The Biography of Somdej Toh (Toh Phromarangsi)

Somdej Toh or Archan Toh was born on 17th day of April in 1788 (B.E.2331), in a small village of Kamphaeng Phet Province of the Chakri Dynasty, known formally as Phra Buddhachan Toh Phromarangsi, he was born before his father became the King. Among devotees he is addressed as Somdej Toh or Archan Toh, he is one of the most beloved and famous Buddhist monks during Thailand's Rattanakosin period in Thailand ruled under King Rama. Somdej Toh is a venerable person in Buddhism. Somdej Toh was named "Toh" before his monk hood and then "Phromarangsi" as his ordination-name. When Somdej Toh ordained as a novice at the age of 12. His family took him to Wat Nibbanaram - currently Wat Mahathaad in Bangkok, a temple right across the road from the Grand Palace. At the age of 21, in 1807 (B.E.2350), he ordained as a monk under the Royal Patronage at Wat Praseeratanasasadaram (Wat Prakeo) in Bangkok. Later he refuge in Wat Rakang ability to further his knowledge, he studied hard at the temple on philosophy in Buddhism and various Buddhist scriptures. Well-versed in Buddhist teachings, he was also named as Maha Toh, the King monk. He was noted for the skill of his preaching and Thai poetry to reflect the beauty of Buddhism. He studied the Buddhist scriptures of Pali scriptures with several Buddhist masters. A shilled meditator with closed connection with the royal family, Somdej Toh was famous for his wide popularity of his humble, despite his ranking and considerate, he was easily approach for communicating with advices and offered blessings with people at all levels of life. After becoming a well-known monk, he became the preceptor for Prince Mongkut, Prince Mongkut later became King Rama IV of Thailand. When Prince Mongkut was ordained as a monk. Somdej Toh was his senior monk, the one who taught him initially in Dharma and Vinaya. Soon after Prince Mongkut was appointed to a clerical post, his father the present King passed away. The Privy Council appointed one of his brother as King Rama III in place of his father. Somdej Toh in the course of his studies in Buddhist practice. he decided to leave Bangkok and went for “Thudong” alone, deep into the jungle to the border of Thailand, Laos and Cambodiafor more than 2 decades. Thudong is a monk’s journey to gain knowledge to build up good karma and to know the teaching of Buddha. Prince Mongkut remained in the temple as a monk for 20 years. When King Rama III (his brother) passes away, Prince Mongkut was then offered the throne. So Prince Mongkut disrobed and was reign as King Rama IV. As time goes by, in the year 1860 (B.E.2403), when King Rama IV built the Holy City Hill named “Phra Nakhon Khiri Royal Palace” locally it is known as Khao Wong or Palace Hill in Phetchaburi province, the King Rama IV invited the country monks for the opening ceremony and celebration in a grand manner. Among the monks, the King gave the order decree to fetch Somdej Toh back to Bangkok from Thudong. Royal Officer were sent out into the forest to look for him, or bring back any monk they could found. Finally the topic been brought to his attention, Somdej Toh voluntarily intended to returned back to Bangkok after 20 years of Thudong. He was invited for the ceremony, Somdej Toh set off his journey with a boat to Bangkok for the celebration, while on his way there was a sea storm occurred. Somdej Toh step out in front of the boat and with his virtue of prayer he waved his hand toward the sea. The wind died down and the sea storm was completely calm. It can said that with his prayer even the wind and the waves obey him. Somdej Toh had long been the favourite of the King. After that occasion, King Rama IV appointed him to be in charge of Wat Rakang, and provided him with the title of “Somdej”, is a high rank title a monk hold. After receiving the title his name was revealed as Somdej Toh until today. During King Rama IV reign year 1864, Somdej Toh was given the ceremonial name Phra Buddhacharn Toh Phromarangsi. Another contribution of Somdej Toh is the Chinabanchorn (Jinnabanchorn) Katha. This Katha was an ancient Buddhist katha, which Somdej Toh received from an old scroll from Sri Lanka. After having the Katha, on some occasions Somdej Toh editing and rewrite to improved the Katha scriptures from the original one making it easier to pray. The Katha is named “Chinabanchorn”, which is the same name to Tao Maha Phrom Chinabanchorn. Somdej Toh used this katha for ceremony chanting, blessing and meditation all the times whatever he do. Chinabanchorn Katha is known as the most powerful Katha of all and believed to be the supreme Buddhist spell because the words of this Katha invited the magic power of Lord Buddha Somdej Phra Sammasam Buddhachao, other Lord Buddhas and Phra Arahants. Phra Somdej amulets generally is good for protecting the worshipper from avoidance of misfortune, accident, disaster, dispelled black magic, evil spirits and ghosts. There is one story tells early in his reign. There was a time, before Somdej Toh went for Thudong, he went to reside at Wat Rakang to further his studies. The night before, abbot of the temple dreamed that a white elephant was moving toward the direction of the temple and devoured all the scriptures in a boxes, the abbot was awaken by the horrifying dream, the next morning he felt that a conclusion must be some unusual visitor will come to the temple to take refuge that day. As it happened as he thought about, at the same day a devotee came to the temple of Wat Rakang to invited the abbot to perform a religious ceremony out of the temple. Before the abbot left, he instructed a novice monk in the temple that if there were visitor who visit the temple that day, they must use all effort to retained him at the temple until he come back. On that day, when Somdej Toh arrived at the temple of Wat Rakang, the novice monk told him the incident and requested him to wait and stayed for his abbot to come back. Somdej Toh was amazed with the incident, but he however stayed on and wait for the abbot to get back. After a moment, the abbot returned in a hurry and asked the novice monk is there any visitor who came to the temple. Somdej Toh was even more surprised and asked the abbot how come he knows that he will visit the temple on that day. The abbot told him of his dream and Somdej Toh immediately greet and pay respects to the abbot. When the abbot saw Somdej Toh he knew that Somdej Toh was an unusual person, with his head appeared larger than the rest of other monks, he will become a very outstanding monk and accepted him as his disciple. Somdej Toh were popular for his knowledge in both holy Dhamma and Visha (magic). The abbot taught Somdej Toh everything he knew until the last day of his life. In Thailand, whenever the monks attend a prayer chanting ceremony they will carry a holy fan, these fan describe their ranking statue. Before any ceremony start, the holy fan will be raised in front of the monk’s before chanting the verses. One day the King of Thailand invited Somdej Toh to conduct a bliss seeking prayer ceremony at a temple. Somdej Toh was holding his holy fan standing at the river bank when he intended to get a boat to get across the river. The area boat-man around there would normally provide Somdej Toh a free trip without charge because they know him well. On a particular day, a boat-man who came from some where else that did not know Somdej Toh provide him a ride across the river and ask Somdej Toh for the boat fare. As he know that the boat-man is just making a living, he offered his royal sealed holy fan to the boat-man as the fare. When Somdej Toh arrived at the temple the royal guards get confused as why Somdej Toh did not carry the holy fan with him and thought that he might had forgotten to bring it along. When the royal guards learned about incident, they are in fear as the holy fan was granted to Somdej Toh by the King with the royal seal on it, and also the holy fan was decorated with precious gemstones and the handle of the holy fan was made by ivory. When this matter was referred to the King, the King immediately ordered his royal guards to get back the holy fan from the boat-man. When the royal guards found the boat-man, he was still shivering and mentioned that it was Somdej Toh who insisted him to took the holy fan as the boat fare. The royal guard paid the boat fare and get back the holy fan from the boat-man and returned it back to Somdej Toh. From this story we can see the generosity of Somdej Toh. After this incident the King make a decision with a new law that no boat ride charges should be imposed on any monk taking a boat ride across the Chao Phraya River and this law is still enforce to present day. There was a day when Somdej Toh was taking a short afternoon nap, he notice that somebody have entered his room by the corner of his eye, he realized that it was a thief. He keep unknown and pretended asleep and did not bother with the thief. When the thief is about to leave, he saw a small gift box on the wall shelf near where Somdej Toh is sleeping. He intended to get the small box from the shelf but scare it may wake up Somdej Toh. The thief try hard to achieve the small box, but he failed to get it. Somdej Toh suddenly woke up to get the small box and hand it to him. The thief was confused when he see Somdej Toh gave him the small box without anger. He bravely asked Somdej Toh why he gave the small box to him, Somdej Toh told him, you are here for your neediness that why you came here, this small box belongs to me and I have to take care and look after it everyday. Now that you want it, I shall let you have it and I will be free from taking care of it. We came to this world without bringing anything with us, and we will not be taking anything with us when we leave. So why should we have to tied ourselves so much in this human world? Somdej Toh remained so dedicated to his life as a monk and brought many inspirations and implications to the people. He devotes large amount of funds he had for building several large Buddha statues on the government property. During the year 1872 (B.E.2415), Somdej Toh intended to build a tall standing Buddha statue holding a alms bowl at Wat IN (known as Wat Intharaviharn), when the Buddha statue is in process Somdej Toh who personally inspecting the construction of the Buddha statue, when the Buddha statue were under construction he used to slept at the site tent under the foot of the Buddha statue. On a night of June in the year 1872, when the statue was incomplete Somdej Toh pass away at the foot of the Buddha statue. Somdej Toh who originated the idea and unfortunately he is unable to see its completion. Somdej Toh left behind many precious such as the Buddha statues, temples and hundred thousands of Phra Somdej amulets. He also left behind the scripture text of Chinabanchorn Katha which is beneficial to all (is also known as The Grand Sutra Text). At the present time, more than 50 percents of devotees are able to chant this Katha. Because of his power of meditation and prayer, he created amulet of Phra Somdej reputed to be the most popular amulet among Buddhist collectors. The amulets were blessed and chanted by him and other respected famous monks in Thailand. He became famous for his wisdom, a venerable monk who gives Dharma talk to the royal palace and the public throughout the country. After his death there have been many legends concerning that time. He also appears in many versions of the story of the ghost wife Nang Nak Phra Khanong, sometimes referred to as just Nang Nak or Mae Nak.

Somdej Phra Phuttacharn(Toh), Wat Rakhang

Somdej Phra Phuttacharn(Toh), Wat Rakhang, made and blessed top famous Somdej Wat Rakhang between B.E.2400-2413. He passed away in B.E.2415 at the age of 85. His all Somdej amulets were blessed by himself with ChinnaBanchorn Katha. Materials for making the Somdejs comprise: shell lime, Phong Vises ( holy powder), assorted flowers from shrine, rice remains after his consumption, lotus, banana, ashes from incense urns, honey, tang oil, etc. This new Phra Somdej Wat Rakhang is made from a mixture of hold powders and fragments of the original Somdej Wat Rakhang amulets. Somdej amulets from Wat Rakhang will be highly collectable . Thai People believe that Phra Somdej amulet is best for strong protection and give the wearer Smooth sailing in life, Good business luck, Wealth fetching, Overcome all obstacles in life, Good in Business, Protection from harm and danger, Protection from evil spirit and Increase your personal good luck.

City Pillar (Lak Meuang) and the first Jatukam amulets

There are many stories on how the City Pillar (Lak Meuang) and the first Jatukam amulets were made. One story tells of Police Maj Gen Sanpetch Thammikun, the provincial police chief during the 1980s, going to Wat Nang Phraya during a shamanistic ritual. The medium, a woman, told the policeman to come back. When he did come back later the woman wasn't there, but had been replaced by a new medium claiming to be the spirit of the military leader for the B.E. 17th century Nakhon Si Thammarat king. The police general came a third time, and the second medium claimed to be yet another spirit - Jatukam, who instructed him to lead the construction of a city pillar. However, the spirit advised him that first he should consult with Police Maj Gen Khun Pantarakrachadej (also known as Ajarn Khun Phan), who was thought to be a master of Buddhist magical arts (Puttakom). This is believed by some to be the reason why Jatukam Ramathep was chosen to be a model for the amulet images when the campaign to raise funds for the city pillar was launched. The city pillar was partly completed in 1986, and the original Jatukam amulets were made in 1987. It was circular pendant a five-centimetres in diameter, and was priced at 49 baht. Now many are sold for more than 100,000 baht each. In the past only very few Jatukam amulets were produced, but after Police Maj Gen Khun Pantarakrachadej (Khun Phan) passed away recently at the age of 103 (some say 108), the amulets again became very popular.

Jatukham Rammathep defination

Jatukham Rammathep is the name of an unusually popular amulet sold by some Buddhist temples in Thailand. The amulet is named for two princes of the Srivijaya kingdom of southern Thailand, and is believed to provide protection and good fortune to the bearer. Some legends hold that the name actually belongs to an incarnation of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, whose worship was known in the south due to the presence of Mahayana Buddhism there during earlier eras. The original Jatukham Rammathep amulets were created in 1987 by a Thai policeman named Khun Phantharak Rajjadej who believed that the spirit of Jatukham Rammathep had assisted him in solving a difficult murder case. During 2006, following on the death of Khun Phantharak Rajjadej, Jatukham Rammathep amulets began to grow wildly in popularity among Thais who believed in their ability to grant good fortune and solve personal problems. The amulets were initially distributed by a temple in the town of Nakhon Si Thammarat in southern Thailand. As the demand for these amulets grew, they began to also be produced at other temples in Thailand.[2] In April 2007, a woman died after being trampled in a rush to acquire reservations for a batch of Jatukham Rammathep amulets being produced at the Mahathat Woromaha Vihan temple in Nakhon Si Thammarat.[2] Later that month, in the face of a crime wave of daily amulet robberies, Thailand's Supreme Patriarch stopped providing materials from the temple, such as ash from incense, used to make the amulets.[3] Trucks with loudspeakers blare promotions for different series of amulets all day in Nakhon Si Thammarat, and colorful posters cover many walls. It is estimated that sales of the Jatukham Rammathep amulet in Thailand will amount to over 20 billion baht during 2007.

Ganesh General Info

Many call Ganesh by other names such as Ganesha, Ganesa, or Ganapati. Ganesh, a Hindu god, first appeared about 2000 years ago. Over time Ganesh became a very important god. Millions of people believe Ganesh to be the supreme god - mostly in India. There are daily prayers offered to Ganesha from his followers. Ganesh is the son of Shiva and Vishnu. Shiva is said to have created Ganesh after a frustrating experience where he couldn't see his own wife - Vishnu - bathing. Ganesha is the god of obstacles, or, Vighneshvara. He is able to create and remove obstacles in peoples lives. It is said that if one doesn't worship him correctly he may put obstacles to your life - so Ganesh devotees are very good about honoring him! Ganesh is important not only in India where he originated, but in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Japan. In addition to obstacles, it is said that Ganesh can grant success. Ganesh statues, figurines, and amulets can be found all over Asia. Here in Thailand Ganesh statues share shrines with Buddha and Shiva quite frequently. Ganesh figures can be found in gardens, on the street, on the shore of rivers, at temples, in houses, in businesses, in college dorms, around necks, wrists and fingers, and on shirts! History - Ganesh Elephant - God with the Elephant Head Ganesh is a god that is worshiped by Hindus and to a lesser extent by Jains and Buddhists. He goes under a number of different names (more than 100) including: Ganesha Ganesa Vinayaka Ganapati Phra Phikanet (Thailand) Followers of Hinduism worship many gods, but Ganesh is the most well known to those outside of this religion because of his distinctive look. He has a large elephant head. Millions of people in India worship Ganesh as the ultimate god – the Supreme Being. Son of Shiva There are a number of legends that describe the birth of Ganesh. He is said to be the son of Lord Shiva – the god of death and destruction. One of the most popular stories of his birth is that he was magically created by Shiva’s wife – the goddess Pavarti. She made her son out of dirt because she needed someone to guard her door. Ganesh took his job seriously and he refused to allow anyone to enter his mother’s apartment. All was well until the Lord Shiva returned home from war unexpectedly. He was so angry about being stopped at his wife’s door by a stranger that he cut off Ganesh’s head. Pavarti was the only person in the world whom Shiva was afraid of, and she was outraged by what he had done to her son. The God of death and destruction become remorseful, and he promised to make amends. He decided to remove the head of the first animal he could find, and then used this to replace Ganesh’s amputated head. The first animal he came across was an elephant. The Power of Ganesh Ganesh is worshiped as the: Lord of Success Destroyer of obstacles Lord of elephants God of education and wisdom God of wealth Lord of beginnings As well as being the destroyer and creator of all obstacles, it is believed that Ganesh will deliberately create obstacles for those who disrespect him. He is also associated with the chakras in Kundalini yoga. He is said to reside in the sacral area – the root (first) chakra. Image of Ganesha Ganesh image amulet in gold oval case from Thailand.Ganesh is usually depicted with a humanoid looking elephant head, and a curved trunk. He also has a large protruding belly which is said to represent prosperity. Most images will show a small mouse beside his feet – this represents obstacles that need to be overcome. These depictions of Ganesh can be understood as representing his attributes: The large elephant head represents the wisdom given to him by Shiva His pot belly represents his ability to create prosperity The small mouse near his feet represents the many obstacles that need to be overcome Ganesh and Buddhism Ganesh is a Hindu god, but he is also on object of veneration for many Buddhists. This is hardly surprising as the Buddha and his early followers would have originally being devotees of Brahmanism (early Hinduism). There are even some Hindus who believe that the Buddha was a reincarnation of Ganesh. Some Buddhists believe that Ganesh was a bodhisattva – this is an enlightened being who decides to delay entering final nirvana because they wish to help those who are still suffering. Ganesha in Thailand Thailand is a predominately Buddhist country, but great respect is given to Ganesha because he is believed to be a bringer of good fortune. The Thais usually refer to him as Phra Phikanesuan or Phra Phikanet. There are many shrines devoted to him all over Thailand – one of the most prominent statues of him is located in Bangkok outside Central World. People will come to this shrine to make merit by laying flowers, sweets, or other treats. This is a particularly common practice for those who are looking for some luck when starting a new venture or sitting exams. One of the more novel ways that his image is used is that businesses that are going through a tough period will hang his picture upside down to indicate their distress. Ganesha Amulets Ganesha is seen as a powerful god who can help all humans in need. There are many stories from people who are convinced that he interceded on their behalf. Even people who have no real interest in Hinduism can feel that there is something special about Ganesha, and this is why his fame has spread to every corner of the globe. There are many ways to tap into the power of the elephant god, and in Thailand one of the most popular ways to do this is by wearing Ganesha amulets. It is believed that those who wear a Ganesh amulet around their neck will be protected from obstacles in life. They will also attract prosperity and benefit from increased wisdom. The fact that Ganesh is so well respected means that there are many amulets that use his image – some of the more expensive ones are made from precious metals - especially silver. We have many Ganesh amulets for sale here at Thai Amulet Sales (.com). Some of them are a combination of Ganesh and Kwan Yin's thousand arm pose.

History Jatukam Ramathep

There are many legends about the origins of Jatukham Rammathep, the name used to identify a certain kind of amulet, but it is generally agreed that it goes way back in the mists of time, long before the northern kingdoms emerged. Perhaps the most credible account is provided by late crime-buster Phantharak Rajjadej, who helped to create the famous amulets, as described in an almanac authored by Seawrite Award winner Jamlong Fangchollajit, a native of Nakhon Si Thammarat, where the history of it is set. Jatukham Rammathep is two people, not one. The names are the aliases of brother princes Inthara Sairen and Inthara Khao Kheo, sons of King Jantharaphanu, who ruled the Sri Thammasoke realm, the capital of the Krung Srivijaya Kingdom (757-1257) in southern Thailand, after his father who founded it. The Sri Thammasoke realm began to degenerate as a result of their father’s absence of 20 years during which he expanded his dominion to as far as eastern India. The brothers founded a new capital at Chang Khom Sirithammarat (present day Nakhon Si Thammarat), and renamed the realm Srivijaya Suvarnabhumi. Some legends say Jatukham Rammathep was another royal person living in a different era altogether, while others suggest it was a name given to King Jantharaphanu himself. But all legends – under the influence of Mahayana Buddhism which was widely observed during the period – commonly believe that whatever king or royal person the name belongs to, the right holder of the name is an Avalokitesvara, a future Buddha after numerous rebirths committed to intense self-dedication and intense sacrifice. Long after their deaths, the two princes continue to be idealised by succeeding generations of residents of Nakhon Si Thammarat and today are remembered by their preferred names of Jatukham and Rammathep as guardian angels. Source. Another version, Once upon a time, many centuries ago (about 1700 years ago), it was a time of war and trouble. There lived a king and his princes in Central Siam. The elder prince named Jatukam and the other named Ramathep. After many years of war, the King finally conquered and managed to secure Sri Lanka into part of his Kingdom. There was a saying that the King possessed a sacred treasure, this was none other than the holy relics of Lord Buddha. Before the King began his journey to the newly conquered land, he tasked the protection of the relics to his two princes, & ordered them to guard it with their lives. Some time later, the princes received information of plan by their enemies to capture the relics. They immediately informed the King in Sri Lanka. The King instruction was to quickly take the relics away by sea and head to Sri Lanka. Halfway through the journey, a thunderstorm struck and their ships were sunken. Except the two princes, the rest of the crew did not survive. The two princes were washed ashore, but well. Without the sea transport, they could no longer bring the relics to Sri Lanka. They started praying sincerely to the relics, saying: “Dear Enlightened One! If this land we step upon is a holy piece of land, then please guide us let us live a new life here. With our people, we shall guard and protected your relics forever.” Later the two princes built a temple on this holy land and with much hard work; they also establish a wealthy and strong city. They brought new hope and peace to all the people. In remembrance of the great deeds by the two princes, they named this place Nakhon Si Thammarat in their honor. This is now located at Southern of Thailand at the present time. The temple that the two princes built for the relics is called Wat Mahathat – as it is known now. Ever since then, after a few centuries, many people had traveled to Wat Mahathat to locate the relics that were buried by the princes. Finally, they found a stone carving and the relics buried at the Wat. The stories of the two princes were found engraved on this stone. The two princes had done many great deeds and the greatest is by erecting the temple to house the relics. And they promised to guard the Relics with their lives. They had earned respect from both the heavenly and earthly beings. Later, the people combined the two princes into one and named him Tao Jatukam Ramathep when praying to him. Tao Jatukam Ramathep becomes one of the most respected and popular deities in the South of Thailand. In olden days, Tao was used to address noble ones. It is believed that those that pray to Tao Jatukam Ramathep will be blessed with fulfilling life and better in all aspects in everyday work.