Chapter 07: Deities at Wat Ambhavana


Phra Dhepsinghapuracariya

At Wat Ambavana, there are deities protecting and assisting in welcoming meditation trainees. Those who have been relatives or the blessed ones can be in contact with them.

It was an astonishing story when The National Office of Primary Education, Ministry of Education organized a class for school principals at Wat Ambavana. A group of 4 – 5 old headmasters wanted to drink hot tea. But the temple boys always served iced tea, which the principals did not like at all.

Soon after, it happened that Mr. Tongyoi, the business manager appeared to welcome them with cups of hot tea. He wore a white suit like what he had worn during the propitiation ceremony for construction of the Uposatha Hall. Three of them appeared together. They retreated after greeting the principals with hot tea.

That group of headmasters followed after them and ask a monk at the cremation hall if he had seen three people going out that way. The monk replied that there had been no one there. So, they walked further along until arriving at the merit- making hall and saw the photograph of Tongyoi there. They were able to identify the person who had greeted them with hot cups of tea.

When a person dies he has to be born immediately, whether he is born as a hungry ghost, demon or deity. Some people do not understand and so think of them as ghosts. Tongyoi has become a sacred deity.

While he was alive, Proprietor Tongyoi Chalotorn participated in the construction of the new Uposatha Hall and the large Presiding Buddha image in the Uposatha called “Luang Poh Chalotorn”. The small Presiding Buddha image, called “Luang Poh Samret Phol”, is ancient and has existed since the old Uposatha Hall.

I knew that Mr. Dum Wanich of Pak Bang had joint karma with Proprietor Tongyoi. They would assist each other in the time to come. I told Proprietor Tongyoi to ride in a car driven by Dum and said, “Within the next seven days from now, do not drive at all.” Mindfulness told me that Proprietor Tongyoi would be dead from a car accident.

Mr. Dum Wanich was a son of parents of Laotian descent in Po Ka village. They incurred debts and had mortgaged all their farmland.

It just happened that Army Staff Officer Wasant Panich, disciple of this temple, was given the duty to conscript soldiers for Vietnam War. I previously asked him to call Goh, the son of my great aunt, who lived north of my house, for service in Vietnam also.

Dum Wanich was a poor man, driving for people in Pak Bang. He came to drive for me some times. He told me, “Luang Poh! I am so poor. I have farmland but my parents have mortgaged it. I have no money to repay the creditor.” I suddenly thought of something, saying, “Tomorrow, be prepared to go to be trained in Kanchanaburi before going to the Vietnam War.”

Colonel Wasant happened to come to the temple. I asked him if it was possible to replace Goh with Dum because Dum Wanich used to be a soldier before. On the next day, a group of recruited men went to Kanchanaburi for training. After that, they went on to Vietnam. He spent two years in Vietnam, earning enough money to redeem the farmland for his parents.

It was time when Dum Wanich had to serve Proprietor Tongyoi and look after him while he was ill. Dum Wanich returned from Vietnam with plenty of money. He did not drink or smoke. He was a good mechanic. Having redeemed the farmland, he intended to stay with his brother in Bangkok to sell “pa-tong-go” (Chinese doughnuts). If I had not done him a favour, I could not have possibly held him back.

I asked Proprietor Tongyoi to see me and told him not to drive. Then I asked Dum Wanich to drive for Proprietor Tongyoi, which he did. The Proprietor was very glad that he could ride comfortably. He was the branch manager of Krung Thai Bank and owned 2 rice mills and one ice factory.

However, that day was the time for him to die. Mrs Sumal forgot that I had requested Dum to drive Mr. Tongyoi and instead sent Dum Wanich to Bangkok, driving her van, to buy some trees to be planted. Mr. Tongyoi was home alone. There was an urgent phone call inviting him to be the judge of a boat race. He accepted. Having forgotten that I had asked him not to drive, he got dress in jacket and tie, then drove his Mercedes-Benz to the race.

At 8 o’clock in the evening, his time was up. A truck belonging to the Department of Irrigation, with a full load of earth, was park on the shoulder of the highway. The Proprietor did not see it. He ran into it at a speed of 120 kms/hour, without putting the brake on. Bang! Into the rear of the truck! His neck was dislocated. His gun was also lost. But he was not dead. In fact, he had to die then. But he did not die instantly because he received the fruit of his previous merit in building the Uposatha Hall and the Presiding Buddha image. That extended his life for three more years, enabling him to transfer the rice mills and ice factory to his son. While in the hospital, he thought of his business and said, “Luang Poh, I’m thinking of selling the present ice making machine and replacing it with a new German machine. Then I will change the milling machine for better production.” He died just after he had finished doing so.

When he was in a bad condition from the car accident, I went to see him. He was a bit cheered up. Then I said, “Why are you in this bad shape? You have made a lot of merit. You helped build the Uposatha Hall, the image hall and the Presiding Buddha image. Now you must have your head shaven and your neck weighed. It is like being paralyzed. Why?” I used meditation, noting ‘thinking’…’thinking’. Then I knew that his bad karma had come to its results.

When he was young he drove a tugboat called ‘Rung Rueng Chalotorn’, pulling cargo barges from Pak Nampo to Bangkok.

He stopped the boat when he arrived at Ban Paeng because he had a Laotian girl friend there. The Vietnamese villager on the opposite side of the river (south of Wat Ambavana) brought turtles to sell to him. He used turtle as food to go with liquor. The Proprietor was the one who killed the turtles himself. He put a piece of wood into the turtle’s mouth, pulling the head out from the shell and hitting it in the head to kill it.

After I finished the story, the Proprietor cried until he fainted. When he was conscious he said, “That was true, Luang Poh. I’ve forgotten that I killed hundreds of turtles. On the tugboat’s return trip, I stopped for the night in Ban Paeng. There was a theatre for Li-ke (Thai musical folk drama) and an old fashioned movie theatre. The Vietnamese village was on the opposite side of the river from the Laotian village. When the Vietnamese villagers saw my boat, they brought live turtles to sell. I pulled out the head and hit it to kill it. My wife and children did not know about it.”

Having said that, Proprietor Tongyoi was sobbing, “Luang Poh! How do you know this? When I was young I didn’t even know where you were.” When he was young I had not been ordained yet. Mindfulness informed me. If you keep practicing for a long time, the result will come in this way.

Mrs. Galong is another deity. She used to be a hungry ghost who came here with one of the reconstructed temple buildings. She came to practice meditation and had become a deity.

There is a story about Mrs. Galong going to rescue her relative in the North from committing suicide.

The story is like this. One wealthy family had lived together for a long time until the children grew up, graduating with Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees. Later, the husband took another woman. There was a row. The husband left the house. The wife was so depressed that she was about to drink insecticide in an attempt to commit suicide. As she was lifting up the glass, a hand knocked the glass out of her hand.

Just before that, she had felt the house shake slightly. Then the glass was knocked out of her hand. The wife was startled because she did not know the beautiful lady who had come to strike the glass. The lady said, “You should not have thought of committing suicide because of a trivial matter like your husband having an affair. Why should you? If I hadn’t been your relative, I would not have come to help you at all. If I hadn’t saved you in time, you would have been dead already.”

Then the lady apparition instructed, “Your husband and you have come from different places. Do not scold your husband. If you do so, I will not come to help you again. You will have to drink insecticide or hang yourself. You should come to meditate instead. If it hadn’t been because we were relatives, I wouldn’t have come to save you. I’m in a hurry. So, I’ll leave you now. Wishing you happiness.” As she was about to leave, the wife asked, “Wait a moment, please. Where do you live?”

That lady said, “My name is Galong. I live in Wat Ambavana, Singhburi.”

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