Thera Chaiyavongsa And Wat Phra-That-Doi-Suthep
This monday I proudly present story of :candle: the venerable Thera Chaiyavongsa :candle: , a former abbot of Wat Pra-Bart-Huey-Tom(วัดพระบาทห้วยต้ม) in Lumpoon, Thailand. Tep and I went to visit him twice, stayed overnight each time at his temple. I also had a five-day meditation retreat there all by myself later, because Tep had to work in Bangkok during summer that year.
**********Chaiyavongsa was born in a farmer family in Lumpoon, north of Thailand. When he was very young he loved to make Buddha statues from clay and put them in his room for nightly prayer
. At seven year of age he helped his father make money from sales of firecrackers made from potasium-nitrate in bat droppings found in nearby caves. His family loved to do merits by supporting local monks. The little boy himself enjoyed setting-free captured animals in the neighborhood. One day he saw a big deer getting shot and it cried out with pain. To him the sound of the dying animal was like the sound of a human-being. And he was so sad that he promised himself that he would never eat animal meats again.When he was twelve years old, his father arranged for him to become a Samanera and to study the Dhamma under the venerable Kruba Chailanka. His teacher always took the Samanera with him for forest dwelling(tudong) and also to meditate at Wat Prabart-Hueytom which was deserted during that time. Phra Kruba Chailanka predicted that one day Samanera Chaiyavongsa would rebuilt this ruined temple and develop it to become a major monastery in the Northern District
. When Samanera Chaiyavongsa was 19 yrs old, Phra Kruba Chailanka died at the age of seventy. So he moved to stay with :candle: Phra Kruba Prommachakko :candle: (Wat Chom-Mork) who later ordained him as a monk at the time he was twenty years old. The two monks always tudonged together. Two years later Bhikkhu Chaiyavongsa had a great chance to meet the great Phra-Kruba Srivichai and later on took part in building the famous "Serpent Stairway" to the top of Doi Suthep. He worked side by side with Kruba Aphichai-Khaopi in directing the construction, employing the local mountain people in the labor force, until the serpent stairs was finished.
Phra Kruba Srivichai Monument
Serpent Stairway up to Wat Phra That-Doi-Suthep, Chieng-Mai
Wat Phra That-Doi-Suthep, Chieng-Mai
:candle: Phra-Kruba Srivichai
:candle: was quite well known as a Holy Monk. He was super-famous and highly respected in the North. One day a man came to give him a big bunch of coconuts but Phra-Kruba denied, saying that the man should better take the coconuts back to feed his parents. When he was back home and cutting open the coconuts, he found all of them had blood inside. This incident frightened him, and he went back to see Phra-Kruba Srivichai again in order to report it. Phra-Kruba told him that a kamma nimitta due to his parents' abusing in the past, and it would put him to Hell when he died.When Chaiyavongsa Thera was 27 years old, Phra-Kruba Srivichai died at Wat Baan Pang. He was left with only Kruba Aphichai-Khaopi, who was also a Holy Monk. People believed that :candle: Kruba Aphichai-Khaopi :candle: was holy since after his death his body never decayed for years-- it looks as if he is sleeping. Thera Chaiyavongsa put his teacher's body in a glass-coffin for people to come to pay respect at Wat Phanam.When Thera Chaiyavongsa was 33 years old, Kruba Chailanka's prediction came true, The Thera came back to rebuild the ruined Wat Phrabart-Huey-tom and turned it into a beautiful temple! He resided at this temple till he died.
NOTE: Information about Wat Phrabart-Huey-tom :
Wat Phrabart-Hueytom is located in Lampoon Province, the north of Thailand. This temple has a famous monk, Thera Chaiyavongsa, but he passed away many years ago. Thera Chaiyavongsa was a developer. He established this temple and the big pagoda named “Pra Chedi Paed Muen Sipan Pratammakan” which becomes the signature of this temple. Moreover, there is a big Buddha footprint for people to pay respect to in the chapel. This temple is beautiful and interesting. Many things are waiting for you to find out. Thera Chaiyavongsa was a former abbot and a founder of Wat Phra-Bart-Huey-Tom in Lampoon Province. He was a well-known monk in the north of Thailand. He was a worshipful monk. Thera Chaiyavongsa made a wonder that his body does not decay after his death. His body is well kept in the glass coffin. Today, people come to pay respect to his body every day.
More about the pagoda “Pra Chedi Paed Muen Sipan Pratammakan”:
“Pra Chedi Paed Muen Sipan Pratammakan” is the big beautiful pagoda. This pagoda is 34 meters high built in B.E. 2518 (C.E. 1975) and completed in B.E. 2523 (C.E. 1980) with a budget of 12 million baht. In the same year, His Majesty the King Bhumibol came to anoint the holy stone relics for auspiciousness to place in the pagoda.
I truly love Chaiyavongsa Thera,