Monday, September 29, 2008

Phra Lersi - The Thai Hermit


In the Thai language a hermit is called a Lersi (reusee) and in Khmer a rosei from Sanskrit rishī, that is, a forest dwelling visionary. As a matter of fact, in the oldest surviving Buddhist scriptures, the Buddha himself is referred to as the "Rishī" in the Pali form Isi.

In general Lersi are known as 'Ascetics' and are characterised by refraining from worldly pleasures. Those who practice this lifestyle hope to achieve greater spirituality. Essentially they believe that the action of purifying the body helps to purify the soul, and thus obtain a greater connection with the divine.

Originating in India before the time of Buddha most are hermits and live, study and meditate in caves or forests.


Essentially Phra Lersi are Indian hermits who are credited as founders and patron saints of various professions such as doctors, religious tattooists, white magic practitioners, herbalists and many others. There are a total of 108 scared Lersi (hermits) that are recognized by name and many others who are not. More often than not the Lersi is generically represented as an old man wearing a conical head dress and tiger skin robes.

Tiger Head Lersi statue by Luang Phor Kalong in B.E 2550

In Indian mythology, Phra Lersi received worldly knowledge from the Gods and taught this to mankind. Thus Phra Lersi are known as Masters of knowledge and are frequently worshipped by students and others in academic pursuits. As Phra Lersi are also credited to be founders of the Thai magical arts, they feature prominently on the alters of magical practitioners in Thailand and are invoked in rituals.

By carrying the image of Phra Lersi it is believed that you will be protected from black magic and evil spirits.
Phra Lersi amulet by Luang Phor Kay (Wat Sirisumpunin) B.E2548

The above picture tells: Hanuman kneels on a red tiled floor holding up his tail. Hanuman's tail continues to burn until he finds a wise forest hermit who can reveal the secret. (The story behind the festival of Diwali)

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

hi my apologise for writing here but can i please have your email address - this is quite urgent to heal someone- your knowledge may help

ST said...

my email address : kingfish_888@yahoo.com

Rycharde Manne said...

Hi

have used one image of yours here: http://thailand-village.blogspot.com/2009/06/lersi-initiation-and-thai-forest-hermit.html

I've also written a short article about your blog here: http://thailand-village.blogspot.com/2009/06/thailand-amulets.html

Let me know if it's OK to keep the image up and/or if I an also add one to the short article about your blog.

Nice photos!

Came across your blog as almost impossible to find anything meaningful about Lersi online.

Anonymous said...

Hi,can i have pra lersi's katha?

nagaselvam said...

any ano can help me to get phra lersi katha please?

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