The Friday Buddha

Reclining Buddha

The 150-foot-long Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho in Bangkok. Photos by David Lansing.

We are on our way to see the Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho. Steve and I have been bickering all morning. Like two young tiger cubs we snarl and claw at each other in play but sometimes one or the other of us gets a little too rambunctious and blood is drawn. Like a patient tiger mom, Ketsara has been silently watching us.

“What day were you born?” she asks me.

Friday, I tell her.

She nods. “I can see that.”

I ask her why she wants to know. She says for Thai Buddhists, there is a Buddha for every day of the week, depending on what day you were born.

The head of the Reclining Buddha. Photo by David Lansing.

“Your Buddha the Thoughtful Buddha, Pang Rumpueng. That mean Thoughtful. This Buddha is standing with arms crossed over his chest, like so.” And she shows me the pose of the Thoughtful Buddha. I ask her to tell me more about my Buddha. “This mean you see things many more don’t see. The world needs someone like you to create. You are a creator. Your color blue—like the King of Thailand.”

This all sounds lovely but I feel there is more to it than this. “What are the negative things about the Friday Buddha?” I ask her.

She doesn’t answer me immediately. When she does, she says, “Why you want to know bad things?”

“Because it’s yin and yang,” I say. “You’ve only told me the half of it. The good stuff. I want to know the rest.”

Ketsara, looking very serious, says, “I will tell you another time. When just the two of us.”

All of this talk has made Steve, who was born on a Tuesday, anxious to know who his Buddha is.

“You Reclining Buddha,” Ketsara tells Steve.

“Oh my god you guys, we’re going to see my Buddha!”

The Reclining Buddha at Wat Pho is so large (over 150-feet long) that it is almost impossible to take a single image of it. Steve keeps sticking an elbow in my ribs as we walk around the Buddha. “This is my Buddha,” he says gleefully. It is impressive. But perhaps there is an equally impressive Thoughtful Buddha somewhere in Thailand. We will see.

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  1. Allan’s avatar

    How odd. Do most people know the day they were born? Other than the date. I don’t. And I’ve never given it any thought.

  2. David’s avatar

    Allan, I thought the same thing. I didn’t have a clue. But it only takes about a 5 second internet search to figure it out. The weird thing is that about half our group not only knew what day they were born (without having to do any web searching) but what time as well!

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