Golden Buddha

The Golden Buddha



invade check up eliminate
statue decision make a decision
roof location make/made/made
expect remove chisel (2)
lift (2) place (2) turned out
stucco crack (2) begin/began/begun
monk set down complex (2)
cover scholar house (3)
notice glimmer moonlight
reflect crane (2) grow/grew/grown
layer discover fall/fell/fallen
gold coat (2) underneath
tarp go over take place
piece estimate piece together
create prepare believe (2)
army temple target (2)
aside guardian come up with (2)
solid prevent sit/sat/sat
arrive myth (2) dry (dried)
upon devotee find/found/found
grave century meantime
hardly plunder take the secret to his grave
attract prevent nondescript

For about two-hundred-and-fifty years, a temple in Thailand housed a stucco statue of the Buddha.

Then in 1955, a decision was made to move the statue to a new location.

Workmen removed the roof of the temple and a crane began to lift the statue to be placed upon a truck. However, it turned out to be much heavier than anyone had expected. Moreover, the stucco had began to crack.

Thus the statue was set down, and the crane left the temple complex, with a larger one coming the next day. In the meantime, the monks covered it with a tarp to protect it from the rains.

In the middle of the night, a monk was checking on the tarps. Suddenly, he noticed a glimmer of the moonlight reflecting through a crack.

The monk carefully began to chisel away around the crack as the glimmer grew. And then, as the stucco fell away . . . he discovered a solid gold Buddha underneath the outer layer.

Today it is located in the temple of Wat Traimit, Bangkok (its estimated value is around 300 million dollars).

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The question arose: what is the story behind the now Golden Buddha?

Going over historical record, scholars pieced together what had taken place.

The original golden statue was believed to have been created about 700 years ago. Then in the 1760s, a Burmese army prepared to invade Thailand. One of their targets was the temple that housed the golden statue.

The guardians of the temple and statue, Thai monks, made a decision.

To protect the statue from being plundered, they coated it with thirty centimeters of stucco and left it to dry.

Upon their arrival at the temple, the Burmese soldiers only found a nondescript statue. Angered that the Golden Buddha had only been a “myth”, the soldiers eliminated the monks, who thus took the secret to their graves.

And so for the next two-and-a-half centuries, the statue of Buddha sat in that form in the temple, hardly attracting any interest, aside from Buddhist devotees.

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1. A stucco statue of the Buddha was created in 1955. True or false?

2. Workmen were able to easily transport the statue to a new location, on the first day. Is this right or wrong? Why weren’t they able to move the statue?

3. What happened that night?

4. Does the statue now have the same status (and value) as before?

5. Thailand and Burma (Myanmar) had peaceful relationships in the 1760s. Is this correct or incorrect?

6. Did the monks at the Thai temple bury the statue?

7. Everyone knew about the statue for the next two-and-a-half centuries. Yes or no?


A. Have similar gold or other treasures or ancient artifacts been discovered in your region or country?

B. What are some beautiful, ancient or cultural treasures in your city or country?

C. Is there a moral or lesson to this account? Could it be seen as an allegory?

D. Give examples of this in real life.

E. What could or should people do?

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