Thai amulets became especially popular over the last couple hundred years. At this time, you cannot walk the streets in any town in Thailand and not see Thai citizens wearing Buddhist amulets.
Thais usually wear one of these amulets:
- Luang Phor Tuad
- Kwan Yin
- Black Magic
These are the most popular amulets in Thailand, and the ones that also have the greatest variety in design and composition. There are many more important figures featured on Thai amulets, like demons, Kuman Thong, Nawagote, Nong Kwak, Pidda (Pidta), tigers, dragons, Saliga (love-birds), and many monks like Luang Phor Klai, Ajarn Jumnien, and monks from every major temple in the country.
Some people believe that the special powers that amulets are said to possess came from Thais fusing Animism with Buddhism years ago. This definitely is part of it, and yet Buddhism was so open to such a thing because monks themselves are said to possess certain supernatural powers. Luang Phor Tuad was said to have walked on top of water, as well as changed water in the Bay of Thailand to calm after giant waves nearly capsized his boat. He was said to have turned salty water of the ocean into drinking water for parched passengers in a boat. There are many monks that are said to possess and have possessed (they passed already) supernatural powers. The Buddhist yant tattoos are said to have been created by masters of the supernatural. When authorized monks give you the tattoo – you are blessed to a very high degree and retain the power of the yant – whatever it was designed for. Most yants are designed for protection against evil, physical harm by others, accidents, bad health, and bad luck.
Some monks were revered for being able to control the weather. Some Buddhist figures were known to protect wearers of their amulets from bullets, knives, and death. It is still said in Thailand that a person wearing a traditional Luang Phor Tuad amulet – literally cannot die with it on. There is this pervasive belief that nobody has ever died while wearing that amulet. This is why the Luang Phor amulets are worn so much! The Jatukam amulets skyrocketed in value and importance as the security officer in a bank lived after a gun held to him wouldn’t fire. He wore a traditional Jatukam amulet from Wat Mahathat in Nakhon si Thammarat, one of Thailand’s southern provinces.
Some monks are known to produce lucky numbers. There are followers of these monks that will go to any length to receive a good luck number from these monks. Some go so far as to climb trees and watch the monk go about his daily routine – watching for signs of things they can interpret as numbers. There are some monks that routinely give away numbers that hit on the lotto – for millions of Thai Baht. Is this trickery? Is it real? Are monks able to tap into some supernatural resource that is unreachable by most of us?
The answer appears to lie in the Buddhist texts… or Bible, as some might say…
There are a number of experiences that are available to diligent meditators that have reached at least the Jhana 4 level. These experiences are called Abhinna. They are not Jhana levels, they are different. There are said to be 6 Abhinnas, all of which give the person the power to do, see, hear, or know things that others simply cannot.
The six abhinnas are:
- Divine Eye – dibba cakkhu. Seeing the arising and cessation of the birth of beings.
- Divine Ear – dibba sota, or clairaudience – hearing things that are either far away, or that are literally unable to be heard by human beings typically.
- Knowing the hearts and minds of others – ceto pariya nana (mental telepathy).
- Recalling past lives – pubbe nivasanussati.
- Higher powers – iddhi vidha. This includes walking through solid objects and walking on water, other things that humans are said not to be able to do.
- Extinguishing mental intoxicants – asavakkhaya. This happens as enlightenment (nirvana; nibbana) occurs.
As you can see, if monks able to get into Jhana 4 can accomplish these things, Buddhism is wide open to the idea of other superstitions as being possible as well. Even if these other superstitions have no basis for truth in the Buddhist scriptures.
As it is – Thailand is rife with beliefs of all sorts about good spirits, bad spirits, protection, health, love, magic spells, and anything you can think of.
Many Thais, I would almost say ‘most’ Thais – believe that they should have an altar for Buddhist items in their home, and a spirit house for evil spirits to rest themselves – either in the yard or in their homes.
Some Thais own hundreds of amulets that are meant to protect them from evil spirits and situations occurring during life. Sometimes amulets are bought to earn merit – and keep karma on the positive side of things. My uncle has over 500 Thai amulets on his altar in one of the unused bedrooms upstairs in his home. He also has an old (900 years old) bronze cast statue and many solid silver and gold plated and dipped amulets that cost a lot of money for Thai people. There is almost no limit to what Thais will spend on an amulet that they believe will keep them safe and free from harm and problems during this life.
Are the supernatural powers of amulets real or imagined?
I think that there are cases where it is absolutely real, and there are cases where it is false. I don’t think that science has a good grasp on the supernatural. There are monks that can foresee the future in some ways. I’ve seen it myself. There are monks that can see the creation or cessation of living beings. Whether they can put their power into an amulet or not – I don’t know, and I don’t have any opinion on it. Is it possible? It might be possible – I just cannot say from experience.
We sell over 500 different kinds of amulets on our website here at ThaiAmuletSales.com, and more at ALLBUDDHAS.com. We don’t usually say anything about the power of the amulets because we cannot say from direct experience. We just feel like those that are proclaiming great magical powers from their amulets should be charging what something like that is worth – millions of USD, not $29 dollars. It all seems hypocritical to us.
The difference between our Thai amulets, necklaces, bracelets, bells, incense, t-shirts, yant flags, and other items we sell at our websites is that every item was bought from Buddhist temples here in Thailand. Our items are authentic – 100% – as possible. They cannot be faked. They are genuine and there is none on the market that are more genuine. Of that we are sure.
When we say that this amulet, or that one is for protection from natural disasters or has some other supernatural abilities, we are relaying the information to you about why the amulet was created. There is no doubt that monks like Luang Phor Tuad, Ajarn Jumnien, Luang Phor Klai, all had exceptional powers… Some Thais believe in them more than they believe in themselves.
What you believe is up to you. You can make a lifetime of study of the subject and probably not get very deep. There is so much to know about the claims of thousands of monks in Thailand, or about the claims of followers of the monks about their beloved monks.
Within Thailand there are many levels of believers and non-believers in the power of Buddhist amulets. We believe that a lot is possible, but we are not very well schooled about the subject – despite having lived here for more than thirty years.
Here is a video of the amulet we have pictured above. These are exceptional Jatukam style amulets from Nakhon Si Thammarat temple in southern Thailand – we have a limited number of these left, and the temple only made a limited quantity. If you are in the market for Buddhist amulets, have a look at our amulet shop – it is part of these site at: Thai Amulet Sales home.