Friday, June 22, 2007

231206 Wat Sikhounmuang - 04

Mr White's counterparts - Mr Brown & Mae Thorani:


Golden eyebrows & fangs that are possible only with the flattest of cheekbones:


แม่พระธรณี Mae Phra Thorani, the Mother Earth or Earth Goddess:


When the evil Mara sent his three daughters to seduce Buddha & then his army to stop Buddha from attaining enlightenment, the latter touched the ground (depicted as the 'calling the earth to witness' pose in statues) & Mae Thorani appeared. The water (representing the good merit accumulated by Buddha) she wrung from her hair caused a flood that drowned Mara's daughters & army.

A statue of Mae Thorani protecting Buddha will be found in every Thai & Lao temple, sometimes beside or in front of the main Buddha image on the altar, or outside the viharn. She is also called upon as a witness during กรวดน้ำ gruat nam (lit. pour water), when people pour water into a container while chanting & then empty it onto the ground, to share the merit they have made with the deceased (during ceremonies for weddings, dead ancestors, ordinations, house blessings, etc). The cat likes to think of it as topping up the water in Mae Thorani's hair ;)

Lao women all seem to have adopted her as their style icon - outside of the cities (& even within) it seems virtually impossible to find any Lao lady with short hair except for mae chee (nuns). Mae Thorani also appears in the logo of the Thai Democrat Party. At the rate the environment is being destroyed in Thailand, the cat thinks there is a need for Mae Thorani & แม่คงคา Mae Khongkha (Goddess of the Waters) to sort things out where politicians have failed time & again.

Drum tower:


Wat Sikhounmuang, Muang Khua, khwaeng (province) Phongsaly:


Using the Lao romanisation adopted by Wat Nong Sikhounmuang in Luang Prabang...the Thai romanisation would be Sikhunmeuang.

America's contribution to Buddhism in Lao - bomb casings for temple bells:


Sand stupa:


According to a lao*miao consultant, sand stupas are built not only during Pi Mai Lao/Songkran, but also to make merit during events like the ordination of a novice.

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