It’s very popular, especially in Thailand to obtain (rent*, so to speak) amulets. There are many kinds of amulets, from mass produced fund raising coin types, to hand crafted and/or hand pressed amulets made of rare and exotic components. The most sought after amulets are those who are made by popular or famous monks. They may chant for days empowering the amulet with blessings, which many believe will protect them from evil and dangers spiritual and physical.
I got into collecting them myself, one of the reasons to physically manifest my many memories of my travels in Thailand, and Southeast Asia.
(more, including video)
When I was in Chiang Mai, I visited the famous Wat Doi Suthep. There, they had some of the most desirable recently produced amulets (in other words, not counting extremely rare or old amulets). There were ten, I believe, and I selected the top three most popular among Thai people. Each one came from a different, well known temple in Thailand and came encased in a gold plated case. The monk there blessed them once again, in my presence. The video below shows what that process looks like.
I ended up taking the front of the video (the completion of the prayer) and amending it to the back. What had happened was that the monk had done the blessing and he saw that my wife had turned on the video rather late, so he did it again, this time me (irreverently and rather awkwardly) looking at her with the camera rather than meditation along with the monk’s blessing.
People often ask monks to bless their amulets, and to periodically bless them again, believing it ‘refreshes’ or even adds to the power of the amulet for good luck, good fortune, protection, love, power or more. It may seem counter to the Buddhist principal of not ‘clinging’ to things, but the thing to keep in mind is that the Thai Buddhism is a unique blend of many different cultures, spiritual beliefs and traditions, including Theravada Buddhism, Rayamayanism, and Anamism.
Below, is an interesting hand made amulet that I obtained in Nong Khai, Thailand, at Wat Kaek (also known as Sala Kaew Koo, which you can learn more about here.)
* People often ask me what is meant by “renting” amulets. This phrase is most commonly heard in Singapore and Malaysia with regard to discussion of amulets, as they are more likely to write on the internet in English or “Sing-lish”. Rent, as it is used in this context, refers to the impermanence of possession, the idea that you are not taking it with you, you are simply holding it for a time, and when you move on, your amulet will be passed on to someone else.