Buddha in a Reclining Pose


Thailand. So what does a reclining pose for Buddha mean? In the case of the longest reclining Buddha in Thailand, at 160 feet long and 50 feet high, it illustrates Buddha passing into Nirvana. Nirvana? Simply put, Nirvana means a state of peace or bliss. Or as we now know, it could also mean you were born on a Tuesday since a reclining Buddha pose represents Tuesday birthdays.

This monument is spectacular, completely covered in gold leaf with the eyes and feet inlaid with mother-of-pearl. While the temple is over 300 years old, the Reclining Buddha was commissioned in 1832 under the reign of King Rama III.

And there are all sorts of rules and customs involved in viewing Buddha statues. First, you must take your shoes off and leave them outside (which is a little weird because my first thought was what happens if someone takes my shoes), no bare shoulders or knees are allowed, and you should never point your feet at a Buddha.

And if you are really into the customs, you should walk clockwise around the statue, and enter the temple with your left foot and leave with your right foot (which sounds a lot like not stepping on a crack in the sidewalk when I was a kid). And in acknowledging it’s importance as a Bangkok landmark, it was Obama’s first stop on his recent Asian tour. And yes, even he had to take off his shoes.