Gazing into the Abyss: Clergy as An Agency in Cosmological Parks’ Representations of the Apāya

17 Pages Posted: 24 Feb 2022

Date Written: November 5, 2021

Abstract

Widely visible in Thailand, cosmological parks are spaces in which the cosmological realms are brought to life via three-dimensional imagery. Affiliated to temples, these parks allow an opportunity for visitors to engage in devotional activities, making their visit a meaningful experience that extends beyond an educational and entertaining escapade. By focusing on representations of the lower realms of woe – the apāya in the parks, this article considers the way in which this imagery communicates guidelines for right conduct and prevention of birth in these realms. In light of this exploration, it then examines the way in which clergy operate as an agency, facilitating activities that contribute to the optimisation of kamma. Thus, the apāya depictions in cosmological parks propagate the reciprocal relationship between clergy and laity, which ultimately supports the parks.

Suggested Citation

Wang, Ronit, Gazing into the Abyss: Clergy as An Agency in Cosmological Parks’ Representations of the Apāya (November 5, 2021). Rian Thai International Journal of Thai Studies, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3957356 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3957356

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