Wat Hua Lamphong is an authentic working Buddhist temple where many aspects of Thai culture and Buddhists beliefs can be observed on a daily basis.
Most Thai Buddhists believe in karma, if you do something good in this life then you will accumulate good karma for a better next life. Wat Hua Lamphong attracts many visitors, particularly locals, who visit to make merit for good karma.
Attached to Wat Hua Lamphong is the Ruamkatanyu Foundation. The foundation was established to provide burial services for poor homeless people, and those that have passed away that remain unclaimed by relatives.
Many of the visitors at the temple make donations at the Ruamkatanyu Foundation. For this reason, Wat Hua Lamphong is also known amongst locals as the ‘Coffin Temple’.
Coffin donation is considered a form of merit making for Buddhists in Thailand. Even for non-Buddhists, it’s still deemed an act of compassion that should have a positive effect on your karma.
After making donations at the foundation, devotees will make offerings to their ancestors in the adjacent revered Chinese shrine. Burning incense sticks they will pray to the various Chinese deities and wish for good luck and prosperity.
As you explore the temple grounds you will see many ways of making merit at Wat Hua Lamphong. Paying to allow caged birds free or donating money to feed the white buffalos will both bring you good karma.
Read more about making merit: Thai Culture – Believe in karma and set the bird free
In the grounds of Wat Hua Lamphong, you will also find the Buddha images for the seven days of the week. Most Thais believe that the day they were born will have an influence on their life.
Read more about Buddha images: Thai Culture – Buddha Images
As well as having a Buddha image for each day of the week, Thais also associate each day with an auspicious colour. As such, you can buy coloured candles associated with your birthdays that are floated in a shallow pool in a clockwise direction with a Buddha image at the centre. This is believed to resemble, or represent, walking around the ordination hall of a temple.
Read more about the importance of colour in Thailand: Discovering Bangkok – The colours of Thailand
From making merit, paying respect to shrines housing Buddhist images, Hindu Gods and Chinese saints, a visit to Wat Hua Lamphong will provide a unique insight into Thai culture and Buddhists beliefs.