Luang Phor Uttama

Luang Phor Uttama

by Jun Wei

Luang Phor Uttama was born in the year BE 2453 in the Burmese Province of Malamang. He was given the name “Aye Maung” by his parents. But when he was young, he suffered from cholera and the epidemic was so severe that his parents decided to send him to his uncle. Whereby he would stay with his uncle at Wat Mokkaniang. His uncle was a senior monk that provided shelter and education to him. But another unfortunate thing happened, when he was at the age of 14 another epidemic of cholera struck his family. Five of his brothers passed away from the disease which resulted in him having no choice but to return back home to work on the family farm. At the age of 18, he decided to ordain as a novice at Wat Kelasa in Malamang province. After just a couple of years and despite his dedication to his studies of Pali and Buddha’s teachings he felt compelled to return home to take care of his elderly parents. Eventually another family member came to look after his parents which allowed him to immediately return to monkhood. On 23th April BE 2476, he was ordained as a monk for the second time.

He was given the name “Uttama”. Luang Phor Uttama would then spend the next year studying for the highest class of monk qualification Parian Dharma which he finally attained in BE 2484. Afterward, Luang Phor Uttama moved to Mandalay Province in Burma where he learnt meditation and black magic sciences and then became a travelling monk to get greater experience in life travelling through the forest in Northern Burma and Northern Thailand.

In BE 2492, though reluctant to leave the local Burmese who revered him, Luang Phor Uttama finally decided his mission was to spread Buddha’s teachings in Thailand; he travelled across to Kanchanaburi Province. Despite the raging warfare along the border at that period of time, He then eventually came across Luang Phor Tainam Wat Takanoon in Kanchanaburi Province. It so happened that Luang Phor Tainam was also ordained as a monk at Wat Kelasa. Luang Phor Tainam advised that Luang Phor Uttama should settle himself at Wat Prang Gali where he could offer help to the growing number of refugees from the Burmese border fight. Luang Phor Uttama worked tirelessly and his first endeavor was to build a big Chedi and some small accommodations for the monks as he hoped to attract people to his new temple. In the beginning three monks joined him and Luang Phor Uttama would teach him about Dharma and Mon language.

After a few months had passed, the conflict along the border intensified resulting in thousands of Mon fleeing into Thailand looking for refuge and seeking for Luang Phor Uttama. In BE 2499, Luang Phor Uttama travelled across the province and encouraged the Mon people to go with him to settled down at his temple at Banwangkalang; this was the start of the now famous Mon population which can be found today across the wooden bridge which links Sangkhla Buri and the Mon Villages which surround Wat Wang Wiwekaram. In BE 2505, the temple was given legal status and was renamed Wat Wang Wiwekaram by Luang Phor Uttama and he duly took his place as the first abbot of Wat Wang Wiwekaram.



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