SOMDEJ PHRA PUTTAJARN TOH PHROMARANGSRI (SOMDEJ TOH)
Somdej Toh was born in 17 April B.E.2331 in the 7th years of Groong Rattanagosin era of King Rama 1st. Even though Somdej To may act rather unfashionably but never capriciously he had been known as a highly eccentric monk. The legend has is that King Rama the fourth favord him a great deal. it was also known that King was a true expert on astrology and astronomy to the extent that he could even predict the solar eclipse in advance. The king together with his son along with the diplematic corps proceeded to WhaKoh in Prachaub and withnessed the solar eclipse – an event which surprised everyone-concerning his ability in mathematical and astrological prediction.
Before he ascended to the throne he was voted unanimously by the nobility to leave monkhood and became the King of Siam. Being a keen astrologer, he believed that the birthchart of Prince Issaresrangsarn, his younger brother, was excellent so he appointed him anohter king called “Phra Pinklauo”. It was also believed that the birthchart of Somdej To was also examined by the king as Somdej To did but the king were displeased with such plagiarism.
According to his birthchart, it was known that Somdej To was a very intelligent and highly capable monk. At the time that he was born, the “Sri” or special merit was upon his ascendant. This means he would be well-known and well respected. His Mars would help him in terms of hard work. At the same time his Mars proved that he was simply an orphan so he turned to Buddhism. His Jupiter happen to be one of the highest point which certainly testifies to the fact that his intelligence was high whereas his Venus shows that he did not crave for any wealth, Saturn as well as Rahu Proved that he did not long for any possession and would live very long. His Majesty King Rama the fourth was well known for his prediction and treatise on astrology. He found that Somdej To’s birthchart was amazingly good. In fact it would be far more scientific to suggest that the moment of conception would be the time when the influence of the planets would be more significant. King Rama the fourth also put forward his own interpretation for the planets without conflicting with any traditional astrological beliefs. Those who are interested in astrology may also try to interpret their signs according to King Rama the fourth’s interpretation, they will be surprised that it is accurate and can explain the psychic nature that sees through to their real inner personality.
Photo of Somdej Toh in B.E.2415
Judging from the signs as well as personality and character it is believed that Somdej To had attained a high degree of emlightenment and could perform prescience. Once he was asked in front of a stupa what would be stuck up inside the niche, he answered “Two frogs” and it turned out that the two frogs could not find the way out. The niche was then broken apart to let them go. His life was full of meritorius activities and he had been helping the poor all along. This is why the Thai people do find him a great and respectable monk. Somdej Puttajart (To) was known to be a sagacious and intelligent monk and yet his conduct was rather eccentric. No one would act the way he did. At one time his disciples quarreled with each other and were about to use violence, if he should stop it, it would be natural but he did otherwise. He simply went to see the disciples bringing along candles and joss-sticks and prostrated himself, gave the disciples a deep bow and said “You all are very great. Allow me to be your simple disciple”
The disciples, upon seeing this, stopped the quarrel right away. Somdej Puttajarn (To) made another bow and said:-“I did not manage well and it’s not your fault. Please put the blame on me.” Somdej Puttajarn believed in the Buddhist way of conquering anger with non-anger. Once his disciples were playing Takraw, a ball of woven ratten strips. upon learning this incident he went up there with clothing folded upon his head and said “May I join this game.” The players immediately stopped playing and there was sense of guilt among them. He often exchanged ideas and opinions with foreign missionaries. Once he was asked where the poles of earth are. He took the missionary to the ground and pointed at it. saying “It is right here”. The missionary then asked him how he knew about it. He said the earth is round and if we draw the line across the earth it would simply be here with is another pole.
Image of Krua Toh and King Rama 5th.
There had been a saying concerning him that he resided in AYUTTHAYA,came to stay at CHAIYO, grew up in WATINDRA dad keeps Buddist precepts at WATRAKHANG, denoting several places where he had lived. He built up Luand Poh To, a hugh image, at Wat INDRA but he passed away before the construction was completed. As for Buddha images that he created, it is believed that he should have known a number of royally sponsored artists or “Chang Sipmoo” who also helped him to design these images. His incantation used as magic spell or charm also came from Sri Lanka or Ceylon. People who chant his incantation are free from any discases and should also be happy with all the praises and blessings. Somdej Puttajarn (To) also translated and adapted the verses from Pali into Thai.
The stories and legends concerning Somdej Puttajarn seem innumerable, especially known to be the king of all little Buddha images. Chao Phrya Srisuriyawongse (Cuang Bunnag) who had been Regent for some 5 years before King Rama the fifth became of age so his duty and work expired. The Regent was then raised to the position of Somdej Chao Phrya Barommahasrisuriya-wongse. However, the legend has it that he might betray the King which had been untrue. Somdej Puttajarn To walked with torch lit up during day time and went over to see the Regent asking directly “is it true of not true? If it should be true, i would ask you to stop it right away.” The regent, ofcourse, agreed to end such rumor.
Somdej Puttajarn had been very familiar with the Regent who asked him to give sermons from time to time. His sermons were full of examples and stories which today still remain easy for understanding. He was very sagacious and highly intelligent in the sense that he was truly a genius. When King Mongkut ascended to the throne at the age of 69, Somdej Puttajarn (To) was then 81 years old and became Puttajarn, an ecclesiastical title, for 3 years or so. He was then in the autumn of his life and asked a monk called Phra Puttabatpilan (Tad) to be the abbot of the monastery. M.L.Phra Maha Swang and Prom Suddipong drew some 21 scenes of pictures covering Somdej Puttajarn (To)’s lifetime based upon the explanation given by 88 years-old Chao Khun Phra Thammatavorn (Chang) as follows:- Once Prince Duang, King of Cambodia, graciously invited him to give a sermon. On the way to his residence, there were many tigers around. So he asked the tigers to take full rest, not harassing the people anymore. He journeyed to the prince’s palace on a palanquin instead of being driven by cart led by buffalos or cows since he did not prefer that type of journey.
The sermon was then given to the prince and Cambodian people concerning unity. King Mongkut was pleased with this sermon. Somdej Puttajarn (To) decided to buld a monastery called Kettuchaiyo. The construction was assisted by King Mongkut and Prince Pinklauo as well as foreign residents such as Indians,Farang,Cambodian,Lao,Mons and Chinese. This monastery become famous and was visited by a large number of people all the time. It had been widely known that Somdej puttajarn (To), former about of WatRakhang, and King Rama the fourth who had been a monk also for a long time, had known each other well. When the king ascended to the throne, he would allow the Somdej to do what he liked and always found him a sagacious monk. Once King Rama the fourth held a boat decoration contest where different state agencies sent beautiful boats for the occasion Somdej Puttajarn also came in an ordinary boat, with a monkey staying there.
The King certainly found that the Somdej would never enter the contest since he was a monk who desired no power nor any other worldly things. Thai monks could merely have four pieces of personal belongings and could not amass wealth. Therefore he could never enter a decoration contest. He put the money on the boat to prove that such contest was nonsensical. The King could defrock him since it was in the days of absolute monarchy. In the past he already defrocked Phra Pavana of Thonburi. The King and the Somdej had a very good relationship for over a long time. Once the king graciously gave him a beautiful boat and asked that he should use it to go around giving sermons. But the boat was a big one so the people started calling him Somdej To or Somdej Big.
A couple of years later the Somdej passed away amidst sorrow and despondence among the people . What is most interesting is the legends about him that are still talked about even today.
[ THE MASTER TAUGHT ] YOUR OWN GOOD DEEDS NEVER HAVE BEEN CONDUCT. WHO WILL HELP YOU?
“Son, before you visit any master for blessing. You’ll need your own supply for investment. which mean your own good karma to start. When your own is not enough, then you can borrow others help. Otherwise you’ll not be able to survive on this nature because the deeds you’ve done is too much for your own.”
“When you’ve done some good deeds karma, all this go back to those who you borrowed from. And what will left for you? and your next life?[start]. Alway conduct your own good action. Gods and heaven will sure help you”
“Do remember, if it’s not the right time. Gods will not be able to help.”
“Once it’s time, nothing can stop you.”
“Do never rush Gods.”
“If your own good deeds never have been conduct. Who will help you?”
( This is the famous teaching for thai people, they passed down for generation by Jaokhun Nor WatThepsirin. With full respect. )
This story said by Somdej Toh when he focus in nimitta ( vision by sitting meditation ): One night Somdej Toh woke up, he have seen a man who weared all white cloths. He is too fascinating to be any mankind or life on earth. In this world with full mystery he’ve realized with his own wisdom that the man is not human. He asked the mysterious man in the white cloths.
“Honorable sir. As i have meet you in this place. It is truly my good karma and honor. You have visiting my place. By any means i have make mistake or conducted anythong wrong regard the teaching from Lord Buddha. And if it’s the case, please advise me to bring up enlightenment.
The God replied. “Tarn Toh. Your conductions here are similar to Phra.Samana Kodhom [Lord Buddha]. Only the way you’ve planned about amulets. You’ve planned to make them as memorial for people. Once you have start working, the process must be righteous.
The God continued. “Tarn Toh. You have live within spiritual world, then you should follow law of this nature.[souls society], The consecrate’s process to bring up holy items, you’ll need a correct way to build the ceremony.”
Somdej Toh then replied “Honorable sir, I am open for anyone opinion. If you are willing to help me. Please advise.”
The God then have taught on how to build the ceremony, in thai we called “Tevar Bunyad” or “Phromma Bunyad”, It’s the law of sacred ancients.
Before the God leave from his vision. Somdej Toh have focusing into mindfulness. Somdej Toh asked “Honorable PhraPhrom, what is your name?”
The God then answered.”If you need help from me. I am a disciple of Aong Phra Mokalana (one of the first five disciples of Lord Buddha called ‘Punjawakee’. I have enlightened during my life time on earth. I was 7 years old. But as i have designed to leave the world before nature time of life, by the cause of lust. I have an anxiety that women will break my precepts in life. I have to stay in Brahmaloka image.If Tarn Toh need help from me, then think of “CHINNABUNCHARA”.
Anytimes when Somdej Toh consecrated holy items and amulets in ceremony. The God “CHINNABUNCHARA” alway appeared.
The legend pass down for generations, hundreds of years regards Somdej Phra Puttajarn Toh story. One of the best Thai guru monk who had enlightened many thai/siamnese people and have lessoned in many miraculous ways which none such recordable devices evidence can prove yet. His amulets “PhraSomdej WatRakhang” was called Emperor of Thailand amulets. [txt b.e.2550]
“Those who learn to pray may not fall” Somdej Toh said. “To pray Chinnabunchorn with mindfulness, they bring great protection to the prayer fortune. Can use them to consecrate anythings and any purpose prayer focus in their mind”
[All thanks to elders]