Luang Phor Kasem Kemagoh ( Nov 28, 2455 - Jan
15, 2539 )
Luang Phor (= reverend father, venerable monk) Kasem was born as
Kemagoh Pikku in a family of descendants of the Lampang
King from the Lanna Period.
He became a novice monk in BE2468 after the death of his uncle,
the abbot of Wat Bunyeun. In BE2470, he went to Bangkok, Wat
Setuwan to study Pali language and after some time he returned back
to the North to continue studies in Wat Seelom and Wat Bunyawaht.
After passing his exams in Pali in BE2476, he was ordained as a
monk at Wat Bunyeun at the age of 21. His preceptor was Tahn Jow
He met Luang Phor Krubah
Gaen, a very famous monk in North Thailand, a forest monk who
had rich experience in meditation. Luang Phor Kasem became
disciple and started practising with him in
forests and cemeteries.
When the abbot of Wat Bunyeun - Pra Dtomkum left his post and the temple
(because of boredom), the villagers
approached young Luang Phor Kasem (still deep in practicing
meditation) to return to Lampang
and fill the post of a new abbot.
Luang Phor Kasem continued his learning dhamma and practicing
meditation even when he was the abbot. The more he trained, the
more he realised how uncertain the life is. However his duties as
kept him busy the way that was far away from his spiritual
intentions more than he thought. Therefore, in BE2492 he left the
Wat and settled at Susahn Sahlahwangthan, a cemetery
surrounded by the jungle at Lampang suburbs
(see the map).
The area was looking very different to the well developed site we
as can see it nowadays. Many people were scared to even go there
since it was said to be haunted. LP Kasem was determined to keep practicing
the highest meditation right there. He would sit in front of
the crematory and watch the burning corpses. Whether in hot
sun or raining, Luang Phor would just sit quietly and watched
corpses being burned to ashes.
Luang Phor Kasem would sit deep in meditation for as long as 3 months,
without any shelter under the hot sun or heavy rain. Even though his robes were
wet of rain, or during the cold season when the cold wind blew, Luang Phor Kasem would just sit quietly
without any complain or request. Also, he would stay without food for
as long as 49 days.
Since BE2514, he only had bathed once a year, but there was no strange or foul odour
around him, despite the sweat was pouring down his body under the
sun. And more surprisingly, without a shelter or mosquito net, he never suffered from mosquito
bites at the cemetery.
In his meditations he was often in touch with his friend Luang
Phoo Doo from Wat Sakae, Ayuthaya.
Luang Phor Kasem would always point out that as a forest monk
not require any property. The only things he owned were an alms bowl, his robe he was wearing and a piece of
human bone to practice meditations. He did not even own any shoes
or even pillow to sleep. To him, a
pillow was a luxury. He used to sleep on the ground at the same spot where he
was meditating. Whatever people gave to him, he
would give away to the other monks.
He was just completely determined to find the truth of life. He asked for
nothing in life - although, as a descendant of the royal blood in Lampang, he could enjoy
all the luxury.
Luang Phor Kasem passed away
on Jan 15, 2539 (7:42 pm) at the Lampang hospital. He was 84. A memorial and mausoleum were built at the area by the cemetery
and his dead body was placed in a
glass coffin for reasons that make yet many local
people upset. However he had reputedly never wished to be burned.
Or ... had he?
||MrYeeshkul, 2006 :: eMAIL ME
the above text was partly compiled and corrected from various sources on internet