Rare Photos


A rare photo of an unadorned Emerald Buddha. This is the holiest Buddha image in Thailand and is regarded as its supreme national treasure. Luang Pu Mun said some truly amazing things about the history and nature of this Buddha statue. According to him, it's almost something of a Buddhist 'Ark of the Covenant' in that wherever it goes, the host land becomes the center of the true Buddhist world. Historians tracing its history have confirmed some of the things that Luang Pu Mun has said about it.

For a thousand years, the holiest Buddha image in the world was the Buddha Siṁha at Bodh-Gaya. Sometime during the Muslim invasions of India in the 12th century, it disappeared. Before that, though, the kings of Lanna sent artisans to make faithful copies of it. This image, the Phra Buddha Singh in Chiang Mai, is one of the finest. In 1928, the head of this Buddha was broken off and stolen, and a replica head was made and fitted. This is a rare photo of the pre-1928 image.

A version of this image, zoomed and cropped on the Buddha, has inspired numerous 'urban legends' about a miraculous appearance of this Buddha in a photo. It's actually part of a mural in the palace of the Prince of Chumpon, a province in southern Thailand, painted by a French artist at the beginning of the 20th century. It can still be considered 'miraculous' since it is one of the most convincing representations of a Buddha ever painted.

The Buddha Jinaraat is another of the holiest Buddha images in Thailand. It normally stays in the northern province of Pitsanulok. This is an old photograph of it being floated down the Chao Phraya river to come to Wat Benchamabophit in Bangkok for some occasion.

That Phanom Chedi

Pervasive legend in Isaan and Laos is that Ven. Mahā Kassapa came here 3 years after the Buddha's parinibbāna and built a Chedi enshrining some of the Buddha's relics. Luang Pu Chorp Ṭhānasamo recalls a past life in which he crossed the Mekong river from Laos to help build it.

It had been restored many times over the centuries, but in the early 1900's, the That Phanom Chedi collapsed.

Luang Pu Sao Kantasīlo and Luang Pu Mun Bhūridatto were still in their early years of wandering tudong. When they came to the area, they took it upon themselves to rebuild it. Luang Pu Sao took on most of the responsibility, spending several years. It has since been further refurbished and still stands as one of the most revered Chedis in Thailand.

Luang Pu Mun's Sālā

It is the late 1940's. You're walking into the monastery of the greatest forest monk in the world, at the peak of his fame and renown. Where do you find him? In the gabled mansion? This is the Sālā in which Luang Pu Mun Bhūridatto received visitors and taught Dhamma. He also often slept in the tiny room adjacent. Thinking of this always makes me embarrassed when I hear of another great building project in a forest monastery.

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