Friday, November 27, 2009


 Updated:  17th Jan 2004

PaladKit is an auspicious talisman often mistaken for an obscene object.  In fact it has been widely used by the Thai People for protection, enhancement of business, harmonious relationships, and most importantly, for warding off evil spirits or ghost.  Sometimes it is also referred to Palad. PaladKit derives from Pali language.  The origin of the PaladKit is related to Lord Shiva, the Indian Hindu God who manifes himself in the form of "Linga", the male genital and sometimes together with "Yoni", the female genital.  It symbolises the power of creation, strength of unity and the source of destruction, similar to the Chinese "Yang" element.  It was brought into Thailand together with the Khmer invasion as early as 8th century AD, but it was in a bigger size and was the main object of worship at the centre of many Khmer temples.  The present style that could be worn over the waist with a string was made famous by Luang Phor Yi of Wat Sattaheep, Chunburi.  His famous and usual inscriptions on the PaladKit were "Gan Had Nei Had".  These were  invariably written in an old  form of script called "Khom" that cannot be read by contemporary Thais but is now widely used by most PaladKit makers.PaladKit could be carved from wood, bone, horn , ivory or made from mixed herbal powder and even metal.  Some PaladKits are in plain form, while others could come in many forms, the most common ones are monkey holding the PaladKit,  naked lady laying herself over the PaladKit and lizard with split  tail,  other forms are available as well. Linga in phallic pillar form and Yoni discovered at ruins of Petchabun province dated 10th century.

Luang Phor Yi of Wat Sattaheep, Chunburi,  Luang Phor Kit and his famous student Luang Phor Ler of Wat Sao ChernNgoh, ChaChernSao,  Acharn Heng PyWan of Ayuthatya, Luang Phor Sod of Wat Pakon, Phetburi, are the top master in making PaladKit.
The great makers of Paladkit from 1950 - present are
Luang Pu Fak Wat NikhonPhrajasang, student of Luang Phor Ler
Luang Phor Khong Wat WanSaparok, student of Luang Phor Ler
Acharn Thai Wat Saijoy, Phetburi, student of Luang Phor Ler
Luang Pu Si Wat Sakae, student of Acharn HengPywan
Luang Phor Kee Wat HuChan, student of Luang Phor Yi
Luang Phor Seng Wat BangNa, student of Luang Phor Yi & Luang Phor Ler
Luang Pu Make Wat LamkreDam, student of Luang Phor Yi & Laung Phor Ler
Luang Phor Ghan Wat Intarawan, student of Luang Phor Ler
Luang Phor Kuay Wat Kositharam, student of Luang Pu Suk
Luang Phor Bern Wat BangPhra
Luang Phor Yid Wat Nonjok
Luang Phor ThongKreang Wat ChediHoi, student of L.P. Seng Wat BangNa
Luang Pu Sawai Wat Predaram

Phor Than Kong Famous BE 2505 Taolit

Featuring my personal collection of the famous Be 2505 Taolit of Phor Than Kong.  These taolit were made and blessed by Phor Than Kong ( Tok Raja ) himself.  These Phor Than Kong's taolit were then distributed by late Chau Khun Chan during Phor Than Kong cremations day. According to my grandpa, Thamboon         ( renting price ) for the BE 2505 Taolit was just RM 5 per piece.


During the cremation ceremony, this Phor Than Kong's  BE 2505 Taolit were put inside the baht ( armbowl ) with a donation box beside the baht. At those time my grandpa said he had just RM 10 in his pocket and he had only rented those 2 pieces ( as attached photos ).

The first feature taolit face, legs and hand were worn out due to the traditional way of casing ( wrapped it in a yellow or red clothe ) and this taolit originally wore by grandpa himself. He said that, he will wear this taolit when he wanna Tham Withi ( bomoh tingy ) or travel for a long distance. The second feature taolit was still in 90 % perfect, but still a bit worn out here and there because of open casing.

Some amulet expert said that......WORN OUT a bit, here and there were ONE  of  the crucial aspects that indicate the originality of the amulets. If the amulets were released / made some 50 years ago but still in 100 % perfect condition then you need to be worried ! Altho there's a case of 100 % perfection but it's very very rare indeed. Before making any purchasing / renting / exchanging, you should ask in depth and consult the expert to verify.


Below is the redo batch of the famous Taolit of Phor Than Kong by Chau Khun Mit. This batch of taolit can be used as a substitution to the highly sought after of Phor Than Kong BE 2505 ( as above ). FYI, all Wat Uttamaram amulets has gone thru a rigid and complicated processes and ceremony of making and of course has been blessed accordingly to the Phor Than Kong's secret and katha.

Some novice collectors were cheated and rented this new batch of  taolit as  the old BE 2505 Taolit. Some irresponsible amulet sellers / collectors simply dipped this new batch taolit into special blended chemical and even hand scratch the taolit just to make it worn out and look older.

How to differentiate the original BE 2505 taolit and the imitate one ? As for me ( novice and inexperienced in this amulets world ), the simplest way to differentiaite  the original BE 2505 Taolit is..... in creating BE 2505 Taolit, Phor Than Kong used the selected YELLOW BRASS, while the redo batch taolit was made of RED BRASS. Used the sharp object and scratch any part of your taolit ( normally the base / bottom ) and you will see the result....whether in yellow or red brass / copper !

But now in this technology advanced, it's hard to determine the amulets via scratch and see. The amulets con men even smarter that we ever thought. Sometime it's beyond our thinking. they're willing to do and spend thousand perhaps to copy cat and produce the fake amulets.  In determine your BE 2505, kindly consult the expert please !

Nowadays, amulets from Wat Uttamaram ( especially Phra Pidta Phakhawan ) are highly sought after for it efficacious to ward off ill-fortune and to provide protection to the wearer, it been said that amulets from Wat Uttamaram also superb in auspicious luck fetching. This piece of Tok Raja Taolit redo batch from the Phor Than Kong's BE 2505 block / mould was rented from Wat Uttamaram in early B.E. 2544. The thamboon for the newly made taolit is RM 50 per piece.

Due it popularity, this older batch taolit made by Chau Khun Mit was out of stock. Recently, Wat Uttamaram abbot, Than boon had released a new batch of Tok Raja Taolit. The renting price ( thamboon ) for this new made BE 2552 Taolit is RM 89. This batch of taolit comes with a box ( first time ever ! )

In a nutshell, it doesn't matter if you are just able to own this new batch of BE 2505 Phor Than Kong's Taolit. It's still a superb taolit. The good and efficacious amulets doesn't depend on its prices, year of making, and its rareness. As my grandpa's all depend on your faith and believe ! Even the RM 10 one, if you get it from wat, thamboon it with your heart, believe and have faith in Buddha, Dhamma, and Sangha, the CHEAP amulet that you have rented are much better than the propaganda, expensive, fake and immitate famous amulet !

Merely sharing...........................

Luang Phor Up - Phra Khun Phen Mae Nang Phim

Luang Phor Up or Phra Athi Gan Gasem Kemmajaro was born in 12 August B.E.2464. Luang Phor Up was ordained at the age of 20 years at Wat Tung Noi. LP had stayed at Wat Tong Sai for 9 years. Then, Luang Phor Up went for tudong and lived at Wat Wang Chado for 2 years. In B.E.2508 Luang Phor Up went back to Wat Tong Sai.

Luang Phor Up had learned with Luang Phor Noi of Wat Thammasala and traveled to learned Thai herbs secrets from many famous guru monks. Luang Phor Up also is an expertise in Thai herbs medicines. The famous Visha of Luang Phor is “Chae Nam Mon” - holy water. Every day, many people flooded his temple not to miss the opportunity to cure their diseases. The famous amulet of Luang Phor Up are “Takrut Gan Ngoo” and “Mae Nang Pim amulet”.

Luang Phor Up is the master of making the popular and effective “Mae Nang Phim amulets". It has superb power of bringing great charm, sex appeal, success and luck in love. Moreover, there is great power about protect the worshiper from bad things and dangers.
This amulet is made of old holy powder and soil by Luang Phor Up. This amulet known as Phra Khun Paen Mae Phim. Reverse side of this Phra Khun Paen is Kaduk Pi ( bone of a died pregnant woman while giving birth ) .

According to Luang Phor Up , this Phra Khun Paen Mae Nang Phim can bring charming from opposite sex and also fulfil the owner wishes.

Luang Phor Up said, his Phra Khun Paen Mae Nang Phim amulets;

Ø Superb amulet for Metta Mahaniyom purposes.

Ø Improve and tighten your broken relationship, gain back your spouse attention / loves.

Ø Gain respect and admire by everyone upon seeing you.

Ø Will be endowed with the natural attraction to the opposite sexes.

Ø Help you to fulfill and granted all your wishes.

Ø Endowed with persuasive talker, to persuade your lover and spouse.

***Before inviting this Phra Khun Paen Mae Nang Phim, before hand you should seek your your house guidance spirit / deity / Buddha. Seek their apologies and say that you are bringing in a spirit thingy into your house. You know that it's not right to do that but you know how to take care and handle it. You won't neglect the spirit and will keep and feed him well. You won't misused and ask the spirit to do something that can bring bad kamma to yourself and your family.

***The offering is the must for this Phra Khun Paen to ensure it power won't faded away. You should set a date to feed this Nang Phim Spirit. Choose only one day in a month. ( You can offer more than once of course, but make sure you are consistent and offer the spirit accordingly, otherwise this Khun Paen Mae Nang Phim won't work as u wish !). You can just pick the date that you bring the spirit home and stick to the same date for every month for the offering.

*** The offering is very simple, just offer this Khun Paen Mae Nang Phim with 3 without thorn flowers, a glass of white liquor and 1 incense stick.

Luang Phor Pra Soot

Brief Biography of Luang Phor Soot;

Luang Phor Pra Soot was born on 19 October 1965 at Trang province. His family needs him stayed and served with Luang Phor Sang of Wat NaiTow when he studies primary education. During the time, he first started to study knowledge of Dhamma and Visha with LP Sang who has knowledge of Vichah (Magic) and has been studied the art of making efficacious amulets from many guru monks of Wat Kaw Oor. Luang Phor Sang has deep knowledge of Vichah and is highly respected in South of Thailand.

At age of 20, when he was ordained as a monk at Wat Huay Yod, Trang province. He has been an expert of concentration of mindfulness in Buddhism practises. At the same time Luang Phor Pra Soot is only one who succeeds in making the Wat KowOo’s amulet, Hoon Payom and Magic from Luang Phor Sang. Luang Phor Pra Soot studied until he had developed a clear understanding of these matters and was adept at performing them. And then, Luang Phor Pra Soot went “Tudong” alone at North of Thailand. During the Tudong he met Kru Ba Mur-ah of Wat Si Dong Yen, Chiang Mai province who has knowledge of Vichah Lanna’s magic and then went to Wat Watthamfad.

Luang Phor has been studied the art of making efficacious amulets and magic candle from Luang Phor Sam Rit who opens the mysterious world of Laklai. After his study of the supernatural under Luang Phor Sam Rit, Luang Phor Pra Soot traveled to study Visha Metta (loving-kindness) with Luang Phor Sawai of Wat PreeDaRarm, until he had succeeded. He came back to South of Thailand and has been studied the art of making efficacious “Pong PaYa RaHoo Gleun Sup” powder from Luang Phor Chuen of Wat TungChon, Trang province. Also, Luang Phor Pra Soot studied Visha with many Guru Monks until 1997 LP came back to Wat Huay Yod and stayed by 4 years.
In 1992, Luang Phor Sang of Wat NaiTow passed away. Many years later, this temple was very old and damaged. People invited Luang Phor Pra Soot to become abbot of Wat NaiTow in 2001.Every day; many people go to meet Luang Phor Pra Soot. They really need for his help. They are said that Luang Phor is a monk who possesses a lot of metta and bahramee (power)
Luang Phor Pra Soot created this powerful amulet by following the ancient wichah secrets and Luang Phor Pra Soot blessed the amulet by himself.
This amulet has many supernatural powers such as ;
> bringing great charm and luck to the wearer / worshipper.
> superb power of protection dangers and mishaps
> discard and dispel black magic by mumps the amulet in the mouth.
Material used to create this powerful amulet;

The old holy metals from Buddha image of Wat NaiTow

> The sacred metal plates
> Various holy plates from the prominent and famous monks
> 108 sacred wanj ( inserted below the amulet )

Than Chau Khun (Chan) & Tok Raja

The late Than Chau Khun (Chan) was born on the 15th day of May, 1909 in the village Teresek, Repek, Pasir Mas, State of Kelantan. He was the 3rd son in a family of three boys and four girls of the late Mr. Suk Pisngam and Madam Thiak.

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.

Ordination (Upasombot)

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.

Seeking knowledge

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).


Do these two words bring any important meaning to you ? What do you understand with these 2 words ? 
 For most Thai Amulets die hard, when these 2 words are uttered, it automatically understood as a specific name given to late Khron Ratchanaren @ Chau Khun Khron @ Tok Raja and late Chau Khun Chan of Wat Uttamaram, Kampung Teresek Repek, Pasir Mas, Kelantan.There’s no exact and formal documents on the origin of these names, when and who started to use these names. But nowadays, when the word ACHOR is uttered, it automatically reminds us and keep our mind focused on non other than our late Khron Ratchanaren @ Chau Khun Khron @ Tok Raja. Same goes with the word AKONG. AKONG is the name which is referred to late Chau Khun Chan. You can go to any amulet shops, outlets or booths, these 2 words were normal to them and even when you said Chau Khun Khron or Tok Raja, they will automatically counter back and use ACHOR and AKONG.Before my fingers tip keep on pressing the pads and discuss the matter in depth, let’s me clarify clearly about these 2 names according to Kelantanese ( especially those who were lived in Kampung Teresek , nearby kampung and perhaps those who were born before our independent day ! ).First and foremost, when you’re in Wat Uttamaram, do approach and talk to the Kampung Teresek old folks, ask them about TOK RAJA and ACHOR, you will see the weird face expression from them and when you say…… Than Chau Khun, they will ask you back, “Which chau khun you are referring to ? “ When you say…… Chau Khun Khron, they will nod their head and start their story about Tok Raja. Pay attention to their diction and choice of words. Most of them will use /say “PHOR THAN KONG” when they’re referring to TOK RAJA. These old folks will use “THAN CHAN” whenever they’re referring to late Chau Khun Chan. You will surprise as neither ACHOR nor AKONG were used by them.Furthermore, if you are lucky enough to meet Long Chei, Wat Uttamaram former caretaker, do ask him about Tok Raja and his story, and again you will hear the name “PHOR THAN KONG”. You can even ask the janitor or even the cook about PHOR THAN KONG and something that I can promised you is, you will surprise with the answer / feed back given. They will use “PHOR THAN KONG” instead of TOK RAJA or ACHOR whenever they’re referring to Chau Khun Khron !

Do you have any proof to claim or to support your statement ?From where you get this piece of information ?

My further explanation to support my claims are............

According to Chinese custom and tradition, the word ACHOR is used when we’re referring to grandfather’s father or in a simple words, great grandfather. While ACHOR CHOR is a phrase that commonly used when we’re referring to our great great grandfather or ancestors.
The word AKONG is used by Chinese ( mostly Hokkien ) when they’re referring to their father’s father or grandfather.

Why Phor Than Kong ?




PHOR THAN KONG is the name and title given to Tok Raja during his era. PHOR THAN KONG brings the differs connotation to Kelantanese. PHOR THAN KONG is actually name given to Tok Raja because of his superior and owned a superb sacred power ! No one can challenge him and he even gained respect from Malay folks and Bomohs !

Just like TUAR PEK KONG ( Topekong in Kamus Dewan ), DATUK KONG, KUAN GONG, TU DI GONG, JI GONG. The word KONG or GONG brings the same meaning, connotation and status. All prominent deities names above followed with the word KONG / GONG.

Topekong ( Kamus Dewan, third edition, page ), Tua Pek Kong ( 大伯公 ) means keramat atau roh yang dipuja oleh orang-orang keturunan Cina. Tua Pek Kong is one of the pantheon of Malaysian Chinese Gods. It was believed the date Tua Pek Kong arrived in Penang was 40 years before Francis Light in 1746.

Datuk Kong / Gōng (Na Tuk Kong 拿督公 )
The religious belief of the Datuk Keramat worship can be found in Malaysia, Singapore and along the Strait of Malacca. It is a fusion of pre-Islamic spirit belief, Sufi saint worship and Chinese folk religion. According to local Malay legend, all Datuks were once human and were considered the "Forefathers of The Land" and sometimes also known as the "Spirit of The Land" as the locals would call them.

Guān Gōng / Kong ( 關公 )
Guan Gong was deified as early as the Sui Dynasty and is still being worshipped by Chinese people today, especially in southern China. He is respected as the epitome of loyalty and righteousness.

Ji Gong / living Buddha ( 济公)
Ji Gong was a monastic in the Linji Chán school. Known for his eccentric behavior and compassionate nature, Ji Gong is deified in the Taoist community often invoked to assist in worldly affairs, while Buddhists invoke Ji Gong in folk stories.

Tu Di Gong ( 土地公 ) is an indigenous earth god worshiped in in East Asia, whose roots stem from China. A popular deity, he is worshiped by Chinese folk religion worshipers and Taoists. A formal name for Tu Di Gong is Fúdézhèngshén (福德正神), meaning the earth god of wealth and merit.

( adapted & adopted from Kamus Dewan and Wikipedia )

........ so on and so forth. Most of the Chinese deities/ gods names above were followed with the word GONG / KONG. Which means THE OLD, RESPECTED, GREAT and SUPERIOR yet POWERFUL !

Nowadays, most of us assume that the term PHOR THAN KONG brings the same meaning and connotation to AKONG.( 公公 – Grandfather ). Most of us think that, after Tok Raja passed away and Chau Khun Chan was replacing Tok Raja as Wat Uttamaram abbot and awarded with the CHAU KHUN title then. It’s a normal thing to call ACHOR ( 祖先 zǔ xian, great-grandfather ) for those who are older than our AKONG (公公grandfather ). Therefore, the AKONG title was given to Chau Khun Chan and automatically TOK RAJA is our ACHOR ( 祖先great grandfather ). That’s the fact and main reason why the words / names AKONG and ACHOR been used widely when we’re referring to Chau Khun Chan and Chau Khun Khron.

Something that cannot be denied is, when the time goes by, this phrases undergone a transformation processes plus there’s no written evidences about the real name of KHRON RATCHANAREN used during his era ( BE 2468 – 2505, appointed as Wat Uttamaram chief abbot until reached his parinibanna ). Most of us just take these things for granted and assumed that ACHOR and AKONG were the actual and right names to be used when we are referring to Tok Raja and Chau Khun Chan.


The word “KONG” means grandfather and “CHOR” means grandfather’s father according to Chinese customs and believes, along with this adaptation, only then the word “Achor” is used when we’re referring to late Khron Ratchanaren and “Akong” is used when we’re referring to late Chau Khun Chan. Athough the adaptation and transformation processes taken place for most of the Thai Amulet die hard nowadays but Long Chei, Wat uttamaram committee or other Kampung Teresek folks are still using / calling Khron Ratchanaren as PHOR THAN KONG instead of PHOR THAN CHOR ! None of them applied this changes. They’re still using PHOR THAN KONG…………..

PHOR THAN KONG this .......
PHOR THAN KONG that .......
PHOR THAN KONG says .......
PHOR THAN KONG uses ......
PHOR THAN KONG’s Phakhawan .......

As I mentioned above, as for us ( Kelantanese ) ACHOR and AKONG are actually names given to Tok Raja and Chau Khun Chan according / following the Chinese custom and tradition. It’s not the real name used by Wat uttamaram committee or Kampung Teresek folks. Therefore, we firmly believed and stick to the “ PHOR THAN KONG”, the real name used by local folks when we’re referring to late Khron Ratchanaren.

As for us, the term KONG ( 公) as in PHOR THAN KONG is not from the ( 公公 – Grandfather ) but the as the KONG ( 公) in deities / gods names which is means THE OLD, RESPECTED, GREAT and SUPERIOR yet POWERFUL ! So Phor Than Kong can be defined as THE OLD, RESPECTED, GREAT and SUPERIOR yet POWERFUL MONK !

What’s wrong with ACHOR and TOK RAJA ?You such a **** and *** **** !Are you trying to be smart here ?

That were 2 words and 2 sentences of compliment and token of appreciation that I get from my blog readers. These guys claimed that I’m bluffing and create such the stories just to gain popularity. They even scolded me……….

” hey bro, dun try 2 b smart, if u dunno, just shut the **** off ! “.

When I asked them to come out with the correction and contribute the ideas about Tok Raja to be shared. They said………..

“ What 4 ? Dun trap me la….. u just wanna 2 kena me only ! “
“ Ha ha, I won’t share with u, cos then u’ll claim it urs ideas then ! “

Some even worse……….

“ I don’t know, but I know the information is wrong and misleading, Kelantan Sultan hd honoured the title. I know it from my friend which are also from Kelantan. “

Sorry if my stories, comments, thoughts and discussion hurt someone out side there ! Actually, nothing’s wrong with these 2 names and please take notes that, I’m not trying to be smart either ! ACHOR and TOK RAJA bring the same meaning and connotation to the Thai Amulets die hard. We are still referring to the same KHRON RATCHANAREN of Wat Uttamaram right ? The discussion and the matter were brought out to be discussed here just to share and throw out the view from OUR POINT OF VIEW ( Kelantanese’s view ).

For your information, I’m neither representing any person, individual nor organization. All discussed view and ideas were merely from my personal point of view, as one of the Kelantanese who knows a little about Khron Ratchanaren and try to share this little tiny knowledge with others out there. NEITHER words, phrases, clauses NOR sentences from the discussion were purposely created to insult and annoy anybody.

ACHOR and TOK RAJA are widely used by recent Thai Amulets die hard, collectors and even amulet experts. When these 2 words are uttered, it automatically reminds us on our late Khron Ratchanaren of Wat Uttamaram. As I mentioned in my earlier post ( KHRON RATCHANAREN versus TOK RAJA ), I have discussed in depth about TOK RAJA phrase and its origins from Kelantanese point of view. From the discussion, I have agreed and came to the certain point that TIME CHANGES EVRYTHING, sometimes we need and have to adapt and adopt the changes, otherwise we’ll be left behind. The discussion above were just merely a sharing of thought !

Because as for me, I’m firmly believed that..........

“ They May Not Be Important To One, But May Be So To Another “

Monday, November 23, 2009



Biography of Ajahn Suwat

Arjan Path Ariyo, the abbot of nathawee temple

Prakroo Suwathanaporn or Arjan Path Ariyo, the abbot of Nathawee Temple where is located at Moo 4 Nathawee,Songkhla.He was born on 20th August 1996 at Moo 6, Koksai, Paborn, Phataloung. His farther name is Mr. Phaew. Mother name is Mrs.Aopa Nopharath. For his childhood, he had lived with grandmother most of the time. Her name is Kaew. Wherever she was. He always was there. Kaew kept telling him that when he grew up, just be a monk and no retirement. Arjan Path studied at Kounpeng temple, his hometown. When he was 13 years old, Kaew and his parents took him to the temple. On the way to the temple, Kaew held his hand till met Prakroo Paisan Sangkakit at Vangpring temple, Kouhmeekead, Sadul, Soungkhla. Prakroo Paisan Sangkakit taught him the prayer. Before Kaew had gone back, she still  convinced him not to leave being a monk. Arjarn Path entered to the priesthood on 17 June 1980 and became a Buddhist novice since he was 20. He then has become a monk completely on 23 April 1987. During being a monk, his name is Pra Supath Ariyo, he completed a junior high school at Baleesatit Mahachular School, Chetupone temple, Bangkok and a senior high school at Wachira Mahamongkut, Mongkut temple, Bangkok. 1992, He acted for the abbot of Nathawee Temple. 1993, He has become the abbot of Nathawee Temple. He has started developing the temple from time to time.  He always made a retreat after completing every day practice. Later on, he found a small hat which was no owner where was 15 km far from the village. It was E-San village. It was very peaceful village. Actually, he wanted to go to the Northeast but once he found this place where was in the South and not too far from Nathawee temple. He was very glad and decided to stay there. In the morning, he walked with a boot to receive food from people as normal. But people felt it was too far for him to walk like this in every morning, Therefore, people prefered to hand food to him at his place. He had no need to walk any more. He had more time to sit with concentration. 15 days later, during sustaining concentration, he saw the red fire running into him and fell in front of him. It made him feel little nervous. However, it did not make him give up. Later, on a Sabbath or Buddhist Day of worship, It’s about 11:00 P.M. during his sitting and concentrating, there was another red fire running into him again. It was about 50 meters far from him. At that time, he felt calm and cool. One night later, He found a king cobra creeping to be near him but he was not feel scared. Anytime, when he saw the red fire, he felt relax and more comfortable. He could also control 4 elements of human being  - earth, water, air and fire.  At the beginning of the second months, during his concentrating, he saw an old monk who was very thin. The old monk came and talked to him. That monk said he died of “ Kaikon disease ” for many years. He had high fever and lots of hair on body. Before he had died, he caught a cat. He set it free on monk’s cell and tied it with a rag of an outer robe of a Buddhist monk to protect it from a dog. At that time. Arjarn Path Ariyo was not born yet. Later on, He dreamed of the previous Nathawee abbot who names “ Louen ”. Louen told him to go back and stay at his temple. After Arjarn Path had gone back Nathawee Temple, he was the only one who could develop the temple and pay back Non Performance Loan (NPL) amount 1 million baht in short period. There has been lots of people who have made a donation for Natthawee Temple. The amazing thing while he was at E-San village is there was a king cobra that was still around him wherever he went.  The reason why Arjan Path likes to stay in the forest because he could gain more concentration. When he came back and stayed at Nathawee Temple, he still kept sitting with concentration. He later saw the red fire and felt comfortable the same as he has slept for 40 seconds. At first, he could sustain concentration only 30 minutes after he had seen the red fire. However, after he had been able to control 4 elements of human being much more better, he could sit long and long from one hour to more without being scared and worried. Arjarn Path has a strong concentration. He is able to know people’ problem by his sense. He now becomes famous. With his outstanding gift in predicting people’ destiny, there are many people know and need to see him more and more average 100 -200 persons/day. He is willing to help people. People name him as “Pra Sam Ta” because he can see anything that anyone can’t. People who come to see him not only from Thailand but also from Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Singapore because he has much more intention to help people without discrimination. All above respect him. There were some people who did not believe him and came just to test his prediction. Arjarn Path so showed his gift to thoses and also asked them back “ If you did not believe why you came here”. Those people respected him afterward. He has helped people for more than 15 years and Nathawee Temple has been developed continuously.  The way he knows is he could control 4 elements of human being, namely, earth, water, air and fire in deep and solve problem by praying. If anyone has thoses incompletely, he then just makes them complete by praying to adjust thoses into balance.  However, Arjan path also helps people who are in difficulties. If their businesses are not look so good, he gives “ Yannakarat ”. It is good not only for saving people’ life but also improving the business. It is hard to get Payanakarat tree to make “ Yannakarat ”. He then used cartridge cover instead and the prodcut is called “ Takrut ”.   Note : Payanakarat tree has the quality to detoxify snake venom.  When Takrut is writed sacred letters on, it is called “ Takrut Payanakarat ”. There was one man who survived from car accident because of “ Takrut Payanakarat “. People so like to have this in order to secure against danger.  For “ Yannakarat ”, there was one man has been sick by cancer at last level.The doctor told him he could not stay long. During his treatment in the hospital, he dreamed of Nathawee Temple. He then asked his relative to take him there. Arjan Path prayed for him, adjusted 4 elements of human being into balance and prolonged his life. It have made him still survive although it has passed for 3 years already.  Moreover, Arjan Path also helps people who have difficulty from having a baby. One day, Malaysian couple who had a dim hope to have a baby came to see him. The wife was 41 years old and the husband got cancer at last level. Arjan Path learnt how to make a pill from his grandmother when he was 12-13 years old. Firstly, Arjan Path checked how possible these couple can have baby, if so. He started to use his old dispensatory by using golden apples and praying. Got a couple pray. Cut golden apples and dried in the sun. After that, made a couple drink golden apple juice. Grandmother said it was 95% success. He has become very famous and many people want to see how professional he is. One Penang man invited Arjan Path to visit his family graves and asked him to point which one was for man and for woman. Arjan Path not only pointed all correctly but also pointed the graves that belong to his mother and sister who were death earlier. This Penang man really respected him and gave him a name of “ Pra Sam Ta ” which means the monk who has 3 eyes. Actually, Penang man is very rich (a millionaire). He used to invite Arjan Path to his house in Malaysia. Arjan Path told him that there was an old wise chinese visited here before and put 9 sticks around his house. Arjan Path was able to point where those 9 sticks were located correctly. Since then, Arjan path’ s reputation spreads far and wide not only in Thailand but also abroad.  One day, Arjan Path saw one Singaporean lady who was making merit and virtue at Nathawee Temple. He looked at her and found that she was unhappy due to husband and her relative. Arjan Path told the truth and prayed for her. Since then, her family becomes happy.  5 January 2008, Mr.Prapong Limpratarnkul, the editor of the the South city newspaper entered to the priesthood at Nathawee Temple. We call him “ Loungtung ”. One evening, Loungtung walked through Arjan Path and Arjan Path asked him to wash the car. License plate number of its is 1140. Loungtung thought that Arjun Path cracked a joke on him. He then did not do it. Two days later, Malaysian lottery announced that the 2nd prize was number 1140. Loungtung then believes that Arjarn Path could see past, present and future.  Arjan Path has been helping people for more than 15 years. He keeps developing the temple. He never stops doing this but will keep going. With many miracles explained above, Arjarn Path is well-known not only local but also external.

Address 55 Bannathawee Moo 4 Tambon Nathawee Amphoe Nathawee Songkhla Province
Tel 0-7437-3443

Nathawee Temple, was located at 55 Bannathawee, Moo 4, Nathawee, Nathawee, Songkhla, Thailand.

Nathawee Temple, was located at 55 Bannathawee, Moo 4, Nathawee, Nathawee, Songkhla, Thailand. Nathawee temple is under the Buddhist sect clergy.Nathawee Temple includes land area 10-0-80 Rai. North territory is connected to road to irrigation. South territory is connected to land of Mr.Yordthong. East territory is connected to Nathawee canal. West territory is connected to land of Mr.Nearm.Land of Nathawee Temple is a plain connected to Nathawee canal.The width of a Buddhist temple hall is 10 meters and the length of its is 13 meters. It was built in 1936 with concrete and steel structure. The width of a temple hall for sermons is 80 meters and the length of its is 12 meters. It was built in 1930 with hardwood. Nathawee Temple includes 5 monk’ s cells built with hardwood. A crematory of public health was built in 1976.  For a sacred object to be respected, Nathawee temple has the main Buddha statue in a temple built in 1941. It is called  ‘’ Luang Pu Thuad ‘’ which is the sacred main Buddha statue of Thai people and foreigners. The width of its lap is 3 feet. A pagoda is Sukhothai – Lanka (Ceylon) style. Its altitude is 15 meters.  Nathaweee Temple was built on 15 May 1817. The primary landlord is Mr.Yordthong who was appointed as a district officer of Janong district. Once before Nathawee temple was built, there had been one temple, Nawa Temple. It was attacked by an enemy. At that time, Nawa Temple was burnt. It made people need to build a new one near a village. Mr.Yordthong so consulted with the head of the group of Jana district. Those agreed to build a new temple called Nathawee Temple on Mr.Yordthong’ s land and invited a monk named “ Pra Sun Sanutajitto “ from Nawa Temple to be the abbot of Nathawee Temple.

Name of Nathawee Temple’ s abbot :
1817 – 1857             Pra Sun  Sanutajitto
1917 – 1923             Pra Athikarnsai  Thammachoto
1923 – 1929             Pra Athikarnnearm  Thammasaro
1929 – 1987             Pra Kroo  Prajaknawakarn
1987 – 1993             Pra Kroo  Prajakkunatorn
1993 – At present    Pra Kroo  Suwathanaporn    

Wat Pako, which is on the way back to Hatyai too....this is one of the famous temple for Arjan thung follower. Famous in Malaysia, Singapore, Brunei, Taiwan and some said to Hong Kong too....

This is the upclose shot of Arjan Thung. Still very well kept...

And errr...this car really cought my eyes...Hummer H3!! It belong to the Arjan. Only 10 unit of H3 in whole Thailand, and this one is being given by the Govt of Thai. Amazing eh?

Wat Natawee...AC Suwat

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Springhill Buddha Grove & Angulimala...

The Annual Springhill Buddha Grove Celebration on Sunday September 9th was another great success.
And the day before we held Angulimala's AGM followed by an afternoon with Phil Wheatley, the Director General of the Prison Service.

On a balmy late summer’s evening at Springhill Open Prison in Buckinghamshire on September 9th we held our annual celebration at the Springhill Buddha Grove. It was grand to be there again in that very special place, although there were fewer guests this year and for the first time we were without Lord Avebury who was enjoying a well deserved break somewhere in France. Tim Newell, the former Governor conned by Sam Cutler into agreeing to the building of the Buddha Grove all those years ago, was there with his wife, and so was the present Governor, Peter Bennett, and Khun Bancha, the First Secretary from the Royal Thai Embassy. Dominic, an S.O. at Brixton Prison brought Venerable Sangthong Dhammacaro from Wat Buddhapadipa who teaches meditation at Brixton and two Thai monks came from the Oxford Buddhist Vihara. As usual we began at the Buddha Grove with some speeches and the chanting of the Parittas, which brought tears to the eyes of one of the prison officers on duty. Later a surprised inmate who had observed this phenomenon said to the officer that he thought they (officers) had no feelings. Well, just as I have to remind people sometimes that prisoners aren’t only prisoners, so prison officers are people too and we’re all in the same boat, spoilt with greed, aversion and delusion and having to struggle with our suffering one way or another. It’s that very omnipresent problem of suffering that Buddhism addresses head on. Once again I told the story of the building of the Buddha Grove way back in 1992 when Sam Cutler and his partner in time conceived and built it, Sam doing the organising, conning the Governor and getting other inmates with their numerous skills involved, while Ian shifted the concrete and managed the site. While we were enjoying our little ceremony at the Buddha Grove an army of Thai cooks and helpers were down at the kitchens perfecting the banquet they’d spent the afternoon preparing. So as soon as I’d shut up, down everyone trooped to the dining hall where the Thais were ready to feed the entire prison and guests. Everyone who spoke to me afterwards said how delicious the food was, and I’m sure it was with some of the best Thai restaurants in the country represented in that kitchen. Afterwards we returned to the Buddha Grove for the candlelit circumambulation, pictured above.My thanks and appreciation to everyone who made the evening such a brilliant success. Anumodana!

The day before, at the Forest Hermitage, we’d had one of our quarterly Angulimala workshops for Buddhist Prison Chaplains. In the morning was Angulimala’s AGM, when we broke with tradition and successfully accepted the accounts. Then in the afternoon Phil Wheatley, the Director General of the Prison Service, (with me in the picture) kindly spent a couple of hours with us talking to about the current state of the prisons and answering questions and responding to what our Buddhist chaplains had to say. It was very kind of him indeed to give up a Saturday afternoon for us. It was much appreciated and we were deeply grateful.

For the Buddhist Monks in Burma.

This week the monks in Burma have won the admiration of the world for their courage and peaceful protests.
To be Buddhist is to try to follow the Buddha's advice and to maintain our metta, our loving-kindness, even for those who oppress us and who prefer to follow in the footsteps of Mara.This afternoon we went to London to a gathering at the Peace Pagoda on the South Bank of the Thames in Battersea Park. Burmese monks were there and we joined them for the chanting of the Metta Sutta, the Buddha's discourse on Loving-Kindness. There were many people present looking on and offering their silent support, English and probably various nationalities, as well as Burmese. A Burmese monk talked briefly in Burmese and then it was my turn to speak in English. What could I say? What can we do? At least let us not give way to anger, nor to despair but let us hope for better things and put our trust in the Buddhist Path and particularly in the power of Metta, of Loving-Kindness, to overcome the dreadful things that we hear of happening now to the monks in Burma. What can we do? Not much, unfortunately but we can show we care and we can make sure that the monks and people who have paid such a price this week are not forgotten and that the cause they have suffered for so dreadfully is not lost or abandoned.May all beings be well and happy...

Ven. Chao Khun Bhavanaviteht OBE

You don't always know when you're well off, although having said that, there's always room for improvement and I believe one should try to do better. Well I tried and that took me and my blog away to Blogspot but I'm still trying and now I realise that I was better off with Opera, so back I've come. Unfortunately there's no way now to import blogs from Blogspot, so I've copied my recent blogs with Blogspot all in one go into one big blog. The links and photos are gradually being added when I have time. Enjoy.

Driver & help needed, retreat and things to do.

First of all, I haven't been out and about much lately because, although one or two kind people have helped with a drive or two, I don't now have a regular driver. Which means that if there's some reliable chap out there who's not yet ready to be a monk but who would like to live in a monastic and disciplined setting, do a bit of practice, help out and drive, we'd love to hear from him. Failing that, just someone to drive, please.

Last Sunday, the nine day August retreat concluded with all the retreatants walking over from Bhavana Dhamma to see me and pay their respects, and for me to meet them. They were glowing and obviously had had a very good time of it.Now we're assessing the jobs that need to be done or finished. We'd like to alternate a week of doing jobs with a week of more formal practice. Whether that'll really work out remains to be seen because there is so much to do to run a place like this and here it's not like Thailand with a village of willing hands ready to come along and cheerfully help out when needed. Never mind, we will continue to do our best but we mustn't lose sight of what we're really here for...

A Few Days Break in Thailand.

One morning in June, on my way back from my morning walk, I really felt I wanted a break. Other people around me seemed to be having one and I thought, why not me? Later, when I mentioned it encouraging noises were made and it began to seem a possibility. There had already been thoughts of me going to Thailand to help our Wood Cottage appeal and when it seemed like this break might actually happen these ideas resurfaced and began to be acted on. To cut a long story short, with some impressive organising and very little notice fund raising events were arranged, articles and notices appeared in the Thai papers and I was off.
So one morning early in July I checked in with Thai Airways at Heathrow and took a flight to Bangkok where I went straight to Khun Jung's and stayed in the newly built kuti at their place. Matthew soon showed up to be with me for a couple of days and that afternoon we went to Buddha Montone. The next day I visited Ajahn Jundee's wat in Chonburi and on the Monday, after another little trip out, I took the evening flight for Ubon and Wat Pah Nanachat. My stay there was pretty uneventful. I found it very hot and muggy and it was all I could do much of the time to stay awake. I went over to Peter and Tipawan's for a cup of tea on the Tuesday and to Wat Pah Pong on the Wednesday. Thursday night, in the company of Ajahn Cittagutto who ordained at The Forest Hermitage fifteen years ago and who now stays at Wat Pah Nanachat, it was back to Bangkok where I had something to see to on the Friday afternoon followed by a gathering for meditation at Dhammaram in the evening. Most who attended that were well-known to me and several were former Warwick University students.The next morning I had to go early to a posh hospital that looks more like a luxury hotel for a check-up and then back again after the meal for the results. Thankfully nothing awful was discovered so barring accidents I might be around for a little while yet. That day was an observance day when we have to hear Patimokkha and so we went out to Ajahn Jundee's for that. In the evening when we returned, Professor Yongyudt, Chairman of the World Buddhist Scouts Brotherhood, came to see me about the forthcoming jamboree in Essex.On the Sunday we went into the heart of Bangkok to Loketip Magazine's Dhamma place for an event that they kindly hosted. Loketip gave this monastery considerable and generous support years ago when we were struggling to pay the mortgage on the Forest Hermitage and I used to go there every year. I hadn't seen them for a few years and it was good to be back. The meal was offered, I gave a talk which was mostly translated and a lot of money was collected - 127,000 Baht. Anumodana!In the afternoon it was the turn of my eyes to have a thorough examination and later new glasses were ordered.Then early on Monday morning we sped off to a big school in Samut Pragahn. This was very special, all 1,600 pupils and staff turned out to greet me, to listen to me, to take the Refuges and Precepts and to make the formal offering of the 250,000 Baht that they had collected in a very short time. I had never before given the precepts to so many. It was a wonderful morning. Anumodana!In the afternoon, when I'd got back to Khun Jung's, my old friend Sathienpong Wannapok came to see me. His article in Matichon had given our fundraising a terrific boost.The day after that was my 63rd birthday! I can't quite believe the number and somehow feel those numerals should be the other way round and even then would be too many. Just across from where we were staying was Thawsi School, a Buddhist school for children from 5 to 11. It's run by Khun Onn and her husband, Khun Witit. That morning I was invited over to the school to listen to the children recite morning chanting, then chat to them for a while (when I surprised a few people with my Thai, which sometimes isn't all that bad) and then they put a little play on for me. It was based on the well-known chant about the Buddha's wholesome victories and it was utterly delightful. One of the scenes showed the Angulimala story. This big lad came on with a sword and moustaches and quickly killed a couple of other lads before pursuing the Buddha around the stage, then shamelessly playing to the gallery he brought the house down by giving each of the 'bodies' another poke with his sword as he passed. The whole thing was done in a very formal Thai style with the Buddha represented by a child carrying a pole on which was suspended a banner with either an image of the Buddha walking or an image of him sitting. There are a couple of pictures in my album here and some more on the Thawsi School website, here. Afterwards they all sang Happy Birthday to me and then I was offered a lovely meal, some of which the children had cooked. That morning another 10,000 Baht was offered. Anumodana!In the evening I gave a talk to about 150 people at Charn Issara Tower and another collection was made. This time 250,000 Baht. Anumodana!Then it was back to pack and get ready and all too soon my little break was over and I was heading back to Blighty.

Asalha Puja & Bhavana Dhamma.

On July 29th, the Full Moon of the ancient Indian lunar month of Asalha, the skies over the Heart of England cleared, the torrential rain that had been soaking us for weeks abated, the sun shone forth and we had a wonderful day celebrating the Buddha's very first sermon. It was the usual format that all our festivals follow: Dana, Sila, Bhavana - Giving, Virtue and Cultivation. People brought food to offer and share, and other requisites to help keep us going; they received and renewed their precepts; we all honoured the Triple Gem by circumambulating the temple three times with candles flowers and incense and then they listened while I explained that first important teaching of the Buddha's. In the hope they would remember what they'd heard, to take with them and keep by them, I gave out a little card with on one side a finger pointing the way to happiness and on the other the Noble Eightfold Path which the Buddha had revealed in his first sermon to those five ascetics, his former companions.

While I had been away in Thailand I had decided that we should give Wood Cottage a new name more appropriate to its role as a place for Dhamma practice. I decided to call it Bhavana Dhamma and when I got back and we were planning our Asalha Puja celebration we felt that it would be a good idea to hold our renaming ceremony in the afternoon of Asalha Puja when we'd finished at The Forest Hermitage (Wat Pah Santidhamma). So that's what we did. Some of us walked over and others went by car and when we'd all gathered we blessed the new sign over the door and then gathered inside for some refreshment and a chat.
There are some pictures of both occasions here.We couldn't linger too long however because we had to get off pretty smartish for Hylands Park near Chelmsford where thousands of scouts were camped and where I had to lead another Asalha Puja ceremony and give a short sermon. That's in another post.

Sunrise Day.

Yesterday I set off early with Tom, Sister Khema and Elizabeth for Hylands Park near Chelmsford where the 21st World Scout Jamboree was being held. Actually it was my second visit. On Sunday we had gone there to celebrate Asalha Puja and yesterday we went again to join in the Scout movement's centenary day, Sunrise Day. On Sunday I gave a short sermon in a gloomy, muddy tent about the significance of Asalha Puja and yesterday I spoke at length to a much larger audience gathered in the open air in brilliant sunshine about Buddhism and Scouting.I am pictured here with Professor Yongyudh Vajaradul, Chairman of the World Buddhist Scout Brotherhood.There are some more pictures in an album, just go to the Photos tab at the top of the page.


On July 15th the much talked of, long planned and vigorously debated, sponsored walk and meditation on Snowdon finally happened and was a great success. I missed it of course as I was in Thailand and that day involved in a rather less physically demanding approach to fund raising and merit making. From what I gather everyone pretty much enjoyed themselves, although the walk was longer than some had anticipated, and then of course there were the blisters! Never mind, it was a great effort and I am already hearing talk of another, the question is where next? I'm not sure how much was raised, partly because it's still coming in but it's well over £3,000. Anumodana!

A New Thai Restaurant.

Today was the official opening of a new Thai restaurant in West Bridgeford on the outskirts of Nottingham. Khun Ting and her husband, David, are the owners and I was invited to go there this morning for the blessing. I was joined by four monks from Wat Sanghathan in Birmingham. Khun Ting and David are well-known to us at The Forest Hermitage and have supported us for many years. This is their second restaurant and it was lovely to be with them on this very special day. In the picture, with Khun Ting and David looking on, I'm rather precariously make the marks of blessing over the sign 'Siam House'.The food was wonderful and it was a very happy day. I wish them all success.

Thirty Years Ago.

Our Visakha Puja weekend marked an anniversary that I had meant to have made something of but then forgot all about. Thirty years ago the weekend of the 4th and 5th of June marked the beginning of the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations and on June 4th I took Ajahn Chah to visit my parents. It was on the train to Portsmouth that I asked him if it would be all right for me to do some prison visits and he answered with one word, 'Go!'The following day, I remember it poured with rain and we went for a drive. That was when we called at the home of a relative and while everyone else was stuffing themselves with afternoon tea, he and I occupied a sofa at the end of the room. All of a sudden he dug me in the ribs and told me to ask these typical middle class English people if they suffered. I was just about to make some excuse and get out of it when the room went silent and I realised the chatter had stopped, the tea cups and buns were stilled and all eyes were on me as everyone waited to hear what the great man had said. I was trapped! Well you can imagine the embarrassed reaction when I translated his question. Eventually I told him that they didn't understand and the teacups, the buns and the chatter resumed.The picture is of us leaving my parent's home for church that same evening. Ajahn Chah led us up the main aisle and seated, turned on his little tape recorder. The clergyman was as nervous as a kitten and his sermon was hopeless. Ajahn Chah understood not a word but realised it wasn't very good and afterwards said that even I could have done better!

Visakha Puja at The Forest Hermitage.

We had a wonderful day, the most brilliant weather you can imagine, excellent company with many young people, more food than we could eat and good Dhamma! What more could you want?In my talk I spoke about what we were there to celebrate and what makes the Buddha different from us. As followers of the Buddha we should be going where he went and doing as he did, which means giving up craving and going all the way to Nibbana. And speaking of craving, well you're only poor when you want more. Stop wanting and you've got it all. Not wanting you're content with whatever you have and contentment, isn't that wealth and happiness?I also emphasised how important it is for everyone to care for themselves and I hope that we and this place and the Dhamma we offer will help with that.We are very conscious of our dependence on all who support us and grateful for all that is offered. At the end of the day it was reported to me that as well as a generous collection of supplies, £574 had been given. Anumodana!

In Preparation for Tomorrow.

A couple of days of busy preparations for our Visakha Puja Celebration tomorrow concluded with our evening puja and sitting in front of the Ajahn Chah tree. This was the sight that met my eyes as I went out to take my place and begin the chanting.

Foston Hall Buddha Grove Dedicated.

After we got back from London on the 19th there was a short and special Angulimala committee meeting here and when we'd finished just as she was going through the gate, Samacitta had the bright idea that perhaps she could take the Buddha Rupa for Foston Hall's Buddha Grove. Dharmachari Samacitta is the Buddhist chaplain to this women's prison in Derbyshire and the Buddha Grove there has been an ongoing phenomena for three or four years now. Samacitta had already pinned me down to a dedication ceremony on Buddha Day (Visakha Puja) so it seemed reasonable for the Buddha Rupa to go with her that night for everything to be ready in time. It was carefully loaded into the back of her car and off she went. On Visakha Puja Day itself, I with Tahn Manapo, a visiting monk from Australia, Elizabeth and Prang, who drove, sped off to spend the afternoon in Foston Hall where some tea and buns had been prepared for the guests, officials and few inmates who attended. It poured with rain as soon as we arrived but stopped for the ceremony itself. Everything went all right and afterwards we dashed back in time for an evening with a few members of Warwick University Buddhist Society.

A Chinese Invasion!

Over the last few years I've made some friends in the Chinese community in London, some of them students and some who are not but all who share a love of the Dhamma. We've met when I've been at the annual Buddha's Birthday Celebration in Leicester Square, when I've spoken at the University of London Union Buddhist Association (ULUBUDA) last year, at Imperial College this year, and at again when I spoke at the Vesak Celebration at London Buddhist Vihara a few weeks ago. Some of them have been talking of coming to visit the The Forest Hermitage for some time and on Sunday they made it. They came with masses of wonderful food and a strong determination to make themselves useful. It was the Bank Holiday and what we used to call a typical Bank Holiday, it rained heavily. So they made themselves useful cleaning and polishing indoors. Here you can see them enjoying themselves and being busy. It was a very nice day. I'm so glad they came and I hope they'll be back soon.

Back in the West End.

Once again this year I was invited to the annual celebration in London's Leicester Square in honour of the birth of the Buddha, or rather of the baby who would grow up as a prince then leave it all behind to search for Enlightenment and become the Buddha. It's always a very friendly occasion this that the Chinese London Fo Guang Temple arranges. I love going to it and after all, as I said to my friend Victor later that day, I don't get to appear in the West End often these days.So on Cup Final Day down to London went Tahn Manapo and I with Prang doing the driving. Of course the match at Wembley meant more traffic and so we didn't arrive in Leicester Square until after the procession through China Town was well on its way. Never mind we had time to sit and catch our breath before they returned and the main ceremony began. All around the Buddha Image in the main tent was beautifully decorated and in my little talk I drew attention to this and the obvious love and respect for the Buddha that it showed. This, I said, is what the Buddha means to us who follow him and so when we see his image and name used inappropriately it worries us. I wanted to make a point of this because sitting in front of me was the Deputy Mayor of Westminster, the very council that licenses establishments like the Funky Buddha Club in Mayfair! I think he got the message.Afterwards we walked over to the British Museum and spent an hour or so viewing its wonderful collection of ancient Buddha Images.

On these annual trips I try to include a visit with an old and very dear friend of mine who lives in a tiny flat overlooking China Town. But he'd told me he was away and wouldn't be back until late that afternoon, too late for us to meet. We were just emerging from the underground car park to come back to Warwickshire when my phone rang and it was him. He'd just got in. So up the road we went to another car park and then for the second time that day threaded our way through the crowds and across Leicester Square. But this time it was to Newport Place and Victor's tiny flat that we went where we chatted and were entertained by this wonderful man who firmly believes in living in the present. Victor Spinetti and I worked together nearly forty years ago when I was an actor at the National Theatre and he came to direct a play composed of John Lennon's verse, and we've been friends ever since. We don't see each other often but I've kept in touch with him unlike other former friends and colleagues because I felt he understood what I'm up to, at least so far as the practice of trying to live in the present is concerned.

Caring for the name and images of the Buddha.

Again and again, I either see for myself or I am told of yet another example of the Buddha or Images of the Buddha being used to promote clubs and bars, or advertise things so contrary to the life and message of the Buddha. And if it's not that it's the image of the Buddha used as decoration or fashion item: candles, on place mats, on bags of rice, on shoes and swimwear.In the course of his life the Buddha was himself subject to abuse and taught that it should be endured, that in time it would pass and in any case that one should be glad that it hadn't been any worse. Not only that, but even if one were being hacked apart, limb by limb, one should not cease to have loving-kindness for one's abusers. But he also taught that to respect those worthy of respect was a great blessing and we Buddhists obviously believe the Buddha to have embodied the highest and best that any being can aspire to and therefore to have been the most worthiest of respect. The Buddha Image reminds us of all this. It reminds us too of a mind purified of all greed, hatred and delusion.If we do nothing about the misuse of the name and image of the Buddha, how are we going to feel when we wake up to discover that people around us are associating the Buddha not with purity but with greed (the Greedy Buddha Restaurant in London's Wandsworth Bridge Road), with alcohol and intoxication (the Buddha Bars) and with sex (The Kaz Bar, a strip club in Stratford-upon-Avon decorated with Buddha Images). Don't think it can't happen. I don't suppose the creators of those lofty Buddha Images in Afghanistan's Bamian Valley all those hundreds of years ago ever thought those images would be deliberately reduced to rubble but it happened. And I don't suppose that anyone in Asia a century ago ever thought that that most ancient and revered symbol of the swastika would ever be associated with evil, and yet now hardly anyone in the West thinks otherwise when they see it and in some countries it's banned altogether!What then can we do? Unfortunately, not much. Here we've tried using the Warwick Faiths Forum to take our concerns about the Kaz Bar to Stratford Council and it's emerged that unless the presence of the Buddha Images in that club are likely to cause trouble no action can be taken!All that's left and I feel we must do it is to make our concerns known and continue to explain the meaning and importance of the Buddha and how contrary to his example and message are many of these places that are using his image and name.

Vesak at the London Buddhist Vihara.

I had accepted an invitation from Venerable Seelawimala to speak at the London Buddhist Vihara's Vesak celebration and so on Sunday down to Chiswick I went again.The title of my talk was The Challenge of the Dhamma. While I got a few laughs for them, the stories I told focussed on how the Dhamma challenges our defilements, our views and our conduct. And I spoke pretty directly on the importance of having the courage to rise to the challenges and always to do the right thing and to keep growing. Naturally, I spent some time on the Five Precepts, and encouraged my listeners to not be afraid of being particularly careful of the fifth. The questions that followed showed what a raw nerve that exposed. I assured them that doing the right thing and leading a moral and decent life is in the end always respected.

TBSUK meeting at the London Buddhist Vihara.

On May 2nd I chaired a meeting of the Theravada Buddhist Sangha in the UK (TBSUK) which was kindly hosted by my friend Venerable Seelawimala, the Acting Head of London Buddhist Vihara. This meeting was attended by representatives of 14 Theravada Temples and brought together monks from Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand, India and Great Britain. The intention so far is for TBSUK to be a contact point and network linking the Theravada Sangha in the UK. I rather hope too that on occasions it will be a voice through which the opinion and expertise of the Theravada Sangha here can be heard. But it's early days and clearly time and patience are both needed for it to grow and succeed.I am grateful to Venerable Seelawimala for so warmly welcoming us and providing the venue and the tea.