And now for another installment of a Buddhist hell road trip. I told you there were a lot of Buddhist hells around these parts!
This time I went on a trip to Suphanburi province about 2 1/2 hours from Bangkok to visit the “Hell Temple” or Wat Phai Rong Wua (วัดไผ่โรงวัว.)
This is the 3rd Buddhist hell I’ve seen and it’s by far the most incredible. The number of enormous grotesque statues depicting various torments for sinners, packed into one hell park was incredible.
Buddhist Hell is a real place and you can visit several of them throughout Thailand. In a previous post, I took you through a Buddhist hell I stumbled across randomly while on a road trip in Khon Kaen. These hells are within Buddhist temples and are a reminder of what happens if you are a bad Buddhist. Every torturous scene depicts the hell that awaits you if you commit a certain sin. It’s so much fun!
I’ve been dying to visit more hells and hadn’t had the chance. So this week while on vacation, I decided to finally cross another hell off my list, hop on a bus, and travel to Chonburi province, a little over an hour away from Bangkok, to visit the Wat Saen Suk (Hell Garden.) It did not disappoint. It was an amazing gruesome giant art installation plopped in a nice, quiet Thai residential area.
It was hot as hell and I noticed there weren’t any taxis for miles, so I made sure the motorcycle taxi I rode on stayed put as I ran through the gates to snap pictures of purgatory.
By Tracy Vanity People here in Thailand tend to view Hitler as a Darth Vader-like symbol of rebellion. Evil; but in a fun, punk-rock way. Thais happily sport Nazi imagery alongside images of Che Guevara and Doraemon without irony. The rock band “SLUR” even dressed up in Führer-regalia for their video simply called “Hitler.” It doesn’t hurt that most of the planet’s people — Buddhists and Hindus — consider the swastika an auspicious emblem of the elephant-headed Ganesha. And there’s little comprehension of the Holocaust or most Western sentiments toward the Third Reich. As a result, one frequently spots Nazi-iconography-as-fashion here, mostly in the form of t-shirts and other merchandise sold at various outdoor markets around Bangkok:
8-bit Führer for sale
Hitler with a Western pop culture twist
A Japanese tourist sports a pink Hitler shirt
Nazi stickers on the ferry ride home.
Pop art Hitler is bigger than Warhol.
Rubber Hitler masks are available year round.
A chimpanzee hocks some Hitler faces at the gas station
The Hitler wax sculpture at LOUIS Tussaud’s wax museum in Pattaya, Thailand is as popular as Obama.
And my personal favorite, the Swastikar.