THE ROLE OF LUANG PU TUAD AMULETS AS A SOURCE OF MENTAL COMFORT IN THAI SOCIETY IN THE AGE OF MODERNIZATION
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AbstractThesis (M.A.)--Chulalongkorn University, 2013
This paper titled as "The Role of Luang Pu Tuad Amulets as a Source of Mental Comfort in Thai Society in the Age of Modernization" is the study on the relations between the religious institution (Buddhism) and its member (Buddhist laymen) as a result of the belief in sacred power, focusing on the power of Luang-Pu-Tuad amulets in contemporary Thai society. The study aims to 1) investigate the status of Luang-Pu-Tuad as a ‘holy man’ with ‘sacred power’, 2) investigate the pattern of transferring the ‘sacred power’ of Luang-Pu-Tuad into an object 3) analyze how the ‘potencies’ of the amulets respond to the needs of various individuals in contemporary Thai society. The study found that, since the period of King Rama IV, Thailand was affected by contacts with the Western Powers. The excavation of ancient amulets and mass amulet production by monks affected the religious structure in Thailand as amulet is then personally used to provide mental comfort. This trend continues up to the present. With the relation with the US power, through the proliferation of Capitalist principles, the notion of commodity was growing in Thai amulet market. The case of Luang-Pu-Tuad amulet is an exceptional case to represent such phenomenon. The belief is prevalent in Southern Thai society since Ayutthaya period, but the belief was not objectified for mass amulet production until the year of 2497 BE. in Wat-Chang-Hai, Pattani, by Luang-Pu-Tim, the monk who, under the emphasis on the sacred power, connected the local myth and recreate a new set of myth about the spirit of Luang-Pu-Tuad with a religious ritual (Phutthaphisek) for amulet production. However, the belief in Luang-Pu-Tuad amulet was not yet diffused in other regions due to the control on local popular figures in that period. Luang-Pu-Tuad amulet, in its early stage, was popular in the South, especially among the commoners, medical professionals, and the security agents. It was not until the year of 2530 when there was the rise of the middle-class, creating a new set of mental insecurities, which was the reason why there was a rise in the belief about the power for wealth and opportunities. The belief in the power for security was still prevalent, but there was also the rise about the stories regarding how Luang-Pu-Tuad amulets were used to provide mental comfort among the middle-class, leading to further productions and reproductions of Luang-Pu-Tuad amulets in Southern and Central Thailand.