There are numerous varieties of Thai amulets available nowadays and Thai amulets have not been sparred by the effects of commercial globalisation. The phenomenon of “Commercial Buddhism” started in 1980s. In the present era, many temples make amulets to sell, not to compensate the local Buddhists for their works. Below are some of the commonly found non-genuine Thai amulets and we are very sure you would be wiser and be more discerning in choosing a thai amulet after reading them:
Deceased Master and living disciple thai amulets (remake batch)
Discples of famous deceased monks would use the same amulet mould that were used by their masters to make similar thai amulets. It is this type of amulets that had gotten newbies to be cheated by unscrupulous dealers as the old and new amulets looked similar. Old birds will be able to differentiate the new and old amulets by the ingredients used, the thickness of the amulet, etc.
Positive feedback batch from the same temple
Sometimes, due to positive feedbacks like lottery winning or a bearer of a particular thai amulet survived a deadly car crash, the stocks of that particular thai amulet would be depleted. Using the same mould, new thai amulets would be made to allow those who didn’t had a chance to get that particular thai amulet to have it. The price and power of these new thai amulets would differ from those of the original batches as these new batches of thai amulets were made for the purpose of commemorating the positive feedback like accident evasion, etc. Nowadays, the role of manning the thai amulets counters are done by temple helpers and often, they don’t tell the devotees that the thai amulets are commemorative batches. Though these amulets come with certificates of authenticity from that particular temple, they are merely certificates to show that the temple produced these particular batch of thai amulets and they aren’t certificates to show that these particular batch of thai amulets are the same batch as the one with the positive feedbacks. Hence, it’s not true that genuine thai amulets can only be gotten from temples.
Genuine thai amulets from temples that they don’t originated from
Sometimes, temples would invite monks from famous temples that are nearby or in the same area for blessing ceremonies. Usually, these famous monks would donate their specialty thai amulets to these temples for fund-raising. Such thai amulets have no problems with their power as they are the same as that of the original batches. The difference lies in the price of these amulets: they are more expensive than the ones from the temple they originated from.
Name-collecting Thai amulets
Dealers would bring thai amulets made in factories to monks or masters in temples for blessing and chanting. Such thai amulets don’t originate from the monk or master himself and they lack the special or holy ingredients that the monk or master would have used if they were to make the thai amulets themselves. These thai amulets don’t have any power and even if they do, it is minimum as they were chanted for limited amount of time only. Another type of name-collecting thai amulets arises when temple A invites monk B from temple B to chant a batch of thai amulets. The thai amulets would be sent to temple B for chanting by monk B before being sent back to temple A. As a result, this batch of thai amulets can be said to be chanted by monk B from temple B, hence the term, “name-collecting” thai amulets.
Some disciples or dealers would make a mould out of pricey and famous thai amulets so that they would be able to make the famous thai amulets out from that mould. Such type of thai amulets are the ones that are plaguing the thai amulet market and even old birds have a problem differentiating them from the originals!
Temples usually create thai amulets with the help of factories since factories are able to produce thai amulets within a short period of time. Sometimes a new batch of thai amulets would be so popular till it’s out of stock in temple A. Factories would then produce additional pieces and bring them for blessing in temple A. The ingredients of this additional batch of thai amulets are identical to the original batch. However, the difference lies in the period of blessing. The original batches were probably blessed in major events and for a long period of time while the additional batches were briefly chanted compared to that in the original batches.
Mistaken for the old batch
Many temples create new batches of thai amulets using moulds of older batches. Unscrupulous dealers would treat them as older batches and sell them to unsuspecting customers. Such thai amulets are not fake but their powers definitely differ from the older batches and they are usually much cheaper than the older batches.
This type of thai amulets were made from a mould and their manufacture process is similar to genuine thai amulets. In Thailand, the locals view them as souvenirs. It’s a norm for people to buy souvenirs when they visit a foreign country and souvenir shops are usually in the vicinity of tourist attractions. In Thailand, temples are tourist attractions! Some dealers would take snap a few pictures of the temples to show that the thai amulets were gotten from temples. Nowadays, temples in Thailand have thai amulet counters and some of the spaces are rented by dealers! Their presence in the temples were approved by the temple committee members and some of the dealers would come out with certificates of authenticity for thai amulets. Dealers who are more tactful would bring the thai amulets to the monk/masters for blessing after the devotee has gotten it from them. Such short periods of blessing are different from those blessing ceremonies or blessings by monks/masters when they are making the thai amulets. Such thai amulets have little to no power because if they do have power, anyone can choose their favorite holy item, say, a piece of rock beside the thai amulet counter and bring it to the monks/masters for a brief period of blessing.
This term is most often heard. Thai amulets from such batches are not made due to the intentions of the monks/masters. They are produced by external sources such as dealers and these dealers have amulet counters in temples. They were given the right to operate the amulet counters in temples and they would also produce certificates of authenticity from the temples they operate their amulet counters in. Hence, it is not true that only temples would produce genuine thai amulets. A no. of such dealers are big time dealers who would manufacture thai amulets and bring them to temples for blessings. These dealers have a certain level of influence in the thai amulet industry and monks in temple have no choice but to bless these commercial batch of amulets. Some dealers would donate part of the profits from selling these thai amulets to the temple. If there is a large number of such amulets and the dealers want to promote them, there would be major blessing ceremonies and temple magazines published for them too! Since the amulets are not made by the master/monks and the making of them weren’t initiated by the master/monk and, the ingredients used weren’t from the master/monks, such amulets lack in power. Such amulets usually come in nice designs since they were made to cater to the market demands. Therefore, please be wary of dealers who provide pictures of themselves having trays of amulets in front of the monks/masters. Why is that so? Every time a devotee queues up to meet the master/monk, he/she would only be able to get 1 thai amulet. How many times does he/she need to queue to get a tray of amulets? Majority of the thai amulets on that tray gotta come from the thai amulet counters. Unless the dealer is really lucky or fast, majority of the genuine thai amulets in amulet counter would have already been wiped out by Thais.
In recent years, temples themselves have also come out with commercial batches of thai amulets to attract more devotees in inviting them back. Invariably, the ingredients used to make these amulets and the attention given to bless these amulets would be affected. We don’t see a need to name those thai amulets here. Open your eyes wide and you would be able to tell which the non-genuine or commercial thai amulets in the market so far. We have come to an end for our article. So, how many non-genuine or commercial thai amulets have you gotten so far?