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Wat Sanam Chan (วัดสนามจันทร์)

Thai name of a rather large Buddhist monastery located on the west bank of the Bang Pakong (fig.) River in Chachengsao (fig.) Province. It's name, akin to King Wachirawut's (fig.) Sanam Chan Palace (fig.) in Nakhon Pathom, translates as ‘Moon Field’. It has several buildings and edifices on its premises and various large statues related to Buddhism and Hinduism. Its centre piece is a statue of Rahu (fig.) located on the roof of a hall devoted to this demon from Hindu mythology. He is here depicted devouring the moon, represented by a giant ball with a picture of a rabbit on it, referring to the so-called Rabbit on the Moon (fig.), a dark spot on the surface of the moon with the contours of a rabbit. In Buddhist iconography, the rabbit is also a symbol in its own right representing the moon, and may thus in this sense also refer to the name of this temple, whilst a rabbit in combination with a peacock in Buddhist iconography may also represent Enlightenment. With regards to Rahu, it was the lunar god Phra Jan (fig.), Chan (fig.) or Chandra who discovered the deceit by the demon Rahu when the latter joined the gods during the distribution of the Elixir of Life called Amrita. Hence, Chandra together with Suriya or Surya (fig.), the god of the sun, reported this to Vishnu (fig.), who immediately cut the demon in half with his chakra (fig.) disc. However, the amrita elixir drank by Rahu had already taken its effect and both parts now live on separately. Since Rahu never forgot this betrayal by the sun and moon, he chases them alternately with his mouth wide open and when swallowing them causes the eclipses of the sun and moon. Other eye-catchers on the compound are a large statue of the Vedic god Indra (fig.), depicted with a green complexion and holding a white conch and a trident; and a golden statue of Padma (fig.), who is also known as Lakshmi (fig.), i.e. the goddess of beauty and fortune, and consort to Vishnu. Other images include guardian giants known as yaks (fig.), as well as a reusi (fig.) or hermit depicted seated on a deer. The temple is also home to a unique and rare statue of the Buddha in the posture of stepping on the world, a pose known in Thai as pahng hyieb lohk. One hall has some Chinese deities, such as Mi Le Fo (fig.); Kuan Yin (fig.) standing on a dragon; the animals of the Chinese zodiac (fig.); and a bronze statue of King Taksin (fig.) wielding a sword as if initiating an attack. WATCH VIDEO.