtain the profits of "State Capitalism," such processes in Capitalist countries do nothing but foment discontent and further the interests of those who would preach the gospel of totalitarianism and Marxism. The perversion of Democracy is that it gives power to the plutocrats in light of the incoherent "mass-will," by default, and through making the State a vehicle of avarice devoid of honor; thereby gives the State too much centralizing power over all aspects of human life. Thus in all collectivist systems based on identification with the masses, (which is every State-based system other than Monarchy) you paradoxically have a totalitarian system based on the tyranny of economic interests and a ruling elite that is unfit to rule, due to the fact that they are beholden only to Mammon and not to any higher principle of honor.
Now, this is the malaise of our times, no doubt. Being an American and citizen of the U.S., I was raised to believe in the myth of Democracy and to view Monarchy as some kind of system of tyranny. But is it really? I think not! Societies of egalitarianism are in fact the biggest tyrannies, for they reduce all aspects of life to that which resonates to the lowest common demominator, and the stolid aspects of mass-culture and values are made into Law and wielded over the population like a gigantic club. The lowest is made highest and thus regiments all aspects of life in machine-like and brutal manner, and loyalty to the State is compelled by force from the top-down, rather than being inspired from the bottom-up, which is the case in Monarchies. Democracy, Republicanism, Socialism, Communism, as well as the over-industrialized and technological artifacts of the world need to be done away with. All of these are but interrelated syndromes of the same disease, which does nothing but reduce Man to a level that is almost less than an animal, by dehumanizing him with the false values of objectivity and modernity at the expense of the subjective verities of truth and honor. A return to Monarchy is the sole hope of the world. Under Monarchy the State is relegated to its primary purpose, to hold the power of economic interests in check so they cannot despoil the people or the land. The mercantile classes are fit to trade but not fit to rule, and the communists I include in this group, due to their myopia about anything outside of "principles of economy." The modern world is the result of this situation, and its diseased condition is blatantly obvious. The Monarchy and Nobility should be the masters of the wealth of society and not the Capitalists, and their wealth should be bestowed by right and not by virtue of the fact that it was earned. Only in this way can the classes of the Nobility have an unbroken training and tradition in the proper uses of wealth, for their benefit and that of their domains.
Even more so, does this apply to the Monarchy. Because the wealth is already in the possession of Royalty and Nobility, the profit-motive and the motive to exploit society for mundane ends is removed . There is nothing to be gained by such economic mediocrity, and thus the Monarchy and Nobility can be concerned with matters of Politics and Sociology, as well as matters pertaining to the well-being of their domains . The moderns will cry: "What is to be gained by such a leisure-class that do not earn their wealth like we do?" A great deal. Only by having a leisure-class freed from material cares is it possible to have a truly educated class. Many captains of industry and Capitalists have conceeded that they have not had the time to become well-read and cultured people. And yet they are leading and controlling the world with only the most feeble an d superficial of educations. Even if they spent a good time in college, this cannot match a lifetime of education that can be obtained by people who are freed from the cares of earning a living. Thus the knowledge of the Royals and Nobility will be superior and more qualitative; and not based on the mundane ends of economy alone, but on higher things and values that alone can give the laws of economy a purpose. The Monarchist traditions of the State and Nobility exercises dominion but not tyranny. In this dominion the various peoples among the ruled manifest loyalty to the Crown, not because the Crown dictates their every choice through the contingencies of the laws of economy, but because the Crown gives them the right to flower as peoples that are fully human, only needing to labor solely to support their own station in life. As Evola pointed out, the feudal system is organic and allows for individual self-actualization for the peoples under it, and does not just regard them as economic units.
Monarchy allows for tremendous decentralization between the auspices of the Royal House, the Nobility, the Houses of Government, and the people. Even the life of a serf is something that a modern worker would envy. A serf labored only during planting and harvesting under the agrarian system, the rest of that time was free-time for the serf to pursue his own interests. You had festivals that went on for months among the serfs, and a noble could be imprisoned for letting his serfs starve if they were old or sick. The ruling classes were accountable not just to their superiors, but also to those lesser than them. They profited from the serfs, but the serfs also profited from the use of the land and worked far less than people do now under the plutocratic tyranny of industrialism. Who is the bigger slave, the serf or the wage-earner? I am certain the wage-earner of modern times would envy the serf. And if Monarchy would treat even the serfs in a more humane way than the poor are treated now, how much better would it be for everyone else! The serfs were valued, and not stigmatized for their spartan life, it was proper to their station and not a reason for criticism. The modern poor are psychologically stigmatized for their inability to make a fortune, as if everyone could just go and do that! The stability of social stations and the purposes innate to them makes for psychological health among human beings. A place from which you can neither rise nor fall, is a rock from which all endeavor can flower and work can exist for its own sake, not for the ulterior motive of either rising from or preventing a fall from where you are. The instability of human purpose and work and its subordination to purely economic ends is the primary cause of social and individual instability and psycho-pathology. A cause and result of modernism. Monarchism with its castes and roles frees humanity from the anxiety of striving to or falling from a particular station in life, each of which is valued in the context of community. Trade guilds, serfs, the ministers of state, Nobility and Monarchy, were an organic continuity that allowed for the flowering of human nature in its diverse forms, from the most humble to the most lofty. Is it any wonder that Monarchy is the most stable and humane from of government the world has ever known? And is it also any wonder that Democracy, Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, Republicanism, are decaying and crumbling away as we speak, from the entropy of their ignorant and mis-begotten valuations and constructs?

Monarchy And Tradition
By Archonis
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I recently finished reading "Riding The Tiger" by Julius Evola. It raised some interesting questions in respect to certain matters that I have been thinking about quite a bit, that relates to Evola's corpus of work, and not just this particular book. Evola has been labled a Fascist, Nazi, etc., but these definitions are wrong. If anything, Evola was a Monarchist, and I must confess I also have always had leanings in this direction too, even when I was a Left Wing Anarchist.
There is something about the institutions of Monarchy as they existed in ancient times, when you actually had warrior-kings, and priest-kings, that seem to me to resonate to a much higher level than anything that exists now. And it also can be argued that the peasants and serfs loved their King or their Queen, and would lay down their lives for them, even if they hated their feudal lords. It seems that Monarchy resonates strongly in the psyche of humanity, and this is even true in America, as we Americans cannot get enough of the Royal Family in the news, and many are fascinated with Monarchy and its institutions. In my view, in the early history of Europe there were great Sovereigns. I saw the movie "Elizabeth," not too long ago, and there can be no doubt that Queen Elizabeth transcended the normal human follies of a woman and reached a level of sacrifice and nobility in respect to England, that could only be compared to that of the greatest hero, or mystic. I would have been honored to have lived under Alexander The Great, who was a ruthless conquerer, but a benign ruler. If Alexander could see the suffering that exists now in our drab industrial world, he would surely be horrified. For the evil of these days since the death of the Monarchies and the advent of economic-based Nation States, is that the present epoch and its mediocre and brutal institutions just do not wear down the body with toil and the mind with vexation, but they kill the soul as well. Not just in people, but in everything. That is why the last 300 years have been the most evil in human history. Because even during the reign of the Clerical Holy Roman Empire, people in general still had a sense of basic humanity.
Now you have to discard it, in order to get anywhere in a world that is predicated on force, fraud, brutality, and exploitation of the worst kind, wrapped up in a panopoly of lies. It is true that by the 15th century and beyond, the Monarchies of Europe become degraded. You went from Kings that would get off their thrones to go into battle, to worthless dandyism and the parasitism of the leisure classes. But even these fops had a higher sense of culture, aesthetics, and interest in things that bore upon issues of nobility and honor, than the vile plutocrats that exist now; that are nothing more than slavish-minded savages and greedy swine only concerned with the crude material excesses that a slave would fantasize about, and the plutocrats being devoid of all honor, have the mindset of a slave, and were seen as part of the slave-class, in the ancient world. There is no principle that they would not betray for profit. No degradation that they would not commit to get ahead.
The monarchs lost because their principles of honor dictated that they accept defeat at the hands of the merchant classes, rather than sully themselves by fighting enemies that were beneath them. Marie Antoinette (sp?) apologized to the executioner for stepping on his foot, just before she got her head cut off. The point I am making is the degradation of the monarchies in later European history was in no wise the fault of the monarchies. It was the fault of the "culture aliens," that introduced by stealth the principles of the merchant-state and the bourgoise mentality in the 15th and 16th centuries, and thereby weakened the Monarchies and the principles of Empire; degrading and destroying them by forcing them to fight against nascent Capitalism, in the name of progress. Every effort was made to trick the monarchs into forgetting ancient principles and degrading themselves, and the "culture aliens" used every means at their disposal to turn the Royal Courts into dens of mediocrity and nests of vipers. Monarchs being human after all, succumbed. But the dishonor is not theirs, but rather they are the victims of those who were more inhuman, callous, and shrewd, and these conspirators managed to divorce the monarchies from the higher principles which gave them legitimacy.
The founding fathers of America took money from the same shylocks that were responsible throughout history for destroying the whole of European culture and traditions, including monarchy, and yet blamed the monarchs for this state of things; rather than those who were responsible and who were using the founding fathers to continue their subversive influence to further destroy the West, by fragmenting England from Her colonies, and thereby dividing the West (devoid of its Traditions) into fractious states of savagery and base materialism. The Founding Fathers were obtuse in this respect, not seeing those influences that were hellbent on perverting and subverting everything noble in the world, and turning it to evil channels.
It is clear, and not obscured, that the corporate state in all of its forms with its wage/profit shellgames, issuance of excess currency in excess of the GNP to create inflationary debt and bank profits, and intentional indebting of governments by similar means, is not something that would ever have arisen out of the traditions of Western Civilization, but were imposed through mass movements and conspirators manipulating them who's values were totally alien to anything Western. They stopped at nothing to make this happen, subverting within and attacking without until they won. But the dishonor is not with the dethroned monarchs, but with the victors, the corporate socialist, bolshevik capitalists who created a system of socialism for the rich, and corporate serfdom for everyone else. What irks me is how people on the far Right see Capitalism as Western, and think that this system was created by Europeans, rather than seeing that they are accepting the system that was created by the enemies of everything western, to destroy the West, which they did.
And the serfs of olden times would weep to see the industrial slaves of today, being worked and exploited to death, rather than just having to labor enough to sustain what was their proper station in life, and have the rest of the time to themselves. The monarchs had all of the wealth, and did not have to grind the serfs into dust to get more of it. The plutocrats have all the wealth now too, but it is never enough. They have to squeeze the blood and sweat out of everyone to get more and more. Technology and the technocratic state are a burdensome artifact that turns people into economic units, who's value as human beings is measured in dollars. I would take the WORST monarchy over leaders like this, who are totalitarians who want to micromanage your every breath, whose sole desire is to grind you under heel in a brutal Communist state, or do the same by crushing you with their golden Capitalist cudgel. A choice that is no choice.
There is nothing that remains now of the West as it is, and I look forward to its much deserved destruction. Most likely the technological and ecological substatum will bottom out before the "New World Order" of totalitarian statist communo-corporate fascism gets off the ground. It is too bad that what remains of the "Black Nobility" of Europe lacks the will or power to dethrone the "Third Estate" and bring back a European Empire based on the traditions of Monarchy and feudal nobility, like in ancient times. You could have a constitutional monarchy even, where the King and nobility must prove that they are indeed like the monarchs of yore: resplendent in higher principles and embodying in themselves the spiritual life of the Western world. Then the whole of Europe could be reunited, and all European peoples joined as one in a global "Imperium Europa," spanning Eurasia, Europe, and the Americas.
The flame of Avalon burns as a torch in the sons and daughters of Europe throughout the world. Let it become a conflagration! Death to all imperialist states. Long Live Europe!


Magnetism of a unique monarch
Published on December 3, 2007
On the eve of his 80th birthday, King Bhumibol Adulyadej finds himself even more popular and respected than ever.

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In June last year, a sea of yellow - shirts, caps and scarves worn by almost a million Thais - greeted him during a public appearance on the 60th anniversary of his reign. The atmosphere was so electrifying that one could feel a shiver run through one's body.
The reserve power surrounding King Bhumibol is so awe-inspiring, beyond any worldly explanation, that any Thai is ready to fall on his or her knees to pay utmost respect to him. They love their King knowing full well that he is a good King; it's as simple as that.
Monarchs and heads of states from all over the world who were invited to bear witness to the grand celebrations of the King's 60th anniversary were amazed by his magnetic popularity among his people, a phenomenon that cannot be found elsewhere.
"My Thai girlfriend keeps on talking about the popularity of the King," said a foreign analyst working in Bangkok. "I am sure if a poll were to be held, his popularity would be almost 100 per cent."
About month ago, Thais gasped with worry over the health of His Majesty. The King was hospitalised at Siriraj Hospital, where incidentally HRH Princess Galayani Vadhana, his elder sister, had also been undergoing treatment. The people were relieved when His Majesty was discharged in good health, able to walk by himself.
The King's emergence from the hospital in a smart pink jacket instantly became a fixed and powerful image. There followed a public frenzy for pink T-shirts, which were quickly snapped up and declared out of stock.
The King has since returned to Siriraj Hospital to visit Princess Galayani, alternately wearing green and blue jackets. Again, Thais have been following news of the King's visits every step of the way.
The Ninth King of the Chakri Dynasty is the world's longest-reigning monarch. He has also broken all the records of his predecessors in the Chakri Dynasty. He has outlived all the previous Chakri kings. King Rama I, who founded Bangkok as the new capital in 1782, lived the second longest until 72 years of age.
King Bhumibol has also reigned on the throne longer than any previous Chakri king. King Chulalongkorn, the King's grandfather, reigned for 42 years before passing away, leaving behind a legacy of sweeping legal and administrative reforms that set the stage for Siam to emerge as a modern state.
Prince Chula Chakrabongse's, author of "Lords of Life: The Paternal Monarchy of Bangkok, 1782-1932", characterised the first seven Chakri kings in the first 150 years of the dynasty as the Founder, the Artist, the Ruler, the Enlightened, the Revolutionary, the Liberal and the Philosopher.
The prince did not expand his excellent history book to characterise Rama the Eighth, who passed away prematurely, and did not live long enough to witness the greatness of the reign of Rama the Ninth. He certainly would have ranked King Bhumibol as the greatest of all the Chakri kings.
King Chulalongkorn faced a dilemma from Western colonialism. If he did not open up Siam to the outside world, the Kingdom would, like its neighbours, be devoured by colonial powers. If he were to open up Siam fully, the colonial powers would also win it all. It was not easy, yet King Chulalongkorn relied on a middle-ground policy of avoiding confrontation and agreeing to huge monetary and territorial settlements to prevent Siam from being colonised.
The reign of King Bhumibol has faced a similar dilemma, first from the Cold War and second from globalisation. While Thailand emerged unscathed from the domino effect of communism, if it had failed to open up in the age of globalisation, it would have been left behind in terms of social and economic development. If it were to open up too much, it would have been taken over by outside interests at the expense of the poor. The little trick was to walk the middle path, or gradualism, which has been the hallmark policy of Siamese kings of the past.
King Bhumibol has advocated sufficiency, a theory that has been gravely misunderstood by outsiders, as a way to maintain Thailand's integrity amid the forces of globalisation. Sufficiency is to have enough and not to take risks beyond one's ability to survive. Should there be any global shock, Thailand must survive by being able to stand on its own feet.
The King has initiated several thousand projects to help the poor. Although he may be trapped by his office, his mind and his focus are always on the rural people. His 60-year reign can be characterised as a reign of justice and happiness for the rural people.
There are two aspects, which are most of the time intertwined, to the Thais' respect for the King. First, they respect the King as an individual. Second, they respect the institution of monarchy.
In a recent address to the Foreign Correspondents Club of Thailand, former prime minister Anand Panyarachun clarified these two points succinctly.
"I have often said that the status that our King has risen to after 60 years' reign is something that he has earned. It is not a hereditary thing. When he was made a King at the young age of 17 or 18, nobody knew what kind of King he was going to make. But I think that by his diligence and by his determination and dedication, he has developed into a very good King," Anand said.
"When you talk about our King, he is not only a great King, but he is a good King. I make this distinction, for you can be great man with so many shortcomings and so many faults, but when you say he is a good man, to me it means more. So to me, the fact that he is a good King personally means to me much more than that he is a great King. To be a good King, to be a good man, is something you have to earn. You do not inherit [it].
"So if you try to separate the person from the institution, yes, there is a big gap. Be that as it may, the institution of monarchy is very much ingrained into Thailand and into [the] Thai character. I have no doubt that the institution will remain intact and will go on," he said.
Thanong Khanthong
The Nation

Wat Pho

The Kingdom of Sukhothai had important contacts with Sri Lanka. Thai monks travelled to Sri Lanka for further religious instruction, and Sri Lankan monks settled in Sukhothai. Sukhothai religious art was thus influenced by Sri Lankan art. The Buddha images of the Sukhothai era gained important disdinguishing characteristics from the images during the Khmer and Mon era.A flame appeared on top of the head of the Buddha. The head is covered with fine curled hair. The face is oval, with high curving eyebrows, a hooked nose, a downward gaze, and overall displays a gentle smiling expression.The body of the Buddha images displays broad shoulders and a small waist. Overall it can be said that the Buddha Images do not appear human, but display idealistic or superhuman characteristics.During the Sukhothai era, the four postures of the Buddha (sitting, standing, walking, reclining) were created. Reclining Buddha at Wat Imprumoon, Ang Thong province. Why are reclining Buddha images so large? Well it likely relates to a 'story' of the life of the Buddha. The giant Asurindarahu wanted to see the Buddha, but was reluctant to bow before him. The Buddha, while lying down, presented himself as much larger than the giant. He then showed him the realm of heaven with heavenly figures all larger than the giant. After all this, Asurindarahu, the giant, was humbled, and made his obeisance to the Buddha before leaving.

It all ends at Wat Pho, with the Reclining Buddha. The state of Maha Prarinimphan.A wandering spirit rests
Published on June 7, 2007

The artistic legacy of poet Montri Umavijani is vividly remembered
The marathon memorial reading of the 27 volumes of Montri Umavijani's poetry at Wat Pho on Saturday took almost 13 and a half hours to complete, setting a record for the longest English-language poetry reading in Thailand.

It was indeed a day to remember.
The reading took place in a sala in front of the Reclining Buddha, where friends and family members of Montri took turns to read out the entire collection.

John Solt, an American academic and poet, has compiled all 27 of Montri's books in a complete set.
The new publication is called "As Old As The World: The Complete English Poetry Books Of Montri Umavijani (1942-2006)".

The reading, which started at around 9am, lasted until 10.
30pm, with the last few books taking three times longer to read than Montri's earlier books.

The nighttime atmosphere was beautiful, with a full moon and stupas aglow as the poems were read.

"Temples are like oases for those in Bangkok," said Chuthathip Umavijani, Montri's wife, who organised the event.
"All in all, it was one of those days that we will never forget.
Poetry reading, in a way, is a sacred ritual.
Although not many people showed up for the event, a small congregation was enough to keep its spirit moving.
Family members, relatives and friends all came for the same purpose of commemorating one of Thailand's greatest modern poets and appreciating his artistic legacy.

Montri wrote his poetry mostly in English, but with a distinctly noble Thai voice and Buddhist spirit.
But his Thai poetry was equally excellent.

He had a passion for travel in search of meaning and truth and attempted, throughout his life and work, to fathom the innermost level of human consciousness and experience.

He did not write his poetry in a static mode.
His poems were like frames of pictures, which appeared to juxtapose his confrontation with experience.
But there was always a unity of structure in his seemingly unconnected works.

Montri himself held a poetry reading for Prince Thammatibes (Chao Fa Kung) at Wat Chaiwatanaram in Ayutthaya in August 2005.
To him, Prince Thammatibes, with his exquisite barge songs, was the greatest poet of the Ayutthaya period.

Montri was born into this unruly world in order to redeem our lost innocence.
During his lifetime his physical condition had always been his burden.
Yet his mind was sharp, free, insightful, intellectual and noble.
He fought the vanities of life and always came back with a triumph of mind over body.

His earlier works were powerful and original.
His later works sometimes sounded redundant but they are all still very refreshing to read, as his consciousness wandered between the finite and the infinite, the particulars and the universals before ultimately reaching out for Buddhahood.

"I wonder how many poets' works would stand up to such 'scrutiny by reading'?" said Solt, who co-organised the reading event.
"I think one reason why Montri's poetry delights in different, nuanced ways is because his early poetry was already fully bloomed, like a young Arthur Rimbaud, Raymond Radiguet or Charles Henri Ford, what the French call 'genie.
"As he aged, the poetry which was already focused and one-pointed from the beginning, gradually thickens and becomes a superbly crunched residue of his fleeting consciousness.
His annoyance at seeing the same human follies is palpable but more humour-laden as he switches places and accumulates layers of time.
His devotion to writing broadens as his poet's quest is tested and re-tested by reflection from various angles on his journeys to many countries, each simultaneously an exploration of the past and an experiencing of his immediate present," Solt said.

Montri's soul must have been wandering around the area he cherished during his life.
Wat Pho is recognised as being Thailand's first open university.
It was an old temple when King Nangklao, or Rama III, renovated it so that Thais could study astrology, traditional massage, traditional medicine, religion and literature.

While he was alive, Montri came back again and again to Wat Pho to appreciate its beauty and grandeur, the highlight of which is the Reclining Buddha.
The stature represents the Buddha entering a stage of nirvana.

Solt said: "It is good that we read in front of the Reclining Buddha rather than the sitting one; it was easier for the Buddha that way.
Montri would have certainly taken a last look at the gathering before going through the cycle of rebirth again.
He was a selfless person who spent most of his life in search of the highest knowledge and the ultimate meaning; he could have been reborn as a Maitreya, the Buddha of the future.

Indeed, he wrote "The Book of Maitreya" after a trip to Korea and Western Australia in 1988.

Montri and Maitreya share the same linguistic root.
He also consciously wanted to follow in the footstep of Maitreya, who writes for the knowledge of enlightenment.

I wish I could once again
Look at Maitreya
In meditative pose
To understand
The nature of enlightenment
For somebody destined.

I have found him
The poet of life -
Reflecting and writing
On the path to
Supreme enlightenment.

Thanong Khanthong
The Nation


Book of Maitreya
Wat Bangkhun Phrom

According to Buddhist cosmology, the world system would gradually decline after the passing of one Buddha and then gradually improve before the arrival of the next Buddha. Now it appears that we are seeing a fast degeneration of the world system, with the people becoming immoral with greed, hatred, jealousy and delusion and forgetting the Buddha's Dharma. Many people now expect the world would go through prolonged periods of famine, disease and continuous warfare. The catastrophe could plunge the people into complete despair and turn the world into a vast graveyard. Only then would the people realise that the roots of all the suffering arise from their greed, anger and ignorance. They would go back to embrace the old values and realise all of their short-comings. The conditions of the world would then improve. There upon Maitreya would appear to lead the people further to redemption. Then the people "will lose their doubts, and the torrents of their cravings will be cut off: free from all misery they will manage to cross the ocean of becoming; and, as a result of Maitreya's teachings, they will lead a holy life. No longer will they regard anything as their own, they will have no possession, no gold or silver, no home, no relatives! But they will lead the holy life of chastity under Maitreya's guidance. They will have torn the net of the passions, they will manage to enter into trances, and theirs will be an abundance of joy and happiness, for they will lead a holy life under Maitreya's guidance."

Maitreya (Sanskrit) or Metteyya (Pāli) is a future Buddha of this world in Buddhist eschatology. In some Buddhist literature, such as the Amitabha Sutra and the Lotus Sutra, he is referred to as Ajita Bodhisattva.

Maitreya is a bodhisattva who in the Buddhist tradition is to appear on Earth, achieve complete enlightenment, and teach the pure dharma. According to scriptures, Maitreya will be a successor of the historic Śākyamuni Buddha, the founder of Buddhism. The prophecy of the arrival of Maitreya is found in the canonical literature of all Buddhist sects (Theravāda, Mahāyāna, Vajrayāna) and is accepted by most Buddhists as a statement about an actual event that will take place in the distant future.

One mention of the prophecy of Maitreya is prophesied in the Sanskrit text, the Maitreyavyākaraṇa (The Prophecy of Maitreya), stating that gods, men, and other beings will worship Maitreya; it implies that he is a teacher of trance sadhana:

"will lose their doubts, and the torrents of their cravings will be cut off: free from all misery they will manage to cross the ocean of becoming; and, as a result of Maitreya's teachings, they will lead a holy life. No longer will they regard anything as their own, they will have no possession, no gold or silver, no home, no relatives! But they will lead the holy life of chastity under Maitreya's guidance. They will have torn the net of the passions, they will manage to enter into trances, and theirs will be an abundance of joy and happiness, for they will lead a holy life under Maitreya's guidance." (Trans. in Conze 1959:241)
Maitreya currently resides in the Tuṣita Heaven (Pāli: Tusita), said to be reachable through meditation. Śākyamuni Buddha also lived here before he was born into the world as all bodhisattvas live in the Tuṣita Heaven before they descend to the human realm to become Buddhas. Although all bodhisattvas are destined to become Buddhas, the concept of a bodhisattva differs slightly in Theravada and Mahayana Buddhism. In Theravada Buddhism, a bodhisattva is one who is only destined to one day become a Buddha, whereas in Mahayana Buddhism, a bodhisattva is one who has already reached a very advanced state of grace or enlightenment but holds back from entering nirvana so that he may help others.

Once Maitreya becomes a Buddha, he will rule over the Ketumati Pure Land, an earthly paradise sometimes associated with the Indian city of Varanasi (also known as Benares) in Uttar Pradesh. (All Buddhas preside over a Pure Land; the Buddha Amitabha presides over the Sukhavati Pure Land, more popularly known as the Western Paradise.)

The name Maitreya or Metteyya is derived from the word maitrī (Sanskrit) or mettā (Pāli) meaning "loving-kindness", which is in turn derived from the noun mitra (Pāli: mitta) in the sense of "friend".

The earliest mention of Metteyya is in the Cakavatti (Sihanada) Sutta in the Digha Nikaya 26 of the Pali Canon. He occurs in no other sutta, and this casts doubt as to the sutta's authenticity. Most of the Buddha's sermons are presented as preached in answer to a question, or in some other appropriate context, but this one has a beginning and an ending in which the Buddha is talking to monks about something totally different. This leads Gombrich to conclude that either whole sutta is apocryphal, or it has at least been tampered with.[1]
Just ask your friend a simple question: which institution in this whole world is the most revered? Western institutions are crumbling. Capitalism is going downhill, dragging the institutions that support it down with it. We have the best system of Monarchy in this world, while most other institutions are very corrupted. The Monarchy combines our history of more than 700 years since Sukhothai with the present and the future of Suvarnabhumi when we reemerge again as a gentler and kinder nation. We are now preparing for the coming of Maitreya, the next Buddha, who will be born in this Golden Land 2,000 or 5000 years from and will replace Lord Buddha. We're already in the Age of Maitreya, the world's ultimate utopia. But first, there would have to be calamities and catastrophies. Only then would be realised our ignorance. Suvarnabhumi will be the land where Maitreya gives sermon of the revived Buddhism. The current Buddhism of Sakayamuni Buddha is declining. Jasmine, you're witnessing the end of the beginning.

Thai divine comedy

The Thai Divine Comedy
By Thanong Khanthong

Have you ever experienced Paradise, Hell and Purgatory in the City of Angels? Let me show you around Bangkok because I do at times venture beyond my home in the Sukhumvit area to visit Old Bangkok.
You start at Phanfah Leela Bridge, a distinct point that leads you to the gateway into the Paradise of Old Bangkok. King Rama III statue offers you a golden key for you to enter into the realm of the Paradise, where at the night time the angels descend to dance and pick up flowers. You can smell Paradise, the fragrance that is not of this world, as you watch the Stupas and the Loha Prasath behind.
There Paradise interacts with you in several dimensions, with the lure of aesthetics. If you could make your way up to Paradise, the background scenary behind the Rama III statue would have been the physical structure where the Angels take their residence.
Rama III built most of the permanent structures of Bangkok so that angels and the Thais mingle together in harmony. Here is the gateway and corridor to the inner parts of Paradise that is Bangkok.
As you travel from Lanluang Road and cross the Phan Fah Leelas Bridge into the broad Rajdamnoen Road, you immediately enter into the heart of Old Bangkok, the City of Angels. On the left, you come face to face with the statue of King Nangkhlao, or King Rama III (1824-1851). He was the Builder of Bangkok in a true sense. For this King commissioned the construction of most of the permanent structures in the City of Angels. Bangkok, once known as the Venice of the East, is located on the tiny Rattanakosin Island and surrounded by the khlongs or canals.
Before his reign, wooden structures were common features of Bangkok. The wooden structures did not last through generations; they caught fire easily and decayed with time. King Nangkhlao virtually had Bangkok rebuilt with concrete structures so that they, for all of their unique character and exquisite architectural design, would last into the future. The king ended up having 73 temples built and renovated, including the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, the Grand Palace, the Temple of Dawn and Wat Pho. Most important, the temples and palaces of Old Bangkok would manifest the grandeur of a new Kingdom, where the angels, the gods, and his people, by following the highest Buddhist ideals, could live in harmony.
The statue of the King Nangkhlao sits in a upright position as if he were presiding over the construction of Bangkok. Following the path of his grandfather, King Yodfa, who founded Bangkok as the capital of Siam in 1782, King Nangkhlao had in his mind Bangkok as an unbroken link with the past glory of Ayutthaya. In short, Bangkok would represent a rebirth of Ayutthaya, once one of the most beautiful and marvellous capitals of the world.
London as a city could not compare in aesthetic aspects with Ayutthaya of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. So any grandiose celebrations of Bangkok have to auspiciously start on March 31st, the date of King Nangkhlao's birthday.
In a way, the statue gives an impression of a kind and gentle king. He sits right at the gate of Old Bangkok, proudly welcoming us into the City of Angels he rebuilt with a selfless Buddhist sense.
The golden Jessada Bodin (King Nangkhlao's title before his ascendance to the throne) Pavilion, which is located right beside the statue, represents the City Gate. Only honourable guests visiting Bangkok on state visits or special arrangements, are officially welcomed here. In a typical official ceremony, a Bangkok governor hands over a golden key to a VIP guest so that he or she may symbolically open the gate to enter the City of Angels.
As you explore the city further and adjust your frame of mind as a Buddhist, you'll find that in its true spirit, Old Bangkok is Heaven manifested on earth. You will also find that it is a sacred city.

That's the outer layer of Paradise. But Paradise is also hidden in your consciousness. As you experience the beauty of the Stupas and the Loha Prasat and the temples which moves your yearning for Paradise, that Paradise gradually permeats your own consciousness in a struggle for self-realisation. You finally come to terms with your self, your elusive self.
That which is Paradise is your process of understanding or the denial of all happiness, which charaterises the self, so that you confront the self in the most critical moment.
Between the self and no-self, which path do you choose?
Then you walk on along the Rachadamnoen Road. It is about midnight. You pass the Democracy Monument. How many people have died in futile for this worthless landmark that signifies greeds and crude power in this land? How many military strongmen come and go as the Democracy Monument is forever condemned with their curse? How many politicians have promised us with the loots before ending up with rampant corruption? How many times do the poor have to shed their tears just to get a fair share of their life on this earth?
Along the pavements, you see Hell and all the sufferings that go with it. Homeless people lie on the benches or on the tiny space close to the shop window. They do not have any other places to sleep.
Prostitutes, in their forties or fifties, gesture to you with their sign language. This is their turf. When dark night descends on Rachadamnoen, they come out to reclaim their territory. They perform the oldest trade of this world just to survive, with a heart that is beyond the sufferings of any human descriptions until it becomes normal.
You see people getting lost with their way because they cannot afford even Bt200-Bt300 for a night say in one of the cockroach motels in the backstreets, where rats are scurrying around looking for their stench food.
The sufferings you encounter manifest Hell in its physical form. The homeless and the prostitutes suffer from all kinds of physical abuse. They struggle to keep their self moving. They only have the will to live, to protect the self.
But Hell is also your obsession with the self. The Hell in your consciousness is your experience of the sufferings from the outside and the struggle of for the upkeep of the self from the inside.
As an observer of Hell, you set yourself apart from the sufferings. You start to doubt whether your comfortable life in a four-cornered office room is better than theirs. Your continuation to have obsession with the self does not make you having any status any better than them. For we all are born and have to go through the cycle of birth and death, in a seemingly eternal struggle for existence.
Those people in rags and ruins have no more strength left to have obsession with the self as they only need a few breath of strength to keep their sheer existence going. The Hell that is in your consciousness returns to haunt you as you hold it to be the absolute truth.
You have almost forgot the Paradise, the real Paradise that you have walked past almost a kilometre behind, the real Paradise that points to redemption.
The Triology would not come full cycle without your final confrontation with Purgatory. Purgatory signifies your aimless travelling through time. You are now in the human world, lying perhaps on the edge of this world.
In Buddhist terminology, Purgatory is a region where you place three circles together. You see vendors of fake Buddhas and second hand or third hand garments and electronics products. You can also buy a mobile phone there, with the service excellence of a mouth-to-teeth technician. You can have your future read by the palm of the astrologers of the land. You can eat a plate of phad thai or khai dao with garlic pork at Bt15 or Bt20. You can buy a buay drink to water down your thirst after a long walk. This is the medieval market of Siam, cut off from the Finance Ministry's tax arm. Prices are in the low range. You can buy an antique clock or watch for a couple of hundred baht.
You aren't sure how these people can make a living with their medieval trade because in the afternoon of that day, you just have a nice meal at Siam Paragon. As you pass the court buildings opposite Sanam Luang, you feel tired with the weighing down of the sights on your mind.
After Paradise and Hell, you could have thought that you find the answer to your true self. But no, you're still wandering without any direction. If you're not sure with Paradise and reject Hell altogether, you'll be left in a state of flux, of not knowing where else to go to or what else to do.
Finally, you stop at the City Pillar at the corner opposite Wat Phrakaew. You pay homage to the City Pillar, that provides strength and power to the longliveity of this Kingdom. You glance at Wat Phrakaew, which stands as a testimony of the ultimate Paradise. You pay your utmost respect to the ultimate sacred site of Bangkok, while the nihilism that goes around Wat Phrakaew is intensifying on the bedrock of ignorance.
There, you at once come to term with your self for the third critical moment of your brief travel in search for the lost meanings. Between Paradise, or the redemption of your soul, Hell, your preoccupation with the ignorant self, or Purgatory, your travelling through time without any meanings or purposes, what path would you choose?
As you return home, you feel tired with the dark vision, your confused mind and also your realisation of your potential to break away from your consciousness. The interplay between Hell, Purgatory and Paradise allows you to at once realise the sufferings, the peripatetic travelling through time before you arrive at the crucial juncture of whether you will enter the gate of absolute serenity, where the self is no longer what it is.
If you find my guided tour of the City of Angels of some thought, then you may see the light of how we all can break away from this sufferings by helping the poor first. Helping the poor does not mean that you have to demolish Paradise. You have to get it right at the Purgatory level first. This has to do with the police, politicians, military, prosecutors. When the poor is better, we all have shared meanings in the Purgatory as we look for the final exit to Paradise.
With this, I lay my case. I have taken you all to the epic journey in the spirit of Dante's Divine Comedy and Milton's Paradise Lost. I have to pay tribute to my deceased teacher Montri Umavijani and the Illustrious One, my beloved uncle, who both gave me the wisdom to see through the Three Worlds.

How the concept of Three World provides a way out for Thailand. In Hell, we have 40 million Thais living in tough conditions and engaging in agriculture. If we can improve their standard of living, we'll get rid of yellow, red and blue or any shades of colour. We'll achieve unity or political symmetry.But so far the businessmen, politicians, traders, financiers, bureaucrats or local authorities take advantage of them so that they remain poor. It is very difficult for legislation aimed at improving the welfare of the poor get passed by Parliament. The poor are being taken advantaged by the modern sector, which is far smarter.The Monarchy can only involved in development projects and provide moral guideance. But it does not have the resources nor is it a direct job of the Monarchy to engage in economic development. So the poor Thais are cursed to live in Hell.
Thaksin does not see it through, he only tries to take advantage of the poor for his own political gain. Much worse, there has been a smear campaign to suggest that the Monarchy has been taken advantage over the poor.The rest of us are moving about in Purgatory, including all the systems of government and the institutions and the modern sector. We fight for the resources, for the concessions, for a larger pie of the GDP. We go about to get rich and to take advantage over others. We do not care how the country will suffer in the end. We blame each other because we don't know the roots of the problem. Power play occurs at this level in the pursuit of self-interest and greeds. All the problems happen here in Purgatory.
Thailand does not now where it is going, except to serve the short-term greeds.Paradise is in our heart. His Majesty the King is already there by virtue of Detachment.
To enter Paradise, you must have detachment. Everybody can enter Paradise. Detachment is self-less or not craving for materialism or wanting something that does not belong to us, or not wanting to take advantage over other people, other animals, or refraining from harming the natural resources and environment.Once you have detachment, you have concentration to see through the Three Worlds. Concentration is the process of learning, of discerning, of separating reality from illusion, of understanding the essence of nature, of seeing Dharmma.Non-detachment stands in the way of everything, the worst of all is ignorance.Once you have the detachment (not me, not mine) and concetration (process of learning and discerning) to see through the Three Worlds, you'll achieve wisdom (complete understanding). You may call this wisdom as enlightenment or nirvana, depending on the gradation of your own barami or intelligence or perseverance or your pure heart.This is the Thai Utopia, a universe of ideas complete in itself.#######################################