Connect with us

Thai Life

The legend of the Emerging Buddha – Phuket History

Legacy Phuket Gazette

Published

 on 

PHUKET: Wat Phra Thong, or the “Temple of the Golden Buddha”, at first glance may seem like any other temple in Phuket. This old temple, located in Thalang district in the northern part of the island, was built during the 18th century towards the end of the Ayutthaya period. Walking into the main chapel, visitors will be greeted with a peculiar sight that begs for a story.

A large golden Buddha image is set in the middle of the chapel, but only the upper half of it is visible. The rest of the Buddha image is actually buried deep underground. Wat Phra Thong, which is sometimes called Wat Phra Phood or “Temple of the Emerging Buddha”, has a fascinating history which is shrouded in legend.

According to local stories, the Emerging Buddha was first discovered many years ago in a field used for raising cattle and livestock. That morning, a severe storm broke out and heavy rain caused the field to flood, destroying rice crops that the villagers had been growing, and felling several trees in the area. When the rains finally stopped, a young boy who was the son of a local farmer led his buffalo into the wet field for the animal to graze.

When he reached the field, the farmer’s son tried to find a tree branch or a post to tie the buffalo to, but because the storm had broken most of the low hanging branches that he previously used, the boy had to look elsewhere for a sturdy post. His eyes soon fell upon what looked like a huge tree stump in the middle of the field, covered with wet mud. Thinking he had found the ideal post, the boy tied his buffalo to the stump and left it there to graze.

The story says that when the boy reached home however, he suddenly had a strange seizure that caused his body to fall to the ground. Later that morning, the farmer’s son died. The farmer, horrified by the sudden death of his son was grief stricken. He gave his son a proper burial and after that, he set out to look for the buffalo that had been left in the field. When he reached the site where the buffalo had been tied, he was stunned to find the buffalo lying on its side, dead, still tied to the strange stump. Fearful of the strange object, the farmer cut loose the rope and with the help of a few other villagers, took the dead buffalo away from the site to be buried elsewhere.

That night the farmer had a dream. In his dream, a being came up to him and explained that the reason why his son and the buffalo had died was because his son had tied the beast to the “Ketu Mala”, or the topmost part of a sacred Buddha image. The farmer woke up startled. The next morning, he asked a few villagers to go back with him to the field where the buffalo had been found dead. They found the mud-covered stump and began washing it with water and scrubbing away the mud. Soon the topmost part of the golden Buddha began to emerge and shine in the sun. The farmer had discovered a golden Buddha image, much of which was buried deep underground.

News of the discovery travelled rapidly and people began to flock to the statue to offer their prayers and seek the Buddha’s blessings. Soon the Governor of Thalang himself came to know of the recently discovered Buddha image and it unsettled him to know that the sacred image had been buried under mud and dirt for years. He therefore ordered the villagers of Thalang to dig the statue out of the ground and take it to a more suitable place. The villagers tried to dig the Buddha image out of the ground. As they dug deeper, it is said that swarms of locusts and wasps started emerging from the disturbed ground that had been dug around the image. They wreaked havoc by stinging anyone who was digging around the Buddha, but spared the worshipers that were also there, only mere footsteps away offering their prayers.

Many diggers were hurt badly by wasp stings and some later died. When witnesses reported the occurrence to the Governor of Thalang, he ordered them to suspend any digging around the Buddha image. Instead the Governor of Thalang ordered the building of a shelter around the exposed top of the golden Buddha image. A roof was built to shield the image against sun and rain.

Many years later, a travelling monk came to Thalang and saw the buried golden Buddha. The monk was afraid that the golden tip of the image, the only part of the Buddha that emerged from the ground, could be cut off and stolen. He therefore encouraged the villagers to encase the exposed part of the golden Buddha with cement made from seashells and sand, concealing it from view. In my next column, we will find out more about the legend of the golden Buddha and how the temple of the emerging Buddha was built.

Anand Singh is an avid Phuket Historian and can be contacted here.

— Anand Singh

 

Get more from The Thaiger

📱 Download our app on Android or iOS
👋 Have your say on our Thailand forums
🔔 Subscribe to our daily email newsletter
📺 Subscribe / Join YouTube for daily shows
👍 Like/Follow us on Facebook
🐦 FOLLOW us on Twitter
📷 FOLLOW us on Instagram

image

Join the conversation and have your say on Thailand news published on The Thaiger.

Thaiger Talk is our new Thaiger Community where you can join the discussion on everything happening in Thailand right now.

Please note that articles are not posted to the forum instantly and can take up to 20 min before being visible. Click for more information and the Thaiger Talk Guidelines.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

Follow Thaiger by email:

Thailand1 hour ago

Bangkok Airways extends flight suspension to August 11

Thailand2 hours ago

7 Jomtien Beach curfew breakers arrested

Thailand2 hours ago

Buri Ram pig stable converted into gambling den: 22 arrests follow

Sponsored1 day ago

Experience Phuket’s Islands with 5 Star Marine

Welcome back to Thailand!

Thaiger is getting behind local businesses for the restart of tourism in Thailand - up to 50% discounts across all advertising packages!

Thailand3 hours ago

“Fake news” banned, Thai media say order infringes on freedoms

Phuket4 hours ago

Precarious Phuket: open internationally, closed domestically

Best of4 hours ago

Top 5 tattoo parlours Bangkok

image
Join the conversation on the Thaiger Talk forums today!
World4 hours ago

Duterte approves lockdown measures for Manila

Best of4 hours ago

The Best Pizza in Bangkok with Delivery

Thailand4 hours ago

Thailand News Today | worker camp woes, ‘fake news’ crackdown | July 30

Best of4 hours ago

Best Premium Hotel Buffets in Bangkok

Coronavirus (Covid-19)5 hours ago

CCSA considers extending restrictions in “dark red” zones for another 14 days

Thailand5 hours ago

Fake dead bodies used in Phuket protest, police plan real investigation

Best of5 hours ago

Top 5 adventure tours in Chiang Mai

Best of5 hours ago

Top 5 affordable hotels in Chiang Mai

Coronavirus (Covid-19)7 hours ago

Friday Covid Update: 17,345 new cases; provincial totals

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Thai Airways in rehab, All go for Songkran | March 4

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket’s nightlife. Yes, bars and clubs are still open | VIDEO

Phuket5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid passport talks, Thai Airways heads to court | March 2

Tourism5 months ago

Phuket Thai food treats you need to try | VIDEO

Thailand5 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bars, pubs and restaurants ‘sort of’ back to normal | Feb 23

Tourism5 months ago

In search of Cat & Dog Cafés in Phuket Town | VIDEO

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Gambling crackdown, Seafood market to reopen, Vlogger challenge | Jan 21

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid testing for visas, Business impact, Vaccine approval | January 19

Thailand6 months ago

Thailand News Today | Weekend Bangkok bombs, Thailand fires, Covid update | January 18

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Stray car on runway, Indonesian quake, 300 baht tourist fee | January 15

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Governor off respirator, sex-trafficking arrest, condo prices falling | January 14

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Chinese vaccine, Thailand ‘drug hub’, Covid update | January 13

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Bangkok may ease restrictions, Phuket bar curfew, Vaccine roll out | January 12

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Covid latest, Cockfights closed down, Bryde’s Whale beached | January 11

Thailand7 months ago

Thailand News Today | Southern floods, Face mask fines, Thai Air Asia woes | January 8

Trending