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วันเสาร์ที่ 3 กันยายน พ.ศ. 2554

[Article] 'Wat' or 'Thai Temple', The symbolic of Buddhist faith.


[Article] 'Wat' or 'Thai Temple', The symbolic of Buddhist faith.

One of the oldest enduring Eastern religions, Buddhism was founded in India during the sixth century BCE by Siddhartha Gautama, the historical Buddha. Although specific beliefs and practices vary, Buddhism centers around the idea that earthly suffering can be relieved by attaining Enlightenment, the cessation of the eternal cycle of death and rebirth in which all sentient beings are mired. In this section of the guide we'll direct you to Web sites with information on the history of Buddhism and explanations of fundamental concepts such as karma, the three jewels, the four noble truths, the eightfold path, and nirvana.

Strictly speaking 'Wat' or 'Thai Temple' is a Buddhist sacred precinct with monks' quarters, the temple proper, an edifice housing a large image of Buddha, and a structure for lessons. A Buddhist site without a minimum of three resident monks cannot correctly be described as a wat, although the term is frequently used more loosely, even for ruins of ancient temples. (As a transitive or intransitive verb, wat means to measure, to take measurements; compare templum, from which temple derives, having the same root as template.)

Buddhism in Thailand is largely of the Theravada school. Nearly 95% of Thailand's population is Buddhist of the Theravada school, though Buddhism in this country has become integrated with folk beliefs as well as Chinese religions from the large Thai-Chinese population.[1] Buddhist temples in Thailand are characterized by tall golden stupas, and the Buddhist architecture of Thailand is similar to that in other Southeast Asian countries, particularly Cambodia and Laos, with which Thailand shares cultural and historical heritage.



Thai Temple (Wat : Thai - วัด)

This article on Thai temple art and architecture discusses Buddhist temples in Thailand. A typical Thai Wat, which is loosely translated as monastery or temple, (from the Pāḷi vāṭa, meaning an enclosure) has an enclosing wall that divides it from the secular world.

'Wat' architecture...

The architecture of a Wat has seen many changes in Thailand in the course of history. Although there are many differences in lay-out and style, they all adhere to the same principals. A Thai temple, with few exceptions, consists of two parts: The Phuttha-wat and the Sangha-wat.

Phutthawat (Thai: เขตพุทธาวาส)

The Phutthawat (Thai: เขตพุทธาวาส) is the area which is dedicated to Buddha. It generally contains several buildings:

Chedi (Thai: พระเจดีย์) – also known as a stupa it is mostly seen in the form of a bell-shaped tower, often accessible and covered with gold leaf, containing a relic chamber.

Prang (Thai: พระปรางค์) – the Thai version of Khmer temple towers, mostly seen in temples from the Sukhothai and the Ayutthaya period.

Ubosot or Bot (Thai: พระอุโบสถ or Thai: โบสถ์) – the Ordination Hall and most sacred area of a Wat. Eight Sema stones (Bai Sema, Thai: ใบเสมา) mark the consecrated area.

Wihan (Thai: พระวิหาร) – in Thai temples this designates a shrine hall that contains the principal Buddha images; it is the assembly hall where monks and believers congregate.

Mondop (Thai: พระมณฑป) - A Mondop is a specific square or cruciform based building or shrine,sometimes with a spired roof within a Thai Buddhist temple or temple complex. It is a ceremonial structural form that can be applied to several different kinds of buildings. It can house relics, sacred scriptures or act as a shrine.Unlike the mandapa of Khmer or Indian temple, which are part of a larger structure, the Thai mondop is a free -standing unit.

Ho trai (Thai: หอไตร) – the Temple Library or Scriptures Depository houses the sacred Tipiṭaka scriptures. Sometimes they are built in the form of a Mondop (Thai: พระมณฑป), a cubical-shaped building where the pyramidal roof is carried by columns.

Sala (Thai: ศาลา) – an open pavilion providing shade and a place to rest.
Sala kan prian (Thai: ศาลาการเปรียญ) – a large, open hall where lay people can hear sermons or receive religious education. It literally means "Hall, in which monks study for their Prian exam" and is used for saying afternoon prayers.

Ho rakang (Thai: หอระฆัง) – the bell tower is used for waking the monks and to announce the morning and evening ceremonies.

Phra rabieng (Thai: พระระเบียง) – a peristyle is sometimes built around the sacred inner area as a cloister.

Additional buildings can also be found inside the Phuttawat area, depending on local needs, such as a crematorium or a school.

The buildings are often adorned with elements such as chofahs. In temples of the Rattanakosin era, such as Wat Pho and Wat Ratchabopit, the ubosot can be contained within a (low) inner wall called a Kamphaeng Kaew (Thai: กำแพงแก้ว), which translated to 'Crystal Wall'.

Sanghawat (Thai: เขตสังฆาวาส)

The Sanghawat (Thai: เขตสังฆาวาส) contains the living quarters of the monks. It also lies within the wall surrounding the whole temple compound. The sanghawat area can have the following buildings:

Kuti (Thai: กุฎี or กุฎิ kut) – originally a small structure, built on stilts, designed to house a monk, with its proper size defined in the Sanghathisep, Rule 6, to be 12 by 7 Keub (4.013 by 2.343 meters). Modern kutis take on the shape of an apartment building with small rooms for the monks.

The sanghawat can also contain the 'Ho rakang' (bell tower) and even the 'Sala Kan Prian' (sermon hall).

It will house most of the functional buildings such as a kitchen building where food can be prepared by lay people, and sanitary buildings.

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