The Big Buddha of Phuket – A Miracle of Faith

Time and again we have seen that faith can overcome apparently impossible hardships and that the power of the human spirit can triumph against seemingly insurmountable odds. Often, this manifestation of fortitude is interpreted as a miracle; something that seemed impossible only a short time ago but that has now come to pass. Such is the case now in Phuket with the arrival of the Big Buddha, or to give it its proper name, “Prahputtamingmongkol Eaknakakeeree” – “The Supremely Auspicious Buddha of Nakkerd Hill”

The venture was originally conceived by a group ordinary local people in 2002 “Prahputtamingmongkol Sadtah 45” – “The Supremely Auspicious Faith of 2545 (2002AD)”. The Big Buddha was given it is present name by the supreme patriarch of the Buddhist Church, but its coming into existence as the palladium of Phuket is largely due to a Royal Mandate issued on August 19, 2008. (A Palladium {not this transliterator’s word} is a statue of Pallas Athena, especially the one upon which the safety of Troy depended {should we be worried?}) Standing 45M high, the statue is in the “Mara Vichaya” posture (Buddha conquering the demon) and sits on the top of Nakkerd Hill in the Karon sub-district of the Island. To reach it however, you should enter the access road, Soi Mahasanay, from Chao Fa Road West (the by-pass road) about 1 ½ km north of Chalong circle. Then drive up Mutita Road, the road of sympathetic joy, for about 6km.

We interviewed Khun Suporn Vanichkul, the president of the construction foundation, to get his views on the project: “The first priority was to build the image of Buddha and the second was the establishment of a charitable organization. In building the Buddha we hope that we are improving the spiritual wellbeing of all mankind, not just Buddhists. With the charity, it is our intention to use the funds to propagate the teachings of Buddha so that more people will understand and appreciate the wisdom of it.”

“The Big Buddha is also a tribute to the King; although we are Buddhists, the King is still at the centre of our hearts and this is another way to express our love and respect. We have also built a brass Buddha and dedicated it to the Queen. It is 12M high and sits alongside the big white marble one.” continued Khun Suporn, “Visitors to the venture have come from all over Thailand and the world. Donations too come from every conceivable corner of the earth and we have to thank them all for their kindness and support which has made this truly international project possible.”

“The whole development is nearly complete but there is still work to be done in improving the road, landscaping the gardens and completing the exhibition centre that will go inside the structure itself. The final cost is likely to be about THB 150 million and it should be complete by 2010.”

Buddhism was introduced to Thailand around 281 years after it was founded by Siddhartha Gautama, “The Buddha”, or “The Awakened One” in Nepal about 589 BC. In fact, the Thai calendar is counted from the Buddhist Era (B.E.), which is 543 years earlier than the Christian Era (A.D.). The era is based on the passing away (Parinibbana) of Gautama Buddha, so that 2009 becomes 2552.

Although the images of Buddha have changed over the years as art and construction methods have evolved, still the veneration and principles of the beliefs have remained constant. The teaching of wisdom, purity, tolerance and piety remain as they have always been, even though the outward image has altered with time.

The Big Buddha is fast becoming one of the great man made tourist attractions of Phuket, partly for the magnificent view from the top of the hill, but also because of its spiritual attributes. If you would like to be part of the adventure, you can make a donation at the hilltop or at one of the many charity boxes around the island. Alternatively, donations can be made to any of the banks listed here.

TMB Bank (Vachira Phuket Hospital Branch)
Account Name : Prahputtamingmongkol Eaknakakeeree
Saving Account Number : 495-2-04400-8

Krung Thai Bank (Phuket Branch)
Account Name : Prahputtamingmongkol Eaknakakeeree
Saving Account Number : 805-1-89526-6

by postal order:
P.O. Phuket, Prahputtamingmongkol Sadtah 45
42/14  Moo 2, Thepkrasattri Road, Rassada, Muang, Phuket 83000

Prahputtamingmongkol Sadtah 45
42/14 Moo 2, Thepkrasattri Road, Rassada, Muang, Phuket 83000
Tel: +66 (0) 81 891 3827,  +66 (0) 76 239 190
Fax: +66 (0) 76 238 470

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