Tuesday, 28 February 2012

LUANG PHOR THUAD - AN AUTOBIOGRAPHY

LUANG PHOR THUAD
NAMO TASSA BHAGAVATO ARAHATO SAMMA SAM BUDDHASA (3 TIMES)

NAMO BODHI SATO AH KAN TI MAYA ITI BHAGAVA (3 TIMES)

Wat Chianghai is located at Koppo District, Pattani, Thailand. Accordingly to recorded history, it was built more than 300 years ago. This was the site where the legendary Luang Phor Thuad has stayed for most of his life whilst ordained as a bhikkhu.

In the year 1963, the abbot of Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram, Penang, Malaysia (Phor Than Daeng) invited the learned and scholarly monks to officiate the opening of the holy statue of Luang Phor Thuad. It was 24th April, 1963 and approximately at about 6pm Luang Phor Thuad suddenly revealed his presence by entering the body of a young monk. The people around were very shocked to see the young monk in a trance and was possessed by the spirit of Luang Phor Thuad.

Out of curiosity, one of the devotees enquired about his life. Luang Phor spoke through the young monk and said that he was born in Singora, Thailand. His ancestors had migrated from Hokkien Province to Thailand many centuries ago when China was in chaos and famine.Both his parents was also born in Singora.  His parents were very poor but were staunched Buddhists. They stayed in the hut near Wat Khokosan, an old temple. They worked as farmers for the wealth land owners. Luang Phor Thuad was born when his parents had passed their 40s.

When he was less than 6 months old, he was left in a towel under the shady tree near the padi field whilst his parents was working. At noon, she stopped work to breast him, as she walked towards the baby, she saw a huge cobra curled around the baby. She shouted for help. The neighbours heard her cries and quickly gathered around and armed with knives, machetes and sticks. The cobra was stern and motionless, the villagers around did not what to do. Despite the big crowd, the cobra remained calm. His mother noticed that the cobra did not look ferocious but appeared to be guarding the baby instead and shading off the sunlight from the baby's face.No one dared to attack or to make the first strike. His mother had an intuition (that this cobra could not be an ordinary snake but a spiritual deity); she hurriedly plucked 7 wild flowers of different colours, put them on a leaf which served as a plate, she knelt down, closed her eyes and prayed earnestly. With eyes closed, she prayed: "If the cobra has the divinity, please give way and allow the mother to feed her baby".

Cobra's Gem

 After the prayer, the cobra suddenly protruded its tongue as though it was about to throw out.  The people around got very worried and hysteria and thought that the snake will harm the baby, however,the cobra spat out a precious gem on the baby's chest and left. It was a brilliant gem that sparkled even in the dark. His mother then kept the gem and brought it home.  The news of the miraculous incident quickly spread across the village.When the wealthy employer of the couple offered a very high price for the gem but his mother did not has the slightest thought to sell. The rich man nagged  and pestered her continuously  and he reminded the couple that he has helped the couple financially in the past,so she reluctantly decided to part with it.. The employer was delighted for sometime but was short lived, within 3 days, all members in his family fell sick and many unpleasant incidences had happened to him and his family.  He then consulted a medium,he was told that he had kept something which did not rightly belonged to him. The employer got worried and returned the gem to the baby's mother. Strange enough, soon after returning the gem, members of his family recovered from their sickness. Within 3 months, money poured in like water, his parents became very rich. The neighbours in the same village were then jealous of their new wealth and they decided to steal the gem. On a dark and windy night, he slipped into the couple's house and found the gem located on the altar at the main hall. The couple had enshrined the gem on the altar and offered prayers daily. When he spotted the gem, the thief's greed arose,he took the gem and pocketed it as his won. The cobra came back to the village and  looked for the thief when he was found, the cobra  opening its big mouth and emitting raging fire and pounded towards him,the thief made a dashing aimlessly , as he ran in the state of panic, he did not realised that  the gem inside his pocket had dropped off.  After sometime, a deity revealed the whereabouts of the gem to his parents in their dreams, thus the gem was re-discovered. Upon finding the gem, his mother was touched that she started to cry, the couple was convinced that the gem must have been protecting their family all these while. After the incident, the couple made a vow that they would contribute all their excessive wealth to charity for the benefit of the Sangha (community of monks) and the poor and became more devoted to the teachings of the Buddha  and donated to the building and construction of monasteries and temples.

King Cobra

Luang Phor Thuad was ordained as a novice (samenera) at the age of 5 and was known a Sammanaen Pu. As his teachers found out that he was gifted in Buddhism, he was sent to other temples over the hills and across the jungle to further his teachings in Buddhism. At the age of 20, he was ordained as a full monk at Wat Saemamuang at Nakorn Si Thammarat and was name as Phra Samiramo. His preceptor was Phra Maha Thaerathasri. After approximately 3 years of intense studying the sciptures, he achieved a high  level in his studies, he felt homesick and decided to return home.

When he reached home, his father passed away at the age of 72. After his father's funeral, Samiramo settled down the dwelling for his mother and then bid farewell to her and said: "What I know of the scripture is very limited. I need to go to the capital city of Ayutthaya to enter the Buddhist University to further advance and enhance my studies"
Ancient Ayutthaya

In the ancient times, there were no proper roads for those who need to travel to another district; they have to take a boat ride when they travelled. Samiramo has to travel by boat to Ayutthaya, after the boat has travelled for 4 days and 3 nights and about to reach the shore of Chumphon, it encountered a rough thunderstorm and the boat was rocking back and forth violently.
Boat wrecked on the way to Ayutthaya

After enduring the fierce storm for 4 days and 3 nights, it finally calmed down and the passengers were out of danger. However, by then the food and drinking water on the boat was finished. The boat owner was worried and was discussing with his attendants on what should be the next course. In the course of discussion, one of the attendants mentioned that there was a monk (Luang Phor Thuad) in the boat, most of them thought that previously the sailing had been smooth all along but this time they had a monk on board and encountered a fierce storm. They concluded that the monk had brought with him ill fortune on the boat.

The boat owner issued an order to expel the monk and arranged for another smaller boat for Luang Phor Thuad to leave. Hence Luang Phor Thuad had no alternative but to leave the boat, but before stepping out, he said: "The disaster is the will of heaven and it is not your own doing. All the drinking water in the boat has been consumed but do not worry as there is still alot of clean water under the boat. It cannot be fully consumed".

When the passengers in the boat heard what Luang Phor Thuad had said, they were doubtful and suspicious, at the same time their anger arose and thought Luang Phor Thuad was mad and was lying to them. All the surrounding was sea water, where could they get clean water to drink? The boat owner was furious upon hearing and instructed his attendants to send Luang Phor Thuad away. When Luang Phor Thuad descended onto the smaller boat, he stood still for a  while before raising one foot and placed it into the sea. Simultaneously, a ring of white light emerged on the water just below his foot.



Luang Phor Thuad requested one of the boat attendants to scoop some water with his hand and taste it. After tasting it, he found the  water to be clean and fresh and he requested rest of the others to taste the water as well. Even the boat owner personally tasted it, he even suspected that the boat has sailed into the clear water bay, he then went to the front of the boat and scooped a cup of the sea water from there.
"Wow! The water are so salty, terribly salty!!". The boat exclaimed as he spitted out all the sea water from his mouth. Everybody laughed at the sight. After which the attendants filled up all their containers with the water below  the foot of Luang Phor Thuad for later use.

After the miraculous incident, the people on the boat no longer regarded Luang Phor Thuad as an ill fortune monk but instead gave him a warm welcome aboard the boat again. When Luang Phor Thuad was well seated, the boat owner and the attendants knelt before Luang Phor Thuad to seek forgiveness and expressed their repentance. Luang Phor Thuad smiled and conferred his blessings one each one of them. Thereafter, the boat sailed smoothly and reached Ayutthaya.

Upon arrival at Ayutthaya, Luang Phor Thuad walked about 3 miles before he came to a majestic temple, he thought that he could spend a night at that temple. He approached the chief monk of that temple, when the chief monk some Luang Phor Thuad in tattered robes with patches all over it, he told him that the rooms in the temple were occupied and hence not able to offer Luang Phor Thuad the accommodation.

With not much choice, Luang Phor Thuad has to look for another temple to accommodate him, walking a mile up he came across an old temple. An elderly monk was inside cleaning the altar when Luang Phor Thuad requested him for accommodation, the elderly monk warmly invited him to the inner sanctum and offered him the accommodation. (This temple still exist today in Ayutthaya and is known as Wat Rachanuwat or Wat Kae in short, today the temple has a statue of Luang Phor Thuad located at the upper end of its main sanctum).


In the year 2516, Ayutthaya and Ceylon (now known as Sri Lanka) had disputed over religious issues. The King of Ceylon had the motive of conquering Ayutthaya but he did not want to create a war where blood are spilled. He came up with an ingenious plan where he took out gold from his kingdom's reserves and instructed the goldsmiths to craft them into 84,000 square pieces of gold. He then gave them to the Brahmin missionaries to inscribe them with Pali scripture texts to develop and create the Tripitaka.

After the inscription work was completed, the King of Ceylon arranged for 7 ships of treasures and proceeded to Ayutthaya. When he reached the capital, the King of Ceylon despatched  7 Brahmin missionaries holding 7 trays of gold tablets to meet with the King of Ayutthaya (Phra Maha Thammaracha) and together delivered the Letter-of-Challenge.

The King of Ayutthaya accepted the challenge. The challenge required the King of Ayutthaya to reassemble the 84,000 pieces of gold tablets and arranged them into the original Tripitaka within 7 days. If the challenge is won by the King of Ayutthaya, the King of Ceylon will offer all the 7 boats of
treasures to him, if failed, Ayutthaya will become a colony of Ceylon.

The King of Ayutthaya did not have much choice and reluctantly accepted the challenge. He ordered all his subjects to search and assemble all the learned scholars, monks and normal laymen with exceptional skills to recompile the Tripitaka.

However, the learned scholars failed after several attempts and they felt helpless. The King this time issued a special order to notify all the Buddhist monks in the country regarding the challenge. On the 4th night, the King dreamt of a white elephant roaring loudly arcross the sky. When awoke in the morning, he summoned his palace Brahmins and astrologers to interpret his dreams and he was told:
"It is a good omen, there must be a very wise person to come and help the King to resolve the national crises". Upon hearing that, the King became more confident.



The dream was auspicious, however, reality is the crisis of the challenge is still there. On the morning of the 6th day, the King of Ayutthaya was still disturbed as the crisis could not be resolved. On that particular morning, Luang Phor Thuad was going on his alms near towards the family of the Royal Palace, it happened that they were discussing about the challenge from the King of Ceylon. When they saw a monk passing by on alms round, they quickly offered him food respectfully.

When approaching Luang Phor Thuad, the royal family could feel the aura emitted him and they sensed that he was just not an ordinary monk. Feeling that he was not an ordinary monk, they probed him further and during the course of the conversation with him, they learned that he came from the South and he was in Ayutthaya to further his studies in Buddhism  and Pali and to research on the Tripitaka. After learning that Luang Phor Thuad was in the postgraduate stage of Buddhist studies, they consulted him and said:
"Our country has always been well known for Buddhism, however, we are now confronted with the challenge posed by the Brahmin missionaries from Ceylon, and up till the 6th day of the challenge, no one in the country could recompile the Tripitaka. The country of Ayutthaya could not end just like that and become a colony of Ceylon, can the venerable monk assist us in this national crisis?"

Luang Phor Thuad replied: "I am just a simple and humble monk from the South and my knowledge is limited. Nevertheless, in order to save our country, I'm prepared to give it a try".

When the officials in Ayutthaya heard that, they were very happy and wanted to bring Luang Phor Thuad to meet with the King on the very day, however, Luang Phor Thuad was of opinion that the matter could not be rushed and suggested that he will meet with the King the next day. After saying that, he carried on with his alms round. The officials rushed to the palace and inform him of the good news, the King was equally elated and those at the palace had a sense of "hope".

The following morning, the King sent a horse carriage to the temple to pick up Luang Phor Thuad. When the carriage returned to the palace, upon Luang Phor alighting, the very moment Luang Phor Thuad entered the main hall of the palace, the bricks beneath his feet broke into pieces as he stepped on them.

The King and his ministers were shocked and astonished felt into silence at that sight. After Luang Phor Thuad entered the main hall, he sat down and meditated. The ministers then respectfully brought him
7 trays of gold tablets and placed it before him. Luang Phor Thuad meditated and prayed to the
Lord Buddha, his teachers and the celestial beings for their blessings and to help Ayutthaya in deciphering the crisis to avoid its people of being colonize and ultimately becoming slaves to their new colonial master.

After the meditation, the 7 Brahmins came to the palace and were about to demand for the handling over of the controlling rights of Ayutthaya. Luang Phor Thuad applied his supernatural power and magical skills where he arranged the scriptures of the Tripitaka in its proper order. When he was at the final stage of arranging, he found that amongst the gold tablets, 7 indicated numbers were missing, the 7 missing indicators were respectively: sang, wi, ta, pu, ka, ya and pa.

The 7 Brahmin missionaries did not response and acted dumbed and kept silent. Luang Phor Thuad said out calmly: "Whoever, had kept the remaining 7 gold tablets must bring all out quickly, failing which, death will befall upon them and that will not be my concern!"

The 7 Brahmin missionaries learned of the earlier incident that the bricks on the floor broke to pieces as Luang Phor Thuad stepped into the palace and from that they knew that he was not an ordinary monk.

Being fearful of the predicament of their deaths, each of the Brahmins took out the rest of the golden tablets that was hidden in their hairs and they totaled up exactly in 7. The officials hurriedly handled the missing 7 golden tablets to Luang Phor Thuad, adding up to the total of 84,000 pieces of gold tablets and re-complied in the original manner of the Tripitaka, hence, a victory to the King of Ayutthaya and the defeat of the King of Ceylon.

The King of Ceylon conceded  and offered the Tripitaka and the 7 boats of treasures to the King of Ayutthaya, however, the King politely declined the gifts and returned all to the King of Ceylon. With the national crisis resolved, the King was relieved and arranged to reward Luang Phor Thuad and to conferred him with the title of "Phraramuni Samiram Kumpramachan", this title was the only one given to a monk in Thailand. Up to this date, no other monks in Thailand had received such an honour.


Celestial Golden Lotus
In his old age between the age of 80 to 90 years old, Luang Phor Thuad went back to the South and stayed at Wat Phra Khok. One evening a novice monk (of around 12 years old) handed over a celestial lotus flower on behalf of a mystical elderly man. This mystic had earlier said: "This is a celestial flower and will never wither, it's for a holy monk". He wanted the novice monk to hand the lotus over to the holy monk, after saying that the mystical old man vanished.
 The novice did not waste time and went around looking for the holy monk to have his mission accomplished. Obe evening, the novice monk arrived at Wat Phra Khok on a full moon night. The novice stood by the door of the main sanctumholding the lotus and saw a group of monks entering the sanctum for the evening chating but none of them greeted the novice monk. When he found out later that there was still another monk in the monk quarters, the novice requested to meet with him.
The monk inside the monk's quarters was none other than Luang Phor Thuad himself. When Luang Phor Thuad saw the lotus, he knew it was a celestial flower and enquired where it came about. When the novice monk heard that, he knew immediately that this must be the holy monk and respectfully handed the lotus to Luang Phor Thuad. After receiving the flower, Luang Phor thuad went into meditation for a while, he then invited the novice monk into the monk's quarters and closed the door behind them. Thereafter, Luang Phor Thuad was never seen again. This mystery is still not decephered to this date.

Luang Phor Thuad Amulet 2497
                                                     



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