Tok Raja

Tok Raja

by Jun Wei

Khron Ratchanaren also known as Tok Raja was born on 1st December BE 2419. When he was 12 years old, he was sent to Wat Uttamaram by his parents to learn about Buddhism and Thai Language. During that period of time, he would stay with Ajarn Lok who was the abbot of Wat Uttamaram at that time. Despite at a young age, he showed a great amount of interest in Buddhism and soon became a “Dek Jom” under the supervision of Bhikkhu (monks) in the temple. Beside that, Tok Raja also started learning about crafting and construction. He once told his devotees that even from a young age, he cherished the ambition of monk hood and stayed in the temple to learn Buddhism unlike other boys of the same age who preferred to stay in their home.

At the age of 21, Tok Raja ordained as a monk on 15th June BE 2438. The ordination took place at Wat Uttamaram and his preceptors were Phra Upatcha Palad Chai Wat Mai Suwankhiri,  Phra Kru Ophart Phuthakhun Wat Chon Prachumthart, Phra Ajarn Phut from Wat Bangtakwa Silaloi who became Kammavacanusavanacarn. He was then given the name “Punnaksuwanno”.

After his ordination, he continued to stay at Wat Uttamatam for two Phansa before he traveled towards the Southern Part of Thailand to study Pali Language. Upon reaching the Southern Part of Thailand, Tok Raja stayed at Wat Huaphom Nai in Songkhla and started to learn Buddhism in a deeper depth. He also learned “Phra Katha vertmon” which consist of “Khamphi Mulkachai” and “Khamphi Thammadboth” in Wat Huaporm Nai as well as Vipassana Kammatharn for 15 years. In BE 2449, Tok Raja was appointed as the abbot of Wat Huaphom Nai whereby he would stay at the temple for a duration of 10 years.

But due to the fact that Tok Raja needed to go to Malaysia, he stepped down as the abbot of Wat Huaphom Nai. However, once Tok Raja was back from Thailand, he was appointed as the abbot of Wat Suwankhiri for 6 years before being appointed as the abbot of Wat Uttamaram in BE 2468. He taught Vippassana meditation and ubasok ubasika Buddhaborisat to the villagers as well as Vertmon Katha to his devotees.

Positions hold by Tok Raja

BE 2470 – appointed by Phra Khru Ophatbudthakhoon as Phra Palas Thananukrom

BE 2476 – Tok Raja became Upatchaya

BE 2484 – appointed as Phra Khru Vicarn

BE 2488 – became the Chief Abbot of Kelantan State known as Phra Vicaranayanmuni

His role was in the deployment of Dharma knowledge and spreading of Buddha’s teachings. When Tok Raja came back from Songkhla, he stressed a lot on his knowledge skill. He worked very hard in order to expand the knowledge skills to his devotees in Kelantan but it did not meet his expectations as the society at that time did not realise the importance of education and as such he was unable to achieve his mission to the fullness.

In the early years of BE 2491, Thai Buddhism started spreading out of Thailand to neighbouring countries like Malaysia. Malaysia was formerly known as Malaya. During that time, the first Naktham school was established in the Kedah state of Malaysia. Tok Raja has waited for this opportunity to open up such a school for a long period of time and has established the same Naktham school in BE 2492 and the first school was established in Wat Uttamaram itself.

It was a resounding success in establishing these schools and Tok Raja later handed over the management of the school to Phra Maha Chan Kesaro who possessed “Parian Tham 6 Prakyok” as a teacher master. Even though there was a shortage in teaching resources, there was a huge demand from monks all over Kelantan to study at Wat Uttamaram to seek knowledge and learn Naktham where the expenses incurred were manageable. It was not an easy journey to Wat Uttamaram at that time as it required one to take several hours to reach by walking through the jungle. Such obstacles however did not prevent these monks from reaching Wat Uttamaram and within the same year as it was established, the first Naktham examination was held at Wat Uttamaram in Kelantan as well.

Tok Raja would spend his non-meditation hours researching ancient and forgotten manuscripts which revealed ceremonies and prayers for every occasion. He made searching enquiries into information gleaned from his readings. He never considered unlikely or as far-fetched from the stories he had read or heard of how and where priceless documents had been hidden in times of peril. He would explore caves which others fear to enter and seldom found his mission unfruitful. From these ancient writings, he copied the prayers and chants which are the knowledge and magic he uses when he is dealing with black magic. He would even try the prayers upon himself when he fell sick, and at all times opportunity offered itself to test his faith. One day, a novice brought to him a very aged document which he knew was something precious as it has been zealously guarded heirloom. He found that the documents described how a sacred Takrut should be consecrated and the materials that went into its making. The Takrut was beyond the knowledge of the novice who made no use of it. On his death-bed, the novice gifted the Takrut to Tok Raja. Since then, it has never been out of his sight for a fleeting moment. Tok Raja would carry it with him wherever he goes and when asleep, it rests beside him. He has put the Takrut to good use in effecting cures for both physical and mental. No ordinary man can touch the Takrut without feeling something special. It is believed that Tok Raja has attained a high standard of mindfulness. Just by a few seconds of association with someone or at a glance, he can tell whether the person seeking his help is clean in heart, a genuine sufferer or anot if he comes to approach Tok Raja.

Tok Raja had never refused aid and preached Dharma to anyone. As Tok Raja slowly gained more and more of his own devotees through his philosophy of life. News spread widely from devotees and even strangers about the wonders he had performed for them. He certainly was a guru monk that could convince devotees. There are also unbelievable stories from the recovery of a dying man to saving someone from being possessed by evil spirit and even non Buddhist experience similar wonders in resolving their problems.

Donations poured in to the temple from all the places of Malaysia including Singapore and with adequate funds, Tok Raja was able to built the Kelantan first Naktham school in Wat Uttamaram (2nd School in Malaya after Kedah) and build both the Ubosoth and Kuti surrounding the temple.

Tok Raja has always enjoyed good health and is always fresh and active even at the age of over 80 years old. His health only started to deteriorate in July BE 2505 onwards. His health was deteriorating significantly after his trip to Singapore. The bad news about his health was spreading like wildfire and many people from all over Malaysia came to visit him, including the Royal Highness The Sultan of Kelantan. Due to his old age, Tok Raja passed away on 19th November BE 2505 before the conferment of “Chao Khun” title bestowed to him by the King of Thailand, his Highness King Phumibol Adulyadeth where Tok Raja was invited to be present at the King Palace in Bangkok on 5th December BE 2505.

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