AMULETS, TALISMANS AND SUPERSTITION IN THAILAND

Photos and text ©Valerio Bellone
Year – 2012-2017

Theravada Buddhism does not seem to be immune from superstition. Superstition generates in Thailand a substantial turnover and job to several figures: craftsmen, traders, collectors, magicians, seers, and even historians.
Living and traveling in the country you realize that there are fetishes and “lucky Buddhas” of all kinds: health, love, money and a whole range of human desires more or less materialistic, that they should be as far removed from the Buddhist path. Of these original or fake amulets, relics, small or huge statues and talismans there are millions and every day many others are produced.
It is easy to recognize experts of this circuit, with their pocket magnifiers, while they wander among the hawkers, hunting real amulets, those that presumably in ancient times were blessed by monks with great powers. But once they find a “real” amulet is not forever, in fact after some time this one stop working and they have to give it to someone else, although in truth they prefer to resell it at a higher price. And so the search of the “problems solver” can start again.
In this huge market of buyers there are those who tend to exaggerate, wearing tens of amulets or filling with them houses, cars, tuk tuks, buses and motorcycles. A business that certainly brings good luck to those who produce these magical objects, obtaining enough money to have a decent life for their family. Among these artisans / producers some have such a mastery to realize pieces with an aspect old credibly, enough to fool even the most experienced eye. Practically false copyright.
In this panorama the Buddhist monks do not seem to want only watch, so in many temples is easy to find an amulets store. Other monks prefer to do walking business by selling new production of blessed amulets. Articles intended to become powerful in the future, because in the world of superstition is the time that gives to things greater value, credibility and power.

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