As mentioned in earlier posts, we have set ourselves the goal of taking one day each week for a planned day out exploring a specific place or attraction around Hua Hin. It does not always work that way but we certainly try to make an outing happen each week.
This week’s outing is to Wat Huay Mongkol or the Huay Mongkol Temple – home to the immensely popular Buddhist monk Luang Pu Thuat. The temple complex is only 10 km from Hua Hin so an easy trip.
The original simple temple (Wat) was established in 1964 as a small lodging for monks. An Abbot was appointed and instigated the creation of a monetary and later the temple was built. With the passing of the first Abbot is 1991 another was appointed and he continues to administer the facilities. This new Abbot, Pra Archan Pairoj was the one who came up with the idea of building a large monument to Luang Pu Thuat to help spread the Buddhist teachings.
The Abbot secured support (funding) from the Deputy Commander of the Royal Guards, General Visit Kong-Uthaikul, to build the statue in merit and honour of Her Majesty Queen Sirikit for her 72nd birthday in 2004. H.M the Queen presided over the casting ceremony of the statues head in June 2003 and paid homage to the finished statue on 27 August 20o4.
Luang Pu Thuat is possibly the most well-known monk right across Thailand is held in high respect by all Thai people. Sometimes he is known as “Luang Phor Thuat” and sometimes “Luang Pu Thuat. “Pu”, meaning “grandfather” and “Por” meaning “Father”. It depends on the age of a monk whether he is called Luang Pu, Dtaa, Por, or Pi. Luang Pu Thuat is possibly most revered for his enlightenment and ability to perform miracles including turning seawater into freshwater. Many also believe that the amulets created in his image guarantee safety in times of distress.
He was born in 1582 in southern Siam (as it was known then) and died in Malaysia in 1662 according to this Wikipedia article.
Luang Pu Thuat is mentioned in the early regional histories of southern Thailand, but his life is mainly preserved in oral traditions. Stories of the famous monk were passed on by word of mouth for centuries. As a result, his story is a mixture of Buddhist elements: early signs, alleged magic, travel, study, meditation and eventual “sainthood.” His movements throughout the southern Thai peninsula constitute a path of pilgrimage for many of his followers.
Wat Huay Mongkol is set within a park-like setting that attracts many visitors each weekend. In its current format, it is a Buddhist training centre, Moral training centre for students as well as the centre for Tripitaka comprehension for Buddhists who journey here to pay homage.
For Vivien and I, gaining some understanding of Buddhist beliefs is of interest, particularly given where we are living. Therefore visiting and learning about Wat Huay Mongkol helps, in simple ways, with that process.
Wat Huay Mongkol and the massive monument to Luang Pu Thuat is impressive and worth a visit (or two)!