Category Archives: Sangha

Kruba Chao Duangdee Suphatto

When we talk about northern Thailand or the Lanna regions, we refer to regions including Kamphaeng Phet, Nakhon Sawan, Nan, Phayao, Phichit, Phitsanulok, Lampang, Lamphun, Sukhothai, Uttaradit, Uthai Thani, Chiang Rai, Chiang Mai, Phetchabun, and Mae Hong Son. Most of these regions are characterized by mountains, valleys and basins between mountains. There is a steep slope from the northwest that gradually slopes down to the low plains in the south-eastern and central regions before it slowly rises back in the east and northeast in the Nan Province, namely the Luang Prabang Mountain Range. These highlands are the source of many rivers and streams that flows into the Mekong River in the north and into the Chao Phraya River in the south as well as the Salween River in the west. It is an ideal fertile area for farming and settlement making it a source of important communities in the region.

Northern Thailand is a region of diverse traditions and cultures that are no less interesting than other regions of Thailand. It is known as a region full of magical charm with Chiangmai being the heart of Lanna and the centre of tourist attraction. Tourists are impressed with the many attractions and the generous spirit of the northerners. Apart from being a centre for arts, antiques, and traditional Lanna culture, Chiangmai is also a province that produces many Thai beauties and celebrities including Susira Anjeleena Nannan, Oranate D. Caballes, Natthanicha Dangwattanawanich, Pijakkana Wongsaratanasilp, and et cetera. Nonetheless, the actual spirit of northern Thais remains rooted in Lanna Buddhism.

Buddhism in Lanna Land

Prior to Theravada Buddhism, the people of Chiang Mai and those living in Lanna regions embraced Sasana Phi which was subsequently integrated with Buddhism giving rise to the various unique rituals and ceremonies hitherto. Theravada Buddhism is also the primary source that integrated the people of northern Thailand. The most unique feature is perhaps “Tung” that is likened to “flags” in the central region but has a meaning in Buddhism reflecting beliefs and faith as well as a cause to create unity among human beings. Theravada Buddhism continued to florished throughout the Lanna region with two eminent temples built under the grace of Phaya Kue Na to house the relics of Lord Buddha, namely, Wat Suan Dok and Wat Phra That Doi Suthep Ratchaworawihan.

Unfortunately, the Lanna regions fell into the hands of the Burmese in 1558 (B.E 2101), beginning what is called the 200 years of “Dark Age” in northern Thailand. Buddhism took a deep plunge during that era. There was a lack of monks who have qualifications, there were no Buddhist philosophers, and there were no religious texts or literature as there used to be in the past. Not until late 1760s and early 1770s that light began to shine through the kingdom once again with the rise of King Taksin the Great who successfully ended Burmese incursions in toto. The 15-year reign of King Taksin the Great was marked by a series of wars. After the establishment of Thonburi as the new Thai capital, the Burmese repeatedly tried to invade the kingdom. A total of nine major battles were fought during that period. The Burmese were defeated at Bang Kung, Samut Sakhon Province; Sawangkhalok; Phichai; and at Bang Kaew, Ratchaburi. Further battles were fought in the northern provinces to free Lanna Thai. The greatest battle of all took place in Chiangmai where the Burmese hold over the city was especially strong. The last Burmese attack on Chiangmai took place in 1776 (B.E. 2319) but they were thoroughly defeated by the Thai army. For more information, please refer to our earlier article “Understanding Thai Buddhism.”

Saint of Lanna

When Chiang Mai came under the rule of Bangkok, Buddhism in Chiangmai which used to be the centre of Lanna Buddhism has, therefore, been modified according to the practices originating from Bangkok. Regulations are all set centrally and which were deemed detrimental to the belief, custom, and cultural values of the Lanna people, especially the hill tribes.

During this time, Kruba Sriwichai, a hero within the clergy was born. He was a monk who respected both the faiths of the townspeople and hill tribes and he was the monk who revitalized Lanna Buddhism especially in Chiangmai. His Venerable was also responsible for the reformation and restoration of various temples in Chiangmai and nearby provinces until he received the title Saint of Lanna. His Venerable’s struggle to restore Lanna Buddhism gained strong support from the Lanna community as well as the northern clergy with more than 90 temples breaking rank with the Thai Sangha to join Kruba Srivichai. His Venerable’s influence was both eminent and prominent among the Lanna communities so-much-so that he was perceived as a threat by both the Thai Sangha and the Thai state leading to His Venerable’s second detention at Wat Benchamabophit in 1935 (B.E. 2478).

His Venerable’s detention caused loud public disquiet that Luang Sri Praklak, the member of the House of Representatives for Chiangmai at that time, ultimately demanded the release of Kruba Srivichai at the Cabinet meeting. The political intervention caught the eyes of the general public and His Venerable was finally released in 1936 (B.E. 2479).

The Immortal Speech

After being released, His Venerable said “if the Ping River doesn’t flow back north will not ask to step on the land of Chiang Mai.”

Kruba Srivichai thus returned to Wat Ban Pang, Li District, Lamphun Province where His Venerable entered parinibbāna on February 21, 1938 (B,E. 2481). His relics were divided into 7 parts and enshrined in 7 different locations throughout Lanna as follows:

1. Wat Chamadewi, Lamphun Province

2. Wat Suan Dok, Chiang Mai Province

3. Wat Phra Kaeo Don Tao, Lampang Province

4. Wat Sri Khom Kham, Phayao Province

5. Wat Phra That Cho Hae, Phrae Province

6. Wat Nam Hoo, Mae Hong Son Province

7. Wat Ban Pang, Li District, Lamphun Province

A statue of Kruba Sriwichai moulded and casted in Bangkok was delivered upon the completion of the Kruba Srivichai Monument at the foot of the mountain on the way up to Wat Phra That Doi Suthep. However, it was said that the statue just somehow cannot be taken out from the car and has to be sent back to Bangkok. The people believe it was due to the mystical immortality of His Venerable’s speech aforementioned. Consequently, the construction of the Bhumibol Dam in Tak Province caused water to flood up to the north in 1964 (B.E. 2507) and Kruba Srivichai’s image was then successfully invited and enshrined at the foot of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep.

The Last of Kruba Srivichai’s Disciples

Besides Kruba Srivichai, there are also several other northern Thai monks such as Luang Pu Waen and Luang Phor Kasaem who achieved nationwide reverence. However, the most celebrated figure in in recent Lanna history was Phra Mongkolwisut or Kruba Chao Duangdee Suphatto, the former abbot of Wat Tha Champi, one of the top guru monks in Chiangmai who is known as the last generation of Kruba Srivichai’s disciples.

Kruba Duangdee Suphatto was born on April 26, 2449 in Ban Tha Champi, Thung Satok Subdistrict, San Pa Tong District, Chiang Mai Province during the reign of His Majesty King Chulalongkorn, King Rama V, corresponding to the reign of Por Chao Inthawichayanon (Chao Maha Chiva) Ruler of Chiang Mai. He was a native of Tha Champi village from birth. His parents were farmers. His father’s name was Por Oob and his mother’s was Mae Chan. Kruba Duangdee had 8 siblings from the same parents, 4 males, 4 females and His Venerable was the 7th child in the family.

At the age of 13, Kruba Duangdee was brought before Kruba Sriwichai who, at that time, had come to restore the city of Chiangmai in 2462. Kruba Srivichai was pleased and he  told Kruba Duangdee that “If you are ordained a monk, then you come up and stay at Wat Phra Singh and will be friend with Sing Dam” (the biological grandson of Kruba Sriwichai). Kruba Duangdee was subsequently ordained. He studied and practiced under the instruction of Kruba Srivichai until he was 32 years old. Then His Venerable followed the footsteps of Kruba Srivichai and travelled extensively to build temples in the northern regions before returning to construct Wat Tha Champi.

At the age of 42, Kruba Duangdee received the title of Chao Awat of Thung Satok Subdistrict. However, even he was burdened by duties of the Sangha His Venerable did not neglect the observance of Vipassana meditation and practices of ancient Lanna wetmon. Besides the building and expansion of Wat Tha Champi, His Venerable also became the main force in the construction and restoration of almost every temple in the region as well as other philanthropic projects be it roads, ubosot, viharn, chedi, bridges, or even schools and hospitals. Therefore, His Venerable had utilise the ancient Lanna wetmon he learned from Kruba Srivichai to make and consecrate various sacred objects to raise funds for these activities.

Sacred objects made and consecrated by His Venerable are highly priced but, nonetheless, are well received by followers, believers, and collectors. Among the many sacred objects highly sought after is Kumarnthong Thep Phanom (Loon Lek) made and consecrated in Buddhist year 2517. Kumanthong Thep Phanom was made from108 types of powder mixed with gold leaves and consecrated through the invocation of ancient Lanna Thai rituals of Samanayakaya where the gloomy Rasri become bright with merit. Kumanthong Thep Phanom, as an angel, will perform the prestige by helping believers in various positive aspects. Unfortunately, owing to high effectiveness and demand, Kumarnthong Thep Phanom becomes one of the most imitated Kumanthong images after those made and consecrated by Luang Phor Teh.

Watthuk Mongkhun loon Sudthai Phra Mongkhon Wisut

His Venerable continued his virtuous endeavours right up to his final days. In Buddhist year 2551, His Venerable made and consecrated the last batch of sacred objects (Watthuk Mongkhun loon Sudthai Phra Mongkhon Wisut) to raise funds for Wat Choeng Wai, Pak Than Subdistrict, Bang Rachan District, Singburi Province for the construction of the Buddha Trai Rattanakosin (Luang Por To) image measuring lap width 20 meters and height 43 meters costing 20 million baht whilst the overall project inclusive of pillars, archways and et cetera amounted to another 5 million baht. The direct temple rental prices for Watthuk Mongkhun loon Sudthai Phra Mongkhon Wisut begins from 5,000 baht to 1 million baht. Some of these sacred objects are still available at Wat Tha Champi at old prices.

After serving the Sangha for 83 years, Kruba Duangdee entered parinibbāna at the age 104 years old on February 6, 2553. The former abbot of Wat Tha Champi, San Pa Tong District, Chiang Mai Province, was the longest-lived famous monk in Lanna Thai. The passing of His Venerable has caused rental prices for sacred objects made and consecrated by His Venerable skyrocketing. At the same time, it has also led to counterfeit products flooding the market.

Luang Pu Poot: Master of Snake Spirit

Luang Pu Im Inthachoto, the Great Grandmaster of Animism and teacher to Luang Phor Pern and Luang Phor Poot.

Somdej Phra Buddhakosachan Sunthonwutthikhun, popularly known as Luang Phor Poot Suntharo, former abbot of Wat Klang Bangplad, , and Phra Udom Prachanat Thitkunno, popularly known as Luang Phor Pern, the former abbot of Wat Khok Kham and Wat Bangplad, were two prominent guru monks of Nakhon Chai Si, Nakhon Pathom Province. They were both disciples of Great Grandmaster of Animism Luang Pu Im Inthachoto.

Luang Phor Pern presiding over a consecrating ceremony in Wat Noi Nanghong, Bangkok Noi.

Most Thai Buddhists are familiar with Luang Phor Pern’s tiger spell that earned His Venerable the title “Tiger Spirit Master” but in this article we will introduce you to Luang Phor Poot and His Venerable’s snake spell.

Luang Phor Poot, the Master of Snake Spirit spell.

Luang Phor Poot’s birth name was Poot, surname, Hansamai. He was born on November 9, 2453 in Bangplad Subdistrict, Nakhon Chai Si District, Nakhon Pathom Province. His father’s name was Kham and his mother’s name was Pan. He was the second child in a family of five siblings. From young, he was educated in Wat Bangplad.

Poot, as His Venerable was then known, was conscripted into the army at the age of twenty. He served as a Royal Guard for two years before returning to help in the family’s farm. He brought his years of Buddhist learning into socialization with villagers and helping them cultivate the ethics of a Buddhist community which gained their respect and trust. He was subsequently appointed “phuyai baan” or village head of Wat Lamu Subdistrict. He diligently served the villagers for five years before asking for his parents’ permission to enter monkhood.

On April 1, 2489, Poot cut himself off mundane life and entered the monastic life in Wat Bangplad. He was accepted by Luang Pu Im Inthachoto as disciple and was given the name Suntaro. Under the guidance and teaching of Luang Pu Im , Phra Suntharo excelled in Dhamma and in year 2491, His Venerable earned a double Masters in Dhamma. At the same time, His Venerable also mastered the art of magic, especially in animism, imparted by Luang Pu Im. Phra Suntharo felt an insufficiency in mere learning and mastering both Dhamma and magic. He saw the importance of exposure and practicing. Therefore, he took leave from Wat Bangplad and went on “tudong”. During that period of time, he also inherited the secrets to making and consecrating Kumanthong from Luang Pu Cham of Wat Takong and Luang Pu Noi of Wat Srisathong.

The standing Kumanthong made and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot in year 2532.

In the year 2495, the 5th abbot of Wat Klang Bangplad, a historical Ratanakosin temple built around 1783 during the reign of Rama I, passed over and the resident monks and villagers jointly invited Phra Poot Suntharo to assume the abbotship. Hence, on June 7, 2495 Phra Poot Suntharo was officially appointed the abbot of Wat Klang Bangplad and became known as Phra Ajahn Poot Suntharo, subsequently Somdej Phra Buddhakosachan Sunthonwutthikhun.

According to records from the Department of Religious Affairs, Ministry of Education, Wat Klang Bangplad was built around 1819 in lieu of 1783 on the site of the “drowning Buddha”. It was said that during the Burmese invasion around year 2300, a boat carrying a Buddha image, a bodhi tree, both courtiers and villagers from Chao Phraya River to Bangplad Canal capsized. The Buddha image “drowned” and the bodhi tree floated along the water from Bangplad Canal to Si Maha Pho Sub-district and grew there.  The location was between Wat Bangplad and Wat Si Maha Pho which served as the origin of the name Wat Klang Bangplad. Therefore, the ancient sites and relics that appeared in the temple are valuable historical artefacts which Luang Phor Poot paid special attention to their preservation and/or restoration.

Every weekend, hundreds and thousands of devotees flocked to Wat Klang Bangbplad to worship Luang Phor Somwang.

Inside Wat Klang Bangplad is a large Buddha statue decorated with mosaic tiles created and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot in year 2524. The Buddha is known to “startle the devil” which is analogous to subduing Mara. This large Buddha is called Luang Phor Yai. Inside Luang Phor Yai’s image sits 99 Buddha statues, size 9 inches lap-width.

The photograph extracted from khaosod showed Luang Phor Sri presiding over the ritual where devotees make offerings to Luang Phor Somwang after having their wishes fulfilled.

Since 2524, Luang Phor Yai has attracted hundreds and thousands of devotees annually. As their prayers are fulfilled they began calling Luang Phor Yai the fulfilling Buddha, that is, Luang Phor Somwang. Each time when a prayer is fulfilled, devotees will make offerings with eggs and pig’s head. Just look at the number of pig’s heads in the photograph will give you an indication of Luang Phor Somwang’s effectiveness.

This huge Phra Putta Gaona image was originally enshrined in Wat Klang Bangplad but is now being worshipped in Singapore.

Preservation, restoration, building and construction works as well as philanthropic endeavors are costly, hence, Luang Phor Poot had made and consecrated various sacred objects to raise fund.

This is a 5 inches lap-width image of Luang Phor Poot made and consecrated in the year 2528.

There were ten batches of coins and medallions of Luang Phor Poot himself made and consecrated between years 2505 to 2533 for various purposes. 

The first batch medallion of Luang Phor Poot 2505

There are various conventional sacred objects including images Phra Putta Gaona, Hanuman, Mae Nam Kua, Mae Bosok and et cetera made and consecrated by His Venerable beginning year 2505.

These are some of the various sacred objects originating from Wat Klang Bangplad.

However, the more expensive sacred objects created and consecrated by His Venerable are those of the exotic range. As mentioned earlier, both Luang Phor Poot and Luang Phor Pern shared the same lineage directly from Luang Pu Im, the Great Grandmaster of Animism; however, they each excelled quite differently in specialty. Luang Phor Pern of Wat Bangplad specialized in the Tiger Spirit spell whilst the expertise of Luang Phor Poot was in the Snake Spirit charm.

The most popular Naga temple in Bangkok is the one honoring Chao Mae Cong Ang along Rama II Road.

The belief in snake and Naga spell goes back to time immemorial and Thais believe worshippers will be bestowed with a better life destiny. In this article we will not be delving into Phaya Nagas specifically but for those who have visited Thailand, you may have already been aware of the many large serpent and Naga statues built across the country especially in temples and shrines. For examples, the large cobra statue in Khao Ngu Stone Park in Ratchaburi Province; the Chao Mae Cong Ang Shrine along Rama II Road in Bangkok; the Great Serpent Shrine in Saraburi Province and the numerous Nagas on temple roofs and stairways. In fact, this belief in Naga has been part of original Buddhism and now constitutes an important part of the Theravada ordination process. You may wish to refer to our earlier article on “Thai Theravada Ordination Ceremony” published on August 23, 2018.

Ngu Leum must be made from snake spurs with femurs intact and the snakes must not be intentionally killed.

There are not many guru masters who know the secrets of the Snake Spirit spell least using snake spurs to make and consecrate into amulets called Ngu Leum. Luang Phor Poot is among one of the few who specialized in this art. Snake spurs are rare because only certain species of snakes of age have them. Moreover, to turn them into sacred items those snakes must not be killed intentionally or otherwise. Furthermore, their spurs must be intact with the vestigial femur and come in a pair. Over decades, the number of snake spurs collected by Luang Phor Poot was limited which explained why the number of Ngu Leum made were scarce and, hence, expensive.

Rheesi Phuchong’s statue in the form of snakehead is rare and difficult to find.

According to Luang Phor Poot, the Ngu Leum made and consecrated by him are serpent spirits under the leadership of Rheesi Phuchong (Snakehead Rheesi) who also happens to be Lord Shiva’s serpent companion. This association is evidenced by the Palakit or lingam tied to the top of the femurs. It is believed that spirits, ghouls, and ghosts generally come under the command of Lord Shiva and Rheesi Phuchong. According to ancient text, snakes with spurs usually draw a territorial circle with them and anything that comes within that circle will be struck by a magical spell and becomes totally at the disposal of the snakes. Therefore, Ngu Leum has all the characteristics of snakes including great charm and attraction, mysticism and hypnotism. It brings about good luck, wealth, business and interpersonal relationship somewhat automatically. It is said that anyone possessing and worshipping Ngu Leum does not have to worry about food and basic necessities for survival and will prosperous progressively.

The chant for enhancing the effects of Ngu Leum is as follows:

Namo Tassa Pakawatoh Arahatoh Samma Samput Tassa X3

Om Mahanaka Najangu Majakang Pularuay Talalay Mani Mama X9

There are many snake-skin talismans available in the market, however, these talismans cannot be equated to the Takrut Phayangu created and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot in various ways. According to His Venerable, snake skin derived from snakes deliberately killed is useless. Therefore, talismans made from snake skin derived through the commercial chain serve no purpose other than decoration. In order to make effective talisman out of snake skin and summon snake spirits of all classes, the snake must die in a kundalini mediative posture (coiled) in a cave or in a temple. It is a sign of return to the Naga world and, hence, divine power. Yes, such occurrence is rare and difficult to come across. In its 200 over year’s history, it only occurred once in Wat Klang Bangplad. The other we witnessed was in Wat Tham Tapian Thong, Lopburi Province.

The fossilised Phayangu inside a bat cave in Wat Tham Tapian Thong, Lopburi Province.

The snake skin needs to go through 9 years of chanting representing a complete purifying cycle before the power of the four Naga families may be invoked. Luang Phor Poot then wrote the “Yant Phayana” on a copper plate that is subsequently rolled up together with a piece of the snake skin into what is called Takrut Phayangu.

The scales of Takrut Phayangu change color in accordance with the ongoing luck of the carrier.

It is a consolidation of immortal powers across three realms and, thus, possessing Takrut Phayangu means abundance, wealth, fortune, attraction, and most importantly, it guards and protects your horoscope. The scales on the snake skin changes from dull brown to yellow or sparkling gold which is an indicator of your ongoing luck.

The chants to enhance the effects of Takrut Phayangu are as follow:

Namo Tassa Pakawatoh Arahatoh Samma Samput Tassa X3

Natitang Phaya Ma Naga Apinang Naga Sathu Nophante Yama Yama X9

Namo Tassa Pakawatoh Arahatoh Samma Samput Tassa X3

Kaya Wacha Cittang Ahangwantha Nakathibodi SrisutthoWisuttheva Puchemi X3

Luang Pu Kong, the Great Grandmaster of Phaya Tor spell sitting on a huge statue of Phaya Tor in Wat Khae, Supanburi Province.

The belief of Phaya Tor or Wasp spirit is common and it forms part of the belief in nature spirits. There are many Thai temples making and consecrating Phaya Tor. They usually come in a pair. The popularity of Phaya Tor may be attributed to the legend of the Undefeated Warrior Khunpaen who turned tamarind leaves into wasps in Wat Khae, Supanburi Province.

Phaya Tor Ngen Tor Thong made and consecrated by Wat Khae.

The common purposes of Phaya Tor made and consecrated are for wealth and prosperity as suggested by the terms “ngen thong” which literally refers to money and wealth in Thai language.

The Phaya Tor carved from “mai takien” made and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot has the effect of stinging away backstabbers and villains.

However, the Phaya Tor amulet made and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot carries no such purposes. The Phaya Tor made and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot serves only one single objective, that is eliminating villains especially backstabbers. These amulets are made from “mai takien”, a kind of wood believed to possess magical power per se, therefore, the number of Phaya Tor amulets made and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot were also limited. However, due to high demand for the Phaya Tor amulet, the current abbot Phrakhru Sritulakorn, more commonly known as Luang Phor Sri, has remade and consecrated a new batch made from red wood which are far more economical compared to those made and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot.

Takrut Krasun is a limited and special edition of Luang Phor Poot’s Takruts. His Venerable personally hand-carved talismans on this amulet that is specifically meant to protect carriers from all types of danger and evil.

Both Luang Phor Pern and Luang Phor Poot are equally known for their “khong krapan” or “invincible” spell. Besides the wooden Phra Pidta made and consecrated in 2528, there is a batch of amulets, takruts, and talismans made and consecrated by Luang Phor Poot known as “loon pun kham” or the “cross guns print” that has underwent a very special “khong krapan” ritual almost unheard of in modern history.

This “loon pun kham” talisman has uniquely two cross guns and grenades under the image of Luang Phor Poot.

Real guns, ammunitions, and grenades were piled up in the Ubosoth where amulets, takruts, and talismans were then placed over those weapons during consecration ceremony. This batch of sacred objects was well received by the Thai people and many paranormal experiences were reported in major Thai newspapers.

The holy body of Luang Phor Poot is preserved in the temple and opened for public worship.

After serving the Sangha for 52 years, Luang Phor Poot entered nibbana in the morning of January 17, 2542 at the age of 88. The holy body of His Venerable remains in the temple and is opened for public worship. Many followers and believers also invited the image of His Venerable home for worship. It is believed that the image of His Venerable acts as a communication channel between Luang Phor Poot and his believers that is also, at the same time, capable of enhancing the effectiveness of sacred objects consecrated by His Venerable.

The following fulfilling chant is used for praying to Luang Phor Somwang and Luang Phor Poot:

Namo Tassa Pakawatoh Arahatoh Samma Samput Tassa X3

Kayena Wajaya Wajay Tassa Mahaysak Khaya

Tehwataya Apipalitang Etipatiharikan

Putta Machimaramay Samichit Tassa

Putta Patimang Puchemihang

Yaochiwanja Sukamiko Sukkhapatiya X3

Phra Buddha Dhammakaya Thepmongkhon replaces Phra Si Ariyamettrai as the tallest Buddha statue in Bangkok

The Kingdom of Thailand, a country known for its leadership in Theravada Buddhism, adds yet another gigantic Buddha statue to the array that spreads throughout the kingdom, the tallest being the 92-metres high Phra Buddha Maha Nawamin statue in Wat Muang, Ang Thong province.

Phra Buddha Maha Nawamin in Wat Muang, Wiset Chai Chan, Ang Thong province

Nonetheless, the newly constructed statue of Phra Buddha Dhammakaya Thepmongkhon will replaced the iconic 32-metres tall Buddha statue of Phra Si Ariyamettrai of Wat Intharawihan, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok as the tallest Buddha in the capital.

Phra Si Ariyamettrai of Wat Intharawihan, Bang Khun Phrom, Phra Nakhon, Bangkok

The Phra Buddha Dhammakaya Thepmongkhon statue is a meditation Buddha image seated on a lotus with a lap width of 40-meters and a height of 69-meters that is approximately equivalent to a 20-storey building overseeing the Chao Phaya River.

Phra Buddha Dhammakaya Thepmongkhon in Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen

The construction took place in one of Thailand’s prominent temple Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen which was built during the Ayutthaya period or around year 1610. The temple received royal patronage up-until late nineteenth century before falling into abandonment and destitute.  

Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro abbot of Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen 2459-2502

However, at the turn of the twentieth century, the Wat Paknam rose from the ashes with the appointment of Luang Pu Sodh Candasaro’s (Phra Mongkolthepmuni) as its abbot in 1916. The temple underwent major restructuring and innovation under the leadership of His Venerable. Luang Pu Sodh began preaching the Dharma on a regular basis and His Venerable also conducted meditation classes for both monks and laypeople. Subsequently, in the 1950s, Luang Pu Sodh also established an institute for Pali studies and schools for primary education.

Somdej Wat Paknam Loon Sam 2499

Apart from his dharmic nature, Luang Pu Sodh was also a top and highly respected guru monk within the inner path. He has made various amulets and among the more highly sought after are His Venerable’s personal medallions and Somdej Wat Paknam Loon Laek to Loon Sam. Consequently, the temple was expeditiously restored to its past glory housing hundreds of monks and became well-supported by the affluent community around Bangkok.

The body of Luang Pu Sodh is preserved in the golden coffin behind the large image of His Venerable.

After serving the Sangha for 53 years, Luang Pu Sodh entered parinibbana on February 3, 1959 at the age of 75. His body is still being preserved in the temple because of the large number of believers paying respect to His Venerable hitherto. Pursuant thereto, it also became a major tourist attraction for the temple. However, the years 1916 to 1959 marked the peak of Wat Paknam Phasi Charoen.

Work on the statue of Phra Buddha Dhammakaya Thepmongkhon commenced in 2017 and is projected to be completed this year. However, owing to the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic, the Phra Puttapisek ceremony will likely be deferred to a later date.

It was speculated that the statue of Phra Buddha Dhammakaya Thepmongkhon was built as an offering to the Triple Gems, that is, the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, as well as a homage to Luang Pu Sodh, In other words, the statue of  Phra Buddha Dhammakaya Thepmongkhon is representational of Buddhanusati, Dhammanusati, and Sanghanusati,

12 kilograms of pure gold is placed inside the Buddha statue according to the Lotus Sattha Bongkut

The 69-metre-tall Buddha statue made from copper and painted gold has a heart, according to the “Lotus Sattha Bongkut”, made of 12 kilograms of pure gold. The total cost for the construction was reported to be 500 million baht (approximately USD 15.4 million). The Buddha statue will be visible across the capital, especially on all raised train lines, and is expected to become a new tourist attraction once the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic is over.

Luang Phor Ngen, Wat Bangkhlang

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, Wat Bangkhlang, Bangkhlang district, Phitchit province

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,

1. Luang Phor Pit,Wat Khamang, Mueang Phitchit;

2. Luang Phor Noi,Wat Kongaram, Photharam District, Ratchaburi;

3. Luang Phor Pai, Wat Tha Luang Phon, Photharam District, Ratchaburi;

4. Luang Pu Phu, Wat Tha Lo,  Mueang Phichit District, Phichit;

5. Luang Pho Hom, Wat Luang, Mueang Ubon Ratchathani District, Ubon Ratchathani;

6. Luang Pho Nuan, Wat Hat Mun Krabue, Mueang Phichit District, Phichit;

7. Luang Phor Feung, Wat Paknam Phasi Cheroen, Phasi Cheroen, Bangkok;

8. Luang Phor Kham, Wat Pho Tia, Lan Krabue District, Kamphaeng Phet; and et cetera.

Prince Chumphon Khet Udomsak was the 28th child of King Chulalongkorn, Rama V

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!

In year 2552, a badly oxidized and corroded piece of LP Ngen 2466 was reported by MGR Online to have been transacted at 1.2 million 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.

This year it is reported by online news and lifestyle site that the recent transaction price of Luang Phor Ngen amulet of unknown condition has fetched 8 million baht in cash.

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.

Would you consider this piece of amulet claimed to be Luang Phor Ngen 2450-2460 for just 550 baht?

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

Pictures of LP Ngen 2515 extracted from collection books

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 Loon Phrathampitaka was made and consecrated under a joint effort between Wat Bangkhlang and Wat Sutthat

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.

There is also those that come in a set of two, an amulet and a pendant

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

Luang Phor Ngen Loon Chotibharamee 2537 was made specially to raise fund for the construction of the parish building and the Hall of King Rama V Hospital

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)

Temple committee claimed Luang Phor Preang foresaw his own time when he made this batch of his own amulet which made these amulets extremely effective.

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 

The first batch of Luang Phor Ngen made and consecrated by Luang Phor Sirlit took the human form of His Venerable.

This batch of Luang Phor Preang amulets made and consecrated by Luang Phor Sirlit the year when he assumed the position of abbot of Wat Bangkhlang.

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 model is made from seven element metal and resembles those originally made and consecrated by Luang Phor Ngen himself.

This batch reintroduced the original unrefined styles used during Luang Phor Ngen’s time.

This model is made from three element metal and resembles those made and consecrated by Luang Phor Preang.

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 

This batch of amulets was made and consecrated for the purpose of supporting education.

Year 2545 batch of Luang Phor Ngen Loon 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 

The largest statue of Luang Phor Ngen measuring lap width 10 meters and height 12 meters at Wat Tai Nam

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 is the high polished model of Loon Sang Vihan

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.

This is the unpolished model of the Loon Sang Vihan

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 

This batch was made and consecrated in the honor of His Majesty the King Bhumibol Adulyadej

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.

This is a Samlit amulet made from a mixture of three types of metal and has a “khring” inserted.

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.”

This version of Luang Phor Ngen statue resembles the largest Luang Phor Ngen statue in Wat Tai Nam.

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 

This nerwa amulet is mixed with old sacred materials left down by Luang Phor Ngen and casted in retro-style. It is one of the non-coded models.

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.

This tri-coloured amulet is casted with more precision to meet the high-tech contemporary style. Gold leaf left down by Luang Phor Ngen has been used for this model. It is also another of the non-coded models.

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.

This bronze amulet is mixed with various sacred ancient materials and it resembles the 2515 mould. It is called Phim Dintai and has talisman, year, and Thai numeral serial code imprinted under the base of the amulet.

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.

This silver amulet is called Phim Tampaka. It is one of the most beautiful among other models. It comes with talisman, year, and Arabic numerals serial code imprinted under its base.

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.

This is the red copper version mixed with an assortment of sacred ancient materials. It comes with talisman, year, and Arabic numerals serial code imprinted under its base.

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.

This is the yellow copper version mixed with an assortment of sacred ancient materials. It comes with talisman, year, and Arabic numerals serial code imprinted under its base.

The Charm

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

Say your prayers.

Master of Charm and Fortune: Luang Phor Somjit Sukkho

Luang Phor Somjit Sukkho Wat Noi Nanghong

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.

Luang Pu Yim Wat Chao Chet

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.

Luang Pu Chung of Wat Natangnok & Luang Pu Parn of Wat Bangnomkho

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.

Luang Phor Somjit performing ritual

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.

Rare piece of Phra Narai Petcherukhan made and consecrated by Luang Phor Somjit

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.

Rheesi Petcherukhan phim lek

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.

Our Association

Luang Phor Somjit and Master Tan

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.

The Master of Phaya Kai Pa Maharak Charm – Luang Pu Suang

Phaya Kai, Luang Pu Suang Wat Tham Phrom Sawat, Chong Sarika Subdistrict, Pattananikom District, Lopburi Province

The legend of Phaya Kai Pa may be traced back to Lord Buddha who used the parable of Phaya Kai Pa in depicting “Whoever does not know the things that happened suddenly … That person will fall into the power of villains and will suffer later. … As for whomever who knows exactly what happened suddenly … That person will be free from the persecution of the villains. “

Luang Pu Parn, Luang Pu Kuay, and Luang Pu Suang

In Thailand, Phaya Kai Pa has been used by many monks as a complimentary figure in many amulets especially Somdej and Khunpaen amulets. The most prominent is, of course, Somdej Tan Song Kai from Luang Pu Parn Wat Bang Nom Kho located in Bang Nom Kho Subdistrict, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya Province; and Phra Khunpaen Ki Kai from Luang Pu Kuay Wat Khositaram located in Bang Khut, Sankhaburi District, Chai Nat. However, the making and consecrating of Phaya Kai Pa as the main character is attributed solely to Luang Pu Suang Worasuttho or Phrakru Suthiwaraporn, Abbot of Wat Tham Phrom Sawat, Chong Sarika Subdistrict, Pattananikom District, Lopburi Province.

Luang Pu Suang: A Brief History

Luang Pu Suang Worasutho was born on Wednesday, February 14, 2476 in Raka Ban Noi Na Wan, Village 10, Tambon Phon Mueang Noi. Hua Taphan District, Ubon Ratchathani Province (currently Amnat Charoen Province). He was ordained at the age of 20 in year 2496 at Wat Sriburi Rattanaram, Pak Piao Subdistrict, Muang District, Saraburi Province. His Venerable learned and mastered the charm and magic of Phaya Kai Pa according to ancient texts and scriptures from Luang Phor Khaem of Wat Samphao Lom, Phra Nakhon Si Ayutthaya. He has also undergone intense training under the instruction of Luang Pu Du Phrompanyo of Wat Sakae. Thereafter, his Venerable traveled extensively, visiting and learning Phra Weth and charms from various senior guru monks including Luang Pu Parn of Wat Bang Nom Kho, Sena district, Ayutthaya Province; Luang Phor Niam of Wat Noi Sahathamik, Supanburi; and Luang Pu Toh of Wat Pradu Chim Phli, Wat Tha Phra Subdistrict, Bangkok Yai District, Krungtheap.

Luang Pu Suang Wat Tham Phrom Sawat, Chong Sarika Subdistrict, Pattananikom District, Lopburi Province

Finally, in year 2525, His Venerable finally traveled to and settled down in a cave in Lopburi Province. In that cave were skeletons of ancient people, the remains of elephants, horses, cattle and other animals. No one even dare to pass by after dusk but Luang Pu Suang took abode in it. A giant boa constrictor visited and slept with his Venerable every night. At first, the villagers were shocked but subsequently they began to have faith and began to visit Luang Pu Suang to make merit. The cave now forms part of Wat Tham Phrom Sawat.

Luang Pu Suang used the magical knowledge mastered and started building Wat Tham Phrom Sawat from scrap to completion. The main source of construction came from sacred objects made and consecrated by Luang Pu Suang and they include Buddha statue Phra Somdej Jakkapak, Rama V and Rama IX, Phra Yod, Khunpaen, and Phra Zhao Sure. However, the most popular is Phaya Kai Pa medals and lockets which brought in most funds for the construction and completion of Wat Tham Phrom Sawat.His Venerable entered nirvana on the afternoon of January 25, 2561 at the age of 84 after serving 60 years of monkhood.

Phaya Kai Pai

Phaya Kai Pa Locket

The Phaya Kai Pa charm has a few common characteristics amongst different guru masters including wealth, prosperity, having work and a successful career. Therefore, when it is used with a Buddha image as in the case of Somdej Tan Song Kai it usually contains the charms for good fortune, progress, promotion, and profitability whereas when it is used together with Khunpaen, it adds a streak of gaming luck to the aforementioned characteristics.

However, the Phaya Kai Pa stand alone statues and amulets created and consecrated by Luang Pu Suang have more things to offer. Statues of Phaya Kai are meant for home, office, and stores to bring wealth, fortune, and prosperity. Wearing amulets of the Phaya Kai Pa have similar properties. 

Phaya Kai Pa medal

However, when these statues and amulets are put at the four corners of a premise, Phaya Kai become guardians within the perimeters. Roosters pick on worms, centipedes, scorpions, geckos, anoles and et cetera which are all symbols of black magic and evil spells. Owing to some lineage connection, Luang Pu Suang revealed this piece of secret. His Venerable said: “Fowls are territorial and will defend a specific area where all activities take place. They do not leave their nests. Placing Phaya Kai Pa in the four corners specified an area of activities that they will defend. Evil spirits and ghosts are then prohibited.” Placement must be done at 5 in the morning with a specific charm.

Wat Khao Wong Phrachan

Somdej Toh 2521 Medal – Wat Khao Wong Phrachan


Somdej Toh 2521 – Wat Khao Wong Phrachan

This Somdej Phra Buddhachantoh Promarangsi amulet was made and consecrated by His Venerable Luang Pu Fa Phatachari of Wat Khao Wong Phrachan, Lopburi in year 2521. It depicts Ajahn Toh sitting on a three tier Chat Tat representing the Three Realms, the two ivory tusks representing protection and peace, and the Phat Yot representing the highest order of the Sangha. On the rear side of the amulet is a Chedi with radiance on top of Buddha’s footprint representing the light of Buddha’s footsteps. Overall, this amulet is for the purpose of protection and blessing from Ajahn Toh.

Not many foreigners have heard about Wat Khao Wong Phrachan because it was almost inaccessible to tourists three-to-four decades back because the temple is located 650 meters above sea level at the peak of the tallest mountain known to the locals as Khao Hanuman in Lopburi province. Not many tourists, both local and foreign, would hike their way up without some mental preparation. During those days, we have to trek and hike our way up the thickly forested mountain.

Phra Prang Chiang Saen

However, at present, the temple has been fully constructed with a large Buddha statue Phra Buddha Prang Chiang Saen in the middle of the mountain. The Buddha has a lap width 45 meters and height 75 meters. is It is the second largest Buddha image in Thailand after Luang Pho Yai, Wat Muang, Ang Thong province.

3790 steps stairway to Wat Khao Wong Phrachan

To make the temple more accessible to devotees and tourists, a 3790-steps stairway steeping 2165 feet up the mountain has been constructed. A further 180 steps stairway was also constructed to take visitors to the summit, i.e. approximately another 100 meters upwards where the statues of many Taoist Gods including Mae Kuan Yim and Phra Chao Khun Wu stand. Now the temple has became an attraction of Lopburi and is flooded by devotees and tourists.

Sacred Objects by Luang Pu Sanit

In our previous two articles about Luang Pu Sanit of Wat Lam Bua Loi we have explored the animalistic charms used in making and consecrating Phaya Jolakhe and Phaya Tao but in this article we endeavour to go beyond that. We will introduce you to how Luang Pu Sanit merged the 9 points of wisdom and the Triple Gems (Phra Buddha Khun Phra Dharma Khun Phra Sangkha Khun) with ancient magical charms in the making of sacred amulets that included Phaya Jolakhe and Phaya Tao.

9 Points of Wisdom

Many people know what Triple Gems are but may not understand what the 9 points of wisdom refer to. These 9 points of wisdom actually constitute the fundamentals of Thai Buddhism. Most of you who have been into Thai Buddhism for a while would have learned the chant of Itipiso but have you found the 9 rooms within the chant that contain the 9 wisdom? If you have, you can feel proud that you are really a Thai Buddhist to the core; if you have not, do not be daunted because we will briefly run you through the 9 rooms in this article. It is never too late to learn. Moreover, is it not that learning is part of Thai Buddhism? Just remember that in Thai Buddhism the growing of wisdom is infinite.

Pay attention to the phrases highlighted hereinafter, they are phrases that you find in the chant of Itipiso which you may not have fully comprehend or that you have yet to detect the true meanings thereof.

1. Arahant: Extinguished the fire of sufferings. This room is entirely fire proof.

2. Sammasamputtho: Gaining enlightenment. This room is used as a patriarchal to strengthen the glory.

3. Wichitjarat Sampanno: The ability to use means in a charitable way. This room uses the aspects of wealth and fortune.

4. Sukato: Practicing these virtues (aforementioned) well. This room is used to cover the three realms of air, land, and water.

5. Loka Vitu: Ability to see the world clearly. This room uses the state of water when entering the unknown and darkness.

6. Anutro Puriza Thammasathi: Learned and practiced well. Become knowledgeable and trained. This room uses the necromancy to communicate with spirits and ghosts.

7. Sattatha Devamanusa: Becoming a teacher of deities and humans. This room uses the method Metta Mahaniyom.

8. Puttho: The Enlightened and Awakened. This room uses chanting and prayers to avoid misfortune and pitfalls.

9. Phakawati: Being a blessed person. This room uses the Dharma in the way of preventing harm being done to us.

Consecration Ritual and Ceremony

The methods of incantation invoked by Luang Pu Sanit coincide with those of Luang Phor Somjit,Wat Noi Nanghong. Despite being gurus of the inner path, neither of them advocates extreme to both ends, that is neither extreme dharmic or extreme superstition. They followed the footsteps of Lord Buddha by adhering to the middle path which forms the crux of Thai Buddhism.

In Regalia, we cultivate the inner path but practice and advocate the middle path as instructed by our Ajahn, Luang Phor Somjit. This is to protect every disciple, follower, and believer. Extremism impairs the mental faculty, corrupts the heart, and destroys the soul. Thus, extremism has no place in Thai Buddhism and extremism is per se not Thai Buddhism.

Luang Pu Sanit adhered to strict ancient ritual and ceremony when consecrating sacred objects. Each consecration ceremony was long, cumbersome, and tedious. In each closure, the traditional ritual of Phutthaphisek was conducted with a full congregation of the Sangha summoned to perform the chanting of ItipisoThongchai 108 times. Therefore, these two chapters underscored the great incantation of Luang Pu Sanit’s sacred objects.

Phra Buddha Chinnaraj 2519

Phra Buddha Chinnaraj 2519

The Phra Buddha Chinnarat medal 2519 with both Phaya Jolakhe and Phaya Tao on the rear side of the medal is the most well known Buddha medal from Luang Pu Sanit. It represents success and invulnerability with great power against danger and evil spirits. Some of these medals were distributed to soldiers of Camp Chakrabongse, Prachinburi, during the war against Communist Camp promoters (PEO) in the Kingdom of Thailand. Only 5,000 medals were made and, hence, they have become rare and expensive.

Phra Buddha Chai Mongkhun Marawichai

Phra Buddha Chai Mongkhun Marawichai Loon Lek 2516

This is another popular Buddha amulet from Luang Pu Sanit. The Buddha sits cross-legged with His left hand resting on His lap and His right hand on His right knee with fingers pointing to the ground. This was the posture of Lord Buddha when He defeated the army of Mara Wasawadee, thus, signifying protection against all evil spirits. This is also the large Buddha image sitting in the Ubosot of Wat Lam Bua Loi. Luang Pu Sanit has on the Sao Har of year 2516 made and consecrated the first batch of Phra Buddha Chai Mongkhun medals which rear bore the image of His Venerable. This batch of medals was charmed with Khorng Krapan.

Phra Buddha Chai Mongkhun Marawichai Loon Sawng 2520

The second batch also took on the posture of Phra Buddha Chai Mongkhun Marawichai Chiang Saen style but with Phaya Jolakhe and Phaya Tao on the rear. They were made in year 2518 and which consecration ceremony was also commenced on Sao Har (the auspicious fifth Saturday) of that year and lasted two years before these medals were made available to the public. However, in lieu of charming them with Khorng Krapan, this time round Luang Pu Sanit invoked the charms of Phra Khring, Phaya Jolakhe and Phaya Tao. Therefore, this batch of Phra Buddha Chai Mongkhun Marawichai medals has the power to bring about good health, longevity, and protection against evil spirits.

Phra Buddha Chai Mongkhun Marawichai Loon Sam 2521

The third batch of Phra Buddha Chai Mongkhun Marawichai medals were made and consecrated in 2521. This batch has Phaya Tao in the form of talisman on the rear side of the medal. On the shell of Phaya Tao is the charm “Nasang Si Mo Sang Si Mo Si Monasang Monasang Monasang;” in the middle are the hearts of the five Buddhas, “Namo Phuttaya”, backed by the Phra Buddha Singhe and the recital “Buddhasangmi“, surrounded by sixteen Buddhas. They are designed specifically for good heath and warding away illness.

Luang Pu Sanit’s Medals

Luang Pu Sanit’s medal 2523

In Thai culture, it is believed that a special spiritual connection is built or a spiritual channel of communication is established between a believer and a guru master through worshiping a statue or wearing an amulet of the guru master.

Luang Pu Sanit’s medal 2542

The last batch of Luang Pu Sanit’s medals depicts His Venerable sitting on Phaya Tao and was released when his Venerable entered nirvana in 2542.

Thai Theravada Ordination Ceremony

Many owners of Thai Buddhist amulet shops claimed to have gone through proper monkhood in Thailand so as to assume proper knowledge of the Theravada traditions. I too am no exception. In this article, I will chronicle the process of my legal ordination in one of Thailand’s historical temple. I used the description “legal ordination” because the process of Thai Theravada Buddhist ordination ceremony (UPASAMPADA) is one which is regulated by The Sangha Act 2505 in line with the ancient order contained in the Buddhist Monastic Rule (VINAYA) laid down since the time of Lord Buddha. In contemporary Thailand, with the rise of tourism, many temples had unofficially lower the bar of ordination for foreigners. Nonetheless, any ceremony not performed according to the Buddhist Monastic Rule is invalid and the candidate is not a monk proper regardless of the temples’ altruistic motive. Therefore, a legal candidate must necessary be familiar with the ordination process. I will not reiterate the entire Buddhist Monastic Rule but suffice to share herein my personal experience.

I will split the Theravada Ordination Ceremony into two sections, namely, the Shaving of the Naga and the Entrance into Vinaya.

Shaving of the Naga

The ordination ceremony in Thailand is still conducted in the Pali language, the original Buddhist language, so as to maintain a certain degree of sacred and solemn formality. The ordination ceremony is not conducted in any other language. Honestly, this is a language not many people are versed in. So am I. Therefore, prior to my ordination, I had the script recited to me and had it recorded phonetically. The meanings thereto were also painstakingly explained to me. Once when I had memorized the script, I returned to the temple and requested to be ordained.

It was in the early morning on or about December 1, 2534, I was legally ordained as a monk in one of Thailand’s historical temple Wat Noi Nanghong, Bangyikhan District, Khet Bang Phlat, Krungthep Maha Nakhon 10700, Thailand. Wat Noi Nanghong was built more than two centuries ago during the Rattanakosin period by Luang Phor Pin Dhamma, a highly respected meditation master from Wat Daodoongsaram, Khon Kaen, Bang Yai, Bang Phlat, Krung Thong, Nakhon Si Thammarat 10700, Thailand. For more than two centuries, Wat Noi Nanghong has hitherto remained an important centre for Thai Buddhism and the current abbot Luang Phor Boonrod is one of the few Pali language specialists.

Wat Noi Nanghong

Wat Noi Nanghong

Wat Noi Nanghong

My ordination ceremony begins with blessing from my late father who initiated the shaving ritual conferring his approval of me entering the Vinaya. That was followed by the Naga ritual initiated by Maha Bard whereby the elder monk shaved my head, eyebrows, and anointed me with pure white water which represented cleanliness of my body and mind.

The Ritual of Shaving the Naga has its root back to the days of Lord Buddha where a serpent transformed himself into human form and was ordained as a monk but when his identity was discovered, Lord Buddha summoned for the Naga and told him that only human can be a monk. Lord Buddha bestowed on the Naga the Five Precepts so that he will attain human existence in his next life thereby allowing him to enter the Vinaya. At the same time, Lord Buddha declared that all future candidates for monkhood will go through the “Naga” ritual before being officially conferred the saffron.

The Naga was then dressed up in:

1. Long-sleeved white shirt

2. White apron

3. White sash

4. Naga belt.

5. White robe embroiled with gold

6. Necklace.

When the Naga ritual is completed, friends and well-wishers broke into fanatical fanfare with musical instruments and dances known to the Thais as temple fun.

My late father initiated the shaving ritual

Maha Bard performing the Ritual of Shaving the Naga

The Naga is dressed in white

Temple fun

In the process of the temple fun, which is actually a ritual informing spirits that that I was about to enter monkhood and they should rejoice and come forward to share and receive the merits. That was why I had to stop and make offerings to the spirits when I encircled the temple compound.

Praying to the spirits

After the proclamation of the upcoming ordination to the spirits, I was ordered to return to the “sala” or simply known as a sacred chamber to listen to a sermon delivered by my would-be teacher Luang Phor Somjit Sukkho. I was told by His Venerable that I will only be accepted as his disciple if I were successfully ordained as a full-fledged monk.

Entrance into Vinaya

Shortly after receiving blessings from His Venerable Luang Phor Somjit Sukkho, I was summoned to the “ubosot” or ordination hall before the congregation of monks assembled. I was stopped approximately twelve feet from the entrance of the ordination hall by two senior monks. That was whence the Ordination Ceremony officially began. As aforementioned, I am an illiterate in as long as Pali language is concerned and, hence, I anxiously and intently listened to the chant delivered by the two senior monks whilst waiting to deliver my answers to the questions asked。

With much anxiety, I finally let out a sigh of relief when I finally cleared the “antarayikadhamma” or the obstacles to entering the Order and was summoned to appear before the Sangha. The moment I stepped into the ordination hall, I received the saffron from my sponsor. The congregation of the Sangha was chaired by a heavyweight monk, Chao Khun Suthep (now known as Chao Khun Phrathep), the abbot of Wat Phra Pathom Chedi, Nakhon Pathom. Chao Khun Phrathep was my Upajjhaya or literally my Preceptor responsible for my good behavior and adherence to the 227 precepts throughout my monastic life. The ceremony continued. I knelt before the Sangha and place the robe down on my left so that I was able to present my Preceptor, Chao Khun Phrathep and two senior invigilators Luang Phor Supod (former abbot of Wat Noi Nanghong) and Luang Phor Boonrod (current abbot of Wat Noi Nanghong) with offerings. Thereafter, I chanted the request of Bhrampacha in Pali (a request to move forth with the ordination) thrice. My Preceptor then instructed me on meditation before delivering the forward and reverse orders. He subsequently place the “amsa” over my head and returned the rest of the bundle of saffron to me which I got changed into.

Officially entering the Vinaya

After I had changed into the saffron, I returned before the Sangha where I took refuge in Triple Gem and received the Ten Precepts. That was really a test of root memory whereby I had to chant in Pali beginning with “ukāsa vandāmi bhante, sabbaṃ aparādhaṃ khamatha me bhante…” followed by a series of to-and-fro chants between Luang Phor Supod, Luang Phor Boonrod and myself. After I successfully completed the undertaking of the Ten Precpts, I became a “nen”or novice.

Anjali Gesture asking for Nissaya

Next I received the alms bowl from my sponsor together with flowers, joss-sticks and candles. I returned to my Preceptor and placed the alms bowl down on my left whilst I presented him with the flowers, joss-sticks and candles.

Making offerings to Chao Khun Suthep

hen I clasped my hands in an “anjali” or a “wai” gesture and requested “Nissaya” through Pali chant. A series of to-and-fro chanting ensued. My Preceptor then told me my Pali name, Khantipalo and placed the alms bowl over my head whereby I carried on my left. I was then instructed to retire outside the assembly.

In just a short while, I was again summoned back to the assembly by the Karmavācācāriya and Anusāvanācāriya. That was when I requested for “upasampada” that was accepting the full 227 Precepts and officially became a full-fledged monk.

Officially accepting the full 227 precepts

After that I became known as Luang Phi Khantipalo. I was allowed to take a short break before my Preceptor instructed me on the Cattaro Nissaya and the four basic needs which anything exceeding thereof are luxury to be denounced. However, contrary to the monastic instruction, I received plenty of gifts and even money on that eventful day which I returned as offerings to all members of the Sangha present and money were in turn donated to temple fund. After-all, entering the Vinaya is all about letting go of worldly possession or was it not?

The entrance to the Vinaya has completed but another series of rituals were about to take place. The Ritual of Wai Kru took place on the night of that eventful day as I was officially accepted as a disciple of guru master Luang Phor Somjit Sukkho which set the journey for decades of learning and practicing of Thai mysticism…

Somdej Phra Buddhacharntoh (สมเด็จพระพุฒาจารย์โต)

Somdej Phra Buddhacharntoh

Life size statue of Somdej Toh in Wat Khao

Somdej Phra Buddhacharntoh, popularly known as “Ajahn Toh”, “Somdej Toh”, “Luang Pu Toh”, or “Somdej Wat Rahkang” is the most respected monk in the Kingdom of Thailand. His Venerable was the abbot of Wat Rahkang Kositaram Woramahaviharn for 20 years from the reigns of Rama IV to Rama V.


Somdej Phra Buddhacharntoh was the most prominent guru master who was versed in the art of supernatural, especially metta mahaniyom. He has made and consecrated many powerful Phra Somdej amulets of which formed one of the five most sacred amulets known as Phra Baenjakphraki in Thailand. These Phra Somdej amulets have a current market value of millions of Baht. It is believed owning one of these sacred amulets ensures one’s prosperity and success. Somdej Phra Buddhacharntoh has also constructed many large Buddha images during his life time. The most prominent being the standing Buddha image in Wat Indaravihan located in Bang Khun Phrom, Bangkok. His Venerable is highly respected by both the royal families and the commoners from the days when he was still alive until hitherto.


A Brief History


Somdej Phra HBuddhacharntoh was born in April 17, 2331 in Baan Ta Luang, Ampur Ta Reur, Chanwat Si Ayutthaya during the reign of Rama I, just 7 years after the establishment of Rattanakosin. There are many versions of saying about the birth of Somdej Phra Buddhacharntoh. However, none is able to conclusively establish who his parents were. What may be deduced from all those references is that Somdej Phra Buddhacharntoh was a native of Ayutthaya and was possibly of royal linage.  


Somdej Phra Buddhacharntoh was first ordained as Samak Nen Toh in 2343 and subsequently ordained as Phra Phisuk Toh in the year 2350 at Wat Prasi Rattana Sasanaram. His preceptor was Somdej Arayuthwongsaya Somdej Phra Sangkarak. He excelled in both the scriptures and magical practices and became highly respected.


During the reign of Rama III, His Majesty conferred the title of Somdej on Phra Phisuk Toh. However, Phra Phisuk Toh refused to accept the honor. He instead travelled the kingdom on foot and built various Buddha images such as Phra Put Saiyak in Wat Satheur, tamboon Tak Luang, chanwat Si Ayutthaya, Luang Phor Toh in Wat Kiat Chayeo, chanwat Angthong and et cetera. All these required huge amount of capital of which Phra Phisuk Toh raised through rituals and miracles.


Somdej Wat Rahkang


Again during the reign of Rama IV, His Majesty favored making Phra Phisuk Toh the first Phra Ratansamanasak. In the year 2395, Phra Phisuk was made the abbot of Wat Rahkang Khositaram Woramahavihan at the age of 65. However, Phra Phisuk again refused to accept the title conferred by King Mongkut until 2397. Then in 2407, he was conferred the title of Phra Theapkui and became known as Somdej Phra Buddhacharntoh Promarangsi.


During his tenure as abbot of Wat Rahkang Khositaram Woramahavihan, both Wat Mai Amatarot and Wat Indaravihan came under his purview and influence. Buddha images and amulets were made for these temples by His Venerable.


The Awakening of Somdej Toh


Phra Sri Ariya Emtatri


In the year 2410, Somdej Phra Buddhacharntoh embarked on his last sacred construction, the image of Luang Pu Toh or Phra Yern, officially known as Phra Sri Ariya Emtatri, in Wat Indaravihan, also known as Wat Bang Khun Phrom. However, he entered into parinibbana in Wat Bang Khum Phrom on June 22, 2415 when the image was only built up to its navel level. He was then age 84.


After his awakening, his teachings remained alive. The first image of Somdej Phra Buddhacharntoh was built and housed in Wat Kiat Chayeo in 2444 during the reign of Rama V. Shortly thereafter, another image measuring 40.2 centimeter was built and honored in Wat Indaravihan and another in the meditating posture measuring 48 centimeters was enshrined in Wat Rahkang Khositaram Woramahavihan.As of today, more than a century after his awakening, his followers and believers has transcended beyond the Kingdom of Thailand.


Amulets of Somdej Toh

The amulets made by Somdej Phra Buddhacharntoh, whether under Wat Rahkang, Wat Indaravihan, Wat Mai Amatarot, or Wat Kiat Chayeo equally remained expensive and highly sought after. However, because each of these amulets has a market value over millions of Baht, not many people can afford them. Even those made and consecrated by his successors are equally expensive and highly sought after. Consequently, replicas and imitations flooded the market and it would be wise to seek authentication from the respective temple if you are about to pay a hefty price for an amulet.

Somdej Phra Buddhacharntoh Mini statue of Somdej Toh

Besides the Phra Somdej amulets, the images of Somdej Toh from Wat Rahkang, Wat Indaravihan, Wat Mai Amatarot, and Wat Kiat Chayeo are also very precious and loved. They range from a few hundred to a few thousand Singapore dollars. It is believed that anyone offering and/or wearing the images of Somdej Toh is blessed with intelligence and protection. This has made the image of Somdej Toh very popular with executives and students.