The Wat Khunaram Temple is small and compared to others is rather understated, but in the local community it is well attended. However, the Temple is not what most visitors come to see, as the primary attraction is the Mummified Monk.
Prior to the visit, our initial reaction was no doubt similar to most – that’s creepy. However, it is very well displayed and upon further research this was a very talented gentleman that lived a full and rewarding life.
Displayed prominently in a separate building, in front of the Temple, are the remains of Koh Samui’s most famous Monk, Loung Pordaeng. He is displayed sitting upright in a glass coffin, surrounded by candles, lots of flowers, swans, elephants and incense sticks.
Loung Pordaeng, born on the island of Koh Samui in 1894, ordained as a monk about 20 years of age. As was common, he spent some years as a Monk before disrobing, getting married and having a family. When his family were grown, at about the age of 50, he decided to return to the Temple, dedicating the remainder of his life to his religion, Buddhism.
Upon his return to the Temple he was given the name, Phra Kru Samathakittikhun. Initially he studied meditation and Buddhist Scriptures in Bangkok, prior to returning to his birthplace, Koh Samui. On Koh Samui, he spent time meditating in a cave before returning to the Wat Khunaram Temple, where he served as the Abbott.
Renowned for his meditation and teaching skills, he developed a large following of both monks and laymen.
At the age of 79, he predicted his own death and instructed his followers, if his body decayed it should be cremated, but if un-decomposed, it should be displayed as an inspiration to future generations. For the last week of his life he meditated and spoke to nobody, nor did he consume any food or liquids. He passed away at the age of 79 in 1973.
The body is very well preserved considering his passing was over 40 years ago.
This is a close-up of the display in front of the casket.
What started as a potentially morbid visit turned out to be very enjoyable, as we learned about this exceptional Monk.