You may know someone or have witnessed a colleague with seemingly impeccable, almost mystical luck. You might be vaguely aware of the fact that this luck seems to coincide with their yearly prayer retreats to Thailand. This serendipity may be the result of specific prayers and offerings made to the Jaydee
corresponding to their year of birth (to learn a little more about the enormous benefits to be reaped from worshipping Jaydee, refer to our article on “Knowledge of Jaydee”)
In Part 1, we will delve into the specifics of this topic, relating to people born in the year of the Mouse, Cow, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, and Snake.
The Worship of Relics
Worshiping the relics of one’s astrological birth year is a belief rooted in the ancient traditions of the Lanna
. They relied on these relics for spiritual refuge and support, and thus undertook great pains to preserve, revere, and maintain them. Paying respects to these relics, sometimes as often as every night, grew to become an important tradition among them, and it was believed that making a yearly pilgrimage to worship them at the appropriate temple, would only serve to further amplify the magnitude of the merits accumulated. Worshipping at the appropriate Jaydee for your year of birth is also analogous with the Lanna tradition of Khuen Phrathat
an annual pilgrimage of merit-making where people visited temples housing sacred relics.
In the ancient Lanna belief system, each person’s soul had to reside in a ‘Dhātu-gabbha’
, before transitioning to their mother’s womb. Buddhist teachings dictate that the universe is constituted of 4 elements; Earth, Water, Wind, and Fire, associated with solidity, fluidity, motion, and heat respectively. Dhātu
refers to the 4 basic elements of existence (in Buddhism, it is believed that the body will return to these 4 basic elements upon death), and Gabbha
means ‘womb’ or ‘container’.
At the time of birth, the spirit would ascend and perch atop the father’s head for 7 days, before moving to the mother’s womb in preparation for emergence into the realm of the living. At the end of life, the spirit then returns to the appropriate Jaydee for its year of birth, before passing into the next life.
1. The Year of the Rat
People born in the year of the rat, should pay respects at Phrathat Sri Chom Thong
Phrathat Sri Chom Thong enshrines Phra Thaksin Moleethat
; a relic from the right side of the Buddha’s head. This relic is round, with a dull white color. Its size is equal to the grain of the corn, round shape, white like the color of the zucchini flower (dried Pikul
flower). Homages are paid on the Full-moon day of the nine lunar months, corresponding to the day of Khuen Phrathat.
Within the pagoda, several relics are enshrined, such as the Buddha’s hair, part of his right forehead, and the front and back of his neck. While worshiping the relics, devotees may also observe the Phrathat silhouette on the ground adjacent to them. This silhouette resembles the outline of the zen monk, Bodhidhamma
as he sat for 9 years within a cave at the Shaolin temple.
Only men may enter the shrine. Homages are generally paid on the Full-moon day of the second lunar month; the day of Khuen Phrathat.
near Phrathat Lampang Luang (within the same temple premises) that contains the silhouette of the Buddha
According to the legend surrounding this pagoda, the Buddha had a vision that a town called Muang Phrae
would one day occupy the site. Centuries later, a PhraArahant
and King Ashoka
asked for the Buddha’s hair to be interred in a glass urn, and brought to the cave on the east side of the Doi (Mountain). At the Buddha’s request, relics from his left elbow were also to be enshrined here after his ascension to nibbana. The presence of both these relics, along with the fact that the site had functioned as a spiritual sanctuary for millennia, made the site doubly sacred. Homages are paid on the 11th – 15th day of the 6th waxing moon; the day of Khuen Phrathat.
When the Buddha came to spread the word of his philosophies at Phu Phiang
(the name of the mountain), Ananda
asked the Buddha for a lock of hair, which Indra stored in a cave tunnel. This relic, along with the left wrist of the Buddha, was rediscovered during the Phraya Karn Mueang
period (1358 – 1363), and the Phrathat Chae Haeng pagoda was built in their honor. This pagoda was sacred to the city of Nan, and its sanctity remains to this day. Homages are paid to it on the 15th day of the 6th waxing moon; the day of Khuen Phrathat.
design of the day, emphasizing stark, unfussy beauty (refer to our article on “Knowledge of Jaydee” to learn about the various types of pagodas in Thailand). Its construction was ordered by Phrajao Pha Yu
, the ruler of Chiang Mai in 1345. It was later rebuilt during the Kruba Srivichai
period, around 1926, and houses relics from the continent of Lanka. For individuals born in Year of the Dragon, a pilgrimage to the temple at least once in their life is said to be key to unlocking the highest degree of good fortune. Homages are paid between the 12th – 15th day of the 7th waxing moon; the day of Khuen Phrathat.
All these pagodas feature 7 roofs and enshrine the relics of King Tilokkaraj
, the King of Lanna. The Thai temples were also the site of the 8th revision of the Buddhist Tripitaka
, the first time this was conducted in Thailand. All of these have conferred sacredness upon their hallowed grounds, and even people not born in the year of the Snake have been known to pay homages and seek blessings here. There is no specific date for Khuen Phrathat here.