Wat Pho is a temple complex just down the road from the Palace. I found it to be more peaceful and reflective, simply because there were significantly less people. AND it was obvious that “the people” prayed at many of its shrines.
The centerpiece of Wat Pho is the Revlining Buddha…Puctured above, it is 46 meters long, and its recline pose represents the ascension into Nirvana. The other interesting feature (to me) was the soles of Buddha’s feet…They are comprised of 108 sections, made from Mother-Of-Pearl, that represent the 108 actions and symbols necessary to reach perfection. While this Wat complex was completed at about the same time as the Palace complex (late 1700s), I was impressed that every detail was thought out in its completion. For example, the Buddha statues shown above, circle the complex, as do a series of murals, written into stone. They tell the history of nine areas of learning for the masses of the country…such as medicine, proverbs, and Buddhist Principles. Wat Pho is considered the center of Thai education, and continues to contain schools which teach naturalistic cures and massage.
Finally, I’ll bring your attention to the photo above of the gold Buddha…This room in the Wat is used for rituals and ceremonies, and is exceptionally beautiful. I found myself comparing visits to the great Buddhist Wats in Thailand, Cambodia, and Myanmar, to the Christian cathedrals of the major European and American cities. No visit to Bangkok would be complete without visiting these temples, as no visit to Paris would be complete without visiting Cathedral Norte Dame.
And I have another couple to review in the next entry.