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Viharn Sien / Viharnra Sien / Anek Kusala Sala Temple, Chonburi, Thailand.

A flight of steps in front of the Temple leads you to a balcony, where shelving is arranged to put your shoes in to keep them out of the midday sun. Security staff are all around this Temple, when you step inside you can see why.

This building comprises of three floors each with their own beautiful decorations and adornments. The name Viharn or sometimes called Vihranra Sien stands for House of Gods. It  was only built in 1987 to commemorate the current King of Thailand’s 60th birthday, King Bhumibol Adulyadej or Rama IX of the Chakri dynasty.

The one main large central building has several pavilion halls surrounding it. The grounds are about 3 acres in size and overlook a beautiful large lake that is also next to  Wat Yansangwararam Temple. Viharn Sien  ( or sometimes spelt Sian in Thailand ) is home to one of the best collections of Chinese art in Thailand.

Some of the pottery inside is around 3000 years old. Terracotta figures named Arhats, who are the followers of the Buddha that have reached a high stage of Enlightenment. The original eighteen Arhats are depicted in Mahayana Buddhism as the original followers of the Buddha who have followed the Eightfold Path and attained the Four Stages of Enlightenment.

They have supposedly reached the state of Nirvana ( in the Buddhism, nirvana refers to the serene stillness of mind after the inclinations of desire, aversion, and delusion have been finally cast out )  and are therefore free of worldly cravings. They are charged to protect the Buddhist faith and to await on earth for the coming of Maitreya.

In China, the eighteen Arhats are also a popular subject in Buddhist art, such as the famous Chinese group of glazed pottery luohans from Yixian of  Liao dynasty ( 907–1125). Many of the items on display here in this Temple  were gifts from the Chinese Government.