Name: Phra Sangkachai (Mahākaccāyana Thera) loi ongk (statuette)
Place of Origin: Wat Wang Sri Thong, Thailand
Year: B.E. 2551 (2008 C.E.)
Size: 2.7 cm x 2 cm
Material: Nuea Ratana Loha (seven kinds of sacred metal); 2 takruts (metal scrolls) + sacred powders inserted at base
This figurine of the Buddhist saint Mahākaccāyana Thera was consecrated for three months during the Run Mongkol Traimas consecration ceremony held at Wat Wang Sri Thong in B.E. 2551 (2008 C.E.). The ceremony was lead by the Buddhist monk Luang Por Nong (see biography below).
Arahanti Kaccāyana Thero Mahā Bhāgo Bhavantu Me
Mahākaccāyana Thera was previously known as Kaccāna (Pāḷi) – an adept and a popular teacher of the Buddhist Dhamma. People regarded Mahākaccāyana as a very attractive, good-looking young man. His features in physical appearance were highly similar to that of the Buddha. Mahākaccāyana was well aware of the fact that people often tend to mistake his appearance for that of the Buddha. Thus, he wished to distinguish himself from the looks of the Buddha, upon which he decided transform himself into a fat and ugly monk.
In one of his past lives, at the time of Buddha Padumuttara (the 13th Buddha), Mahākaccāyana had made a vow to become a great teacher of the Dhamma. From that moment on he performed countless meritorious deeds throughout his future lives. Through the immense accumulation of merit he had inherited strong magical powers. One of those many offerings he made contained a brick of gold he offered to thestupa (Pāḷi: cetiya) of the Kassapa Buddha (the 27th Buddha), which lead to his future rebirth in which he was born with a body radiating a golden hue.
Mahākaccāyana always presented many generous gifts to his followers, which lead to the rise of Mahākaccāyana’s popularity among the laity. In this way, Mahākaccāyana became an important object of a cult wherein his saintly charisma became manifest in a popular image (monk with a fat belly) which represents material wealth and prosperity. This particular image is worshipped by laypeople, for they believe Mahākaccāyana Thera is a fully enlightened monk (Pāḷi: arahant) who is worthy of worship. Moreover, Mahākaccāyana is also seen as an arahant fulfilling peoples’ wishes.
Apart from worship for good fortune, Mahākaccāyana Thera is also venerated for lending his worshippers assistance in cultivating the path of practice. Moreover, he instructs the laity to make merit and to practice right (verbal, physical, mental) speech and action.
Biography of Luang Por Nong
Luang Por Nong was born in B.E. 2464 in Lopburi, Thailand. When he was twelve years old, Luang Por Nong became a novice at Wat Nong Poh and a disciple of Luang Por Derm. Luang Por Derm taught many magical skills to Luang Por Nong, such as the traditional methods of making and empowering yantra tattoos, talismanic daggers (‘mit mor‘), and other amulets.
Luang Por Nong continued his studies as taught by Luang Por Derm for another seven years before he finally mastered his teacher’s teachings. By that time Luang Por Nong wanted to leave Wat Nong Poh in order to practice forest wandering (‘tudong‘). Thus he decided to go back to Lopburi again where he then also could pay a visit to his family which he hadn’t seen for the past seven years.
Whilst travelling in Lopburi, Luang Por Nong met Luang Por Gob of Wat Kow Salika. Luang Por Gob taught Luang Por Nong how to practice kasina meditation. Then Luang Por Nong was called to serve the army for two years. When he had completed his duties in the army, he ordained as Buddhist monk at the age of twenty-three; Luang Por Opasi would be his mentor (Pāḷi: upacaya). Following his ordination Luang Por Nong would stay in Bangkok for four years. During these four years he learned many magical skills from Luang Por Opasi.
Then, Luang Por Nong returned to Wat Wang Sri Thong again in B.E. 2494, because his teacher, Luang Por Derm, had passed away. After that, Luang Por Nong was given the position of the new abbot of Wat Wang Sri Thong – he remains in this function till today.