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The Associated Press

April 9, 2007

A 50-year-old woman was killed and dozens of people injured Monday when a crowd in southern Thailand stampeded during a sale of a popular talisman supposed to bring good fortune, police said.

More than 10,000 people had camped overnight by a school compound in Nakhon Si Thammarat province, 580 kilometers (360 miles) south of Bangkok, waiting to buy the amulets, which in the past few months have gained a huge following for their alleged magical qualities.

The victim fell and was trampled on when the crowd rushed the school gates when sales of a new batch of the amulets was set to begin Monday morning, said police Lt. Suriyon Kaemthong.

Many Thais carry or wear amulets for good luck. The amulets usually show images associated with Buddhism — the religion of most Thais — though amulets are not formally part of its doctrine. A large commercial market exists for collectors, and rare amulets reputedly command prices of over 1 million baht (US$30,600; €22,800).

In a Buddhist country where there are thousands of wats and tens of thousands of monks studying Buddhism constantly, it seems strange that magical amulets would be so universally accepted. It is not part of Buddhist teachings, I am told. In fact belief in magic is contrary to Buddhism.

It's hard to see how you can study the teachings of Buddha and end up thinking you are going to get some kind of magical protection from harm or be blessed with good luck by wearing images of the Buddha.

The same goes for fortunetelling. Nothing to do with Buddhism.

On the contrary, amulets give the false impression that Buddhism is a religion of superstition and magic.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

I think monks should discourage this practice. It misrepresents of Buddhist teaching.

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As I understand "Jatukam Ramathep" were two founders of Wat Mahathat in Nakhon Si Thammarat. The legend has it that they were sent from Ceilon to recover Buddha relics, got into a storm, and ended up in Thailand having lost everything but the relics (or they found the relics there, I don't remember). They prayed that if the land was indeed holy, the Lord would help them to establish a temple.

In effect they are not very different from various Phra amulets - enlightened monks who can bless/help one on his spiritual path. The bonus is that Jatukam is believed to grant instant success.

Why do people want to strip Buddhism of all magic, just like Christians did in the West? All those "devas", "spirits", "ghosts", whatever, they'd continue to exist no matter how many times people deny their existence and concentrate only on dhamma. Is dhamma really that exclusive of all else? Has it always been that way? For lay people?

I might be wrong, but in Buddha's time the world was full of "magic", it was as real as ones family members.

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I might be wrong, but in Buddha's time the world was full of "magic", it was as real as ones family members.

The Buddha taught that "magic" can not bring the end of suffering (nibhanna)....only the Eightfold Noble Path can do this....so....magic is mostly just a distraction which too often leads people astray.....at least this is how I understand the Buddha's teachings.

Chownah

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So is family and children and your business and so on. You don't abandon those to go sit on top of the mountain, you learn to live with them.

Your wife won't bring an end to your sufferings (she is most often the cause :-)), but she sure can help.

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them amulets have NOTHING to do with the teachings just another ghost story really that Thai people are so into

but I sure like the one I have LOL

I dont wear it because on any magical powers just cause I think its a cool one. I found it in my wife's father collection ; its old and Im told quite collectable has King Takshin on it riding his elephant !!!!!!!!!!!!

i got offered quite a bit of cash for it hehehe but I wouldnt sell it anyway

but thai ppl just believe in all that stuff should have seen people asking that petrified tree around Ban Tak for the winning lottery numbers!!!

was quite entertainning :o

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The problem that I have (well I have many), is that these amulets are used for materialistic gain, which is against the Buddha's teachings....

In my opinion, and I realise that I am opening myself up for some slating here...

***disrespect of Thai Buddhism deleted. please read the special posting guidelines pinned to the top of this subforum before posting again.***

And, yes I do have some experience, both in Thailand and other buddhist countries...

(I'm not a buddhist, or religous, but I am interested in history and theology.)

Edited by sabaijai
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In Buddhism, just like Christianity, Islam in Java, Taoism in China, and so on, it has a philosophical side and a folk side. The text books and sutras may tell you that magic has no part to play in Buddhism, and there are no gods in Taoism, and it might also say that monks never eat after their morning meal.

However, the way Buddhism is practised in Thailand is syncretic; therefore, magic is mixed up with Buddhism. In Java, many Muslims do not go to the Mosque, pray five times a day or read the Koran, but they do pray to the rice spirit before planting, and have Hindu weddings and Buddhist funerals. Philosophical Taoism may say 'the Tao that can be explained is not the eternal Tao', but tell that to the Taoists who believe the Jade Emperor rules all the gods in heaven and Earth. Choi Saan is the Taoist money god, and you can see him in the altar at the back part of many Chinese shops. In a small village in Chiang Mai, I wondered why the monks scattered when I appeared. The explanation was that they did not want me to see them eating in the afternoon. 'They can't eat', I said, 'because I have read books about Buddhism and it specifically points out that monks do not eat after their morning meal'. So much for middle-class understanding of the real world. Also, I discovered that the novices and monks usually went home for a dinner cooked by Mum.

It might not be Buddhism, Taoism and Islam in the strictest sense, but these are syncretic belief systems as practised in Asia. I see nothing wrong with it.

Marxism-Leninism never spoke about cannibalism and mistresses either, but then Mao never did adhere to everything in his 'Little Red Book'!

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So is family and children and your business and so on. You don't abandon those to go sit on top of the mountain,

Are you sure? This is exactly what the Buddha did. I think the use of the word "abandon" mostly creates emotional spin and "leave" would be a better word to use....but never the less this is exactly what the Buddha did....left his family and child.....and I am certain that if someone left their business in search of enlightenment that the Buddha would consider this a good move.....in fact becoming a monk is called "going forth" which means to leave your family and business behind and to go out into the world with nothing in search of enlightenment....I think.

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these amulets have little to do with religion , but much to do with taking money from naive believers.

jasreeve

The problem that I have (well I have many), is that these amulets are used for materialistic gain, which is against the Buddha's teachings....

In my opinion, and I realise that I am opening myself up for some slating here...

***edited for flaming, see posting guidelines above, etc***

i for one agree

go into a thai temple these days and you are more than likely to find yourself in some garish tinselly approximation of las vegas or disneyland than in an atmospheric and calming environment.

there will be more collection boxes and sales outlets than buddha images , there will be someone blaring out of a microphone the benefits of donation , the benefits of making the temple the envy of all the other temples , the benefits of building yet another structure with which to attract visitors and get more donations.

it seems to have become a big business franchise , with temples competing for the title of biggest , tallest , most glass tiles , largest image , most highly revered abbot etc.

what brand of talisman , monk , is the most popular this month..... better go out and buy it.

these images are all part of the cheapening of the religion and pholosophy of buddhism.

from the bangkok post a few days ago

A dangerous obsession

Buddhism teaches the law of causation: that there is a cause to every effect even though the chain may be long and not immediately visible. In this regard, the out-of-control craze over the Jatukarm Ramathep talisman has its roots _ in the inefficacy of the Sangha Council.

The Maha Thera Samakhom governing body for monks has failed completely on two counts. First, it has certainly not done enough to educate the clergy about the teachings of the Lord Buddha. Had it done so, such a pitiable obsession for an icon advertised as having supernatural powers would not have gripped an entire country which is predominantly Buddhist.That a 51-year-old woman was trampled to death and about 100 others were hurt in a stampede to buy the Jatukarm amulets is just the latest in a series of incidents attributable to this lethal fad. Before, news reports spoke of people risking their lives trying to steal the amulets, with others shooting to kill in its defence. In Nakhon Si Thammarat's Muang district there are stalls selling the amulets on nearly every street. More than 400 different models are believed to be in circulation, some of which can fetch up to two million baht.

What is most worrying is that many people are buying the talisman _ featuring the image of an ancient king of Srivijaya who was victorious against his attackers _ in the hope of getting rich quickly or having their wishes fulfilled without having to lift a finger. One pitiful sight is that of children wearing the exceptionally large talisman to their exams in the hope of passing with flying colours through the help of this unseen power _ a belief that is diametrically opposed to the Buddha's teaching that one receives what one works for. So how have we come to this?

Some may argue that animism has been part and parcel of the development of Theravada Buddhism in Thailand since we adopted it from Sri Lanka in the 13th century. That may be true. Still, we have to ask ourselves: has it been this bad? Has the animist part of our culture been allowed to grow so large and invasive that it is threatening to engulf our core faith?

Truth is, this blatant commercialisation of the Jatukarm talisman would not have been possible without the precedent set by almost every Buddhist temple in the country. This fad is built on the malpractice of large-scale amulet manufacturing and sales _ a not-so-Buddhist activity, but a lucrative business which monks and laymen seem to have their reasons for indulging in. Monks, especially popular ones, usually claim the selling of amulets is simply a means of raising necessary funds to finance religious activities, ostensibly to promote Buddhism. Some laymen appreciate the amulet-making business either because they can make money from it, or can purchase instant comfort at a reasonable price. As it turns out, most temples pour the money generated from such sales into fancy edifices which do not serve any useful purpose except seemingly to elevate the temple's status. Also, a large portion of the hard cash actually falls in the hands of businessmen who act as middlemen between the monks and their market.

Considering that abbots and their monasteries have their hands deep in the large sums generated by the business of making talismans through the necessary consecration ceremonies _ and if not the Jatukarm, there is no dearth of other amulets _ it is not surprising that none has raised his voice in objection to this dangerous obsession.

But the Sangha Council has no excuse. As a governing body, it has the authority and the moral obligation to remind society that the Jatukarm talisman has no part in the practice of Buddhism, and that our religion can offer better ways of coping with insecurity and life's other problems than buying fashionable talismans.

What's worse, the Sangha Council itself has condoned the business of amulet-making in temples, the sad result of which we are now witnessing in the senseless scramble for the Jatukarm. It is time the council put an end to this un-Buddhist mischief.

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JATUKHAM FEVER

Amulet frenzy brings mini boom

Nakhon Si Thammarat rides economic crest as many rush to buy lucky charm

The fatal crushing of a woman in a stampede has had no affect on the insatiable appetite for Jatukham Rammathep amulets, with the temple making and selling them fully booked until the end of the year for incantations.

"We can't stop the production and incantations of the Jatukham Rammathep and must admit that the phenomenon has turned the province into an economic boom town," said Sonthaya Senniam, director of the Nakhon Si Thammarat Buddhism Office.

Huge numbers of tourists are flocking to the province to worship Jatukham Rammathep statues located in Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawiharn or Wat Phra Nakhon, while amulet creators from across the country have come to use the temple as a place to recite incantations over the amulets.

Local hotels are fully booked each weekend.

The first batch of Jatukham Rammathep amulets was introduced with little fanfare in the southern province of Nakhon Si Thammarat 20 years ago.

There are now more than 400 different models in the market.

The first model, made in 1987, cost less than Bt100. It is now worth between Bt500,000 and Bt600,000.

The talisman started becoming a popular item in the middle of last year and is now almost an obsession.

More than 200 editions of Jatukham Rammathep amulets are now being made throughout the Kingdom.

Creations of "genuine" talismans require permission from Wat Phra Nakhon, and the incantations must be performed at the temple or at Nakhon Si Thammarat's city-pillar shrine.

"The temple has been fully reserved until December by more than 250 creators," said Sonthaya. "Instead of stopping the production of the amulets, we'd rather find stricter safety measures in the public distribution process," he said.

The local committee overseeing the Jatukham Rammathep trend includes local administrators, police, temples and the amulet creators. They are now working on finding ways to prevent the chaos that occurred on April 9, when a 51-year-old local woman was crushed to death and dozens of people were injured as thousands forced their way into a technical school in the province to buy reserving coupons for the amulets made at Wat Phra Nakhon.

Yesterday, the temple distributed the coupons for the Jatukham Rammathep special edition called Ngern Lai Ma II at three spots in the city: Nakhon Si Thammarat Technical College, Rama IX Park and Thanakhonyanwaropasuthit School.

The special edition consists of 30,000 sets, each including 13 talismans and costing Bt500. It could hardly cover the demand from hundreds of thousands of people.

The temple made the original Jatukham Rammathep amulets, among them the very popular Ngern Lai Ma edition distributed early this year.

A Jatukham Rammathep "guru" said the amulets were pumping Bt100 million into Nakhon Si Thammarat each week. All flights to the province have been booked out, and passengers must fly to Krabi instead, then take a bus to Nakhon Si Thammarat.

Maj-General Sudjai Yanarat, the provincial police commander, said the phenomenon had changed police priorities, because they now had to deal with the massive influx of tourists and Jatukham Rammathep followers from across the country.

Traffic police have been under a lot of pressure, due to huge traffic jams.

Wat Phra Nakhon abbot Phra Maha Maitri said the Religious Affairs Department had ordered the postponement of the amulets' production, but it was impossible to stop, because of the huge amount of money to be made in the province.

The talismans, he added, were sold by the temple at moderate rates, but the price shot up tenfold when resold.

However, the distribution of the special edition has been halted until the temple can come up with a safer way to distribute them, Phra Maha Maitri said.

Nonetheless, hundreds of people are still waiting in front of the temple gates, hoping the distribution will start again.

The Jatukham Rammathep amulets have gained a huge and almost frenzied following based on claims of their magical powers and the good fortune they can bring to their owners.

Although it has no relation to Buddhism, many Thai Buddhists believe in the amulets' power and are prepared to pay large sums for one.

"The faith [in the amulets] is creating huge benefits for the businessmen now dominating 80 per cent of production. There are several 'organisers' set up to produce the amulets for investors," said a Jatukham Rammathep co-ordinator at a local temple.

Another Jatukham Rammathep "guru", Pong Phrakrueng, said the amulets sold in the market cost Bt100 to Bt5 million - and up.

He predicted the phenomenon would continue for another couple of years. When more editions are produced, the trend will "moderate", with only the original editions still in demand.

Chatrarat Kaewmorakot

Mayuree Sukyingcharoenwong

The Nation

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Wat Phra Nakhon abbot Phra Maha Maitri said the Religious Affairs Department had ordered the postponement of the amulets' production, but it was impossible to stop, because of the huge amount of money to be made in the province.

surprised he hasnt done a deal with tesco-lotus to produce and sell them.

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  • 1 month later...

Amulet craze 'contrary to Buddhism'

Revered monk Phra Maha Wudhijaya Vajiramedhi said on Saturday that the Jatukarm talisman craze reflects a thirst for an easy windfall and deviates from the Lord Buddha's teachings. He minced no words, blaming the media and monks for fuelling the amulet fever.

The monk, who currently teaches at Mahachulalongkornrajavidyala University, said: "The three refuges a Buddhist should seek are the Lord Buddha, his teachings and his ministers [monks].

"The rightful way to make a living is to use our brain and two hands, not the talisman," said the monk, better known under his pen name of W. Vajiramedhi.

Bangkok Post

"The rightful way to make a living is to use our brain and two hands, not the talisman," said the monk

:o

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My wife's parents gave me an old jatukham from their collection for a wedding present. Unknown to my parents in law it turned out to be a very valuable piece.

Some of the prices you hear quoted for these amulets is unbelievable. Just heard of a Malaysian business man buying one from that temple in Nakhon Sri Tammarat for nearly two million baht.

Without having a decent understanding of budhism, I really can't see how collecting an object portraying a picture of your favourite monk, or religious scene can be considered greedy. If you happen to sell it at a profit down the track, well maybe the magical powers of the Talisman really did work in your favour.

Cheers,

Soundman.

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My wife's parents gave me an old jatukham from their collection for a wedding present. Unknown to my parents in law it turned out to be a very valuable piece.

Some of the prices you hear quoted for these amulets is unbelievable. Just heard of a Malaysian business man buying one from that temple in Nakhon Sri Tammarat for nearly two million baht.

Without having a decent understanding of budhism, I really can't see how collecting an object portraying a picture of your favourite monk, or religious scene can be considered greedy. If you happen to sell it at a profit down the track, well maybe the magical powers of the Talisman really did work in your favour.

Cheers,

Soundman.

The Jatukham craze is rather novel, in its extreme. I have two of them, they were given to me by a relative who is into them - they are only a few months old, and went from the 200 Baht he "rented" them for to between 1000 and 3000 Baht in worth now. Tonight i might get another one or two, because he's picking more up in Nakhorn Sri Thammarat at the temple.

Anyhow, as far as i know the origin in these amulets is that they were given by temples in recognition of a service or donation, by loved ones and friends, and by monks as a reminder of the teachings. In a strict sense - amulets are somewhat against Buddhist doctrine, but in popular Buddhism things are a bit more relaxed. I have heard many monks saying that things such as amulets are alright as long as they help people to observe the teachings.

Obviously the speculation going on with amulets is not what was intended originally, but from a purely artistic sense - many of them are stunningly beautiful and Thai culture would be poorer without them. I do somewhat collect them sporadically, not exactly as an investment, but just because their artistic value (and i am not Buddhist either, i am agnostic). Some of my favorite ones are not pieces found in any market, but a set that was made by a forest monk who is a friend of mine, and given to a few friends of his.

Others i was given in temples or by monks, and i have no idea about their market value, other than that some i have accumulated over the last two decades might be considerable (i don't think though selling them for a second).

I always enjoy when people show me their prized collection, often decades of effort, and with pieces inherited as well. There is so much beauty in these amulets.

Many negative arguments against these amulets are justified, but a lot of the discussion goes far too puritanic for my taste, reminding me of the arguments of what some of the extreme reformists in the 15th and 16th century in Europe said about the catholic church.

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I just don't like seeing people being sold amulets because they were told it will heal them or a loved one, or bring a lotto winning, or keep you safe while you drive drunk on the right side of the road at night with no lights on, etc.

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I just don't like seeing people being sold amulets because they were told it will heal them or a loved one, or bring a lotto winning, or keep you safe while you drive drunk on the right side of the road at night with no lights on, etc.

True.

Usually though, when amulets are given then that also comes with several directions of conduct. That they are not observed is not the fault of the giver.

I am a bit superstitious and i have worn amulets long before i ever heard of Thailand (not just Thailand has a culture of protective amulets... :o ). And no, i would not wear a Jatukam amulet, it's far too chunky, and to wear an amulet their must be more important personal involvement be attached. They only Thai amulet i wear is the one my wife gave me when we just got together (well, and another piece of 'Lek Nam Pii in my wallet). :D

On a more serious note, yes, the present Jatukam craze is bewildering, and to me shows the insecurity people have now, and their grasping for supernatural straws - very signifying for the times we live in right now in Thailand.

And especially the involvement of the Sangha and other notable figures is very contrary to what they teach, and does very much show why Buddhism should not be made state religion under any circumstance (i absolutely support your and tettyan's views in the other thread).

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My wife's parents gave me an old jatukham from their collection for a wedding present. Unknown to my parents in law it turned out to be a very valuable piece.

Some of the prices you hear quoted for these amulets is unbelievable. Just heard of a Malaysian business man buying one from that temple in Nakhon Sri Tammarat for nearly two million baht.

Without having a decent understanding of budhism, I really can't see how collecting an object portraying a picture of your favourite monk, or religious scene can be considered greedy. If you happen to sell it at a profit down the track, well maybe the magical powers of the Talisman really did work in your favour.

Cheers,

Soundman.

The Jatukham craze is rather novel, in its extreme. I have two of them, they were given to me by a relative who is into them - they are only a few months old, and went from the 200 Baht he "rented" them for to between 1000 and 3000 Baht in worth now. Tonight i might get another one or two, because he's picking more up in Nakhorn Sri Thammarat at the temple.

Anyhow, as far as i know the origin in these amulets is that they were given by temples in recognition of a service or donation, by loved ones and friends, and by monks as a reminder of the teachings. In a strict sense - amulets are somewhat against Buddhist doctrine, but in popular Buddhism things are a bit more relaxed. I have heard many monks saying that things such as amulets are alright as long as they help people to observe the teachings.

Obviously the speculation going on with amulets is not what was intended originally, but from a purely artistic sense - many of them are stunningly beautiful and Thai culture would be poorer without them. I do somewhat collect them sporadically, not exactly as an investment, but just because their artistic value (and i am not Buddhist either, i am agnostic). Some of my favorite ones are not pieces found in any market, but a set that was made by a forest monk who is a friend of mine, and given to a few friends of his.

Others i was given in temples or by monks, and i have no idea about their market value, other than that some i have accumulated over the last two decades might be considerable (i don't think though selling them for a second).

I always enjoy when people show me their prized collection, often decades of effort, and with pieces inherited as well. There is so much beauty in these amulets.

Many negative arguments against these amulets are justified, but a lot of the discussion goes far too puritanic for my taste, reminding me of the arguments of what some of the extreme reformists in the 15th and 16th century in Europe said about the catholic church.

One thing to note is that the images inscribed on the Jatukham Ramathep amulets are not Buddhist and the creators/markets/vendors don't pretend they are. It's much like the Rama V amulet craze in the 90s, though the 'JR fever' has reached a much more intense level.

Of course the main place where they are sold is Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahaviharn in Nakhon Si Thammarat, and the mythical prince/god depicted on the medals is said to be a protector of Buddhism. So there is an established link.

Last year an excellent Thai-language novel on amulets appeared, all about a group of men who try to get rich by creating amulets, and the vipaka they experience as a result. It contains lots of detail about all the ceremony involved, mass chanting, etc, an extremely interesting aspect of the Thai culture of the supernatural that most Westerners are oblivious to.

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One thing to note is that the images inscribed on the Jatukham Ramathep amulets are not Buddhist and the creators/markets/vendors don't pretend they are. It's much like the Rama V amulet craze in the 90s, though the 'JR fever' has reached a much more intense level.

Of course the main place where they are sold is Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahaviharn in Nakhon Si Thammarat, and the mythical prince/god depicted on the medals is said to be a protector of Buddhism. So there is an established link.

Last year an excellent Thai-language novel on amulets appeared, all about a group of men who try to get rich by creating amulets, and the vipaka they experience as a result. It contains lots of detail about all the ceremony involved, mass chanting, etc, an extremely interesting aspect of the Thai culture of the supernatural that most Westerners are oblivious to.

I'd love to read that novel. If it ever gets translated please start a thread here. Unfortunately i can only speak and not read Thai.

Anyhow - but so much of the Thai supernatural is is still very unknown by the rest of the world (and often also Thais themselves are not very educated about those subjects) and only described in a few obscure academic works.

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The principle behind amulets and other symbolic devices is that either by virtue of symbolism built into their design or by 'magical influences' attached to them by means of a ceremony of some kind attract forces from the universe to the individual wearing it.

This belief in the efficacy of amulets extends across all peoples and all times, though in the developed (and we often think 'more enlightened') world they may take the form of (for example) a crucifix worn around the neck, or a fish symbol moounted on a car. It isnt only a means of recognising people of the same 'belief tribe' as oneself, it is often believed to establish a link with a belief system at the very least. Other really good examples of this are the yellow shirts worn by Thais and the preponderance of amulets also much beloved of the Thai, many of which I would personally find very uncomfortable to have slung around my neck.

What ensures their continuing popularity in Thailand is the inherent and somewhat child-like supersitious nature of the Thai. Whether the amulets work by virtue of the magic of the Buddhis Monk, or by virtue of the placebo effect is immaterial, there will be no shortage of tales about their magical power.

H

Edited by Huw
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What ensures their continuing popularity in Thailand is the inherent and somewhat child-like supersitious nature of the Thai.

Why is this child-like? Superstition is hardly confined to Thais. They are socialized into believing in spirits and power objects just as Westerners are socialized into believing in God. It's just the way the mind works, and there's an obvious evolutionary and social advantage in accepting without question what you're told as a kid.

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there's an obvious evolutionary and social advantage in accepting without question what you're told as a kid.

that's a joke , right ?

I believe that it's obvious to most that a questioning mind coupled with decent education is the preferred method .

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What ensures their continuing popularity in Thailand is the inherent and somewhat child-like supersitious nature of the Thai.

Why is this child-like?

Supersition usually manifests most strongly in under-educated socieities. Thailand is an under-educated and superstitious society. Of course, one persons religious observance is anothers superstition.

Superstition is hardly confined to Thais.
Doesnt make Thais less superstitious though...
They are socialized into believing in spirits and power objects just as Westerners are socialized into believing in God. It's just the way the mind works, and there's an obvious evolutionary and social advantage in accepting without question what you're told as a kid.

Hmmm. Thailand = undereducated + under-developed. So it has an evolutionary advantage. I think you will need to explain that one to me.

Superstition is inevitably based on an unquestioning belief in what people tell you. hence its prevalence in undereducated societies.

H

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Superstition is inevitably based on an unquestioning belief in what people tell you. hence its prevalence in undereducated societies.

H

Actually, not only. It also is rooted in the believe of energies attached to certain subjects (eg. amulets), either by its material and/or by being given, being able to influence one's life. Hardly restricted to the uneducated or under developed.

I believe in it (to some degree), and i am not from an "under-educated" society.

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My nephew just returned from Wat Mahatat in Nakhorn Sri Thammarat, and brought me four more Jatukhams (none more than 200 Baht). The madness of the trade and its politics is a bit disgusting, but i have to say that they are beautiful amulets.

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One thing to note is that the images inscribed on the Jatukham Ramathep amulets are not Buddhist and the creators/markets/vendors don't pretend they are. It's much like the Rama V amulet craze in the 90s, though the 'JR fever' has reached a much more intense level.

Of course the main place where they are sold is Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahaviharn in Nakhon Si Thammarat, and the mythical prince/god depicted on the medals is said to be a protector of Buddhism. So there is an established link.

Last year an excellent Thai-language novel on amulets appeared, all about a group of men who try to get rich by creating amulets, and the vipaka they experience as a result. It contains lots of detail about all the ceremony involved, mass chanting, etc, an extremely interesting aspect of the Thai culture of the supernatural that most Westerners are oblivious to.

I'd love to read that novel. If it ever gets translated please start a thread here. Unfortunately i can only speak and not read Thai.

Anyhow - but so much of the Thai supernatural is is still very unknown by the rest of the world (and often also Thais themselves are not very educated about those subjects) and only described in a few obscure academic works.

It's "Rang Phra Rung" by Thepsiri Suksopalord, shortlisted for this year's SEA Write award. I may translate the work myself, although it will be a real challenge as it's long (close to 800 pages) and full of arcane vocabulary. The author and publisher have given me permission to condense the novel for foreign audiences, which I may do.

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It's "Rang Phra Rung" by Thepsiri Suksopalord, shortlisted for this year's SEA Write award. I may translate the work myself, although it will be a real challenge as it's long (close to 800 pages) and full of arcane vocabulary. The author and publisher have given me permission to condense the novel for foreign audiences, which I may do.

Excellent - please do so. And if you do, please let me know. I am interested!

Anyone remembers the series edited by Marcel Barang which has unfortunately been cut short by the '97 crises. I would have loved to have a continuation of that.

Please don't condense too much, just the necessary.

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