The aim of this article story is to reveal the holy spirit of a Buddhist Saint whom was also the first abbot of Wat Huay Lard – Luang Pu Siman Thep Intoh during the days of Ayutthaya period. There’s a very personal reason for the publication of this story as we’re indebted to a Rian pendant that saved 5 lives in a horrific car crash. The writer of SimplyBuy’s blog is among the survivor wearing only just this Rian pendant. Since that car crash incident we have been relentlessly searching for 16 long years to find the origin of this pendant bearing the image of this venerable monk.
Our long quest is finally being rewarded after so many years of searching. Many times we’ve met with disappointments in the past 16 years in our search because there’s no clue from the Buddhist monks we have approached. Could it be possible that the holy spirit of Luang Pu Siman felt it’s not the appropriate timing yet to reveal his background to us?
The Long Quest
Finally the search is over with every puzzle falling into the right place to give us a complete picture on the origin of this pendant. We could not feel any happier to repay our gratitude by revealing the legend of Luang Pu Siman Thep Intoh here.
|พระอธิการขาว ติสสวโส ดำรงตำแหน่ง พ.ศ. ๒๔๙๔-๒๔๙๘|
This mystifying story about a century old holy spirit of Luang Pu Siman Thep Intoh whom once lived during the Ayutthaya reign started during the tenure of Phra Athikarn Kaao Tissavaso as the abbot of Wat Huay Lard, Songkhla Province in between BE 2494 to BE 2498. Because the holy Luang Pu Siman does not have a corporal body since he was from a previous era, he emerged his holy spirit into the physical body of Phra Athikarn Kaao Tissavaso. Therefore, the amulets bearing the name of Luang Pu Siman is represented by the image of Phra Athikarn Kaao Tissavaso on the amulet pendants.
Before we begin this story, we shall take a stroll back to the old mesmerizing town of Songkhla along the story path. Songkhla also known as ‘Singora’ is geographically located in Southern Thailand bordering nearby Malaysia. This is largely a fishing port with semi-crumbling old town which is still active after surviving centuries of ups and downs in the course of history.
Many “temple tourists” from Malaysia coming from Hadyai would unknowingly past by Songkhla while on their way up north for temple tours visiting the province of Phattalung and Nakorn Si Thammarat. Travelling along the seaside stretch on this eastern coast facing South China Sea you could almost feel the hot breeze during the dry season.
You will not be least interested to go to Songkhla or Nakohn Si Thammarat's direction if you’re not those temple tourist as mentioned. You will most probably head toward Krabi or Phuket on the western coast facing the Andaman Sea for seaside holidays or scuba diving.
|Breezy Gulf of Thailand|
There's an old train station in Songkhla which runs the plying service to Had Yai. You can still find many rhetoric buildings around town and it makes a terrific photography setting for shutterbugs.
Songkhla in The 1950s
The Venerable Luang Pu Tuad – Thailand’s most venerated holy monk also hailed from this old Singora region. A lot of the Buddhist temples in this southern region can span several hundred years old.
In BE 2497 (CE 1954) the first production of Luang Pu Tuad amulets was created by Ajahn Tim in Wat Changhai located in Pattani just 113km further down south from Songkhla Province.
Luang Pu Tuad whom is a Buddhist scholar during the Ayutthaya period came into the dream of Ajahn Tim and taught him how to make efficacious amulets to help people. Pondering upon this historical past in relation to the famed Luang Pu Tuad's existence during that period of time in the 1950s, coincidently the holy spirit of Luang Pu Siman also reemerge at Wat Huay Lard in Songkhla.
The co-existence of this two old-century pious Buddhist monk spirits at almost the same time in the early 1950s is a very rare occurrence in the history of contemporary Buddhism. This is indeed a very important event which can rarely happen in one’s lifetime.
Phra Athikarn Kaao Tissavaso became the abbot of Wat Huay Lard in between BE 2494 – BE 2498 and the event unfolded with the appearance of Luang Pu Siman during this period of time. Similarly the dreams of Ajahn Tim Wat Changai that lead to the making of the first ever Luang Pu Tuad amulets was consecrated in BE 2497.
To get to Wat Huay Lard we travel to Hat Yai in the South as the gateway to this temple. Hat Yai is a major city in Songkhla and it's also our gateway to Wat Chang Hai further down in Pattani Province. While stopping over here we managed to capture one of Hat Yai's reminiscent guest house for backpackers, the iconic Cathay guesthouse.
This guesthouse has a long history and a favorite for backpackers from all over the world. I've decided to check this joint out by getting a taste of its ambiance from the inside.
The nostalgic atmospheric feeling here is what made me decided to order an American breakfast set for my morning exploration. This cozy little place has rooms with fan, shower and toilet, food, drinks, laundry service and Internet access. Tour desk and travel services is located at the ground floor entrance.
You can expect to find many solo travelers from as far as Norway, Japan, Australia, U.K., U.S, Canada, Argentina, Philippines, China, etc. This cheap value for money guesthouse in Hat Yai is one of the accommodation listed in Agoda online booking.
Strolling along the city's street shops, market and the surrounding amenities is one sure way to explore the city center. There're plenty to see in this downtown shopping heaven for Malaysians alike. From clothing, food, kitchen wares, toys, to almost anything you wish for is available here in this shopping heaven.
This sprawling commercial hub and shopping destination is the gateway to charter a taxi or other means of transportation to get to Wat Huay Lard. The story line of this article have touched a bit of Songkhla and Hat Yai before we take you on tour to Luang Pu Siman's temple.
Wat Huay Lard
Wat Huay Lard (or Hui Lad / Huai Lat) was built around the end of Ayutthaya’s reign known as “war of the second fall of Ayutthaya" during the mid-eighteenth century (presumably CE 1760 / BE 2303 or maybe earlier. No exact date). Luang Pu Siman built this small ancient temple during his life as a Buddhist monk back then. This temple was purposely built at higher ground area during the early days.
Luang Pu Siman was born in Phetburi (also known as Phetchaburi today). Historically Phetburi started as a trading post set between the southern Malay/Thai peninsula to the south, the Burmese to the west and the Chinese/Khmer empires to the north. In those days Malay, Hmong, Burmese and Chinese are diversely represented in Phetburi in the Ayutthaya kingdom.
As a novice monk Luang Pu Siman stayed and learned Vipassana Kamatan (Buddhist meditation) in the vast forest in Phetburi. Later in life he ventured further down south until he reached Songkhla region and stayed inside the thick forested jungle there to continue his way of life in meditation practice.
During his stay in Songkhla province, 3 villagers by the name of Kong, Inn and Sin had approached Luang Pu Siman and invited him to stay at their village (located today at Rattaphum District which is approximately 40km away from Hat Yai). However, their kind offer was immediately declined by Luang Pu Siman.
Video Temple Surrounding
|พระอธิการขาว ติสสวโส ดำรงตำแหน่ง พ.ศ. ๒๔๙๔-๒๔๙๘|
After a period of time there’s no record to indicate what happened to Wat Huay Lard as if the history have been suspended possibly due to abandonment. However, the more recent record obtained had stated the later abbots (listed below) beginning back in BE 2470 (CE 1927)
- Luang Phor Thammapalo BE 2470 - BE 2489
- Luang Phor Janatasuwano BE 2491 – BE 2493
- Luang Phor Kaao Tissavaso BE 2494 – BE 2498
- Luang Phor Tetchawalo BE 2498 – BE 2502
- Luang Phor Kovit Thammasan BE 2503 onward
The famed of Wat Huay Lard happened during the tenure of Luang Phor Kaao Tissavaso as the abbot when he’s only 30 years old at that time. In BE 2496 (CE 1953) while conducting a Buddhist ceremony Luang Phor Kaao suddenly fainted and went into a coma state. Everybody thought Luang Phor Kaao was dead because he couldn’t come out of his coma.
After a lapse of time and all of a sudden Luang Phor Kaao woke up. In the wake, Luang Phor Kaao’s behavior and bodily posture also changed and behaved awkwardly like an old man with a crooked jawbone. In actual fact, Luang Phor Kaao had voluntarily hosted his body for Luang Pu Si Mun’s holy spirit to reside in and to speak through him.
Luang Pu Siman’s intent to reside in the host body of Luang Phor Kaao is for meritorious purpose and to offer help in curing and healing those sick in this mortal human world which he once had lived. We believe it’s Luang Phor Kaao’s destiny during coma have met the first temple abbot Luang Pu Siman.
During a short span of 2 years (between BE 2496 to BE 2498) many people from the surrounding area flocked to Wat Huay Lard to seek treatments for various ailments and to get blessings from Luang Pu Siman. Wat Huay Lard flourished once again as more and more people had heard about this mystifying holy monk that resided in the body of the temple abbot. This event also happened during the same time when Wat Changhai was being associated with Luang Pu Tuad, an equally powerful Buddhist Saint from a previous era.
The fame of Wat Huay Lard started to rattle when a monk - Phraku Wirasoporn accused Luang Phor Kaao for faking the holy spirit. It became an instant debate and chaos at Wat Huay Lard for the believers and disbelievers. Phraku Wirasoporn challenged Luang Phor Kaao many times but not knowingly he’s actually challenging Luang Pu Siman.
Luang Pu Siman’s holy spirit knew what was going on and by using his supernatural power in mind reading by speaking thru Luang Phor Kaao to demonstrate what is inside Phraku Wirasoporn’s thinking mind. This had managed to subdue Phraku Wirasoporn temporarily. Just to be convinced that Luang Pu Siman is real, the villagers went a step further to sought assistance from Ajahn Sigern of Wat Donsala. It became apparent that Luang Phor Kaao (Luang Pu Siman) was able to answer all the questions pertaining to the Ultra Dharma and some other mysterious questions when asked by Luang Phor Sigern. Therefore, the mystifying holy spirit of Luang Pu Siman was concurred true once and for all by witnesses.
If you're planning to visit Wat Hwai Lard (alternative spelling Wat Huai Lat), we've provided the location map here for your referral. Travelling from the center of Hat Yai city, the distance is approximately 40km using the highway. It's better to hire a taxi that you can easily find in the city center. Try to avoid using Tuk-Tuk to get there due to the distance and road safety.
Just a tip for those who wish to visit Wat Hway Lard. There's no shop selling flowers or prayer offering at the temple. It's advisable that you buy the essential offering items in advance before heading to this temple. You can easily buy a variety of flowers from the flower market in downtown Hat Yai the night before.
Wat Hway Lard Today
The atmosphere at Wat Hway Lard today is seemingly quiet and peaceful. Local villagers and devotees are mostly elderly folks and we have every reason to believe they're the ones whom witnessed the existence of the holy spirit of Luang Pu Siman when the story unfolded here more than 50 years ago.
|Banner with LP Kovit Thammasan's amulet|
After 50 years, Wat Hway Lard is still majestically glorious from its past history. Today we can still see this temple undergoing new developments to serve the local community here.
Last Night on Earth
Luang Phor Kaao left the temple scene in BE 2499 as a wandering monk traversing into the thick forest and never to been seen again. Another conflicting story however mentioned that Luang Phor Kaao took part in the blessing of Rian medallion at a later time. There’s uncertainty to which version of the story is correct. Understandably when Luang Phor Kaao left the temple, it’s an indication that Luang Pu Siman’s mission to help people had been accomplished.
Luang Phor Kaao would have been around 92 years old if he’s still living today (in CE 2015). But it’s very unfortunate that nobody knows his where about for past many years since he left Wat Hway Lard quietly on his wandering journey. This epic story and Rian medallion consecrated to honor Luang Pu Siman wouldn’t be possible if not for Luang Phor Kaao (Phra Athikarn Kaao Tissavaso).
Deep inside the heart of Luang Phor Kaao, he must have felt a sense of achievement for what he had accomplished in helping the people of Songkhla through the holy spirit of Luang Pu Siman. The compassion and mystical healing administered to all those who're suffering from mysterious illnesses, black magic, etc is a great relief for those who've met this pious spirit of Luang Pu Siman through Luang Phor Kaao.
Divine Protective Amulets
We felt that Luang Pu Siman’s amulets is equivalent to Luang Pu Tuad amulets in terms of their sacred protection power against mishaps in travel journeys. Possibly in those days monks learned the sacred arcane sciences to protect themselves as part of the wandering lifestyle to spread Buddhism. Thus, pious monks in the olden days has this ability to confer blessings on sacred objects resulting in such kind of protective power for the faithful devotees.
Many amulet collectors may think Luang Pu Siman is nothing but a fiction and falseness. Probably due to this reason the Rian medallion is not popular in the amulet circle because of the biased view and misconception that the amulets are not being blessed by a “real” monk or Luang Pu Siman himself.
In reality every Maha Puttaphisek ceremony monks will invite devas and the main holy spirit of the intended monk to partake in the sacred blessing. Since it’s the first time ever Wat Huay Lard were to produce its amulet to honor the Venerable Luang Pu Siman, the Puttaphisek consecration was led by Luang Phor Kovit Thammasan to bless the first batch Rian Sema (very few quantity) in BE 2504 followed by another batch in BE 2509. Since then there's no record of any further sanctification ceremony to reproduce talismans in relation to the holy spirit of Luang Pu Siman.
The Collectors Showcase
All Luang Pu Siman's talismans shown above belonged to the respective collectors and owners.
Amulet Made For Soldiers
Several years later after Luang Phor Kaao left the temple, Indochina conflict came into light. Young men from Hway Lard villages enlisted into the army going for their tour of duty started requesting for amulet talisman as protection. That's when Wat Hway Lard made the BE 2509 (CE 1966) Luang Pu Siman Thep Intoh's Rian pendant under the supervision of Luang Phor Kovit Thammasan for distribution to soldiers and to the public.
Thai Buddhist society strongly believe in amulets as a protective companion. Luang Pu Siman the holy spirit is still fresh in the mind of everybody in the 60s. It is not surprising that those young men would request protective amulets from Wat Hway Lard.
|LP Kovit Thammasan, 23 Jan 2016|
In our own opinion, Luang Phor Kovit Thammasan (temple abbot from BE 2503 onward) must have been able to keep in touch with Luang Phor Kaao and sought assistance to help create the BE 2509 pendants for the enlisted soldiers.
Logically speaking only Luang Phor Kaao is able to make a direct spiritual connection with Luang Pu Siman. After the release of this BE 2509 batch, very seldom we find Luang Phor Siman's new amulet consecration. Hence, we are more convinced that the 1st batch of amulet pendants had Luang Pu Siman's holy spirit in attendance during the consecration ceremony.
We also don't have any clue why a specific date 3rd February in Thai alphabets was printed on the pendant itself. Usually when we see day and month imprinted on a pendant it must commemorate an important event. Could it be Luang Pu Siman's birthday? And also why only exactly 49 years later we are able to furnish this story in English and why not earlier? These unanswered questions will remain a mysterious puzzle that we don't wish to investigate further. We're already very happy at heart to be able to learn the origin of Wat Huay Lard and the mystifying spirit of Luang Pu Siman.
From 1965 to 1972 Thailand aided the American war in Indochina by dispatching 37,644 military personnel to South Vietnam as part of the US State Department’s Free World Assistance Program. After America and South Korea, Thailand’s military contribution was the third largest of the Free World nations.
Rewinding History - Thailand in Vietnam War
The Queen’s Cobra Regiment, the first combat unit to arrive in 1967, was later supplemented by the Black Panther Division. Both units, located in the same area of operations between the port of Vung Tau and the US Air Force base at Bien Hoa, saw active combat, suffered casualties and fatalities.
Luang Phor Pae of Wat Pikunthong's "King Cobra" Pidta Maha Utt for Thai military also made it to this war in 1971 (BE 2514). Amulets made for soldiers' protection are highly sacred from a Thai Buddhist's aspect. Talismans for Kongkrapan Chatri, Maha Utt, Maha Amnaj for own's protection is favored in this circumstance.
The capture of Saigon (now Ho Chi Minh city) by the North Vietnamese Army in April 1975 marked the end of the war. North and South Vietnam were reunified the following year.
Songkhla will always be the birth place for this wonderful pendants. In times of desperation and hope, the young men from surrounding Songkhla had sought blessings from a mystifying holy spirit of an old time monk to carry this BE 2509 batch Rian pendant to the battlefield.
With kind assistance from Saratcha Mungmaithanaruk for language translation works and several others particularly Hades Chan this story came alive. As such this is our fascinating discovery about Luang Pu Siman Thep Intoh's awakening at a small commune in Hway Lard Ratthaphum District, Songkhla.
May this story inspire you with good faith and belief in protective amulets as we traverse this earth seeking liberation for the discontinuation of karma and non-rebirth.
Song Playing Now
For some people there're many questions pertaining to the mystery of this holy spirit still left unanswered. For us here we've walked for miles seeking answers about this BE 2509 pendant asking around who is this monk, where is this temple, and if this monk is still alive today. Five friends, a totally wrecked car and just one amulet - the BE 2509 Luang Pu Siman Thep Intoh pendant had led us to find the closing chapter about this mysterious monk where our story finally unfolded here.
This legend is real. Just like Luang Pu Siman had traversed the vast forest during his past journey to Songkhla, we have our own life journey too in a world of constant flux. Thank you for reading this story. With each breath of mindfulness, may all sentient living beings be well and happy always.
Sadhu! Sadhu! Sadhu!
Happy 49th Anniversary
3rd Feb 2015
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