Thai Literature : Wat Arun “The Temple of Dawn” Documentary

Thai Literature : Wat Arun “The Temple of Dawn” Documentary


My name is Helena Amarantinis My name is Sirapope Tanyapuch And today we are here at one of Thailand’s most iconic landmark, Wat Arun Ratchawararam Wat Arun Ratchawaram Ratchaworamawihan
is a Buddhist temple located on the Thonburi west bank of the Chao Phraya river. It is known by locals, Thais, and Bangkokians
as the temple of dawn, and derives its name from the god “Aruna”, the sun god in
Hindu cosmology. The temple is also a royal
temple of King Rama II His majesty Prah Phuttaloetlah Napalai As he has ordained into monkhood right here on this sacred ground. Wat Arun’s history could be traced back
to the Ayutthaya period, where it is said that the temple existed since the seventeenth century. It was then known as Wat Makok, which is named after Bang Makok village, which was situated around the temple grounds.
For a short period of time Wat Arun was also home to the famous emerald buddha image before it was being transferred to Wat Phra Kaew during the Rattanakosin era It was during this time that the temple was
given a new name ‘Wat Chaeng’ by his majesty king Taksin during his reign as king. The name change and transformation , however, from Wat Chang to Wat Arun came about when King Taksin used to travel by boat and usually stops at this
temple everyday during dawn, hence the name “Arun”. However, after King Rama I moved the palace to
the other side of the river, the temple was abandoned. and It wasn’t until the reign of King Rama ll
that the temple was restored and the main pagoda was raised up to 70 meters. The distinctive Prang Prang that Wat Arun is known
for today was also constructed during this period. None of the evilness could penetrate Wat Arun or ‘Temple of Dawn’ since there are two guardian giants on the riverside of the eastern chapel entrance As you can see both giants were coated with Thai tile And also both giants were designed and made in the reign of King Rama III As you can see, the green one is Totsakan While the white one is Sahasadech In Wat Arun both giants were responsible to protect the door of The Holy Temple According to folklore, the Wat Chaeng Giants and Wat Pho Giants always have a fight together. It is commonly acknowledged that Phra Pang
of Wat Arun Ratchawararam was built to represent Mount Meru as a depiction in Buddhist cosmology. There is an assumption that the temple’s
entire public precinct constitutes an architectural representation of the structure of the worlds
and the universes according to Buddhist belief during the Early Rattanakosin period. There are mainly two sections of the temple
which it is considered as a representation of the concept of the cosmology in the buddhist
belief The first section originally existed when
the temple was known as Wat Chaeng. It holds Phra Prang, Phra Ubosot Noi and Phra
Wihan Noi. This section outlines how the cosmos is represented
according to Buddhist belief. For the second section, it is the area encompassing
the present-day Phra Ubosot and the surrounding area stretching from the river bank to the
front hall. This section represents Jambudhiva which is
the continent in which it is believed that human being is locating in. The second section also is related to the
story of the Buddha. For the art , it illustrates the Buddha’s
past lives as being Bodhisattva who had accumulated
various perfect virtues as well as the last
one of being the buddha-to-be, Prince Siddhartha. The portrayal helps intensify and glorify
the perfection of the Buddha among buddhists. The most outstanding feature of Wat Arun is
its Principle Phra Prang which is known to be the largest and the most magnificent Pagoda of Rattanakosin. Due to its architectural and artistic style
including its corn-cob shape, sculptures and the color of the tiles, this principal pagoda represents
Mount Sumeru which is the center of the Traiphum universe. The main body of the spires are embellished with sculptures of
Indra riding his elephant Erawan. This sculpture of Indra is a symbolic realization
of Tavatimsa Heaven or Daowadueng. At the Phra Prang’s apex is the Nopphasun
topped by a mongkut which symbolizes the Phai chayon Prasat of Indra or the pinnacle of
Indra’s celestial palace. According to Chote Kalayanamitra, this could
be an allusion to Indra as the Nopphasun is in fact Indra’s weapon. Phra Prang has four-tiered pedestal. There is one tier of Than Phaithi and 3 tiers
of Than Prathaksin. According to Traiphummilokawinitchai, Mount
Meru has the base of 4 tiers, which this matches with those of the Phra Prang’s pedestal.
With this explanation, we can also understand
why there are many deities sculptures supporting the Phra Prang. These Yak, devatas and monkeys represents
the deities’ forces against army of Asura. However, the tier with the monkey sculptures
seems to relate more to the beliefs in Phra Rama and the Ramakien since in Early Rattanakosin period, this belief in Ramakien is the dominant influence that has impact on many art
and architecture during that period. Moreover, the second and third tiers of the
Than Prathalsin has the sculptures of kinnara and kinnari, flowers and vases. This represents the Himavat Forest which located
at the base of Mount Sumeru In conclusion, we can interpret the tiered pedestal of the principle Phra Prang as the
tiered base of Mount Meru. Behind me is the satellite Prang or Pra Prang Boriwan There are actually 4 satellite prang that
are located at the 4 corners of the main Phra Prang These satellite prang represent the 7 ranges
of the Sattaparibhanda (เขาสัตตบริภัณฑ์) that are located in Himavat forest between
Mount Sumeru and the four continents in Buddhist universe. As you can see that there are sculptures of
the mythical creatures of the Himavat forest at the base of the satellite Prang This includes Kinaree, Kinorn There are also the sculpture of Krut and Nak at the top of the satellite Prang The courtyard here represents the ocean that surrounds the Sattaparibhanda mountains and
this ocean is where the 4 continents are situated. The 4 continents are represented by stone
slabs (แท่นศิลา) situated at the 4 corners of the courtyard
According to Traiphum universe, in each continent there is an indigenous tree that serves as
a symbol for that continent. Therefore, there is a tree located next to
each stone slab to represent each continent in Traiphum universe. This is one of the significant halls or in
Thai we call “Phra Ubosot” located in Wat Arun. Phra Ubosot represents the geographical features
of Majjhimadesa (มัชฌิมประเทศ) and Jambu Continent where Bodhibanlang (โพธิบัลลังค์)
is located. Inside this Phra Ubosot, there is The Buddha image
seated in the Subduing Mara pose or Mara Vichaya which is believed that it was cast by King
Rama II. This Buddha image symbolizes Bodhipallanka
(โพธิบัลลังค์) which is the center of Majjhimadesa (มัชชฌิมประเทศ)
in Jambu continent. Besides
the Buddha image, the most significant thing that should be mentioned is the “mural painting” For the mural painting, there are two main
aspects especially the stories of the Buddha, including Ten births of the Buddha
and the story of Prince Siddhartha. It can be seen that the mural painting looks
like the realistic paintings because it was
influenced by western culture during the time
it was renovated in the reign of King Rama V Therefore, there are the paintings of western culture shown in this Ubosot indicating their influence in that period. For the use of color, the contrasting colors
are mainly used. Additionally, gold leaf was applied on the
clothes and accessories of devadas, kings, governors, and places such as the palace to
distinguish them from the normal ones For the Ten births before becoming the Buddha,it
tells the Buddha’s accumulation of merit as Bodhisattva until he ultimately reached nibbana in his last life The ten births include: Temiya Jataka (the mute prince)
Show virtue of renunciation by abdicating
the throne Mahajanaka Jataka (the lost Prince)
Where the buddha as a true crown prince, shows tremendous effort in claiming back the throne Sama Jataka (the devoted Son)
He was born as a son of ordinary couple. In this life, he shows greatest compassion
in taking care of his blinded parents Nimi Jataka (the noble King)
As a noble king, in this life he was so determined in making merit by giving to people and maintaining
chastity. Mahosadhan Jataka (the clever Sage)
In his fifth life, he was born as a child prodigy, but although he was blessed with
wisdom, he always use it in the light of morality. BhuridatthaJataka (the Naga Prince)
Show the virtue of morality by strictly staying in the precepts without any violation. Canda-Kumara Jataka (the honorable Prince)
Show the virtue of tolerance by trying to stop the king from doing bad deeds without
giving up he has shown the virtue of tolerant Narada Jataka (the great Brahma)
Show the virtue of equanimity by explaining the punishment of each hell to the king who
refused to acknowledge that his deeds is considered as good or bad leading the ignorant king to recognised his own doing. Vidhura-Pandita Jataka (the eloquent Sage)
Show the virtue of truthfulness by being truthful to himself and others even when it might cause him his life And lastly, Vessandara Jataka, this Jataka is considered ‘mahachat’ the most prominent life time among the ten that appeared on the mural painting the Buddha was born
as a prince who has given out all of his important possessions, even his wife and
children. This generosity is considered as one of the
greatest virtues that allowed the Buddha to finally attain Nibbana. Which is why it is the most highlighted virtue shown on the moral painting at Wat Arun as well For the part of the story of Prince Siddhartha,
the episodes of his life which portray on the mural paintings include his birth, the
Great Renunciation, Enlightenment, the bliss of Emancipation, his first sermon, the principal
miracles, and his passage to Nirvana. Moreover, there is the painting of Thai mother
land goddess whom we know as “Phra Mae Thoranee” squeezing her hair. It is believed that every drop of water coming
from her hair washing away the armies of evil symbolizes the number of perfection of the
virtues that Buddha has accumulated in every lifetime. From this painting, Phra Mae Thoranee squeezes out the stream of water from her
hair indicates the countless merits that the Buddha has done. In conclusion, there are many gorgeous
and striking artistic and architectural creations. It was designed as a perfect replica of the
worlds and the universe according to Buddhist belief It was created based on its blueprint and
plan according to the tenets outlined in theTraiphummilokawinitchai, the most significant text on cosmology. The Phra Prang symbolizes the cosmos embracing
Mount Meru, Tavatimsa heaven, Sattaparibhanda mountains, Catumaharajika heaven, the four
continents, the cosmic wall, and the domains of hell. While the phra Ubosot area symbolizes Jambudvipa,
which comprises Majjhimadesa and the Himavat forest. This is the end of our video and we all hope
you enjoy watching it. Thank you! [the role and bibliography are stated in the video description]

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