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Lesson Transcript

Hello, and welcome to the Culture File: Thailand series at ThaiPod101.com. In this series, we’re exploring interesting facts that you must know about Thailand, Thai Culture and Thai People. I’m Michael, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 23: Buddha Loetla Nabhalai
Buddha Loetla Nabhalai, or พระพุทธเลิศหล้านภาลัย, son of Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke, lived between 1767 and 1824, and today is more colloquially known as Rama II. Rama II was the second ruler of the Chakri dynasty in Siam, which is now Thailand. Unlike his father's, Rama II’s reign was quite peaceful, mostly devoid of the military conflicts that characterized his father's reign. His reign was about developing a cultural identity rather than simply defending the existence of the country, and as such he encouraged the people to focus on the arts, or ศิลปกรรม, during his reign.
At the beginning of his reign, there were some attempts to take over the country. The son of King Taksin, who was defeated and deposed by Rama I, rebelled and attempted to take control of the country, but Rama II and his son, Prince Tub, quelled the rebellion quickly. The Burmese, who had attacked the country numerous times during Rama I's reign, also attempted to invade once more, eventually meeting defeat at Rama II’s hands. After these initial battles, Rama II's reign became quite peaceful.
Rama II is credited with creating the first educational system in Siam and restoring the Vesak festival, or ประเพณีวันวิสาขบูชา, an annual Buddhist holiday. According to legend, King Nabhalai owned three distinctive white elephants, which lead to the creation of his nickname, the White Elephant King or in Thai พระเจ้าช้างเผือก. In those days, owning not just one, but three white elephants indicated a great deal of prestige.
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting about Rama II?
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