Friday, January 19, 2007

The Legend of Phra Phrom (Four Face Buddha)




Since 5,000 years ago, the disciples of Brahamana had paid homage to Phra Phrom as their highest esteemed God in their religion. The Brahamana religion was known to be one of the religions that has the longest history. This religion was mainly symbolished by 3 major Gods i.e. God Brahma, God Vishnu and God Siva, who form the main body of the religion. The origin of this Trinity as that the Brahamana religion believed that these 3 Gods gathered their powers to create this world.

BRAHMA : Creator of the world and all things
VISHNU : Preserver of all things
SIVA : Destroyer that makes all things exists and perishes according to nature's cycles.

The wives of these 3 Gods are also their capable assistants who are also great Goddesses who helpes in the creation of the world. Branhma's wife is known as Sarava which means Goddess of great wisom. (Goddess riding on a heavenly swan). In Buddhist literature, Brahma was also described as the great Brahma. During such time, though Buddhism was prevalent, the practises of Brahmana religion were also accepted by Buddhism and as a result both were able to exist in harmony.

The features of Great Brahma is a God with 4 faces and four pairs of hands. many people knew him as teh 4-faces Buddha. In fact, in the records of Buddhist literature, he belongs to the class of Devas and not Buddha. Therefore, it would be more appropriate to name him as the Great Brahma or the 4 faces God.

The significance of the 4 faces of the Buddha was to offer to help people in need and grant them their wishes. So it was believed that there are significants in the religious items held by the hand and its postures. The significants of the items are interpreted as follows:

Book in hand : Represents Knowledge
Beads : Represents Reincarnation
Spear Stick : Accomplishment
Flower Stick : Blessing Water (Wishes fulfilled)
Conch Shell : Represents Prosperity
Mystic Position of Hand placed on the chest : Offering Compassion
Flying Wheel : To avert and calamities, suppress evil and to release all gloominess and worries, Cakka.
Cinta Mani : The Almighty Power of Buddha

Among the legends of the 4 faces Buddha, some are glorifying while others are destructive. There are also exaggerated mystery tales of 4 faces Buddha. Recently a movie called "Demons Rearing" shown here portrayed the same story told by tourist guides in Thailand, using it as a propaganda and exaggerating mystery.

It is said that if one hopes to have their wishes fulfilled, he/she get a female strip-tease dancer to perform before 4 faces Buddha as an offering. This not only misleading but also sinful, offensive and disrespectful to Him. It is hoped that all merciful and ever responsive 4 faces Buddha will extend to these people, his generous pardon and forgiveness.

Any places in Asia, many people like to pay homage to 4 faces Buddha and in recent years because of the properous developments of commerce and industry in Hong Kong and Singapore, and also due to the Thai Buddhism religious culture being widespread, many people who have been to Thailand have brought back Buddhist images for worship. Amongst them, Brahma (4 faces) is the favourite. Other than Hong Kong and Singapore, Brahma can be seen in many places in Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei, etc. It used to be found only in Indian temples and as for today its no longer a restriction.

The Powers of 4 Faces Buddha : Giving help to important duty. Saving lives of those in danger, prosperity in the industries.

Method of Worship for Help : Write down your request on a paper and place it under the image.

Prayers for Chanting : Omkarabindunatam uppannam brohmasahapatinama atikappe su, a, kate pancapatunam tisva namobuddhaya vandanam. Siddhi kiccam siddhi kammam siddhi kariya tadakato siddhi teco jayoniccam siddhi labho nirantaram sabbakammam prasiddhime sabbasiddhi bhavantu.