Seeking info on a specific monk

Hi, I’m wondering if anyone can please help me out or even point me in a direction to look further?

I am wanting to find out any information about the former Abbot of Wat Khema Phirataram. Not the current one.

I flew to Thailand ( from Australia) in January specifically to visit this temple, however, not speaking Thai there was a bit of a language barrier, but I was able to see a golden effigy, find out it was the former Abbot and that he was referred to as ‘Chun’ ( spelling?)

(Edit - following some reading based on the info kindly given in response, I’m now thinking the monk I am researching was indeed a ‘former Abbot’ as I was told, …but it seems in general, and not actually of Wat Khema. I’ll have to keep researching :thinking:)

I was tho shown the word ‘Patriarch’ on one of the monks phones so I’m not entirely sure if I was being told his name was Chun and he was a patriarch, or if Chun simply means patriarch. Putting Chun tho in to several translators I either get no result or a reference to glazed pottery … I might be spelling it wrong tho :thinking:

Any info at all is most welcome, but I am specifically interested in anything more to do with his name, the region of his genealogical ancestory, what years he was there, how he came to be a monk, and if anyone can point me to a photo or drawing … something that gives more likeness than a golden statue I would be enormously grateful.

Thank you :blush:

Could it be Chao Khun - a title bestowed by the King on select monks who have usually made strong contributions to the Buddha sasana or service to the community.

The monastery website says that there is a statie of King Mongkut’s preceptor and former “king of the Sangha”, his name and title was: Somdet Phra Sangharaja Chao Krom Luang Vajirayanawong (M.R. Chuen Noppawong

So that seems to be the Chuen you were looking for?

More info here…


Thank you so much for that information … and a better spelling of ‘Cheun’ - that def makes it roll off the tongue better with the pronunciation intended.

All the other statues in Wat Khema are either royal busts, Buddhas, or the current Abbot, … so the one I am referring to has to indeed be Chao Khun as you have mentioned.

I will get on to translating that link, but thank you for supplying the full name. That certainly will help with further efforts to find a picture and more background information.

Wonderful - yay :smiley:


A photo of it might be helpful?

If this is the one, then he was สมเด็จพระสังฆราชเจ้า กรมหลวงวชิรญาณวงศ์ (หม่อมราชวงศ์ชื่น สุจิตฺโต ป.ธ.๗) | พระสังฆาธิการ

More info: https://www.มูลนิธิสมเด็จพระสังฆราชวัดบวร.com/document/sangkaracha19/sangkaracha13.pdf

Unfortunately, you have to use Google Translate as I unfortunately am too busy to do it.

Some English info here: About – Wat Bowonniwet Vihara

Please note that a problem about doing search on Thai people is the English spelling. There is an official guideline for the general public, but few follow it, and in the Buddhist circle, some monks spell their names in a western Pali way, some don’t.

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Thank you so much for the additional info. I will work on getting that translated too.

Yes, that image you posted is who I am enquiring about. I thought about posting a pic or part of a video from my visit to Wat Khema but being a newbie here I have not yet figured out all the site functions.

Based on the info I have kindly be given, I have now found a photo of this monk, tho it is from his latter years. I see the link you provided has a younger pic than what I found myself. Fantastic. :smiley:
I am still hoping to find a photo from even younger years - when he had the more defined cheekbones as depicted in the statue, and of course hope translating the info given will answer some of my other queries.

Thank you again. I am very very grateful for your assistance. :blush:

If you have specific questions, I could try to find the info for you

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Thank you, that is very kind of you. I will take you up on that offer, but will message you in a day or two. There is a lot going on requiring my immediate attention at the moment :blush:

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Sorry for the delay getting back to you Dheerayupa, …life got in the way for a bit there, but I have been doing some more research and got some more leads that may answer some more of the questions posed in my opening comment. Particularly the genealogical ancestory of the monk who taught King Mongkut.

At this point I will ask that you please overlook any use of incorrect terms or ignorance of procedure in my following comments - I am not actually a Buddhist ( I’m an old school mid 1800’s-early 1900’s style Spiritualist) tho I suspect I may end up a Buddhist if further investigation reconciled concepts it would not be possible for me to drop as I consider them ‘knowings’ rather than beliefs. It may just all line up but I won’t know that until I obtain the Buddhist info pertaining to those aspects.

Anyway … If my information is correct, it seems King Mongkut was ordained twice.

Firstly, either at Wat Samorai where he did his ‘apprentice year’, or maybe at Wat Mahathat where he thereafter studied / practiced at. I’m not sure at what point the actual ordination takes place.

According to my research, a second ordination apparently took place following an encounter with a Theravada monk from the Mon ethnic group ( that descended from the Yangtze Kiang Valley in China, via Myanmar/ Burma, & in to Thailand)

So I guess the next question I hope to answer is whether (the statue) this preceptor ‘Cheun’ that I am looking for was ethnically a Mon monk?

It would seem to make sense that if meeting the Mon Monk spurred King Mongkut to launch reforms, that he was quite possibly / probably being taught by a Theravadin Mon Monk. If this is the case, then I will have answered the genealogical question.

I know I’m reaching to hope anyone can confirm such an obscure question, but I was not expecting the amount of information members of this page have been able to provide already so hey, you never know your luck :smiley:

Thank you to everyone who has helped me get to this point. I think the genealogical question is answered, but a confirmation would just put it in concrete.

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Quick search + Microsoft translation + very quick editing =

When His Majesty King Rama II was seriously ill, he saw that that the traditional succession to the throne may not be best for the country’s situation at that time, as the Crown Prince (later King Mongkut or King Rama IV) was only 20 years old, whilst his other son born to his concubine Riam (later King Rama III) was 37 years old has always been an important assistant in governing the country. So, to pave way for a smooth succession to the throne for the benefits of the country, he had the Crown Print ordain as a monk when he reached the age of full ordination (21 years old) with Somdet Phra Ariyavamsanyana (Mee), the then Supreme Patriarch, as his preceptor.

15 days after the Crown Prince’s ordination, His Majesty passed away. The royal family and senior govt officials invited King Rama III to ascend to the throne.

The crown prince, after ordination, was given the Pali name Vajirayana Bhikkhu. He took Buddhism seriously and went to study with many teachers. He also associated with several European scholars and priests and adopted the realistic and scientific approach to religions.

He doubted that the practice of the monks at the temple where he was staying: whether they strictly followed the Vinaya (disciplines). Therefore, he studied and learned the Dhamma by himself until he met a Mon monk, who was a master of the vinaya and practiced strictly and was able to explain the practices of the Mon Tradition disciplines in detail. The Mon monk’s name was พระสุเมธมุนี (ซาย พุทธวํโส) Sumedhomuni Bhikkhu (Sai Budddhavamso).

Inspired by the Mon and Sinhala practices, the Crown Prince adopted the Mon discipline by undertaking another ordination (repeat ordination = getting ordained again while still in robes) in the Mon tradition with Sumedhomuni Bhikkhu as his preceptor. It was the beginning of the Dhammayut Nikaya in Thailand.

Novice ordination: when he was 14 years old he ordained as a novice (samanera) for 7 months with Somdet Phra Ariyavamsanyana (Don), the then Supreme Patriarch, as his preceptor.


Thank you so much for the additional information … and confirming the involvement of the Mon :blush:

I have now gotten all the answers I needed.

I’m so happy my eyes sprung a leak :joy:

Thank you so much :blush:

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To clarify, the Mon monk was a Thai citizen of the Mon ethnic background.

Some interesting info about Buddhism in Thailand:


Yes, I fully expected a Thai citizenship/ birth … with just the distant ancestory going back to China via the Mon. Thank you for making sure I’m 100% clear on that tho.

I did quell a gnawing urge late last year by taking Dana out to my nearest monastery where one of the nuns gave me a run down on the early movement of Buddhism throughout Asia, … but since that urge soon returned in the compulsion to specifically go to Thailand, I shall certainly enjoy reading your link for a more focused overview of Buddhism there in particular.

Thank you again :blush:

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Mon is not Chinese. They were originally from Burma.