Bathing the Sacred Heart
TEMPLE SECRETS ESSAY 5
This photographic essay is an account of a festive occasion on March 3, 2017 at Wat Ta Pong. The event was designed to bathe the “sacred heart” of the chedi of Wat Ta Pong, as well as to provide Buddhists an opportunity to make merit and to obtain the benefits of a sub jata life extension ceremony. For more extensive accounts of several of the key terms please follow the links to the following previous essays:
“Sacred Heart” see: www.kendobson.asia/blog/traveling-hearts
“Chedi” see: www.kendobson.asia/blog/chedi
“Sub jata” see: www.kendobson.asia/blog/subjata
This photo account will be limited to ten pictures with the following explanations:
1.“Front of the Wiharn” This is the morning sun reflected off the gilded front of the assembly hall of Wat Ta Pong, Sanpatong District, Chiang Mai, Thailand.
2.“Loading Donations” People made merit by attaching sleeves of money to a rope pulley to be symbolically offered to the Lord Buddha symbolized in the chedi, which is called “Phra That”
3.“Offerings at the Door” As people entered the assembly hall they made traditional offerings of flowers, candles and incense as well as a coin. These were later offered to honor the Lord Buddha.
4.“The Bishop Arrives” Monks from several temples in the area were included in the ceremony, presided over by the leader of monks of the district, whose duties are similar to those of a Christian bishop. He was the senior monk present for the occasion.
5.“Guest Monks Donating” As the monks arrived they paid respects to the abbot of Wat Ta Pong.
6.“Leader of the Ceremony” A ceremony to “bathe the sacred heart” is a special occasion. The leader for the ceremony was a specialist in this ceremony. He opened the ceremony with a recitation venerating the sacred heart of the Lord Buddha.
7.“Phra-boroma lika-that enshrined” The sacred heart had been removed from its repository in the chedi and was encased in a crystal goblet with a gold crown.
8.“Opening Chant Ends” The opening service ended with the people’s offerings being presented by the monk presiding at the rite.
9.“Leaving the Wiharn” The “bishop” carried the sacred heart vessel between lines of worshipers who showered it with marigold petals.
10.“Positioning the Sacred Heart” The crystal inside the vessel was put in place in a temporary shrine where it would be bathed with water poured by faithful into a pipe.
That was the end of the bathing ceremony. A subjata life extension merit making ceremony followed in the wihara.
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Rev. Dr. Kenneth Dobson posts his weekly reflections on this blog.