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A man can live on without wealth but he cannot survive without wisdom.
Today most people have heard of Wat Raikhing, the most prominent temple in Nakhom Pathom province. The temple was built in 2334 by the then abbot of Wat Sala Poon Woravihan Somdej Phra Buddhacharn Poot near the Nakhon Chaisri River in Tambon Raikhing, a village in Amphur Samphran, Changwat Nakhon Pathom during the reign of His Majesty the King Chulalongkorn or Rama V. Wat Raikhing is also known as Wat Mongkhun Chinda Ram Raikhing. On July 10, 2533, Wat Raikhing was officially upgraded from a common monastery to the status of Royal Monastery.
Annual Wat Raikhing Festival
Annually, during the Chinese Lunar New Year, thousands of faithful Buddhists flood to Wat Raikhing to worship Luang Phor Wat Raikhing, the golden Buddha image in the posture of Maravijaya that signifies victory over Mara. The atmosphere is festival with a host of entertainments. It is believed that worshipping Luang Phor Raikhing helps believers to be victorious. Then again, in the fifth month of the lunar calendar, there are yet another series of celebrations, collectively known as Wat Raikhing Festival, which begins on the 13th day of the waxing moon and ends on the 4th day of the waning moon.
A Brief History of Luang Phor Wat Raikhing
The golden Buddha image of Luang Phor Wat Raikhing measures 4 feet 2 inches in lap width and 4 feet 16 inches in height. The Buddha sits on a 5 level grandly decorated concrete base and faces north in the direction of Udon Thani. The origin of Luang Phoe Raikhing is not conclusively documented. However, it has been determined that the craftsmanship of the Buddha image resembles that of the Chiang Saen (Lanna) period. According to legend, the golden Buddha image was found drifting in the Chao Praya River close to Ayutthaya, and was retrieved by villagers who brought it to the Wat Sala Poon. It was subsequently relocated to and enshrined in the newly constructed Wat Raikhing in Nakhon Pathom.
Somdej Phra Buddhacharn Poot named that temple Wat Raikhing after the district it was located. However, Prince Vachirayan Varoros gave the temple the official name Wat Mongkhun Chinda Ram Raikhing. Nonetheless, most people continued calling it Wat Raikhing until this day and its official name is seldom used or even known. The villagers also addressed the golden Buddha as Luang Phor Wat Raikhing or simply as Luang Phor Raikhing.
Once the construction of Wat Raikhing was completed, thousands of huge sawai fish began appearing in the river behind Wat Raikhing. The image of the golden Buddha was then sailed downstream from Wat Sala Poon in Ayutthaya to Wat Raikhing in Nakhon Pathom on a bamboo raft. It was said that the arrival of Luang Phor Raikhing changed the weather in Nakhon Pathom from a burning heat to a cooling pleasure that was interpreted as an auspicious sign of prosperity. True enough, the village began to prosper and the villagers devoutly made frequent homage to Luang Phor Raikhing. Hitherto, those huge sawai fish still exist in huge numbers in the river flowing through the Mae Nam Tha Chin behind the temple and it has since become customary for worshippers to feed the fish with bread after praying to Luang Phor Raikhing.
Amulets consecrated by Luang Phor Panya
It is believed that Luang Phor Raikhing bestows devotees with success, affluence, and good health. Annually, thousands and thousands of devotees from all over the world travel to Nakhom Pathom specifically to worship Luang Phor Raikhing. Most believers would also enshrine a holy image of Luang Phor Raikhing at home and the more devout would even wear an amulet of Luang Phor Raikhing.
Luang Phor Panya, or Phra Ubali Khunupamajarn, the greatly respected abbot of Wat Raikhing, who was awakened at the age of 84 in Februabry 14, 2008, has over the years made various images and amulets of Luang Phor Raikhing. Each of these images and amulets were consecrated through traditional Thai incantation and they are quite pricey. However, despite the costliness these sacred items their demands are ever escalating.
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
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.
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.
Phra Chao Khunpaen – the Current Hit with Believers
According to reports in Thailand, the hottest and highly sort after amulets now can be nothing but the Khun Paen amulets.
Khun Paen is amongst one of the most revered legendary warrior from Supanburi Province. He is depicted as a handsome and charming man who is not only skillful in the art of war but is also versed in magical practices.
Movies such as “Khun Paen – Legend of the Warlord” and “Khun Chang Khun Paen” were made and both have added to the popularity of the legendary hero.
Many temples also made amulets of Khun Paen. It is believed that, amongst other things, Khun Paen brings about attraction, charisma, gaming luck, prosperity and protection to believers. The official temple which houses the votive tablet of Khun Paen is Wat Bangkrang, Supanburi Province.
Therefore, the Khunpaen amulets that originated from Wat Bangkrang are the most expensive and sought after. It is said that those amulets are made from the soil from Khun Paen’s house which Khun Paen has set foot on. That gives those amulets special power. (The current relics of Khun Paen’s house in housed in Wat Palelai, Supanburi Province). Those amulets are limited and extremely precious. It is understood that some of these amulets command prices as high as few million bahts.
According to Luang Phor Suwithorn, the temple had released these old amulets at market prices to raise funds for conservation and refurbishment of the temple. His Venerable is appreciative to well-wishers who had donated huge sum of money to aid these projects. At the present moment, construction works are still ongoing at Wat Bangkrang.
Because of their collectible values, many replicas are introduced by merchants. They are widely available in the amulet market (Thatpachan) opposite Wat Mahathat and elsewhere from a few bahts to a few hundred bahts. Most of these replicas are also openly available through the Internet.
There are also other popular Khun Paen amulets made and consecrated by renown guru-monks including Luang Pu Tim of Wat Lanhanrai, Luang Pu Pae of Wat Pitkulthong, Luang Pu Pirn of Wat Bangplaad, Luang Phor Somjit of Wat Noi Nanghong, Luang Phor Chern of Wat Tayin and et cetera which range from a few hundred to a few thousand Singapore dollars.
There are, of course, a wide range of cheaper and more affordable Khun Paen amulets from various temples. Some of these Khun Paen amulets are even nonconventional and erotica. Most could be bought for less than fifty Singapore dollars.
Kumanthong is known to bring wealth and prosperity
According to a currently prominent and popular Guru Monk Arjahn Jet (Phrakhru Sujittaporn) of Wat Noak, who is also versed in the skill of making and blessing Kumanthongs, people who honor and pray to Kumanthongs as if they were ghosts induce bad Karma as it is neither the teaching nor advocacy of the temples. It is the evil inner-self within a person that encouraged him or her to crave keeping a ghost that is thought to be capable of fulfilling whims that is not catered for under Buddhism. According to another Guru Monk Luang Phor Ruay (Phrakhru Sangkarak Phra Wichet) of Wat Kau Phrachuntheap, Kumanthongs made and blessed in a temple are referred to as Kumantheap whereby “juvenile” deities would peregrinate the images to bless and protect believers. Although these young deities may establish closer contact with humans and make their presence felt, they are nevertheless not ghosts or pee. Therefore, the classification or coining of Kumanthongs as ghosts reveals a pathetically high level of ignorance or malice and believers should avoid being drawn into such falsehood and
“Listen, think, and digest before believing. The bottom line is still Buddha’s teaching,” says Master Tan. “Any form of advocacy contrary to the Great Lord’s teaching cannot form part of a Buddhist practice least to be a Buddhist culture.”
In our next updates we will bring you about the transformation and/or innovation of religions in our contemporary society. Is it Good or Bad or simply No Choice? So stay with us and find out more!
Kumanthong – Knowing the Truth
“…people who honor and pray to Kumanthongs as if they were ghosts induce bad Karma as it is neither the teaching nor advocacy of the temples,” says Phrakhru Sujittaporn of Wat Noak
Wonders Evolving from Thai Buddhism
Thai Buddhism is known for its aptitude in creating sacred and holy items capable of bringing wealth, prosperity, charisma, avoiding danger and evil, and more than often, Guru Monks are able to perform such miracles that their spiritual powers are directly felt by believers honoring images and/or wearing amulets blessed by them. This inevitably leads to much folklore and stories of which are more than often cooked-up by parties with a vested interest. Take Luang Phor Tae of Wat Sangam for example; he is known for the making and blessing of Kumanthongs to the extent that even decades after his reaching Nirvana he is still revered as the Grandmaster of the said field. Many tales flowed therefrom and many were eventually tainted with untruths of which surprisingly, found favor and gained roots with the less learned believers.
Fallacies of the story about Luang Phor Tae and the Making of Kumanthongs
One interesting tales concerning Luang Phor Tae and his unique skills in the making and blessing of Kumanthongs is that it was alleged that the revered master would collect soil from seven different cemeteries and mould it into figurines of young boys whereby he would then chant and invite the spirits into those figurines to help believers in gaining wealth and prosperity. These figurines are called Kumanthongs and are individually named. It was further alleged that honoring Kumanthongs blessed by Luang Phor Tae, the believers would have to treat them as their own children by providing for their meals and in return these Kumanthongs will guard the believers’ houses, punish intruders, and bring wealth and prosperity. However, if the believers for any reason forgot to make offerings, they will usurp the harmony of the house and create such obstacles for the believers.
Identifying and Uncovering the Untruths
Analyzing the story closely would allow you to identify such fallacies that run contrary to Buddhism as a whole of which Luang Phor Tae serves honorably. Firstly, utilizing soil from seven cemeteries has no significance in Thai Buddhism but rather it exhibits certain relationships towards Chinese ghost movies in lieu. Secondly, manipulating the spirit of the deceased is contrary to the basic principles of reincarnation of which is intrinsic to Buddhism. Thirdly, any sacred elements blessed by Guru Monks observing 227 precepts is meant to help believers and would not do harm to people. And last but not least, such stories only set roots in Singapore, Malaysia, and Hongkong but not in Thailand whereby any such act is viewed as un-Buddhist and therefore strongly deplored and abhorred.
The Thai Sangha Council defrocked a novice named Nen Ae or Harn Raksajlit in 1995 for roasting the corpse of a baby and paving way for his arrest and incarceration. More recently, the Royal Thai Police has arrested and charged several foreigners for the possession of human remains. These actions from both the Thai Sangha Council and the Royal Thai Police are self-explanatory of Thai value with regards such the handling of infant human remains.
Why is it that many people are speculating and even advocating such misconception and falsehood? This is a topic that calls for more in-depth analysis in which we will cover in our upcoming article on “Religions Transformation and Innovation”.
There has been much talk about Luang Phor Pinak of Wat Sanamlao, Saraburi Province, as of recent. There are so many versions of saying pertaining to his star amulets and other sacred objects. Many people have claimed that they were made of nuns’ or some women’s private parts (yoni). This has gotten as many people intrigued and as many disturbed or annoyed.
Many people thought it was unethical or even un-Buddhist for a monk to do such things. This has led to many speculations about the antics of Luang Phor Pinak which are very damaging to a monk’s integrity. Nevertheless, how true are these damaging speculations? This is what the current abbot of Wat Sanamlao, Phrakru Arkchakit Sopoon, has to say.
According to Phrakru Arkchakit Sopoon those speculations were half-truths and fabricated for commercial purposes. His Venerable revealed that Luang Phor Pinak indeed had on two occasions made amulets (but not the star amulets) from the organs of two deceased female followers. The actual reasons leading to the ritual were not truly available. Nevertheless, Phrakru Arkchakit Sopoon admitted that such rituals are within the boundary of black magic and Luang Phor Pinak had only performed them twice in his life time for specific purposes. All amulets made on those two occasions were returned to the respective family members of the two deceased women. Neither Luang Phor Pinak nor the temple had kept any of them.
Then what about the current series of star amulets? These amulets are made purely from earth. There are no human organs involved because those star amulets are representations of devas as in Taoism. They are representation of righteousness, especially the series with which there is a crescent at the side of the star. It is called Bao Boon Chim – that is Justice Bao of the Song Dynasty who also happens to be the Yamara of the fifth chamber of hell according to Chinese belief.
Contrary to general speculations, the amulets made by Luang Phor Pinak basically represent righteousness, like an eye from heaven (Duang Dtaa) watching over you. If only you are compassionate, honest and faithful then you will receive the blessings from those sacred objects as well as from Luang Phor Pinak. They will brighten up your horoscope (Dao).
In the temple, the remaining of the sacred amulets made and consecrated by Luang Phor Pinak barely occupies a 3 x 2 feet showcase. Therefore, Phrakru Arkchakit had warned that there are loads of fake items in the market which are claimed to be made by Luang Phor Pinak ranging from stars (Dao), eyes (Duang Dtaa), woman’s private parts (yoni), palakit, and et cetera. His Venerable has kept a stack of photographs of these fake items as well as many physical objects in the temple for references. Most of these are readily available from the amulet markets in both Bangkok and Hatyai.
Luang Phor Khantidjitto or more commonly known as Arjahn Somjit Sukho is the most revered and respected Master of Charm and Fortune there ever was. 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 financial desperadoes 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 United Kingdom of Thailand to Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Taiwan, 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
Ajahn Somjit was born in Ayutthaya and has since childhood took a strong interest in Buddhist studies, taking special interest in spirituality. He has a benevolent character and loved helping people, especially those poor and sick. From young, he showed great respect for monk observing the Sivali precept and would make offerings to these monks and listen to their Dharma. Therefore, at the age of twenty-three, he finally entered monkhood at Wat Chaojit and assumed the name of Phra Kantidjitto.
After building a good foundation in Buddhism, Phra Khantidjitto left Wat Chaojit for Wat Nak-tang Nai and came under the mentorship of the well known guru master Luang Poo Chung. His intelligence and kind character won the approval and trust of Luang Poo Chung who eventually officially accepted him as his disciple. Luang Poo Chung imparted his knowledge and skills unreservedly to Phra Khantidjitto who mastered and practiced well. Luang Poo Chung was very pleased with the progress of his disciple and saw in him great potential of bringing the spiritual studies and skills of Thai Buddhism to a new height. One night, he summoned Phra Khantidjitto to his kutip and instructed his disciple to leave the temple for the jungle in the north.
Phra Khantidjitto obeyed and carried out his mentor’s instruction without hesitation and headed for the jungle. Initially, he felt uneasy and was extremely wary of animals and reptiles in the wild. However, whenever he felt the chill gnawing his heart, he would begin chanting as well as meditation. His intelligence and wisdom grew by the day and within a short period he felt at peace, realizing fear is but an illusion and he was therefore able to merge himself with nature. He headed deeper into the jungle until he met the spiritual guru master Luang Poo Wai who had then spent sixty years in the jungle. Phra Khantidjitto spent six years learning from Luang Poo Wai in the jungle. By the time he left Luang Poo Wai, Phra Khantidjitto was not only a great master in spiritual powers but he also had his heavenly eyes opened whereby he was able to see the past, present, and the future.
Phra Khantidjitto was only thirty-two years old when he left the jungle. He headed for Krungtheap by bare feet, observing the Sivali precepts. Along his way, he visited numerous temples and exchanged his learning with many well known abbots before he finally settled down in Wat Rahkang in Bangkhunpom district. He became known as Ajahn Somjit as he taught in the temple. After two years, he voluntarily moved to Wat Noi Nanghong which was then only a small wooden temple at Bangyikang and helped built it into a huge and prominent temple as it is today.
In the course of helping to build Wat Noi Nanghong, Ajahn Somjit began performing rituals and conducting ceremonies for believers and at the same time he had also make various holy images and amulets that help believers in their charisma, fortune, career, and family. Amongst his more prominent works are: Petcherukhan, Ying-tong, Bpatit, Somdej leknampit, Somdej ner-wan, Somdej Sam-heng, Somdej Heng-talot, Khunpan leknampit, Khunpan pim-lek, Kumanthong, Sekti-Sivali-Nana-thong, Pidta, and many more.
Master Tan was officially ordained in Wat Noi Nanghong by ChaoKhun Pratheap of Wat Pathom Chedi and was accepted as a formal disciple by Luang Phor Somjit. Master Tan learned and practiced under His Venerable guidance for many years and remains, hitherto, affiliated to the various temples in the linage. Therefore, we are committed to our mission, values and culture and incremental thereof, we make available to you only the genuine ones originating from the respective temples.