Phra Bua Khem 帕波琴
Phra Bua Khem – Pra Upakut
created by Luang Phor Woon
Phra Bua Khem – Pra Upakut
Kata and Bucha Method for Pra Upakut Thaera – Arahant of Protection and Riches.
Pra Upakut , otherwise known as Pra Bua Khem, was an Arahant who the Buddha praised for his great magical powers, and who was said by the Lord Buddha to be the most powerful of all the Arahants. Before the Buddha entered Nirvana, he asked Pra Upakut to remain alive until the coming of Pra Arya Sri Maedtrai (Maitreya), and protect the Buddha Sasana and the teachings of the Dhamma. It is believed by Thai Buddhists, that he is still alive to this day, and resides in the middle of the Great Ocean, with a Lotus leaf on his head, and remain alive throughout the Aeons to rise to the assistance of the Dhamma whenever needed, and to help Sentient Beings.
Khem means needle and has a questioning tone to it when pronounced (rising).
Pra Upakut was a Monk in the times of Maharaja Asoka the Indian king who first promoted Buddhism.
In this time Buddhism was experiencing a lot of disarray and downfall because a lot of false people were entering Monkhood just to make money or eat free.
As a result the local people did not have much faith and were losing their faith in Buddhism. King Asoka (we call Asoke in Thai) was then calling upon the monks to do something – they had a comitteee meeting and it came about that some monks knew of a monk called Pra Upakut who was sat in the “belly button of the Ocean” (Sader Tale), meditating and entering Nirodha and Samabhati state of meditation (enlightened and free from suffering).It wold have been so difficult to find a monk whose practise and purity was higher than this one – so they decided to elect him to be the leader of the Sangha in order to save Buddhism
The statue in the above pic is a Burmese style one and is called one of two names 1. Pra Upakut, or Pra Bua Khem – if made out of Bodhi tree wood is also called Pra Takhinasakhaa and made from a branch of Bodhi tree that has died naturally and faces south (or in some legends, East). I suppose the tale that you were told to place him in the middle of a pool of water is because his entering into enlightenment was whilst sat in the navel of the ocean. In geography in Thai we would call the navel of the ocean the sargasso sea.. but it might just mean in the middle of the ocean somewhere.
Some people will place the statue in the middle of a shallow bowl filled with water as a way of installing the Buddha in the place of worship, reflecting the great meditation of Pra Upakut.
2 kinds of worshipping reasons;
One reason is that he is a subduer of Mara demons and thus protects you from danger.
second reason is that he is a keeper of purity precepts whilst sitting in the middle of the water – this means he will prevent you from having any heated feelings or things that cause you to be disturbed, angry frustrated or unhappy..all these things are “hot” feelings.. the water around this Buddha, and his purity will keep you and your household cool and peaceful instead of hot and bothered. No heated disturbances in the household and family.
Pra Upakut is severely revered also in Chiang Mai province and most amulets and statues of him will be made there. This is probably the Burmese influence too because in past times Burma was always overlapping into the province and even to this day you can see that the monks in North Thailand wear red robes like in Burma not yellow like in the rest of Thailand.
The reason he is called Bua Khem is because khem (needles ) was used to refer to the buddha arahant relics used to implant in this statue (in original large statues of him) where 9 needles or relics were inserted into his forehead (1) shoulders (2) hips (2) Hands (2) and Knees (2)
The General meaning of the Pra Upakut Amulet has two perspectives;
1. Symbolizes the Powerful Arahant who is able to subdue Maras and Demons and protects from danger and evils
2. Symbolizes Pra Bua Khem who resides below the ocean in a crystal palace in peace and happiness, who used to me a wealthy perfume seller before his enlightenment, and is able to endow devotees with amazing luck and riches, as well as watching over the world and protecting Buddhism until the coming of Pra Arya Sri Maedtrai ( Maitreya )
Ways to “Bucha” (worship method)
Light fragrant incense , offer fragrant flowers and perfumed water – this can be done with statue at home or statue in the place of business too for sales. You then say namo tassa pakawato arahato sammaa samputtassa 3 times and pray in your heart that wherever the fragrance will flow in the air and touch, that there will be;
1. (at home) happiness, calm, peace etc (all what you wish for).
2. (in place of business) That the fragrance wherever it touches will cause he who smells it to be induced to purchase in your shop. (actually i believe this is a really typical Asian and especially Thai thing invented by people with greed in their hearts not by monks who recommend the way of worship – decide for yourself. i don’t believe in using Buddha to ask for riches)
Chant Kata ;
Mahaa Upakuto Mahaa Laapo PuttoLaapang Sappe Chanaa Pahoo Chanaa Raachaa Buriso Itheeyomaa Namo Joeraa Metaa Jidtang Ehi Jidtang Jidtang Biyang Mama Satewagang Manussaanang Sappalaapang Pawandtume EhiJidti Jidtang Pantanang Upakudta Ja Mahaa tero Puttasaawaga Anupaawena Maara Wichaya Nirapaya Dtechabunyadta Ja Tewadtaanambi Manussaaanambi Ehi Jidtang Biyang Ma Ma Imangkaaya Pantanang Atithaami Ba Ayyisudtang Ubajsa-i