famous buddhist monks and other buddhist figures
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Note: I know there are more but time is not enough to study them allForgive me for my wrong pronunciations and wrong English Spellings of Thai names :’(
1. Luang Phor Tuad (B.E.2125) (Western year 1582)
Wat Changhai, Pattani province
The legend of a high priest, Luang Phor Tuad (LP Tuad) comes from the Kingdom of Ayutthaya period (it was Thailand’s capital from 1350 to 1767).
He has lived during the reign of King Maha Dhammaraja, in the mid-sixteenth century.
His exact date of birth is not known, most of what is known were just recounted from his ancestors.
LP Tuad was ordained as a novice at the age of 15 and as a monk in his early years living at Wat Phra Kho in Songkhla province.
He decided his pilgrimage travel to Ayutthaya province to gain more experience.
He resided in an old temple called Wat Rachanuwat outside the city where he continued to study the Buddhist scriptures.
Miracle Stories of LP Thuad
1. According to legend, when LP Tuad was still a child and hanging in the cradle between two big shady trees near a paddy field, he was nearly attacked by a large snake which curled around him. To everyone's surprise he remained unharmed. Instead, the snake spit out a snake pearl to him and left away.
2. Another miracle is that LP Tuad changed the seawater into drinking water somewhere in the ocean on the way to Ayutthaya province.
He became the abbot of Wat Changhai in Pattani province, where his remains are kept today. The date of his death is unknown.
LP Tuad left the world and attained enlightenment worthy of nirvana but still, accordingly, remains in the human world to help people.
2. (Somdej Toh) Somdej Phra Buddhachan Toh Promrangsi
(B.E.2331~2415)(Western year 1788 ~ 1872)
Wat Rakang Kositaram, Bangkok
Somdej Toh was born (1788) in Phra Nakhon Si, Ayutthaya Province.
Somdej Toh was ordained as a novice monk in 1800 at the age of 12 and is one of the most famous Buddhist monks during Thailand’s Rattanakosin period.
It is said that he is the son of King Rama II of the Chakri Dynasty.
At the age of 21 he was ordained as monk under the Royal Patronage at Wat Praseeratanasasadaram (Wat Prakeo) in Bangkok.
He studied the Buddhist scriptures of the Pali Canon with
several Buddhist masters.
The venerable monk was known to be a good speaker, as well as a
highly intelligent and compassionate person.
He was also persistent and patient.
He made many Buddha images for temples.
After becoming a well-known monk, he became the
preceptor (a teacher/instructor) for Prince
Mongkut (King Rama IV/ King Mongkut
for English speakers) when the prince became a monk.
In 1864 at the age of 76 during Rama IV’s reign, Somdej Toh
was given the ceremonial name Phra Buddhacharn Toh
Somdej Toh is said to have been the teacher of King Rama V when
he was young.
He is known for his preaching skills, for using Thai poetry to
reflect the beauty of Buddhism and for making amulets.
He passed away in 1872 at the age of 84. He is probably one of
the most respected monks in Thailand.
The highly revered Phra Somdej amulet originates from Wat Rakang "Temple of Bell" in Bangkok. The amulets were blessed by Somdej
Toh and other respected famous monks in Thailand.
3. (Luang Pu Mun) Bhuridatta (B.E.2413~2492)
(Western year 1870 ~ 1949 )
Wat Pa Suthawas, Sakon Nakhon province
Luang Pu Mun was born in 1870, in a farming village named Baan Kham Bong, in present day Si Mueang Mai District, Ubon
Ratchathani Province of northeastern Thailand
He was born into the Lao-speaking family. He was the eldest of nine children.
LP Mun was first ordained as a novice monk at age 16, in the local village monastery of
He remained a novice for two years.
LP Mun was fully ordained as a monk at the age of 22, in 1893, at
Wat Liap monastery in the provincial city of Ubon Ratchatani.
Venerable Phra Ariyakavi was his preceptor. At his ordination, LP
Mun was given the Buddhist name "Bhuridatta" which means
"blessed with wisdom”
After ordination, LP Mun went to practice meditation with Archan Sao of Wat Liap in Ubon, where
he learned to practice the monastic traditions of Laos.
Archan Sao taught LP Mun a meditation method to calm the
Archan Sao often took LP Mun wandering in the forests along the Mekong River, where they practice
This is known as "Thudong" in Thai.
LP Mun resided at Wat Baan Nong Pue from 1944 until he passed
away at the age of 79. His disciples placed his remains at Wat Pa
Suthawas, Sakon Nakhon province.
Thich Nhat Hanh
Born in central Vietnam in 1926, Thich Nhat Hanh entered the
monastic life as a novice monk at the age of sixteen.
As a young bhikshu in the early 1950s he was actively engaged in
the movement to renew Vietnamese Buddhism.
He was one of the first bhikshus to study a secular subject at
university in Saigon.
The Vietnam War (1946-1975) was a long, costly armed conflict that pitted the communist regime of North Vietnam and its southern allies,
known as the Viet Cong, against South Vietnam and its principal ally, the United States. Millions of people died from this war.
During this time, there was a question among some Buddhist monk groups as to whether they should get involved in the war or just stay in
the temples and continue a meditative life.
Some monks chose to be politically active.
Thich Nhat Hanh was one of those who chose to do both meditating in monasteries and helping the people who suffered because of war during the Vietnam War.
Because of this, he founded the Engaged Buddhism movement.
His life has since been dedicated to the work of inner transformation for the benefit of individuals and society.
Thich Nhat Hanh traveled to US and other countries, spreading the message of peace and brotherhood, asking for Western leaders to end the Vietnam War (he led a
Buddhist delegation to the Paris Peace Talks in 1969.)
In the last decade Thich Nhat Hanh has opened monasteries in California, New York, Vietnam, Paris, Hong Kong, Thailand, Mississippi and Australia, and Europe’s first
“Institute of Applied Buddhism” in Germany.
In January 2016, after over a year of intensive rehabilitation from stroke,
Thich Nhat Hanh returned to his hermitage at Plum Village (Bordeaux
in southwest France).
Although he is still unable to speak, and is mostly paralyzed on the right
side, he continues to offer his peaceful, serene and
valiant presence to his community.
Maha Ghosananda (full title Samdech Preah Maha Ghosananda)
Maha Ghosananda is a highly revered Cambodian Buddhist monk
in the Theravada tradition.
He served as the Patriarch (Sangharaja) of Cambodian
Buddhism during the Khmer Rouge period and post-communist
transition period of Cambodian history.
His Pali monastic name, 'Mahā Ghosānanda', means "great joyful
He was born in to a farming family in the Mekong Delta plains (1913).
He showed great interest in religion at am early age, and began to serve as a
temple boy at age eight.
He greatly impressed the monks with whom he served, and at age fourteen
received novice ordination.
He studied Pali scriptures in the local temple high school. Completed his higher education at the monastic universities in Phnom Penh and
Battambang.Went to India to pursue a doctorate in
A Sad Story
In 1965, Maha Ghosananda left India to study meditation under Ajahn
Dhammadaro, of Wat Chai Na forest temple near Nakorn Sri Dhammaraj
in Southern Thailand, a famous meditation master of the Thai Forest
Four years later, while he was still studying, the United States began
bombing Cambodia as part of their attempt to shut down the Ho Chi Minh Trail and end the Vietnam
Cambodia experienced bad things and many became refugees.
Why is it a sad story?
a.) Buddhism was seen as useless part of the past by the Khmer Rouge.
b.) Monks were viewed with suspicion and disdain as part of the intellectual class, and
targeted for especially brutal treatment and "re-education".
c.) Monks were removed from monasteries and forced to disrobe and become farming peasants, or were tortured and murdered
d.) Some monks were forced to violate their vows at gunpoint. By the time the Khmer
Rouge reign of terror ended, there were no monks alive in Cambodia, and most temples
were in rubble.
e.) Refugees and victims began to move out of Cambodia and stay in refugee camps along
the Thai border.
In 1978, Maha Ghosananda left his forest meditation in Thailand, and went down to
the refugee camps near the Thai-Cambodian border to begin ministering to the first refugees who stayed across the border.Maha Ghosananda's appearance in the
refugee camps surprised the refugees who had not seen a monk for years.
The Cambodian refugees openly wept as Maha Ghosananda chanted the ancient and familiar sutras that had been the bedrock of
traditional Cambodian culture before the bad times.
He distributed photocopied Buddhist
scriptures among the refugees, as protection and inspiration for the battered people.
His entire family, and countless friends and disciples, were massacred by the Khmer
a.) Maha Ghosananda helped in restoring Cambodia and in reviving Cambodian Buddhism.
In 1980, he served as a representative of the Cambodian (nation-in-exile) to the United Nations.b.) Maha Ghosananda was one of only 3,000 Cambodian Buddhist monks alive, out of more than 60,000 at the start of the reign of terror in 1976.
c.) Throughout 1979 Maha Ghosananda established wats in refugee camps along the Thai-Cambodian border and ordained monks.
d.) In 1980 Maha Ghosananda and the Reverend Peter L. Pond formed the Inter-Religious Mission for Peace in Cambodia.
Together they located hundreds of surviving monks and nuns in Cambodia so that they could renew their vows and take leadership roles in Cambodian temples around the world.
He had been called "the Gandhi of Cambodia.“
Maha Ghosananda was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
He was again nominated in 1995, 1996, and 1997 for his work in bringing peace
He also acted as an adviser to the Buddhist Peace Fellowship and resided part-time in the Palelai Buddhist Temple
and Monastery in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.
He died in Northampton, Massachusetts on March 12, 2007.
14th Dalai Lama
(Religious Name: Tenzin Gyatso) (Given Name: Lhamo Thondup)
Who is a DALAI LAMA?
In Tibetan Buddhism:
The Dalai Lamas are believed by Tibetan Buddhist followers to be manifestations of Avalokiteshvara or Chenrezig, the Bodhisattva of Compassion and the patron saint of Tibet.
Bodhisattvas are believed to be enlightened beings who have postponed their own nirvana and chosen to take rebirth in order to serve humanity.
In Tibetan Government:
He is the political leader of Tibet.The Dalai Lamas have functioned as both the political and spiritual leaders of Tibet for 369 years since 1642.
Lhamo Thondup was born on 6 July 1935 to a farming and horse trading family.
How did he became the 14th Dalai Lama?
People from the earlier Dalai Lama visited different
locations--one group went to North-eastern region after
following the direction of the head of the 13th Dalai Lama.
Posing as pilgrims, its leader monk, pretended to be the
servant and sat separately in the kitchen.
He held an old rosary that had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama and the boy Lhamo
Dhondup, aged two, approached and asked for it.
The 13th Dalai Lama
The monk said "if you know who I am, you can have it."
The child spoke with him in a language the boy's mother
could not understand.
The next time the party returned to the house, they revealed their real purpose
(finding the next Dalai Lama) and asked permission to
subject the boy to certain tests.
The 14th Dalai Lama when he was still a very young boy
One test consisted of showing him various pairs of objects, one
of which had belonged to the 13th Dalai Lama and one which
In every case he unhesitatingly chose the Dalai Lama's own
objects and rejected the others.
It was reported that he had correctly identified all the items
owned by the previous Dalai Lama, exclaiming, "It's mine! It's
Thus, the boy was chosen to become the next Dalai Lama
Words from the 14th Dalai Lama as Tibet’s Leader:
“On this first occasion, I stressed the need for my people to take a long-
term view of the situation in Tibet.
For those of us in exile, I said that our priority must be resettlement and the continuity of our cultural
As to the future, I stated my belief that, with truth, justice and courage as our weapons, we Tibetans would
eventually prevail in regaining freedom for Tibet”.
Giving public talks for non-Buddhist audiences and interviews and teaching Buddhism to large public audiences all over the world, as well as to private
groups at his residence in India, appears to be the Dalai Lama's main activity.
Despite becoming 80 years old in 2015 he maintains a busy international lectures and teaching schedule.
The 14th Dalai Lama is also: An author of many books; tours to countries to give lectures; interested in science; attended/attends interfaith dialogue; active in promoting/fighting social
issues; he also received a lot of awards for his actions and accomplishments.