Chapter 06: The Construction of Somdech Budhacariya (Tow) Brahmarangsi And Luang Poo Saeng Images
Patron Seng has told about the construction of the images of Chao Khun Somdech and Luang Poo Saeng as follows.
At first, I only had faith in Luang Poo Saeng. Before I made Luang Poo Saeng’s image, a disciple of the Chao Khun of Wat Manijalakhandha came to express concern. “Why have people made images of all other monks but not Luang Poo Saeng?” As soon as I heard that, I immediately accepted the possibility of having his image cast. Unfortunately, people in Lopburi had never seen Luang Poo Saeng. They mistook any monk image on top of any pagoda as Luang Poo Saeng because his photo had rarely been seen. Even when the Chao Khun of Wat Manijalakhandha informed me that his photo existed here and there, I drew a blank when I followed his lead.
One day Aunty Tueng, trader of Lopburi’s famous Somporn brand soured fish came to ask, “Are you going to pay candle light homage at Buddhamonthon? I would like to send money with you to make merit at the event.” I said, “No, I intend to look around for Luang Poo Saeng’s photo.” She said, “I’ve seen it at Lt. Col. Sombat and Khun Wilai Siriwat’s home, near Wat Srisuddhavas. I suggest you go to ask them.” I was so glad to hear that that I snatched up my camera immediately. When I asked for the photo, they pointed at the wall. I asked permission to take a photo for casting.
Just as I reached out for the original photo, the frame crumbled, leaving the photo and the glass pane in my hand. I thought how could it continue to hang on the wall until now. May be it was a kind of miracle. He may have been waiting for me to cast his image.
After that, I went to see the Chao Khun at Wat Manijalakhanda, telling him I would accept the work of casting Luang Poo Saeng’s image. I also made an oath to him.”If I acquire any gain from Luang Poo’s image, let me face misfortune.”
Then I came to reflect that Luang Poo Saeng and Luang Poo Tow were teacher and disciple. I should cast both and place them in the same place so that disciple and teacher can stay together. So, I went to talk to Mr. Hua Suphapak about building an image hall. Then I would have an image of Luang Poo Saeng cast with navaloha (nine metals) body, also an image of Somdech Bud.ha-cariya (Tow) Brahmarangsi in the holding Scripture posture, to be placed at Phra Vihara Luang Poh Saeng Anusarana (The Luang Poh Saeng Memorial Hall). In constructing the Hall, Luang Poh at Wat Ambavana advised us there should be a ceremony to lay the foundation stone. So, he had the birth chart of the Hall calculated from Wat Tongpumpuang, Saraburi Province. In that chart, it was written that Ven. Chao Khun Phra Silavaraguna (Nuan) was to be the president of the committee. Mr. Seng and Mrs Pongsri Jaiboon were to be the Organizers, together with the name of every committee member. A certain person was not satisfied with this and protested, so as to be able to share half of the expense. So, a contract was written that he should pay 300,000 baht on the day that the Laying of the Foundation Stone Ceremony was to take place. Should there be any extra cost, he would share the extra cost as well.
The time came and money was due the next day. He came to tell me, crestfallen, saying he could not raise the funds. Then he told me that he had intended to sell his amulet of Somdech Bud.ha-cariya (Tow) for the amount of 400,000 baht in order to offer the 300,000 baht. He had run to see the potential buyer hoping to get the money. But while he was on his way his necklace broke. So, he was uneasy. I had to calm him down. I told the committee not to ask for money from him because he had none. He might be ashamed if they did. In the end, he did not participate at all. Even when the casting was finished, we invited him to come for the Installation Ceremony, but he was ill and could not attend. When we had the second celebration he was hospitalized. This is the virtue of Luang Poo. He thought of selling Luang Poo to join us. But we thought of doing this job for them through faith. In the end, he could not come at all.
Then it suddenly occurred to me that I had to invite one image each of Luang Poo Tow and Luang Poo Saeng to Wat Ambavana. I did not know why.
Mr. Hua Suphapak advised me that, for Wat Ambavana, I should use the same image (of Luang Poo Tow) as that at Wat Ulome in Bang Pahan District, Ayudhya Province. It was the image copied from a movie screen. He was in the posture of holding a font and sprinkling sacred water. Many people saw it on the movie screen. They called it the Miracle of Poo Tow. So, I took the photograph for the castor in Bangkok. And a miracle happened again. Luang Poh (Jarun) gave me gold leaf that he had transferred merit upon, for me to put in the casting mould. While they were casting, the gold leaf floated up in the air where it remained for awhile. Then it floated down into the mould again. He manifested a miracle. The castor was dumb-found. Has there ever been such a case!
Soon after, we invited the images to Wat Ambavana. Luang Poh had always told others that there had been more and more guest every day. Now, there are crowds.
When we had just finished the casting, Luang Poh arranged for a ceremony to chant the Dhammacakkappavattana Sutta. He also put some water in Luang Poo Tow’s font and lit a candle to make sacred water while chanting. At the end of the ceremony, the tallow drippings in the font had formed the shape of a dragon. We put that in the image hall.
Later, on the 25th November 1986, we arranged for the Grand Ceremony for Sitting with Concentrated Mind towards the images of Luang Poo Tow and Luang Poo Saeng at Wat Manijalakhandha. Luang Poh invited Somdech Phra N~a-n.asam.vara to sit in the Ceremony. He was so kind as to sit from 8 o’clock in the evening to midnight. Normally, he stays for 5 minutes when transferring the merit. But that time he stayed for hours. When the congregation was sitting, thunder was heard above the pagoda three times, even though it was not the rainy season. In the image hall the electrical power went out three times, whereas outside there was a continuous supply of electricity. There was a thin sprinkle of rain throughout the Ceremony. Those who participated in the Ceremony were very astonished. At the end of the Grand Ceremony, tallow drippings in Luang Poo Tow’s font looked like 2 dragons. In that Ceremony a medium came to make sacred water. He dropped the melting tallow into the water, drop by drop. They looked like Buddha’s relic, in the shape of rice grains.
On the 8th of April 1992, I ( Phra Debsinghapura-cariya) visited Wat Ulome with Patron Seng so as to find out about the story of Luang Poo’s image eminating from the movie screen. We had received a warm welcome from Wat Ulome. Then Patron Hua Suphapak told us that the case happened when Wat Ulome was raising funds to build the Uposatha Hall.
They organized for outdoor movies to be shown for 7 days and nights. Luang Poh (Somdech Bud.ha-cariya – Tow) promised them to stay for months in order to help raise funds for the Uposatha. His medium came to stay as well.
One day he came to possess his medium early in the morning. When he came the disciple sneaked out. He called me (Mr. Hua) to sit in front of him. The disciples were afraid of him. He asked, “What will appear on the movie screen this afternoon?”
They had a movie showing for 7 nights. At 4 o’clock in the afternoon, the screen was still. There was no wind. Hawkers on the fairground saw the shadow of Luang Poo Tow, sitting and sprinkling sacred water like this. His hair was upright. When they saw it they ran to tell me what happened on the movie screen as Luang Poh had asked in the morning. So, I went out to see. Other people saw one image. But I saw two. The other image was that of Phra Malaya. The day after, he came to possess the medium again. I asked him, “What happened on the movie screen?” He replied, “Khrua (Monk) Tow.” So, I asked, “In appearing on the movie screen, what would your grace require?” He asked that his image be cast there, saying, “Wherever Monk Tow is, money streams in.”
I (Mr. Hua) consulted Magganayaka and all temple committee members. None of them, including monks, agreed. So, I decided to go it alone, I contacted the Department of Fine Arts. They charged 17,000 baht to cast the image of any monk. But when they knew that I wanted to cast Somdech Bud.ha-cariya Tow, they only charged 10,000 baht plus 500 baht travelling expense. The medium of Luang Poo told me that Indra would participate in the Casting Ceremony. So, I arranged for a Thai show 3 days and 3 nights. He told me to dress in white because a lot of deities would participate in the Ceremony. He also asked me to set a boundary beyond which people were not allowed to enter.
When the Casting Ceremony had started and the monks were chanting, I happened to forget about Indra because I was busy with the religious part of the Ceremony. I heard Luang Poo’s voice saying, “Listen! You want them to participate. But I picked them out. They have no deity component in them. Do not let them enter. Keep them away.” At that time my wife saw white lotus flowers fall on the roof of the Casting Ceremony Hall. I turned around to look at the hall and saw Indra had come to pour gold. There were two of them. I wondered who had brought the Thai dancers to the Ceremony Hall. The goddess was dressed like a female Thai dancer. Indra looked like a male Thai dancer, wearing a Thai crown. Who said Indra had a green complexion. I saw him with a fair complexion. I had forgotten that Luang Poo said Indra would participate because I was busy on the monk side. I only recalled his words when I saw the sharp pointed slipper. Indra gradually faded away.
As for Luang Poo Tow, he sat on the temporary shrine, where he had asked it to be built and to have white cloth together with triangular squab laid out. Many people saw him. When the Ceremony was over, people came to tell me the different things they saw.
After the Casting Ceremony, the image was brought back, to be finished in Bangkok. There was no blemish on the image at all. The castor said it could have been taken out of the mould at Wat Ulome because no repair work was required at all.
When the image was finished, I wanted it to be placed in the Uposatha. But he did not allow it, explaining that if he became sacred, people would come to pay respect to him only, and thus bad karma would fall on him.
I ( Phra Debsinghapura-cariya) thought of what I had noted since 1957. King Chulalongkorn told me, “Your reverend, I will tell you. In 1987 my reverend teacher will come to stay in your Uposatha Hall.” I asked, “Which reverend teacher?” He replied, “My reverend teacher is Somdech Tow Brahmarangsi. It is not likely that you don’t know.” I asked, “Your Majesty Patron, how can he come to stay? The Uposatha Hall is nearly ruined. The temple is in a shabby state.” He said, “Your reverend, he will be brought here by a blessed person.” I noted that down. There is a thirty years span between 1957 and 1987. I did not know who that blessed person would be, because I had not known Patron Seng and Patron Pongsri then.
He continued to say, “That blessed person will bring the teacher of my reverend teacher to this temple as well.” I did not know who that was either. I learnt later that he was Luang Poo Saeng. But he explained, “The teacher is younger than Somdech. But Chao Khun Somdech was willing to be Luang Poo Saeng’s disciple because he attained Jha-na Sama-patti (State of Serene Contemplation).” He also said, “Chao Khun Somdech that will come to stay in your Uposatha Hall will be different from other places. There is none like this anywhere.”
The spirit of King Chulalongkorn had possessed a child in the fourth grade of primary school from Petchaboon, who came with her father to have their car anointed. I noted this down because the statement drew my attention. “Your reverend, where were you this morning? Where were you at lunch time/ Where are you now? Whoever thinks of me, I am in his house. If he doesn’t think of me, I can’t reach him.” I also received his words to teach. “If we live next door to each other, but are not relatives, we do not pay attention to each other. Although we are apart, yet still pay attention to each other, we think of each other.”
When I first come to stay at Wat Ambavana in 1956, Vietnamese and Christians came netting for fish in front of the temple. The monk told them not to do so. They then came to shoot the temple chickens for their meal. I solved that problem by meditation, i.e., radiating loving-kindness. I used the spell of Luang Poh Chao Khun Dhammakitti that he used to the point where he could teach Mae Nak Phra Khanong (famous female ghost) to meditate. The verse is “Metta- Gunnang Arahang Metta-“. Remember this. Even the tiger bows down. The elephant, no matter how fierce or in rut can be tamed. If you drive, recite “Mettan~ca Sabbalokasaming Ma-nasambha-vaye Aparima-nang.” This is the verse of Somdech Tow. A ghost can help you while driving. Today I am telling others of Somdech Tow’s spells. King
Chulalongkorn Foretold about Wat Ambavana in 1957
1. This temple will be the place for civil servants to come. There will be a large auditorium in 1982.
2. In 1987, the Reverend teacher Somdech Tow will come to your Uposatha Hall. Your Uposatha Hall will be rebuilt in a new style.
3. There will be a meditation-training institute.
4. Luang Poo Saeng, Somdech Tow’s teacher, will come in 1987.
5. Later on, this temple will be changed. The back will become the front. The front will become the back.
6. More metta- (loving – kindness) will come further. Officers and civil servants will come.
7. There will be a large hall with 5 verandas.
8. More kindheartedness will stream in. There will be Goddess Kuan Yin, Komarabhaca – the doctor, Phra Sivali Arahant and a Buddha image in walking posture.
9. High – ranking persons will bless this temple.
10. Scholar monks will enter. There will be an organized system for the kitchen.
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