Lanna Scripts, Wat Buag Klog Noi (Buddhist temple), Chiangmai, Thailand

Background of Lanna Scripts ^ Buddhist Practice

The word, "Lanna" can be found quite commonly used in day to day activities in Chiangmai (for an instance, the Royal Lanna Hotel, Lanna Spa, restaurant, menu of some Thai cuisine, Business establishments & even a hospital uses it as its name). This is not surprising as Lanna Kingdom, who was founded by King Mengrai (1259-1317) made its capital (to be very specific, it was 12th April 1296 and thus, Chiangmai has celebrated its 700th birthday in 1996). The Mengrai Dynasty, along with establishment of the famous tri-alliance with King Ramkhamhaeng's Sukhothai Kingdom and King Ngam Muang of Phayao spread their influences wide across the central to entire northern Thai region. The Lanna Kingdom, in particular has even extended its territorial control across northern Shan states of Burma and Laos. In 1550, Burmese conquered & ended the Lanna Kingdom and actually made Chiang Mai under their protective wings for nearly two centuries. Eventually, the rise of King Taksin, who formed a military alliance with others, fought & freed Chiangmai from Burmese occupation. Complicated as it may present in political arena since then - even under the King Rama IV & V eras, but eventually Chiang Mai was finally being unified in the process of conversion from Siam to Kingdom of Thailand in 1939.

Thus, Lanna in a local interpretation, "Millions acres of Rice Fields" - it means a lot of meaning to the locals, things that associated with Lanna is still very much favored by people at the North. Actually, Northern Thai people have quite a different taste from its community from other parts of Thailand - like the sticky rice (something pronounced as "kao niow dahm") is one common daily food input.

In relation to Lanna scripts - " The Tipitaka was first written in Sri Lanka, on palm leaves in the Singhalese script, in the year 433 of the Buddhist Era. ....In Thailand, the scriptures were first inscribed in the Great Buddhist Council at Chet Yod Monastery in Chiang Mai in 2020 of the Buddhist Era (A.D. 1477). The script used then was the "Lanna script..." - George Sioris, President, Center for Asian Studies. Is this a recovery process of the ancient Buddhist Lanna scripts ? No. ancient Lanna scripts are still being practiced by some monks at the northern Thai region. One of the greatest & most respected Buddhist figure among all Lanna monks was probably Kruba Srivichai - where many Thai people has even regarded him as the most famous Lanna Monk of this century. He was given a monkshood title as "Nak Bun Haeng Lanna" - something like a living Lanna Saint. For those who may be more interested in Lanna form of Buddhist practices, the Wat Phra That Hariphunchai, Lamphun has many exhibits of development history and archaeological items found from the Dvaravati, Hariphunchi, Lanna and Rattanakosin periods.

So, to the many monks in Northern Thailand, practicing Lanna ways of chanting, blessing or meditation can be very difficult as recovery of old Lanna styles and methods in every forms for the application can mean a life time process of learning.

Other Web Resources relating to "Lanna", history & background on Chiangmai
Wikipedia explained:
Romanized Pali Tipitaka:
Background of Thailand Lanna Monk, Khru Ba Srivichai 1878-1938

Credit: -Below are the few type faces compiled by a Thai researcher named Nui who is probably studying in Toronto, Canada.
Each Gif image is LINKED from original external;l source. Each image has a larger size, the best form is to download and click open with a photo editing software to see its detailed form.

Modoern Thai Script Brahmi script, 5th century BCE Kmer script Modern Tai Lue script Mon script

The modern Thai script

Brahmi script, 5th century BCE

Kmer script

Modern Tai Lue script, which gives an idea of what Lanna script looks like, Tai Lue script has been used since 1200 AD in Southern China

Mon script

So, as much as I can gather some background on the Buddhist Lanna ways of practicing for some of you to consume.
I went to the temple with Weerapong to visit a living Lanna monk in Chiangmai and shared with you what I have experienced there.

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