The Buddhist scriptures, the Sutta Pitaka, Khuddhaka Nikaya, Jataka
The Strange Encounters of Luang Phor Charan
Luang Phor Charan Thitathammo
As a child, Luang Phor had first heard about Naree pon from his grandmother. She claimed to have met a hermit from the Himmaphan forest who was trapped in our world. This hermit was staying with a monk whom she often visited, and from the monk, she heard tales about the expansiveness of the Himmaphan, as well as Makkalee Pon and Naree Pon.
She had first encountered the hermit when she went to make offerings to Luang Phor Chang
Describing the vast beauty of the Himmaphan forest and the wonders of the Naree Pon, the hermit pleaded with Luang Phor Chang to help him return, so he might be close to things that were more familiar. Luang Phor Chang agreed after much persuasion and accompanied the hermit.
To aid their journey, the hermit sought Luang Phor Chang’s aid to craft and consecrate the mercury amulets that had allowed him to cross over, all those years ago.
Luang Phor Chang returned from the journey with a treasure trove of stories about the Himmaphan and the Naree Pon, some of which he related to Luang Phor Charan’s grandmother. For some yet unknown reason, he passed the formula for the amulets along to the elderly woman as well, which is how Luang Phor Charan came into possession of it.
One day there came a man of unknown origin at the temple, which was located in the middle of a field in Lopburi province, bearing a kitbag. He requested for shelter, asking to remain there for 7 days. much to the chagrin of the community, as he reeked, and his dishevelled appearance stoked their suspicions that he was surely an unsavoury character. However, the abbot relented, noting that though unkempt, the stranger was unusually witty and alert.
On that day of his arrival, the temple was receiving alms offerings. Though the abbot requested the patrons to offer food to the vagabond, they refused, and he had to do it himself. He continued to do so every day.
After seven days, the man bid the abbot farewell to continue his journey. The abbot saw him off at the rear of the temple, where there was a large rice field. The vagabond said, “You have been very kind to accommodate me. I am on a trip and have nothing much. But I would like to leave you a present. I would like to tell you that if you want to do anything, complete it within four years. You will also have to leave this temple.”, before handing over the mysterious kitbag. The man bade him farewell and continued his journey.
The abbot opened the kitbag and found a letter written in Khom language, saying that “I have obtained these two Naree Pon from the Himmaphan. I leave them here as a present to you.”
The abbot was astounded and sent patrons to follow the old man, but he had vanished without a trace. The quarters where he had slept, once rank with an unwashed odour, now smelled of incense, candle and sandalwood oil instead, and the fragrance continued spreading through the temple.
Stranger still, the abbot abruptly passed away, exactly 4 years after the incident, just as the strange man had prophesized.
There were many other more stories related by LP Charan, including one which many others had heard a sweet singing song sung by the Naree Pon when he carried it in his sling bag. (For further reading, read the book “The Law of Kamma” Book 9, Chapter 11 by Luang Phor Charan, Wat Amphawan).
Myths of Makkalee Pon and Naree Pon
The oft-interchangeable usage of both names to describe the fruit often leads people to believe that the terms are synonymous. Makkalee Pon is actually the name of the tree which bears the girl-shaped fruits, which are referred to as Naree Pon.
As the legend goes, when Phra Vesadorn
The forest was home to a veritable cornucopia of dangerous wildlife. All of them turned soft in the presence of Phra Vesadorn however, upon receiving mercies from him. The Himmapan was;/. also home to a host of more esoteric creatures, such as the Lersi, Kinnorn (Pali: Kinnara); a bird with a human head, Wittayathorn (angel musician), and Khonthan
The gorgeous Phra Nang Matri went foraging for food alone in the forest, Phra Inn was worried that if the Lersi, Deities, Kinnorn, Wittayathorn, or Khonthan, stumbled upon her, they might have trouble keeping the Buddhist precepts, and fall head over heels in love with her, causing chaos to ensue. This would be a big problem for Phra Vesadorn, who has accumulating virtues to become a Buddha in his next life. To distract them, Phra Inn created 16 mystical trees, lining the entire path leading to their place of residence, each bearing fruits in the shape of beautiful women.
These trees came to be known as Makkalee Pon. When fully grown, they bore Naree Pon fruit in the likeness of the goddess and her beauty. The ruse worked, and these decoys led the hermits, deities, Kinnorn, Wittayathorn, or Khonthan who came across them to go mad with lust, fornicating with the fruits at will. Engaging in congress with the Naree Pon, however, was not without consequence. Doing so made these deities fall into deep comas, sometimes lasting months, and stripped them of all their supernatural powers. It also caused their merits to reset, having to start anew in their pursuit of Nibbana.
Characteristics of Naree Pon
A Naree Pon is graceful and beautiful. As it develops, it grows in the likeness of a kneeling figure, eventually stretching into a standing position as it grows. This figure ripens into the likeness of a beautiful teenage girl. She hangs from the tree by the head, joined by a calyx that extends from the tips of the branches. Her 5 fingers are equal in length, and her hair is a golden colour. She has big eyes, with slight golden pupils and bluish-white sclera. He neck manifests in the form of 5 ringed segments, and though she has no skeleton, she is able to speak like a normal human. Naree Pon is known to live for 7 days, upon which they rot and die.
The hermits, Kinnorn, Wittayathorn, and Khonthan, are known to fly up to the top of the trees, awaiting the ripened fruit, who they fight to take as their wives, sometimes to the death. Those who are unable to fly, attempt to retrieve them with long sticks, or simply wait for them to drop.
These entities are known to take extra good care of their Naree Pon, often showering them with love and attention. Every 7 days, however, they have to return to the tree to retrieve a new companion.
The Makkalee Pon trees are often used as a test of resolve for hermits. Hermits are known to repeatedly return to the trees with an almost crazed zeal, drawn in by the Naree Pon’s naked bodies and sweet voices. Advanced practitioners, and teachers of the esoteric arts, are also known to use Naree Pon as a tool for temptation. If the student is unable to control himself and abstain from congress with a Naree Pon, he has failed in his spiritual resolve, and ultimately will never make progress with his pursuits.
The Superstition of Makkalee Pon and Naree Pon
Although Makkalee Pon and Naree Pon are widely-known, disbelief in their existence persists. In Laos and some place in Thailand, there exists a type of tree bearing fruits shaped like women as well. Only dried examples of these fruits however are often seen.
Because of this mythical status, these fruits are often considered Kreung Rang, even without any special rituals or chants to invoke their power. They are believed to be intrinsically sacred, associated with Metta Mahasaneh and Choke Larp. People who possess these fruit are known to be extra charming, able to manipulate people and make them bend to their will. Their Choke Larp, or luck, is known to be equally astounding.
In 2018, a famous Thai singer won the lottery 200 consecutive times. She claimed that her streak of incredible luck was the result of a Naree Pon. She claimed that a monk had given her the Naree Pon when she was 22 years old, and, not known what it was, merely wrapped it in a talisman cloth, put it in on a pedestal tray, and placed it in her Buddha altar. However, she believes that the sudden awakening of its auspiciousness was the result of her attempts at making a great amount of merit when she built a temple at her home at the expense of over 40 million baht.
The mystery of the Naree Pon continues to be examined at length. In 2011, the 4th Season of the American TV show “Destination Truth” discussed the Naree Pon, in an episode title “Thai Tree People”. This illustrated the global interest in the fascinating story of the Naree Pon, even outside of Thailand. At the same time, a lot of people said that it was only ignorance. Though the Naree Pon and their powers have yet to be verified by science, in the world of the esotericism, truth is often stranger than fiction.
- In the Vessantara Jataka, it was stated that Phra Nang Matri (Pali: Madri) made an offering of alms, and sprinkled fragrant sandalwood onto the body of Buddha Vipassi (Buddha from a previous aeon), and made a wish to be the mother of a Buddha in her future life. Because of her merits in offering Buddha Vipassi, she was eventually reborn as the chief queen of the Lord of the Deities, Phra Inn (also known as Sakka/ Indra).
Under the section named Dasavaragāthā, it revealed that when her time was exhausted, and she was to be reborn on Earth, she made a request to her husband, Phra Inn to grant her 10 boons. Phra Inn agreed. The boons requested by Phra Nang Matri were; (1) to be the chief queen, (2) to have dark eyes, (3) to have dark eyebrows, (4) to retain the same name as Phusatī, (5) to have a virtuous son, (6) to have a slim figure even while pregnant, (7) her breasts be firm, (8) never to become grey-haired, (9) to have soft skin, (10) and to be able to save the condemned.
- The Himmaphan forest may only be accessed by people capable of achieving a profound mental state called Jhana. Although situated on Earth, the Himmaphan exists in a separate dimension, and may only be accessed through supernatural means. It is said that the events surrounding the Himmapan described in the Wessandon Chadok (Vessantara Jātaka), did occur, tens of thousands of years ago. In the Buddhist legends, it is said that during the Dhamma ending age, Vessantara Jataka would be the first scripture to disappear, followed by the rest of the Buddhist scriptures, eventually returning to the void.
- For further reading on Naree Pon, we recommend these books; 1) Readings of the Vessantara Jātaka, edited by Steven Collins, 2) Law of Kamma Book 9, Chapter 11 by by Luang Phor Charan, Wat Amphawan. You may purchase the book at http://www.luangphor.net