The tradition of the seven-day week is observed all over the world. In some places it shows up in mundane ways like numbering of squares in calendars and appointment books. In other places exquisite physical settings are created in sacred spaces for the days of the week.
In Southeast Asia many temples feature a set of altars dedicated to the seven days of the week. Each altar displays a stature of Lord Buddha representing a deeply significant moment in his life. Some of the Buddhas are standing; others are seated and one reclines. Each Buddha holds its hands in certain manner called a Mudra which allows the recognition and distribution of a particular type of energy.
It is a common practice for visitors to seek out the Buddha representing their own “day of the week” birth. They feel that their lives are enhanced by the blessing of this particular Buddha granted through offerings, rituals and prayers. The “great moments” of Buddha reveal some important lessons.
The Eight Buddhas
|Sunday – PANG THAWAI NET. Seven Days of Looking. After his enlightenment under the Buddhi tree, the Buddha stood in gratitude to the power which made this huge leap in awareness possible. He stood for a whole week without blinking an eye.|
|Monday – PANG HAM YATI. Pacifying the Relatives. The Buddha stands with his right hand extended and palm raised upwards. With this Mudra he offered peace to the members of his aggravated family. The Buddha’s advice was to compromise.|
|Tuesday – PAN SAI YAT. Realizing Nirvana. The Buddha is reclining when he is approached by an Asura. By increasing his actual size the Buddha confronts the smallness of this evil being and takes on the role of a universal teacher and takes on the role of a universal teacher.|
|Wednesday AM– PANG UMBAT Buddha Seeking Alms. In the early morning monks make their alms rounds to collect food. Buddha did the same and his father was appalled that his son, a prince, was “begging” for food.|
|Wednesday PM PANG UMBAT Buddha Distributing Alms This one day of the week is divided into two twelve hour parts. The lesson of charity is continued throughout the day. The example of being generous profits all creation.|
|Thursday PANG SAMTI The Contemplating Buddha. The Buddha is shown seated in the full lotus asana or position. He vowed to remain in that strenuous posture until he achieved enlightenment even if it mean actually dying on that spot.|
|Friday PANG RAM PUENG Contemplating Buddha. The Buddha stands with his arms crossed across his chest. Realizing the dharma or difficulties that all people must face, the Buddha offers continual hope and encouragement.|
|Saturday PANG NAK PROK Protected by the Naga King. The meditating Buddha was protected from a heavy rainfall by a huge serpent . The Buddha was so engrossed in his spiritual practice that he didn’t even realize that a miracle had taken place.|
|The Day of the Week Buddhas are displayed publicly|
in temples throughout Southeast Asia.