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Earth Mother Goddess (Wednesday Photo)

Michael Babcock, December 16th, 2009

Earth Mother Goddess, Ubon Ratchathani

Earth Mother Goddess

Earth Mother Goddess

Many temples in Thailand have a statue or mural similar to this statue from Ubon Ratchathani in Northeastern Thailand (Isahn). It depicts the Earth Mother Goddess ringing out her hair at the time of the Buddha’s enlightenment. The story goes thus:

After many years of searching and wandering, the Buddha sat down determined not to rise from his seat until he had attained enlightenment. As he sat, all the temptations of the world came to attempt to distract him; these distractions are called Mara. As he sat and contemplated, Mara mocked him, saying “You claim you are enlightened! Well who, then, will witness and testify to your enlightenment?” At this, the Buddha pointed a hand down to the earth, indicating that the Earth Mother Goddess would witness. The Earth Mother Goddess was washing her hair and as she wrung out her hair, the water from it overcame and swept Mara, with all his distractions, away, leaving behind the newly enlightened Buddha.

There is, thus, a strong feminine component to Thai Buddhism and, if you look, you’ll notice her image in most Thai temples.

The Wednesday Photo is a new picture  each week highlighting something of interest in Thailand. Click on the picture to see a larger version.

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