The Thangka or Golden Thangka is a curious collection of surprising and interesting facts that will give you an insight into the simple life in remote Burma. To discover what life was like before the New Age came along and disrupted the natural beauty of the area. It is a unique experience that any visitor to Burma will cherish.
The Golden Thangka in Bangkok is regarded as the world’s most unexplored nature reserve. The photographer James Balmes was fascinated by its mysterious. And beautiful backdrops when he ventured to the site in 1991. For more than twenty years Balmes has produced award-winning books on the history of Thonburi, a large forested valley in northern Burma.
The Nature Life
As soon as you step off the plane in Bangkok the first thing you notice. It is the wildlife and the verdant green trees that adorn the city. It is hard to imagine that this bustling city is just fifteen miles from the shore of the tranquil Gulf of Thailand. You’ll soon realize that the two separate yet intertwining worlds of human culture are one and the same in Thailand.
The New Age Movement
The New Age Movement (NAM) was founded in the lap of prosperity by the great religious leader, Ekkadawee Thondup in the early 1960s. They have always been associated with the coastal region of northern Burma, Thonburi. In fact, they came to Thailand for a period of study and meditation.
The Interesting Travels
But it was the travels of Burma’s most popular author, Mad Al-‘Awwas that led him to Thonburi. His love of the East and the Buddhist temples, in particular, led him to plan a tour of the New Age movement in Burma.
The History of Mad Al-‘Awwas
Mad Al-‘Awwas was taken in by the rich tapestry of the temples and made a number of visits to Thonburi. As it was the height of the colonial era Mad Al-‘Awwas had very little choice but to act as a translator. Perhaps, in this case, the translator of a number of Buddhist scriptures.
His Good Attitude
So, as to avoid too much embarrassment Mad Al-‘Awwas made a point of visiting all the temples in Thonburi as often as possible. In fact, Mad Al- ‘Awwas considers his translation work in Thonburi as the genesis of the book ‘Golden Thangka.’ He states that he found a golden path in the temple architecture and drew out an account of the life and tradition of the Thonburi Buddhist tradition.
At the beginning of the Thonburi Movement there were around three hundred temples, today it is well over six thousand. All that was truly miraculous was the introduction of the Buddha image into the temple architecture; this transformation was a trial in itself because the Buddha image was supposed to be protected.
The Struggle of Buddhas
So this was an important part of the struggle for Buddhists to understand their past lives and to understand the truth behind the ideology of reincarnation. It is also where the popularity of Thonburi was born.
The Interesting Knowledge He Learnt
He also made an interesting discovery about the wild monkeys in the forests. Many monks live in the forests because of the predators that roam about the forest.
While on his journey to Thonburi he came across many of the monkeys. He is the only witness to their movements.
How He Became Famous
Mad Al- ‘Awwas gained his fame in his book ‘Thonburi: A Modern Story’ and many other books in which he presents the traditional literature of the New Age movement in Burma. As his work comes into English translation, it can be seen as the exemplar of the cultural exchange that takes place every day between Burma and the rest of the world.