Wat Rong Khun A Contemporary Temple in Thailand

In 1997 Chlermachai Kositpipat a renowned Thai Buddhist artist set out to build a temple in his hometown as an offering to the Lord Buddha, thereby creating an “art for the land” for his nation, religion and monarch. The first building that has been constructed to date is the consecrated assembly hall, the Lord Buddha residence, and is a striking ornate white structure. The building is surrounded by motifs that represent the various stages of reaching enlightenment. There are larger than life demons wielding swords and fangs rising out of the earth depicting the trials and sacrifices that are encountered in the process of reincarnation.

There are plans to construct another nine buildings with each structure containing a moral lesson. Chlermachai Kositpipat estimates that at the rate that the construction has been going that it will take another 60 to 70 years to complete his project. He has prepared for this long haul by establishing two of what he calls batches of disciples, younger people who will carry on after he is dead. One batch of disciples is 28 years old and the other batch is 20 years old.

Everything on the outside of the building is constructed in white stucco and decorated with white class all which represents the wisdom and purity of the Buddha. However, on the inside of the building the walls are painted in vibrant colors, a stark contrast to the outside façade.

There is a reflection pond that contains only white fish and several fountains that periodically spray up into the air like a giant geyser.

The meditating Buddha is depicted on the outside of the building sitting within the lotus flower. In many of the stories of Buddha meditating he is surrounded by animals, the earth, and the spirit world all of which make sure that no harm cames to him.

The evils of smoking and drinking alcoholic beverage is clearly convayed in stucco statues that have been painted red signaling that the followers of Buddhism take heed.

Before climbing the steps to get into the Buddha residence everyone must pass a sculpture of hands reaching up out of the earth. There is a huge skull with gaping mouth and one hand is holding an alms bowl. Most of the hands are in various stages of decay and morbidity, all reaching out in a fantastically pleading manner. I believe that this aspect of the structure represents the impurities of the mind, suffering and most probably was Hell.