Somdej Toh, Wat Rakhang

Somdej Pra Bhuddhachara Toh was the most famous and revered monk of the nineteenth century. He was born was born on the 17th April, B.E.2331, possibly the son of King Rama I

His family moved from Utradit province to Ayudhaya where at the age of 12 he was sent to Wat Intra Viharn to be ordained as a novice monk.

He was educated by Phra Boworn Virivanen, the then Abbot of Wat Banglumpoo

He was eventually to move to Wat Rakhang where he studied the Buddhist scriptures of the Pali cabon with several masters including Somdej Pra Buddha Kosacharm.

His dedication was duly noted by the then crown prince who presented him with a small gift of a little boat.

After becoming a well-known monk, he became the preceptor for Prince Mongkut, later King Rama IV, when Mongkut became a monk. During Rama IV's reign Somdej Toh was given the ceremonial name Phra Buddhacharn Toh Phromarangsi.

He was noted for the skill of his preaching and his use of Thai Poetry to reflect the beauty of Buddhism, and of course for making the now famous Somdej amulet.

Ranks of Somdej Phra Buddhachan Toh

1. In B.E.2395, aged 65, he was appointed by King Rama IV as “Pra Dharma Kitti”.

2. In B.E.2397, he was promoted to be “Pra Thepkravi”.

3. In B.E.2407, he was appointed as “Somdej Phra Buddhachan”, his highest rank, after the old Somdej Pra Buddhachan named “Soen”, who was the abbot of Wat Srakes, had passed away.

Somdej Toh was believed to have created 84,000 Phra Somdej as a symbol for the continuity of the Buddhist religion. He also commissioned the creation of the famous Phra Somdej Keschaiyo at Wat Ketchaiyo Woraviharn

Creation of Phra Somdej

1. A total of 84,000 pieces were created. The entire production process was overseen by Somdej Phra Buddhacharn Toh himself.

2. All amulets were created with his sacred power and mercy. Apart from reminding all worshippers of Lord Buddha’s virtue, the amulets also helped protect from dangers, evil and bad spiritual influences.

It was said, that at the age of 20 the king gave Somdej Phra Bhuddha Jarn Toh an official title of Narkluang (Someone who is in a process of being ordained as a Budhist priest). This was during the time when he was still at Wat Ta Krai in Pitsanulok. Eventually, Somdej Phra Bhuddha Jarn Toh became an abbot of Wat Rakang Kositaram and was promoted to the title of Somdej Pra Bhuddha Jarn. Somdej Phra Bhuddha Jarn Toh was highly intellectual and great in performing sermons. He is considered to be the most well known, respected, and beloved monk of the Thai people. He passed away in B.E. 2415 at the age of 85.

Somdej Phra Bhuddha Jarn Toh left with us his lasting legacy and his blessing to the people of Thailand with the Pra Somdej that was blessed by him and the top Buddhist masters of his time. There are several pim designs of Pra Somdej that were blessed by Phra Puttachan Toh. The one design that all serious collectors seek is the large pim, "Somdej pim yhai". This is considered to be the rarest and most expensive of all his pim designs. Other pim designs seem less attractive in comparison. For someone to find a large pim of Pra Somdej made by Somdej Pra Bhuddha Jarn Toh that is still in good condition is very difficult. In Thailand, a large Somdej is usually listed for $17,000,000.00 and as much as $40,000,000.00 Thai Baht. To get U.S. currency, simply divide by 34, the exchange rate.

Somdej Phra Bhuddha Jarn Toh would give a Phra Somdej to the Thai people everytime he was invited to important events, to bless a new home, or during a simple lunch invitation. Before giving out one of his Somdej, Somdej Phra Bhuddha Jarn Toh would give his blessing and tell the person accepting the Phra Somdej that this amulet would bless them with happiness and prosperity. It is known that the material for making a Pra Somdejs is comprised of shells, limestones, gold dust, Phong Vises ( holy powder), assorted flowers from a shrine, his left over rice from meals, lotus, bananas, ashes from celemonial incense, honey, tang oil, etc.

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