Creating a Sign

In the past every dying person wished to go to heaven. If he or she is a grandparent, the grandchildren who knew that the dying person had not yet realised Nibbana, would try to send him or her to heaven to pay respect to Phra Chulamani which is in a very pleasant land for celestial beings within Tavatimsa heaven under Indra, the King who rules the heaven. Indra is supposed to have received the Buddha’s topknot. The day the Buddha was ordained he made a wish, “If I will become a Buddha, may the topknot never fall to the ground, but if I will not be able to realise Buddhahood, may it do so.” He then cut his hair with his sword and threw the topknot into the air. At that moment Indra saw what happened and picked it up with a crystal bowl and with his power of merit turned it into a crystal pagoda called ……… “Chulamani. ”

There were stories in some temples about certain monks who visualised Chulamani in their meditation and who remarked how magnificent it looked and this remark was used as a model to build a pagoda. There is no pagado in the whole world which could match Chulamani’s beauty. All celestial beings gather at the Chulamani on every holy day which falls on the 8th and the 15th of waxing moon. They will circumambulate it with lit candles. They hold the meeting for the Dhamma and above all to venerate the Buddha’s topknot.

In the past Buddhists believed that heaven existed and determined to visit Tavatimsa after death. In order to get there, they tried to pass away in peace with a banana leaf envelope containing a flower, incense and a candle in their hands. At the same time they reflected on the Arahat, and reflected that they will soon be on their way to pay respect to “Phra Chulamani.” This is called “creating one’s own image “, to make one’s mind peaceful, to visualise a scene of tranquillity without other thoughts. As one is going to die one must cut all attachment, love and hatred.


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