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pahng saiyaat (ปางไสยาสน์)

Thai. ‘Position of sleeping or reclining’. Buddha image in a reclining pose. According to Indian tradition this pose refers to the Mahaparinippahn of the Buddha, also known as the Lion Pose or Sanyasa, the last of the four ashram, i.e. the Four Stages of Life in the life of the Buddha (fig.), and represents the escape from samsara. Whilst in Thailand, from the Sukhothai period on, it is seen rather as a resting Buddha. The soles of the feet of larger Buddha images in this pose often bear the 108 auspicious signs (fig.). According to yet another view this pose refers to a scene in which the giant Asurindarahu wanted an audience with the Buddha. Proud of his size he didn't want to bow before the much smaller Buddha. Aware of the thoughts of the giant, the Buddha manifested himself lying down with an enormous body, his feet larger than the body size of this giant (fig.). Totally impressed Asurindarahu learned a lesson, namely that there might always be more important or larger beings than one expects and therefore one better not believe rumours without prior consideration. This image corresponds with Tuesday in the Phra prajam wan geut system. Note that in this pose the Buddha is holding his right hand underneath his head. Besides the extremely large images, there are at least two other varieties of reclining Buddha images, in which the right arm is held in different positions. In the first attitude, the Buddha's right arm is held in front of his belly, pointing the hand towards his left hip (fig.), whereas in the second, his right arm is held in front of his chest, pointing the hand towards his left elbow (fig.). The former pose is known as Making a Prophesy, the latter as Preaching his Last Sermon, in Thai called pahng phayahkon (ปางทรงพยากรณ์) and pahng proht Supattha (ปางโปรดสุภัทท), respectively.