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Saturday, October 13, 2012

Thailand and the Cult of Amulets

Everywhere you look in Thailand you see people wearing, buying and selling amulets. I have tried to do research and get views and opinions from Thais and there is no consensus. The only academic endeavor I have been able to find is by Stanley Jeyaraja Tambiah titled The Buddhist Saints of the forest and the cult of amulets. Now I have already commented on the first half of the document, but in looking for comments or attacks on the second part of the book have been able to find no criticism.

The amulets have no place in Buddhism, but are an important part of pseudo Buddhism in Thailand as they create a lucrative business,
Just the other day being driven off the road by what appeared to me to be a maniac, could well have been an amulet wearer, protected by some superstition of invincibility driving too fast with no lights on wet roads. Just how many deaths to these superstitious non Buddhists cause a day, week or year?
I wear an amulet and it is the only amulet I know of that does not include superstition or any type of worship. I have a Chang amulet and it is the only one I know of that does not insult Buddhist teaching and involves no superstition. As I told an amulet wearing Thai, I can prove my amulet works and I want him to prove his does as well. Of course he could not, while I enjoyed my bottle of Chang.
More soon on the cult of amulets in Thailand