June 2013

Scene4 Magazine - Luang Por Sila | Janine Yasovant | June 2013

Janine Yasovant
คลิกเพื่ออ่านบทความนี้ เป็นภาษาไทย

I have been writing about Luang Por Sila, an old Buddha statue made of stone from a famous cave in Sukhothai province. This cave has millions of bats and is known as Chao Ram cave. A long time ago, a villager, who gathered bats' excrement for making fertilizer and gunpowder, came across the statue by chance. There were several failed attempts to retrieve the statue from the cave but in the end the head monk of Wat Thung Sa Liam temple at that time prepared a worship ceremony and the statue was respectfully brought out of the cave. There was also the mystery that some of the bats followed the statue to Wat Thung Sa Liam temple. Luang Por Sila had been at Wat Thung Sa Liam for 48 years before the statue was stolen by a group of burglars in 29 October 1977. Fortunately, after years of despair, the Thai government and many other people negotiated with a foreign millionaire who bought Luang Por Sila and returned the statue back to Wat Thung Sa Liam temple safely.

Earlier this year, Kriengkrai Muangmool came to visit and told me about his current project at Wat Thung Sa Liam temple. Previously, I wrote an article for Scene4 in January 2011. Two years later, I found a project for mural paintings that Kriengkrai Muangmool presented to Phra Kru Sukhet Sukhet Sutalankarn, the current head monk of Wat Thung Sa Liam temple, who realized the importance of the return of Luang Por Sila. Kriengkrai Muangmool presented the mural paintings about the history of this temple to attract the attention of people using contemporary Thai art which showed the history and beauty of mural paintings to illustrate events in the reign of the King Bhumibhol Adulyadej (Rama the 9th) and his 85th-year anniversary. He told me that the project was completed with the help of Buddhists from around the world and temple-fundraising that produced over 2 Million Baht. He reported: everything went well and thanked Scene4 Magazine which helped to bring another 32 artists to finish the project. Wat Thung Sa Liam temple is focused to attract people to pay respect to Luang Por Sila                     

In the pavilion where the exhibition is held, we can see many interesting art works in four sections:                     

Part 1: Why life begins

This is a riddle for the beginning and the end of all life forms in the world. To know more about the reasons for life and death within Buddhism's viewpoints, it is very important to learn Dependent Origination (Paticca-samuppada) which is quite similar to principles of cause and effect.

Part 2: Acrylic paintings


The legend of Luang Por Sila is another focal point for Buddhism in Thailand in order to understand the concept of "The Middle Way" (the way to avoid extremes such as self-indulgence and self-torture) which is one of the Buddha's primary teachings.

Part 3: Cylindrical columns in the pavilion


Paintings covered with lacquer and gold sheet illustrate all 10 past lives of the Buddha.
The founding of Thailand covers four periods beginning from Sukhothai, Krung Sri Ayuthaya, Thonburi to the current Rattanakosin period.
The paintings portray works of King Bhumibhol Adulyadej and his visits to Sukhothai province as well as the biography of King Bhumibhol Adulyadej and Queen Sirikit.
Paintings about the legend of Phra Chao Lieb Loak
Paintings about the origin of Ramakian literature in Thailand.


Part 4: There are 74 paintings of the Buddha

In various postures, lacquered and gilded paintings of 108 auspicious symbols in replicas of Buddha's footprints, paintings of origins for 10 elephant families and paintings of various Thai mythical angels. 


Here is a short interview about this project

JY: I have seen many details for Luang Por Sila and the voyage. But something surprised me. It was the image of the robots from the movies Transformers and Real Steel. What was your intention?.  

KM: It is globalization. If you come to Sukhothai Province, You will see 7-11 minimarts on every corner, on every street. This change leads to a new way of living. We now can see a movie on the same day as in the USA. Artists would like to link the world together. As new generations come to the temple, the robots could attract their attention to read the mural paintings.


This is another way to teach young kids to visit the temple and make people enjoy it when they come to visit the heritage of Sukhothai. Attractive mural paintings of Wat Thung Sa Liam temple and Luang Por Sila are a valuable sight for tourists to view.



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Click Here for this article in Thai 
คลิกเพื่ออ่านบทความนี้ เป็นภาษาไทย

©2013 Janine Yasovant
©2013 Publication Scene4 Magazine

Scene4 Magazine: Janine Yasovant
Janine Yasovant is a writer in Chiang Mai, Thailand
and a Senior Writer for Scene4.

For more of her commentary and articles, check the Archives


Scene4 Magazine - Arts and Media


June 2013

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