Thailand: The Sanctuary of Truth, Pattaya
Updated: Feb 20
DAY 41 - 19 February 2023
CURRENT POSITON : ENROUTE TO HO CHI MINH (PHU MY)
Queen Mary 2 World Centenary Voyage
102 days, 31 ports, 18 countries.
Ellen Frazer-Jameson reporting live from Queen Mary 2
Thailand - Day 2
Visit to the Sanctuary of Truth, Pattaya, Thailand
A Buddhist castle hovering between sea and sky.
The Founder of the Sanctuary of Truth bought and developed a huge tract of coastal land forty years ago near the town of Pattaya to provide a universal place of reverence for people of all religions and philosophies to ponder the great questions of heaven and earth.
Who are we? Where are we from? How do we Survive? What is our life purpose?
Travelling from the ship, docked in the Port at Laem Chabang, to the town of Pattaya, our tourist coaches squeezed down the narrow, overcrowded streets of a bustling urban area and bumped along an unmade road before emerging into a secluded woodland area overflowing with vibrant flowers and plants.
No entry to a Disneyland adventure park could be more filled with anticipation than this scene of expectation and surprise. Alongside clay figures holding offerings and ‘Welcome’ signs, stands a 12 ft high gnarled tree statue of a many armed protector/ guardian.
The centre piece of the landscaped entrance way is a golden goddess on horseback with a dove in her hand and a flower on her arm. This heavenly portrayal represents all four individual behaviours of Buddhism which lead to the ultimate life purpose, peace.
Everywhere there are reminders of the Buddhist philosophy with directions on how to answer the timeless questions which are claimed to convey the five missions of humans.
At every turn, embedded in the fascinating collection of prayers, symbols and monuments, angelic figures, totem poles and statues of elephant and other animals, appear randomly. Activity signposts direct visitors to the many attractions on the grounds including carriage rides, horse back riding, a mini zoo, rowing boat, speed boat ride, an Himmapan Forest and Thai foot massage.
While pondering the many choices, if not actually contemplating the universal truths, without warning there appeared an elephant. Dressed extravagantly in rich red robes. His keeper rode him through the low branch trees and offered visitors a chance to climb up and enjoy the view from the top of a full-grown male elephant.
One agile, grey-haired male tourist took up the challenge. When last seen, the elephant had carried him off into the undergrowth.
Senses now on high alert, we face the great revelation. Gently guided on to the steps of a steep stairway down to a hidden beach, a glimpse of a heavenly vision appears. Hard hats are handed out to ensure safety in our upcoming exploration.
The Sanctuary of Truth Museum, honours the religion of the Thai people, Theravada Buddhism, and a lifetime accomplishment of one man as he strives to offer teachings and create eternal peace for all mankind.
(click to enlarge photos)
Resembling a gigantic Hollywood film set, the 100 foot high intricately carved Museum appears to hover between reality and dream. In a blink of an eye it could disappear. If indeed, it exists at all.
However, this shows no signs of happening, not as long as the keepers of the Museum and the truths contained therein, continue to expand and enhance the awe-inspiring carved and embellished palace with the dedication of a small army of wood carvers and craftsmen.
Inside the cathedral of truth, the deepest values of natural resources and light, beauty and harmony are devoted to the principles of the highest good man can achieve.
A statue of the Founder, Lek Viriyaphan, repeats the universal truths. At the centre of the cavernous museum, the Buddha’s relics are enshrined – establishing that even the Buddha could not escape death. Nor will we.
On a plaque alongside the teachings of the Founder, there is a message which is at once contemporary and appears to suggest that behind the Sanctuary of Truth, there is a higher level of pain and suffering which may have been endured by the founder.
A plaque reads
“Drug addiction is a special kind of hell, It takes over the soul of the addict and breaks the hearts of eveyone they love. “
This message reminds followers that in Buddhist philosophy,
humans should strive to be ‘Free from allurements.”
The mythological figures of the world beyond and the Thai pantheon of Gods and Goddesses, Is carved in three levels of wood colouring, with Thai wood and a combination of other varieties imported from neighbouring countries. The essential elements refer to nature’s essences of Earth, Fire, Wind and Water.
If ever there was an allurement from which humans could struggle to be free, this Sanctuary of Truth, touches at the deepest part of man; body, spirit and soul. The Sanctuary of Truth remains a monument to one man’s commitment to reach out and encourage humankind to follow the teachings of Buddha.
As the Founder of this magnificent edifice believed,
“True happiness is found in intrinsic spiritual pleasure. “
* * * * *
FROM THE BRIDGE
Announcement from Captain Hall: 8AM – guests of QM2 were informed that on her starboard side, HMS SPEY, a British navy patrol boat had requested permission to accompany QM2 through the Gulf of Thailand.
HMS Spey is a Batch 2 River-class offshore patrol vessel of the Royal Navy. Named after the River Spey in Scotland, she is the eighth Royal Navy ship to be named Spey and is the fifth Batch 2 River-class vessel to commission and is forward deployed long-term to the Indo-Pacific region with her sister ship HMS Tamar. (WIKI)
SPEY came alongside and the two ships exchanged flags. Passengers crowded the railings taking photographs and videos, and watched as Spey’s speed boat was deployed. Operations completed, a blast on QM2’s horn bade goodbye to the patrol boat. No explanation was forthcoming about how common this type of encounter might be but Captain Hall was happy to report that Spey had sent photographs and they were displayed on the information channel. Ships that pass – in the day!
BACK ON BOARD OUR MOTHER SHIP
ENROUTE TO VIETNAM !
Current position of Queen Mary 2: Under way from Laem Chabang to Phu My
Departure was 1 d 3 hrs 53 min ago. (at 19:00 h local time)
Arrival will be in 1 d 7 hrs 7 min. (at 06:00 h local time)
Traveled distance since Laem Chabang: 390.57 nm (723.33 km)
Remaining distance to Phu My: 436.11 nm (807.67 km)
Traveled distance since Singapore: 1,212.04 nm (2,244.69 km)
Happy Sailing ... The Journey continues... Ellen
NEXT PORT - Ho Chi Minh (Phu My)
20 February 2023
Photo of the day (from the archives of JD Schwartz)
Further updates will be posted as soon as we get them from Ellen onboard Queen Mary 2.