Monday, 2 February 2009

Luang Phor Phrom Wat Chong Kae

Luangpor (holy father) Phrom was born on Thursday 5th night 5th month, year of goat of the Thai lunar calendar B.E. (Buddhist era) 12 april 2426 in dtumbon (sub-district) bungprok, amper (district) Maharaj of Ayuthaya province. His father’s name was Nai Mhee and mother’s name was Nang Lom kosarang. He was the 3rd child of four siblings.Luangpor learned to read and write both “Kom” (ancient scripture) and Thai from monks in the nearby temple from his village ever since he was a child. It was at this time he started to learn about Buddhism as well.

At the age of 21, Luangpor Phrom ordained as a monk in Wat (temple) Keanlai on 15 march B.E. 2447 and was given the Buddhist nick “Tawalo”. Luangpor Tomya was his preceptor. He then learned Kom as well as meditation from Luangpor Tomya and excelled in both. Luangpor Phrom had also learned from Acharn (teacher) Puang Witcha Akom (the skill of magical chant) before he became a monk. Luangpor Phrom was brought by Acharn Puang to learn Dharma and meditation from Luangpor Dam for 4 years. He then went to practice Withcha Akom under the guidance of Acharn Puwon for 5 years. After Acharn Puwon passed away, Luangpor Phrom stopped learning from any other teacher and went Tudong (forest dwelling) alone. All the teachers of Luangpor Phrom were the best during that time. Acharn Puang was the disciple of Luangpor Mah Wat Bungmuang, who was also the teacher of PhraChao Taksin Maharaj (Thai King) and Phra Baht Somdej Phra Puttayodfah Chulalod (King Rama I). As for Acharn Puwon, he was the disciple of Luangpor Nin Wat Kow Pasak of Petchabun province and Luangpor Seang Wat Molee Chonkhan of Lop Buri province.

Luangpor Seang was the teacher of Phra Somdej Puttakjan Toh Wat Rakangkositaram. Luangpor Phrom met many masters during his tudong days where as Luangpor exchanges magical skills with them. One of them was Luangpor Derm Wat Nongpo, the famous guru of Nakorn Sawan province whom he later went Tudong with. Luangpor Phrom went Tudong as far as Rangoon, Myanmar and had visited and paid homage to the great pagoda Shwedagon which houses the relics of the three previous Buddhas.

Luangpor Phrom then came back to Thailand passing through Dan Chedi Sam Ong (Three Pagodas Pass) at Kanchanaburi province, experiencing many large and small mountains, thick forests and risking many dangers like wild animals and poisonous snakes. Although Luangpor Phrom was able to overcome all these by using his magical powers, he chooses to avoid them when confronted, as not to cause any injuries to them.

When Luangpor Phrom finally went back to Thailand from his Tudong, he came upon Mount Chongkae at Amper Takri, Nakon Sawan province and encountered a storm. As Luangpor Phrom was unable to proceed further due to the storm, he took shelter and spent the night in a cave of Mt Chongkae. Luangpor Phrom started to look around and found that he can enjoy absolute solitude in the relatively small cave. He decided to stay in the cave for the Pansah (three month of Buddhist lent). At the beginning, the temple at the foot of Mt Chongkae or Wat Chongkae had only two monks staying there with no abbot. Surroundings of the temple were also unkempt. Upon hearing that Luangpor Phrom was staying in the cave, the district-councillor together with a few others went to invite Luangpo Phrom to reside at Wat Chongkae.
Luangpor Phrom then became the 1st abbot of Wat Chongkae.

The owner of the land whereby Wat Chongkae was situated decided to donate the land to the temple. Luangpor Phrom then got things organized and started to build several projects for the temple.By B.E. 2460, monk quarters, kitchen, and a Dharma hall had been built. Several villagers had also formed temple-committee. Together, they held plan to build a Bot (ordination Hall). Considering the large amount of money needed for the project, the committee decided to make amulets for fund-raising.

Luangpor Phrom was a very generous monk who like would give away anything he could to those in need. As in the case of Chek Tann (giving alms) batch of amulets made in the year of B.E. 2515, Luangpor distributed out all the amulets to the people who went for the ceremony till not a single coin left. Most batches of amulets made or blessed by Luangpor Phrom, had got the shape of a bell because of the way he sit in meditation resemble a bell (strong & Stamford) and also Luangpor fondness for big bells ever since he seen some during his tudong days in Myanmar. It is said that Luangpor Phrom was a monk who does not like to speak much. Instead, he preferred to listen to others talk. He is said to have the ability of knowing the future. There were several incidents whereby Luangpor’s speech came true (golden mouth).

1) Nang khiew Phan, a close follower of Luangpor Phrom, who operated a food-stall in chongkae railway station. Once had Luangpor telling her that she would be a millionaire soon for the goodness she had cultivated for helping the temple. Sure, not long after, she became rich from her food business.

2) There was once a committee member of Wat Chongkae who often misuse temple’s fund for his own expenses. When news got to the ears of Luangpor, he said that whoever dared to misuse temple’s fund, the person will have his stomach spilt open. Those who heard what Luangpor said, had got no idea what he was talking about initially but soon, news of the said committee member suffering from incurable stomach illness and he died of it not long after had the people finally realizes what Luangpor had meant.

3) During one of the temple’s celebrations in B.E. 2515, besides amulets, towels with the temple’s stamps were also distributed to those who helped in the celebration. Those towels, which were blessed by Luangpor Phrom were deemed limited and all had been distributed out during the celebration. As such, many of those who have not got it went to the temple to ask for them. That was when a monk from Wat Chongkae bought some from the market and started to distribute them outside the temple without the knowledge and blessing of Luangpor Phrom. When Luangpor heard about this, he said, “The crazy monk shall become mad if he continued doing that”. Not long after, the said monk became insane and started wandering all around the place aimlessly and had since gone missing.Phra Saman Kitiwutato, a monk in Wat Chongkae. He had ever witness Luangpor Phrom walking across the surface of a pond situated not far away from the temple in year B.E. 2496 when Phra Saman was a kid, at that time he was playing near the vicinity of the pond together with a few of his friends whom, later became close devotees of Wat Chongkae.

Besides making numerous batches of amulets which were proven for its effectiveness on protecting the wearer, Luangpor Phrom was also very skillful in making herbs. The herbs were extremely effective and had cured many people with various illnesses. The herbs were made annually during his birthday celebration. The traditions of making the herbs or “Dtom Yah” celebration were still being held every year till today.Luangpor Phrom lived in Wat Chongkae for a total of 58 years (B.E. 2460-2518). He passed away on 30th Jan B.E. 2518 @ 1500 hrs at the Bungmi Hospital in LopBuri Province at age 91 years, 71 years of monk hood.

The body of Luangpor Phrom was still in the original condition as when he died. It was housed in a glass coffin at the top of the Dharma Hall of Wat Chongkae for worshipping. No sign of decay or insects infesting were found on his body. In fact, Hairs and nails on his body were still growing. This, many people had said that Luangpor Phrom had attained Aranhantship

(enlightenment).Those who would like to pay respect to Luangpor Phrom in Wat Chongkae can bring alone face masks or figurines of Thai traditional dance for worshipping of Luangpor Phrom as Luangpor was very fond of these when he was alive. Many people had their wishes fulfilled and brought these items to worship Luangpor Phrom as a gesture of thanks-giving.Date of ceremonies held at Wat Chongkae annually:-1) 29-30th Jan - The Death Anniversary.2) 5-6-7th, 5th month of Thai Lunar Calendar – Birthday & Herbs-making Celebration.
3) 12-13-14th April- Songkan festival (bathing of Luangpor Phrom’s statue).