Well I know that I appear to have been missing on this whole blog thing but you know it takes a lot of concentration to work on my tan while studying permaculture, cobras and poisonous centipedes.
See photo, luckily they are not very common.
I have been enjoying Mary’s writings, its great to know what we’ve been up to. Any way here’s the start of my contribution and more to follow but no promises.
There is a Wat in Changmai, actually there are about 300 of them,(that’s an uneducated guess) but there is one that caught our eye when we where here five years ago. Its called Wat Lok Molee and was being rebuilt from the ground up. They started about seven years ago. When we first saw it the Buddha statue was in place, the support pillars were set and a roof was on. Now five years later it appears to be finished except for the interior ceiling.
I’ll do my best to describe it. I’ll put a couple of photos on the main page but then to see more you should go to the Wat page. The whole thing occupies about just under a block, that’s about 130 squ yds. From a distance you first see the Chedi rising up to about 300ft. This is a earthen and brick structure and was built in 1540. It houses the ashes of a king and queen from that period. There is a notch in each of the four sides for a Buddha statue. The chedi is located in the NE corner of the compound.
The Chedi — Images of the Buddha on all four sides with many offerings all the way around. A saffron coloured tie all the way around. Some of the offerings that look shocking to our western eyes, MacDonald hamburgers, plastic dolls and trinkets but as they say it’s the thought that counts
You enter the grounds through a spectacular gate on the south side, on either side of the gate are a couple of gnarly looking characters set there just to make sure your reasons are pure for going in. You walk along a path to the Wat and on each side of the path there is a gold tree and a silver tree.
I’m not sure of the significance of these but the leaves are shaped like Bodhi tree leaves ( that’s the tree the Buddha sat under when he achieved Curt Cobain, I mean nirvana). These could be a gift to the Wat from somebody to gain merit ( kind of like a pac giving gifts to a politician ).
As you approach the Wat there is a flight of stairs, flanked by huge Nagas (snakes or serpents). I think they are there to make sure you take your shoes off before entering the Wat. This motif appears again and again throughout many temples in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and most of Asia.
It plays an important part in Buddhism and Hinduism.
So we’ve taken off our thongs and walked up the stairs. The fascade of the temple is richly carved with images of Siddartha’s life. These are all hand carved and then highlighted with white paint.
Inside we have highly polished wood surfaces with a HUGE golden Buddha at one end. We kneel before the Buddha, pointing your feet at the Buddha or anyone is such a gross faux pa. There are some school kids writing prayers on paper, then these would be offered up.
Outside by a different door there are statues of animals and on top of the roof is an amazing bit of candy ( how did they get it up there?)
Behind the chedi are a couple of carvers, squatting cross legged and tapping away with hammer and chisel.
Other buildings in the enclosure are a pagoda in a beautiful garden with a fountain and another Wat.
This Wat offers Buddha chats from one till three thirty in the afternoon. These are with English (I hope) speaking monks and we hope to spend some time with them. Stayed tuned.
Sawasdee Krap and Sawasdee Pee Mai (Happy New Year)
Peter and Mary