About Thai Amulets

This is a bit long, but I figured that if you are interested enough to look here then you'd probably appreciate something more than just a couple of sentences. I've used a few sources to put this together, they are all listed at the end.

A Thai Buddha amulet, often referred to academically as votive tablet, is a kind of Thai Buddhist blessed item. It is used for raising funds in order to help the temple. Worshippers can obtain an amulets or Thai Buddhist monk blessing by simply donating money or offering oil to the temple. After the donation, Thai Buddhist monk will give amulet as a gift to them. These days however, amulets are no longer simply seen as "gift" for helping the temple, but have become a kind of tool to help enhance luck in marriage, wealth, health, love and personal relationships.

It has been and still is a tradition to place Thai amulets under the stupa or other temple structure when it is built. When the structure collapses, many amulets are found. In old temples, the amulets that are found can date back over a century. Amulets that are found like this are particularly powerful.

Almost every Thai Buddhist has at least one Thai amulet. They have great respect for the Buddha. It is common to see young or elderly people wearing amulets, or packages of amulets around the neck in order to get closer to the Buddha.

Amulets are made using the Buddha image, image of famous monk, or even image of the monks who made the amulets themselves and let believers wear on for security and peace. Amulets are also made with likenesses of Kings of Thailand, who are also venerated highly by Thais.

Amulets have different kind of sizes, different shapes and different materials such as plaster, bone, wood, metal. It may include ash from incenses or old temple structure, hair from famous monk, to add protection power to the amulets. After the amulets are made, the maker will ask the monks who live in the temple or monks from other temples to join together and chant, pray and bless the amulets. The more important the temple, the higher ranked the monk and the number of monks who blessed the amulet and the length of the blessing all contribute to the power of the amulet. Believers swear that their favourite amulet saved their life during a car crash or violent attack.

Most Thais are Buddhists, but they also mix a bewildering slew of other beliefs -- including Hindu, animist and superstitions -- into their spiritual outlook. Buddha was not into amulets, and advised followers to ignore such illusions. But today's Thais surround themselves with as much protection as possible by wearing, carrying or keeping at home one or more small amulets.

One amulet shows a faceless Buddha sitting cross-legged, atop a layered plinth. The rectangular amulet, often called a 'Phra Somdej,' is frequently given to devotees at Buddhist temples. On the reverse side, it may include the name of the temple, or the monk who manufactured it, or other information. Some versions have a small fish bone, a buddha statue or other emblem embedded in the back, which some people believe bestows special powers. Another amulet is illustrated with a large ship, and is sometimes called a 'Krom Ma Luang Chumporn.' It is said to protect people during ocean voyages.

A chubby cross-legged man, covering his face with both hands, depicts a devout monk who resembled the Lord Buddha. People mistakenly worshipped him, thinking he was actually Buddha, until he hid his face so no one could see him, according to believers. This amulet is called a 'Phra Phid Ta,' which translates as 'monk closed eyes.' Possess this amulet, and you will remain virtually invisible to your opponents, they say. 

Importantly, Thais will never refer to buying or owning an amulet - you always "rent" an amulet and it gets passed on to someone else when you have finished with it or die. The power and the work of the amulet stay with it and enhance its abilities. If your amulet saved your life, then it becomes more powerful and that power is retained when you pass it along to your child or friend etc. It is the belief in the amulet that is most important - most Thais think that if you believe that an amulet protects you from danger, then it will.

Thais also firmly believe that you should not wear an amulet while engaged in sexual activity, you should never place an amulet lower than your waist (so you should not carry one in a pocket of your pants for instance) and they should be kept away from the floor and your (or anyone else's) feet.

Some well known amulets

Phra Somdej
The Phra Somdej amulet also Known as "lucky amulets" is one of the famous amulet. Most Phra Somdej amulets do not have eyes, nose and mouth. The Buddha image in Phra Somdej seated on the three-level throne representing heaven, people and earth. However, the Phra Somdej later appeared with five, seven, nine, ten level throne, as well as thirteen, but the concept of the throne is still the same. The meaning of Heaven, people and earth is to remind one must be humble, and everything was planned by the nature and God. Like other Thai Amulet, Phra Somdej is usually made of Temple dirt, pollen, monk's hair and the holy robe wore by the monk, etc.

The main function of Phra Somdej amulets ranges form protection from dangerous to enhance people relationship, from enhancing marriage relationship to enhancing health, from deliver us from demon to block disaster and from strengthen our career to adjusting the human aura field. Most importantly, it can help bring peace to different walks of life.

Phra Rod
Phra Rod refers to amulets discovered in early King Chulalongkorn era inside a partially collapsed stupa in Wat Mahawan in Lamphun Province. It was named Phra Rod because the Buddha image in the amulet matched the ancient Buddha image in the temple's Ubosot called Phra Rod Luang. Legends say that when the temple was part of Hariphunchai Kingdom, the amulets were crafted by Rishi to hand out to citizen during wars and the remaining of those were placed inside the temple's stupa.

Phra Nang Phaya
Phra Nang Phaya amulet from Wat Nang Phaya temple in Phitsanulok Province is believed to be commissioned by Queen Wisutkasat in the Ayutthaya Kingdom. The amulet was discovered when workers dug up an area in the temple to prepare the stage for King Chulalongkorn's visit for the casting of a replica of famous Buddha image Phra Phuttha Chinnarat there. This amulet was also discovered in nearby temples such as Wat Ratchaburana.

Phra Phong Suphan
Phra Phong Suphan is from Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat of Suphanburi Province. There were thieves who came to dig under the large stupa in the temple and stole amulets and tablets, some made from gold. So in 1913 Suphanburi governor ordered the formal dig up to uncover the buried amulets. Phra Phong Suphan was among the amulets found.

Phra Sum Kor
Phra Sum Kar is from Kamphaeng Phet Province. When Somdej Toh came to visit relatives in 1849, he found Phra Sum Kor amulets at Wat Phraboromthat Nakhonchum together with tablets explaining amulet making process. He later used the recipe to make his own Phra Somdej Wat Rakhang. This amulet is found throughout Thung Sethi in Kamphangphet.

Phra Khun Phaen
Phra Khun Phaen are amulets with the image of Khun Phaen of Khun Chang Khun Phaen folklore. According to the folklore, Khun Phaen was proficient in using magical power including amulets and other items in battle. Khun Phaen also used love formula to attract women. Thus, one of the main functions of Khun Phaen is to enhance the bonding of human relationship. Also, it helps to enhance the career success like: academic success, fame and fortune, business success and faithful elegant.

Jatukham Rammathep
Jatukham Rammathep is the name of two princes from Srivijaya Kingdom.Nakhon Si Thammarat Province people consider Jatukham and Rammthep as guardian angels to the city. The Jatukham Rammathep amulet was first created by police Khun Phantharak Rajjadej in 1987 as part of Nakhon Si Thammarat's Lak Mueang establishment. The amulet is round-shaped, typically with the image of Hindu deities and around 5 cm in diameter. It became popular early 2000s, especially during the time of Khun Phantharak Rajjadej's funeral on 5 July 2006 till mid-2007. The amulet was believed to protect owner from danger and make owner rich.

Phra Kring
The Phra Kring is a metallic statuette in the image of a meditating Buddha, which is only made in Thailand. The image is normally in the posture of sitting and holding an almsbowl or a Guava, Gourd or a Vajra. This was a Fully enlightened Buddha, who practised Purity of body and mind, and who was a great teacher of Human Beings.




Amulets: Sacred Charms of Power and Protection by Sheila Paine

Mediums, Monks and Amulets by Pattana Kitiarsa