|
|
|
|
Search: 
Latin American Herald Tribune
Venezuela Overview
Venezuelan Embassies & Consulates Around The World
Sites/Blogs about Venezuela
Venezuelan Newspapers
Facts about Venezuela
Venezuela Tourism
Embassies in Caracas

Colombia Overview
Colombian Embassies & Consulates Around the World
Government Links
Embassies in Bogota
Media
Sites/Blogs about Colombia
Educational Institutions

Stocks

Commodities
Crude Oil
US Gasoline Prices
Natural Gas
Gold
Silver
Copper

Euro
UK Pound
Australia Dollar
Canada Dollar
Brazil Real
Mexico Peso
India Rupee

Antigua & Barbuda
Aruba
Barbados
Cayman Islands
Cuba
Curacao
Dominica

Grenada
Haiti
Jamaica
Saint Kitts and Nevis
Saint Lucia
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

Belize
Costa Rica
El Salvador
Honduras
Nicaragua
Panama

Bahamas
Bermuda
Mexico

Argentina
Brazil
Chile
Guyana
Paraguay
Peru
Uruguay

What's New at LAHT?
Follow Us On Facebook
Follow Us On Twitter
Most Viewed on the Web
Popular on Twitter
Receive Our Daily Headlines


  HOME | Society (Click here for more)

The Late Thai King, a Representative of Both Buddha and Hindu Deities

BANGKOK – The recently-deceased Thai king was not just a father and a role model to a majority of his subjects, but also the perfect Buddhist monarch and symbolic representative of Hindu gods.

Bhumibol Adulyadej, the world’s longest-reigning monarch who was on the throne for 70 years, passed away Oct. 13 at the age of 88, plunging many Thai citizens, most of whom hadn’t known another king in their lifetime, into grief.

During his long reign, Thailand witnessed modernization, the emergence of imposing skyscrapers and Bangkok’s elevated train on the one hand, along with the maintenance and strengthening of several Hindu rituals associated with the monarchy for centuries.

Thai monarchy expert and Chulalongkorn University law professor Chachapon Jayaphorn told EFE that traditionally, kings of the old Thai kingdoms were considered reincarnations of Hindu gods.

The Thai Grand Palace, where Bhumibol’s body is temporarily resting, is also full of depictions of Hindu and Buddhist symbols, including Indra and his white elephant Erawan, the mythical Mt. Meru and the Emerald Buddha.

The Thai monarch also played the role of Bodhisattva, or someone who has taken the route towards Enlightenment just like Buddha, explains Chachapon.

This eclecticism is also evident in the beliefs of the Thai people, who practice a form of Buddhism with traces of Hinduism and animism; it is believed that upon death, the monarch ascends to the skies to await the moment of his rebirth.

In his will, Bhumibol had said he wanted his body to be laid out in a coffin, but earlier, mortal remains of rulers were placed in a fetal position inside a golden urn.

Funeral rites for the monarch began the day after his death, and will conclude with his cremation within a year.

Buddhist monks chant mantras for him daily, while Hindu priests were sent to the southern province of Prachuap Khiri Khan to pick out the sandalwood trees that will supply the wood for his cremation.

Each day, hundreds or thousands of people dressed in mourning clothes, come to the Grand Palace to pay their respects to the king, who was also known as Rama IX.

He was venerated almost as a deity, but as someone whose merits were the result of his good deeds, rather than his symbolic connection with Hindu gods.

“Everything the king has done has been to help others and he hasn’t asked for anything in return. That is why, personally, I feel he had great compassion and was the guardian angel for all Thais,” Parita, a palace volunteer aged 40, told EFE.

 

Enter your email address to subscribe to free headlines (and great cartoons so every email has a happy ending!) from the Latin American Herald Tribune:

 

Copyright Latin American Herald Tribune - 2005-2015 © All rights reserved