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Phra Somdej

 

What is the Phra Somdej?

It is an amulet created by a noble monk with the title of Somdej

, so this amulet is called “Phra Somdej
according to the position of the creator.

 

If the creator is a monk below this title, it will be called “Phra Phim Somdej

, referring to the amulet printed in the form of Phra Somdej. However, a lot of people also called it Phra Somdej because they focus on the characteristics of the amulet than the creator.

The characteristics of Phra Somdej

It has a quadrilateral shape, most of them is rectangular, but there are some trapezoidal shapes, which refer to the land of the Noble Truths. There is an arc within a rectangle frame, meaning the ignorance that covers the world. The base and monk are in a triangular form representing Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha.

 

The center is made in the shape of a Buddha in meditation representing enlightenment, seated on 3 tiers layered seat representing Tipitaka

(see Footnotes). In some variants, there are 7 tiers representing Aparihaniyadhamma
(see Footnotes), or 9 tiers representing the eightfold noble path and Nibbana
. However, there may be differences in the tier layered seat. It depends on the creator how many layers to create and how to mean it, most of which are connected with the Buddha’s principles. Some of the Phra Somdej figures seems to have ears while some do not.
left: 3 tiers, center: 7 tiers, right: 9 tiers

 

Some of the Phra Somdej figure seems to have ears while some do not

What material is it made of?

Usually, it is made from a lot of magic powder. Some Phra Somdej grind leftover dried food from the creator monks’ eating, shell mortar, or grind various sacred objects. Then mixed with many sticky materials to blend together such as bananas, molasses, and honey. And then printed into shapes.

What is it outstanding for?

It is considered white magic. It is the power of goodness. It is believed that it will help protect life in a safe way. Your life will be auspicious, happy, prosperous, and escape from all dangers. The blessings and protection it provides are universal.

The famous Phra Somdej

  1.  Phra Somdej Wat Rakhang
    by Somdej Phra Phutthachan (Toh Phrommarangsi)
    B.E. 2408 –2415
  2. Phra Somdej Bang Khun Phrom
    by Somdej Phra Phutthachan (Toh Phrommarangsi) (B.E. 2411-2413)
  3. Phra Somdej Wat Ketchaiyo
    by Somdej Phra Phutthachan (Toh Phrommarangsi) was created around B.E. 2404 and placed in the pagoda around B.E. 2406-2407
  4. Phra Somdej Arahang by Phra Sangkharaj Suk Kaithuean
    (B.E. 2360-2363)
  5. Phra Somdej Chitlada
    by King Rama 9 (B.E.2508-2513)

See Also

Modern Days Somdej

In the last few decades, there were modifications done to the design of the Somdej. Some were even made of mixed metal alloys.

There are some variants of Somdej which are popular in the recent era, such as:

 

  1. Phra Somdej Kaiser B.E.2529, Wat Arun
  2. Phra Somdej Thansing B.E.2515, Luang Phor Pae, Wat Pikulthong
  3. Phra Somdej Waekmarn B.E.2500, Luang Phor Kuay, Wat Kositaram
  4. Somdej Maha Jakkaphat Chana Marn B.E.2544, Luang Phor Chuen, Wat Ta Ee
  5. Somdej ThanKhatoh B.E.2516, Luang Phor Phrom, Wat Chong Kae

Footnotes:

  1. Phra Somdej amulet was not first created by Somdej Phra Phutthachan (Toh Phrommarangsi) as it is popularly believed. Amulet enthusiasts had studied the historical records going further than 150 years and found that there is a rectangular tablet, or a print of Phra Somdej that was created named “Phra Somdej Arahang” by Phra Sangkharaj Suk Kaithuean, Wat Ratchasittharam Temple or Wat Phlap Temple. However, if you were to search further than this period, for a more retrospective than the “Phra Somdej Arahang” period, there was no historical information or record of any story, whether by the government or from any person with reference to the royal print in any way until the present day.
  2. Bhikkhu-Aparihaniya Sutta: Conditions for No Decline Among the Monks, translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu
    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an07/an07.021.than.html
  3. The Tipitaka – The Tipitaka (Pali ti, “three,” + pitaka, “baskets”), or Pali canon, is the collection of primary Pali language texts which form the doctrinal foundation of Theravada Buddhism. The Tipitaka and the paracanonical Pali texts (commentaries, chronicles, etc.) together constitute the complete body of classical Theravada texts. For more information, refer to –
    https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/

 

 

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