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Thu 23 Mar 2017
The Three Brothers
Written by Gor   
Tuesday, 28 October 2003 00:00

Last year, you may remember that I wrote about the Rap Bua festival in Bang Phli in the story called Hit by a lotus flower. At the time, I didn’t know anything about the famous legend behind the Buddha image. But, the other day I read about the three brothers who were Buddha images. They came from the north of Thailand. At that time there was a war going on and to escape the fighting a miracle happened. The three Buddha statues just got up and walked down to the river where they were swept away.

The largest one floated all the way down to the Gulf of Thailand and along the coast to Samut Songkram where people invited him to stay in their temple. The second one floated along Samrong Canal towards Bang Phli. The first group of people he saw tried to persuade him to enter their temple. But, he didn’t stop. When he reached the next temple at Bang Phli the people there first worshipped him and then used a long white thread called sai sin to pull him ashore. It worked.

The third brother floated down the Bang Pakong River to Chachoengsao. The first attempt by the people there failed to stop the Buddha statue. Then someone suggested that they should first build a shrine for him, which they did. Then they used some white thread to successfully pull him ashore. The temple of Wat Sothorn in Chachoengsao was built on this exact same spot.

The temple is still there now and every day thousands of people come here to pay respect and ask for wishes to come true. I have been here about a dozen times with my parents even though I never knew the story before. I only knew that this Buddha statue called Luang Por Sothorn is one of the most revered statues in Thailand. So, as I had some free time, I decided to go and take a fresh look.

When we reached the temple there was no doubt that we had found the right place. There were hundreds of people. Everyone had come here to pay respect to Luang Por Sothorn. Near the entrance, a large group of girls were dancing in traditional costumes. Someone must have made a wish that had come true. We bought some incense sticks, lotus flowers and a candle and entered the main temple building.

There were about 20 different Buddha images in a large group and in the center of them was Luang Por Sothorn. There were quite a lot of people sitting on the floor praying and offering him food and flowers, etc. This is a very powerful Buddha statue which has made many wishes come true. Every time my family went on holiday to Rayong, we always came here first even though it is out of the way. I sat down and made my own wishes for my new family and our future. I felt very good. Even more so now that I knew the legend behind this Buddha statue.

We then went outside to explore and take some pictures around the temple grounds. Next door there was a huge ubosot which must have been at least 80 metres high. Someone told me that 2,800 million baht had been donated to build it! It wasn’t quite finished yet, and there was a low green fence around the outside.

The place was deserted which was very much in contrast to where we had just come from. As there was no one around, we decided to sneak in through an open side door. Inside there were hundreds of small Buddha images with white string wrapped around them. All of the pieces of string led to a large Buddha image in the middle of the room. I couldn’t believe it. This Buddha image looked exactly like the one I had just paid homage to outside. I was confused.

I finally ended up asking a monk about this. He said that the one inside the ubosot here is the real one and the one out there is an exact copy. No one is allowed to put gold leaf on the real one. I was a bit shocked when I found out that we had always paid respect to the wrong one. But, I suppose, at the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter. It is up to us. If we believe in the statue and always have it in our mind then that is enough.