The Sanctuary of Truth in Pattaya, Thailand
Today I’d like to take you on a photographic journey to the Sanctuary of Truth (ปราสาทสัจธรรม) which is a temple construction in Pattaya, Thailand. The Sanctuary is also known as Wang Boran and Prasat Mai.
The Sanctuary of Truth
The special characterisitc of this temple is that it is completely constructed from wood. Thus, it is a great example of the art of Thai woodcarving. The sanctuary harbours numerous wooden scupltures from Buddhist and Hindu mythology.
However, in the top of the building, which is 105 meters high, there are also pieces of modern visionary art exhibited. In 1981, the temple complex was initiated by Lek Viriyaphant who is also the founder of the Erawan Museum in Samut Prakan. Actually, the Sanctuary of Truth is not completed yet and the year for its completion is supposed to be in 2050.
The temple construction is a unique and fine example of Thai architecture and it is also reminiscent of ancient Khmer buildings. There are four monumental towers representing images from the Buddhist and Hindu religions and mythologies of Asian countries like Cambodia, China, India and Thailand. Hence, the Sanctuary honours the ancient civilizations of Southeast Asia and their accomplishments.
Therefore, the Sanctuary of Truth also gives credit to the seven creators which are of vital importance to man because without them, he cannot exist. These creators are Heaven, Earth, Father, Mother, Moon, Sun and the Stars. Thus, the purpose of this temple complex is to use art and culture in order to reflect Eastern philosophy and the ancient knowledge and vision of Southeast Asia. Visitors are invited to take a glimpse at and experience ancient knowledge, the connectedness of all beings and the cycle of life.
The Sanctuary of Truth is divided into different halls. Hence, the 1st hall is about the origin and stands for the earth, the four elements and the universe. According to Hindu belief, Shiva is the God of Earth and Fire (beginning and end), Vishnu is the God of Water and thus the preserver of life, while Brahma is the God of the Wind and thus the creator. Trimurati is the God of the Universe and the universal aspect.
The 2dn hall represents the sun, moon and stars and thus symbolizes the created environment. The sun, moon and stars are also creators because without the sun there would neither be day nor night. The moon causes tideing and the stars are the reason for every cause. Hence, everything and even the creators are interconnected.
The 3rd hall represents Parental Love which also stands for unconditional love, starting a family, tranquility and peace. In this way, the hall also represents father and mother who are givers. They do not ask anything in return for their love and the receivers, the children, are grateful and pay respect to their parents. The 4th hall stands for the world supporter and thus for the Bodhisattva who is the Buddha. His attributes are love, compassion, selflessness and service to others. What is more, this is also the basis for all religions.
Finally, the Centre Hall stands for the four noble truths that the Buddha has preached to all men. It means that human beings can understand the wheel of life and overcome suffering in order to reach Nirvana.
Hence, the four spires on the top roof represent the four elements: there is a female celestial being holding a book representing the continuation of philosophy and morality. The other female celestial that holds a pidgeon in her hand stands for peace. The male celestial with a lotus flower represents the establishment and continuation of religion. Finally, the celestial holding the hand of a child and leading the elderly represents life.
Summing up, we may say that the Sanctuary of Truth is an amazing temple construction and a stunning example of Thai woodcarving that captures the ancient vision of the earth. I really recommend a visit to this place 🙂
*all photos in this post by Amporn Konglapumnuay