Lucky charms "not Buddhist"

Story by WASSAYOS NGAMKHAM, Aug 22, 2005

Senior monk warns people against their use

Bangkok, Thailand -- Palat khik, while much sought after by many people, has nothing to do with Buddhism, says a senior monk. Phra Sripariyatimoli, deputy rector for foreign affairs of Mahachulalongkorn Ratchawithayalai Buddhist University, said the phallic symbol charms are not mentioned in the Tripitaka and worshipping them is not a Buddhist way of showing respect.

<< Phra Sripariyatimoli

''It is improper for monks to make palat khik for distribution. Most importantly, it is not a dissemination of Buddhism and is in breach of monastic discipline. Monks have been repeatedly told about this,'' said Phra Sripariyatimoli.

When it comes to the problem of monks producing charms and amulets for commercial purposes, the Buddhist university can only explain the facts to them, he said. But the problem is hard to solve as it involves money and is a way of generating income for temples to carry out activities.

''The monastic body should issue a policy of not helping temples to produce charms and amulets, including palat khik. ''Doing this should be regarded as violating monastic discipline. Violators should get a warning or at least be deprived of a chance to be promoted to a higher class,'' the senior monk said.

Phra Sripariyatimoli also advised the public not to pay attention to non-Buddhist practices and to make merit without expecting anything in return.

He suggested that the media, too, be more considerate when publishing advertisements of amulets which are claimed to be produced in ceremonies attended by hundreds of revered monks, as the practice is obviously for commercial gain.

''Production of amulets is now a multi-million-baht business, involving amulet-producing factories, newspapers, trading companies and monks. Most of the money from the sale of charms and amulets goes to the companies involved rather than to the temples,'' he said.

In the website of Wat Luang Pho Sot Dhammakayaram in Ratchaburi province, Phra Pawanawisuthikhun says his temple strictly prohibits the study of magic and the production, possession and carrying of charms, amulets and all kinds of weapons. Monks have been told not to give hints about lottery results or act as astrologers.

Pol Maj-Gen Vinai Thongsong, the Crime Suppression Division chief, said making palat khikand similar items is not illegal as they are not considered obscene objects.

However, if some people have described the charms as being magical or possessing certain powers in order to boost sales, buyers who feel they have been cheated can file a complaint with the police. The sellers could be found guilty of cheating the public and subject to up to three years in jail and a fine.

The penalties could be heavier if the fraud involves a large number of people.