The Mummified Monk at Wat Khunaram – Koh Samui, Thailand
The second stop on our Jeep Safari Tour was the Wat Khunaram, a buddhist temple containing the mummified remains of the monk Phra Khru Samathakittikhun, who died in 1973. He left instructions that his body should be put on display “as a reminder of the transience of human existence” (according to Wikipedia). The sign in front of the temple says that he wanted his body to inspire future generations to follow Buddhist teachings, in order to be saved from suffering. (Paraphrasing the broken english from the sign, lol!)
Born under the name Loung Pordang in 1894. He ordained as a monk in his 20s, but later disrobed. He married a local woman and they had six children. After they grew up he returned to monastic life, where he studied Buddhist texts and meditation. His given monk name was Phra Khru Samathakittikhu.
“The week before his death, at aged 79, he stopped eating and speaking, and sat in a deep meditative state before his life slipped away. Loung Pordang is said to have told his followers shortly before his death that if his body were to decompose he should be cremated, but if not then he wanted to be put on display as a visual reminder of the Buddha’s teachings”. His body did not decompose, so he was placed in a glass case at Wat Khunaram.
Temples (or Wat’s) in Thailand usually have a statue of Buddha standing, sitting or reclining; in some (like this one) you will find seven or eight statues lined up. Each of these buddha statues represent a day of the week. You are supposed to pay respect to the one that symbolizes the day you were born. (A quick Google search will tell you which day you were born in.) Mine is Friday!
Our tour manager Chamani teaching us how to get our fortune using chinese fortune sticks! These were ceramic (chopstick looking) sticks in a bamboo container, each stick has a number. First you pay respect to the monk by putting your hands on the floor, then up in prayer form, 4 times. After that you take the container, shake it until one of the sticks falls out. If more than one stick comes out we were told to close your eyes and pick one. According to an article I read online, you can also discard them and repeat the shaking of the container until only one pops out.
Off to the next adventure! Before that check out the previous Thailand posts:
Grandmother & Grandfather Rocks