Kruba Prohmajak

Kruba Prohmajak

by Jun Wei

Kruba Prohmajak is one of the top Lanna guru monks of the last century as some of his amulets are believed to be hard to come across.

Kruba Prohmajak Wat Pra Puttabat Tak Pha in Tambon Makok, Amphoe Pha Chang, Lampun was born on 30th August BE 2441 and was given the name “Porhma Pimsarn” by his parents. His father and mother were known as Mr Bpeng Pimsarn and Mrs Bua Tha Pimsarn respectively. Kruba Prohmajak was in fact the 7th child in the family of 13 siblings. It is worth to mention that some of his siblings are also well-known guru monks namely Kruba Intr Jak Raksa (Phra Sutamma Yan Thera) and Krub Kampira Wat Doi Noi. 

Both of his parents were family but they were not overly poor as they had enough resources to live without any extreme hardships. Kruba Prohmajak lived with Sila (precepts) and would often help tend the farm and tilling the land but he was refrained from hunting. As his family only farmed the field and refrain themselves from breaking the first precept of killing living beings. They also did not rear pigs, oxen, ducks or chickens to sell at market abstaining from indirect killing.

His parents were faithful buddhists and would bring the family to sleep at the temple on important days, chant prayers, give alms and meditate. During his childhood, Kruba Prohmajak’s father ordained into the Sangha and remained as a monk until his passing in BE 2484 at the age of 90. When his father ordained, his mother also ordained as a nun and remained in the temple until she passed away in BE 2477 at the age of 70.

Hence Kruba Prohmajak was able to learn the sacred ancient Lanna Khom Agkhara Sanskrit lettering at a very young age. He learned the script together with his older brother who had been ordained to learn Wicha and then disrobed to return to the household. He thus taught what he had learned to Kruba Prohmajak.

This was common for children to learn from each other and from their elders as in those days not many schools were to be found in the countryside and most people would have to rely on sharing knowledge. Kruba Prohmajak was able to learn the Lanna Agkhara from his brother to the point where he could read and write it with sufficient proficiency.

When both of his parents were still alive, Kruba Prohmajak would see many novice practicing during the family visits to the temple to practice Dharma.He then noticed their orderly conduct and well trained peaceful manner and purity of precepts and was filled with faith in the Buddha-Dharma and he was slowly feeling highly attracted to the idea of ordination. Meanwhile, Kruba Prohmajak had also seen a few of his brothers ordain and saw their achievements and was also filled with faith in the Buddha Sasana.

In BE 2455, which was just at the end of World War 1 , the folk of the land and indeed the world were suffering famines and poverty and there were also terrible droughts and floods interspersed which caused the folk of Lampun to be without enough food and sustenance. Kruba Prohmajak saw many of the youth fleeing to the temples to ordain, some to escape the hunger at home while others to escape from military call-up to the war, and of course the wisest ones, ordained to escape the cause of suffering and attain Buddhahood.

There seemed to be both worldly and spiritual reasons for ordination.On the 14th April BE 2455, at the age of 15 Kruba Prohmajak approached the Uposatha Shrineroom carrying the saffron robes of a monk to undergo ordination. His brothers who had ordained before him assisted to don the robes and Kruba Prohmajak looked down at the Gāsāwapat (Thai name for Kasaya saffron dyed robes), which appeared like the victory flag of the Arahants and felt a very superb and subtle rapture arising within him.

He was filled with faith and rapture in the thought that he was lucky to have been able to be born as a human being and to encounter the Buddha-Dharma and ordain as a monk to dedicate his life to Buddhism and follow the path to enlightenment.

Once he had ordained, his Upachaya Kruba Ajarn, who was very strict and self attained in the Dharma Vinaya (keeping the rules of the Buddhist Canon), and exerted influence on Kruba Prohmajak to practice the Silajarn Wat and restrain the Kilesas by practicing a well kept and organised regime of practice and to restrain oneself from outwardly expression of emotion or views.

Kruba Prohmajak was taught Buddha Dharma Theory and showed how to practice meditation and prayer chanting. He would have to inscribe the Khata Chanting in Lanna script on a sacred mai gradan blackboard from beginning to end once a day. This would serve to make him remember the prayers and the Lanna Agkhara inscription.

Kruba Prohmajak looked at the blackboard and the tiny lettering in Lanna that he had to read and copy and began to worry if he would ever be able to memorise them all. But as he began to practice, he found that he was able to finish the inscriptions to fill exactly one full blackboard a day and gained his confidence. He kept the mai gradan sacred blackboard of inscription as a momento.

During his practice, Kruba Prohmajak would always avoid the company of other monks even when he would eat, he would eat alone. Because Kruba Prohmajak was still a novice and he was also studying at the state school up to the grade 4th of primary level.

When he reached the age of 18, he earned his Bachelor of Arts in Dharma Studies on his own efforts, without attending university, because there were no Buddhist universities in the Province, so he taught himself, and passed the exam. This was an immensely meritorious attainment considering he hardly had any books, just about 3 books on Dharma Nites and Dharma Vinijjai.

In BE 2459, during the ‘Khao Pansa’ rainy retreats, a Dharma university for monks was opened at Wat Chang Khaw Noi Nuea, a few kilometers away. Kruba Prohmajak would travel there every day to study and gain knowledge. Once the rainy retreat was over, he moved to stay at Wat Chang Khao Noi Nuea to further his studies in Dharma and to learn Wicha.

On 16th January BE 2461, Kruba Prohmajak had reached the appropriate age of ordained as a monk. Hence, he was ordained at Wat Pha Hiang in Pha Chang, Lampun. Kruba Khadtiya was his Upachaya Ordaining Officer. Phra Ajarn Hon was his Gammawajajarn Prompting Officer while Phra Ajarn Som Suwinto was his Pra Anusawanajarn Witness. He was given the ‘Chāyā’ (Monk’s Surname) of ‘Prohmajako’, meaning ‘Brahma Chakra’ (Cosmic Disk of Brahma).

After his official ordination, he began to apply extreme diligence to his practice and his studies. In BE 2462, there was a mass examination for degrees in Dharma and over 100 Monks traveled to try to pass them. 11 monks from Lampun were present including Kruba Prohmajak. Once the results of the exams came out, it turned out that only two monks out of the 100 had passed the exam One of them being Kruba Prohmajak while the other one being Luang Phor Tong Kam Wat Chetupon. Hence , it makes Kruba Prohmajak the first monk from Lampun to ever pass the exam.

Kruba Prohmajak then asked Phra Maha Nayok for the chance to go and continue studies in Bangkok but he was unable to get permission to go. He remembered the words of his Kruba Ajarn ‘If you love yourself, then you should focus on the Dharma practice’ so Kruba Prohmajak decided he would focus  on learning from the inner practice of meditation and Vipassana. He then began to travel and maintain restraints of Vinaya throughout, as he wandered and met many guru monks who shared their Wicha and wisdom to him.

Some of the more well-known guru monks that he met and received Wicha from were Phra Kru Intajako, Kruba Saen Yanawuti Wat Nong Ngueak, Kruba Bun Ma Baramee Wat Gor Muang, Kruba Un Wat Panich.

As the years passed by, Kruba Prohmajak developed his understanding of the Buddha-Dharma through introspection, contemplative mindfulness and began to feel dispassion with the world and the existential question, the impermanence in life, and of life itself, and he became ever more fully focused on what seemed to be the only path. In BE 2464, Kruba Prohmajak asked his Upachaya and his relatives for permission to leave on Tudong to gather experience and deepen his practice of the path and develop the Wicha which can only be attained with the insights attained in Tudong Practice.

He received permission, and set off in the direction of Doi Noi mountain near the Mae Nam Ping riverbanks in Chiang Mai, which was about a twelve kilometer trek through the Jungle. One Samaera came with him (Samanera Un Ruean – later to become Phra Ajarn Luang Phor Ruean Wat Ban Hway). Later on in the Tudong, Luang Phor Hwan Wat Pha Hiang also came along to practice. They all stayed in an old Sala (Pagoda) in the forest together and meditated throughout the nights in the forest, confronting the experiences of Kammathana Vipassana and taming their own mind and heart. 

They returned to the temple for the rainy retreat and would return back to the forest once the rainy retreat was over. From here on, Kruba Prohmajak developed and went on to Tudong throughout many provinces in solitary as well as with his Kruba Ajarn and co-practitioners and advanced his abilities for many tens of years.

After many decades of Tudong, Kruba Prohmajak came to stay at Wat Pha Nong Chedi in Pha Chang , Lampun, which was an abandoned temple for many years. The local folk asked Kruba Prohmajak to remain there for a while to revive the temple which he did for a duration of 4 years.

After that, Kruba Prohmajak went on to Wat Pra Puttabatat Tak Pha, where he stayed for one year. He then wandered onwards to gather experience and seek Wicha  and came to stay at Pha Bpon Mahin forest for one year in solitary. After that, he traveled back to Wat Pha Nong Chedi for 2 years.

In BE 2491, he traveled back to Wat Pra Puttabat Tak Pha and remained there from there onwards. He cared for his devotees like they were his own children and became highly beloved by his devotees . In fact, Kruba Prohmajak still held his inclination for Tudong in his heart and would always pass the sry season taking young Samaneras out into the forest to teach the practices to them, and bestow them with this repeatable experience of the 13 Tudong practices and Kammathana Vipassana.

Kruba Prohmajak was known to never credit some above others, nor to criticise some more than others. In fact, he would not compliment or criticise anybody ever, and would treat everybody with the same loving kindness and compassion. He would always teach with tentative care, slowly revealing the problem without offending, and leading his devotees to understanding the nature and cause of their own problem.

Kruba Prohmajak never gathered material objects or personal possessions around him as he remained to be a simple monk that  lived with neat and tidy sparseness. He attended the temple maintenance, the welfare and wellbeing of the Samaneras and Bhikkhus and the Lay Congregation with utmost diligence.

In fact, Kruba Prohmajak wrote various books teaching the Dharma and auspicious living including:

1. FAQ Questions and Answers of Miscellaneous Problems encounters in the Practice.

2. Book of Proverbs.

3. Dhana Sila Bhavana (Generosity, Precepts, and Practice).

4. Questions and Answers Book to the book ‘Dhana Sila Bhavana’.

5. Abhinha Pajawekhana.

6. Khmer Saranakom. He taught his students to focus on the Sila practice of moral conduct and self restraint as a base of practice for powerful Samadhi Meditation  which in turn leads to Panya Spiritual Wisdom.

Kruba Prohmajak also did many charitable deeds such as the building of the Rong Rian Pra Pariat Dhamma School for Pali Sanskrit students, the creation of a Vipassana Kammathana practice center, and developed the facilities extending the temple of Wat Pra Puttabat Tak Pha to make it one of the most important temples in Lampun. He received immense reverence from the Samaneras, Bhikkhus and Lay Congregation for his purity and selflessness and the deeds he performed to ease the sufferings and stress of the local people of Lampun.

Kruba Prohmajak passed away in meditation posture on 17th August BE 2527 at 6:00 am at the age of 87 years old.

His remains were kept for the devotees to pay respects for three years before he was given a state funeral ceremony and cremation on 30th January BE 2531 with his Majesty King Bhumiphol Adulyadej and her Majesty Somdej Phra Nang Jao Pra Boroma Rachininath came to inaugurate the ceremony and pay respects.

His Majesty performed the lighting of the funeral pyre himself in honour of Kruba Prohmajak. The remains of Kruba Prohmajak have now transformed into ‘Pratat’ (Buddha Relic Crystalline Substance) of various colours  which is seen by Thai Buddhist people to indicate that the monk has attained one of the four levels of Enlightenment.

This is what Thai People call ‘Arya Sangha’, meaning a monk or a practitioner who has attained stream entry or above.

The list of projects and meritorious attainments of Kruba Prohmajak are many and would fill a few pages to recount but let us say that he constructed and completed a multitude of projects for the folks and buddhist temples and traveled to teach the Dharma around the land, giving great teachings which are still remembered and documented for their astuteness, understandability and force of truth. His teachings would point the path to Nirodha, the extinguishing of suffering and its causes.


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