In my opinion, no. Especially when you dont even know why you want it the 1st place. What is more important than amulets or pendants are our practise or cultivation as a Buddhist (I know it sounds lame and seem to be repeating myself like a broken record but I will share with you the reason) . Honestly if I am still running around from one thai-amulet shop to another like when I was younger, I bet I will still be running in circles, not knowing Dhamma. Anyway most of them (amulet traders) seldom guide you, they will only condition your mind to always want to collect more, the more expensive the better. Sometimes I laughed when I overheard conversations like, ” You should buy this, it can help to give you very good luck and money.” It will ring in my mind the following question, “Will you give away The Golden Goose that lays Golden eggs?” Tough luck, not in this society, a selfish oriented society. I always tell my friends or visitors, if praying to Phra images or buchas or wearing amulets can give you very good luck and money, me or my teacher would have been a millionaire a long time ago and Thaksin Sinawatra didn’t have to leave his beautiful homeland and take refuge in another country. Panna or wisdom must be use to see things as it really is.
THEN WHAT IS AMULETS OR PHRA IMAGES FOR?
Theorectically, it was meant to be a souvenir or momento because monk, they whom are not supposed to have any possesion will have nothing to give you for your kind donations. So they made figurines or images of Buddhas or Arahants or other auspicious items eg yantras on metals foils…etc to give you as a token of appreciation. Practising monks whom are attained in science of directing energy and matters (earth, wind, water and fire ) enable them to infuse and transfer blessings with just mental power into images or souvenirs. Feedbacks from the laities on their experiences of miracles or improvements in their life, reinforced the Sanghas confidence that their attainment in such science can be use to enhance their follower’s livelihood and also protect them from certain danger. It has a chain effect, it goes back to reinforcing laities’s faith in the Triple Gem and Sanghas’ virtues. Such great Metta acts like a strong magnet, drawing more people to temples and for some a start into discovering the Dhamma that Buddha expounded, converting mere sceptics to firm practising Buddhist. Theorectically then or at least for me it was like that. Those whom I had shared with them my experience and journey into the Dhamma, started from wearing an amulet (not Phra Somdej Wat Rakhang, just standard phim Ven.LP Pern Wat BhangPhra medallion) and hearing a beautiful divine voice that helped prevented misfortunes. That year in 1999, the same divine voice saved me thrice! It was then I was amazed with this thing called Thai amulet. But I am more than glad, I discovered more than just amulets, I discovered Dhamma which it’s value transcend more than a lifetime.
And the rest is what you are seeing now, it became very commercial. Sadly but that is how things are and that will also separate antique amulets and commercial ones. The science of endowing the amulets with blessing potents are determine by Jit (mind). I remembered Ven. LP Dam told us that this particular Phra Pidta ( will show you later) is the best in terms of purity and very potent of blessings because it was made solely for Kathina celebrations. To to be given to laities whom donated Kathina robes. Reverend said the entire meditating session was very bright…very still…no thoughts about doing this for money at all. True enough, as I remembered shortly after Reverend passed away, an IS extremist threw a hand grenade into the mini shops outside (not far from) of Wat Mai temple. Everyone ran helter-skelter but it failed to blow-up. That is the barami of Pothan Dam. Now that I am writing about Than (him), I miss Pothan Dam. Very attained but yet very , very humble.
Nowadays, good Gaeji Archan are like diamonds, only getting rarer. In current times, young monks in their 30s or 40s call themselves Gaeji, promoting this and that. Ven. LP Seua Wat DonPhaiYai (Wat DonYaiPeaun) also attained and advance in his practise, will tell you no I am not famous, I am just an average monk doing the best I can. Now Ven. LP Seua has been a popular choice to be invited for puthaphisek because Ven. can sit and meditate long, for an hour or two. Many so called Gaeji, fell asleep the 1st 15mins of the ceremony. There was an occasion where after the puthaphisek ceremony suddenly other Gaejis whom are leaving suddenly descend to ground and offer full prostration because they saw Ven. LP Thong also came for puthaphisek with Ven. LP Seua in spirit form.
Above are a Taiwan artist with his friends that came and visit Ven. when we were in Taiwan. We are in his studio.
Coming back to our topic as per, does one really need amulets?
NO if you don’t know what is it about.
NO if you think it can make you rich or take away your problems.
NO if you dont respect Buddha’s teachings and the Sanghas practise.
Then you may ask, then why did you wear so many?
That is because I knew what it is all about and how it can help to enhance my practise. But more importantly, it is a hobby to me to wear some of my unique collection and one must know why they want to wear such and such. Some people has this wrong impression that wearing alot can have more power. NO not exactly, if its such, can throw them away. Good Gaeji will never want you to depend on such for powers because such powers are already in you. But because when we cultivate, we are not there yet, we borrow our teachers’ barami. That is also why I would suggest that one meditates, chants and perform danas and from time to time upkeep the 5 or 8 precepts. There has been many miraculous incidences in Thailand where people whom takes up precepts and meditate or a person whom practises good Buddhist values, were rob and shot at gunpoint. Survived the ordeal because the gun could not fire up. They didn’t wear any amulets. So therefore it is our practise as a fellow good Buddhist that all good Gaeji aspire us to become from wearing their amulets. When we wear them we must reflect on their barami and their practise and vow to achieve the same.
Of course let’s not forget that for some people, they take it as a serious collection, going into details of the Gaeji, his past glory, his attainment and etc. To me as long as you are not into because of superstition but take it as a serious hobby. Then I personally think it’s fine. Well this topic can be lengthy or is it just me. There isn’t any right and wrong with this matter, afterall wearing or collecting amulets is a very personal thing. But I just do hope that collectors in general should go into understanding them deeper their sense of existence then perhaps you may understand the intrinsic value of it. Maybe because I am much involve in the back process of helping to make them for Reverends’ needs and am influence by my Teachers’ especially Archan Phrachuap of Samnak KhaorOr Pattalung. From the conceptual part to the last part where the piti puthaphisek, I was given the opportunity to be involve. The making of an amulet is more than meets the eye and the barami that’s being infused into it is no joke. I remember reading about Ven. LPhor Suk Wat Makahm Tao, Than(he) ploksek everyday his amulets. It is part of his daily routine. I was so overwhelmed by just reading his efforts.
Last but not least, amulets are not superstition. It is a science creation using traditional method…the mind. Scientist and researchers are still researching into the mind, it is still a large mystery to them but to my MahaGurus, Rishis and Sanghas whom are attained, they have known the mind since aeon ago. It is a collection of science, art and religious symbol, all in one!