Friday, May 25, 2012

My Way Of Collection

My way of amulets collection now:

1. 50% of money : high end collection. Those that are above S$1,000. Highly collectable and easily resellable if needed. With standard market price. Can inherit to my son in future or resell it for retirement:)

2. 40% of money: mid end collection. Anything between S$200-S$1,000. For investment. Gain uses to fund class 1 purchases.

3. 10% of my money: for amulets that i like. May be from good luang phor. or with good cause. or amulets hot in current market.

So, i have three buckets with different amount of money. i will split my monthly disposable income into these three buckets. Only purchase with money from these buckets and not anywhere else.

I used to pawn my Rolex, sell my Panerai to fund my amulets purchase. i decide to stop this from now on. It becomes a burden and it disrupts my other expenses important for my family.

Haha...hope this works....i am trying it out now.

Sharing Amulets Collections Experience

I have been collecting amulets for many years now. It started when my dad brought me to late night gathering with fellow collectors. i hated him and didn't understand why he can spend countless nights and days with this hobby. i was Sec 3 then. i missed my classes, missed my sleep and many good times with friends. Just to accompany him.

Until much later when i was into this hobby myself, then i realised. i might be doing the same too if not for my two little toddlers who had kept me busy day and nights. Somehow it is different from other hobby like stamp collection or bird watching. It can keep me excited days and nights and for many years.

Now that my dad passed away. Last year Sept. i started to take over all his collection. He only willed few pieces to my sisters and his grand sons. The rest, all go to me. I am the only one collecting and into this hobby actually.

Now there are a few lessons that i want to note down and share. Just to share my experience and lessons learnt from seeing the way that my dad collected his amulets.

1. There is no free lunch in this world. Good amulets doesn't come cheap. If a seller knows the background of the amulets and if he still wants to sell you the amulets at a fraction of the amulets actual market cost, then you better think twice before getting it.

2. Amulets collectors are to certain extend smart and "cunning". They are very familiar with the buying behavior and pattern. If you think you out smart him, many a times it is the other way round. There are many crocodiles around.

3. Do not anyhow collect amulets without a clear purpose. Don't follow crowd or trend. Know what you want and go for it. You might end up collecting lots and lots of amulets and at the end of the day, 20 years later, you don't even remember its name and its origin. Just like my dad. And more so, if you want to resell your amulets later on.

4. Focus on your collection. Be an expert in one material or one Luang Phor. It is hard to know and master everything. find a good luang phor thatyou like and get all information about him. Collect only his amulets. Then move on the the next. If you collect only metal, then make sure you understand how a rian is made. What are the different process involves and how to see sign of aged. This is more important than memorizing all the marking. Marking can be made almost 100%.

5. There are many "expert" in this field. They seem to know everything and all kinds of amulets. So, practise your judgement and analysis skill when digesting inputs from these "experts". You might need more than one views to decide.

I searched through all my dad's collection. i am of course happy that i have a lot of amulets now. But amulets that are real, may be 70%. Amulets that are worth collecting (from my perspective), may be 30%.

Amulets that are really collectable, real, costly (more than S$2,000), less than 20. I felt a bit sad as he has spent tens of thousands of dollars into this. This is his fortune. He does not left any money behind for us. Is it worth it?? i am not sure.

For him may be yes. for me, i learn from this and refine my purpose of collection and zoom into what i really want. :)

Luang Poo Doo (Wat Saket) and amulets

The following is a translated article regarding pratard or dharmatart popularly found on luang poo Doo's amulets. The study was done by a PHD student and was written in his thesis on using amulets as a meditatin subject. And since he touches on LP Doo who is one of my favourite monks, i thought of sharg this to my followers :)

Luang Poo Doo or Phra Phrompanyothera was most renowned among meditation practitioners in Thailand because of the amulets that he made and supplied to his disciples for holding during meditation. There is a controversy surrounding these amulets. It involves crystallized calcium (Pratard or dharma Tard)of different shapes that emerges on the surface of the amulets after they have been used in meditation for a period of time.

There are two sides to this controversy. On the one hand, his disciples claim that what account for this phenomenon are sacred act of consecration which Luang Poo made and with which he blessed these amulets during their making. At the time , Luang Poo's mind is believed to be in the purest and holiest state that have the effect of purifying the calcium element in the amulets, turning them into crystals(Pra-Dhamma-Tard). The other side to this controversy, however, claims that the crystals are results those special materials intentionally added into these amulets during their making. These materials, according to them, were added to enhance the faith of meditation practitioners, thus helping them to better concentrate.

As a meditation practitioner and amulet collector I have tried to get to the truth of this controversy and after a long inquiry, a conclusion is reached that the crystallized calcium (Pra-Dhamma-Tard)found on the surface of Luang Poo's amulets actually emerges by itself, rather than artificially inserted.

One reason in support of this conclusion is that Luang Poo always relied on his disciples in the making of these amulets, particular in the filling-up process, so that if there was any intentional addition of foreign materials, there must have been a large number of witnesses to this. In addition to this, I and my meditation-practicing companion have visited Phra Ajarn Varongkot Viriyatharo, one of Luang Poo Doo's disciples, at his cave temple. Phra Ajarn Varongkot not only witnessed the making of these amulets himself while Luang Poo was still alive, but also has inherited the whole technique from him. My companion was so very impressed in Buddhist meditation that he decided to ordain as a monk and stay at the temple for two months. During this time, he occasionally saw and took part as a helper of Phra Ajarn Varongkol in producing (cement fill-up process) some amulets. At those special moments, he interceded with Luang Poo, asking for his permission to mentally dissect the filling up process in his meditation in order to get to the truth about the crystallized calcium(Pra-Dhamma-Tard).

The result s of this dissection were as follow: he found that in order for the crystallized calcium to appear on the surface of any amulet:

1. the amulet needs to have a minimal amount of Loung Poo Doo sacred powder that were made since Luang Poo was still alive,

2. it needs a degree of moisture

3. it needs a special power derived from holy and earnest prayers made by individuals practitioners.

When these three factors are present, the crystallized calcium (Pra Dhamma Tard )will emerge, but with different shapes depending on the constitution and manner in which each practitioner makes his prayer. This explains the fact that crystallized calcium(Pra Dhamma Tard) on Luang Poo's amulets cannot be forged. At worst, forgers can sprinkle on the amulets materials that look similar to such calcium and get the results that are far from looking genuine. At best, they may obtain the first and the second factors, namely, Luang Poo Doo sacred powder (may get from Luang Poo Doo broken amulet) and moisture, yet have to do without the pure and holy mind in prayers which is of first and foremost importance for the emergence of the crystals(Pra Dhamma Tard).

Finally, my companion also has taken an experiment in which he poured cement without Luang Poo Doo sacred powder into amulet moulds and put on moisture as in standard procedure. After getting the results, he then separated them from the lot so that they would not be consecrated apon by Phra Ajarn Varongkot as others. The hypothesis he was testing here was that if the crystallized calcium (Pra Dhamma Tard) is truly a result of a combination of cement and moisture, and not of secred powder and holiness of prayers, crystallized calcium (Pra Dhamma Tard) must appear on the surface of those amulets. Miraculously, none of calcium crystals (Pra Dhamma Tard) did appear on those amulets. This put the doubt to rest. My practicing companion now believes in the sacred and holy source of the crystals (Pra-Dhamma-Tard) found on Luang Poo Doo's amulets.

Readers may have different opinions to which they are entitled. So this article should be seen as my inquiry into one of the most asked questions about Luang Poo Doo's amulets to find answers that can satisfy meditation-practicing companions and amulet collectors. Readers who have further questions with meditation or use of amulets to support meditation can consult the following website of Tham Muang Na Temple at or the thesis titled "Study of Amulets as a meditation strategy" which was written by Robthit Waisusri, a PhD graduate from Mahachulalongkornrajvidhayalai University, Thailand and also the writer's companion who took experiment mentioned in this article.