Thailand: The Jatukham Rammathep Amulet Obsession

Pattaya Daily News, April 17, 2007

Pattaya, Thailand -- One of the things dearest to the Thai hearts are religious icons; many of which also serve as magical talismans, believed to protect their wearers. One such is the Jatukham Rammathep amulet, which has caused such a fever of desire that a woman was recently crushed to death and dozens injured in an amulet coupon buying-frenzy in several southern schools.

<< The Jatukham Rammathep amulet

Not only were death and injuries caused, but the estimated 10,000 + crowd wreaked havoc, destroying property and defeating the police’s efforts to control them. But, ironically, the sale of these amulets has also brought an economic boom to the south, and traffic chaos as adherents flock to the temples to acquire these talismans.

The origin of the name Jatukham Rammathep is lost in the mists of time. However, several theories exist as to where the name comes from. One of the most credible is that Jatukham Rammathep is, in fact, two names, aliases of brother princes Inthara Sairen and Inthara Khao Kheo, sons of King Jantharaphanu, who ruled Sri Thammasoke, the capital of the Krung Srivijaya Kingdom (757-1257). The two princes were elevated to the status of guardian angels after their deaths. Alternative speculations also give other royal origins to the amulet’s name, including as a pseudonym for King Jantharaphanu, himself.

However, despite the Thai propensity of elevating their royalty to virtually divine status, similar to the Ancient Egyptians, religious figures claim precedence. One in particular is that of the Avalokitesvara, who some claim is the most deserving of the title, Jatukham Rammathep.

At the time of the origin of the legends surrounding the amulet, Southern Thailand was under the sway of Mahayana Buddhism, as opposed to the current form, Theravada Buddhism. The significant difference between these two Buddhist traditions is that Mahayana Buddhism is far more altruistic, the Boddhisattvas renouncing Nirvana until the last struggling pilgrim has attained the exalted state; whereas, under Theravada Buddhism, the onus is upon the quest for individual Nirvana. Accordingly, as Avalokitesvara is one of the personages of Mahayana Buddhism, if he is indeed the rightful titleholder, the amulets’ magical power would be considerably greater.

The Jatukham Rammathep amulets were first made in 1987 under the auspices of Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Holy Pillar Shrine. The Pillar Shrine Committee must approve the amulets’ production and they must also be blessed under a Brahminical-Buddhist ceremony at the Holy Pillar Shrine or Mahathat Woramaha-wiharn Temple.

The original 1987 amulet was circular with a 5 cm diameter and cost 39 Baht.

Today, the amulets sell for between 200 and 500 Baht for the basic version and as much as 1,000 Baht for limited edition amulets. There are now in excess of 400 different models and over 200 editions on the market. Due to the pressure of demand and must-have status, however, the value can rise astronomically, by up ten times their original selling price, in normal circumstances. However, the highest price for a single amulet is reported to be 1.2 million Baht, with an unconfirmed claim of 3.2 million Baht paid by an American.

So great is the demand for this “magical” amulet that its sale has created a mini economic boom for Nakhon Si Thammarat. With an influx of 10,000 + Thai and a considerable number of foreign visitors flooding into the Southern province daily, the 6,000 available hotel rooms are regularly fully booked, and an estimated 100 million Baht is poured into Nakhon Si Thammarat each week; all because of this notorious amulet.

Followers worship Jatukham Rammathep statues at Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawiharn or Wat Phra Nakhon, while amulet creators from across the country use the temple as a location to recite incantations over the amulets.

We Need Your Help to Train the
Buddhist AI Chat Bot
(Neural Omniscient Robotic-Being for Buddhist Understanding)

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your name in the payment slip. Thank you.

Dear Friends in the Dharma,

We seek your generous support to help us train NORBU, the word's first Buddhist AI Chat Bot.

Here are some ways you can contribute to this noble cause:

One-time Donation or Loan: A single contribution, regardless of its size, will go a long way in helping us reach our goal and make the Buddhist LLM a beacon of wisdom for all.

How will your donation / loan be used? Download the NORBU White Paper for details.

For Malaysians who wants to donate in MYR, please use the following account:

Account Name: Bodhi Vision
Account No:. 2122 00000 44661
Bank: RHB
Note: Please indicate your purpose of payment (loan or donation) in the payment slip. Thank you.

Once payment is banked in, please send the payment slip via email to: Your donation/loan will be published and publicly acknowledged on the Buddhist Channel.

Spread the Word: Share this initiative with your friends, family and fellow Dharma enthusiasts. Join "Friends of Norbu" at: Together, we can build a stronger community and create a positive impact on a global scale.

Volunteer: If you possess expertise in AI, natural language processing, Dharma knowledge in terms of Buddhist sutras in various languages or related fields, and wish to lend your skills, please contact us. Your knowledge and passion could be invaluable to our project's success.

Your support is part of a collective effort to preserve and disseminate the profound teachings of Buddhism. By contributing to the NORBU, you become a "virtual Bodhisattva" to make Buddhist wisdom more accessible to seekers worldwide.

Thank you for helping to make NORBU a wise and compassionate Buddhist Chatbot!

May you be blessed with inner peace and wisdom,

With deepest gratitude,

Kooi F. Lim
On behalf of The Buddhist Channel Team

Note: To date, we have received the following contributions for NORBU:
US$ 75 from Gary Gach (Loan)
US$ 50 from Chong Sim Keong
MYR 300 from Wilson Tee
MYR 500 from Lim Yan Pok
MYR 50 from Oon Yeoh
MYR 200 from Ooi Poh Tin
MYR 300 from Lai Swee Pin
MYR 100 from Ong Hooi Sian
MYR 1,000 from Fam Sin Nin
MYR 500 from Oh teik Bin
MYR 300 from Yeoh Ai Guat
MYR 300 from Yong Lily
MYR 50 from Bandar Utama Buddhist Society
MYR 1,000 from Chiam Swee Ann
MYR 1,000 from Lye Veei Chiew
MYR 1,000 from Por Yong Tong
MYR 80 from Lee Wai Yee
MYR 500 from Pek Chee Hen
MYR 300 from Hor Tuck Loon
MYR 1,000 from Wise Payments Malaysia Sdn Bhd
MYR 200 from Teo Yen Hua
MYR 500 from Ng Wee Keat
MYR 10,000 from Chang Quai Hung, Jackie (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from K. C. Lim & Agnes (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from Juin & Jooky Tan (Loan)
MYR 100 from Poh Boon Fong (on behalf of SXI Buddhist Students Society)
MYR 10,000 from Fam Shan-Shan (Loan)
MYR 10,000 from John Fam (Loan)
MYR 500 from Phang Cheng Kar
MYR 100 from Lee Suat Yee
MYR 500 from Teo Chwee Hoon (on behalf of Lai Siow Kee)
MYR 200 from Mak Yuen Chau

We express our deep gratitude for the support and generosity.

If you have any enquiries, please write to: