Dedication of a temple in central Thailand

We were invited to the dedication of a temple in Central Thailand. Good friends of ours had decided to ensure their future good karma through a donation of one of the 9 Luk Nimit stones.

These stones are about the size of basketballs, and are sunk into the ground at the 4 sides and 4 corners of the main building of the temple, decorated lavishly by the faithful with gold and money. Then, as the ceremony started, a very prestigious head monk in Thailand oversaw the installation of the 9th Luk Nimit stone. It was place in the ground at the exact centre of the temple, where a statue of the great Buddha would watch over it. This 9th Stone is the most coveted and most important stone, and the donors and financiers have the honor to help set the stone in the ground, and to acquire a lot of merit for their karma.

We met early in the morning on the grounds of the temple. The area was already quite full of worshippers who were fortified by the free food which had been donated.

There was of course plenty to eat, as is normal in Thailand. The supporters of the event spared no effort in preparing various tasty meals for the expected masses.

Tempeleinweihung in Zentralthailand 1

The different dishes were prepared largely as on-site: no reheating was required, the food was fresh, Thai home-style cooking and was available at several distribution stations.

I am a big fan of Thai cuisine and was impressed by what was being cooked in woks and pans. Various Laabs (minced meat or fish, seasoned hot and spicy), soups, rice, stew, roast meat, sweets, pasta, ...

The food was necessary as the ceremony went on for several hours. Praying and eating at the same time doesn't really work, so the crowd was well pleased to nourish themselves beforehand.

Eventually, the faithful were sated, and the ceremony could begin.

The temple had an incinerator as can`t be found in many smaller temples. Such a device makes the cremation ceremony of the dead a lot easier to perform. Otherwise a large funeral pyre would have to be built to send the deceased on his way to Nirvana, and collecting the ashes for the urn is made ​​considerably easier.

Around the wat there were many places for the faithful to demonstrate their faith.

Everything seemed to be decorated with gold leaf, and money trees abounded.

Time a take a look inside the bot (โบสถ์)

A huge crowd was sitting there with the monks in order to receive blessings.

The bot had been decorated beautifully and solemnly. The murals were impressive for such a small temple in the country, but back to the main event - the Luk Nimit stones: the main stone had been suitably prepared prior to being placed in the ground during the ceremony.

There was plenty of gold leaf here too: the crowds were very proficient in their care of the main stone.

The 8 stones outside the building, which hung in the middle the sides and the corners of the bot over their holes, were given full attention also.

It became apparent that the high monk was going to arrive soon to start the ceremony. The main donors and their families were gathered around the stones, with specially-made ornate knives engraved with their names they were lined up ready to cut the ropes that were keeping the stones above their holes.

Tempeleinweihung in Zentralthailand 17

There were plenty of willing hands helping to sort the small gifts that had been donated:

A lot of gold leaf lay scattered about, not only on the stones and statues:

One who asks for donations for those who can`t afford to pay a graceful cremation.

Tempeleinweihung in Zentralthailand 20

Small birds that could be bought and released from their cages to ensure good karma.

A small donation could buy tiles that would be placed on the roof of someone's house in one of his next lives.

Everywhere there was gold leaf and burning candles:

The master of ceremonies arrived with a large entourage:

Tempeleinweihung in Zentralthailand 24

It fell quiet, the congregation gathered inside and awaited the start of the ceremony. The Buddhist chanting began.

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The ceremony went on for several hours. At the end the donors grouped together around the stones and waited for a sign from the master of ceremonies, which would indicate the ropes supporting the stones could be cut.

 

It started: it wasn't so simple to cut through the ropes, but eventually the stones settled in their eternal resting place.

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Tempeleinweihung in Zentralthailand 30

The cutting of the ropes holding the stones is very popular with Thais as a good luck symbol in itself.

Eventually all the ropes were cut. Minor cuts on the fingers and hands would bring luck, I was told; I wasn't told whether accidentally severed fingers would likewise bring good luck. Our friends gave us a little bit of the tether from the stone they had sponsored. After the ceremony a few centimetres of rope could be bought for 1,000 baht. Whether such a talisman actually contributes to the happiness of the buyer, I don't know. We , though, were very happy with our gift, it will remind us of a beautiful and interesting time in central Thailand.

posted on: 11.09.2012 - last update on: 19.10.2013

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