The Grand Palace

A golden city in the middle of an urban jungle

IMG_0905Guarded by demons of gold


And of all color


And sizes


It’s a place of worship


Of offerings


And incense, and a carabao(?) bull(?) statue


It’s the home of the Emerald Buddha (who you’re not allowed to take a picture of)


No, wait, it was this one:


The point is, it’s awesome. Go there.

But don’t sneak in pretending to be Thai.

(And this is an example of hurried blogging because I am going to be late to work.)


Sak Yant

Ink on the flesh is a personal matter. It is nobody’s business but your own. I think there is something impressive about a practice that has survived the times and set aside borders.

I’m not a rookie when it comes to getting inked. I’ve had, sometimes people think, too many. Each one having their own unique value. It didn’t occur to me to take home a tattoo as my souvenir from my trip to Thailand, but after seeing the intricate designs and learning about their meaning, I was intrigued.

My friend drove me to Wat Bang Phra on my last day in Thailand. The temple was well-known for the Sak Yants or Sacred Tattoos the monks gave daily. I hadn’t made up my mind on which Sak Yant I wanted. I knew I didn’t want the Ha Taew which was made famous by Angelina Jolie. Even though the meaning of the Ha Taew was pretty awesome.

Instead, I opted for the Yant Putsoorn, also known as, Yant Pra jao Ha Praongk.

photo (13)The Yant Putsoorn contains the “Na Moe Put Taa Ya” mantra that Buddhists chant in prayer. These are the initial of the 5 Buddhas, it is also the five ways of teaching or realizing the dhamma (truth). The chant means: improve your horoscope, and make you loved and charming to others, lucky and safe, healthy and happy, wealthy and wise.

I’m not Buddhist. I know that information because I Googled it. But I know that there are certain things I agree with about Buddhism, I know because I went to temple several times, I’ve been to a mosque and I’ve been to church. There are a lot of things to take away from the various teachings of the various religions from around the world and every now and then I learn something that I like to carry around with me. Getting a Buddhist Tattoo might have been pretentious and trendy, but going through the experience in the quiet temples in Wat Bang Phra getting tattooed by an ajarn in the traditional style and getting the tattoo blessed, at that very moment felt incredible. I felt the power of faith. I felt the power of connection; with the ajarn, the 5 Buddhas, and with the old tradition of the Sak Yants.