Wat Tad Thong is a marvelous temple located in Sukhumvit amid the hustle and bustle of Bangkok's busy lifestyle. So the next time when you visit Bangkok and stay nearby to Sukhumvit area, this temple can be part of your travel itinerary to offer alms or monks' requisites in accruing meritorious deeds. Most travelers interested in sight-seeing temples in Bangkok may find that visiting temples at Khao San or other vicinity a bit inconvenient due to the crawling traffic jams. For those on a short holiday in Bangkok, a temple within the city is a good choice especially if the mind has good intent to accrue merits for oneself.
Perhaps the quickest way to get to Wat Tad Thong is via the regular BTS service from the Sukhumvit Line. The BTS station to alight and step into this temple is Ekamai station. This temple offers community services such as a health center, a school and old folks activities apart from the Dhamma teachings.
At the beginning when I first discovered this temple, little did I know that Wat Tad Thong offers mainly bereavement and funeral services. On average about 60 such services are conducted monthly here with 3 funeral parlors. This changed my perception irrevocably and quickly recollected upon death as part of all living beings. The Buddha's words, "Life is always uncertain, but death is certain". With a strong resolution to put aside fear after reflecting on the words on the recollection of death, I braved myself to explore this temple with a neutral view seeing life as momentary and experience it like a local. Therefore, this temple is not for the faint hearted who considers funeral as taboo. This is also the reason why Wat Tad Thong is mostly being frequented by Thai locals and not so much for foreign visitors like us.
In my observation this temple is a good training ground for monks with regular Dhamma recitations and performing Buddhist rituals in their everyday life. Monks in training here are given the proper guidance by more senior monks. Facing deaths, sorrows, and lamentation is part of the training for these monks here. Unlike temples frequented by mainly tourists e.g. Wat Rakang, Wat Suthat, etc. this temple is totally different as it aims to educate on death and doing good merits. The display cabinet contained many Sarikatart relics of Buddhist Arahants to serve as reminder to us that the supreme Dhamma does exist and it's clearly demonstrated upon death by those Sarikatart relics.
|Ubosot main hall|
|Temporary Chedi cabinet for housing sacred Sarikatart of various Arahants|
As usual the best time to offer alms requisites to monks in any temple is between 8.00am to 10.00am. Offering alms is a good practice in accruing merits according to Buddhism teachings. One should let go of personal ego and maintain a steadfast mind to attain the supreme Dhamma. Upon giving alms to the monks with requisites, the donor also gets recharged with positive vibes and good luck by the return of blessings given by the monk. Here you may also bring out your amulet and request the monk to "recharge" it too. It is customary after the blessing service, you may put any amount of money into an envelope as a small token of appreciation for the monk.
|Altar shrine inside the temple's admin office|
|Bereavement services hall|
If you are keen in offering food to the monks, you may also request the administrative staff to organize. Seen here are senior monks bestowing blessings while reciting the Dhamma verses before receiving the food requisites from donors. Monks practicing the Theravadian tradition will consume their lunch between 11.00am to 12.00pm. Monks can only consume solid food from sunrise till noon on a daily basis. After 12 o'clock the Buddha had forbidden monks from consuming solid food as it's the time to practice meditation. In essence, it's one meal a day. This rule had been followed by monks for over 2,555 years since the Buddha's time.
We may want to ask ourselves what's there to be afraid about going to Wat Tad Thong. Life is so beautiful in performing meritorious deeds such as giving alms and receive blessings for good luck despite death is right next door.
|Previous Abbot of Wat Tad Thong|
Wat Tad Thong is not particularly famous for any type of amulets. But the most notable amulet talisman is Phra Somdej votive tablet. After all this temple is dedicated to providing Buddhism service and the best symbol to represent this is a Somdej.
Money from donations gained from Phra Somdej votive tablets will be utilized for the construction of a new Pagoda Chedi located behind the main Ubosot. You can make donation at the Ubosot's amulet counter. This new Pagoda Chedi will house all the Phra Sarikatart relics that are now temporary placed inside the main Ubosot (as seen in the picture above). The Chedi construction is still in progress and if you consider visiting this temple in the future, you may also like to partake the merit in this construction effort to support the noble Dhamma.
Bangkok will never be short of temple for anyone wanting to pray to Buddha, to perform good merits such as giving alms and receiving the Dhamma teachings. The reveal of Wat Tad Thong in Sukhumvit will hopefully provide a quick escape path to perform good merits from the hectic shopping schedule that one may have while holidaying in Bangkok.
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