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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Bangkok Sightseeing Part 3 - Bangkok Four Faced Buddha

Sightseeing Bangkok Part 3 -
Bangkok Famous Four Face Buddha  
I am quite a spiritual person and there are three normal routine that I normally do when i visit Bangkok. Paying respect to the Four-Faced Buddha is my top priority. Second - Coffin Donation and Third - Feeding Foods to the Fishes in Wat Arun or Choa Praya River or visit my master in the temple

FYI, the four-headed statue is an image of Brahma or Phra Phrom in Thai- a class of celestial beings but not Lord Buddha. Locals believe that prayers will be answered when one prays to this Buddha especially on Thursday

"We have been childless for more than 10 years and have also not been successful in adopting a baby. My wife and I was coaxed by work colleagues to pray for the Four Face Buddha when we were on a tour to Bangkok on 7 Oct. Upon returning, immediately we got call for a baby seeking for adoption and on 10 Oct we successfully got the baby. And the miracle thing was the baby was born on 7 Oct."

The Four-Faced Buddha literally has four faces. The first Face starts in a clockwise direction from the entrance of the shrine which represents the Face of Peace and Health, Face of Good Fortune, Face of Good Relationships and Face of Protection against Evils. People offer garlands of marigold flowers, lotus, young coconuts, candles and incense sticks to the Four-Faced Budhha at the 4 corners in a clockwise direction. Often, if a wish has been granted, people thank the spirits by donating teak elephants, gigantic candles or commissioning the classical Thai dancers and musicians to perform to the Gods. Many Thai use gold leaf and make an offering-by placing the gold on the wooden elephants. I was told by a friend that to pray on Thursday because your wishes will come true.

Cages of birds on sold for releasing
At the entrance of the Shrine, caged birds like Munia are sold for releasing. Thais people believe in merit making and it is supposed to bring good luck and tickets bought from the lottery sellers are also considered lucky. I usually do my merit making at Ruamkatanyu Foundation. It is much cheaper. It costs only 100 THB for 7 birds. It is crazy to pay 500 THB for a cage of birds!!! It is a great experience by visiting the Four-Faced Buddha of Erawan Shrine in the heart of the city to learn more about the Thai people belief and colourful culture. It is one of the top ten things to do for visitors visiting Thailand.

How to get there: next to Grand Hyatt Erawan Bangkok  and located diagonally opposite to Central World Shopping Mall (former World Trade Centre) at the junction of Ratchadamri Road and Phloenchit Road , and also within walking distance if you are coming from Pratunam, MBK or Siam square.  opening hour:  6am to 11pm at night. 
Dancers paid by worshipers in return for having their prayers answered at Erawan Shrine in Bangkok
Price for the dancers to dance for you
2 dancers = 260 Baht 4 dancers = 360 Baht 6 dancers = 610 Baht 8 dancers = 710 Baht . Remember to purchase your offering inside the Shrine because it will only cost you less than the hawker.
Visiting Times: Brahma Shrine: 6.00-23.00 hrs
Getting There: Skytrain to Siam Square if you are from the Silom Line or skytrain to Chit Lom Station if you are in Sukhumvit Line.

Buy flowers and etc from the flower seller inside the temple - it costs BHT20 for a set of flower and joss stick and candle
Holy Urn filled with holy water (Four-Faced Buddha of Erawan Shrine)
An urn of holy water is located at the corner of the Shrine and people usually sprinkle the water over their heads and shoulders or dropping coins into the water for good luck after prayer.

Real Story Help from Four Face Buddha
Another story I heard 3rd hand. My Thai host shared the story with me. He said his officemate was in need of big amount of money for her father who’s battling cancer. Upon the advice of their other officemate his officemate who is need of money went to pray to the Four Faced Buddha. 7 days after she prayed to the Four Faced Buddha she was asked to go S30 hotel in Bangkok to meet a client. When their meeting ended, she went to use the rest room and in the stall the she used she saw a bag that must have been forgotten by somebody. She opened the bag to search for identification as to who might own the bag. What she saw surprised her because there was a huge amount of baht and US dollars inside the bag. She was honest enough to admit that she was really tempted to just get away with the money because it will definitely help her with her financial woes, not to mention the fact tat there was nothing in which she can use to identify the owner of the bag. She even wondered whether this was the help sent by the Four Faced Buddha. As soon as thought of it she also realized that it’s quite impossible that the Four Faced Buddha will be sending help by getting the money from somebody else. She decided to just surrender the bag to the hotel manager.
When she got to reception, there was a frantic girl being consoled by her client. As it turned out the frantic girl is the owner of the bag and she also happens to be the sister of her client. To make the long story short she returned the bag, to the obvious relief of the frantic girl.
Two days later she got a call from her client. Her client knew of her financial problem because of her father illness from her boss, and as it turn out her client’s sister’s father-in-law is an oncologist in Bumrungrad International Hospital in Bangkok, out of gratitude they offered to help her father. Not only will the father-in-law waive his professional fee, he also arranged for somebody to shoulder the medical bills of my host’s officemate’s father. My host said that the father of his officemate is now alive and ‘kicking’! They now visit the Four Faced Buddha every week!

Still another story was shared with me by another devotee who I met online thru the course of my ‘research’ about the Four Faced Buddha. J is a Malaysian Chinese businessman.

He visited the Four Faced Buddha at the Erawan Shrine the first time he visited Bangkok. The tour guide told him that the image is miraculous and that it will grant all good wishes. J said he is not a very religious person but seeing the number of devotees that visits the site something just prompted him to ask for his ‘simple’ wish. He has been hoping to expand his business, having 5 children he wants to make sure that he is able to make sure that all children will have financial wealth that he can passed on to them when he gets older. J said while he was sincere in asking for the Four Faced Buddha’s help, he really didn’t give much thought to it. Until he slowly notices that his business was expanding, getting bigger, and more secured. By that time he has already forgotten about the wish that he has asked from the Four Faced Buddha of Erawan Shrine in Bangkok, Thailand. Nevertheless, he was really thankful. He decided to see a Taoist monk friend; J wants the Taoist monk to conduct a thanksgiving ceremony. While talking to J the Taoist Monk suddenly had a ‘vision’ and told J that the best way for the thanksgiving is to thank a man with four faces.

The Taoist monk was not sure about his vision but J understood it right away! It was the Four Faced Buddha who granted his wish!

Since then J would travel to Bangkok once or twice a year simply to give thanks to the Four Faced Buddha. Every time he is there he would donate some flowers, incense, fruits, Elephant images, and he would always leave 15,OOO Baht as his thanksgiving. In a way he is trying to pay it forward. He also has invited an image of the Four Faced Buddha into his house and all his family even his grandchildren all wear the image of the Four Faced Buddha as an homage to the deity who granted them wealth.


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