Wednesday, January 23, 2008

History of Phra Mongkon Bopit

Wat Mongkon Bopit is another one of the popular temples in Ayuttaya. The current temple building was built in 1956, but the Buddha image inside the temple, Phra Mongkon Bopit had been around since the early Ayuttaya Period (1448-1602 CE).
It is one of the largest bronze Buddha images in Thailand, measuring 9.55m from knee to knee and 12.45m high without the base. However the image was almost destroyed twice in its long history. In 1706 CE its head was damaged by lightning and it was only restored decades later during the reign of King Boromakot (1742-43 CE). Another shot of the Buddha where many "white orbs" could be seen. When Ayuttaya fell to the Burmese in 1767 CE, the Vihara's roof was burned and again the head and its right arm was broken. It was left like that for more than 180 years and it was until 1956 that the temple and image was completely restored once again. In 1990 Phra Sangharaj presided over a candle lighting ceremony before Phra Mongkon Bopit, making a call for people to make merit by covering it in gold leaf. HM Queen Sirikit was the first to answer the call by donating 70,000 baht to the restoration fund. The people followed suit and eventually we have the Phra Mongkon Bopit completely plated in gold as we can see today.
This is the silver Phra Kring that I obtained from the temple 3 years ago in 2005. It was consecrated in 2538 BE (1995 CE). Visiting the temple again on 18.01.2008, I found that things have changed a lot, and the compounds outside the temple has since become a tourist market.
This is the latest 3-inch Bucha of Phra Buddha Mongkon Bopit that I obtained from the temple in July 2008. It is made of black bronze material. This bucha was consecrated in 2539 (1996). Gold-foil coated ones are also available.
The gold-foil coated 3" bucha I obtained in Jan 2009.

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