If you travel to Thailand and visit the Buddhist Temples there, you may chance upon a shrine dedicated to the deity Sahampati Brahma. Locally known as Phra Phom.
Samhampati Brahma is a Buddhist God. A god who is also Buddhist. COOL RIGHT?
His shrine is usually sited outside of the main temple building in Thailand.
Some opined that he is considered a deity and therefore spiritually inferior to Buddha. Thus he is not accorded the honour of being enshrined in the main temple hall.
A rather famous shrine that is dedicated to him is the Erawan Shrine. (Above picture)
He is known to be efficacious in fulfilling prayers and many tourist in SE Asia flock to this shrine. Some people ignorantly accorded him the honorary title of 4 face Buddha. He has not become a Buddha yet. So it is not really appropriate to address him that way.
In Buddhism, his 4 faces actually represents 4 divine states of mental development. Also known as Brahmavihara or the 4 immeasurables.
Meditators and spiritual cultivators are familiar with them and strive to perfect these states of mental wholesomeness.
In my previous posts, I have talked about them.
They are loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity.
A person with such good qualities in their mind earns a place in haven. In short, you are an angel if you have these qualities in you.👼
And of course, we are talking about highly refined mental states. Thus we will also need mental training like meditation to help us refine them. To find out more, check out my previous post about heavens and gods.
Moreover, Buddhist are also grateful towards Samhapati Brahma because he implored Buddha to teach the Dharma.
When visiting a Buddhist Temple, it is customary for Buddhist to pay respect to the image of Buddha in the main temple hall first.
After that, then we proceed outside and pay our respect to Samhapati Brahma.
A Buddhist may pay respect to Samhapati Brahma by being grateful for his deed of requesting Buddha to teach.
We may also be reminded of the Brahmavihara and strive to improve our spiritual development.
Last but not least, some may be tempted to invoke his help for protection and divine support in their mundane activities.
The gesture of worship usually involves the placing of lit incense and candles in front of each face. Starting with the main face and moving in clockwise direction.
And of course it will be meaningful to recollect the wholesome mental energies of loving kindness, compassion, joy and equanimity.
Hope you find this information useful and have a meaningful trip when visiting temples in Thailand.
May all be well and happy.