Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Symbolical Representation of Wat Rong Khun (The White Temple) at Chiang Rai, Thailand

Wat Rong Khun (or also known as White Temple) in Chiang Mai Province is a gateway to the new exploration of contemporary Thai artistry. Built by a reknown artist, Chalermchai Kositpipat, it is an extraordinary temple in which he wishes to dedicate to His Majesty the King.

 The whole temple is mainly in white According to Chalermchai, the temple complex will comprise of nine buildings, each of his own distinct architectural style, but all symbolising Buddhist philosophy and Dharma. He intends to portrait this temple as to symbolise Buddhist philosophy and teachings via his own brilliant imagination and passion in contemporary Thai art. It is mainly designed in white colour with some use of white glass. The white color stands for Buddha’s purity, while the white glass stands for Buddha’s wisdom that "shines brightly all over the Earth and the Universe."

The bridge leading to the temple represents the crossing over from the cycle of rebirth to the Abode of Buddha:

wheareas the small semicircle before the bridge stands for the human world. The big circle with fangs is the mouth of Rahu, meaning impurities in the mind, a representation of hell or suffering:

Many other figurines and carvings at the mouth of the bridge and around the temple:
Figures representing man and woman in the sensual realm.

The two guardians of the temple.
The Buddha image is positioned in such a way that it is as if floating in the fire of samsara, being so serene and untouched by the impurities.

On the roof, there are four kinds of animals representing earth, water, wind and fire. The elephant stands for the earth; the naga stands for water; the swan's wings represent wind; and the lion’s mane represents fire:

The most interesting part of the temple, however, lies inside the assembly hall (ubosot). The four walls, ceiling and floor contain paintings showing an escape from the defilements of temptation to reach a supramundane state. It's the area that represents human mind, Chalermchai explained. The Buddha statue seems to be floating in the timelessness of space, giving you the surreal feeling of the abode of god.

Nowadays, Wat Rong Khun is still being constructed. When completed, the construction project of Wat Rong Khun will consist of nine buildings as mentioned: the ubosot, the hall containing Buddha’s relics, the hall containing Buddha images, the preaching hall, the contemplation hall, the monk’s cell, the door façade of the Buddhavasa, the art gallery, and the toilets.

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