In Chapter 1 of this article we provided a brief discussion about the origin and importance of mythology and legends and also issues pertaining historicity arising from some of these myths. Many writers tend to pit myths and history at two antithetically extreme ends. Many historians also, for whatever reasons, assumed an innate obligation to remove all traces of myths from history when, ironically, there are as many historical falsities as there are historical values in myths.
Let us take the Xia Dynasty (2200 – 1760 BC) for example. Prior to the discovery of radiocarbon dating, the Xia Dynasty was dismissed as a Chinese fairy tale which now turned out to be a historical fact. On the contrary, it is not difficult to find many agenda-laden godly investitures that gradually turned a historical figure into some supernatural beings which, in their book “Myths: A New Symposium”, Schrempp and Hansen described it as borrowing the tropes of myths to elevate the authority and verisimilitude of the subject matter. It is also not difficult to understand the latter proposition given the fact that even history per se does not contain absolute truth but, at most, probable truth. Absolute truth must result in absolute certainty that is free from subjective interpretation and must unswervingly endure the test of time, for example, death. It makes no difference whether you are rich or poor, pretty or ugly, educated or illiterate, your ultimate destiny is death, an end-result that is absolutely certain and unchangeable.
Therefore, even with regards to critical history, other than death, no one will ever know the truth but for personal experiences. In an article published in the Journal of History and Theory, Heehs concluded that it may not be possible to categorically separate history and myths “because the two interpenetrate”. As Theravada Buddhists, we neither propagate superstition nor atheism but the middle-path reflected in Lord Buddha’s teaching. We adhere to the fundamental tenets of Theravada Buddhism, especially that of intelligence which underlies our dialectical approach that we invoked to allow our readers to draw their own conclusion based on competing information.
The Story Continues
Phlai Kaeo returned to Suphanburi as a novice of Wat Pa Lelai. His handsome appearance has won the hearts of many young girls who were seen waiting to see him during his morning ritual of “tak but” or alms round. They will fill his alms bowl with so much food. Similarly, Nang Phim Philalai also did the same.
One day, at the Wat Pa Lelai Temple, there was a sermon sponsored by Nang Phim Philalai which Phlai Kaeo was instructed by the abbot to deliver. That was when the three childhood friends met together again. Strongly attracted to the young handsome novice and unable to restrain her affection, Nang Phim Philalai removed her shoulder cloth (sabai) and offered it to the novice. Khun Chang who was all along attracted to Nang Phim Philalai quickly removed his headdress (Pkama) and placed it on top of her shoulder cloth and openly asked the novice to give them the blessing that the two will come together as a couple. Nang Phim Philalai was deeply offended by Khun Chang’s unsolicited advancement.
Khun Chang felt the threat of Phlai Kaeo’s presence and he also sensed Nang Phim Philalai’s affection towards the latter. Therefore, Khun Chang pestered his mother Nang Thepthong to go forth and ask Nang Sri Prachan for him to marry Nang Phim Philalai. Khun Chang even brought along with him the “sin sot” or dowry which was usually negotiated after a woman’s parents had agreed to the marriage proposal. However, Nang Phim Philalai vehemently objected that proposal.
Subsequently, Phlai Kaeo disrobed as a novice and married Nang Phim Philalai. The couple were drown in love and could not bear to be separated from each another. Despite Nang Phim Philalai’s marriage to Phlai Kaeo, Khun Chang has not given up on her and has been thinking about how to win her over. Coincidentally, at this time, Somdej Phra Panwasa received news that Mueang Chiang Thong, a small tributary of Ayutthaya Kingdom, generally believed to be in current north-eastern part of Chiang Rai province or the current Chiang Khong town, has defected and switched allegiance to Chiang Mai instead. Infuriated, Somdej Phra Panwasa contemplated sending an army to punish Mueang Chiang Thong.
Where exactly was Muaeng Chiang Thong?
A number of Thai scholars and historians have disputed the location of Mueang Chiang Thong as being in Chiang Rai and argued that it should instead be in present day’s Doi Chom Thong district in southern Chiang Mai. In fact, this argument sounded more logical when we were to look into the number of wars Khun Phaen has fought with Chiang Mai. If Mueang Chiang Thong was located in Chiang Rai then Khun Phaen could have avoided the main forces of the Chiang Mai army by marching his troop from Suphanburi through Nakhon Sawan, Mueang Kamphaengphet, Mueang Rahaeng, Mueang Thoen to Phayao and entering Chiang Rai.
However, it was said that Khuan Phaen fought numerous wars with Chiang Mai but without directly attacking Chiang Mai. This again aligns with historical records because albeit in constant war with Chiang Mai, the Ayutthaya Kingdom has never conquered Chiang Mai (1259 – 1892). Chiang Mai only became part of Siam (now the Kingdom of Thailand) in 1893. Therefore, if Muaeng Chiang Thong was indeed in current Doi Chom Thong district in Chiang Mai, then Khun Phaen’s army constant encounter with the Chiang Mai army on his way to Mueang Chiang Thong will be justified because from Mueang Thoen he had to cut through Lamphun and march his troop down the Ping River to reach Doi Chom Thong district in the southern part of Chiang Mai.
However, it is not the endeavour of this article to delve into the historical location of Muaeng Chiang Thong but suffice to provide a skeletal background for our readers’ imagination.
Khun Chang Hatched His First Plot
When Somdej Phra Panwasa was briefed about Mueang Chiang Thong’s defection and the strength of Chiang Mai’s army, he deeply regretted having executed Khun Kraipon and procrastinated as to who he should send to lead his army against the enemy. Immediately, Khun Chang seized the opportunity and told Somdej Phra Panwasa about Khun Kraipon’s son, Phlai Kaeo. Khun Chang depicted exaggerated stories about Phlai Kaew’s invulnerability in the hope that Phlai Kaeo will be summoned to service which will then separate him from Nang Phim Philalai and preferably get killed in war. Indeed, Somdej Phra Panwasa summoned Phlai Kaeo to the service and appointed him as Commander of the Royal Army to punish Mueang Chiang Thong.
A Dream Fulfilled
It was Phlai Kaeo’s dream to be an army commander like his father Khun Kraipon. Therefore, despite being newly-wed, he took his mother Nang Thongprasri and his wife Nang Phim Philalai and set out to Ayutthaya where Somdej Phra Panwasa officially appointed him the Commander of the Royal Army, presented him with a sword and armour. He was also raised to the title Khun Phaen.
A Vow and the Bodhi Tree Ritual
As Khun Phaen began raising his army and preparing to set out for war, Nang Phim Philalai became depressed and worried. One morning, Khun Phaen prepared offerings to a Bodhi tree outside their house and summoned the angels of forest and asked that if he should die in war, let that Bodhi tree die too but otherwise the Bodhi tree shall grow strong. He then turned and told his wife Nang Phim Philalai that the Bodhi tree will let her know about his life and death and, thus, she has nothing more to worry about.
A Long Journey of War
Khun Phaen marched his army through Nakhon Sawan, Mueang Kamphaengphet, Mueang Rahaeng (presently the Tak district in western Thailand) and Mueang Thoen (currently Lampang province) to Mueang Chiang Thong. Many battles were fought between Khun Phaen’s army and the Chiang Mai’s troops as he pushed his way towards Muaeng Chiang Thong.
It was said that Khun Phaen has not lost a single battle which won him the title of Undefeatable Warlord. Many stories have infused the battles with alchemy and wizardry but we are not going to repeat them here but suffice to mentioned herein that, amongst other things, it was said that Khun Phaen was able to win every battle because of an ancient Thai “Khong Kraphan” sorcery and his ability to summon warrior spirits to help boost fearlessness among his soldiers. That was also why mountains of enemy’s bodies paved his path to Muaeng Chiang Thong.
Khun Chang’s Second Plot
There are at least two different versions of story as to what happened whilst Khun Phaen was away from home. Since we had introduced the Bodhi tree ritual above, we shall continue with the Bodhi tree version here. However, to satisfy our readers’ curiosity, we will also provide a brief account of the other version later on.
Ever since Khun Phaen went to war, Nang Phim Philaiai missed her husband so much that she gradually became seriously ill with high fever. Medicine and herbs did not do her any good. On the verge of death, her family brought her to consult the abbot of Wat Pa Lelai. The old abbot performed an ancient Thai ritual known as “sedeokhrok” signifying a cycle from sickness to death and then rebirth whereby she was given a new name Nang Wanthong by the abbot. In other words, Nang Phim Philalai has died and Nang Wanthong was born.
Note: This traditional Thai ritual is not an exorcism ritual as it is frequently misunderstood. It is a complicated ritual that cheats death and changes an individual’s destiny which may be for the better or worse depending on the individual’s subsequent behaviour and acts after the ritual as well as the expertise of the master who performed the ritual. It could have dire consequences as depicted (albeit erroneously) in the horror movie “The Coffin”, starring Hong Kong movie star cum singer Karen Mok, if it is not performed properly by versed monks.
Her fever began to subside after the ritual and Nang Wanthong gradually recovered. During that period, Khun Chang has visited her frequently and asked to take care of her. His offer was rejected by Nang Wanthong. However, Khun Chang somehow came to know about the Bodhi tree ritual and he instructed one of his loyal servant to scatter poisonous herbs around the tree daily until the tree dies.
It did not take too long for Khun Chang to kill the Bodhi tree and Nang Wanthong was overwhelmed by the sudden death of the Bodhi tree which she related it to the death of Khun Phaen. Khun Chang then went to see Nang Wanthong’s mother, Nang Sri Prachan, and asked her to make her daughter available to him or risk her being declared a widow under the law.
The version of the Legend of Khun Phaen that does not contain the Bodhi tree ritual instead stated that Khun Chang brought an urn of bones and tricked Nang Wanthong and Nang Sri Prachan into believing that Khun Phaen was dead.
It has to be noted that, unlike depicted in many contemporary made movies, in ancient societies, whether in Asia or Europe, women were considered chattels under the law. They are owned by their parents and husbands before and after marriage respectively. During the Ayutthaya era, a woman’s parents have full right to decide what they wanted to do with their daughter. Therefore, upon the “death” of Khun Phaen, Nang Wanthong was reverted as chattel of her mother whereby, seeing Khun Chang was rich and serving the King, Nang Sri Prachan forced Nang Wanthong to marry Khun Chang.
Khun Phaen Married Princess of Chiang Thaong
Khun Phaen and his troops stepped over piles of enemy’s bodies on their way to Muaeng Chiang Thong. However, when they reached Muaeng Chiang Thong they somehow refrained from all killing. The army of Muaeng Chiang Thong did not put up a fight instead prince Saen Khamman ordered the opening of city gate and ushered in Khun Phaen and his troops.
Khun Phaen was received with honour by the prince of Muaeng Chiang Thong and he also came to know that it was not the intention of Muaeng Chiang Thong to switch allegiance to Chiang Mai but for Chiang Mai’s army threatening to invade Mueang Chiang Thong. The prince and his wife Nang Sri Ngenmuang were grateful that Khun Phaen had shown understanding for their predicament and had not used force against them or the villagers. They presented to him their beautiful daughter Nang Lao Thong as an assurance of their allegiance to the Ayutthaya Kingdom.
Khun Phaen and Nang Lao Thong got married in Mueang Chiang Thong. He stayed there for a short period to allow his soldiers to recuperate before he reorganised his troops and marched his way jubilantly back to Ayutthaya. On his return journey , Khun Phaen and his troops did not meet any resistance or ambush from the Chiang Mai forces.
What drama will unfold with Khun Phaen bringing his beautiful new wife Nang Lao Thong back to Suphanburi and what will be Khun Phaen’s reaction to find his wife Nang Phim Philalai married to Khun Chang?
To read more, please keep a look out for our upcoming article “Thai Myth: The Legend of Undefeatable Warlord Chapter 3”.
Every year thousands and thousands of tourists from all over the world visit the ancient city of Suphanburi, Thailand, which is approximately slightly more than a hundred kilometres away from Bangkok. The province has a rich history dating as far as 3,500-3,800 years back but its prominence was actually established during the Ayutthaya kingdom (1650-1767) as an important border town engaged in many historically significant battles. Therefore a Thailand tour to the ancient city of Suphanburi will usually include visits to the U-Thong National Museum named after the founding king of the Ayutthaya kingdom, Don Chedi Monument dedicated to King Naresuan who defeated the Burmese, and iconic temples such as Wat Pa Lelai and Wat Kae that were both built some 500-600 years ago and played vital roles in the history of Suphanburi. Many Thai mythology and legends are also directly associated with these two temples and among the many is the Legend of the Undefeatable Warlord.
The Undefeatable Warlord is also one of Thailand’s most prominent God of Charm, Luck, Wealth, and invulnerability whose root is also traced to this ancient city. He was said to have studied and mastered the art of inner-path in both Wat Pa Lelai and Wat Kae. Furthermore, legends and poems pertaining to the Undefeatable Warlord Khun Phaen are among the most celebrated Thai literature which are hitherto widely taught in schools. Sacred objects, including statues and amulets of Khun Phaen are also highly sought after. Almost every amulet producing temple would inevitable produce Khun Phaen amulets and the most popular ones happened to originate from Wat Ban Krang which is also located in Suphanburi province.
Purpose of this Article
In this article, we seek to explore the story of Thailand’s most prominent legendary and controversial character – Khun Phaen the Undefeated Warlord – who is hitherto most revered as the God of Charm, Luck, Wealth, and Invulnerability. We endeavour to assess and evaluate all materials including historical artefacts and traces pertinent to Khun Phaen and allow our readers to draw their own conclusion. Therefore, we will breakdown this article into several chapters whereby we will briefly explore the essence between myths and historicity and provide a narration of the story of Khun Phaen; we will attempt to analyse the facts derived from information collected and determine the position of Khun Phaen between mythology and history; and we will discuss what role Khun Phaen plays in contemporary Thailand and within Thai Buddhists community around the world.
Mythology and Legends
Mythology and legends are the most intriguing things that had accompanied mankind since time immemorial. These two subjects mirror the characteristics, values, and history of specific cultures. Myths and legends are often said to be created to reflect what a particular culture deems to be moral and ethical and thereby shaping its outlook and its way of life. Despite being a Theravada Buddhist society within the Suvarnabhumi region since 250 BC, the Ramakien which is deeply rooted in Hindu Ramayana myths underlies Thai mythology and legends saved those attires, weapons, topography, and constituents of settings are transposed and given a Thai flavour. The most often cited examples include those classic Ramakien and Khon dances also known as the “Masked Pantomime” created under the supervision of Rama I and Rama II respectively.
Although the Ramakien and Khon dances are said to provide Thai legends with foundational myth whereby numerous Thai Gods and Deities derived their origin, they are nevertheless not all comprising. There is simultaneously many other mythology and legends found in Thai literature that have no connection to the above two sources especially those that are inextricably intertwined with local history. Archaeology is an important source for human outlook because any profound findings will change mankind’s entire chronicle and, therefore, it is not surprising there are many archaeologists and historians out there set to prove or disprove a particular myth such as the existence of Jesus Christ so on and so forth.
Importance of Mythology and Legends
Nonetheless, mythology and legends are taught in many schools throughout the world as they preceded philosophy, science, and even religions, thus, they are primary sources reflecting cultures and are used to impart the values, virtues, morality, and temperance amongst many other things which in turn collectively forms the foundation for studying literature of a particular culture. For example, in order to study and understand Shakespeare, one may need a certain level of understanding of Greek mythology. Similarly, without a firm understanding of Ramakien, it is difficult for one to understand the religiopolitical ideology and culture of the Thais.
Whilst most myths are products of imagination and creativity developed by numerous authors throughout the ages and which contents may hence be incoherent, however, there are some that may contain historicity. Historicity is sometimes used as a nexus to connect past and present or simply describing the actuality of characters and events of historical existence. It is also this value of historicity within myths that oftentimes add controversies to certain myths and history just as in the case with the Bible, the Christ myth theory, and of course, the main character of this article – the Undefeatable Warlord Khun Phaen.
The Story Begins
The story was set out during the reign of King Ramathibodi II also known as Somdej Phra Panwasa (1473-1529) in the province of Suphan (now Suphanburi) where all the three main characters, Phlai Kaeo (later Khun Phaen), Sri (later Khun Chang), and Phim Philalai (later Nang Wanthong) were born. Phlai Kaeo was the son of Commander Khun Kraipon and Nang Thongprasri. He was handsome and clever. Sri’s father was Khun Srivichai and his mother Nang Thepthong. He was born bald and albeit coming from a rich family, Sri was crass. Nang Phim Philalai was the beautiful daughter of wealthy merchant Pansorn Yotha and Nang Sri Prachan. The trio were childhood friends.
It was a period where the Ayutthaya Kingdom was in intense war with Chiang Mai and Lan Chang. The province of Lan Chang was ceded to French Indochina in 1946 under the Washington Accord in exchange for Thailand’s admission to the United Nations and today it forms part of Laos. The story also provided a rich insight into traditions, customs, culture, beliefs, and the way of life of Thais in general and the people of Suphanburi and Kanchanaburi (then Kanburi).
Khun Kraipon Executed
One day, Somdej Phra Panwasa suddenly wanted a herd of wild buffaloes and ordered Khun Kraipon to set up a ranch. Khun Kraipon was a warrior who was versed in the art of inner-path and war but, however, lacked the skill in herding wild buffaloes. Therefore, when he tried to herd those wild buffaloes into the ranch, they became frightened and ran amok. Khun Kraipon became frustrated and angered whereby he then used spears to thrust and killed many of those buffaloes whilst the remaining surviving buffaloes fled into the forest. Somdej Phra Panwasa became very angry and ordered Khun Kraipon and family to be executed. Upon receiving the news of her husband’s execution, Nang Thongprasri quickly took Phlai Kaeo and went into hiding in Kanburi.
There is a temple called Wat Khun Krai at Tambon Bang Pla Ma, Amphoe Bang Pla Ma, Changwat Suphanburi, built to honour Khun Phaen’s father.
Phlai Kaeo Ordained in Wat Som Yai
In Kanburi, Nang Thongprasri single-handedly brought up Phlai Kaeo who could not forget his father. He practised the skills his father taught him with the ambition of becoming a great army commander like his father. Phlai Kaeo was ordained in Wat Som Yai in Kanburi province. The temple was renamed Wat Yai Dong Rang in Buddhist Year 2525. The abbot of Wat Som Yai, Luang Pu Boon, imparted to him the secrets of the inner-path and moulded in him a strong foundation in the arts of sorcery. An ancient monument indicating Phlai Kaeo’s progress is still being preserved in the temple today.
After graduating from Wat Som Yai at the age of 15, Phlai Kaew was sent to further his learning and practice at Wat Pa Lelai Woravihan in Supanburi province and later to Wat Khae, also in Supanburi province.
Tens of thousands people have visited Wat Khae and most are amused by a large tamarind tree, measuring approximately 10 meters around the base inside the temple. A huge hornet sculpture sits under the tamarind tree. Devotees can be seen doing prayers and making offerings but, ironically, not many people know the essence of the giant hornet and the tamarind tree.
Actually, Khun Phaen has used the leaves of that Tamarind tree and turned them into hornets capable of attacking enemies which inspired the temple to build the sculpture of a giant hornet under the tree. Therefore, making prayers and offerings to the hornet symbolise a plea for help to subdue and/or defeat one’s enemy.
Childhood Friends Reunited: Love, Jealousy, and Plots Unfolded
Tragedy did not just befall Phlai Kaeo’s family. Shortly after the execution of his father Khun Kraipon, Sri’s family was robbed by bandits and Sri’s father Khun Srivichai was also killed. Almost during the same time, Nang Phim Philalai’s father Pansorn Yotha too died from a deadly fever after returning from foreign cities. The three childhood friends all became fatherless at almost the same period of time.
By the time Phlai Kaeo returned to Suphanburi, the trio were already all young adults. Nang Phim Philalai has grown up to be a beautiful young lady whilst Sri was bald and fat but has entered the royal service and conferred with the title Khun Chang. Despite the fact that his family was robbed, Khun Chang was able to amass great wealth and became a rich and influential person. However, he has also become selfish and insensitive.
Khun Chang has since childhood always liked Nang Phim Philalai and that affection has turned into a crush for the grown up beauty. With the return of Phlai Kaeo who has also grown up to be handsome and attractive, could the three childhood friends maintain that innocence and sincere friendship or…
To read more, please keep a look out for our upcoming article “Thai Myth: The Legend of Undefeatable Warlord Chapter 2”.
Most people who frequently visited Thailand would have the chances to come across amulets of a man and a woman hugging together. These figurines are usually presented in the form of nudity and are made of metal but there are those rare ones carved from wood as well. These amulets are called “YinTong” or “YinKu,” phrases originating from the language of Lanna or northern Thais albeit some textbooks suggested that it originated from Ngew or Thai Yai.
A Misrepresentation: Deliberate or Otherwise
Owing to the nakedness of those figurines many people inevitably associated them with sexuality. Indeed many amulet dealers would either deliberately or ignorantly misrepresent them as so to arouse curiosity and interest that cater to market demand. For those who are familiar with Thai myths, legends, and folklores it is not difficult to detect the lewdness and sexuality presented as selling points by these agents are actually partial and mixed-up representations of “Yee Per” and “Mae Per” which are total different things from “Yin Tong.” Yee Per comprises a pair of male and female naked figurines with their sexual organs exposed and amplified and they are used by practitioners for various rituals whilst Mae Per is a sole female figurine usually used as a complimentary subject in charismatic sacred objects. We will not be delving into details of Yee Per and Mae Per in this article but suffice to state briefly the marked and intrinsic differences between the three.
The Simple Truth
Every religion has folklore about the origin of mankind and Yin Tong is the Thai version. Contrary to sexuality and lasciviousness, nudity, in this instance, represents truthfulness, openness, and nothing to hide. It also represents the relationship between mankind and the nature and, together with the embracing couple, it signifies love and harmony. Many temples and guru monks have made and consecrated amulets of Yin Tong but the most renowned hitherto is still Luang Phor Somjit Sukkho of Wat Noi Nanghong. To correct the misrepresentation of sexuality and lewdness, Yin Tong made and consecrated by Luang Phor Somjit is dressed up in traditional Thai costumes.
Luang Phor Somjit made and consecrated Yin Tong statues and amulets according to the ancient Lanna scriptures with incantations of the power of love, harmony, great popularity, fortune, wealth and prosperity. Whilst Yin Tong originating from other temples share the same power to bring about love and harmony to people within a household, those made and consecrated by Luang Phor Somjit, through a special incantation, extend to all areas of activities beyond home. By virtue of being the master of Thai Phaedthi (Bagua), His Venerable has added both the eight directional and Yin/Yang charms into his creations. Therefore, Yin Tong made and consecrated by Luang Phor Somjit has the power to balance the two contrasting energies and bring about reconciliation and harmony between the two sexes as well as between the same sexes.
His Venerable once said: “When there is harmony, there will be peace and happiness. It is with a balance of energies that people prosper.” When Yin Tong is worshiped in the house it brings about harmony and love between husband and wife as well as among other members of the household; if it is worshiped in places of trade and offices it brings about fortune and prosperity to businesses. On the other hand, wearing a Yin Tong amulet from Luang Phor Somjit brings Yin Tong to wherever one travels, bringing the positive energies aforementioned with you.
The Correct Mindset
Effectiveness of Thai sacred objects originates from the faith of the believer in the specific sacred object. A channel of connection must be established and this requires a correct mindset. If you are wearing Yin Tong with a mindset full of bawdiness sold to you by some amulet dealers then you will certainly not be able to experience and enjoy the positive energies of love, harmony, prosperity and et cetera associated with Yin Tong. The reason is simple and it is because you are in the wrong channel. You will not get to watch the Last Blood on Pornhub, switch to Netflix!
The main Phra Buddha Nimit is enshrined in the Ubosot of Wat Phra Meru Rachikaram Worawihan in Tambon Tha Wa Su Kri, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province. The majestically constructed Buddha image has a 4.5 meters lap width and 6 meters height. The Buddha image sits cross-legged in bhumisparsa mudra posture with left hand placed supine on lap; right hand placed resting on right leg. The Phra Buddha Nimit statue was designed with a mixture of “Dharma” and “Dhavaraja” Buddhist art in 1503, early Ayutthaya period during the reign of King Phra Ramathibodi II, to amplify the grandiose and majesty of Lord Buddha. Later in the reign of King Phra Nangklao (Rama III), Phra Buddha Nimit was officially named the guardian Buddha of Ayutthaya by His Majesty and conferred the official name of Phra Buddha Nimit Wichit Marmoli Sri Sanphet Borom Trilokanat.
Wat Phra Meru Rachikaram Worawihan was severely damaged during the first Burmese invasion but was restored by King Phra Nangklao. However, in year 2303, the Burmese again invaded the Siam Empire under the leadership of Alaungpaya, king of the Konbaung Dynasty in Burma. Wat Phra Meru again fell into the enemy’s hands. The Burmese disrespectfully brought and set up artillery in Wat Phra Meru Rachikaram Worawihan and Alaungpaya thought that Phra Buddha Nimit will help him destroy Ayutthaya, thus, he personally went to light the cannon. However, a miracle happened, the moment Alaungpaya lit the cannon, it exploded and severely injuring Alaungpaya himself. The Burmese troops saw that as a bad omen and immediately retreated but Alaungpaya nevertheless died on the way before reaching Burma. From thence, Phra Buddha Nimit has been worshipped by Thais for destroying the devils and for according the faithful a second chance.
Phra Buddha Nimit: Wat Noak
The Phra Buddha Nimit enshrined in Wat Noak, Phasi Charoen, Bangkok is designed and constructed with mixture of Indian Gandhara, Sukhothai, and western arts. The facial features of the Buddha are typically more realistic and human-like as in western art but, at the same time, retained the slender figure, spiral hair curls, and distended earlobes of Sukhothai art as well as the facial expression of inner peace typical of Indian Gandhara art.
The Phra Buddha Nimit statue in Wat Noak also differs from that of Wat Phra Meru Rachikaram Worawihan in three other major aspects. Firstly, in lieu of the bhumisparsa mudra posture, the Phra Buddha Nimit in Wat Noak adopts the Dhyana Mudra and a Khad Samathi Rab posture; secondly, the Buddha is adorned in Kāṣāya instead of the Mahachak ornamental gears; and thirdly, the Buddha sits on a round lotus top Chat Tat or triratha pedestal with eight disciples or Arahants, namely, Phra Kotamyak, Phra Mahakasapak, Phra Anun, Phra Mokalanak, Phra Lahoon, Phra Kawanbodi, Phra Wubali, and Phra Salibuk guarding the eight directions.
The primary purposes of Phra Buddha Nimit Wat Noak remain the same as those of Wat Phra Meru saved that the meditating posture of the Buddha adds a proximate cause to the attainment of wisdom; the replacement of royal gears with Kāṣāya represents the Triple Gems, compassion, and forgiveness augmenting the effect of according faithful believers a second chance in life; and the eight disciples guarding the eight direction enhances the effect of destroying the devils.
There are several temples making and consecrating statues of Phra Buddha Nimit but the most popular are those of Phrakru Sujittaporn, better known as Ajahn Jet of Wat Noak due to their artistic beauty and special effects. In a replication of the Phra Buddha Nimit enshrined in the Ubosot, Ajahn Jet made and consecrated a batch of statues in year 2546. The consecration ceremony was led by the most respected elder of the inner path Luang Pu Tim of Wat Phra Khao, Bang Ban District, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. This batch of Phra Buddha Nimit statues comes in two sizes, one in 5 inches lap width and the other in 9 inches lap width. Both models are half-spread with gold leaf.
Phra Buddha Nimit and the Eight Arahats
Subsequently, in Buddhist year 2549, Ajahn Jet also made and consecrated a batch of Phra Buddha Nimit and the eight Arahat amulets. The features of the Buddha exhibited traditional Gandhara art with Buddha’s hair tied up in spiral curls, a serene expression with half-closed eyes and long ear lobes. Behind the Buddha is the chakra wheel and at the external perimeter of the amulet are the eight Arahants.
There are two models of amulets made on that occasion, one is made from bronze and gold-plated and another made from selected powder and color-painted.
In Buddhist year 2546, apart from the 5-inch and 9-inch Phra Buddha Nimit statues, Ajahn Jet has also separately made and consecrated amulets of the eight Arahants, namely, Phra Kotamyak, Phra Mahakasapak, Phra Anun, Phra Mokalanak, Phra Lahoon, Phra Kawanbodi, Phra Wubali, and Phra Salibuk. These amulets are made of lead.
Phra Buddha Nimit: Wat Kao Phrachuntheap
Besides those Phra Buddha Nimit statues and amulets aforementioned, there is also a batch of Phra Buddha Nimit amulets that deserve special attention and recommendation. In Buddhist year 2515, Luang Phor Ruay of Wat Kao Phrachuntheap had also made a batch of Phra Buddha Nimit amulets from herbs and consecrated them in accordance with ancient Phra Weth ritual. His venerable has laboriously brought these amulets to a total of 108 temples within four years to be charmed by 108 guru monks from the inner path. Therefore, this batch of amulets is said to be so powerful that it is able to destroy all devils. His Venerable has used this batch of amulets to perform exorcism in both Thailand and Singapore with effective results.
With various special attributes and effects accorded by Phra Buddha Nimit, this Buddha has remained a priority choice among mainstream believers. It is strongly believed that Phra Buddha Nimit possesses the miracle of miracles and a “Sarana” that is justified in respect of all 3 worlds. The special charm to enhance these effects is as follow:
Namo Tassa Pakawatoh Arahatoh Samma Samput Tassa X3
Putang Arahang Wankha Mamihang
Puta Sanatang Sana Sakotik Tatang
Putang Sathu Rupatang Eti Sukatoh Arahang Putoh Namoputaya
Luang Phor Ngen is among one of the must-know guru monks in Thai Buddhism and occultism. For those who had visited the Kingdom of Thailand would probably have seen posters of His Venerable in many shops and offices. When you ask the Thais about His Venerable you are likely to be overwhelmed by so many stories that you could hardly digest.
In this article, we will provide you with a brief history of His Venerable and the reasons why His Venerable hitherto remains one of the most popular monks within the Thai community. We will also be introducing you to statues and amulets of His Venerable from Wat Bangkhlang, Phitchit province.
A Brief History
Luang Phor Ngen Puttachot was born during the reign of King Rama I, Rattanakosin, on Friday, September 16, Buddhist Year 2348 in Bangkhlang District, Phitchit Province. His father’s name was Wu, a native of Bangkhlang and his mother Fak was from Kampheang Phet Province. He was the fourth child among a family of six children.
In year 2356, when Luang Phor Ngen was eight years old, his uncle and also his teacher by the name of Khuang received permission from Luang Phor Ngen’s parents to bring him to Bangkok to study at Wat Tong Pu, now known as Wat Chana Songkhram, the temple in which later another famous guru monk by the name of Luang Phor Pair was ordained. Three years later in 2359 he was ordained as a novice and became known as Sammak Nen Phuttachot. He observed three Buddhist Lent in Wat Tong Pu where he studied the Dharma and practiced Vipassana meditation. He was subsequently ordained as a full-fledged monk when he became of age.
After achieving a solid foundation in both Dharma and Vipassana, Phra Phuttachot took leave from Wat Tong Pu and travelled to Bangkhumprom District and sought to be a disciple of the top guru monk Somdej Phra Putchantoh Phramarangsri of Wat Rakhang Khositaram. His Venerable Somdej Phra Putchantoh officially took Phra Phuttachot as his disciple and imparted him with his magical skills. Phra Phuttachot learned and practiced well under the guidance of his master and subsequently became the most famous disciple of Somdej Phra Phuttachantoh. He remained in Wat Rakhang until his family wrote to inform him that his grandfather has fallen ill and requested that he come and spend his Buddhist Lent in Wat Kongaram.
Luang Phor Ngen stayed in Wat Kongaram for a year when a famous alchemist, Luang Phor Ho, was the abbot. Later on, he moved to the current Wat Bangkhlang, Phichit Province. Luang Phor Ngen quickly became a pillar of the province where he preached the Dharma and practiced Phra Weth to help villagers. His reputation spread quickly throughout the country and people flocked to Wat Bangkhlang to pay respect and asked for blessings. Holy water and talismans from Luang Phor Ngen became highly sought after items. There were as many monks as there were laypeople who travelled from all parts of the kingdom to Phitchit province to learn from His Venerable and many subsequently also became abbots of various prominent temples. For examples,
8. Luang Phor Kham, Wat Pho Tia, Lan Krabue District, Kamphaeng Phet; and et cetera.
In addition, among his lay disciples was Prince Chumphon Khet Udomsak, the 28th child of King Chulalongkorn, Rama V. Prince Chumphon Khet Udomsak was then also a disciple of Luang Por Suk Wat Pak Khlong Makham Tao, Wat Sing District, Chainat Province.
Luang Phor Ngen diligently served the Sangha and people throughout his entire life until he entered nirvana on September 19, 2462 at the age of 114 leaving behind too many miracles to be recalled. Handwritten records by His Venerable pertaining to the treatment of diseases and evils are well preserved and vigilantly kept in Wat Bangkhlang. Up until today, amulets of His Venerable are highly sought after within Thai Buddhist circle. It is believed that they bring great wealth and popularity to worshippers.
After the passing over of Luang Phor Ngen, His Venerable’s statues and amulets have been created for many generations at Wat Bangkhlang and other temples, including government agencies, but the most famous and sought after remain those made and consecrated by Phrakru Phibun Thammawet or more popularly known as Luang Por Preang of Wat Bangkhlang.
Luang Phor Ngen Statues and Amulets
According to old records, Luang Phor Ngen has only made and consecrated five batches of amulets. The first batch of amulets made and consecrated by Luang Phor Ngen were pendants of an illustrative monk with a convex chest and a built-in loop. About 3,000 – 4,000 pieces were made. The second casting was the circular statues which the Phitchit people called “Bok Ta” or “eye mould” also known as the first batch of “roop” (mini statues) cast with brass. The finishing was rough and uneven. The number created was reported to be about 2000 pieces. Luang Phor Ngen made those amulets available to believers at a meagre price of 1 baht each, yes, you heard it correctly, only 1 baht!
These century-old Luang Phor Ngen’s amulets currently cost as high as 29 million baht each depending on condition of the amulets. Even for the fifth batch, also known as the last batch, a bargain price for a not-so-well preserved unit is approximately between 4-6 million baht.
To be honest, albeit being more than two decades in this trade, besides seeing those amulets in collection books and magazines, we have never seen a genuine physical copy before and, thus, we are not in the position to delve too much into those amulets. Moreover, prices for those Luang Phor Ngen amulets are as steep as those Somdej amulets made and consecrated by His Venerable Somdej Phra Phuttachantoh which are beyond the reach for most of us. This has also led to many counterfeit items catering to the enthusiasm of treasure hunters.
Therefore, we will only be introducing you to genuine but more affordable models of Luang Phor Ngen amulets made and consecrated by subsequent abbots of Wat Bangkhlang. Let us begin with those made and consecrated by Luang Phor Preang beginning from the year 2535.
Amulets Made and Consecrated by Luang Phor Preang
It has to be noted that the first batch of Luang Phor Ngen amulets made and consecrated by Luang Phor Preang were those in the year 2515 sponsored by Pol. Maj. Gen. Sanga Kittikachon, Minister of Foreign Affairs at that time, and Mr. Phadet Jiraporn, chairman of the Phichit Provincial Council. The 2515 batch was made and consecrated for the purpose of restoring the old Wat Bangkhlang, now renamed Wat Hiranyaram, built by Luang Phor Ngen to remember the first Buddhist Lent His Venerable spent there. The consecration ceremony was led by Somdej Phra Wanrat of Wat Phra Chetuphon and Phra Wisut Wongsachan of Wat Suthat.
Nonetheless, we will also not be touching on this batch of amulets due to scarcity and price factors. The Phim Niyom 2515 has already broken the five hundred thousand baht mark and the medal or alternatively known as Spade Coin 2515 has also surpassed a hundred thousand baht. Therefore, in this article we will commence with amulets made from year 2535 to 2553 by Luang Phor Preang and Luang Phor Sirlit in lieu.
Luang Phor Ngen 2535 Loon Phrathampitaka
Luang Phor Ngen 2535 is known as Loon Phrathampitaka which used the mould from the 2515 batch that was made and consecrated under a joint effort between Wat Bangkhlang and Wat Sutthat. Similarly, the 2535 batch of Luang Phor Ngen was again a joint effort between those two temples. The consecration ceremony was jointly led by Somdej Phra Dharmadilok, abbot of Wat Suthat and Phrakru Phibunthammawet (Luang Por Preang), abbot of Wat Bangkhlang, thus, making both the 2515 and 2535 batches to have high value.
Starting from the full moon day of the 12th lunar month, that was, November 21, 2534, the casting ceremony was commenced inside the temple compound so as to invoke Yant 108 and Napathamang 14 according to the auspicious occasion. The sacred objects were then transported to Wat Suthat where the Maha Phuttapisek ceremony was held in the Ubosot of Wat Suthat on 25-27 January 2535. Those sacred objects remained in Wat Suthat for 3 months where various guru monks came to perform blessings before they were being transported back to Wat Bangkhlang where another Maha Phuttapisek ceremony was being conducted in April the same year.
Luang Phor Ngen Loon Chotibharamee 2537
In year 2537, Luang Phor Preang made and consecrated another batch of Luang Phor Ngen amulets to raise fund for the construction of the parish building and the Hall of King Rama V Hospital, Taphan Hin Sub-district, Phichit Province. This batch of amulets is known as Luang Phor Ngen Loon Chotibharamee.
Because of the altruistic purpose, an extraordinarily grand Phuttapisek ceremony was being conducted for days and nights from 23-25 November, 2537 without interruption. Prominent guru masters from all over the Kingdom of Thailand invited to participate in the ceremony include:
Luang Pu Tim, Wat Phra Khao
Luang Phor Pair, Wat Phikulthong
Luang Phor Pern, Wat Bangplad
Luang Pu Put, Wat Klang Bangplad
Kruba Duangdi, Wat Tha Champi
Luang Phor Yen, Wat Sam Ngam
Luang Pu Yik, Wat Nong Chor
Luang Phor Mi, Wat Mawichai
Luang Phor Uttma, Wat Wang Kawi Wegaram
Luang Phor Phut, Wat Pa Salawan
Luang Phor Yod, Wat Kaew Charoen
Luang Phor Dee, Wat Phra Ru
Luang Phor Lamyai, Wat Thung Lat Ya
Luang Phor Yam, Wat Takhian
Luang Phor Kae, Wat Maenam
Luang Phor Mian, Wat Pho Kob Chao
Luang Phor Prathuang, Wat Nong Yang Toi
Luang Phor Foolon, Wat Phra Phutthabat Khao Ruak
Luang Phor Sawat, Wat Bueng Baworn Sathit
Luang Phor Jek, Wat Ranam
Luang Phor Charoen, Wat Thanyawari
Luang Phor Huat, Wat Don Pho Thong
Phra Ajahn Ita, Wat Chulamanee
Kruba Soi, Wat Mongkhon Khiri Khet
Luang Phor Naem, Wat Khao No
Luang Phor Ket, Wat Koh Lak
Luang Pu Luang, Wat Pa Samran Niwat
Luang Pu Waen, Wat Tham Phra Sabai
Luang Phor Hom, Wat Khuha Suwan
Luang Pho Chalerm, Wat Phra Kanthikaram
Luang Phor Phim, Wat Nong Ta Ngu
Luang Phor Samran, Wat Pak Khlong Makham Thao
Luang Phor Phol, Wat Dudkhon
Luang Phor Huol, Wat Phutthathai Sawan
Luang Phor Yot, Wat Sangkhositaram
Kruba Kasem, Wat Pa Tung
Ajarn Puan, Wat Nong Bua Thong
Luang Phor Sai, Wat Khanon Tai
Phra Maha Thongchai, Wat Trimikon Wittayaram
Luang Pho Daeng, Wat Burapharam and et cetera.
Because of that special Phuttapisek ceremony and the participation of prominent guru monks, this batch of amulets becomes collectible and highly sought after.
Luang Phor Preang Loon Phra Buddha Nimit 2538 (Loon Sukthai)
In the year 2538, for the first time , Luang Phor Preang made and consecrated a batch of his own amulets and invoked the charm of high compassion and benevolence in consecrating his final batch of amulets which became known as Loon Phra Buddha Nimit. Subsequently, this batch of amulets became known as Loon Sukthai or the last batch of Luang Phor Preang’s creations as his Venerable entered nirvana the following year 2539.
Amulets Made and Consecrated by Luang Phor Sirlit
Luang Phor Preang was succeeded by Phrakru Visitsilapon, alternatively known as Luang Phor Sirlit.
Luang Phor Ngen 2540
Upon taking over as abbot of Wat Bangkhlang in 2540, Luang Phor Sirlit made and consecrated Luang Phor Ngen and Luang Phor Preang amulets to mark reverence for the previous two prominent abbots. These amulets portrayed the exact human look of the respective Luang Phor.
Luang Phor Ngen 2541 Loon Yon
During the end of year 2540, Luang Phor Sirlit also made and consecrated a batch of Luang Phor Ngen Loon Yon which literally means retro edition. However, there were two models, one mimicking the original of Luang Phor Ngen’s and the other resembles those of Luang Phor Preang’s. The consecration ceremony went on until March 4, 2541when the Maha Phutthaphisek Ceremony finally took place.
This batch reintroduced the original unrefined styles used during Luang Phor Ngen’s time.
Therefore, among one of the 2541 batch, there is one model where the number “40” is casted on the rear of the amulet.
Luang Phor Ngen Loon Banboonhun Kansiksa 2545
Year 2545 batch of Luang Phor NgenLoon Banboonhun Kansiksa was deliberately made and consecrated for the purpose to share merit and support for education. The consecration ceremony on April 25, 2545 took the tone of altruism and wisdom led by eight senior guru monks including:
1. Luang Pu Ruay Pasatiko, Wat Tako
2. Luang Phor Phrathep Molee, Wat Ratchaphatikaram
3. Luang Phor Wimonmuni, Wat Machimawat
4. Luang Phor Thuam, Wat Si Suwan
5. Luang Phor Un, Wat Tan Kong
6. Luang Pu Ki, Wat Sri Lamyong
7. Luang Pho Sarit Wat Bangkhlang
8. Luang Phor Sophon Kittayaporn, Assistant Abbot of Wat Suthat.
The blessing ceremony lasted six months up-to October 5, 2545 when the Maha Phutthaphisek ceremony was conducted in the Ubosot at Wat Bangkhlang with Somdej Phra Putthachan Keo Uppaseno presiding over the candle lit ritual on the 3rd day and Phra Thep Moli of Wat Ratchaphatikaram extinguished a candle on the 5th day. Therefore, this batch of amulets is said to bestow on believers the morality of altruism and wisdom leading to the achievement of both material and spiritual quality.
Luang Phor Ngen Phim Niyom Loon Sang Vihan 2550
In year 2550, Luang Phor Sirlit made and consecrated a batch of Luang Phor Ngen Phim Niyom for the purpose of raising fund to build a Vihan or shelter for monks in Wat Tai Nam in Phitchit province. Wat Tai Nam is a temple where Luang Phor Ngen has spent a Buddhist Lent there and which honours Luang Phor Ngen with the largest statue measuring lap width 10 meters and height 12 meters.
This batch of Luang Phor Ngen amulets, although not the smallest ever made, is nonetheless categorised as miniatures with a lap width of 10mm and height 15mm. They come in two tones, one is high polished brass and the other unpolished but are both beautifully refined with the number “50” printed behind.
Participation in the building of a Vihan or any donation towards the purpose brings forth providence, a manifestation of divine care and guidance.
Luang Phor Ngen Phim Niyom Loon Mongkol Maharap 2551
In celebrating His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s 81st birthday, Luang Phor Sirlit made and consecrated a batch of Luang Phor Ngen amulets to help build a meditation centre in Wat Chaya Langkarn, Pa Pong Subdistrict, Doi Saket District, Chiang Mai Province in honour of His Majesty the King. This batch is called Luang Phor Ngen Phim Niyom Loon Mongkol Maharap which literally means “Auspicious Great Luck.”
The official ritual commenced on October 13, 2551 with Princess Soamsawali leading the casting ceremony on October 23. The ritual lasted five months with the Maha Phuttapisek ceremony conducted on February 20, 2552 with Princess Soamsawali joining Luang Pu Fu, Wat Bang Samak, Luang Pu Ruay, Wat Tako, Luang Phor Sirlit, Wat Bangkhlang Luang Por Peeradej, Wat Bowon and other prominent monks to bring the event to a closing. A total of 12,551 pieces of amulets were released to the public.
Luang Phor Ngen Loon Sirlokanat 2552
“Sirlokanat ” means “most respected”. This batch of Luang Phor Ngen Loon Sirlokanat 2552 comes in both statues and amulets. Therefore, it connotes anyone who has a sacred Luang Phor Ngern Loon Sirlokanat 2552 statue or amulet will be most respected, thus, receive peace, happiness, and prosperity of the world permanently throughout this life-time on earth.
The amulets depict Luang Phor Ngen’s human features, seated in the Siddhasana style of meditation or what is commonly called a half-lotus posture. The posture itself connotes stability and when combined with Luang Phor Ngern Loon Sirlokanat, it signifies stability of peace, happiness, and prosperity as imprinted on the “sangkathi.”
The statues come in two sizes, 5 and 9 inches lap width with Luang Phor Ngen seated in a meditating posture. There are two Phayod or monk’s rank fan by his sides. The one on his right bears the Phra Maha Pichai, the Thai king’s crown whilst the one on his left has his name “Ngen” written on it. On the front of the seat is imprinted “Luang Phor Ngen (Puttachot)” and on the rear “Wat Bangkhlang Pole Thale, Phitchit Province.”
Luang Phor Ngen Phim Niyom Loon Kontun 2553
There are two purposes leading to the construction and consecration of LuangPhor Ngen Phim Niyom Loon Kontun 2553 and they are, firstly, setting up a mutual fund for aged and sick monks; and secondly, setting up an education fund for Pali education for monks and novices. Therefore, the term “Kontun” which means “fund kept as inheritance and benefit for” has been used.
Luang Phor Sirlit has placed great importance to this batch of amulets that he even used sacred materials left down by Luang Phor Ngen and preserved by the temple for this batch of amulets. Furthermore, his venerable insisted in invoking traditional rituals including having the entire casting ceremony to be fully conducted in Wat Bangkhlang making it an event not seen for the past several decades.
Owing to the scale of the rituals and ceremony, Phra Dharmaratanadilok, Wat Suthatthepwararam, and Phrakru Vachiraphuttanukun, Wat Tha Luang were invited to assume the positions of advisor and chairman for the project and jointly preside over all rituals together with Luang Phor Sirlit. The casting ceremony was led and overseen by Phrakru Suwithan Sasanakit (Phra Arjahn Pailin), Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat (Chinaraj Temple), Phitsanulok Province. Several models were casted comprising retro-models to the more contemporary and refined models.
Finally, on August 19, 2553, a congregation of 108 guru monks from all over the kingdom assembled in Ubosot at Wat Bangkhlang to perform the Phuttapisek ceremony.
In this batch, there are the coded and non-coded models. Even for the coded models, some are coded with Thai numerals and others with Arabic numerals. A common mistake is to price coded models over non-coded models because the materials used in the respective models vary vastly.
There is a charm Luang Phor Preang taught us many years ago when we visited his Venerable. It is a charm of communication with Luang Phor Ngen to seek help and blessings. Since there is no restriction imposed on us pertaining to this charm, we will like to share it with believers who honour and worship Luang Phor Ngen as follows:
Namo Tassa Pakawatoh Arahatoh Samma Samput Tassa (X3)
Ar ka ar ṭhi ar ṭhi ar ka ṭhi ae ka ae wan tha mi ar ja ri yang ja he ran ya na ma kang thi rang sit ṭhi tan tang maha teh chang e-ṭhi mang tang wa sa tha rang
Luang Phor Khantidjitto (Phra Palad Semit) or more commonly known as Arjahn Somjit Sukkho is the most revered and respected Master of Charm and Fortune in the modern history of Thai Buddhism. His loving kindness had touched numerous devastated and broken families of which he had helped to rebuild and reunite; and his grace had also been felt by many who fell into financial difficulties of whom he helped back onto the path of prosperity. His Venerable had in his lifetime performed so many miracles that touched the lives of many people from the Kingdom of Thailand to Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and to as far as Australia, New Zealand, and the United States of America. He has devoted his entire life to serving the true Lord Buddha and he had learned, practiced, and taught the Faith well. He was dedicated to enhancing and bettering the lives of people that in his lifetime he had made various images, amulets, and talismans to such effects and purposes.
A Brief History of Luang Phor Somjit
Luang Phor Somjit was born in Tambon Chaina Sena, Chanwat Phranakhon Si Ayutthaya on January 16, 2481 and has since childhood took a strong interest in Buddhist studies, with particular interest in spirituality and the “inner path” which pertains to the unknown including necromancy. He has a benevolent character and loved helping people, especially the poor and sick. From young, he showed great respect for monks observing the Sivali precepts and would make offerings to those monks and listen to their Dharma. Therefore, at the age of eight, he was accepted as a disciple of a legendary guru monk Luang Pu Yim of Wat Chao Chet, Sena District, Phranakhon Si Ayutthaya.
Wat Chao Chet is a historical temple which was partially destroyed during the war with Burma but was rebuilt in Buddhist year 2335. His Venerable was thought the Dharma and “inner path” by Luang Pu Yim until he was conscripted at the age of twenty-one. Thus, he disrobed and entered the Royal Military College in Saraburi Province for 2 years before returning to Wat Chao Chet at the age of twenty-three where he was officially ordained as a monk and assumed the name of Phra Kantidjitto.
Phra Somjit, as he was then known, became highly learned in Buddhist scriptures and vipasanna meditation. He was sent by Luang Pu Yim to nearby temples to teach both the Buddhist scriptures and meditation to monks and laypeople. Soon after, Phra Somjit became a popular Dharma and meditation master throughout the ancient city of Ayutthaya. He also began giving lessons in Wat Prasat in Supanburi Province. After a couple of years travelling around teaching and cultivating, Phra Ajahn Somjit, as he became known, returned to Wat Chao Chet and studied the mystical component of meditation from Luang Pu Wai of Wat Kradongthong. Luang Pu Wai was a renowned thudong monk and every year he will walk to Wat Siprawat at Nonthanburi before travelling to Wat Pladuchimpri in Krungthep Maha Nakhon. Luang Pu Wai had spent sixty years in the jungle and Phra Ajahn Somjit spent a total of six years under Luang Pu Wai’s instruction until he had his third eye or what is commonly known as “heavenly eye” opened before he was allowed to leave the jungle.
Owing to the lineage proximity, Phra Ajahn Somjit was also sent to Wat Bang Nomkho, Bang Nomkho, Sena District, Phranakhon Si Ayutthaya and Wat Nak-Tang Nok, Na Mai, Amphoe Bang Sai, Phranakhon Si Ayutthaya to learn and practice under the instruction of two other legendary guru monks Luang Pu Parn and Luang Pu Chung respectively.
The three legendary guru monks, Luang Pu Yim, Luang Pu Parn and Luang Pu Chung were collectively known as the three guru Tigers of the ancient city. To-date, amulets made and consecrated by these monks remained highly sought after and expensive. Even images and amulets originating from their temples command premium prices. Phra Ajahn Somjit’s intelligence and kind character won the approval and trust of both Luang Pu Parn and Luang Pu Chung who then imparted their knowledge and skills unreservedly to Phra Ajahn Somjit who in turn mastered and practised well. The origin of many of Ajahn Somjit’s amulets may be traced back to these three legendary guru monks.
After inheriting the knowledge from those three prominent guru monks, Phra Ajahn Somjit continued with his cultivation by travelling on foot to Wat Chaturamit, Wat Dangramarang before temporarily putting up at Wat Suthat where a relative was then abbot of the temple. Not long thereafter, he was also assigned to Wat Rakhang Kositaram, Thanon Arun Amarin, Khwaeng Siriraj, Khet Bangkok Noi, Krungthep Maha Nakhon to teach Dharma and meditation. His Venerable prominence rocketed and became a well-known guru master in Wat Rahkang Kositaram which caught the attention of the royal family. He was appointed Permanent Secretary of the royal family and assigned as abbot of Wat Dao Dungsaram, a royal monastery built during the reign of King Rama I at Bang Yi Khan, Bang Phlat, Bangkok.
The prominence and ability of Luang Phor Somjit rose even quicker after assuming the title of Permanent Secretary of the royal family and taking the office as abbot of Wat Dao Dungsaram, a royal monastery. Then in the Buddhist year 2525, abbot of a small and very rundown historical temple at the Bang Yi Khan district, Luang Phor Boonrod Sumethorong personally visited Wat Dao Dungsaram and asked for Luang Phor Somjit’s help to rebuilt Wat Noi Nanghong, at 346 Soi Charan Sanitwong 40 Khwaeng Bang Yi Khan, Khet Bang Phlat, Krung Thep Maha Nakhon. At that time, most people assumed Luang Phor Boonrod’s efforts will definitely fail. Who would want to leave the glamorous position of an abbot of Wat Dao Dungsaram, a royal monastery and take a role nothing more than a helper in a rundown temple? Yes most normal people would definitely not! However, albeit young, Luang Phor Somjit was already an enlightened being. To the surprise of everybody, he accepted Luang Phor Boonrod’s invitation.
In the course of helping to build Wat Noi Nanghong, Ajahn Somjit utilised his learning of the ancient art, the mysterious “inner path”, by performing rituals and conducting ceremonies for believers and, at the same time, he had also made and consecrated various holy images and amulets that help believers in their charisma, fortune, career, and family. Amongst his more prominent works are: Rheesi Petcherukhan, Ying-Tong, Bpatit, Somdej Leknampit, Somdej Nerwan, Somdej Sam-Heng, Somdej Heng-Talot, Khunpan Leknampit, Khunpan Pim-Lek, Kumanthong, Sekti-Sivali-Nana-Thong, Phra Pidta, and many more.
His Rheesi Petcherukhan amulets are most rare and sought after with prices of certain “phims” or moulds hitting as high as 400,000 baht. Even the last batch made in the Buddhist year 2530 which market value five years back was 80,000 baht has now climbed to 200,000 baht. The first batch of 5 inches Phra Narai Petcherukhan images has also hit a record high of 600,000 baht. Prices of other sacred images such as Ying-Tong, Rheesi, and et cetera are currently all well above 200,000 baht. For this reason, there appear to be many imitation products flooding the market.
Believe it or not, whilst most prominent monks took decades to built or rebuilt a standard Thai temple but Luang Phor Somjit merely took a few years to not only restore Wat Noi Nanghong to its past glory but also expanded it 10 times its original size. Furthermore, besides restoring and expanding Wat Noi Nanghong, His Venerable had also helped restore many old temples in different provinces and helped provide for education to children of poor families. However, with the speed Luang Phor Somjit was going made Luang Phor Boonrod extremely worried for His Venerable’s health, knowing that over-exertion in the “inner-path” inevitably shortens one’s life. However, Luang Phor Somjit was not in the least worried. On the contrary, in the Buddhist year 2534, he told his assembly of disciples that he was a monk in his previous life but due to specific reason he was not able to reach nirvana and, thus, he was here merely to complete what he had not completed in his previous life, which is to enter nirvana. Therefore, indeed his life will be a short one.
His Venerable continued performing his duties to help both temples and laypeople. He travelled extensively throughout Asia and also part of the western continent to preach Theravada Buddhism. Shortly after returning from a trip to Singapore, His Venerable was requested to perform a cleansing ritual on October 10, 2537. After completing that ritual, His Venerable collapsed and was sent to the Siriraj Hospital, Bangkok. A couple of days after his discharged from hospital, he was again admitted on October 21, 2537. According to temple records, His Venerable summoned all senior monks of his lineage and a few of his direct relatives and told them to arrange for his discharge as he will be entering parinibbana in a week’s time. Again, on October 26, 2537, Luang Phor Somjit summoned Luang Phor Boonrod to the hospital and this time demanded that he be immediately returned to the temple. Luang Phor Boonrod acceded and brought His Venerable back to the temple.
Once back in the temple, His Venerable summoned all monks and told them about his coming parinibbanna. He instructed that his body should only rest for 100 days in the temple for people to pay their last respect and thereafter to be cremated. He spent the night of October 26, 2537 with Luang Phor Boonrod and other senior monks, instructing them on his passing and will. After performing his prayers on October 27, 2537, Luang Phor Somjit took his last breath and entered into parinibbanna at 12.13 hours.
When news of His Venerable demise broke out, the whole of Bang Yi Khan District was flooded with devotees that traffic almost came to a standstill. Luang Phor Somjit took his last mortal breath on the afternoon of October 27, 2537 but He continues to live and protect those who hold their faith in His Venerable.
Master Tan was officially ordained at one of Thailand’s historical temple, Wat Noi Nanghong, by Chao Khun Pratheap of Wat Pathom Chedi and was formally accepted as a disciple by Luang Phor Somjit on December 1, 2534. Master Tan learned and practiced under His Venerable and other prominent guru monks of the lineage for many years and remains, hitherto, affiliated to the various temples of association. Therefore, on each January 16 and October 27, and 15th day of the lunar seventh month, we conduct the ancient Thai custom of “wai kru” to honour and remember our teacher Luang Phor Somjit and His teachings. Incremental thereof is also the ritual of divine lineage and offerings to Luang Phor Somjit and Rheesi of our “inner path”. This regular ritual helps disciples coordinate internal and external energy, remove obstacles and bad luck, and bring peace, happiness, wealth and prosperity. Anyone who joins us in this ritual, whether physically or spiritually, will also receive the blessings from Luang Phor Somjit and all the Rhessi within our lineage.