Thursday, September 01, 2005
The Legendary Luang Phor Thuad
Wat Changhai is situated at Naparu, Koppo District, Pattani, Thailand. It was built over three hundred years ago. It was also the place where Luang Phor Thuad gained Enlightenment.
Luang Phor Thuad (LP Thuad) is a legendary monk of times past. In our generation, he is famous for amulets made in his image which many believe hold great protective powers which have been proven to be effective time and again.
On 24th April 1963 AD (1st day of Chinese 4th Moon), the abbot of Wat Chaiya Mangkalaram, Penang, the Venerable Phra Kru Prasit Chaiya Mongol (Phor Than Daeng) invited the learned monks from Bangkok to Penang to officiate the opening ceremony of the holy image of LP Thuad.
At about 6 pm, Luang Phor Thuad suddenly revealed his presence in the body of a monk, presumely while the monk was in meditation. Impressed, many devotees asked for guidance and advice.
Out of curiosity, one devotee inquired about his life history, Luang Poo Thuad kindly revealed the following details:
He was born in Singora, Thailand. His ancestors had migrated from FuJian Province in China many centuries ago due to the tumultuous situation then in China. They settled down in Singora, Thailand. His parents were also born in Singora, Thailand. His mother was of Chinese origin. His parents were very poor but they were faithful devotees of the Buddha. They stayed in a hut near an old temple, Wat Khokosan and were employed by a rich family as farmers.
Luang Phor Thuat was born at Ban Suan Chan, Chumphol district, Sathing Phra in in Songkhla, Southern Thailand in the year of A.D.1582 (B.E.2125) when his parents had passed their 40s.
When he was less than 6 months old, he was placed in a towel under a shady tree near the padi field while his mother was working. At noon she ceased work for a time in order to breast-feed him. As she walked towards the baby, she saw a huge python curled round him. Alarmed, she called out for help. The neighbours quickly gathered whatever weapons they could and came round.
The python was stern and motionless. The people around did not know what to do. No one dared to initiate an attack. His mother, however, had an idea.
She remembered the ancient belief that this snake might be an avatar of the gods. So she plucked 7 wild flowers of different colours, put them on a leaf, and offering rice cakes,threw herself down at the ground and bowed to the Python. After a while, the Python spit out a crystal ball of manifold colours on the baby’s chest and slithered away. His mother kept the gem and brought him home.
A rich man offered a very good price for the crystal ball. LP Thuad's mother did not wish to sell it. The wealthy man then tried to force her to sell it using undue pressure. At last LP Thuad's mother relented in the face of the rich man's pressure.
The rich man was elated, but only for a while. Within three days, all members in his family fell ill. Consulting a medium, he was told that he had kept something which did not rightfully belong to him. Only the baby boy (LP Thuad) could keep it. The rich man became frightened and returned the crystal ball to the baby’s mother.
Luang Phor Thuad began to learn about the Buddhist teaching in a temple nearby at the age of 5 years old. Being naturally talented, he mastered all subjects his teacher could guide him within a year. He went to other temples over the hill and across the jungle to acquire further teaching every day. He became a monk at the age of 12 years old and devoted a full time study in the Dharmma. His father passed away at the age of 72 years old when he was 30 years old. In order to further the studies in Buddhism, he left his mother and went to other provinces.
From his present location, Wat Pakok, Singora, Thailand, LP Thuad took a boat bound northwards to Ayuthaya province (a former capital of Thailand). After sailing for half a day, the boat met with great storms. The crew were frightened. The boat did not arrive at its destination after drifting for several days. The supplies of drinking water were running low.
The crew, being superstitious, unfairly blamed their misfortune on the presence of LP Thuad. They planned to throw him overboard into the sea.
Sensing their ill intentions, LP Thuad calmly consoled them that they needed not worry about drinking water as there was plenty around. As he stretched his leg out of the boat, the storm suddenly abated. Using his leg, he drew a circle on the sea and told the boatmen to draw water within it to drink.
The crew was furious! They thought that this monk was trying to pull a fast one on them (that is, they thought he was trying to trick them). After LP Thuad's assurance that the water is actually drinkable, one of them decided to give it a try. He found that the water was indeed fit for consumption! Soon the rest of the crew went to drink the water to verify it for themselves. One curious crew member purposely tasted the water outside the circle and shouted that it was salty. The crew soon abandoned their thoughts of harming LP Thuad.
On the next day, the boat arrived at Ayuthaya province. LP Thuad walked for a few miles and was happy to come across a grand temple. The monks in the temple refused to accept him as he was poorly clad. He then turned to an old temple not very far away. The old keeper welcomed him and offered him board and lodging. He stayed there to study Buddhist scriptures, to pay homage to the Buddha and to practise meditation. He did this for half a year.
The ruler of a neighbouring Buddhist country, the King of Sri Lanka, eyeing the growing wealth and power of the kingdom of Thailand, sent seven monks to Ayuthaya province to test the achievements of the monks in Thailand. They brought with them 12 bowls containing 84,000 words. These words were to be arranged into a certain sutra within 1 week. If the task was accomplished, King of Sri Lanka would present Thailand with 7 boats made of gold. However, should the task be unsuccessful, Thailand would have to surrender its sovereignty to Sri Lanka. The Thai King found it difficult to reject such a challenge as if did so, Thailand would be the laughing stock of the Buddhist world and of the world at large. The Thai King then gathered all his country's well-known learned monks to deal with this problem. Many tried but were unsuccessful.
A Royal Announcement was made to look for someone capable of dealing with the task. On the fourth night, the King dreamed of a white elephant trumpeting in brillant light. He consulted a fortune-teller and was told that it was a fortuitous sign as a sage was likely to appear to solve the problem. The King was, nevertheless, uncertain.
On the sixth day, LP Thuad left the temple in the morning to ask for alms in the form of food. He arrived at a rich man’s house. Thai subjects were discussing about the country's current crisis. They saw him holding a bowl standing in front of their doors. The rich host reverently offered him food. He sensed that the monk in front was rather extraordinary in appearance. He paid LP Thuad due respect and told the latter that their country which reputed for their Buddhist studies would be put to shame if no one could meet the challenge put forward by Sri Lanka and asked whether he could help. LP Thuad replied that he would try. The rich host was very happy. He intended to invite LP Thuad to see the King immediately. LP Thuad told him not to be in a hurry and he would go the next morning.
After LP Thuad had left, the rich host delivered the good news to the King. The next morning, a special Royal carriage to bring LP Thuad to the palace.
On arrival he was escorted by officials to the entrance of the royal palace. The steps boomed with loud sound as LP Thuad walked on them barefooted. The King and the officials were all very quiet.
About half an hour later the monks from Sri Lanka came in. After exchanging greetings out of formality, LP Thuad began to arrange the words. 12 bowls of words were poured on the table. He closed his eyes and arranged them with both hands. After about a quarter of an hour, he announced that 5 words were missing.
The 7 Sri Lankan monks remained silent. He then warned that anyone who did not quickly take out those missing words would die a most horrible death with a cracked skull. The culprit was frightened and took out those missing words.
With his eyes closed Luang Phor Thuat exercised his supernormal power to arrange the words. The sutra was completed in a little while. Seeing that Thailand had successfully responded to Sri Lanka's challenge, those 7 monks presented those 7 boats made of gold and left. Thus LP Thuad’s name became well-known throughout the country. He was henceforth looked upon as a saintly Buddhist monk in Thai history.
Impressed by LP Thuad's wisdom, the Thai king bestowed upon him the rank and title of "Somdej Phra Rajamuni Samiramagunupamacarya". LP Thuad also later became King Ekadasaroth's (King of Sri Lanka) advisor.
LP Thuad remained in the capital city for a few years until he was informed of his mother’s serious illness. He rushed southwards and not long after, his mother died at the age of 78. After the funeral he stayed in Singora, Thailand.
Upon returning home, LP Thuad had found that Wat Pha Khoh in ruins. He then sent a messenger to the Thai King asking if his majesty could help restore the temple. The Thai King was only too glad to help and the temple was soon restored to its former state. The Thai King also bestowed the land surrounding the temple on LP Thuad and the 250 families living around that area.
A state governor from the south by the surname of Phang, a man with a comparatively dark countenance, wanted to build a Buddhist temple. He came to Singora to look for a distinguished monk to head the project. One evening after sunset, he saw an old monk stroll along the seaside, leaving behind a trail of light. He knew that this was the monk to approach. He stepped forward to pay due respect to LP Thuad and told him of his intention to build a temple in Pattani. LP Thuad already knew about the matter through his psychic powers. He consented and went with governor Phang to Pattani. When the construction was completed, the temple was named Wat Changhai. LP Thuad was abbot of this temple till he passed away at the age of 120 years old. (However, some sources say no one really knew when LP Thuad had passed away)
In the later part of his life, LP Thuad dedicated his life to spreading Buddhism. After he has passed away from this life, he manifested in the dreams of his disciples. They then started to make amulets of his image. Even today, many amulets made of his image continue to be produced. Many Thais today can testify to the protective powers of LP Thuad amulets (amulets of the image of LP Thuad)
LP Thuad amulets are (based on my knowledge and research) known for the following powers:
1) Protection from accidents (such as traffic accidents and even natural disasters and so on)
2) Protection from all sorts danger (such as gunfire)
3) Protection from black magic and any form of offensive spells
4) Protection from evil spirits, demons and other hostile malevolent other-wordly entities
Some reported incidents of Amulets of LP Thuad's image:
1) In the beginning of 1963AD, Lokhunpakpaliang in Thailand was hit by typhoon. The resulting floods caused great loss to the population who were mostly fishermen. Houses were swept away, numerous people were wounded, reported missing and lost their lives. Those wearing the images of LP Thuad were apparently safe and sound. This is reputed to be a well-known incident witnessed by many people.
2) A bus on the Singora-Haadyai route fell into a deep chasm due to the very dangerous roads in the mountains. All passengers were unharmed and it was later found that all of them were wearing the images of LP Thuad. The Thai newspapers has published many of such news from time to time. To the faithful, this is proof of the supernormal powers of LP Thuad as well as the greatness of the Buddhist religion.
3) One incident I came across online related that a certain batch of his amulets reportedly protected someone from M-16 gunfire. That batch of LP amulets became known as the "M-16" LP Thuad amulets in amulet circles.