Skip to main content

Featured

The Giant Swing at Wat Suthat

Wat Suthat Thep Wararam - วัดสุทัศนเทพวราราม  One of Bangkok's most iconic landmarks is the Giant Swing, a towering red monument looking something like a Japanese torii gate, but serving a very different purpose. Long ago used in a royal ceremony by the kingdom's secretive royal court Brahmins, the swing today serves as a symbol of the City of Angels.

Wat Suthat Temple, the home of the Giant Swing, is a first-class temple of the royal grade, of which there are only ten in all of Bangkok.


Surrounding the temple sanctuary are twenty-eight miniature Chinese-style pagodas carved from stone. According to the Buddhist scriptures, there have been twenty-seven Buddhas before the enlightenment of Prince Siddhārtha Gautama. Each of these twenty-eight pagodas therefore correspond to one of the ancient enlightened lives of the Buddha.


While Wat Suthat itself is a beautiful and important royal temple, the Giant Swing, which soars above the temple along Bamrung Ruang Road, is the most rema…

Guanyin Shrine at the Thien Fah Hospital, Bangkok

Guanyin Shrine, Bangkok (Thien Fah Foundation Chinese Hospital)

While Thailand is a predominantly Theravada Buddhist country (some 95% of the population adhere to the Theravada school of Buddhism, and it is the official religion of the kingdom), there are a few special Mahayana-influenced shrines and temples in Thailand.

These Mahayana, or Chinese Buddhist, shrines and temples can often be found in areas with predominant Chinese-Thai populations, such as in Thailand's far south and in Bangkok's Yaowarat (Chinatown) neighborhood. Once such shrine is the Guanyin Shrine, the shrine to the Goddess of Mercy, located at the Thien Fah Foundation Chinese Hospital in Bangkok's Chinatown.

The Chinese shrine to Guanyin, goddess of mercy, in Bangkok, Thailand
The Chinese shrine to Guanyin, Goddess of Mercy, in Bangkok, Thailand

Guanyin (观音): "The One Who Perceives the Sounds of the World"

Guanyin, also known as Kuan Im (กวนอิม) in Thai, is the Chinese goddess of mercy, and one of the most popular Chinese deities in Thailand. Guanyin is revered in Taoism, as well as in Mahayana Buddhism, where she is regarded as a bodhisattva, an enlightened being who has delayed nirvana and dedicated her existence to easing the suffering of others.

Guanyin is very popular in Thailand, especially among the prominent Chinese-Thai population. She features heavily in the Chinese epic Journey to the West.

The Guanyin Shrine in Bangkok

The statue at the Guanyin Shrine is said to date back around 900 years. It was brought to Thailand over a century ago by the wealthy Chinese merchants who made their homes and livings along Yaowarat Road. Today, Yaowarat Road has developed into Bangkok's thriving Chinatown, one of the wealthiest and most historic neighborhoods in the city.

While the Chinese immigrants have assimilated almost completely into Thai society, the neighborhood still maintains its version of Chinese Buddhism, evident at the always popular Guanyin Shrine.

The shrine swirls with thick incense smoke, and is alive with the sounds of bells and praying. It's a popular place, and devotees come from all across the city to light incense and candles, make offerings, and pray for fertility, happiness, and health.

The Thien Fah Foundation Hospital

The Goddess of Mercy can be found outside the Thien Fah Foundation Hospital, a famous old hospital specializing in both Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and modern medicine. The foundation provides some free health services to the people of Bangkok, including blood sugar screenings, blood pressure tests, and more, as well as prescribing traditional herbal medicines. The foundation relies on donations to provide its services.

http://www.thianfah.com/

Guanyin Shrine, Bangkok
Guanyin Shrine, Bangkok

Guanyin Shrine on Chinese New Year (Lunar New Year)

Every year during the Spring Festival (Chinese New Year), the Princess Sirindhorn of Thailand visits the shrine to pray.

Opening Hours

  • The Guanyin Shrine is public, and open 24/7

Admission

  • There is no admission to visit the Guanyin Shrine. Anybody can visit or pray at the shrine.
  • Donations, which support the Thien Fah Foundation, are accepted. The foundation is a hospital specializing in both Traditional Chinese Medicine and modern medicine that provides free health services in Bangkok.

Location and map

  • https://goo.gl/maps/NbR7YqE36142
  • The Guanyin Shrine is located in front of the Thien Fah Foundation Hospital, near Wat Traimit (The Temple of the Golden Buddha) and Bangkok's Chinatown. The shrine can be easily reached on foot from MRT Hua Lampong station.
  • 606 Yaowarat Rd, Khwaeng Samphanthawong, Khet Samphanthawong, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon 10100

Comments

Popular Posts