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Loung Pordaeng: The Bespectacled Monk Mummy of Wat Khunaram

BY Tanuj Kasana December 10, 2019
Loung Pordaeng, the mummified monk.

Loung Pordaeng, the mummified monk. (Christian Haecker / Flickr / Used With Permission)

There are numerous stories of monks predicting their deaths and even instructing their disciples on what to do with them afterwards. These people have been known to embrace death as a part of life, as a final chapter of one book before moving on to another.

Many Buddhist monks moved on from this world while in deep meditation. Buddhism views life as the passage to nirvana on which birth and death are just another stops. It is the religion of seeking enlightenment, which has inspired millions around the world to look for a deeper meaning in everything they do. Buddhist monks around the world are considered experts in the art of meditation and they have never shied away from propagating it to the masses for the betterment of the society.

One such eminent monk was Loung Pordaeng of Thailand. Born in the year 1894 in the city of Koh Samui, he was designated as a monk after he turned 20 years of age as per the customs. After spending a few years in the service of the temple, he disrobed and chose to become a family man.

Once his children had grown up and left the family nest, he decided to go back and devote his life to Buddhism and return to being a monk. He, therefore, returned to the Koh Samui temple and upon his return, he was renamed Phra Kru Samathakittikhun.

He studied the Buddhist scriptures and learned about meditation techniques while living in Bangkok. After his return to Koh Samui, he was chosen to be the abbot in the Wat Khunaram Temple. Loung Pordaeng was an excellent practitioner and teacher of meditation and had acquired a good number of followers.

At the age of 79 years and 8 months, two months before his death he is said to have predicted his fate.

Loung Pordaeng: Closeup shot of the mummified monk.

Loung Pordaeng: Closeup shot of the mummified monk. (Christian Haecker / Flickr / Used With Permission)

He asked his disciples to do one of the two things: If his body was to decay, they were to cremate him, but if it was not to decompose, they had to keep him on display in a glass casket for people to see and appreciate the cycle of life. He is believed to have said that this would inspire future generations to follow the teachings of Buddhism and rise above the cycle of life and death and seek enlightenment.

The Wat Khunaram temple of Ko Samui.

The Wat Khunaram temple of Ko Samui. (Karen Green / Flickr)

In the last week of his life, he fasted and meditated until the moment he passed away in a seated meditative position in 1973 at the age of 79. Loung Pordaeng’s body to this date sits in a glass casket at the Wat Khunaram temple in Koh Samui in the same position in which he had passed away. It hasn’t decomposed despite the hot and humid climate of Koh Samui.

Some people believe it to be no less than a miracle, while others try to attribute this to his slowed-down metabolism resulting from fasting and meditation that he was engaged in days before his death. Whatever the case, Loung Pordaeng still sits there, with sunglasses on his empty eye sockets, proving he knew more about his body and soul than any of us would ever know.

Enjoyed this article? Also, check out “Children of Llullaillaco: Where Young Children Were Sacrificed to the Gods“.

Recommended Visit:
Ko Samui | Thailand

Fact Analysis:
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