There has been a craze in the recent years especially amongst the rich East Asian people to collect the Thai amulets which is believed to bring good luck, prosperity as well as positivity in life. Thai amulets are talismans which can be found in different material from wood to plastic to terracotta to more costlier metals like ceramic, silver to gold. These talismans can be found in different shapes (triangular, round, oval etc) and sizes. However, these amulets have one thing in common- they are all designed with different Buddha avatars.
Types of amulet
Amulets can be found in different types depending on the source material that is used for that particular amulet. These can be totally natural where soil is used and a design of hand palm is used to show its sacredness or the source material can be plant where root, leaf or a bulb of a plant is used. Other source material includes animal bone, nail, husk or human bone of the ancestors or famous Buddhist monks. One of the most sought-after amulets is the LP Ruay wat tako which is made after one of the famous monks of Thailand. This amulet is usually gold plated and is used for good luck, protection and prosperity.
Amulets can be divided into male (where designs of small boy, old wise man, baby boy etc are drawn) or female (figures of lady in traditional attire, traditional Goddess with rice etc are drawn) or animals (tigers, crocodile, snake etc which are believed to be Bodhisatvas are drawn).
Why are these amulets popular?
Despite the increased popularity of the amulet industry in the recent years, it can be noted that amulets have been a part of the Thai culture for quite a long time. It was in the 19th century that Thai Buddhism shifted more to the physical aspect of life and material sources became important for happiness and prosperity. This resulted in the rise of the belief on supernatural power of the amulets.
Today, in the modern age, the popularity of the amulets has also resulted it into a big business where amulets are even marketed and advertised for sale. The temples have also a part in this amulet business where they make the customers believe that wearing these amulets will bring their prosperity back or increase the sale in their business or ward off evil eye from their family. The people donate money to these temples and receive an amulet instead.
The Thai people being religious, and conservative do not mind spending millions of Baht on these talismans despite some of these being gold plated and are priced high. One of the most famous and high-priced amulets is Benja Phakhi which is priced at more than $300k. This has however become a reason for apprehension among the traditional religious Buddhists who believes in the spiritual mode of Buddhism which rejects the material or earthly possessions.
Despite the dismay of the traditionalists of Buddhism and the high-priced market, Thai amulets continue to be popular among the people. It may be noted that out of every 10 people, seven have invested their money on amulets or will continue to do so.