Palladium : The Emerald Buddha and the Scope of The Real

Carlos M. Ross




To talk about 'the real' is to talk about those things that constitute our reality. Although such a set might seem universally obvious, certain items have the power to destabilize that basic metaphysical footing. This article presents an inductive exploration of the limits of reality through the analysis of one of those items: the Emerald Buddha [พระแก้วมรกต], palladium of Thailand. Drawing on landmarks of European philosophy and Theravada thinking regarding metaphysics, the argument confronts the theoretical approach to reality with the practical intricacies of cosmic understanding, as found in contemporary Thai society. It is argued that a comprehensive picture of reality demands a way of thinking based on personal perspective, where the predominance of the persona over the collective does not hinder, but reframes, the fundamental sense of togetherness.

(Published in Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies, Volume 4/2011, Page 47-80)


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