A Thai Buddha image “Phra Setthi Nawakot” (Thai: พระเศรษฐีนวโกฏิ), depicted with nine faces on one head and often in a sitting-meditation posture, represents nine rich people who had supported Buddhism and made immense offerings to the Buddha, and had all reached the “four stages of enlightenment“—Sotapanna, Sakadagami, Anagami and Arahat: ● Dhananjaya: A setthi of Bhaddiyanagara; he was the son of Mendaka and Candapadumasirī. His wife was Sumanadevī, and their children were Visākhā and Sujātā. [source] ● Yasa: He was the son of a very wealthy treasurer of Benares, and was brought up in great luxury, living in three mansions, according to the seasons and surrounded with all kinds of pleasures. Impelled by antecedent conditions, he saw one night the indecorum of his sleeping attendants, and, greatly distressed, put on his gold slippers and left the house and the town, non humans opening the gates for him. He took the direction of Isipatana, exclaiming: “Alas! What distress! Alas! What danger!” The Buddha saw him in the distance and called to him, “Come Yasa, here is neither distress nor danger.” Filled with joy, Yasa took off his slippers and sat beside the Buddha. The Buddha preached to him a graduated discourse, and when he had finished teaching the Truths, Yasa attained realization of the Dhamma. To Yasa’s father, too, who had come in search of his son, the Buddha preached the Doctrine, having first made Yasa invisible to him. (This is given as an example of the Buddha’s iddhi power, Vsm.393). At the end of the sermon he acknowledged himself the Buddha’s follower, (he thus became the first tevācika upāsaka) and Yasa, who had been listening, became an arahant. [source] ● Jotika: A treasurer of Rājagaha who later became an arahant. He was born as the son of a setthi in Rājagaha. On the day of his birth the whole city became one blaze of light, hence his name, Jotika. Jotika was a very pious follower of the Buddha. Once, when he was away listening to the Buddha’s preaching, Ajātasattu – who even when visiting the palace as a boy with his father had coveted Jotika’s wealth – went with his soldiers to attack the palace in an attempt to take possession of it. But the Yakkha Yamakolī routed the army, and Ajātasattu fled for refuge to the vihāra where Jotika was listening to the Dhamma. On being charged by Ajātasattu with hypocrisy in that he was there listening to the Dhamma, after having charged his guards to set upon the king, Jotika’s answer was that he had no need of guards since nobody could take anything of his without his sanction. He then challenged the king to remove the rings from his (Jotika’s) fingers. Ajātasattu, trying with all his might, failed. Jotika then held out his hands and his rings all fell off. Agitated by the king’s desire to possess his wealth, Jotika asked for permission to become a monk. Ajātasattu agreed, hoping thus to get possession of his riches. Jotika entered the Order and soon became an arahant, but at the moment of his attainment of arahantship all his wealth and earthly glory vanished and his wife returned to Uttarakuru. [source] ● Jatila: A setthi of Magadha, one of the five setthis of Bimbisāra. His mother was a setthi’s daughter in Benares, who had illicit relations with a Vijjādhara, and when the child was born she placed it in a vessel which she handed to her slave, to be floated down the Ganges. Two women, while bathing, saw the vessel, discovered what it contained and each claimed the child. The dispute was settled by the king and the child was given to the woman who happened to be a disciple of Mahā Kaccāna. The child was called Jatila because the first time he was bathed after birth his hair became matted. When able to walk, he was given to Mahā Kaccāna to be ordained, but the Thera took him to Takkasilā and handed him over to one of his supporters, a merchant, who adopted him as his son. Years passed, and one day the merchant, having to go on a journey, made a list of the goods which he had accumulated in his house during twelve years and asked Jatila to sell them if he could find buyers. Such was the lad’s fortune that in one day they were all disposed of. The merchant, realising the young man’s destiny, gave him his daughter in marriage and provided him with a house. As Jatila stepped into the house, the earth behind it was rent asunder and a mountain of gold, eighty cubits in height, appeared for his use. Thereupon the king made him a Treasurer. Later, wishing to retire from the world, Jatila sent out messengers to discover if there were others as rich as he, in case the king should raise objections to his going away. When news was brought back of Mendaka and Jotika, he knew there would be no opposition and obtained the king’s permission. He had three sons, but, having tested them, came to know that only the youngest had the necessary good fortune to enjoy his vast wealth. Jatila thereupon handed over to him his wealth and entered the Order, becoming an arahant within a few days. [source]
● Sumana: A garland maker, given as an example of one whose acts bore fruit in this very life. He was Bimbisāra’s gardener, and provided the king daily with eight measures of jasmine flowers, for which he received eight pieces of money, One day, while on his way to the palace, he saw the Buddha, and threw two handfuls of flowers into the air, where they formed a canopy over the Buddha’s head. Two handfuls thrown on the right, two on the left and two behind, all remained likewise in the air and accompanied the Buddha as he walked through the city, a distance of three leagues, that all might see the miracle.
When Sumana returned home with his empty basket and told his wife what he had done, she was fearful lest the king should punish him. Going to the palace, she confessed what he had done, and asked for forgiveness for herself as she had had no part in the deed. Bimbisāra visited the Buddha and then sent for Sumana. Sumana confessed that when he offered the flowers to the Buddha he was quite prepared to lose his life. The king gave him the eightfold gift: eight female slaves, eight sets of jewels, eight thousand pieces of money, eight women from the royal harem, and eight villages. [source] ● Sumangala: Sumangala Thera, an arahant. One hundred and eighteen kappas ago he was a brahmin. One day, having made preparations for a great sacrifice, he saw Piyadassī Buddha arriving at his door with one thousand arahants, and placed all the food in his house at the disposal of the Buddha and his monks. [source] ● Sudatta: The millionaire Anathapindika was born as Sudatta. As a result of his great generosity, he was given the name Anathapindika which meant “feeder of the helpless”. When Anathapindika first met the Buddha at the Sitavana forest near Rajagaha, his confidence was so strong that an aura glowed from his body. On hearing the Dharma for the first time Anathapindika became a sotapanna (first stage of sainthood). [source] ● Mendaka: Mendaka was an extremely rich man. He had found a large number of life-sized golden statues of goats in his backyard. For this reason, he was known as Mendaka (a goat), the rich man. Once, during his tour of the Anga and Uttara regions, the Buddha went to the town of Bhaddiya. He saw in his vision that the time was ripe for Mendaka, his wife, his son, his daughter-in-law, his granddaughter and his servant to attain Sotapatti. The Buddha revealed the past existences of Mendaka. In one of his former existences he had donated a monastery and a congregation hall to Vipassi Buddha. Then, in yet another of his past existences, he was a rich man in Benares. At that time there was a famine throughout the region. One day, he offered the only food he had left as almsfood to a Paccekabuddha. As a result of this offering, his cooking pot was later found to be miraculously filled up with rice. [source] ● Visakha: The chief among the female lay disciples of the Buddha and declared by him to be foremost among those who ministered to the Order (dāyikānam aggā). Her father was Dhanañjaya, son of Mendaka, and her mother Sumanā. She was born in the city of Bhaddiya in Anga. When she was seven years old, the Buddha visited Bhaddiya with a large company of monks, out of compassion for the brahmin Sela and others. Mendaka gave Visākhā five hundred companions, five hundred slaves, and five hundred chariots, that she might visit the Buddha. She stopped the chariots some distance away and approached the Buddha on foot. He preached to her and she became a sotāpanna. [source]
The Origin of the Making of Phra Setthi Nawakot
Legend has it that a severe famine had occured in ancient Lanna Kingdom, a kingdom centered in present-day northern Thailand. One guru monk, hoping to save people from the great calamity, made the statue of Phra Setthi Nawakot for people to pray. After the making of Phra Setthi Nawakot statue was complete, the famine marvellously ceased to exist, and all people regained to safe and peaceful lives. Phra Setthi Nawakot, from then on, has been believed to have efficacy of wealth, good fortunes, and safety.
In Lanna tradition, the nine faces of Phra Setthi Nawakot should be made with eastward-growing branches of bodhi tree; beneath the statue base a hole would be cut, which would be sealed by shallac after sarira (relics of Buddha or monks) was placed in it.
Phra Ubalikunupmachan Chan Sirichantho (Thai: พระอุบาลีคุณูปมาจารย์ (จันทร์ สิริจันโท)), a former abbot of Wat Boromniwas, was the initiator of the making of Phra Setthi Nawakot in Thailand.
Phra Ubalikunupmachan was the teacher of the guru monk Luang Pu Mun and had served as the abbot in Wat Ammattayaram. When staying in Laos for the duty of the administration of Sangha (Buddhist monastic community), Phra Ubalikunupmachan got a manual about the making of Phra Setthi Nawakot from Yathan Samret Lun, the abbot of a Lao temple Wat Banwensai. Phra Ubalikunupmachan learned the making and consecrating process of Phra Setthi Nawakot from the manual.
Method to Pray
Phra Setthi Nawakot has the efficacy of wealth, auspicious life, and good fortunes.
※Before the opening of a business, pray to Phra Setthi Nawakot and chant the katha (mantra) three times. Phra Setthi Nawakot will bless the properity of businesses and great wealth.
※For someone suffering a lot from miseries, create holy water by bathing Phra Setthi Nawakot statue in a pot while chanting the katha nine times. Them drink the holy water, which could help end troubles and misfortunes in your life.
※Pray Phra Setthi Nawakot every day, chant Buddhist sutras frequently, and follow the Five Precepts (abstaining from harming living beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, and intoxication) strictly, and a smooth and successful life won’t be hard to find.
Phra Setthi Nawakot in Wat Boromniwas, in a “Protected by Naga” (Pang Nak Prok) posture
Katha of Phra Setthi Nawakot
Chant “Buddha Vandana” (Homage to the Buddha) 3 times first:
นะโมตัสสะ ภะคะวะโต อะระหะโต สัมมาสัมพุทธัสสะ
NA-MO-TAT-SA PHA-KHA-WA-TO A-RA-HA-TO SAM-MA-SAM-PUT-THAT-SA
Katha of Phra Setthi Nawakot:
มาขะโย มาวะโย มัยหัง มาจะโกจิ อุปัททะโว ธัญญะ ธารานิ ปะวัสสันตุ
MA-KHA-YO MA-WA-YO MAI-HANG MA-JA-GO-JI U-PAT-TA-WO THAN-YA THA-RA-NI PA-WAT-SAN-TU
ธนัญชัย ยัสสะ ยะถาคะเร สุวัณณานิ หิรัญญาจะ สัพพะโภคา จะ รัตตะนา
THA-NAN-CHAI YAT-SA YA-THA-KA-REI SU-WAN-NA-NI HI-RAN-YA-JA SAP-PA-PHO-KA JA RAT-TA-NA
ปะวัสสันตุ เม เอวังคะเร สุมะนะ ชะฎิสัสสะ จะ อะนาถะบิณฑิกะ เมทะ กัสสะ
PA-WAT-SAN-TU MEI A-WANG-KHA-REI SU-MA-NA CHA-DI-SAT-SA JA A-NA-TA-BIN-THI-KA MEI-THA KAT-SA
โชติกะ สุมังคะ สัสสะ จะ มัณฑาตุ เวสสันตะ รัสสะ ปะวัสสันติ ยะถาคะเร
CHO-TI-KA SU-MANG-KHA SAT-SA JA MAN-THA-TU WET-SAN-TA RAT-SA PA-WAT-SAN-TI YA-THA-KHA-REI
เอเตนะ สัจจะ วัชเชนะ สัพพะ สิทธิ ภะวัน ตุ เม
A-TE-NA SAT-JA WAT-CHEI-NA SAP-PA SI-T-HI PHA-WAN TU MEI