He received his formal religious education from the monks in the village monastery when he was 15 years old. The monks taught him to read and write in the Cambodian and Thai alphabets in the monastery, but there was no school which conduct Malay language classes at that time and because of his self reliant attitude, diligent and hard working he had mastered the Malay language within such a short period of time. By the time he reached the age of twenty(20), he was already very proficient and had a very good command of Pali language thus not only enabled him to recite but also to translate and write the Patimokkha and Sutras from the Holy Dhamma books.
It is a good practice and exalted tradition for the Buddhist Thai Youth to enter into the monastery and began their serious practice to become a monk at the age of twenty one (21). Like others, Than Chau Khun Chan became a monk at age of twenty two(22) upon taking full ordination on the 7th day of July 1931 at Wat Uttamaram, in a ceremony solemnised by the well-known Abbot Phra Khru Ophasputtakhun (Kiew) of Wat Kampung Dalam Tumpat, Kelantan.After ordination, he was known as Phra Chan Kesaro.
Knowledge is a potential power and it is one of the important source in achieving wisdom. Therefore, in seeking for better and in-depth knowledge Than Chau Khun Chan then travelled to Thailand. This is because Thailand is very well known in Buddhist culture and has many monasteries that cater for Buddhist teachings.
In Thailand, he had enrolled himself in the Buddhist Institute of Thailand from year 1934 till 1949. In this Institute he was taught by two teachers who were also his mentors and they were Phra Khru Pipat Samanakic and Phra Khru Pibul Samanawat. Upon completion of his studies in 1949, he again furthered his studies in the prestigious Buddhist College of Wat Muclintawapi Vihara, Nongcik, Pattani in Southern Thailand. This Buddhist College has since been upgraded into a University of Buddhism. At this prestigious Buddhist College, he had studied the Pali language, the Tripitaka, Philosophy, Pali canon and amongst other secular subjects to equip himself to become a Buddhist teacher and to carry out the missionary works.Upon graduation from the Pali language and the various religious disciples he become a Maha.
In the year 1962, he was appointed as an Abbot of Wat Uttamaram and the subsequent year in 1963 he was conferred the ecclesiastical title of Phra Vicaranayanmuni Nayaka Maha Thera by the Buddhist Sangha Council of Thailand. Due to his enormous and invaluable contributions and services to the society of Buddhist teachings in the state of Kelantan, he was elected to be the Lord Abbot of Kelantan by the Royal Highness, the Sultan of Kelantan.
On the 30th day of November 1992 at 6.45 am, Phra Vicaranayanmuni Nayaka Maha Thera passed away peacefully at the age of eighty four (84). Even though his physical body may have perished but his immense, immeasurable, invaluable and ever lasting meritorious deeds and his untiring dedication and service to the religion, country and to all sentient being will always be remembered deep in the devotees' heart.
| Tok Raja of Wat Uttamaram Pasir Mas Kelantan|
Khron Ratchanaren (known as Tok Raja) was born on Thursday December 1, BE2419 (1876). He was sent to Wat Uttamaram by his parents when he was 12 years old to learn Buddhism and Thai language. He stayed with Archan Lok who was the temple Chief Abbot at that time.
Tok had showed great interest in Buddhism and became a "Dek Jom" under the supervision of Bhikkhu (monks) in the temple. Besides, he also learned crafting and construction. He once told the devotees that even from an early age, he cherished the ambition of joining the monk hood and stay in the temple to learn Buddhism unlike his other kampung (village) boys of the same age who more preferred to stay in their homes in the kampung.
Tok joined monkhood (Bhikkhu) on Jun 15, 2438 (1895) when he was 21 years old. The ordination took place at Wat Uttamaram and was ordained by the following monks:
1) Phra Upatcha Palad Chai of Wat Mai Suwankhiri
2) Phra Khru Ophart Phuthakhun of Wat Chon Prachumthart and
3) Phra Athikarn Phut from Wat Bangtakwa Silaloi who became Kammavacanusavanacarn
Tok was then given a Buddhist name known as Punnaksuwanno.
After becoming a monk, Tok stayed at Wat Uttamatam for two phansa after that Tok travelled to Southern Thailand to learn Pali language and at that time is known as the big book. Tok was resided at Wat huaphom Nai in Songkhla and learn Buddhism in greater depth.
He also learned "Phrakhatha vertmon" which consist of "Khamphi Mulkachai" and "Khamphi Thammadboth" in Wat Huaporm Nai as well as Vipassana Kammatharn technique in Songkhla for 15 years. In the year 2449 BE, Tok was appointed Chief Abbot of the Wat for 10 years.
Due to the fact that Tok needs to be back to Malaya, he stepped down as Chief Abbot of Wat Huaporm Nai. Once back from Thailand, he became the Chief Abbot of Wat Mai Suwankhiri for 6 years before been transferred back to Wat Uttamaram and became the Chief Abbot of the Wat in year 2468 BE. He taught Vippassana meditation and ubasok ubasika Buddhaborisat to the kampung folks Buddhist fundamentals as well as Vertmon Katha to his pupils.
Positions hold by Tok
2470 BE (1927) - Tok was appointed by Phra Khru Ophatbudthakhoon as Phra Palas Thananukrom
2476 BE (1933) - Tok became Upatchaya
2484 BE (1941) - Tok was appointed as Phra Khru Vicarn
2488 BE (1945) - Tok became the Chief Abbot of Kelantan State known as Phra Vicaranayanmuni
Tok's role in the deployment of Dharma knowledge and spreading of Buddha's teachings
When Tok came back from Songkhla Thailand, he stressed a lot on knowledge skill. He worked very hard in order to expand the knowledge skills to devotees in Kelantan but did not meet his expectation since the Society at that time did not realise the importance of education and as such, was unable to achieve his mission to the fullness.
In early year of BE2491 (1948), Thai Buddhism has spread out of the country especially to the neighbouring country like Malaya.Malaysia was formerly known as Malaya. In that year, the first Naktham school was established in the Kedah state of Malaya. Tok has waited for the opportunity to open up such school for long time and has establish the same Naktham school in the year BE2492 and the first school was established in Wat Uttamaram Bangsek itself.
It was a resounding success in establishing these schools and Tok later handed over the management of the school to Phra Maha Chan Kesaro who possessed "Parian Tham 6 Prakyok" as a teacher master. Even though there was a shortage in teaching resources, there was a huge demand from monks all over Kelantan to study at Wat Uttamaram to seek knowledge and learn Naktham where the expenses incurred were manageable.
It was not easy to go to Wat Uttamaram at that time where it took hours to reach by walking through the jungle. Such obstacles did not prevent these pupil monks from reaching the Wat and in the same year as it was established, the first Naktham examination was held at Wat Uttamaram in Kelantan.
The Miracles of Tok Raja (The Sacred Tongkat)
Tok spent his non-meditation hours in research into ancient and forgotten manuscripts which revealed ceremonies and prayers for every occasion. He made searching enquiries into information gleaned from his readings.
He never considered unlikely or as far-fetched the stories he had read or heard of how and where priceless documents had been hidden in times of peril. He explored caves which others fear to enter and seldom found his mission unfruitful.
From these ancient writings he copied the prayers and chants which are the weapons he uses in his self-imposed war against Black Magic. He tried the effect of these prayers upon himself when sick, and at all times opportunity offered itself to test his Faith & Power.
One day, a novice brought to him a very aged document which he knew was something precious as it has been zealously guarded heirloom. Tok found that the documents described how a sacred tongkat (wand) should be constructed and the ingredients that went into its making. The tongkat was too powerful for the novice who made no use of it.
On his death-bed, the novice gifted the tongkat to Tok Raja. Since then, it has never been out of his sight for a fleeting moment. He carried it with him wherever he goes and when asleep, it rests beside him.
He has put the tongkat to good use in effecting cures both physical and mental. No ordinary man can touch the tongkat without feeling its Power.
He has attained so high a standard of perfection and he was no mere mortal. By a few seconds of association with someone, or at a glance, he can say if the person seeking his help is clean in heart, a genuine sufferer or a fake if he has come to him convinced that only prayer can save life.
Tok had never refuse aid and preached Dharma to those fake instead. He won more and more followers to his philosophy of life. News spread widely from devotees and even strangers about the wonders he had performed for them. He certainly was a modern Miracle Worker who convinces you of the unbelievable stories from the recovery of a dying man to saving from been possessed of evil spirit and even non Buddhist experience similar wonders in resolving their problems.
Donations poured in to the temple from all corners of Malaya (including Singapore) and with adequate funds, Tok was able to built the Kelantan first Naktham school in Wat Uttamaram (2nd School in Malaya after Kedah) and constructed Ubosoth (Both) and Kutis surrounding the temple.
Aphart (Falled Sick) & Departure (Passing Away)
Tok enjoyed good health and always fresh and active even at the age of over eighty years old. His health only started to deteriote from July 2505BE (1962) onwards.
Tok's health was deteriorating significantly after his trip to Singapore. The bad news about Tok's health was spread like wild fire and many people from all over Malaya (Malaysia) came to visit Tok, including the Royal Highness The Sultan of Kelantan.
Due to old age, Tok passed away on November 19, 2505BE (1962), 15 days before the conferment of "Chao Khoon" title bestowed to him by the King of Thailand, his Highness King Bhumibol Adulyadeth where Tok was invited to be present at the King Palace in Bangkok on December 5, 2505BE (1962).