A - B - C - D - E - F - G - H - I - J - K - L - M - N - O - P - Q - R - S - T - U - V - W - X - Y - Z




Luang Poo Toh (หลวงปู่โต)

Thai. Name of a revered Buddhist monk, who is formally known as Somdet Phra Phutthajaan Toh Phrommaramsih/Bhramarangsi (โต พฺรหฺมรํสี - fig.). He was born on 17 April 1788, in the reign of King Rama I, and died in Bangkok on 22 June 1872, aged 84. It is unclear where exactly he was born and who his parents were, with sundry sources giving different accounts of his origin and early life, though it is widely agreed upon that his mother was from the northern part of present-day Thailand. With regards to his father, the confusion is even greater, with one source suggesting that he might have been a son of Phra Phutta Yotfa Chulalok (fig.), who was born out of wedlock. Luang Poo Toh was widely respected among Buddhists in the early Rattanakosin Period and had a clear understanding and good knowledge of Buddhism, which he was able to preach to the general public in a comprehensible way. He resided for a while at Wat Rakhang and initiated the Phra Somdet Wat Rakhang Khositaraam amulets (fig.). He was also instrumental in the completion of many Buddhist projects, his last building project being the 32-meter high standing Buddha image Luang Pho Toh (หลวงพ่อโต - fig.) at Wat Intharawihaan (fig.) in Bangkok. When Bangkok in the 19th century was plagued by a cholera epidemic that caused so many deaths that it left authorities unable to keep up with cremating or burying the dead bodies in time and forced them to leave many corpses in the open, attracting hordes of vultures that came to devour the dead bodies and changed the area of Wat Saket in a sky burial ground (map - fig.), Toh (fig.) went there to observe the sight in order to meditate on the impermanent nature of existence. This monk from the past is still revered posthumously by many Thai people today and shrines dedicated to Luang Poo Toh can be found across the nation. Since the name Toh translates as Large, Big, or Tall, statues of this monk are often made very large too (map - fig.), such as the 41.9 meter tall statue of Luang Poo Toh on Phetkasem Road near Cha-am, in Phetburi Province, which is said to be the largest statue of a Buddhist monk in the world. In Nakhon Ratchasima, there is a park-like sanctuary with a huge wihaan, that houses a giant gilded statue of Luang Poo Toh (fig.). See also POSTAGE STAMP and TRAVEL PICTURE.