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Luang Phor Lee Thai Amulets
20 Amazing Monks
Luang Phor Lee Thai Amulets
20 Amazing Monks
Luang Phor Lee
Luang Phor Lee, also known as Phra Suddhidhammaransi Gambhiramedhacariya, was a disciple of Ajarn Mun, the famous forest monk who was recognized as having achieved ahararatship, which is the state of enlightenment achieved through listening to the teachings of the Buddha. Once trained, Luang Phor Lee became the master of Ajarn Fuang Jotiko and in turn, Ajarn Jotiko taught the great scholar and translator Thanissario Bhikku.
Bhikku later went on to translate the autobiography of Luang Phor Lee. Bhikku said that Ajarn Lee was well known for his skills as a teacher, a guide to the forest tradition of ascetic meditation, and for his mastery of supernatural powers. He also wrote that Ajarn Lee was the first master to introduce the ascetic traditions of forest Buddhism of the Mekhong to mainstream Thai society.
Between the 1930s and the 1950s, Luang Phor Lee was famous for his psychic abilities and other supernatural events that seemed to take place around him. In particular, the miracles surrounding the many relics of the Buddha’s body. It is said that these come from various parts of the body and vary in size, shape, and color, often being referred to as pearls. He complained often that the body relics of the Buddha would appear and disappear of their own will, and that they often distracted his students just as he had got them into the right frame of mind for meditation. When they did this he would often abandon the session.
He made public his wish to build a Chedi to hold the Buddha body relics to commemorate two thousand five hundred years after Buddha’s passing. He said he also had to build it in order to repay a past life karmic debt that he owed from when he was a monk in India around the time of Buddha. He said as the monk he had played truant instead of attending an important Sangha meeting and that he wanted to make amends by building the Chedi. Followers of Ajarn Lee disagreed with his plans and thought that a small shrine would be more suitable. The Chedi at Wat Asokaram was built after the death of Ajarn Lee.
A year before his death he began to write his autobiography, which contained stories concerning events that had happened in his life. He used the stories as a way of teaching simple truths and lessons and the books contained subjects not covered by his written teachings. He never mentioned his own spiritual path or attainment at any time. He talks in the book of meditation being an adventure and describes the strange characters and unusual incidents that took place. He treats life itself as a meditation, where truth is a quality of the heart, rather than ideas. He also teaches that the development of the mind is as important as life and death. He leaves it to the reader to find their own lessons in the narrative of his experiences and taught that lessons can be learned from everything, the forests, the trees, the animals, and the vines.
He gave much emphasis to signs, portents, and other supernatural events in the book. Although these are usually downplayed in traditional Buddhism he knew they were often encountered by students exploring the realms of the mind. He used examples to teach which experiences should be seen as mere curiosities, which should be taken seriously, and which seem to hold hidden messages that should be studied.
Many of Ajarn Lee’s followers were disappointed when they read the book, particularly at the understatement he used to describe some of the supernatural events that happened around him. Several of them later attempted to write an expanded edition of the book featuring some of the extraordinary events they had witnessed, but this manuscript disappeared and was never seen again. When he died his book was unfinished. He left a brief list of events and was going to show the connections between them and more detail, but the list was never completed. He was also going to explain why the Chedi he wanted to build should be called Wat Asokaram.
The Chedi was completed after he died. Wat Asokaram was built and added to over the years and now holds a golden statue of Ajarn Lee. His tomb is behind the golden statue in the temple. The temple has 13 Chedi, one for each of the 13 Tudong (Spiritual journey) precepts, which are rules or promises.