The Biography of Luang Phor Tuad
The Biography of Luang Phor Tuad
The legend of a high priest, Luang Phor Tuad (LP Tuad), originated from the Kingdom of Ayutthaya period. It was Thailand's capital that existed from 1350 to 1767 and lived during the reign of King Maha Dhammaraja. In the mid-sixteenth century. His exact date of birth is not known. No documentary evidence is available to prove, just recounted from ancestors in his holiness. This information was composed to be LP Tuad's biography.
More than three hundred years ago, there lived a very famous priest by the name of LP Tuad. According to folk tales, LP Tuad was born in the 4th lunar month in the year of the dragon, which may have occurred in 1582 (B.E. 2125) "Buddhist Era," and some said he was born in the year of the Ox in 1588 (B.E. 2131). However, his period of birth can be assumed to be during the reign of King Maha Dhammaraja, which may be B.E. 2125 (1582) or B.E. 2131 (1588). His parent gave birth to him in the '40s, in Sathing Phra District, Songkhla Province, Southern Thailand. LP Tuad was named "Phu" when he was born. His ancestors came from China many centuries ago and settled in Singora, Thailand.
LP Tuad's parents, Nai Hu and his wife Mae Chan are a poor couple but maintain good and virtuous morals. They were faithful to the Buddha. They often went to the temple on a holy day doing merit and attended the preaching regularly. They stayed in a hut near an old temple called Wat Khokosan Temple. They were employed by a wealthy family named Phan as farmers to make a living. Phan had a large number of workers and enslaved people.
There was a day at harvest time; Phan urged all his workers, enslaved people, to reap his rice in the paddy field. Among these was Mae Chan, who just gave birth and was also asked to reap the rice without excuses. Eventually, Mae Chan also agreed to do so. She brought her newborn baby along with her while she was to work in the field; she put her baby sleeping in the cradle by hanging a cloth between two big shady trees near the paddy field. When it was time to breastfeed the baby, she walked toward it and saw a giant snake curled around the child. She asked for help. In distress, she cried out to her husband, who rushed over to assist the infant and all other laborers’.
To everyone's surprise, the child remained unharmed, but his mother feared the outcome and instinctively recalled an old traditional belief that this snake might be the god-created vision. Finally, she realized and prayed to the snake by offering flowers and rice cake for their son's safety; with her sincere prayer, the snake spits a snake pearl on the baby and leaves away. It's something like a bright crystal ball, "Snake Pearl."
All the peoples are very curious and gathered around to have a view. When Phan saw the clear snake pearl, he became greedy and appealed to the pearl Mae Chan by offering a reasonable price. Mae Chan initially disagreed because the snake pearl belonged to her son, but Phan continually appealed to her. Moreover, Phan increases his offer to Mae Chan in exchange for the snake pearl.
Eventually, Mae Chan agreed respectfully with Phan and presented the snake pearl. Phan was pleased with the snake pearl back home. Unfortunately, after three days, all his family members suddenly fell ill, and he used to dream about bad omen each time he slept. Phan then consulted a medium and was told he owned something that did not belong to him. Phan was scared and returned the snake pearl to Mae Chan. After then, the snake pearl remained in the safe possession of LP Tuad's parents until LP Tuad was sufficiency to take care of himself. On this day, the snake pearl is continued and displayed for viewing at Wat Phra Kho.
Wat Ratchapraditsathan, or Wat Phra Kho, is an ancient temple in Sathing Phra District, Songkhla, Thailand. It was built when Ayuthaya was the capital city of Thailand; Wat Phra Kho was built in 1514, situated approximately 83 kilometers from Hatyai. This temple also supports education for needy students in the surrounding areas.
Wat Phra Kho is where LP Tuad, a venerated holy man, once resided. This temple is important to the countryman as it tells the story of LP Tuad craved several pieces of marble hanging on the walls at the praying hall and, according to legend, changed the seawater into drinking water.
Many people today can testify to the efficacy and protective powers of LP Tuad amulets. In the temple, you can see the replica image of LP Tuad and his Walking Stick, Foot Print, and Crystal Snake Pearl being enshrined there. His representation was made to status and amulets as they continue to be so today.
LP Tuad began to study Buddhism at the age of seven; he was sent to stay with his uncle (his mother's brother), who was an abbot of Wat Kudi Luang temple at that time (also known as Wat Dee Luang), so he could attend the temple school there. LP Tuad was a bright and clever boy who could master either karma rapidly.
A talented young boy, he has ordained a novice monk at 15. At that time, his father gave him the snake pearl as his belonging, after which he chose to continue his religious studies with Somdej Prachinsen, an expert master at Wat Sri Ku-Yang, a skillful and famous preceptor from Ayutthaya.
Finally, at 20, LP Tuad was appointed officially as an ordained monk. His father passed away when he was 30 years old. LP Tuad had made significant progress in his knowledge and realized that studying in Ayutthaya would further improve his studies of Buddhist scriptures. After that, he left his mother and went by passenger ship to his destination.
From Sathing Phra District, LP Tuad took a ship sailing toward the north to Ayutthaya province. After setting off, while the boat was sailing nearby Chumphon city, suddenly there was a huge sea wave, and a violent storm struck the ship, unable to arrive at its destination after being anchored there for several days in the open seas. The boat has run out of provisions shortage, including drinking water. The shipowner and the sailors were superstitious and suspected the disaster had happened due to the participation of the monk. Therefore, they agreed to disembark him onboard.
While LP Tuad was to get off the ship, the crew provided him with a rowboat to enable him to head for shore. Sitting in the boat, he chanted in deep meditation while dipping his left leg into the sea and drawing a circle. Suddenly, a miraculous thing happened when the seawater changed to drinking water in a small area-wide where he’d circled with his feet. Then LP Tuad showed his miracle and asked the sailor to test the water in the area.
The seawater became freshwater, and the sailor shouted and asked everybody on the ship to collect the water for drinking. When the shipowner saw the miracle superpower of LP Tuad, he feared that disaster might have happened to him caused of disembarked the monk. The shipowner invited the LP Tuad back to his ship and apologized for the mistake earlier. Everybody on board the vessel reaches their destination safely.
On his safe arrival in Ayutthaya province, LP Tuad remained in a temple outside the city, where he continued studying Buddhist scriptures. (This temple is the present Wat Rachanuwat or Wat Kae in short)
There was a time when King Watta Khamince of Sri Lanka was jealous of the growing wealth of the Kingdom of Thailand. The King Watta Khamince of Sri Lanka was interested in takeover Ayutthaya to be his colony (country). After making wars to take over the country, the King of Sri Lanka challenged the Thai King by massing Buddhist alphabets sutra to be arranged in the correct order within seven days.
The King of Sri Lanka sent seven Brahmins and his ambassadors to Ayutthaya to meet the King of Thailand to test the achievements of the monks in their country. They brought 84,000 pieces of small golden alphabet words of Buddhist sutras in 12 alms bowls. These combination alphabet words were to be arranged into a particular sutra within seven days; if the task were accomplished, the King of Sri Lanka would present the King of Thailand with seven boats made of gold. However, should the mission be unsuccessful, Thailand must surrender its sovereignty (independence) to Sri Lanka. The King of Thailand was doubtful of the opponent, accepted the challenge, and gathered all his country's learned monks to deal with the problem. Many have tried but were not successful.
The King made an invitation notice to look for highly educated monks or priests who could arrange the sutra within a limited time. On the fourth night, the King dreamed of a white elephant whistling a shrill sound in the dazzling light. The next morning the King consulted a fortune-teller and was told that it was a good sign as a sage was likely to appear to solve the problem. The King was uncertain. On the sixth day, nobody could successfully arrange the sutra alphabet. It made concerned the King of Thailand.
On that same day, while LP Tuad were out to receive alms in the city, he met a group of peoples talking about that topic. He was brought to know about the consequences of their country facing the problem of the Buddhism sutra puzzles arrangement. It seems that nobody can solve the problem, however, for the country's sake. At this moment, LP Tuad wants to try and solve the sutra arrangement in the Palace. Through his virtues, he had the power to save the land from being a colony. The next morning, LP Tuad visited the Palace and completely composed all 84,000 Buddhism sutra alphabets arrangements. Thus LP Tuad is well known throughout the country. He was looked upon as a saintly Buddhist monk in Thai history.
Being a favorite to King Maha Dhammaraja with his knowledge and wisdom. LP Tuad had been bestowed upon the Sangha title of `Phra Rajamuni Samikhunuparamajam,' the highest rank ever given to any other monk before in the country. After that, LP Tuad was asked to remain in Ayutthaya by the King to serve as his adviser for years; after many years, LP Tuad asked for permission from the King to return to his hometown. The King permitted him and promised to give all the support requested by LP Tuad in turn for his virtuous deeds if needed.
When LP Tuad was back to Wat Phra Kho, he found that the temple, surrounding temple, and a pagoda called Rattanamahat were also damaged. From there, he sent a message to the King requesting his support to rebuild the monastery in their area. King Maha Dhammaraja was pleased to respond to LP Tuad's needs, supported the said monasteries fully, and graciously issued the Royal Degree on Dedication of Land and People of about 250 families near Wat Phra Kho as generosity to rebuild and restore the temples in the surrounding area. At present, the document is kept in the National Library in Bangkok.
At that time, LP Tuad placed his snake pearl at the peak of the Rattanamahat pagoda. After some time, the pagoda was damaged by a thunderclap, causing the snake pearl to fall. Therefore, the present abbot preserved and remains the snake pearl at Wat Phra Kho, where LP Tuad was gaining enlightenment until then.
LP Tuad had spent his life spreading Dharma for the benefit of the people without impartiality. On his frequent pilgrimages to the forested area, he would often take his long-handled umbrella, which has now become a famous image of the great priest. Lastly, he left Wat Phra Kho with some young novices to preach Dharma and helped people at various places in the South down to Malaysia, Singapore, and Sri Lanka, with teachings and practical advice. He helped people at multiple locations. His second permanent residence was at Wat Changhai, Pattani.
As time passed, a Buddhist devotee of a state Governor from the South is a Buddhist belief practically advised by LP Tuad sometimes ago. He wanted to make merit by contributing a temple for the Buddhist countryman as an appreciation to LP Tuad's advice and help and as goodwill. He came to Sathing Phra, Songkhla, to look for the holy monk LP Tuad to lead the project.
Royal Degree on Dedication of Land
One evening when he was wandering at the seaside, he saw a monk strolling along the beach, he stepped forward to pay respect to the monk, and fortunately, it was LP Tuad whom he had been looking for. They discussed building the temple to the final decisions. After that, LP Tuad accepted his suggestion and went with him to Pattani. When the temple was constructed entirely, it was named Wat Chang Hai temple, and LP Tuad was appointed as an abbot of the temple. Wat Changhai is situated at Naparu, Koppo District, Pattani province.
From that time, LP Tuad went back regularly to Wat Phra Kho, his last resided place, and stayed in pure gratitude. However, there was no vehicle then; therefore, LP Tuad had to travel between these two temples on his walking stick. Between these two temples' journeys, where LP Tuad passes regularly, the country folks built temples along the roadside for LP Tuad to stop by as he may need shelter.
Before the death of LP Tuad, he informed his disciples that if he passed away one day, he wanted his body to be sent back to Wat Changhai in Pattani province for his funeral rites. It said that LP Tuad passed away in Malaysia, and his ashes have remained at Wat Chang Hai, his second resided temple. The date of his death is unknown. People believe LP Tuad is a part of a living deity that God gave him the miracle superpowers when needed. He saved people by changing seawater into drinking water, a city infected with a contagious disease, and kept the town from being a colony.
At that time being, people worshipped and prayed to LP Tuad not only as a protective deity, as he also works for the benefit of all living beings, asking for his blessings, mercy, protection, and any others that we might name. LP Tuad is so popular that many people come to pray for help. The festival ceremony of LP Tuad is held annually at Wat Chang Hai and Wat Phra Kho in April to pay homage to him. Wat Changhai is situated approximately 120 kilometers from Hatyai. All visitors can pay their respects daily from 8 am to 5 pm at both temples.
LP Tuad is probably one of the most revered and well-respected former guru monks ever. His life and works are legendary. Many believe that amulets created in his image hold great protective powers granting safety in times of distress, especially saving the lives of believers from seemingly fatal automobile accidents. LP Tuad has exercised his ability to help people in danger and accidents for over three hundred years. Till today his stories are still very popular in Thailand.