When we went to stay with relatives in the city of Pehn outside of Nong Khai in May of 2004 we got to see many interesting, amusing, and wonderful places. It is amazing how many things there are to see and do there in this area. This place, Wat Luang Pho Nahk, was brought to our attention by our brother-in-law who stated it was a must see for all Buddhists. It was a temple where they depicted Buddhist heaven and hell and the tree of life with statuary. You need to drive from Pehn or Nong Khai to get there in Ban Phue, so rent a car, or rent a taxi and driver or mini-van and driver from your hotel in Nong Khai. It's worth the day trip. Here is the Wat Luang Pho Nahk.
The Tree of Life
According to my brother-in-law there is an old legend that says man was a fruit that grew from a tree, the Tree of Life. Here was the genisis of all mankind.
Cousin Sao walking by the Tree of Life. Presented here to show the scale of size of this statue.
Amazing isn't it?
Ripe for the plucking?
The ladder to Buddhist Hell.
When you die and need to be punished, like all religions, or most at least, there is a hell and some tortures awaiting you, even as a Buddhist. Here is the way you enter into hell according to this temple, on and down a tree of thorns. The Buddhists here in Thailand believe in hell and in punishment for ones sins. I don't believe this is a belief for all the Buddhist factions, but here in Thailand it is. There are many sins one can commit and be punished for. Lying, gossiping, drinking to excess, abortion, stealing, murder, adultery, gluttony, and so on. There's more than ten for sure! Give me the ten commandments please. Ten are enough.
Looks painful to me.
Here is the punishment for gossiping. Hm, it might pay to keep your mouth shut, huh?
And here is the punishment for lying. Good. I hate liars. Eat molten lead you liar!
If I remember right this is a punishment for adultery. Ouch.
Here are some general all purpose punishments.
And the wages of sin are death.
But there is also a Buddhist heaven as well, not that I'll ever see the place except here in this park. This was a very interesting and colorful, if a bit gruesome at times, place to visit. The statuary is well done and well kept. The monks in the Wat (see the last two pictures presented in this post) take very good care of the temple, the statues, and the grounds and lawns. It's a very pretty place and worth a visit if you are in the area of Nong Khai.
Some people in heaven who have reached enlightenment. Playing with a sand castle?
People in heaven get to chat and talk with Buddha. It seems a very relaxing and fun place.
There's even music. This 'guitar' is called a Pin.
And they even have a band to listen to while you flirt and chat and drink some rice wine.
Here they are building something that looks like a palace or castle. Heaven is fun.
The Wat (temple) here is very picturesque and pretty.
The bells constantly chime and tinkle in the morning breezes and the sounds waft over the grounds in a pleasant and relaxing manner. These temples are always very beautiful and interesting.
We had fun here and I would recommend visiting this place very much. I'm always interested in the religious beliefs of different religions and the stories of how others believe human life came to be. The one thing this place needs is a monk with good English skills to guide the tourists from the west around and tell the story of Buddha and this depiction of the Buddhist heaven and hell, and the Tree of Life. My brother-in-law's English isn't that good and any mistakes I may have made here are my fault in not understanding what he told me fully. Some pamphlets here would be nice as well. I did not see any western tourists here this day, but was told there are some who visit now and then. Mostly this is an attraction for the Thais. There is a similar place to this in Chonburi as well that I have visited, which also has statues of the Buddha from many different countries.
I hope you enjoyed this tour of the Wat Luang Pho Nahk. Next I'll be doing an article on Wat Sala Kaeo Ku.
Copyright 2005. All rights reserved by the author.