Bringing Buddha figure from Thailand

Is ist allowed to bring Buddha figures from Thailand? What is the law, I looked online but found different opinions. Thanks for every answer in advance.

I’m not sure about taking Buddha figures out of Thailand. However, when my uncle moved to Thailand from the United States he was advised not to bring Buddha images into Thailand because it can be considered disrespectful to treat the Buddha as decoration as opposed to as an object of veneration.

Obviously, Buddha rupa of many sizes are taken out of Thailand, as you will find them in monasteries, restaurants, etc, all over the place…

If it were something large, or something with possible historical value, then obviously you’d want to be careful, but the sort of thing I’ve obtained from Thai monasteries, the largest fitting in a box of dimension 20cm, haven’t been a problem, though it’s been a few years since I brought such a thing from Thailand.

Thai people like to keep statues upright and in a high place if possible, so be cognisant of that and be respectful.


Yeah, my understanding is that the current law only bans exporting historical artifacts. There’s this lay organization that’s been lobbying for a total ban on exporting Buddha images, as they are so often used as lawn ornaments, etc in the West. But afaik they haven’t actually succeeded in passing this law yet.

If only our garden centres had nice-looking Buddha images from Thailand, not ugly knock-offs… :rofl:


I never considered this might even be a thing when I bought my Buddha rupa back from Thailand 12 years ago. He’s followed me from lay life to various monasteries.

When I was an anagarika the nun I lived with had words with the local Bunnings as the Buddha rupas were on the bottom shelf and a frog ornament was above them. She explained that this was disrespectful. The next time we came back they had re-arranged the shelves. :smiley: The rest of the Bunnings I visited kept their standard bottom shelf buddha layout. :frowning: