Since ancient times, wearing an amulet was supposed to endow the owner with either a protective quality, or would herald the coming of good luck and fortune. These days, is more on-trend right now than Thai Buddha amulets.
A Buddha amulet is called plah keang in its local language. It's said that once upon a time, there was a renowned monk in Thailand, who was invited by the king to go to the disaster area when a deadly drought afflicted the nation.
Unable to bring the large Buddha statue in his home, he dreamed of the Buddha statue telling him he could make a small model of it with the clay from the temple and bring that instead. He did what he was told, and the drought eased. When the monk gave this amulet to the king, the king asked him to make more and spread them among the common people.
Like Christian crosses and Chinese Buddha amulets, Thai Buddha amulets can be made of metal or precious stones. Yet a majority of them today are still a combination of clay and incense ash. They are then molded into a Buddha statue (some are not) and put in a box. Sometimes, pollen, herbs, metal bars (with Scripture carved on), an eyebrow hair from a holy monk and a drop of his blood may also be contained inside. It's not finished and ready to give out until it's blessed by a renowned monk.
Thai Buddha amulets can be made into different shapes, such as round, square and triangular. Yet, what decides an amulet's major function is the Buddha or creature shown on it.
Buddhism is polytheistic religion and there are multiple gods and goddesses. For example, a Buddha called bida (one with his hands covering the face) helps to drive bad luck away. A colorful butterfly is useful for a woman to attract a man.
In the old days, Buddha amulets in Thailand were purely hand-made, but today, due to the large demand, some procedures, like carving a model, are mechanized.
Although almost everyone can make an amulet, it is believed in Thailand that only those made by renowned monks contain power, and each Buddhist master has his own specialty. Luang Phor Koon, a renowned monk at Wat Ban Rai, a temple in Nakhon Ratchasima Province in Thailand, is famous for making bida Buddha.
"Today, most of the amulets are made up by these masters' disciples and then blessed by the masters."