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A Precious Amulet – Phra Kring Khosapanyo B.E2534 from Luang Pu Kamphan of Wat That Mahachai, Nakhon Phanom

A Precious Amulet – Phra Kring Khosapanyo B.E2534 from Luang Pu Kamphan of Wat That Mahachai, Nakhon Phanom

LP Kamphan
LP Kamphan

Phrasoonthorn Thammakorn

or Luang Pu Kamphan Khosapanyo
was the founder of Wat That Mahachai, Plapak district, Nakhon Phanom
province. He was nicknamed the “God of the Mekong River” and the villagers praised him for his lofty achievements in meditation and knowledge of the Dhamma. He is perhaps most renowned for his mastery of Pathavi Kasin
(the power of meditation focused on the earth element), and for his alchemic knowledge. His fame straddles both coasts of the Mekong, and he is famous throughout both Thailand and Laos.

 

LP Kamphan’s original name was Kamphan Srisuwong

. He was born on January 10th, 1915, on a Monday, the 6th day of the 2nd waxing moon in the year of the Rabbit. He was born in Na Kae District, Nakhon Phanom
Province, the son of Mr. Ken
and Mrs. Lom Srisuwong
. In his childhood, he was a neat and hardworking boy. He helped on his parent’s farm until finally being ordained as a novice monk.

 

Entry Into the Sangha

On September 7th, 1932, when he was 17, Kamphan Srisuwong was ordained at Wat Sri Boonrueang

Temple, Baan Nong Hoi, Na Kae Subdistrict, Na Kae District, Nakhon Phanom
Province. Phra Ajarn Chueam
served as his Preceptor. LP Kamphan immediately dedicated himself to the study of Buddhist texts and meditation.

 

“The breath serves as an important bridge between the mental, emotional and physical aspects of any living being.”

During his training, LP Kamphan received tutelage in meditation from Phra Ajarn Sao Kantasilo

, who had come to train people at Phon Mueang Temple,  in Ubon Ratchathani
Province. The master taught him to meditate by “setting the breath” and opened his eyes to breathing that would be at the core of meditation practices. Without breathing, as explained, there was no life, and breathing, therefore, served as an important bridge between the mental, emotional and physical aspects of any living being.

 

LP Kamphan also studied under the renowned meditation master for a year, and throughout his life, would constantly defer to him and his teachings as the source of his meditative prowess.

 

Phra Ajarn Sao Kantasilo, a specialist in meditation
Phra Ajarn Sao Kantasilo, a specialist in meditation

3 years after ordaining as a novice, LP Kamphan hiked to Loei

province accompanied by two monks, Boon
and Wan
. They met with a white-robed ascetic named Krut
, and stayed to study meditation from him for about 3-4 months.  Krut’s teachings were so integral to his practice, that he incorporated many elements of them into his own methods.

 

LP Kamphan remained in Loei Province for a year, before decamping to Chiang Rai, where he stayed for a further 3-4 months. After receiving news that his father had passed away, however, he returned to attend his father’s funeral, and to his old temple in Na Kae

.

 

Ordaining As A Monk

In 1935, at the age of 20 years, LP Kamphan ordained as a fully-fledged monk at Wat Phra Phutthabat Chom Thong

Temple, Na Kae, Nakhon
Phanom, and began to study the Tipitaka
Dhamma (the complete set of Buddhist teachings).

 

In 1939, when he was 24 years old, his mother passed. At that time, he had two younger sisters who were still very young and unable to fend for themselves. Heeding the call of duty, LP Kamphan left the monkhood to care for his sisters.

 

He was conferred the name Khosapanyo which means “the propagator of wisdom far and wide”.

On April 20, 1945, when he was 30 years old, he once again ordained as a monk at Wat Phochai

Temple, Baan Phum Kae, Na Kae District, Nakhon Phanom
Province. He was conferred the name Khosapanyo
which means “the propagator of wisdom far and wide”.

 

LP Kamphan continued to hone his skills at meditation, while also serving as a teacher of Tipitaka Dhamma studies at Wat Phra Phutthabat Chom Thong

, Baan Nong Hoi Yai, Na Kae Subdistrict, Na Kae District, Nakhon Phanom
Province. He also took to the practice of a wandering mendicant and travelled the various provinces of Nakhon Phanom
, Sakon Nakhon
, Udon Thani
, Nong Khai
, and even crossed over to Laos for about 3-4 months.

 

He returned to settle at a Wat Pa

(a term used to describe a temple located in the forest) for Buddhist Lent and remained there for about 3 years, after which the villagers invited him and his fellow monks to reside in the temple of their village and offer spiritual guidance. After that experience, he continued his wandering ascetic practices until he was 40, before finally settling down for good, all while continuing his unending pursuit of spiritual wisdom.

The Humble Beginnings of Wat That Mahachai

In 1952, he led 5 families from Baan Nong Hoi Yai, Na Kae

to build a new village, and christened the new village “Mahachai
”. On the same site, he raised a temple, the present-day “Wat That Mahachai
” (formerly known as Wat Khosakaram
), which is still an important spiritual centre today.

 

On Visakha Bucha

Day, May 25th, 1975, King Bhumibol Adulyadej
along with Queen Sirikit
of Thailand, interred a selection of precious relics in the Mahachai pagoda. Accompanied by a large entourage of people, the King led a candlelight procession around the pagoda. This event sealed the renown of Luang Pu Kamphan and Wat That Mahachai forever, making it revered across Thailand.
The King and Queen of Thailand at Wat That Mahachai
The King and Queen of Thailand at Wat That Mahachai

 

A Summary of Credentials

In 1929, Luang Phor Kamphan graduated from Grade 4 at Baan Phon Du

School, Baan Phon Du, Phum Kae Subdistrict, Na Kae District, Nakhon Phanom Province.

 

In 1936, at the age of 22, he graduated from Beginner Level Dhamma studies “Naktam Chantree

”.

 

In 1945, at the age of 30, he graduated from Intermediate Level Dhamma Studies “Naktam Chantoh

”.

 

In 1946, at the age of 31, he graduated from Advanced Level Dhamma Studies “Naktam ChanAke

”.

 

A Man of Many Talents

  • LP Kamphan was fluent in several archaic languages 1) Aksorn Tham
    ; an ancient script that existed in Northeastern Thailand and Laos which was used to inscribe the doctrines of Buddhism, 2) Aksorn Tai Noi
    ; an ancient script that existed in Northeastern Thailand and Laos, used to record ancient arcane knowledge such as herbal medicine, and 3) Khmer script.
  • He was able to memorize the Patimokkha
    in its entirety (the 227 precepts of a full-fledged monk) and led the incantations of Patimokkha at the temple since 1947.
  • He was proficient in the “interrogative-catechism” style of Buddhist preaching, and was famous throughout the Northeast of Thailand, as not many masters of the form existed in those days.
  • He was an expert in Dhamma-centric poetry such as Wessantonchataka
    (a story of the Buddha in a past life while he is a Bodhisatta practising the baramee of giving).
  • He was a great Vipassana Master in the tradition of Phra Ajarn Sao Kantasilo
    , Phra Ajarn Mun Phurithatto
    , and Phra Ajarn Fan Ajaro
    . He provided training in Vipassana meditation at Wat Pa Mahachai
    Temple (official name Wat Aranyakham
    Temple), which was purpose-built for him to disseminate his teachings. The temple is located in a quiet, secluded, jungle location, and remains in operation today. Meditation is still being taught today at this temple.
  • He was an expert in innovative construction methods, and personally oversaw the design and construction of many Buddhist structures, including the famed Phra That Mahachai
    pagoda. Perhaps even more astoundingly, the temple was raised entirely by the monks and volunteers, as they did not have the budget to engage professionals.
  • The crafting of white magic amulets that draw their power from divine spiritual sources, was a speciality of his.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the sermon hall of 54.Wat Pa Mahachai Temple, Mahachai Sub-district, Pla Pak District, Nakhon Phanom Province, on January 9th, 1996. LP Kamphan placing auspicious items and blessings into the ground.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the sermon hall of Wat Pa Mahachai Temple, Mahachai Sub-district, Pla Pak District, Nakhon Phanom Province, on January 9th, 1996. LP Kamphan placing auspicious items and blessings into the ground.

 

Villagers and monks joined the groundbreaking ceremony
Villagers and monks joined the groundbreaking ceremony

 

The villagers helped to lay the main foundation.
The villagers helped to lay the main foundation.

Communing With Spirits

On August 11th, 1975; the Phra That Phanom

pagoda suddenly collapsed. Upon hearing the news, villagers scrambled to loot the treasures interred within.

 

Many of those who sought spoils from Phra That Phanom began to experience unusual phenomena. Some began to hallucinate, and yet others began to have visions of angels and spirits (and some say Naga

) who beseeched them to return the stolen artefacts to their rightful place. Some persevered, adamant about holding on to their newfound riches, and were driven to madness or death. Many of the treasures were returned by surviving family members, desperate to rid themselves of the curse. After the treasures were returned, some people’s symptoms got better, while others remained the same.

 

The original Phra That Panom before the collapse
The original Phra That Panom before the collapse

 

The aftermath of the collapse of Phra That Phanom
The aftermath of the collapse of Phra That Phanom

 

See Also
Villagers sifting through the remains of the temple
Villagers sifting through the remains of the temple

LP Kamphan took it upon himself to investigate the source of the collapse. Sifting through the ruins, he found a talisman written under the base of the pagoda, which he later incorporated into his amulets. As he later recounted to a close disciple, this spell had been written in the language of the heavens, a spell he came to refer to as Phra Katha Maha Pratthana

, which means to fulfil one’s wishes,

In a Lao accent it may be read thusly:

Si Na Ta Si Ma Ni

No Ye Na Ye No

Sit Thi Va Pha Sit Thi

1. 59.Yant Maha Pratthana or 60.Yant Na Va Pha 2. 61.Phrasoonthorn Thammakorn (top) and June 15th, B.E. 2541
1. Yant Maha Pratthana or Yant Na Va Pha
2. Phrasoonthorn Thammakorn (top) and June 15th, B.E. 2541

In 1991, LP Kamphan began to craft Phra Kring Khosapanyo

. The proceeds from these amulets were intended to support the rebuilding of Phra That Phanom
, and support the construction of Phra That Mahachai
. The main material used in these amulets were from an ancient bronze casket containing the holy relics of the Lord Buddha, that had been contained in the pagoda when it collapsed.

 

A monk from Nakhon Phanom Province (see Footnotes 1) presented Luang Pu Kamphan with a selection of holy artefacts, hoping that his pure merit and morality, would allow him to successfully incorporate them into his amulets. An ancient bronze casket and the holy relics of the Lord Buddha became the integral ingredient in LP Kamphan’s Phra Kring Khosapanyo.

 

Phra Kring Khosapanyo B.E. 2534
Phra Kring Khosapanyo B.E. 2534

A Manner of Moral Cultivation

LP Kamphan was known for being kind, generous, calm, and compassionate towards everyone around him. He was endlessly humble, and never one to turn away anyone in need of guidance or assistance. It was for this reason, that it became easy for people to revere and respect him.

Because of his upstanding reputation, every project he was involved in had no trouble finding the finance and resources they needed to see them to fruition. Whether through money or manual labour, people gravitated towards the master and pitched in however they could. A serious and steadfast man, LP Kamphan found time throughout all these projects to continue practising and tutoring meditation.

 

The Passing of a Great Man

After a prolonged period of illness, LP Kamphan passed away peacefully on Sunday, November 24th, 2003, around 2 AM, in his cubicle at Wat That Mahachai

, at the age of 89 years old (having completed 59 Pansa
). The loss was mourned by a legion of disciples, devotees, and people whose hearts and minds had been touched by his extraordinary life.

 

Herein is a condensed account of the life of a true master and adherent of the Buddhist faith. More information about him is also available on the official website of Wat Pa Mahachai

. You can visit http://www.watpamahachai.net

 

Footnotes

  • The monk who gave an ancient bronze casket and the holy relics of the Lord Buddha to Luang Pu Kamphan was the Ecclesiastical Provincial Governor of Nakhon Phanom at that time. The information did not indicate his name and did not mention his duties regarding the restoration of the pagoda. According to his position, he should have some restoration responsibilities. But the restoration of this pagoda is a national matter. There are many parts involved. The main taskforce is the Thai government and the Fine Arts Department of Thailand. He gave 2 things, an ancient bronze casket that used to contain the Buddha’s relics and the broken Buddha’s relics which Luang Pu Kamphan used to smelt with other materials to form Phra Kring Khosapanyo B.E.2534.

 

 

 

 

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