Benjapakee Amulets

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The traditional way to wear Benjapakee is to make sure they hang in the correct area of your body (upper torso) and always above the belt.  So over the breastbone you would correctly hang Phra Somdej.  Top left of the chest you would wear Phra Rod top right Phra Nang Phrya.  The final two would hang slightly lower Phra Phong Supan (buttom left) and Phra Somkor (buttom right). Additionally a person can wear just three amulets called “Tripakee” : Phra Somdej at Center, Phra Rod (left) and Phra Nang Phrya (right).

 

Benjapakee Amulets are the most sought after amulets and command the highest prices.  Collectors need to be experts to ensure they are not duped into buying fakes.  It is highly recommended that any amulet priced at over $500 should have a certificate of authenticity which can easily be arranged in Thailand.

Benjapakee:
The most precious and sacred of all Thai Buddha Amulets
Phra Somdej:
First created by Phra Buddhachan Toh Phromarangsi in B.E.2409 (1866).  This highly revered  and probably the most famous of all Thai monk's is better known as Somdej Toh or Ajarn Toh.  Phra Somdej Amulets can originate from either Wat Rakang, Wat Bangkhunphrom or Wat Keschaiyo.
Phra Somdej

All researchers and serious collectors of Thai Buddhist Amulets will be familiar with the name “Benjapakee”. This word has also been quoted as Benchaphakhi in the Thai media. Benjapakee is the term used to describe the five sets of Thai Buddha Amulets; these are the most sought after, precious and sacred sets of amulets and therefore can be considered the most powerful, rarest and most collectable of all Thai Amulets. The word Benjapkee is broken down as Benja = five  &  Pakee = associates.  The history of Lord Buddha is well known but the association with the Benjapakee five amulets is not widely made.  The origins of the Benjapakee is as follows:

 

Lord Buddha finally gained enlightenment on the full moon day of Kason (May) 528 BC.  He was just 35 years old and this is the day that he sat under the huge sacred banyan tree on the bank of the Naranjara river at Buddha Gaya.  Here on this day he became the Supreme Buddha, the fully enlightened one.  Upon his enlightenment, he realized that the Dharma that he attained might be elusive and complicated for many normal people to understand which made him hesitant to share his experiences with anyone.  After much consideration he decided that his Dharma could be of great benefit and his teachings might help and save many people.

So Lord Buddha set about testing the way he would teach his Dharma; he famously travelled to Isipatana by crossing the river ganges without getting wet, and gathered his five Associates together and delivered his first teachings to the Benjapkee in the deer park at Isipatana.  Here he taught them, they understood and as a result they also became enlightened. At that time the Sangha, the community of the enlightened ones, was founded. The sermon Buddha gave to the five was his first sermon, called the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta.  After receiving the first sermons of Buddhism, they became the first five monks in Buddhism following Buddha.  They are Phra Annasikondanna, Phra Vappa, Phra Baddhaya, Phra Mahanama and Phra Assaji.
 

This was the day that the Sangha was formed and after many teachings and sermons their number grew to 60 disciples of Lord Buddha and they were known as the community of enlightened ones. Finally the Lord Buddha sent the Sangha to all the corners of the kingdoms that they could reach to spread the teachings of the Dharma.

 

In paying homage to the first five associates of Gotama Buddha, in Thailand the master of Buddha amulets, “Tri Yumpawai” classified the five most famous and well worshipped Amulets as the “Grand Five” – these are known as the Benjapakee Set.

Phra Somdej
Phra Nang Paya Phitsanulok ( Queen of Amulets ):
Phra Nang Phaya were created during of Ayuttaya era, Pitsanulok province and were discovered at Wat Nang Phaya around B.E.2444. It is believed many were made by Queen Visutkasatri, wife of King Mahadharmaraja, mother of King Naresuan the Great over 400 years ago.
Phra Somdej
Phra Phong Suphan:
Phra Phong originate from the 600 year old Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat in Suphanburi.  It is believed they were uncovered beneath the chedi there in BE 2456.  Found with the amulets were inscribed plates of gold and silver detailing the amulets had been created by Phra Mahathera Piya Thassi Saribut during the reign of King Phra Borm Rajadhiraj II. Fashioned in the UThong style with the creator's characteristic thumb print on the back they are considered the most powerful of all amulets.
Phra Rod Lamphun:
Phra Rod amulets originate from Wat Mahawan in Lamphun. This temple is believed to have been built in 657AD by Queen Chammathewi the first ruler of Hariphunchai where she installed a Buddha image now known as Phra Rod Luang. These amulets are the smallest found in the Benjapakee set; they are made of clay mixed with various herbs. The legend says that these amulets were created during the coronation ceremony of the queen and are therefore dated well over 1000 years old.
Phra Somdej
Phra Somkor:
Ancient records reveal that these amulets were made over 550 years ago by 11 hermits or Phra Lersi using special materials and invited Devadas to create the molds. They were discovered in 1849 at Wat Phra Boromathat, Kamphaeng Phet province.  There is a slogan for Phra Somgor " If you have me, you never get poor".
Phra Somdej