The Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho, Bangkok

The Reclining Buddha is a very popular tourist magnet and also an important object of piety. It is located at Wat Pho which is a Buddhist temple in Phra Nakhon District in Bangkok. Thus, this place is also referred to as ‘Temple of the Reclining Buddha’. The temple was founded in 1781 by Rama I who is also known as King Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke. Officially, the temple is called ‘Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan’. Well, indeed a long and complicated name, hence ‘Wat Pho’ is the usual abbreviation.

The Reclining Buddha

Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho, Bangkok (photo credit: Amporn Konglapumnuay)

Reclining Buddha of Wat Pho, Bangkok (photo credit: Amporn Konglapumnuay)

Thus, the Reclining Buddha can be considered a Buddha image of the early Bangkok period. It is made from brick and stucco and it is lacquered and gilded. This Buddha statue is 15 meters high, measured from the base to the topknot, and 46 meters long according to the info on Wat Pho’s official website.

Buddha Image, Wat Pho

Buddha Image, Wat Pho*

The Great Buddha of Wat Pho is also referred to as the Buddha in the ‘Sleeping Lion Posture’ which is the position in which Buddha died. Buddha lies on the right side with knees slightly bend and the left hand on the thigh. In Buddhism, the ‘Sleeping Lion Posture’ is also the traditionally recommended mode for dying.

The Buddha is enshrined in the Nothwestern area of Wat Pho. What is most special about the image is that the Buddha’s feet are divided into 108 arranged panels which are inlaid with mother-of-pearl. These panels display the 108 auspicious symbols by which Buddha can be identified. Hence, these are symbols of fortune and prosperity like the lotus and symbols of royalty and greatness of an emperor like the throne. In addition, there are other royal belongings depicted as well as parts of the religious cosmology. For instance, these are the universe, the four continents and the oceans.

The Buddha's feet, Wat Pho

The Buddha’s feet, Wat Pho*

The belief in 108 auspicious symbols came from the ancient scripture of Sri Lanka, indicating that these symbols were spotted by the Brahmins on the soles of Prince Siddhartha, who is the historical Buddha, five days after his birth.

Taking a closer look at the auspicious symbols

Taking a closer look at the auspicious symbols*

What is more, there are also 108 bronze bowls in the corridor which serve to indicate the 108 auspicious characters of Buddha. You may donate money in these bowls and this is considered to provide good karma since donations help to maintain the temple.

Here are some impressions of my visit to Wat Pho and the Great Buddha Image.

I hope you enjoyed my little video and tell me, have you been to see the Reclining Buddha? By the way, another popular Buddha Image in Bangkok is the Golden Buddha of Wat Traimit.

Have a nice Sunday everyone! 🙂

Yours, Sirinya

(*all photos in this post are my own, unless otherwise stated)