The Angel of the Khong River
Luang Por Koon of Wat Baan Rai is well known all over Thailand these days as an great instructor. He is sometimes referred to as “the Angel of Daankhuntod City” or “the Angel of the Khong River” due to his great acts of charity and devotion to the local people. He was born in the Daankhuntod district of Nakhon Ratchasima. His father, Butra Chatpholkrang, and his mother, Thongkhao Chatpholkrang, were both farmers.
They passed away when he was only 7 years old. After that, he was raised by his aunt and tutored by many instructors such as Phra Chuem Wiratho, Phra Chai and Phra Lei. He studied the Thai and Khmer languages in Wat Baan Rai, which was the temple with the the one only school in the whole village. Besides languages, his instructor also taught him an incantation of protection which would protect him from dangers and harm.
When he was 21 years old, he entered the religious life at Wat Hukyai in the Daankhuntod district of Nakhon Ratchasima on May 5, 1944. At his head shaving ceremony he was given the name Parisuttho by Instructor Phra Wijandeekij, the formal religious leader of the Daankhuntod district.
“A monk shouldn’t just ask for food to eat from the people, but should find ways to give back to them as well.”
Once ordained as a monk, he at first stayed at Wat Hukyai where Luang Por Khong Buddhasaro was the abbot. But Luang Por Khong was not his instructor for long, and took him to attend instruction at Nong Pho Temple in the Samnaktakro sub-district of Daankhuntod. There, Luang Por Daeng was famous for meditation especially in deep levels of meditation and self-awareness.
He gave instructions on the dhama dogma and taught how when one meditates with peace of mind, you will acknowledge all and then having perceived the truth of all things, you will attain awareness. When you practice meditation, you working towards achieving nirvana. (Thus able to escape the cycle of reincarnation.) Luang Por Khong was very pleased with the young Luang Por Khun’s development in the practice of meditation. Usually, the monks he taught asked for instruction in spells and incantations but the abbot was unsupportive of this as he felt that these do not not lead to a truly blissful life. He also taught that when practicing meditation we should seek quiet place for practice. This will bring us greater peace of mind and heart. The monk should also travel to proselytize and expanded the teachings of Buddhism to others.
“I am a monk, and should go beg for food daily as the Lord Buddha did. How can I avoid it? It is a monk’s habit that I should do it. Unless I kill creature, I am in possession of merit. The laymen also have this opportunity to make merit. If the monks do not beg for food, they are abandoning their duty.”
Luang Por Khun traveled all over the country especially through the rain forests in Panom Dongruk, a mountainous region on the border between Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. In 1952, he undertook the practice of deep meditation before his return to Thailand by walking through Cambodia. He traveled across the land border at Surin and entered his old hometown of Baan Rai. Reaching there, he stopped with the firm intention of solving local people’s problems.
“The homeland is in drought and people are poor. In addition, the Temple is old and in ruins. The children have no school. In this time of drought, we dig for water to drink but find only saltwater. It is very shameful for me. If I don’t do something, who will?”
In Baan Rai, he started building a temple, a school and a hospital. He also had a well dug for the villagers and donated money for various public health works.
Since then, news of his charitable deeds spread throughout the country and amulets of Luang Por Koon were cast in his honor. The popularity of these amulets spread and many people desired to wear one in tribute to him. Several series of amulets of Luang Por Koon have been made. The series are, as follows.
• The first series was released in his honor in 1969. Cast at Wat Jaeng Nok, Muang, Nakhon Ratchasima
• A series in honor of his building Wat Sra Keaw in 1974
• The halo series cast in 1976