Pra Kru Wat Bang Pha In
วพระกรุวัดบางปะอิน

The Legacy of Wat Pho Bang Pa-In Amulets: A Testament to Devotion

The history of the Wat Pho Bang Pa-In amulets is a tale that illustrates the pure intentions of a layman whose unwavering dedication and profound faith aimed to perpetuate Buddhism. This individual’s noble aspiration to create 84,000 amulets, in accordance with Buddhist scriptures, left a lasting impact on his community and the broader realm of amulet collectors.

Ta Nom: The Devoted Creator

Ta Nom, a man of Chinese descent, lived on a boat near the mouth of Ban Pho Canal. He made a living by rowing and selling betel leaves and nuts. Driven by a strong devotion to Buddhism, Ta Nom spent his free time crafting various types of amulets, including Phra Pidta, Phra Somdej, and representations of the Buddha seated on a porcupine (similar to Phra Luang Phor Pan). After molding and firing these amulets, he placed them in a small, dilapidated stupa at Wat Pho in Bang Pa-In.

This stupa, situated next to the ordination hall, was in a state of disrepair, with an opening at the top. Ta Nom began his amulet-making endeavor around 1907 and continued for many years, as recounted by the local elders.

An Undeterred Mission

For over a century, Ta Nom persisted in his mission. As he created more amulets, he would place them in the small stupa, undeterred by the local villagers’ perception of him as eccentric. Despite this, the community recognized Ta Nom as a man deeply committed to his moral and spiritual principles. His single-minded dedication to creating amulets, which some deemed obsessive, was the cause of his perceived abnormality.

In his later years, Ta Nom passed away quietly, without much notice or concern from others. The stupa beside the ordination hall became known as the repository for his amulets. Over time, these amulets surfaced when children discovered them spilling out from the stupa’s cracks, using them in their games. Some adults who found the amulets returned them to their original place.

The Unveiling and Misrepresentation

In 1966, the temple sought funds to construct a new ordination hall. Opportunistic individuals excavated the stupa, selling the amulets and creating a fictional backstory linking them to Somdej Phra Phutthachan (To) to increase their value. This narrative drew significant attention, including from local dignitaries and even royalty, leading to a grand ceremony that captivated the nation. A statue of Somdej Phra Phutthachan was erected at the temple as a result.

The True Value and Legacy

Despite the fabricated stories, the genuine legacy of Ta Nom’s amulets should not be overlooked. The amulets, crafted with sincere devotion and meticulous effort, reflect Ta Nom’s dedication to Buddhism. Each amulet, particularly the Phra Pidta, exhibits unique artistic elements and craftsmanship, using a special type of clay that required significant effort to mold and fire.

Significance of Wat Pho Bang Pa-In Amulets

The amulets from Wat Pho Bang Pa-In, now over a hundred years old, are noteworthy for several reasons:

  1. Historical Value: These amulets are over a century old and reasonably priced, making them accessible to new collectors.
  2. Pure Intentions: Created with genuine dedication and effort, these amulets embody the pure intentions of their maker.
  3. Proven Efficacy: The amulets have a reputation for their spiritual benefits, making them highly sought after despite many counterfeits.
  4. Cultural Impact: They have significantly contributed to the development of Wat Pho and the local community, aligning with Ta Nom’s goal of supporting Buddhism.
  5. Enduring Legacy: The continued existence and veneration of these amulets demonstrate their effectiveness in perpetuating the Buddhist faith.

Despite modern developments at Wat Pho Bang Pa-In, a crucial element remains missing—a memorial to Ta Nom. His contributions have upheld and enriched Buddhism, warranting recognition for his unwavering faith and dedication.


Pra Kru – Pim Somkor Kampaeng Phet
พระกำแพงซุ้มกอ

Pra Kamphaeng Soom Kor, revered as the ultimate and emblematic amulet of Kamphaeng Phet, holds a timeless status in both Buddhist art and spiritual potency. It is included in the prestigious Benjapakee set, considered the highest echelon of Thai amulets.

These sacred artifacts are crafted from a blend of clay, medicinal herbs, and flower pollen, with some also made from metal alloys. The artistic style of Pra Soom Kor reflects the Sukhothai period, featuring the Buddha in a meditative posture adorned with intricate kanok (foliage) patterns on the sides, seated upon a lotus throne with stylized elephant tusks.

Pra Kamphaeng Soom Kor exists in two primary forms: with and without kanok patterns. The version without the kanok patterns prominently exhibits Lankan art influences. The clay used in these amulets is mixed with medicinal herbs and flower pollen, giving the surface a smooth, glossy texture. When rubbed with cotton or cloth, they become distinctly shiny.

While predominantly made from clay, some Pra Kamphaeng Soom Kor amulets are found in metal and purely herbal forms, though these are extremely rare. These amulets are primarily discovered in the areas surrounding Wat Phra Borommathat, Wat Phikun, Wat Ruesi, and across the Thung Setthi plains.

The brown-colored Pra Kamphaeng Soom Kor without kanok patterns is particularly rare, as most are typically black. A unique characteristic of these amulets is the presence of small red spots on the surface, known as “wan dok makham,” and black spots in the crevices, referred to as “black mold.”

The Somkor pim  is sometimes called the Buddha of Fortune. It was said that when these amulets were found, an inscription “Poverty will never fall on those who possesses this amulet ” was written in the chedi.

Pra Kamphaeng Soom Kor is renowned for its comprehensive spiritual benefits, encompassing kindness, popularity, protection from harm, and fortune. Due to its inclusion in the Benjapakee set, the demand among collectors is incredibly high, making these amulets both expensive and hard to find.

Kamphaeng Phet, known for its rich history of sacred amulets, is truly a city of ancient treasures. The abundance of amulet vaults in this city makes it impossible to detail each one individually. Instead, this article will provide a general overview to guide enthusiasts and scholars alike.

Kru Thung Setthi

The Thung Setthi area, located across from present-day Kamphaeng Phet province in what was once Khlong Suan Mak subdistrict, now Nakhon Chum subdistrict, is renowned for its numerous amulet Kru (vaults). Some of the most significant kru in Thung Setthi include:

  • Wat Phra Borommathat Vault
  • Chedi Klang Thung Vault
  • Wat Phikun Vault
  • Soom Kor Vault
  • Ban Setthi Vault
  • Ruesi Vault
  • Wat Noi Vault (Soom Kor Dam Vault)
  • Wat Nong Langa Vault
  • Hua Yang Vault
  • Khlong Phrai Vault
  • Non Muang Vault

Phra Somkor normally comes in either the shape of a thumbnail, or an oval shape commonly referred to as cake amulets (kanom). They are estimated to have been made some 600 years ago.

These pims originate from a number of temples within the province of kampaengphet. In fact the majority of pims come from a site known as  Thung-Sethi, located in the centre of old Nakon Chum, hence the name of the pim.

 


This amulet is known as Phra Kru, Neua Chin, Wat Talaat Plu and covered in pure gold. These amulets are now rare but really beautiful and well worth collecting. They originally adorned a number of wooden panels within the old temple known as Wat Jantaram, located on Taothai road, Chonburi, Bangkopk. locally this temple has alwways been called Wat Taalat Plu. 

Note the grooves and colouring to the back of the amulets, signature marking where these amulets were originally fixed to the temple woodwork. Some are also punctured with nail holes.

It is not known who blessed these amulets but it was thought to be former abbot of the temple and are quite llikely a few hundred years old

In BE 2485 the old temple was demolished to make way for a new temple on the same site. These Buddha images were collected by the locals and it was not long after that miraculous events associated with these amukets were being reported.

It is believed that these amulets are of great purity (Wwisuti) and as such offer invincibility or Kong Krapan. So strong was this belief that they were ubnbelievably requisitioned by the Government who issued a circular requesting the return of the amulets to distribute to soldiers on the front line of the indochinese war.

After that the stories and accounts of the protectivbe qualities of these amulets increased considerably and ity is believed that saved countless lives.

Highly recomended.

 


I think it is fairly common knowledge that LP Tim, Wat Changhai blessed what is generally considered the best LP Thuad pim in BE 2497. But the price to acquire a genuine example is well beyond the means of all but the very wealthy. So what other choices does that leave us with? In fact there are numerous pims that are equally as good and far less expensive

One such amulet is the Luang Phor Thuad pim blessed at Wat Prasart in BE 2506. In fact this would be my recommendation to anyone looking for a high quality pim that is equal in quality to those originally blessed at Wat Changhai. Many serious collectors also concur with that opinion.

Although Wat Prasart is some 1000 Km in distance from Wat Changhai they do have something in common. Not only is Wat Prasart famous for its Luang Phor Thuad amulets but the sacred powder used to make those amulets was donated by none other than LP Tim. LP Tim is known to have admired Pra Kru Samhua Umphon, then abbot of the temple. He offered his support by donating sacred powder used during the creation of the original BE 2497 pims and a number of BE 2497 amulets to be ground as powder.

What is not commonly known is that LP Tim also donated a perfect example of his BE 2497 pim to be used as a prototype for the new mould. Furthermore he participated in the ceremony to sanctify these amulets.

In essence we have a LP Thuad amulet that contains the same powders as the original Wat Changhai pim, we have an amulet that is also blessed by LP Tim, we have an amulet that is modelled on the original design, alone these would make the amulet special.

But there is more and these account for the reason that I and many other people would recommend this pim as the amulet of choice. The blessing ceremony itself was attended by over 300 of the countries most senior monks of the era, each transferring sacred power. In fact most experts agree that the power of these amulets is considered immense by any standard. Apart from LP Tim some of the monks involved include Luang Phor Jong of Wat Nartangnok, Luang Phor Ngern of Wat Don Yai Hom, Luang Poo Nak of Wat Rakang, Luang Phor Nerng of Wat Julamani, Luang Phor Klai of Wat Suankun, Luang Phor Tiam of Wat Bost, Luang Poo Toh of Wat Pradoochimpli etc.

Apart from the blessing ceremony itself, these LP Thuad amulets contain other powders that are considered particularly sacred, such as powder ground from original Pra Somdej Bangkhunprom amulets, Wat Mai Amatros. Sacred powder from ground amulets of Wat Samploem and powder ground from many other sacred amulets from numerous temples throughout Thailand All these combined make this amulet one of the most desirable of all LP Thuad pims and in some ways more so than the original BE 2497 amulets.

These amulets come in several colors, including white, black, and gray, and are highly popular among collectors. Despite their demand, they remain reasonably priced and accessible.

 

Blessed by:
  • Phra Ajarn Tim, Wat Chang Hai, Pattani
  • Luang Pho Thiam, Wat Kasattrathirat, Ayutthaya
  • Luang Pho Noi, Wat Thammasala, Nakhon Pathom
  • Luang Pu Toh, Wat Pradoochimplee, Bangkok
  • Luang Pho Kee, Wat Hu Chang, Nonthaburi
  • Luang Pu Nak, Wat Rakhang, Bangkok
  • Luang Pho Seng, Wat Kalaya, Bangkok
  • Luang Pho Chong, Wat Nadtangnok, Ayutthaya
  • Luang Pho Thoon, Wat Phothinimit, Bangkok
  • Luang Pho Ngern, Wat Don Yai Hom, Nakhon Pathom
  • Luang Pho Mui, Wat Don Rai, Suphanburi
  • Luang Pho Thin, Wat Pa Lelai, Suphanburi
  • Luang Pho Nor, Wat Tha Ruea, Ayutthaya

Other revered monks include:

  • Chao Khun Pon, Wat Nang, Bangkok
  • Luang Pho Sud, Wat Ka Long, Samut Sakhon
  • Luang Pho The, Wat Sam Ngam, Nakhon Pathom
  • Luang Pho Pae, Wat Phikun Thong, Singburi
  • Luang Pho Khong, Wat Wang Sa Pha Rot, Chanthaburi
  • Luang Pho An, Wat Phra Yat, Ayutthaya
  • Luang Pho Nai, Wat Ban Chang, Ayutthaya
  • Luang Pho Thob, Wat Khao Chan Daen, Phetchabun
  • Luang Pu Thup, Wat Khae, Nang Loeng, Bangkok
  • Luang Pu Du, Wat Sakae, Ayutthaya
  • Luang Pho Cham, Wat Nual Noradit, Bangkok

Additional notable monks are:

  • Luang Pho Phrom, Wat Khanon Nuea, Ayutthaya
  • Luang Pho Phrom, Wat Chong Khae, Nakhon Sawan
  • Luang Pho Roem, Wat Chukachoe, Chonburi
  • Luang Pho Khruen, Wat Sang Kho, Suphanburi
  • Luang Pho Thian, Wat Bot, Pathum Thani
  • Luang Pho Nueang, Wat Chulamanee, Samut Songkhram
  • Luang Pu Rian, Wat Bang Raho, Nonthaburi
  • Luang Pho Muean, Wat Kampaeng, Chonburi
  • Luang Pho Khlai, Wat Suan Khan, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Luang Pho Bunmee, Wat Khao Samo Khon, Lopburi
  • Luang Pu Tim, Wat Lahan Rai, Rayong
  • Luang Pu Khiao, Wat Rong Mun, Nakhon Si Thammarat
  • Luang Pho Dit, Wat Pak Sa, Phatthalung
  • Luang Pho Daeng, Wat Khao Bandai It, Phetchaburi
  • Luang Pho Daeng, Wat Maduea, Pattani
  • Luang Pho Kan, Wat Khao Kaeo, Nakhon Sawan
  • Luang Pho Do, Wat Na Matoom, Chonburi
  • Luang Pho Ming, Wat Kok, Bangkok
  • Luang Pho Boi, Wat Manaw, Suphanburi
  • Luang Pho Thiam, Wat Lat Lum Kaeo, Pathum Thani
  • Luang Pho Dee, Wat Nuea, Kanchanaburi
  • Luang Pho Thongsuk, Wat Saphan Sung, Nonthaburi

These amulets are recovered from a sacred kru in Kampaengphet province and are quite rare. This ancient amulet (c.600 years)  is known as Kampaeng Met Má-Lêun. Casual observation may lead one to believe that this is Pra Nang Kleep Bua being very similarly shaped in the form of a lotus petal. Although easily confused they are not the same.

Closer inspection will reveal significant differences. The Kleep Bua pim generally does not have the same width in wings and is thinner. Both these are important identification markers. The Met Má-Lêun amulet is not only thicker but also has a swollen reverse which bulges out, absent in the Kleep Bua pim

Features Lord Buddha in the marawichai posture sitting on a small foundation referred to as “Taan Keet” This amulet can be found in a variety of colours ranging from white to red/brown. They are generally made from clay which is mixed with pollens, herbs and sedges. Colllectors believe that these amulets are filled with Buddha’s grace and are ideal for multiple blessings  

These sacred amulets are estimated to be about 600-700 hundred years old with a design and form which may not be familiar to the modern day amulet collector.

Other similar pims from this province  include  Pra Pim Met Kà-Nŭn (Jack Fruit) with a swollen appearnce resembling a jack fruit seed and Pra Pim Kleep Champa which resemble the petal of the Champa flower. Often collectors will substitute the Kampaeng Somkor pim for this amulet in a benjapakee collection. Although less expensive they are most certainly not inferior.

They originate from a number of temples within the province of kampaengphet. In fact the majority of pims come from a site known as  Thung-Sethi, located in the centre of old Nakon Chum. This example is most likely from Kru Wat Borom-Tâat