What Is a Buddhist Car Blessing Like?

Updated on May 31, 2018
Paul Kuehn profile image

Paul first visited Thailand in 1996 and has been retired in Siam since 2007. He has a beautiful and loving Thai wife and can speak Thai.

My wife's uncle, a Buddhist monk, is preparing to bless our new vehicle.
My wife's uncle, a Buddhist monk, is preparing to bless our new vehicle. | Source

While living in the United States, I never had any of my new vehicles blessed by any religious person. This situation changed, however, after I lived in Thailand and married a Thai wife who practices Buddhism.

After purchasing a new Mitsubishi Pajero Sport SUV on May 22, 2018, my wife immediately decided that we had to have the new vehicle blessed by a Buddhist monk the next day on May 23.

During mid-morning, I drove our new SUV to a small village temple 30 kilometers from where we live in Udon Thani. There resided my wife's uncle who is a Buddhist monk.

In this article, I first explain why we had our vehicle blessed. Next, I describe the ritual which our monk relative went through in blessing our SUV.

Why We Had Our Vehicle Blessed

Although I never had a new vehicle blessed in the United States, car blessings are quite common among people such as Hindi, Buddhists, and Christians. The reasons, undoubtedly, are to protect and bring good luck to the driver of a vehicle and to avoid having an accident.

As a boy, I remember mom always telling dad to make sure we had a Saint Christopher medal in our car before leaving on a trip. Saint Christopher is the Catholic patron saint of travelers. He died around 250 A.D. According to Wikipedia, a famous legend tells that Saint Christopher carried a child, who was unknown to him, across a river before the child revealed himself as Christ.

Choosing a Monk for Our SUV Blessing

In January of 2015, we had our previous new car blessed by a monk who is my wife's uncle. We had good luck driving that Toyota Vios so it was only natural for us to take our new Pajero Sport back to my wife's uncle for a blessing. He still resided at a small village temple and was free and willing to bless our new SUV on the morning of May 23, 2018.

My wife's uncle blessing our new Toyota Vios in January 2015
My wife's uncle blessing our new Toyota Vios in January 2015 | Source

Preparing for the Vehicle Blessing

As my wife, mother-in-law, and I entered the village temple, we saw my wife's uncle sitting on a mat on a raised marble platform. After bowing three times and an exchange of pleasantries, my wife asked her uncle if he could bless our new vehicle. The uncle sitting amidst a laptop, piles of paper, bananas, pictures, and a big Buddha statue in the background readily agreed.

He then started to prepare the materials needed for the blessing. They included a container filled with sandalwood powder and white cords. The sandalwood powder was mixed with holy water to produce a paste. White cords were then wound together to make a small rope. Before uncle went out to bless our vehicle, my wife left a monetary offering in one of his containers.

Uncle preparing materials for our vehicle blessing
Uncle preparing materials for our vehicle blessing | Source

Making an Inverted Triangle Symbol Inside the Vehicle

Upon entering our parked SUV, my wife's uncle monk proceeded to take his white sandalwood paste and make an inverted triangle inside the vehicle. The inverted triangle was made on top of the interior cabin above the driver's seat. It was made by making white dots in a 1-2-3-4-5 formation.

According to Wikipedia, the inverted triangle or yoni is considered to be an abstract representation of Shakti and Devi, the creative force that moves through the whole universe. I assume the symbol was made to protect the driver and vehicle from danger.

Making an inverted triangle with white sandalwood paste
Making an inverted triangle with white sandalwood paste | Source

Attaching a Sacred White Rope Around the Steering Column

Next, the monk took a sacred white rope or sai sin and attached it to the steering column of our vehicle. This was done to provide protection to the person driving the vehicle. When attached, the rope formed a circle. This protective force is stronger because the circle is continuous.

Attaching a sacred white cord around the steering column
Attaching a sacred white cord around the steering column | Source

Drawing a Triangle Symbol on the Hood of our Vehicle

My wife's uncle then went outside our SUV and proceeded to draw a triangle with while sandalwood paste on the hood. Above the triangle, he also made three or four unknown symbols which look like question marks.

The triangle or male principle represents the unmanifested power of resurgence. This, undoubtedly, was done to bring good luck and safety to the vehicle.

Buddhist triangle symbol on the hood of our SUV
Buddhist triangle symbol on the hood of our SUV | Source

Sprinkling Holy Water Inside and Outside of our Vehicle

After attaching a Buddha amulet and honking the horn three times, the monk sprinkled holy water inside and outside of our SUV. Buddhist holy water or lustral water is sprinkled on people and objects to bring luck, safety, and success. The lustral water also brings protection from harm and keeps away evil.

As you can see, the Buddhist car blessing ritual is very interesting. My wife and I can now drive our SUV knowing that it has been properly blessed.

Blessing our vehicle with holy water
Blessing our vehicle with holy water | Source

Questions & Answers

    © 2018 Paul Richard Kuehn

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      • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

        Paul Richard Kuehn 

        4 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

        Thanks for commenting. I am happy you liked my article!

      • profile image

        Aleem khilji 

        4 months ago

        an interesting exposure to buddhist beliefs

      • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

        Paul Richard Kuehn 

        4 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

        I appreciate your comments, Peggy!

      • Paul Kuehn profile imageAUTHOR

        Paul Richard Kuehn 

        4 months ago from Udorn City, Thailand

        Thank you for reading and your comments, Maurice. Monks perform a lot of religious functions in Thailand including giving personal guidance.

      • Peggy W profile image

        Peggy Woods 

        4 months ago from Houston, Texas

        This was interesting to read. I remember the St. Christopher medals that were commonly hung in cars back in the 1950s and beyond by my parents. May you drive safely for many years in your new car.

      • newbizmau profile image

        Maurice Glaude 

        4 months ago from Mobile, AL

        I'm so glad you shared this. Many of us in the U.S. will never see a monk perform anything. I have been to some Buddhist Temples when I lived near one, once for a Thai Festival. I was living near Washington, D.C. then. I didn't know how much of an impact the experience would have on my life.

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