Friezes at Wat Machimaram

high-definition creative commons photographs from Tumpat in Kelantan, Malaysia, showing the brightly-coloured reliefs in this Thai tradition temple, together with some further information.

 

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Māra’s  Daughters

Māra’s Daughters

Calling the Earth to Witness

Calling the Earth to Witness

On a Vimāna in Heaven

On a Vimāna in Heaven

Daily Life

Daily Life

Buddha, Moggallāna and 7-Headed Dragon

Buddha, Moggallāna and 7-Headed Dragon

Brahma, Sakka and one other god

Brahma, Sakka and one other god

Bodhisatta

Bodhisatta

Ciñcā Mānavā

Ciñcā Mānavā

Phra Malai visiting Hell

Phra Malai visiting Hell

Phra Malai visiting Hell

Phra Malai visiting Hell

Phra Malai and Adulterers in Hell

Phra Malai and Adulterers in Hell

Phra Malai Teaching in Hell

Phra Malai Teaching in Hell

Everybody will Die

Everybody will Die

Virupaksha

Virupaksha

Dhṛtarāṣṭra

Dhṛtarāṣṭra

Virūḍhaka

Virūḍhaka

 

Phra Malai

A number of the friezes in this section concern Phra Malai and his descent into Hell to preach the Dhamma, especially on the Uposatha days. Legend has it that he was an arahat from Sri Lanka, who achieved great supernormal powers through his merits and meditation. He is also honored as a successor to Maudgalyayana, the Buddha’s disciple who was foremost for his supernormal attainments.

In the story this pious and compassionate monk descends to Hell to give teachings & comfort to the beings suffering in hell. He also learns how the hell-beings are punished according to their sins in the different hells.

He bears a striking resemblance to the Mahayana Boddhisattva Ksitigarbha, who also descends to Hell in order to release beings from their sufferings, again especially on the Uposatha days. Phra Malai also goes to Tavatimsa Heaven to worship the Cūḷamaṇi Thūpa, which has the hair relics of the Buddha. In Heaven Phra Malai discusses with Sakka about the results of meritorious and demeritorious actions.

 

Pedestal
Decoration on Pedestal

Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu

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